ZWT - 1894 - R1611 thru R1747 / R1636 (099) - April 1, 1894
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VOL. XV. APRIL 1, 1894. NO. 7.
THE IMPORT OF THE EMBLEMS.
WHEN announcing the date of the Memorial Supper and stating our reasons for its yearly commemoration, in our issue of March 1, we promised that in this issue we would examine briefly the import of the emblems used to represent the body and blood of our Redeemer.
Of the bread our Lord said: "This is my flesh;"--that is to say, the unleavened bread represents his flesh, his humanity, which was broken or sacrificed for us. Unless he had sacrificed himself for us, we could never have everlasting life, as he said: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood ye have no life in you."--`John 6:53`.
Not only was the breaking of Jesus' body thus to provide bread of life, of which if a man eat he shall never die, but it also opened the "narrow way" to life, and broke or unsealed and gave us access to the truth, spiritual food, as an aid to walk the narrow way which leads to life. And thus we see that the broken loaf fitly represented the breaking of him who said, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father but by ME."-- `John 14:6`.
Hence, when we eat of the broken loaf, we should realize that had he not died--been broken--for us we would never have been able to come to the Father, but would have remained forever under the curse of Adamic sin and in the bondage of death.
Another thought: the bread used was unleavened. Leaven is corruption, an element of decay, hence a type of sin, and the decay and death which sin works in mankind. So, then, this symbol declares that our Lord Jesus was free from sin, a lamb without spot or blemish, "holy, harmless, undefiled." Had he been of Adamic stock, had he received his life in the usual way from any earthly father, he, too, would have been leavened with Adamic sin, as are all other men; but his life came unblemished from a higher, heavenly nature, changed to earthly conditions; hence he is called the "bread from heaven." (`John 6:41`.) Let us then appreciate the pure, unleavened, undefiled bread which God has provided, and so let us eat of him--by eating and digesting the truth, and especially this truth--appropriating to ourselves, by faith, his righteousness; and let us
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recognize him as both the way and the life.
The Apostle, by divine revelation, communicates to us a further meaning in this remembrancer. He shows that not only did the loaf represent our Lord Jesus, individually, but that after we have thus partaken of him (after we have been justified by appropriating his righteousness), we, by consecration, become associated with him as part of the one broken loaf--food for the world. (`1 Cor. 10:16`.) This suggests the thought of our privilege as justified believers to share now in the sufferings and death of Christ, the condition upon which we may become joint-heirs with him of future glories, and associates in the great work of blessing and giving life to all the families of the earth.
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This same thought is expressed by the Apostle repeatedly and under various figures, but none of them more forceful than this, that the Church, as a whole, is the "one loaf" now being broken. It is a striking illustration of our union and fellowship with our Head.
We quote: "Because there is one loaf, we, the many [persons] are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf." "The loaf which we break, is it not a participation of the body of the Anointed one?"--`1 Cor. 10:16,17`.-- Diaglott.
The "fruit of the vine" represents the sacrificed life given by our Lord. "This is my blood [symbol of life given up in death] of the new covenant, shed for many, FOR THE REMISSION of sins." "Drink ye all of it."-- `Matt. 26:27,28`.
It was by the giving up of his life as a ransom for the life of the Adamic race, which sin had forfeited, that a right to LIFE may come to men through faith and obedience under the New Covenant. (`Rom. 5:18,19`.) The shed blood was the "ransom [price] for ALL," which was paid for all by our Redeemer himself; but his act of handing the cup to the disciples, and asking them to drink of it, was an invitation to them to become partakers of his sufferings, or, as Paul expresses it, to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (`Col. 1:24`.) It was the offer to us that if we, after being justified by faith, voluntarily partake of the sufferings of Christ, by espousing his cause, it will be reckoned to us as though we had part in his sacrifice. "The cup of blessing, for which we bless God, is it not a participation of the blood [shed blood--death] of the Anointed one?" (`1 Cor. 10:16`.--Diaglott.) Would that we all might realize the value of the "cup," and could bless God for an opportunity of sharing with Christ his "cup" of sufferings and shame: all such may be assured that they will also be glorified together with him.--`Rom. 8:17`.
Our Lord also attached this significance to the "cup," indicating that it signified our participation in his dishonor, our share in his sacrifice--the death of our humanity. For instance, when asked by two of his disciples for a promise of future glory in his throne, he answered them: "Ye know not what ye ask; are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" On their hearty avowal he answered, "Ye shall indeed drink of my cup." The juice of the grape not only speaks of the crushing of the grape till blood comes forth, but it also speaks of an after refreshment; and so we who now share the "sufferings of Christ" shall shortly share also his glories, honors and immortality--when we drink the new wine with him in the Kingdom.
Let us then, dearly beloved, as we on the evening of the 19th inst. commemorate our Lord's death, call to mind the meaning of what we do; and being invigorated with his life, and strengthened by the living bread, let us drink with him into his death, and go forth more determined than ever to be broken with him for the feeding of others. "For if we be dead with him we shall live with him; if we suffer we shall also reign with him."-- `2 Tim. 2:11,12`.
WHO MAY PARTAKE.
It is left open for each to decide for himself whether he has or has not the right to partake of this bread and this cup. If he professes to be a disciple, trusting in the blood of the New Covenant, for forgiveness of sins, and consecrated to the Lord's service, his fellow disciples may not judge his heart. God alone can read that with positiveness.
Because of their symbolism of the death of Christ, therefore let all beware of partaking of these emblems ignorantly, unworthily, improperly --not recognizing in them "the Lord's body" as our ransom, for in such a case the partaker would be as one of those who murdered the Lord and would, in symbol, "be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." `1 Cor. 11:27`.
