ZWT - 1909 - R4301 thru R4536 / R4372 (113) - April 15, 1909
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VOL. XXX APRIL 15 NO. 8
A.D. 1909--A.M. 6037
Views from the Watch Tower........................115
Rev. Lyman Abbott on Resurrection.............115
Rapidly Growing Burden of Militarism..........115
Settling Doctrinal Differences....................116
The Conclusion of the Matter..................117
The Memorial Celebration..........................118
Our Personal Responsibilities.....................119
The Sweet-Brier Rose (Poem).......................120
"You Hath He Quickened"...........................120
The Begetting, then the Quickening............121
"Not the Spirit of Timidity"......................122
The Tongue a Power for Good or Evil...............124
Samples of Interesting Letters....................126
Brooklyn Bethel Hymns for May.....................127
My Solemn Vow to God..............................127
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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WATCH TOWER BIBLES
We have in stock a few of Nos. 1918 and 1938 only. See description and price in WATCH TOWER of Nov. 1, 1908. The sale of these Bibles has been phenomenal; 10,000 India Paper Bibles in eighteen months breaks all records. We will publish more, but they will not be ready for some months.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
REV. LYMAN ABBOTT ON RESURRECTION
WHEN addressing the students of the Yale University on the subject of "Human Immortality" from the text, "The dead shall rise again," Doctor Abbott is reported to have said:--
"I do not think the dead will rise again. I do not think that good people ever die. Their spirits, I think, just drop off the body, as clothing, and they go on into a higher and larger life.
"When people really die, I do not think they ever live again. There are some people who in their lives on earth become wholly animal, wholly sensuous. These people, with the going out of life from their bodies, I think really die, for they have no place in a higher life.
"I do not think of those whom we see no longer as being in spotless raiment afar off, knowing nothing of what we are doing and being happy in only a sort of negative bliss. I believe they are with us still, though we cannot see them, and that they are still very interested in what we do. A year ago my wife died in a foreign land, but I still feel that she is beside me helping and inspiring me."
* * *
This is a frank statement of what Doctor Abbott thinks or guesses. He is to be commended for not trying to prove that his text means the reverse of what it says. How much better it would be for the world if all Bible teachers thus distinguished between what they think and what the Bible teaches. But what is the value of the doctor's thought? On what is it based? What does he know on the subject on which to base speculations and surmises? Was he ever dead? Does he really know anyone who passed through the experience of death? Until we get such a demonstration we prefer to believe the Bible, corroborated by our five senses, rather than trust to the infallibility of Doctor Abbott's thinking apparatus.
Dr. Abbott is a gentleman and a scholar of no mean caliber, yet his teachings, here reported, are in line with the claims of Spiritism, which the Bible teaches us is demonism. Should the doctor resist the seductive proposition of Spiritism to put him into communication with his dead wife, etc., it will be because of his strong character. Many of those who read his words may be far less strong to resist and may fall under a demoniacal spell, led on by the doctor's words, to seek communication.
Well do the Scriptures declare of our day, "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish; the understanding of their prudent men shall not be manifest."-- `Isaiah 29:14`.
PEACE! PEACE! AND DREADNOUGHTS
"Britain built a ship which created a class by itself. By a strange fatality she called the ship the Dreadnought, but experience is teaching her that from it she has everything to dread. Germany began to build new ships and naturally these were Dreadnoughts. Other Powers are about to follow. Among them we regret to find our own land. But it is inevitable that if any ships are to be built they must be Dreadnoughts.
"An interesting suggestion has been made by a London writer proposing the co-operation of the fleets of the two English speaking peoples, Britain to guarantee the safety of our possessions on the Pacific and we to guarantee the safety of hers in the North Atlantic."--Ex.
* * *
Peace! Peace! is the cry, as the Scriptures predicted. Yet there is no peace, as they declare. True, no war is being waged at the present time; but it is surely expected, and the great nations dread it and spend millions on war preparations in harmony with those convictions. Would the world's wise and rich men tax themselves to the point of distress for war purposes if they believed as Mr. Carnegie seeks to convince himself and others? Surely not!
But why is there no peace? Because sin has entrenched itself in fallen human nature. Selfishness is sin and the cause of war; wickedness is the Scriptural name--"There is no peace for the wicked, saith my God."
If Mr. Carnegie can tell the world how to convert its people, giving them tender instead of stony hearts, then the peace proposition will be quickly realized. But aside from such a wholesale conversion there is hope for peace only along the lines predicted in the Bible; namely, by the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom in spiritual glory and with unlimited power. This the Bible assures us is nigh at hand. But, alas! its blessings must be introduced by wars of selfishness which will wreck present institutions and prepare humanity to cry to God for his relief and the new heart. "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as in heaven!"
RAPIDLY GROWING BURDEN OF MILITARISM
The "Dallas Morning News" says that "Militarism has reduced more people to slavery and crushed more nations into the earth than any of the other burdens. It is unaccountable that the civilization of to-day will promote or endure it. It means the same thing over again, and yet the educated people of the twentieth century tolerate it and hurrah over it just as the Assyrians and Persians did in the remote ages of passion, tyranny and
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conquest. The penalties of it are incalculable. The appropriations for armies and navies, tremendous as they are, are by no means the heaviest of the losses. There is no other line of jobbery and graft that is comparable to that of the sharp opportunity hunters who invent causes of war, and who sell to their pets in military politics the stores, supplies and equipments which are consumed by armies and navies, whether idle or active. But more scandalous than all the costly plundering and grafting is that loss of self-reliance, of ability to make a living, of civic character and peaceful purpose that follows in many instances the change from a life of working for a living to a life of idling or fighting for a living.
"Truly, as an observant contemporary says, it is of little use for consumers to protest against a tax on coffee and sugar, for property owners to protest against income taxes, or for States to object to Federal inheritance taxes, unless a similar protest is made against the policies which relate to these taxes as cause to effect. What causes the deficit in National finances? Out of a total of $810,000,000 appropriated, exclusive of the postal Department, $526,000,000 was required to meet the war bills of the government! We are paying $1,440,000 a day for war! That is more than the cost of the first year of the Civil War, and more than half the cost of the last year, in which great armies were maintained in action. We are at peace with the world, but we are maintaining a war standard of equipment. We must pay for it. We have followed the nations of Europe in our military policy. In this we have taken on the deadly curse of the ages. As a nation we have never committed before any blunder that is comparable to it in either its material or moral penalties."
* * *
The above is the serious side of this matter. The amusing side is that this war fever attacks nations in proportion as they become "Christianized" or "Civilized." Would we not better term this warlike spirit unchristian and uncivil? Ah, yes! to be a Christian is a personal and not a national matter. Not until Messiah takes the reins of government will there be an end of wars.
As respects the war-expenditures, they cost the poor nothing and the middle class almost nothing. Why object to the rich having the costly toys--battleships costing millions to build and other millions to maintain? Do not these monies circulate amongst the masses? Does not the employment of men in the building and maintaining of a war-outfit relieve the pressure upon the labor market, too, and thus inure to the maintenance of wage-rates? Let the poor world have its way. Let it play with its toys and find by experience their little worth. Surely they will become the more ready for the new King and Kingdom of Righteousness!
INTERNATIONAL PEACE FESTIVAL
Andrew Carnegie, presiding at the International Peace Festival held by the Peace Society of New York to celebrate the peace now prevailing throughout the world, told an audience representing a score of foreign countries in Carnegie Hall that the only shadow on the occasion was the competition of great nations in building battleships. But he predicted that the day of universal peace is at hand.
The stage presented a brilliant scene, "Peace" blazing forth in hugh white letters from the centre, flags of eighty nations adorning the hall, and delegations in costumes representing a dozen different nations, including seven Japanese girls in the front row in native dress, Russian belles in costume and others adding to the color scheme. Except the speeches of Mr. Carnegie and Dr. Wu Tingfang, the Chinese Ambassador, the programme was musical. Japan received the warmest reception of the evening, and nearly all the nations were represented by singers.
Mr. Carnegie said in part:
"It was thought proper that the Peace Society assemble to-night to celebrate the fact that the world at the present moment is at peace.
MORE WAR ENGINES
"The first thought that arises is an unpleasant one, viz., that never in the history of the world have the leading powers been engaged to such extent in hastening the construction of engines of destruction such as the world has never seen, a deplorable fact which cannot but give pain to every lover of his race."
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SETTLING DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES
--`ACTS 15:1-35`.--MAY 23--
Golden Text:--"We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved,
even as they."--`V. 11`.
THE season of peace and prosperity, growth in knowledge and in numbers in the early Church, was followed by a season of contention and differences at Antioch. Paul and Barnabas returned from their missionary tour, and reported to the congregation which had sponsored their journey expenses. Together they, the Church and their missionaries, rejoiced in their mutual service for the Gentiles. The cause indeed was quite prosperous everywhere. Then came from Jerusalem, the headquarters of the Church, certain brethren, Hebrews by birth, who, perceiving that the Gentile Christians ignored circumcision, raised a great commotion on that score, claiming that circumcision would not save without Christ, neither would Christ's salvation be operative without circumcision. The minds of many were disturbed, and for a time a split in the Church seemed probable. But better counsels prevailed and their beloved brethren, Paul and Barnabas, were sent to Jerusalem as a committee to confer with the Apostles and Elders there. Our lesson tells of this Conference and its results.