"But let a man examine himself:" let him see to it that in partaking of the emblems he realizes them as the ransom-price of his life and privileges, and furthermore that he by partaking of them is pledging himself to share in the sufferings of Christ and be broken for others; otherwise, his act of commemoration will
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be a condemnation to his daily life before his own conscience--"condemnation to himself." --`1 Cor. 11:28,29`.
Through lack of proper appreciation of this remembrancer, which symbolizes not only our justification, but also our consecration, to share in the sufferings and death of Christ, the Apostle says, "Many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (`1 Cor. 11:30`.) The truth of this remark is evident: a failure to appreciate and a losing sight of the truths represented in this Supper are the cause of the weak, sickly and sleepy condition of the church nominal. Nothing so fully awakens and strengthens the saints as a clear appreciation of the ransom sacrifice and of their share with their Lord in his sufferings and sacrifice for the world. "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup."
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SOME feel that the feet-washing mentioned in `John 13:4-17`, is as important as the Memorial Supper; and hence we will here consider the subject: although only one of the Evangelists remembered to even mention it.
In Eastern countries, where sandals were worn, and the feet thus exposed to sand and dust, feet-washing was a regular custom, and an actual necessity. This service was considered very menial, and the humblest servants or slaves performed it for the family and guests.
Our Lord had noticed among his disciples a spirit of selfishness; he had overheard them disputing which of them should be greatest in authority and dignity in the Kingdom he had promised to share with them; and, foreseeing that this spirit would injure them in proportion as it grew and strengthened, he had rebuked them for their lack of humility. So indeed it did, in the fourth to the sixth centuries, blossom and yield bitter fruit, in the organization of Papacy, and the train of evils and errors which still flow from that impure fountain.
To illustrate the proper spirit which should characterize all who would be his disciples, he took a little child and set him in the midst, and said, Except ye become (artless and simple) as a little child, you are not fit for the Kingdom for which I am calling you. Ye know how the Gentiles lord it over one another, and recognize caste and station, but it must not be so with you. Ye have but one Master, and all ye are brethren; and he that would be chief, let him become chief servant. (`Mark 10:35-43`.) They who serve you most, you must mark as your chief ones. I am the chief servant myself; for the Son of man came not to be served by others, and honored thus, but he came to serve others, even to the extent of giving his life in their service. As therefore my greatest service toward you renders me your chief, so shall it be among you. Esteem and honor one another in proportion as you find in each other unselfish sacrificing love and service. Esteem such very highly for their works' sake.--`1 Thes. 5:13`.
But for all this, the spirit of pride and a desire to "lord it" over others, and be reverenced as chief, was there, even after three years and a half spent with the Master, and under his example; and as he was about to leave them, Jesus sought, even on the last evening with them, to impress this lesson indelibly upon their hearts. So, after the Passover Supper, he arose from the table and performed for his disciples the most menial service, in washing their feet. They probably had not even thought of performing such a service for each other or for him, and even had consideration enough to object to his thus serving them in so humble a manner.
When Jesus had finished, he said to them, "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do
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them." If you understand and appreciate the lesson I have given you, and will practice it, you will be blessed thereby, helped in my service, and prepared for the Kingdom in which I have promised you a share.--`John 13:4-17`.
That the lesson had its designed effect we can scarcely doubt, as we look at the course of several of the apostles, and see how, with much self denial, they served the body of Christ, of which they were fellow-members, following the example of the Head, who was chief servant of all.
The question arises, What did the Lord mean when he said, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done?" Was the example in the principle, in the lesson of service one toward another? Or was the example in the method of service, in the ceremony of feet-washing? To suppose the latter would be to hide the real lesson under a form. And if the example were in the form, then every item of the form should be observed: an upper room; a supper; sandals should be worn; the same kind of garments; the towel girdle; etc. But no: the "example" which we should follow lay in the humble serving of the disciples by the Master, regardless of form. His example of serving the fellow-members in even the most menial manner is what we should follow--and blessed will we be, in proportion as we do follow it. In that proportion we shall be prepared for the everlasting Kingdom and service of God.
Those now living in Eastern countries, where sandals are still worn, may find an opportunity now to follow the example, the same form which the Master used, as well as other forms; and those differently circumstanced may follow the "example" in a thousand forms. Some of the fellow-disciples probably live in your city and in mine. How can we serve them? How can we refresh them? How can we show them our love and sympathy according to the Lord's "example?" Not in this climate by washing their feet--this would be an inconvenience, the very reverse of a pleasure and service to them, and therefore contrary to the "example." But we can serve the "body" otherwise, and truly follow the example. We can improve our various opportunities to serve them in matters temporal as well as spiritual. We can be on the lookout, and when we see sadness or discouragement, we can lend a helping hand to lift our brother's burdens, or our sister's sorrows, and we can let them see by deeds, as well as words, our anxiety to serve them--figuratively speaking, to wash their feet.
Do not wait until they request your assistance; for in proportion as they are developed disciples, they will not ask your aid. Do not wait until they tell you of their burdens and trials, but watch to anticipate; for in proportion as they partake of the Master's spirit, they will not be complainers, but will live "always rejoicing"--rejoicing even in tribulations.
Be not ashamed of such service of the "body," but seek it and rejoice in it--"ye do serve the Lord, Christ." But still more important than temporal service is our service one of another as "new creatures."
The washing of the body with the truth-- the sanctifying and cleansing of it with the word--is in progress now. (`Eph. 5:26,27`.) What are you doing to cleanse and purify the faith and lives of your fellow members? Do you approach them humbly with the truth, sincerely anxious to serve them, to bless and comfort and refresh them therewith? If so, go on; grand is your service; the Master served thus; this is his example; follow on. The more you can thus serve, and at the greater cost of time, and effort, and convenience, and self-interest, the greater will you be in the eyes of the Master, and the more honored and beloved of the body when they shall come to see and know you, as the Lord sees and knows your love and service.