Incidentally we remark upon the wisdom shown by these early Christians--they had "the spirit of a sound mind." They had indeed great confidence in Paul and Barnabas and realized that under their ministrations they had already received great blessings from the Lord, which fact rather contradicted the idea that they could not be esteemed proper subjects for Divine favor without circumcision. They did wisely, therefore, to consider that the will of the Lord on the subject was positive and that his will would be indicated through the Apostles, of whom our Lord had said, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." These Apostles, then, might properly be expected to know and to be able to advise, whether circumcision would be a bounden obligation upon the Gentiles as upon the Jews, or whether they would be loosed from that obligation which had been placed upon Israelites--upon all of Abraham's family.
THE JERUSALEM CONFERENCE
The kindly deference of the Apostles, one to the other at the Conference, is quite marked in this account. It is also noticeable that they based their conclusions on the subject on what they found written in the Scriptures (the Old Testament) and their leadings of Divine providence. Gradually for several years the Truth had become more and more plain to them; how that the special favor of God to the Jews had given place to a general favor toward people of every nation, so that all men everywhere believing in the Lord, accepting his promises and consecrating their lives in harmony therewith, might
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henceforth have equal privileges and advantages with those of Hebrew birth. They knew of God's covenant relationship with that nation, and it took time for them to become convinced that the Divine program had taken another step forward. Similarly in the end of this age there are many who realize that only a "little flock" has been called and has responded, sacrificed, under the present High Calling. It is difficult for these to grasp the thought that a change of dispensation is at hand and that God intends to complete the work of this age for the "elect" and to inaugurate a new work for the new age, for the non-elect, for the benefit of "all the families of the earth."
The conclusions of the Conference are given us in few words, namely, that so far as God is concerned, he had recognized believers of Gentile birth by his holy Spirit in just the same way in which he had recognized believers of Hebrew birth, "and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (`Acts 15:9`.) What more could be asked? And these Gentiles had received all this favor of God without having come under the bondage of the Law Covenant. Why, they wisely asked, should we put a yoke upon them, when God has made no such requirement? They realized that the Law Covenant was indeed a yoke. More than this, that it was so heavy a yoke that neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear it. Christ had relieved them of the yoke of the Law Covenant. Why should they put it upon brethren to whom the Lord had never given it?
Going beyond this, even, they recognized that in some respects the Gentile, free from the Law, never having come under that yoke, held the superior position of the two; hence the statement, "We (Hebrews) believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they (Gentiles)."
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
We have in `Vs. 22-29` the decision of the Apostles on the question. They not only wrote it out, but sent it at the hand of two of their trusted brethren, Judas-Barnabas and Silas, with Paul and Barnabas, that they might have the matter in written and in oral testimony. The declaration was that the disquieting teachings had not been authorized by the Apostles at Jerusalem. Then they briefly summed up, not as Law, but as "necessary things," the following:--
(1) Abstain from sacrifices to idols;
(2) And from blood;
(3) And from things strangled;
(4) And from harlotry.
It was not intimated that abstinence from these things would make them Christians, for nothing but faith in Christ and consecration to him and endeavor to walk in his steps could constitute them Christians. By these recommended abstentions they declared, "It will be well with you"; you will find these recommendations profitable to you as followers of the Lord. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul has pointed out most forcefully that "Love is the fulfilling of the Law," because love for God would control the life as respects holiness, and love for our neighbor as respects earthly justice. The things here recommended were necessary to a preservation of the fellowship of the "Body" composed of Jews and Gentiles of their different education and sentiments. Without discussing whether or not harm could come to the meats sold in the markets, by reason of pagan ceremonies in connection with their killing, the advice was that these be abstained from, because Jews certainly would consider the eating of such meats as participations in the heathen idolatry--even though from the broad standpoint of fact the idol, being nothing but wood or metal or stone, could neither profit nor injure the food. Nevertheless, it was advisable that the Gentile Christians abstain from the use of their liberty in this direction, out of deference to the weaker brethren, Jews and Gentiles, who could not so deeply philosophize and whose consciences might be injured.
A similar thought attaches to the prohibition of the use of blood. To the Jew it was forbidden, and under his covenant it was made a symbol of life--to partake of it would imply responsibility for the life taken. Moreover, in the typical ceremonies of the Law the prohibited blood was used as a symbol representing the sin-offering; for by the blood atonement for sins was effected. To emphasize these typical lessons the Jew had been forbidden to use blood. And there may be other, sanitary, reasons connected with the matter, which are not yet known to us. These prohibitions had never come to the Gentiles, because they had never been under the Law Covenant; but so deeply rooted were the Jewish ideas on this subject that it was necessary to the peace of the Church that the Gentiles should observe this matter also. The things strangled meant animals taken in traps, whose blood was not shed or drained out by bleeding to death, as the Jewish Law required of all meats that should be eaten. This restriction was necessary to the harmony between the two branches of spiritual Israel--that which came from Judaism and that which came from the Gentiles.
If they did not wish to be contentious and cause divisions in the Church, the Gentile brethren would surely be willing to restrain or sacrifice their liberty respecting these matters. The fourth restriction specified was "fornication," the Greek signifying "harlotry." It is difficult to understand why one moral precept should be thus separated from others and placed on the list with ceremonial requirements. We incline rather to ask, Why not have included profanity, drunkenness, idolatry, adultery, false witness, murder, etc.? Are we to understand that the Gentiles are free to commit all the crimes in the calendar not stipulated by this Conference, and merely counseled respecting meats offered to idols, or that have died by strangulation--and the use of blood and fornication? Surely not. Rather all the requirements of the Law are included in the one law of the New Creation-- Thou shalt love the Lord and thy neighbor.
Love would cover idolatry, profanity, murder, theft, false witness, adultery, but the law of Love would not so thoroughly cover the items enumerated by the Counsel. These were necessary, proper, and we are to recognize the authority of the Apostles to "bind things on earth," and that they were so guided in their public utterances that they bound nothing unnecessarily, nothing contrary to the Divine will. It is our opinion, therefore, that these items thus superadded to the Law of Love should be observed by all spiritual Israelites as representing the Divine will. As a matter of fact nearly all the butchering for our markets is in harmony with the Jewish regulations, although many Jews decline to recognize this and eat only such meats as have been inspected and approved by their rabbis.
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The wise course pursued brought its good results. Harmony prevailed, unity of spirit, fellowship amongst the members. The secret of this lay in the fact that the Lord was recognized as having the supervision of the Church's affairs, and as guiding her course and directing her way through the appointed channels, the Apostles. Similarly to-day, where honesty of heart prevails amongst the Lord's people, schisms, divisions, should be unknown. The Lord's guidance and instruction should be sought-- his Word through the Apostles. Moreover, the Lord has been pleased since the Apostles fell asleep to use faithful brethren in the Church as finger-boards to indicate the right path, in harmony with his Word through the Apostles and prophets. The thing necessary is the pure heart and the honest conscience and the humble spirit.
"We would be one in hatred of all wrong,
One in our love of all things sweet and fair;
One with the joy that breaketh into song,
One with the grief that trembles into prayer,
One in the power that makes Thy children free
To follow truth, and thus to follow Thee."
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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
ON Sunday evening, April 4th, approximately 450 celebrated our dear Redeemer's Memorial Supper in Brooklyn Tabernacle. We were much pleased to have so considerable a number of communicants present. Of course, these were not all of Brooklyn proper. In fact, the regular congregation comes largely from the region round about. The occasion was a very solemn and impressive one. Our afternoon discourse on the Passover, typical and antitypical, led our minds in the proper direction for the appreciation of the solemn memorial and our comments in the evening related chiefly to the significance of the bread and the cup. We showed that the eating of the bread pictured the appropriation of our Lord's human rights, by which we were justified and by which our justification of righteousness in God's sight is maintained, notwithstanding the imperfections which are ours through heredity. We showed that the blood represented primarily our Lord's earthly life rights appropriated to us, justifying us to life.
Then we took the second and larger view of the matter and saw in the light of the Apostle's words that all of the faithful, all of the Royal Priesthood, all of the members of the one Body of Christ, join with their Lord in becoming the One Loaf and join with Him also in the breaking of that loaf, that it may be the Bread of Restitution to the world of mankind. We saw in the light of the Apostle's words, too, that in becoming members of the Body of Christ we become sharers with our Lord in his cup of suffering, in his sacrifice of earthly life. We saw further how in the Divine purpose this earthly life, which we surrender forever, goes under the New Covenant to Israel, Judah and all the families of the earth, while we are granted spiritual life and rights.
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (fellowship-sharing) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (in his sufferings) of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one Body; for we are all partakers (sharers) of that one Bread."--`1 Cor. 10:16,17`.
As we thus took a fresh glimpse at the significance of the "deep things of God," our hearts were stirred to their depths with the realization. How wonderful it seems that we should be called to such an intimate association with our Lord and Redeemer, both in the sufferings of this present time and in the glories that shall follow! We called to mind the fact that the Lord could not reasonably require less of us; that this is but a reasonable service, privilege and honor. We realized afresh how great would be our loss if we should fail to make our calling and election sure by unfaithfulness to the vows taken when we were accepted as his "members." We pointed out that even those who would constitute the "great company" must attain that standing through great tribulation, and that none could be acceptable to the Lord for life eternal except the pure in heart, filled with his spirit; and that, as the Apostle says, the matter with us is one of life or death eternal. We sought afresh to build one another up in the most holy faith and love and devotion and zeal, that the victory might be won-- eternal life. We exhorted that it is really easier in some respects to gain that eternal life on the highest plane, the Divine nature and Royal Priesthood, than on the lower plane of spirit being, typified by the Levites.
Almost all who were present partook of the memorial emblems and we closed the service with prayer, followed by a hymn, after which we went out quietly, without our usual greetings, striving to carry with us, so far as possible, the precious thoughts of the occasion.
Reports thus far received are that the celebration has been very general and that in a majority of cases the numbers participating show an increase over last year. In a few cases the increase is small or none, because whereas friends from several districts had previously met together, they have now grown large enough to meet separately. The report from Pittsburg is an excellent one--just about as we expected; the Bible House Chapel was more than filled, so that extra chairs were needed and brought in. Notwithstanding this the showing is not as large as on some previous occasions, because usually these services have been held in Carnegie Hall or some other larger auditorium, and have been attended by friends from nearby places--notwithstanding our frequent reminders that it is desirable that the friends of each locality meet by themselves, after the manner of a family, in harmony with the original instructions of the type.
Altogether the general interests of the harvest work seem to be deepening and broadening. Yet, we must expect continued and increasing testings of faith and love, even to the end of the Harvest time; for in no other manner does it seem possible for the Church to be tested. Thus St. Paul, while admonishing us to mark those who cause divisions (`Rom. 16:17`), and exhorting again that there be no divisions among you (`I Cor. 1:10`), declares, "I hear that there be divisions (schisms) among you, and I partly believe it; for there must be heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (`I Cor. 11:18,19`.) Again, St. John says, "They went out from us. They were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us; they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."--`1 John 2:19,20`.
The substance of this teaching is that while it is true that the Body of Christ is one and should be bound together mutually by the bonds of love and sinews of Truth, nevertheless if, after we have done all in our power to hold a fellow-member with our love and with the truth he departs, we are to take the matter with equanimity, remembering that the Lord knows the heart and that having done all in our power the remainder is for the Lord to attend to and that he will attend to disciplining and bringing back into fellowship with the Body all that are truly his. "The Lord knoweth them that are his." We do not. We do well to remember this and to exercise full confidence and faith in the Lord and his wisdom and love and power in dealing with every disobedient member. It is ours to be kind and gentle toward all, while reminding ourselves and others of the Lord's own statement, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."
Below we give reports of the numbers participating in the memorial celebration in the more prominent congregations which have thus far reported attendances of twenty and above:
Meaford, Ont.; Hoopeston, Ill.; Clayton, Ga.; Colmra, Ala., 20. Everett, Wash., 21. Moore, Pa.; New Brunswick, N.J.; Mansfield, O.; Pt. Limon, Costa Rico; Reading, Pa.; Halifax, N.S., 22. So. Sharon, Pa., 23. Rochester, N.Y.; New Liskeard, Ont., 24. Elgin, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla., 25. New Albany, Ind.; Rockford, Ill., 26. Port Clinton, O.; Auburn, Ind.; Iola, Kan.; Hartford, Conn.; Galveston, Tex., 27. Tampa, Fla., 28. Muncie, Ind.; Springfield, Mass., 29. Tiffin, O.; Allentown, Pa., 30. Suffolk, Va.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Milwaukee, Wis., 31. Birmingham, Ala.; Pasadena, Cal., 32. Dallas, Tex.; Knoxville, Tenn., 33. Cohoes, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass., 34. Omaha, Neb., 35. Lynn, Mass.; Lancaster, Pa.; Denison and Sherman, Tex., 36. Detroit, Mich.; Schenectady, N. Y., 39. Vancouver, B.C., 40. Louisville, Ky., 41.
Canton, O., 43; Struthers, O., Atlanta, Ga., 42; Denver, Col., Richmond, Va., 45; St. Joseph, Mo.; Altoona, Pa.; Binghamton, N.Y., 48; Baltimore, Md., Cincinnati, O., 49; Toledo, O., 50; San Antonio, Tex., 52; Hamilton, Ont., 55; Houston, Tex., 56; Dayton, O., Kansas City, Mo., 58; Portland, Ore., 61; Scranton, Pa., 73; Kingston, Jamaica, 79; Columbus, O., 84; St. Louis, Mo., 86; Indianapolis, Ind., 96; St. Paul, Minn., 99; Oakland, Cal., 100; Providence, R.I., 101; Barmen, Germany, 110; Cleveland, O., 134; Washington, D.C., 149; Boston, Mass., 200; Philadelphia, Pa., 201; Chicago, Ill., 275; Glasgow, Scotland, 316; Allegheny, Pa., 320; London, England, 388; Brooklyn, N.Y., 450.
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OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
SOME of the dear friends are "overcharged" in one way and some in another. Some surround themselves with so many cares of this life and are entrapped by the deceitfulness of riches, either already acquired or being sought after, that they have not time for proper spiritual nourishments and exercises. Hence these are spiritually weak and sick and need to go to the Great Physician and to heed the counsels of his word. Others are overcharged in trying to attend to the affairs of others and feeling responsibilities that the Lord has never put upon them. This also is an indication of spiritual weakness, for these dear friends are surely neglecting their own nourishments and exercises, else they would not have so much time to spare in finding fault with others. They need to read, mark and inwardly digest the various spiritual declarations to the effect that the Lord's people should learn not to be busybodies in other men's affairs. St. Paul says, "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies." (`2 Thess. 3:11`.) And again he says, "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (`I Tim. 5:13`.) The Apostle Peter admonishes, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil doer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."--`I Pet. 4:15`.
Nothing in the above, dear friends, is written in any unkind spirit, but with the intention of helping some who are really good and noble at heart, but deficient in their faith in the Lord as the Manager of His own work; hence, sometimes they are given to evil surmisings, if not evil-speaking, in respect to brethren whom they should rather leave in the Lord's care, praying for them and, to the extent that they have actual knowledge and proper opportunity, doing what may commend itself to their judgment and confidence as their proper duty in the way of expostulation and suggestion; but the matter should surely go no further than this. They should not set themselves as regulators of the affairs of others, and especially not as regulators of the Lord's affairs. Surely the Lord can be trusted to manage His own cause. And surely we have confidence in His wisdom and ability, as well as in His justice and His love. Let us have more faith in the Lord and look rather for His leadings than for how we can steady the ark, unless, indeed, He has specially so set us in the Body of Christ as to put the responsibilities upon us. "God hath set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him."--`I Cor. 12:18`.
We offer the above suggestions in the warmest of Christian love to some of the dear friends who have chided us for permitting the newspapers to print our likeness and, as they would say, for using worldly means in the propagation of the Gospel message. They write us that they fear that the wide publication of our Sunday discourses by the newspapers, in connection with our removal to Brooklyn, etc., means somehow a lowering of the Divine standards and catering to the world and to the clergy, etc., etc.
Our reply is that they should give themselves no concern in this matter, but leave it in the Lord's hands. He has succeeded in guiding His work and us in the past, and we feel sure will continue successful. A Leaven Purgative or a Faith Tonic would appear to be the proper prescription for this spiritual unrest.
As a matter of fact, dear friends, we are confident that there is no lowering of the Divine standards in our public utterances--oral and printed. We are equally confident that we are very unpopular with the clergy of all denominations and that some of them are our bitter enemies, all of whom seem to do everything in their power to injure us personally and to hinder our service of the Truth. Neither do we think for a moment that our utterances are popular with worldly editors and the publishers. These are mostly irreligious and publish the discourses merely to interest their readers. We do not even think that our discourses are popular with the public. There is, however, a sprinkling of deeply religious people, and others who have a respect for religion, to whom the Bible has heretofore been a dark, mysterious, sealed book. Some of these are becoming interested in the Divine Plan--some slightly, some deeply interested.
It is our thought that the Lord is opening the way at the present time for a very general circulation of a knowledge of the Divine Plan and that it is under the guidance of Divine providence that the sermons are now being printed in more than a hundred newspapers every week and reaching millions of readers. While maintaining the highest standard of Truth in our utterances we esteem it to be the Lord's will that we present the Truth in as attractive manner as we know how, if, by any means, we might win some, as the Apostle suggests. The use of pictures in public prints has greatly increased of late, and publishers insist that they must make every item of their papers attractive. That is their business, not ours. It is ours to see that the Truth is presented as wisely and as widely as possible. If we would have the co-operation of the newspapers in setting the Gospel before the public we must allow them liberty in respect to illustrations, headings, etc., within reasonable bounds.
Our thought was that the sermons could be published under the caption of People's Pulpit of Brooklyn Tabernacle without the name of the author, and several were thus sent out. However, the publishers disapprove this and insist that our personality is a necessary feature to make the discourses attractive to their readers.
Some of the dear friends forget that if it had not been for our use of progressive means in setting forth the Harvest message they might have remained in darkness respecting the good tidings, unless God had worked a miracle in bringing the matter to their attention in some other way. The lesson for us each and all is this, "Do with thy might what thy hand findeth to do," and give thy brother the same liberty also. Be glad and rejoice if, by any honorable means, the grace of God is made more widely known. Nothing is much more hurtful to a Christian than the souring or ferment of his mind. And where it attacks the heart it becomes fatal. It is the start of a root of bitterness. Let us put all such things away and remember the Master's words to the disciples, "He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Be assured, dear brethren and sisters, that our move to Brooklyn and the occupation here of larger quarters adapted to the enlarging work means no change of sentiment on our part. We trust that the Lord will find every worker in the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel as earnest and modest and humble and self-sacrificing as ever--and, if possible, more so. Judge not according to outward appearances merely, and think no evil. Should the Lord's blessing continue with the work for a couple of years as now, the Harvest message will, we doubt not, reach the people of small towns and the country through the newspapers as we never were able to do with the tracts and books.