Follow closely, then, the noble "example" of Jesus: wash and be washed one of another, cleanse and purge away the defilements with which each comes daily in contact in the world, that ye may be clean, "through the word spoken unto you." Purge out the old leaven of hypocrisy, and envy, and self-exaltation, even as ye have already been justified from all things and reckoned pure and holy by the merit of the precious blood which the chief servant and Lord of all gave for all.-- `2 Tim. 2:20,21`.
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BEAR UP THE FEET.
"Judge this, rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way." "He shall give his angels [messengers, servants] charge over thee; ...they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." --`Rom. 14:13`; `Psa. 91:11,12`.
EVERY gathering of the saints, even of two or three, is an assembling of the members of the body of Christ. So that the entire number of saints in the world to-day, or in any day, represents the one body; and yet the entire body is but one. Looked at still another way, we see the head first, and the succeeding members following in order, leaving those members of Christ who are alive and remain unto the presence of the Lord to represent the last members --the feet.
It is to these that the prophet refers above: not to the literal feet of Jesus, but the feet members of his body. (Many improperly accept Satan's interpretation of this passage, notwithstanding Jesus' rejection of it--`Matt. 4:6,7`.) The prophet makes the statement that the Lord will make special provision for the help and support of the "feet," just after giving a description of the evil day which the "feet" class will experience--the dark day, when the arrows of error will fly thick and fast; when the pestilence of Infidelity will stalk abroad; when all, except the "feet" class, shall fall-- thousands on every hand. The question will no longer be, Who will fall? but, "Who shall be able to stand?" These, the real feet members, shall not fall; these shall have special help; God will send them messengers, whom he will specially instruct or charge that his will shall be accomplished, and the true overcomers be upheld, and neither stumble nor fall.
Blessed assurance! cause for trust and confidence, that if we abide under the protection with which he has covered us, we shall be safe and come off conquerors, and more than conquerors, through him who loved us and washed us in his own precious blood. But the thought specially in mind is this: Not only are those who scatter the pestilence, and shoot out the arrows of error, and cast stumbling-blocks in the way, men in the flesh, but those messengers whom God will use to bear up the "feet," and keep them from falling, are also human agents. Both classes are servants--serving some cause, either of truth or error; serving some master--the God of truth, or Satan, the father of lies and errors. No matter whose uniform we wear, his servants we are to whom we render service. If Satan can get into the service of error those who profess to serve the Lord, he is the more pleased, and the more successful in reaching others of the same class. As the Apostle advised us, so we find it in this evil day--the ministers or messengers or servants of error will appear as messengers of light, and their influence will thereby be the greater; and all not fixed upon the rock foundation of Christian hope will be sure to fall. All not protected by the armor which God's Word supplies are sure to fall pierced with the arrows of error.
Of two things then be assured:--We each must serve one side or the other in this battle of the great day of God Almighty, which has to the Church a different phase from that in which it will present itself to the world. Our strife is with spiritual adversaries, a battle between truth and error on religious subjects, while there is a conflict also between right and wrong, truth and error, as relates to political and temporal affairs. On which side are you serving? Are you scattering error by words of your own, or reading matter, or in other ways doing that which will smite down and stumble your fellow pilgrims? or are you giving the more earnest heed to the special "charge" God has given us regarding the dangers and pitfalls of this day? and are you thus "bearing up" the fellow members of the body--the feet? Are you earnest in rightly dividing the word of truth? and are you careful to put before others only that which you have thoroughly examined and proved to the extent of your ability by the Word of God? Are you one of Satan's messengers, being used of him to overthrow the faith of some, and to remove "the feet" from the grand rock of faith--the ransom? or are you rendering yourselves as servants of righteousness and messengers of God,
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serving and blessing the feet? If the one, you are stumbling and defiling the "feet;" if the other, you are bearing up and "washing" the "feet."
True, the errors will test the armor of each, whether you shoot any of them or not; and it is also true that the "feet" shall be borne up and not dashed, whether you assist or not; but the question is none the less important to each of us, and will demonstrate our own faithfulness or unfaithfulness, our own worthiness or unworthiness to be members of the feet class of the body.
Blessed shall be that servant whom the Lord shall find giving meat in due season, to the household of faith. (`Matt. 24:45,46`.) Such, as messengers of God, are serving, strengthening and bearing up the "feet" of Christ. The same thought is beautifully expressed in `Rev. 19:7`. The bride makes herself "ready" for the Bridegroom: each member assisting the others results in the preparation of all. Not that we could make ourselves ready of ourselves, but that we aid each other in the cultivation of those traits of character which the Lord has stipulated shall distinguish all who become his joint-heirs.--`Rom. 8:29`.
Judge--examine yourselves--that none of you "put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way."--`Rom. 14:13`.
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"LEST YE ENTER INTO TEMPTATION."
"Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."--`Mark 14:38`.
IT seems peculiar that there should be greater liability of falling into sin at one season than at another; but nevertheless we have noticed for several years and have before called to the attention of others the peculiar force of temptations at the time of the Passover, every Spring. Year after year at this season we have noticed special liability of many or all to stumble or be offended. Let us, therefore, take earnest heed to our Lord's words, and earnestly watch and pray for others and for ourselves; and let each one be on his guard not to cast a stumbling-block before his brother.--`Rom. 14:13`; `Heb. 2:1`.
It was at the Passover season that our Lord said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Then many of his friends and followers said, "This is a hard saying; who can hear it?...and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"--`John 6:4,51,60,66,67`.
It was at the Passover season that Judas bargained for the betrayal of our Lord,--and a little later on accomplished it.
It was about the Passover season that our Lord said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." (`Matt. 26:38`.) "I have a baptism [death] to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" --`Luke 12:50`.
It was about the Passover season that our Lord took the disciples and began to explain unto them that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of the chief priests and scribes and be put to death (`Matt. 16:21`); and then Peter was tempted to forget that he was the disciple, and took the Lord and began to rebuke him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord. This shall not be unto thee." Thus also he tempted our Lord to repudiate his sacrifice, and brought upon himself the rebuke--"Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."-- `Verses 22,23`.
It was while met to eat the Passover that the twelve got into a dispute as to which of them should be greatest in the Kingdom. They thus brought upon themselves our Lord's just rebuke, and induced the illustration of humility on his part by the washing of their feet.
It was when they had sung a hymn and gone out from the Passover that our Lord used to them the words at the head of this article, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation;" while he himself was in an agonizing battle, and with bloody sweat submitting his
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will to the will of God; and, praying earnestly, was strengthened.--`Luke 22:39-46`.
It was but a little later that the emissaries of the High Priest came upon them and the eleven all forsook the Lord and fled (`Mark 14:50`): the temptation, the fear, they could not resist.
It was but a little later that Peter and John, bolder than the others, went with the crowd into Pilate's court to see what would befall the Master; and Peter, being recognized as one of Christ's disciples, was tempted to deny the Lord with cursing.--`Mark 14:68,70,71`.
It was at the same time that our Lord was tempted before Pilate, but victoriously "witnessed a good confession."--`1 Tim. 6:13`.
The temptations of our Lord followed rapidly. When his foes spat upon him, and crowned him with thorns, and reviled him, saying, "Let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God," he could have smitten them with disease or death; but, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He overcame, and prayed for those who despitefully used him.--`Luke 23:33-37`.
He might even have concluded that he would not be the Redeemer of such thankless beings; but, while realizing that he could even then ask of the Father and receive the assistance of twelve legions of angels and overcome his enemies, he resisted the temptation. He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The death of our Lord was a great trial of faith to all the disciples, who straightway were tempted to go again to their old fishing business, and neglect the fishing for men.-- `John 21:3-17`.
Paul and the other apostles subsequently had special trials at this special season also. See `Acts 20:16`; `21:10,11,27-36`.
In view of all this in the past, as well as in view of our own experience since the present harvest began in 1874, we feel specially solicitous for the Lord's sheep every Spring; and this Spring is no exception. What may be the character of the temptations, we may not clearly discern until they are upon us; for if we knew all about them in advance they would be but slight temptations. Watch, therefore, and pray always; for the only safe way is to be prepared; because your adversary, the devil, is seeking whom he may devour. He knows your weak points, and is ready to take advantage of them. We will each need the graces of the spirit in our hearts, as well as the Lord's "grace to help in time of need" if we would overcome. "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!"
"My soul, be on thy guard,
Ten thousand foes arise;
The hosts of sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the prize."
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THE WORK IN ENGLAND.
AFTER an expenditure of considerable by the Tract Fund to get the Colporteur work started in Gt. Britain (books, etc., to the retail value of $965.67), we have to announce that Brother Rogers, who went there for the purpose of starting it, has left the colporteur service. He assures us, however, that he has not left the Truth, and that he will still circulate MILLENNIAL DAWN, as he may have opportunity, in his new line of work.
His new plan of labor we cannot approve for several reasons. He describes it as a work of faith. Instead of accepting and using the sale of the DAWNS, as God's provided means for the support of the laborers in the present "harvest," he proposes to rely largely upon collections and donations from the friends. He explained to us that he proposes to work as follows: On going to a city, he will seek for any who are already interested, and expect them to hire a suitable place for preaching and to attend to his financial matters and "see that he lacks nothing," while he preaches orally. Between meetings he will call upon Christian people and talk with them privately about the Truth. If any of them inquire for reading matter on the subject, he proposes to take them the MILLENNIAL DAWN, the profit on the sale of which will go toward defraying his expenses.
Brother Rogers became so infatuated with his
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idea, that without even trying the method or writing one word about it he crossed the Atlantic to urge, nay almost to force upon us, the general adoption of this plan, instead of the present Colporteur method, which, together with the Tract work and WATCH TOWER, has been so greatly blessed of the Lord to so many of our readers. He expresses a dislike for the term Colporteur, preferring to be called a minister or preacher. We fear that he is getting ashamed of the method which God seems specially to have used and blessed in the preaching (making known) of present "harvest" truth.
Our objections to the proposed method are as follows:
(1) We are opposed to all forms of begging --whether by word, by insinuation, by suggestive hint, by collections, or by going into a Brother's home and sitting down on him until he is forced to say, Move on.
(2) Experience, which is much better than theory, convinces us that the majority of Christian
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people are prejudiced against any religious meeting held in a hall, unless they have some knowledge of its character in advance. Consequently, a gathering of representative Christians can not be had in that way. Indeed, we find that Christians who seldom attend Church services of any kind, being prevented by family cares, and some by skepticism, are more often reached by the colporteurs and deeply interested.
(3) It is an expensive method, wasteful of time and money which could be much better spent for the service of the Truth and the praise of the Lord in the colporteur work and Tract circulation. The time spent in seeking a suitable hall and in preparing and delivering discourses, could all be used in colporteuring, and the expense of hall-rent, etc., be saved besides.
(4) The effects of public discourse, soon wear away, because the Scripture proofs are not so well appreciated as from reading, when the quotations, being marked and cited, can be referred to and re-read until fully understood.