We are not expecting great things, but, temporarily, a considerable degree of prosperity. It will not surprise us if within two or three years a great change shall be permitted by Divine providence, which, to others than ourselves, would seem like a withdrawal of Divine favor from this work; but to us it will mean that the Harvest work is nearing its completion. Let us join hands in the reaping work while it is called day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work.
Personally to be brought prominently before the public attention is distasteful to us; we would much prefer to proceed with the work quietly, unobserved and unknown, holding up the cross and hiding self behind it.
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Moreover we realize that the more we are brought into prominence the more are our enemies stimulated to slander us and to say all manner of evil against us falsely: for this cause also we would, if possible, hide personality, if the interests of the work permitted it. It seems evident, however, that the Lord's time has come to bring the Harvest message to the attention of the public; and it is this conviction that leads us to submit cheerfully, willingly, to the arrangements which Providence seems to be opening, and into which the force of circumstances seems to be pressing us.
It will be remembered that in the close of our Lord's ministry there seemed to be a turn of the tide in favor of that Harvest message, so far as public opinion was concerned; this led the religious rulers and teachers of the people to the more bitter opposition, which eventuated in our Lord's crucifixion. May it not be that with the close of this Age, Present Truth may obtain a degree of public recognition which will serve to draw against it and its servants the ire and the fire of some who occupy prominent places and great influence in religious matters! We do not know, but we should not be surprised if such would be the result.
We take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the interest and zeal shown by our readers in the supporting of newspapers publishing the weekly sermons, and sending words of encouragement to the editors. Permit us to suggest, however, that where more than one copy of the sermon is desired the subscriptions should be scattered amongst the various papers publishing the sermons, and that they be encouraged in proportion to their circulation. Another suggestion is that you send all subscriptions to the "Watch Tower" Office, as this will be much more advantageous to the cause.
Another item: In the interest of the work we have contracted with a Newspaper Syndicate, giving it a general control of the sermons,--to say which newspapers may have them and which may not, the terms, etc. This Syndicate will handle the sermons for profit, nevertheless at a low price. Be assured that Brother Russell makes no profit by the sale of the Gospel. In view of this we advise that our friends hereafter refrain from any effort to have the sermons published in any newspaper --contenting themselves with the encouragement
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of the papers which are publishing them. The addresses of all the papers publishing these sermons will be sent to us. If your subscriptions be sent to us without specifying which paper you desire we will see that you get the one published nearest to your home, either a daily or weekly, as you may prefer. In most cases we can supply these to you cheaper than you could subscribe for them yourself, because the "Watch Tower" has a clubbing arrangement with many of these.
THE SWEET-BRIER ROSE
Beside my cottage door it grows,
The loveliest, daintiest flower that blows--
A sweet-brier rose.
At dewy morn or twilight's close,
The rarest perfume from it flows,--
This strange, wild rose.
But when the rain-drops on it beat,
Ah, then its odors grow more sweet,
About my feet!
Ofttimes with loving tenderness
Its soft green leaves I gently press
In sweet caress.
A still more wondrous fragrance flows,
The more my fingers firmly close,
And crush the rose!
* * *
Dear Lord, oh, let my life be so,--
Its perfume when the tempests blow,
The sweeter flow!
And should it be Thy blessed will
With crushing grief my soul to fill,
Press harder still.
And while its dying fragrance flows,
I'll whisper low, "He loves and knows
His crushed brier-rose." G. W. S. Jan. 20,'09.
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"YOU HATH HE QUICKENED"
--`JAMES 2:14-26`.--MAY 30.--
Golden Text:--"Faith without works is dead."--`V. 20`.
MANY have supposed doctrinal conflict between St. Paul and St. James, the former holding faith as the important feature of Christianity, the latter insisting that works take precedence. More or less this conflict of thought has come down the ages and is with us to-day. We hold that there was no such conflict between the Apostles, and that the subject, rightly understood to-day, leaves no room for disputation. St. Paul insists that the Law Covenant was a Covenant of works, and that none could be justified under it, because none could do perfect works, and that, therefore, all Jews were under condemnation. He points out that the original Abrahamic Covenant was better and superior to the Law Covenant, because its provisions did not require perfect works, impossible to the fallen man, but instead tested him along another line--the line of his faith. St. Paul did not mean, and did not say, that works were valueless in God's sight; but, realizing that the Jews, trusting in their special Law Covenant, already laid more stress upon works than upon faith, he pressed upon their attention the fact that with Spiritual Israelites of the Isaac class, heirs of the original Sarah Covenant, faith must be regarded as the standard. Under it whoever would attain the proper kind of faith would be acceptable to God. That Covenant does not declare for faith without works, but it does indicate a proper development of faith as necessary--something beyond the initial belief that "God is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him."--`Heb. 11:6`.
Faith is a matter of steps and development; and only the developed faith could possibly bring to us the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant. This would imply works, to the extent that they would be possible, as in attestation of the faith. Nevertheless, none of us can be justified by works, because our best works are imperfect. Our judgment, our test, in its last analysis is, "According to thy faith be it unto thee." (`Matt. 9:29`.) St. James possibly noticed a tendency in some to go to the opposite extreme in the matter of faith, and to ignore works entirely. He does not claim that any could do works that would justify them before God, but merely insists that if the right kind of faith be developed in the heart it will surely bear fruit and make an outward manifestation, according to circumstances. Undoubtedly this is a sound position and one fully in accord with our Lord's words, "By their fruits ye shall know them." --`Matt. 7:16`.
Coming to an orchard filled with fruit, we may quickly discern the various kinds of trees by their fruits. So with the Christian. If he professes faith in Christ we are willing to acknowledge him as a brother, but "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
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his;" hence, we look for evidences of the Lord's Spirit, disposition, character, in all those who profess to be his "members," "brethren." (`Rom. 8:9`.) If we see little of the Lord's Spirit (disposition) we are inclined to next inquire how long the brother has known the Lord and professed consecration to him. We thus sometimes find "babes in Christ," who, for the time they have had a knowledge of him, should be more developed and have a larger measure of his Spirit. We should be on guard against considering such, in any sense of the word, suitable teachers or exemplars.
On the contrary, we may very speedily discern the Spirit of Christ in some--their gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. And if, as sometimes, these qualities be quickly developed in some who have only recently come to a knowledge of the Truth, we may the more rejoice with the fruit-bearer. However young in years, the fruit-bearing quality, the heart development, would indicate such to be possibly one of the "Elder" brethren--even though, because a novice, the Church may not yet consider it due time to advance him formally to an official position as an "Elder."
THE BEGETTING, THEN THE QUICKENING
In other words, the teachings of St. Paul and St. James may be fully harmonized by remembering the words of the former, "You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (`Eph. 2:1`.) After the sinner, dead in trespasses and under condemnation, has, by the grace of God, heard of Christ and has accepted his share of the redemptive work by faith, he is "justified by faith," before he has had any time to bring forth works or fruitage of any kind. Then if, following the Lord's leading and instruction, he presented himself a living sacrifice to the Lord to take up his cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the acceptance of his sacrifice by the Father meant his begettal to a new nature--to the spirit plane as a "New Creature." If the begetting spirit be not lost, if it do not die, a transformation work will progress. By and by a quickening or activity will result from the indwelling of the holy Spirit in the mortal body. If this process continues, ultimately the "New Creature" will be perfected and ready for birth on the spirit plane--by resurrection. Thus our Lord in his resurrection was the First-Born of many brethren, and we, his brethren, will be "born from the dead" in due time, if faithful. But if the spark of life perish, we become castaways and will experience no resurrection birth.
From this standpoint we are ready to discern that the beginning of God's leading with us is along the lines of faith, and that it is to our faith that the promises of God appeal, and that by these "exceeding great and precious promises," touching our faith, energizing our faith, God works in us, first to will, and later to do, his good pleasure. To will to do right is of primary importance and is wholly of faith. The doing, which results from this faith, is God's operation through it and corresponds to the "quickening" of the natural birth. The period of the quickening may come sooner or later, but the strength, the vigor, of the unborn infant is usually estimated by the degree of quickening manifested. And so it is with the Christian. When his faith shall have developed sufficiently, the degree of his activity in obedience to God in the service of the Truth and righteousness and the brethren will indicate the strength or the weakness of his spiritual development.
Self-examination along this line is very proper. If we have heard, seen, tasted, of the grace of God and enjoyed it, and if no desire to serve our gracious Father or to assist others to the same blessings that we enjoy has been manifested, it implies that our spiritual vitality is very weak and in danger of perishing. But if, on the contrary, we find ourselves burning with fervency
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of love for the Lord, and with appreciation of his great Plan of Salvation, and are consumed with a desire to tell the good tidings to others for their blessing, strengthening, upbuilding and participation in the Divine faith, it should encourage us. We should notice, too, that Jesus specially loved and favored the more zealous, vigorous and energetic of the apostles, Peter, James, John, and, we may be sure, Paul also.
BE YE WARMED AND FILLED
St. James presses his point and endeavors to awaken some who have a measure of faith, but who have not gone on to the quickening degree. He asks what profit there would be for us to say that we have faith if we do not have works to correspond--to attest the faith, however imperfect the works would be. He asks (R. V.), "Can that faith save him?" We answer, No. As St. Paul declares, It is the faith that works by love that counts. But it is the faith that counts, and not the works; because the faith can be perfect, complete; but perfection of works is impossible to us, because we have this treasure of the New Nature in an earthen vessel.