(5) In a town with a population of ten thousand, properly colporteured, two or three weeks' effort should dispose of at least four or five hundred DAWNS, and bring it to the attention of all; whereas the proposed plan would bring the Truth to the attention of only a few, probably circulate not above fifty DAWNS, and require much more time and expense. Experience shows that while some of the books sold may awaken no immediate interest, many of them bring forth good fruitage years after. Besides, as Brother Rogers himself has previously remarked, it seems as though the Lord is circulating the reading matter, to select and arm at once the overcoming class now, and the remainder of it to do a similar work for another class to be developed under, and out of, the great tribulation approaching. (`Rev. 7:14`.) See Brother Rogers' clear statement on this subject in our issue of July '93, page 194.
(6) The method proposed would debar from the privilege of the "harvest" work the majority of those now engaged in it as DAWN colporteurs; for about one-half of the number are sisters, and of the brethren very few have the gift of oratory or any of the qualifications for attracting, interesting and profiting the public by preaching-meetings.
Indeed, Brother Rogers agrees with us and many others of his best friends, that he lacks the talent of a public speaker; but he claims that the less ability he has, the more the Lord will use him in that way. He states that for this reason he never even attempts to prepare a discourse. And a similar course he urges upon others. We, on the contrary, hold that each of the Lord's servants should seek to use the talent which God has given him, as directed in `Rom. 12:6-8`; `1 Cor. 12:8-11`; and that each should study how best to use his talents for the edification of his hearers.--`2 Tim. 2:15`; `1 Cor. 14:19`.
Upon going to London, Brother Rogers started a three months' course of discourses, announcing subjects. Being from America and coming to them as a representative colporteur and instructor of colporteurs, of several years experience, commended to them by us, the WATCH TOWER readers there naturally inferred that his oratorical preaching was part of our arranged program; and when they went to hear him some were greatly disappointed,
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and wrote us accordingly. One only recently interested TOWER reader, was quite provoked indeed, and wrote that we must have a very low estimate of the intelligence of our English readers when we sent Brother Rogers as a representative to instruct them; and intimated that not one of his audience could have made a poorer effort as a public speaker. Another wrote, Surely if our dear Brother Rogers has been used of the Lord for the blessing of others, it is not because of eloquence of speech, etc.
We replied privately to these brethren, telling them that they should not judge of Brother Rogers as a servant of the Lord by his ability as a speaker. We assured them that his talent consists in his ability as a colporteur and an instructor and starter of other colporteurs; and that thus his efforts had been greatly used of the Lord to the blessing of many. We assured them that we had not sent him to England as a representative orator of the truth, but as an efficient colporteur, and one, too, who we had every reason to believe held clear views of truth and who was firmly fixed upon the foundation-doctrine of the ransom. We asked that with this explanation they receive and honor Brother Rogers for his colporteur-work's sake (`1 Thes. 5:13`), and that they encourage his use of the talent he possesses while discouraging his attempt to use a talent which he does not possess so far as his best friends can discern.
Feeling it to be our duty to Brother Rogers, as well as toward the truth, we wrote to him as kind and brotherly a letter as possible, explaining the situation, urging him to specially use his great gift of preaching by the circulation of the printed page, and advising that he turn the remainder of the announced London meetings into Bible Study Meetings and lead them, instead of preaching; and we enclosed some of the correspondence received. We closed the letter with an exhortation that he consider our love for him and our interest in and our appreciation of his service, and referred him to `Psa. 141:5`.
But the effect was the reverse of what we designed. Whether from a lack of humility or whatever the reason, Brother Rogers concluded that all who did not appreciate his preaching were devoid of spirituality. As he considered the question, he reached the conclusion that he had a mission from God to change the whole program of harvest work: that he should come to Allegheny, and if Brother Russell were not humble enough to accept the Lord's message from him, then he should do all that he could do to stop the other colporteurs from present successful methods and get them started in his untried, theoretical and mendicant method.
He came to Allegheny and stopped with us for ten days, during which time we gave him twenty-four full hours of valuable time, listening to his scheme, and endeavoring to point out its impracticability, telling him we had tried the plan in a general way before the publication of DAWN and TOWER--except that instead of depending upon others to pay the expenses, the Editor paid them himself.
Brother Rogers urged that the Lord had sent forth the early disciples without purse or scrip and had provided for their necessities, and that without books or tracts to sell, and that they lacked nothing. We answered, that God had sent out this "harvest" truth similarly from house to house, and had none the less PROVIDED for the necessities of all who went forth,--although in a different manner.
Brother Rogers urged that it did people good to give; that the WATCH TOWER had failed of its duty in not urging people to give; that the priests of the Jewish age lived upon the charity of the people--their tithes--and referred us to the Apostle Paul's reference to the Law upon the subject in `1 Cor. 9:7-11`.
We agreed that people who give most to the Lord's service are most blest, provided they give it of a grateful willing heart; but we pointed out the Apostle's words in the same connection --"Nevertheless, we have not used this power [to demand support]; but [on the contrary] suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ." "I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things that it should be so done unto me." I "make the gospel without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel." (`1 Cor. 9:12,15,18`.) We also showed that the priests were not permitted
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to squeeze the tithes from the people, that the people were free to do as they pleased, although the tenth of all increase was demanded by the Law. All of the consecrated are of the antitypical "royal priesthood" for whom God will provide, and who are to engage somehow in self-sacrifice in God's service. The saints are, therefore, typified by the tithe-takers and not by the tithe-payers; and besides, among them are not many great or rich --chiefly they are of the poor, rich in faith only. We assured him that we believed that we had done our full duty in placing before the consecrated an opportunity to share in the Lord's work through the general fund of the WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY, used for publishing and circulating tracts by the million, to forward the translating of DAWN and Tracts in other languages, and to assist in colporteuring the DAWNS and Tracts. Those who are of a willing mind need no prodding and, so far as we know, are doing all that they can do in this way. We have even returned money to some we had reason to believe from their own letters were giving beyond their ability. We assured him that our commission from the Lord was not to beg, or even to "make a poor mouth" to thus excite pity and draw money, but merely to preach the gospel and leave to the Lord to provide (in his own way) the things needful for ourselves and for his work.
But Brother Rogers was so infatuated with the delusion that God had given him the message for us that he declared that we were resisting God in the matter, and that he was not sure but that the Apostle Paul made a similar mistake in the method he used, as expressed in the verses to which we referred.
Finding argument of no avail, we proposed to set aside some city, large or small, in which he could make a trial of his method-- provided he would make a complete demonstration and not leave the city until he had done all the work that he thought should be done there. We believed that the experiment would prove a refutation of his theory, and that thus he might be convinced that it was not of the Lord. But he would not agree to this and told us that we should live by faith. We replied that "our sufficiency is of God," that the Apostle also said, "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself!"--that we are not to have
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faith in other people's generosity and endeavor to squeeze money from them, but to have faith in God and to use the means which he puts into our hands,--as he (Brother Rogers) had been doing for six years in preaching the gospel by the sale of DAWN.
We bade Brother Rogers Good-bye, assuring him that so long as he continues in the Truth, trusting in the ransom, we will have a deep interest in his welfare, even though he take what seem to us less advantageous methods of work; that we would put not a straw in his way to hinder his service of the Lord in such a manner as his conscience would approve; and that if, when tried, his method shall seem in any degree to have divine approval we shall be glad to adopt any part that may seem to us compatible with the Lord's Word and spirit. But, meantime, we must demand the same liberty for our conscience that we accord to his. Brother Rogers assured us that he is still in perfect harmony respecting the Truth as presented in the volumes of DAWN, and that he will still be glad to use them in whatever way he may hereafter work. We assured him that we were glad to know this and that we would be pleased to supply him what DAWNS he might desire, at the usual low rate at which we supply all TOWER readers.
We regret, however, that when he saw that his mission and theory did not move us from the method which God has so far blessed, he seemed somewhat bitter in spirit, and left us expressing his intention to see and influence as many as possible of the colporteurs. Hence the propriety of so full a resume of this matter for the benefit, not only of the colporteurs, but also of the English friends, to whom Brother Rogers hopes soon to return;--although no longer as a representative of the Tract Society, nor at its charges.
"As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.... But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him." See `1 Cor. 12:12-18-25-29`.
STUDIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
--INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS.--
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
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JOSEPH SOLD INTO EGYPT.
II. QUAR., LESSON III., APR. 15, `GEN. 37:23-36`.
Golden Text--"Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good."--`Gen. 50:20`.
In tracing the overruling providence of God in the lives of some of his chosen people of the past we find a great stimulus to our faith; and in the noble examples of the ancient worthies we should indeed find spurs to our zeal for God and our faithfulness in his service. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph--how beautifully they walked with God! how simple and childlike their trust in the dark as well as in the light! and how earnest and sincere their devotion!
In our last lesson, Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob's old age, was brought to our attention (a dutiful and promising boy of seventeen), and his prophetic dreams and the envy of his brethren toward him. In this lesson we see how that envy and hatred brought forth their fruits. With the exception of two of the brethren--Reuben and Judah--all were desirous of taking his life; but the two did not dare to openly oppose the rest, so they suggested other measures. Reuben had him cast into a pit from whence he intended secretly to rescue him, but where the others were agreeable to letting him die of starvation. But before Reuben could accomplish his purpose of rescue Judah had proposed his sale to a company of traveling merchants going down to Egypt; and to this they had agreed, and had disposed of their young brother and divided the price among themselves. Of this transaction Reuben evidently was not informed, and he shared his father's grief at the supposed death of Joseph.
Judah's motive was apparently a double one--first, to ease his conscience by choosing the lesser of the two evils, avoiding to incur the guilt of his brother's blood, and yet desirous to accomplish the purpose of getting rid of him, and that at a slight profit to themselves. Then, in common with the other eight, he was willing to lie to his father and to make believe that Joseph was dead. Judah's choice of the lesser of two evils he may have regarded as a species of virtue, as the suggestion from, "Let us slay our brother," to "Let us sell our brother," presents a strong contrast. Thus men are often deceived by comparing a great with a lesser evil, or themselves one with another, and especially with those of meaner disposition, instead of with the perfect standards of virtue and true holiness set forth in the Scriptures.
This supposed loss of a beloved son was another severe trial for Jacob. Evidently Joseph was the one in whose line of descent he looked for the fulfilment of the divine covenant. He was the eldest son of his beloved Rachel, and a son after his own heart, in whom was the reverence of God and the love of righteousness. The coat of many colors seems to have been his expression of this hope, which he did not seek to conceal from his family, being desirous and hopeful probably that they also would share his sentiments. And in Reuben's favor it may be remarked that of all the brethren he had more reason to be envious of Joseph, since he was the eldest son of Leah, the first wife. For twenty-three long years Jacob suffered the loss of this beloved son before he received the glad tidings--"Joseph is yet alive." Yet he faithfully held to the promises of God and waited for the consolation of Israel, and humbly developed the graces of meekness and patience which, in God's sight, are of great value.
In the case of Joseph the trial was one of great severity. From being a beloved and favorite son, tenderly reared in his father's house, he was suddenly transported to the position of a slave in a foreign and heathen land. Added to this, too, were the bitter experience of the murderous hatred and cold-hearted cruelty of his brothers and the thought of his father's grief and loneliness, and that without any apparent prospect of ever seeing his face again, or of even hearing a word from him, as no railroads or telegraphs or mailing arrangements then facilitated communication between foreign nations, and Joseph was a servant having no command of time or money.