Illustrating this point he suggests that to tell a poor brother of our faith that God will help him and to send him away without relief, when it is within our power to relieve him, would not be such a faith as God would approve. It would rather signify that we had deceived our own selves. It would profit us nothing. So faith that has no works, of any kind or degree, cannot be called a living faith, because, as yet, it has given no evidence of life--it has shown no quickening.
St. James clearly attests his thought, saying, "A man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." Again he points to the special feature of the Jewish faith in one God in contrast with the beliefs of the heathen in many gods. He says to the Jewish brethren, "You boast in having knowledge of the one living and true God, but surely this is not the extent of your faith in this direction; because the devils believe and tremble. Oh, foolish man, faith without works is barren. It can never bring you life, birth." A faith that will not develop obedience, in harmony with ability, is, therefore, unavailing during this Gospel Age, even as imperfect works failed to justify to life under the Law Covenant.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF FAITH AND WORKS
Note the case of Abraham, the "father of the faithful." It is written that he believed God, and that his faith was counted to him for righteousness. But how much faith is required and to what extent is it involved in works? St. James points out that God placed a crucial test upon Abraham's faith, which would have proven it inefficient, if it had not developed to the quickened stage of works of obedience. It was years after the promise had been made, and Isaac, the seed of promise, was grown to young manhood, when God commanded that he should be sacrificed upon the altar--thus prefiguring how The Christ, the true Seed of Abraham (`Gal. 3:29`), must all have the testing of faith to the point of obedience, even unto death --sacrificial death.
Then, fearful that he had given an example of so lofty a faith and obedience as would discourage us, St. James picks out and holds up before us another illustration of faith and works--that of Rahab the harlot. She had faith in God, but it would not have availed her if it had not developed to the degree of activity and helpful service, risking her own interests temporarily for the assistance of the spies. Manifestly she would never have had such works without faith--and it is the faith that is specially pleasing to the Lord. But the faith would not have been pleasing to the Lord, had it not led up to works in accord. Thus we see how works have to do with our justification, in conjunction with our faith, which is the foundation of our works.
THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT
St. James summarizes this thought, saying, "As the body without the spirit of life is dead, even so faith without works is dead." Some might think that the writer of these words had erred in likening the body to faith and the spirit of life to works, supposing that the illustration
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should be reversed, namely, to compare the body to works and the spirit of life to faith. But St. James has expressed the matter properly. A body must be had before any spirit of life could come into it. So a faith must exist before it can be quickened into activity. But the quickening is absolutely necessary ere we could have our birth of the spirit in the First Resurrection.
Notwithstanding all that we have written on this subject, especially in Studies, Vol. VI., some of the dear friends occasionally write us in perplexity, desirous of knowing what course they should pursue, in respect to brethren (and sometimes prominent brethren) whose works do not correspond with their professions of faith. For instance, a letter recently received noted the fact that one prominent in the Truth at whose residence the meetings were usually held, has a weakness for intoxicating liquors. They feared that if the meetings were removed from his home he would not attend them elsewhere. They desired to know the Lord's will respecting their course of action.
We were glad to note their love for the brother and also their solicitation for the Truth, lest his weakness might bring the cause of Christ to a measure of dishonor. We advised that the erring one be still treated as a brother, for his weakness may be of heredity and much against his own will; but we also advised that one thus weak should not in any sense of the word be set forth to the world as a prominent representative of the Truth; that so doing would dishonor the Truth and also be injurious to the brother, who might come to feel that his weakness was conceded by the brethren to be justifiable, and thus encouraged he might fail to put forth the necessary energy--fail to allow his faith to work in him, to rule him, to control his mortal flesh, as the Scriptures require.
With full sympathy and brotherly love it is our belief that the brother is not being helped by the course pursued; that it would be better for him if the dear friends would give him loving reproofs and remove the meeting from his home. If he has any of the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of meekness and love of the brethren, such a course would be a most helpful reproof, setting before him, and before all, the high standards of Christian deportment. Is it claimed that this might lead him to antagonize the Truth? We answer that the Scriptures forewarn us that our Gospel is a "savor of life unto life, and of death unto death." (`2 Cor. 2:16`.) Our whole responsibility is in doing the Lord's will in the kindest, most gentle, most loving manner possible, yet with that force and positiveness which will impress a lesson upon those who are amenable to our influence and the influence of the Lord through us.
We have just received a letter from a dear Sister who has been connected with and deeply interested in the Truth for years. She writes us that she is only now awakening to a realization of the wonderful privileges that are hers in connection with the Harvest work, and of "showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." This dear Sister is only now becoming thoroughly quickened, energized with the Truth. The good features to result may be expected, not only in the bringing of others into a knowledge of the Truth, but also a bringing of her own heart into full harmony with the Lord and to greater character likeness to him, in the manifestation of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. This quickening came in conjunction with the endeavors of the Sister to live up to all the various features of The Vow. We hope to hear from others similarly blessed and energized to good works for the Lord, the brethren and the Truth.
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"NOT THE SPIRIT OF TIMIDITY"
"For God hath not given us a spirit of timidity; but of courage, of love and of a sound mind."--`2 Tim. 1:7`.
THERE is one kind of fearlessness which is begotten of self-esteem, lack of humility. This is not the kind enjoined upon the Lord's people. They are to be both tender-hearted and humble-minded. The spirit of courage possessed by the saints is based largely upon their faith in the Lord. Realizing the divine love and providential care, these can apply to themselves the gracious assurance that "The Father himself loveth you" and that "All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called ones according to his purpose." It is this realization of divine all-wisdom and all-power that gives the strength of heart referred to in our text. It will be readily seen, then, that this courage is based upon faith, though of course the faith must have a foundation of knowledge. The proper relationship of our growth is primarily knowledge: faith, courage, activity, and all of these continue to grow, and in their maturity make us wise, faithful, courageous overcomers in respect to the spiritual matters to which we have been called.
Sometimes we realize our deficiencies and are not able to locate the cause. Some one says, I want to be an overcomer, to gain the victory over the spirit of the world, over the tendencies of my own fallen flesh and over the wiles of the Adversary, but somehow I cannot; I fail. Such should learn to look for the source of failure, the deficient element, and should fortify himself in respect to the same. Let him ask first, Is my failure to overcome due to a lack of courage? Am I fearful, and hence unable, to fight the good fight of faith and, by the Lord's assistance, to gain the victory? If he has the courage he may find that he has not been sufficiently trusting the Lord, but leaning too much on his own
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strength. Such should remember the Apostle's words, "When I am weak, then am I strong"; reversely, "when I am strong in self-assurance, I am then weak," because the Lord wishes me to rely not upon myself, but upon him, his strength, his grace. If the courage be found deficient the reason evidently is that the faith is lacking, and if so, there is a reason for it: either a lack of knowledge on which to build faith, or a lack of exercise and development of faith. The knowledge is to be sought from the right quarter, in harmony with the Lord and his Word, and the faith is to be exercised, continually recognizing the Lord's interest in us as his children, as testified to by his Word and by noticing the leadings of divine providence in our daily affairs.
LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR
There is a proper fear or reverence and disinclination to offend our heavenly Father and our Redeemer, which we wish never to lose. Perfect love will not cast out this fear, but rather intensify it. The fear which love casts out is timidity, a servile fear or dread of the Lord or of Satan, or the fallen angels, or of men and what they might do unto us. Perfect love cannot be attained without knowledge, faith, courage and overcoming. It is the result of the exercise of all this divine arrangement that brings us nearer to God and makes us truly thankful and appreciative of his gracious purposes and omnipotent power for their accomplishment.
The spirit of courage needs special cultivation by the Lord's people. And this cultivation means growth in all the graces. For instance, if calamity befall us or threaten us we should immediately think of the fact that our Lord assures us that an insignificant sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Father's notice and that we are of much more value than many sparrows. This thought at once strengthens the heart, nerves the arm, quickens the pulse of endeavor, provided we can realize that God is for us, that no earthborn cloud intervenes between our souls and the love for us which he has declared. If a cloud does obscure the Father's love we must the more earnestly, the more persistently get from behind it by getting our hearts right with the Lord, by going to him in prayer, by confessing our trespasses and by requesting mercy and grace to help and to restore us to his favor.
"Be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart," is one of the blessings assured us in his Word. In the divine order courage is necessary in order to strength and
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victory. Some one has said, "One with God is the majority." With the courage to grasp this thought and to hold it things almost superhuman seem possible to the Lord's people, while without this courage they may naturally be weak and easily vanquished.
COURAGE IN THE EVIL DAY
Never before, perhaps, was courage so needed as it will be needed in the evil day just before us; but the Prophets' descriptions of the great trouble time before us are very figurative when they speak of fire and clouds and pillars of smoke, saying of this time, "I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke," etc. But the consecrated children of God need have no timidity in respect to these matters if they have the proper courage, developed by proper exercise and built upon proper faith, founded upon the knowledge of divine revelation. His attitude of heart will be, "I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Whether, therefore, storms financial, political, religious or demoniacal, come his way, the child of God may rest secure and be of good courage. The Lord is both able and willing to care for his interests and bring him off victor. Should the fallen angels be permitted to again materialize and personate either the dead or the living, this class need have no fear. Their perfect love for the Lord, based upon a knowledge and appreciation of his Truth, will lead them to triumph courageously over all the wiles of the Adversary and his hordes.