This was surely a bitter experience for a young man of seventeen; but as he left
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the scenes of his childhood and all that he held dear on earth, and that under such painful circumstances, like his father when he fled from Esau, bereft of every thing else, he took with him the staff of the divine promises and the principles of truth and righteousness under whose influence he had been reared, and he resolved to be loyal and faithful to God and to maintain his integrity under whatever circumstances he should be placed. Alas! how few young men in these days--nor did they in those days-- make such resolutions, even under the most favorable circumstances. This is the age when they generally think they should be sowing their wild oats, of which they generally forget they must afterward reap the bitter harvest.
While God could have prevented and might have interfered at any step of these distressing circumstances, we see that he did not, but that he allowed each one to freely manifest his disposition for good or for evil; yet above them all we see his overruling providence in turning these very circumstances to account in a most marvelous way for the furtherance of his benevolent designs and to the special blessing of his faithful servants. Thus, for instance, Joseph being thrown more upon his own resources and in contact with a new, and at the time the most advanced, civilization of the world, received a new and valuable education which otherwise he could not have received, and a discipline that developed manly strength, courage, tact, and firmness of character; while his isolation from all the old home associations led him to closer communion with God and reliance upon his power.
Then, too, in the providence of God, Joseph was the forerunner of all Israel in the land of Egypt, where God proposed to give that entire nation a needed and valuable experience for four hundred years, in contact with the highest civilization of that day, yet under the humiliating circumstances of servitude which would tend to humble them, and also to teach them reliance upon God. Here, too, their race would be kept pure and distinct from others, since, as slaves, they could not intermarry with the Egyptians. And through Israel in the land of Egypt, not only the Egyptians, but other nations through them, were to learn something of the power and character of the true God.
A very special lesson of importance to us, in considering the course of divine providence with these ancient worthies, may be gathered from the fact that the value of their experience in developing character and in shaping circumstances for future good is so manifest to us from the standpoint of the ends attained, while to them, as they passed through those experiences, they had to walk by faith trusting the guiding hand of God, where they could not trace his loving purposes.
Abraham could not know that God would provide himself a lamb other than Isaac; and therefore it was his part to obey the divine command, even to the raising of the knife to slay his son. Jacob could not know how Esau would meet him in peace and permit him to enjoy the good of the land; but it was his part to arise and take all his house and all his goods and go to meet Esau when the Lord commanded. Joseph could not know just how all the painful circumstances that befell him after he left his father's house in search of his brethren were to work together for such great good for himself and for all his father's house, and for all Egypt as well; but it was his part to carry with him into Egypt the principles of divine truth and righteousness
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and the noble example of a godly character, and as a servant to Potiphar to faithfully perform his service to the best of his ability. And while, like his father Jacob, he thus walked in the path of faith and duty, God could add his blessing; and we, at this end of the line, see the blessed results of their faithfulness, trust and humility.
Just so, in the light of eternity, the past experiences of our lives will appear if, like them, we prove faithful under all circumstances --in the dark as well as in the light, in the storm as well as in the calm. As children of God we must all have the discipline of experience: let us see to it, therefore, that we patiently and meekly submit ourselves to God, taking courage from the noble examples of the ancient worthies, and from the manifestations of God's love and care and wisdom in making all things work together for good to them as he has promised to do for us also.
"Leave to his sovereign sway
To choose and to command:
So shalt thou gladly own his way,
How wise, how strong his hand!"
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JOSEPH RULER IN EGYPT.
II. QUAR., LESSON IV., APR. 22, `GEN. 41:38-48`.
Golden Text--"Them that honor me I will honor."-- `1 Sam. 2:30`.
In Egypt we find Joseph making the best of his new and trying circumstances. Having resolved to look upon the brightest side of things and to act upon the right side, he trusted in God and was cheerful and faithful in all his duties, whether they were agreeable duties or not. He acted thus, not from policy, but from principle--because he loved righteousness and desired the approval of a righteous God.
His faithfulness soon won his master's confidence; "and his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand;... And he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand." And when, after some ten years of faithful service here, he was falsely accused and cast into prison, "and he was laid in iron and his feet were hurt with fetters" (`Psa. 105:17,18`), with a clear conscience and a sense of the divine approval he determined to make the best of that situation also; and there too "the Lord was with him and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison;" and there, without any prospect of release, he remained faithful to God and duty for three years, when suddenly, the purposes of this discipline and proving having been served, God set before him an open door. He did not take him out of prison, but in pursuance of the pathway of benevolent helpfulness to others he led him out.
Wherever Joseph was, and no matter what were the circumstances, he did what was right and made the best use of the situation; and his faithfulness in all the little things prepared him for larger and wider fields of usefulness. He was rightly exercised by the experiences of life. He was kind both to the thankful and to the unthankful, generous to the mean as well as the noble, not allowing the injustice and harsh treatment which he received from others to harden his heart. And in all his course we see no signs of distrust in God or of complaining. In his trials he simply clung closer to God and took comfort in the manifestations of his favor, while he trusted where he could not trace him.