THE ELECT TO BE UNDECEIVABLE
The Scriptures abound with testimonies to the effect that the severe trials of the near future will be along the lines of deception. They speak of lying angels and deceivableness of unrighteousness and "lying wonders" and tell us that the Lord will send or permit a strong delusion that they may believe a lie. If we gain the right conception of the matter these deceptions are to affect the whole world, including its wise men, and indeed practically everybody except the "very elect"; and the "very elect" will be preserved, not through their own wisdom or superiority, but through the power of God, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."--`Matt. 24:24`.
Our Lord in the parable of the wheat and tares tells of the harvest work and how in the present time he would gather "together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (`Matt. 24:24`.) It is by thus gathering them that they will be protected in the time of strife and trouble when others will be deceived. But they are not to be gathered physically into one place, but spiritually; their minds, their hearts, their affections are to be gathered together, centered. Our text tells us that our Lord is this great Center to which his Elect must all be gathered if they would have rest or peace, if they would overcome the world, the flesh and the peculiar snares of the Adversary, which will now be laid for the feet of all and will more or less entrap all except the Elect class.
"GATHER MY SAINTS UNTO ME"
Figuratively all of these "very elect" ones are gathered, and the place is thus described, "I will say to the Lord, he is my refuge; in him will I trust"; and again, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (`Psa. 91:1`.) Ah! no wonder that we also read, "No harm shall come nigh them." How could harm come to any who are thus close to the Lord? A thousand shall fall at thy side; ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee; because thou hast made the Lord thy refuge; thou hast made the Most High thy habitation."--`Psa. 91:7`.
This nearness to God, into which his "very elect" will be gathered, will be the source of their protection. And the dangers to others will be in proportion to their distance to this great citadel of strength, this fortress, this refuge or tower.
"Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We're trav'ling through Immanuel's ground,
To fairer prospects nigh."
"ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME"
These were our Lord's words after his resurrection. They were true then. They have been true throughout this age and they are still more completely true today, because we are now living in the time of which it is written, "He shall take unto himself his great power and reign." His reign has in some senses of the word already begun. He has already marshaled forces which will complete the overthrow of everything opposed to his Kingdom and its righteous laws. And we may be sure that the members of his Body still in the flesh this side of the veil are no less subjects of his providential care than is the world and its affairs. We may be sure that nothing is transpiring, either in the nominal Church or amongst the kingdoms of the world; amongst socialistic or political parties or in the financial world contrary to what will best serve our Lord's purposes in connection with the events just before us and the outworking of the same in fullest accord with the prophecies.
Oh, that we could get this thought rightly settled in our minds! Yea, as the Scriptures say, "Settle it in your hearts" --that our Lord is at the helm superintending all of earth's affairs at the present time in a much more practical sense than ever in the past. And have we not seen his graciousness towards the Church in the thirty-four years of the harvest period that are already past? And can we doubt his continued supervision of the affairs of his betrothed to the grand consummation? "He who hath begun the good work in us is able to complete it," and he who has thus far conducted the Harvest work is able still to direct it, order, bless it and use it to his own praise and to the blessing of his people.
"Who led thee first will lead thee still;
Be calm and sink into his will."
Let us not be timid either as respects the affairs of the harvest work in general, or as respects our own personal relationship to it and to the Lord. Let us learn more and more to be on the lookout for the leadings of his providence and utilizing knowledge which he has given us from his Word. Let us not be surprised concerning the fiery trials which may try us and the stormy billows which may at times seem about to overwhelm us, "For greater is he that is on our part than all that are against us"--however numerous, however strong, and whether demons or men. Let us remember that we are called to be overcomers and that the victory that overcometh the world is our faith.
"Resist the devil and he will flee from you" is the Lord's testimony. This implies an assault by the Adversary. It implies that he should be resisted and can be resisted and that in the end he will flee from us, not because of arrogance or power on our part, but, as our Master said, "He hath nothing in me"; so if he finds it useless to continue his assaults he will probably flee also from us to other fields of service. We remind all of our readers that whoever comes under the influence of Spiritism, Christian Science, Hypnotism or any other form of Occultism is thereby endangering himself, not only for the moment, but also for the future, because the evil spirits operating through these various channels seek, some in one way and some in another, to delude, bewilder, confuse the reason and bring into subjection the minds of those
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with whom they have to do. Hence, any of the Lord's people who have had affiliation at any time with any of these are specially warned of liability to intrusion by these spirits. We remind all that the special channel through which they have had special success is human curiosity. We urge all of the Lord's people to restrain their curiosity and rely on the Lord's Word and have no dealings whatever with any of these occult systems.
One dear sister told us recently that before coming into the Truth she had dabbled with Christian Science and Spiritism and had been entrapped with mediumship. She was a writing medium and could distinctly feel something take hold of her hand and guide her pencil while she wrote on topics of which she had no personal knowledge. After coming into the Truth, and realizing the source of this power, she resolutely repelled it in every way, asking the Lord by prayer for assistance. She gained strength to resist this influence, but has again been annoyed by the spirits taking her hand and endeavoring in various ways to arouse her curiosity so that
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she would yield her hand to them to learn their message for her. She remarked that she has now a fear and a dread of the evil spirits and a strong desire to be free. She finds herself freer from their influence when in the company of other people. We advised her against fear and against refusing to remain in a room by herself. By so doing she would be cultivating fear and subserviency and bringing herself into a condition of mind much more amenable to their intrusions. We advised her, and now advise all similarly affected, to resolutely set their wills in opposition, to refuse all communication, to ask no questions, receive no answers in any manner, but in the name of the Lord to command the evil spirit to depart, meantime going to the Lord in prayer "for deliverance and grace to help in every time of need."
In conclusion, then, dear friends, be of good courage, of strong faith, of heroic determination, and see that your faith is not in yourself, nor in your vows, nor in your very best endeavors, but in the Lord. Trust in the Lord and the practise of your faith to control your thoughts and words and deeds and to bring you closer to our Father and Redeemer. We live in a time when worldly wisdom is taking hold of this need of courage and is advising people that it should be based upon self-confidence, self-assurance, self-esteem. This is the world's counterfeit, the Adversary's counterfeit of the true courage which the Word of God inculcates and through which we may not only rejoice in all of the present experiences of life, but ultimately "come off conquerors; yea, more than conquerors through him that loved us."
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THE TONGUE A POWER FOR GOOD OR EVIL
--`JAMES 3:1-12`.--JUNE 6.--
Golden Text:--"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles."--`Prov. 21:23`.
OUR lesson is generally acknowledged to be one of the most profound dissertations known in the world on the power of speech. St. James was evidently a very practical man. His remarks respecting the value of words as attestations of faith, noted in our last lesson, show this. To-day's lesson takes up the practical thought and applies it to the tongue in general, and especially to the power of speech in those recognized as Elders or Teachers in the Church. Thus our lesson opens with the exhortation, "Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we (who are teachers) shall receive the heavier judgment," because in many things we all stumble. The thought is that whoever attempts to be a teacher, a "rabbi," takes a position which exposes him to more criticism than falls upon the ordinary member of the Ecclesia. And if he errs, he will be subjected to much more severe criticism and rebuke than if he made the same error in his own private judgment. More than this, from the Lord's standpoint, he assumes a great responsibility in becoming an ambassador of the Gospel and mouthpiece of the Lord. If faithfulness and care would bring him a great blessing and reward, unfaithfulness or carelessness would bring correspondingly heavy condemnation.
These words of the Apostle, in conjunction with our Lord's suggestion that if bidden to a feast we take not a high seat, but a low one, and that we seek not the title "rabbi," but be humble, as "little children"--these suggestions from so high authority in the Church, combined with St. Paul's exhortation, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time," should properly cause us to fear the responsibility of a teacher's position in the Church. If seemingly in the Lord's Providence we occupy such a position it should be held very humbly and with great fearfulness and continual watching and praying lest we enter into temptation and ensnare ourselves and others in error.
"PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL"
Of course, there is a reason for this danger. It lies in ambition, which sometimes takes the direction of pride and sometimes the love of praise. The first of these, pride, is always reprehensible, never excusable, for surely no member of our race has any reasonable, just ground for pride, even though in comparison with the remainder of the race he might be forced to the conclusion that he was less fallen than many. The second danger to ambition, namely, love of approbation of others, is proper enough if rightly directed--Godward-- but dangerous in proportion as it seeks human approbation, because those about us, likewise imperfect, might often approve and applaud things which our Lord would disapprove and reprobate. Hence, the only ambition allowable would be the desire to please God and to have his approval and ultimately his "Well done."
Of course, this would incidentally mean a desire and expectation of having the approval of such of the Lord's brethren as have the Spirit of the Lord--"The mind of Christ." It might properly also include an appreciation of the love and esteem of all men. But these must not become any part of our ambition, nor must we expect that mankind in general would be so impulsed by righteousness and Truth and the spirit of these that they would approve and applaud the things most pleasing to the Lord. On the contrary, we must remember that if any man love the world and its approval and applause, the love of the Father is not in him. If he gets the approval of the world in general he should remember the Lord's words, "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you." It should be a sign to him that in an important sense and degree he was out of harmony with the Lord and his message--otherwise the world would hate him, as it did Christ, and cry out, "Crucify him."
"ONE IS YOUR TEACHER, EVEN CHRIST"
St. James is not warning us against service, nor seeking to hinder us from all good works one for the other, as members of the Body of Christ. His caution is against our attempting to be (school) masters or teachers. There is but the one Teacher or Schoolmaster for the entire Church of Christ for all this age. He is the "Head of the Church, which is his Body"--the Director, Supervisor, Caretaker, Instructor of the "members."
True, the Apostle does intimate that the Lord "Hath set the various members in the Body as it hath pleased Him." He intimates that the qualities of eye and ear and tongue are head qualities in comparison with the hand, the foot, etc., which are body qualities. Our absent Lord or Head promised to be with every little gathering of his people. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age," and thus with them he is pleased to exercise in some manner and through some agency the Chairmanship of such a meeting and to be the Teacher. But he will not force his Headship upon us. He waits to serve, to instruct, to guide so many as are in the right attitude of heart, desirous of knowing his will and doing it. Having instructed his people respecting his will, he expects them to follow his instructions, if they would have the blessing he is pleased to confer. If, therefore, when assembled in his name they follow the directions of his Word, hearken to his voice in the Scriptures and watch for the leadings of
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his Spirit, and approve it in each other where found, his blessing will be proportionate.
Thus a responsibility is upon each little group to approve as its leader none but the consecrated. No goat must be chosen as a leader of the sheep, nor any sheep whose outward conduct does not give evidence of his sincerity of heart and desire to walk in the footsteps of the Master. Pride, and self-seeking ambition to be a lord over the flock, should not be tolerated, because they would be injurious, not only to the Ecclesia of believers, but also to the heady ones seeking to lead them. Nevertheless, where need to be restrained from taking the highest seats in the spiritual feast presents itself, the restraint should be exercised in a kindly, loving manner, with the remembrance that some have greater trials and temptations along these lines than have others, and, as the Apostle says, "Remembering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
St. James declares, "In many things we all stumble." He does not mean that we all fall into sin or grievous error, but he does mean that, so long as we are in the flesh and the Spirit of the Lord and his message are delivered through our imperfect powers, no one is infallible. Hence, those who do not aspire to leadership in the meetings of the "saints" should not be hypercritical
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of the brethren who seem to manifest humility of heart, and who endeavor to serve them, breaking to them the bread of life. They should be appreciated and loved for their work's sake, even if their every utterance cannot be accepted unqualifiedly. These sentiments attach not only to the oral teacher, but also to the printed page, by which another may be represented in the meeting.
"THE SAME IS A PERFECT MAN"
We are not to understand the Apostle to mean that any man is actually perfect, nor to mean that ability to bridle the tongue would indicate that perfection had been reached in every other channel of his life. His thought manifestly is that the tongue is the most difficult member of the human body to control and that whoever could succeed in gaining such a control of that member as would preclude his ever stumbling in speech would prove his ability to control every avenue of his nature. Of course, in this respect, as in every respect, there is no man perfect. "There is none righteous (perfect), no, not one." The only perfect one since Adam's fall was he who came down from above, and who is above or superior to all, because in him was no sin, no hereditary taint, no blemish.
"Able also to bridle the whole body," gives us the thought of the restraint necessary to us in all of the affairs of life. "Let your moderation be known unto all men"--your self-restraint, the bridling of your entire body. The work of grace which the Lord proposes and admonishes is very thorough and leaves little time to be "killed" in foolish talking or jesting or games or frivolities or novel-reading. Some of the Lord's dear people have not gotten far enough developed to appreciate this --have not reached the quickened stage of activity in the service of righteousness and in the warfare against sin and selfishness in their own flesh.
BRIDLING HORSES AN ILLUSTRATION
St. James, to illustrate the power of the mind, the will, in the control of the body, and especially in control of the tongue, illustrates the matter by the bridling of a horse. The fiery steed, much stronger than a man, can be "broken" or tamed, bridled and made to do the will of the driver. But not so the tongue. It is most unruly. The new will takes hold with determination that the tongue shall go in the proper direction only, speaking forth words of justice and love, yet ere long the tongue runs away, breaks its bonds. Here we have a runaway accident with damage to some--perhaps to many. Similarly with ships; a rudder is so placed as to turn the ship about in the face of the most severe gales --not only little ships, but great ships are thus turned about by very small helms, which answer perfectly to the steering apparatus of the helmsman. But the tongue, which should be tractable to the guidance of the New Creature and its most useful servant, is, on the contrary, perverse, uncontrollable. The tongue, therefore, one of the least of our members, is one of the most important of them. It can accomplish great things, either for good or for evil, just as the little fire of a match might be so used as to set on fire a forest.
"THE TONGUE IS A FIRE,
A world of iniquity among our members. It defileth the whole body and setteth on fire the course (wheel) of nature; and it is set on fire of Gehenna." (`Jas. 3:6`.) Here we have a series of word pictures. The tongue is a world of iniquity in the sense that every iniquity in the world can be introduced descriptively by the tongue. Of course, the organ itself is never meant, but speech, which the tongue represents. By the tongue, by our speech, oral or written, every form of evil may find its highest power. The tongue can paint pictures more quickly and more vividly than any painter's brush. Since the world about us is full of iniquity expressed in a thousand forms it is within the range of the powers of the tongue to picture these and, by the printing press, to distribute them to thousands of millions. It is indeed a whole world of iniquity, if improperly used. Alas! that even amongst Christians this is frequently the case. Careless words, insinuations, hints, are dropped into the minds of neighbors or friends and, because these are already predisposed to evil-thinking, evil-surmising, etc., these words are like lighted matches dropped in a hayloft--apt to start a conflagration which may do incalculable injury to the neighbor and from him the sparks may fly far and near, working moral and spiritual havoc.
The course of nature, more literally the wheel of life, or the human course from the cradle to the tomb, may easily be set on fire at any time. There are thousands of opportunities. The tongue is the match. Possibly St. James had specially in mind the course of the New Creature and its dangers. What if it should be set on fire and the entire spiritual prospect blighted, destroyed! That this is his thought seems to be implied by the words, "And it is set on fire of Gehenna." The world in general have evil tongues, reprobate minds; but being unregenerate the world's children are not in danger of Gehenna, the Second Death. But the Church, having received the grace of God in Christ, having been "begotten again," has staked its all upon the attainment of the spiritual blessing which the Lord has promised to the faithful. In the Church, therefore, the power of the tongue is much more potent than elsewhere. It may set on fire the course of the New Nature for some--a fire which may burn into the Second Death, and a fire which may not be confined to the one in whose heart it is ignited, but which may spread to others with similar effect, blighting the sweetness, the happiness, the Christ-likeness in the present life and destroying all future prospects. No wonder that our dear Redeemer admonished us to
"TAKE HEED WHAT YE HEAR!"
While each should be on guard against communications
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and sparks that would be injurious, each one should also be on guard against allowing sparks to fall upon himself and to ignite in his heart. The fire-quenching apparatus, the water of Truth, should be continually at hand also, so that any spark alighting, its baneful influence may be quenched before irreparable injury be accomplished. "Keep your heart," then, would seem to imply the thought that we not only are not to give forth evil as injurious sparks to others, but that we are to watch, guard our hearts, that no evil either originate there or be received into them. Let us remember the adage that we cannot help the flying of crows over our heads, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair. We cannot rid the world, nor even the Church, of evil-minded people, but we can avoid fellowshiping such, as the Apostle directed, saying, "Mark them which cause divisions amongst you and avoid them" (`Rom. 16:17`)--as you would avoid a pestilence or a vile odor or the sparks from a neighbor's burning barn.
WILD BEASTS AND BIRDS AND SERPENTS
St. James had evidently learned well and deeply his lesson respecting the ferocity of the human tongue. He compares it, roughly speaking, with beasts, reptiles, fish and fowl. He declares that any of these may be considered as tameable. Man's superiority and power to conquer these has been demonstrated. But power to conquer the tongue and to make it tame and obedient and thoroughly reliable has never yet been demonstrated. "The tongue can no man tame." It is an unruly (restless, ceaseless) evil. And no serpent bite contains so dangerous, so violent poison. The serpent's bite may cause pain and physical death, but the tongue can do more, in that it can produce moral ravage, which will bite, devour and cause madness to others, and its influence extends to death eternal.
If we could but get a proper conception of the mighty potentialities of the tongue, it would make us almost afraid to speak a word, lest we should speak amiss. Such a fear would be very helpful to us, as gradually, then, a desire to speak the words of justice and love and soberness, the good tidings, should burst the restraint and find utterance, while the dread of the evil would still guard every expression. The result would be greater Godlikeness.
THE TONGUE WHICH PRAISES GOD, CURSES MEN
Here again we see that St. James is not speaking of the tongue from the worldly standpoint, but as a member of the Church of Christ to fellow-members. We all use our tongues in praising God, in confessing his grace and mercy and love, and in speaking forth his praises. This is proper. How can we do otherwise? But, alas, that it should be true that the same tongue which thus praises the Creator so often proves a curse, an injury, a world of iniquity to fellow-man! And especially to the fellow-members of the "household of faith!"--setting on fire the course of nature by slanders, evil-speaking and evil-surmising, hints, insinuations, etc. Oh, Lord, who is sufficient for these things! Truly, as St. Paul declares, "Our words are either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death."
"SWEET AND BITTER, BLESSING AND CURSING"
"My brethren, these things ought not so to be." We must see to it that we learn this great lesson in the School of Christ, that out of the mouth which praises God there shall not come forth that which would be injurious to the brethren--or anyone. Look at nature! Did anyone ever know of a fountain sending forth at the same opening sweet water and bitter? No! As the same fountain could not yield salt water and fresh, so we cannot be copies of God's dear Son, nor fit for the Kingdom, so long as we have such a disposition. We must be conquerors. We must be overcomers. And the battle of each of us is within himself. We may indeed do all in our power for others and for the general cause, yet our victory and our title to the Lord's words, "Good and faithful servant," "More than conquerors," will not be for us except as our hearts are allowed to dominate our tongues and gain such a victory over impurity and lovelessness as will not tolerate them in any sense or degree.
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SAMPLES OF INTERESTING LETTERS
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
On Sunday evening 316 of us partook of the Memorial Supper in Glasgow; 305 in the Berkeley Hall, and 11 in their homes. We all felt it a solemn occasion, realizing, as we did, that we were memorializing our dear Lord's death and our own participation in that death; but at the same time we rejoiced in the knowledge that Jesus triumphed over death and is now present superintending the harvest work, and that we shall all so soon be with him and see him as he is.
On two former occasions the Memorial Supper was celebrated in Glasgow on Sunday evening. The first of these was in 1899 when 16 met together; the other was in 1905 when the number had increased to 142. Truly the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.
In a recent letter to you, dear Brother, I told you that I was considering and praying over the Vow. I am glad to tell you that our loving heavenly Father has opened the eyes of my understanding, and I have made the Vow my own. The difficulty which I had was the thought that a Vow was a solemn undertaking before God which must never be broken for any reason whatever. An address by one of our elders (Brother Johnstone), put the matter in what was to me a new light. This was that the Vow, like our Consecration Vow, is to be made by us on the basis of our justification by faith. God does not expect perfection in the flesh; what he does expect is an earnest desire and a sincere endeavor to fulfil the terms of the Vow. With this thought in mind, I saw that the Vow was simply a decision by the new mind to carry out certain details implied, though not stated, in our Vow of Consecration, and if, owing to the weakness of our flesh, we fail at any time, the blood of Christ will cleanse us from this as from any other sin which is not a wilful transgression. The TOWER of March 1st, received a fortnight ago, on the day following Brother Johnstone's address, corroborated this thought. In it you stated that it was not the flesh, the "old man," but the New Creature, who takes the Vow.
We are looking forward with glad anticipation to your proposed visit among us, and we are rejoicing also in the prospect of meeting and hearing our dear Brother and Sister Bundy.
Praying the Lord's blessing on yourself and all others in "Bethel Home," and on the harvest work in general, I am, with a humble request for your prayers on my behalf,
Yours in the Master's service, JOHN EDGAR.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have for some time thought that I would write and tell you something of my appreciation of the books and the WATCH TOWERS during the two months that I was unable for the Pilgrim service. I have especially enjoyed the clear, concise statements in the TOWER in regard to the Vow and the Covenants. I have never had any special trouble over either. The only respect in which I have differed from the presentation of the matter in the TOWER was that I did not favor the publication in the TOWER of the names of those who took the Vow, but while I did not endorse that feature of the matter, I did not deem it of such vital importance as to protest against
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it. While I have greatly rejoiced in the privilege of reviewing the books, and with more than usual care scanning the contents of each issue of the TOWER, I have found much to confirm my faith, comfort my heart and stimulate to greater activity in the race for the glorious "prize of the high calling."
In my examination of the articles, both on the Vow and on the Covenants, I have seen no Scriptural ground for disagreement with the Editor. I presume that it is because of this fact that I have felt more keenly the pain, as I have learned that some who formerly walked with us, and with whom we have taken counsel, and had sweet fellowship, have turned and walk no more with us.
I trust that these dear brethren may search their hearts very diligently, that they may see whether their differences are really based upon a genuine difference of opinion as to doctrine or whether there may not be back of it some root of bitterness growing out of some real or imaginary wrong received in regard to personal rights, from a social or business point of view, or some lack of recognition or appreciation of personal worth or ability as servants of the Truth. I know from experience, as well as observation, and the teaching of God's Word, that the Adversary loses no opportunity of bringing dissension among the Lord's Anointed, and this planting of "roots of bitterness," I have noticed, is one of his favorite methods of operation.
My joy knew no bounds when I saw through the light of Present Truth the possibilities placed in reach of every truly consecrated child of God, of becoming joint-heirs with Christ in the glory of his Kingdom for the blessing of all the families of the earth. But I soon saw another possibility--that of losing all for a single mess of pottage. I had a well-developed bump of self-esteem, and this assured me that I had certain personal rights and dignity that should be maintained, and that my personal worth as a public minister with many years of experience should be recognized. Oh, how glad I am that in the very beginning of my experience in this, the greatest undertaking of my life, the dear heavenly Father gave me to see not only the vanity of these things, but also the danger of losing the heavenly hopes and prospects by trying to conserve the earthly, and that I was early enabled to see that the Father himself is not only abundantly able, but that he has promised to care for every item of interest for his children!
So far as personal rights of a business, social or other interest were concerned, I determined that they should have no part in determining the matter of fellowship with the brethren; and I have found this very helpful, for while comparing notes with Brother Russell, the Pilgrim brethren and the brethren in general, I have found but little to differ from them in doctrine, while along other lines I often find differences quite radical, and why not, since in our general make-up, education, etc., we are so different. So, then, I am not surprised when I find Brother Russell, the Pilgrim brethren and others doing and saying things that I would not think of doing or saying. This may cause me to stop and reflect for a moment, and I soon see that I am not looking at the matter from their viewpoint, or I would probably agree with them. So instead of wasting time and strength in contention over any of these differences of minor importance, or, perhaps, brooding over them until I conclude that the matter is so serious that I must break fellowship, I find it much better to drop all such claims and the more energetically prosecute the harvest work, which must soon be closed.
May the Lord enable us all to keep humble hearts and level heads in these testing times! JOHN HARRISON.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Peace be unto you and that multiplied.
If it will not take too much of your time I want to tell you just a little how the dear Lord has blessed me lately, recalling the time when I first gave myself fully to the Lord in consecration; I remember how that for love of him and his brethren there was no sacrifice that seemed too hard for me to make. I loved him and his people, his Word and his will, with a burning and consuming love, but after the lapse of several years, I noticed a cooling off of my love to some extent. I prayed over the matter and was satisfied, but had not the fervent, pure-hearted love as at the beginning. So I went to work for the Lord, at anything that I could do. I pursued it with vigor, and was blessed in it, but nothing brought such blessing and peace as I had enjoyed at first, until I made up my mind to take the Vow. Had I known it would bring such joy, such peace, I would never have hesitated as long as I did, and very much regret that I did not take it at once. If I had a thousand tongues I could not tell how much I have been blessed since registering that solemn, holy Vow unto my Lord. I remember you and all that are his continually.
Your brother, waiting for the deliverance,
R. S. LUTTRELL.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR MAY
After singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "the Vow" to the Lord, then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text for the date is read and questions and comments considered. Finally, just before leaving the table, the MANNA comment is read. Desiring that all share the blessings, we commend the plan to others. The hymns for May are indicated below to permit all who so desire to join with us:
(1) 166; (2) 279; (3) 208; (4) 261; (5) 221; (6) 229; (7) 165; (8) 283; (9) 3; (10) 246; (11) 113; (12) 264; (13) 238; (14) 123; (15) 95; (16) 177; (17) 82; (18) 191; (19) 121; (20) 274; (21) 19; (22) 327; (23) 194; (24) 152; (25) 291; (26) 28; (27) 52; (28) 9; (29) 317; (30) 313; (31) 4.
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MY SOLEMN VOW TO GOD
OUR Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. May thy rule come into my heart more and more, and thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.
Daily will I remember at the throne of heavenly grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear co-laborers at the Brooklyn Bethel, and everywhere.
I Vow to still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve thee, and thy dear flock.
I Vow to thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that, remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary.
I further Vow that, with the exceptions below, I will at all times and at all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public--in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people, and so far as reasonably possible I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open:--In the case of a brother--wife, children, mother and sisters excepted. In the case of a sister--husband, children, father and brothers excepted.
1909--VOW MOTTO AND CALENDAR--1909
1909 Vow Mottoes now in stock. Order while they last, 15 cents each, two for 25 cents, postpaid.
CHEAP POCKET HYMNALS ARE DELAYED
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT
ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, N.Y.
ONE-DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS ADDRESSED BY THE
EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL AS FOLLOWS:
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 25, MAY 2 and JUNE 13
Discourse by Brother Russell at 3:00 p.m. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30 o'clock; this will be a Question Meeting. Visiting friends cordially invited.
All meetings will be held in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Nos. 13-17 Hicks street. Convenient to all cars and ferries--close to the old bridge terminus.
NEW BRITAIN, CONN., JUNE 20
GLENS FALLS, N.Y., JUNE 27
WESTERN CONVENTION TOUR
It is proposed that the Western Convention Tour shall start a little earlier so as to include Piedmont, Ala. Hence Brother Russell will leave Brooklyn, N.Y., midnight July 7th via P.R.R.; arriving at Washington City 7:12 a.m., July 8th; arriving at Atlanta, Ga., 5:00 a.m.; Piedmont at 9:21 a.m., July 9th; leaving Piedmont 7:16 p.m., July 9th, and arriving at Memphis, Tenn., 7:30 a.m., July 10th.
The Piedmont convention beginning on July 9th will continue for three days, although Brother Russell will be there only on the 9th. Able speakers will be arranged for on the two succeeding days. Particulars later.
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
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SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (`Genesis 1` and `2`), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage, 60c. (1s.).
Is also published in foreign languages as follows: German, six vols., in Swedish Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; in Greek, three vols.; in French, two vols.; Hollandish, Spanish, and Italian, one vol. each; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same; in Polish, condensed edition, one vol., 10 cents.