When God showed to Joseph the interpretation of the dreams of the butler and baker in prison, he recognized the favor as from God and thought he saw in the circumstance an open door to liberty once more. But the ungrateful butler forgot his benefactor, and for two years more he remained a prisoner. Then the door was swung open--this time, not only to freedom, but to honor and advancement, and Joseph was prepared to enter. His suggestion to Pharaoh of a wise course in view of the predicted famine was an evidence not only of his faith in God but also of a keen, active, business turn of mind. He thus taught that men should act upon their faith promptly and without wavering; and when he was chosen to pilot the nation through the threatening dangers of their future, he showed his great executive ability and his faithfulness there also. In this he was partly favored by inheritance from his father; but much was added to that by his own energy and force of character. All the open doors to usefulness and honor are of no avail if we lack the energy and force of character to enter them and to carry forward successfully the enterprises to which they lead. Faithfulness, purity of character, nobility of purpose, energy, courage, acquired skill, piety and self-discipline are all necessary to a successful life from God's standpoint.
Joseph's exaltation to the throne of Egypt, where he was second only to the king, may be regarded by some as the full reward of his faithfulness. But evidently Joseph did not so regard it. He still had respect to the promises of God: he did not lose his head and become puffed up with pride on being elevated from the position of a slave and a prisoner to a royal throne, but with the same steady dignity that characterizes a true man, he quietly went about the business of his new office with the same energy, competency, and faithfulness that had characterized him as a slave and as a son and brother in his father's house. His long acquaintance with God, especially under the discipline of adversity, had made him humble, and the graces of character grew beautifully in his prepared heart. But the throne of Egypt had never been the goal of his ambition; for, like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, he looked for the heavenly city, the Kingdom of God. There was his treasure and there was his heart, and from thence he drew the inspiration of his noble life; and the court of Egypt was esteemed only for its privileges of helpfulness to others.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR TRACT SOCIETY:--Enclosed please find $5.00, which is to be applied on my "Good Hopes." It is more than I thought I would be able to send, and I am truly glad of it. I only wish it were many times more. I have thoroughly tested all the Tract Society publications, and never feared to place them in any one's hands; for they stand on the true foundation, and besides are easily comprehended. I have been an advocate of these publications for nearly thirteen years, and I like Brother R's method. He has never yet bewildered or mystified my mind, and I feel satisfied with his exegesis on Bible subjects. I believe MILLENNIAL DAWN and ZION'S WATCH TOWER to be God's agents for disseminating the truth; and may the Father's blessing go with both the Editors and the publications. Yours in love of the truth, MRS. B. F. MILLER.
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DEAR SIR:--I send you a brief sketch of the life of Mrs. Lucretia Mead, who was an earnest Christian, a great reader and a deep thinker. She died last August at the ripe age of ninety. All her life she studied to find justice combined with mercy in the old orthodox theologies, but failed utterly. And consequently she was unhappy. About ten or twelve years ago a copy of the TOWER was sent to the postoffice of which my father was postmaster. He took the liberty to send the paper to her. She read and reread it, and then sent for the paper for a year; and we have taken it ever since.
If you could have seen her study your books and papers, and compare them with the Bible, and heard her exclaim, "It is truth! It is truth;" and then, raising her eyes to heaven, as it were, praise God for sending her those truths, as I have seen and heard her do, you would praise God, too, for being the means of so much happiness. Then to see and hear that aged mother teach her children (gray-headed men and women) and grand-children and great-grand-children was a sight or rather an experience few families have witnessed. She used to wonder why God let her live so long. I told her I firmly believed God intended her to live in order that four generations at least should be made acquainted with these truths through her.
And so she died, every faculty clear to the last; and we all bless God for your teachings, through Christ, brought to us through grandmother.
Yours sincerely, MRS. E. M. YOUNG.
DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER:--Again I intrude on your valuable time, not to ask questions or to make complaints, but to tell you the joy I feel, and the hope that daily grows stronger within me. I have at last been able to do something for Him, in his blessed cause. I have been the means in his hands of supplying "meat" to some truth-hungry souls, and feel that I have His approval in so doing. True it is, that I have accomplished little; but that little gives me great encouragement and stimulates me to press onward in the good work.
Until lately, I have been more or less in darkness; that is, trying to see through the gloom in which I was enveloped, knowing that something better lay beyond, yet failing continually. Now I am commencing to see more clearly. I was an idle laborer in the vineyard; now I trust I am becoming a worker. True, my work is small, but who knows, but our dear Lord, how far it may extend. If one can bring the Truth to four, what may those four do. As to myself, I am daily putting the old self under. The work is slow, but is progressive, evil is continually with me and sometimes gets the better of me, but it is dying slowly and surely. What used to be severe trials are now almost nothings. I look to Him and put my trust in Him, knowing he is working all things together for good. All I regret is lack of opportunity to do more in His service. The time, I know, is short; hence my impatience. With love to all your workers and yourself and helpmate, I remain, Yours in hope, W. F. POTTER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The last TOWER has reached me, and oh! it is fine! My heart goes out to you and yours in the work you are doing in spreading real good news, and when I think of the multitudinous vexations which must continually harass you.
In reference to your appointment of a committee to examine MS. sent in for publication, for my own part I hope it will soon have to be dispensed with because of lack of work. In reference to others publishing, I always feel if the same means, time and energy were put forth in circulating already published articles from the TOWER office (which are certainly published at a much lower rate), how much more good would be done! This is still my feeling; and I do not feel one whit able to write (much less publish and circulate) anything to exceed what comes out from time to time. Accept much love.
Yours in our Lord, F. B. UTLEY.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER
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TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, "BIBLE HOUSE" ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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N.B.--Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
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"WATCH WITH ME ONE HOUR!"
Little did we suppose, when writing for our last issue the article, "Watch and Pray, Lest Ye Enter into Temptation," that the admonition was so greatly needed by you all, and especially by the Editor and his faithful co-workers in the service here. Suffice it here to say that the Adversary has been busy concocting a dark conspiracy in the hearts of some who should be "true yoke-fellows," but who are proving themselves to be "false brethren," similar to some mentioned by the Apostle in `2 Thes. 3`.
Brethren and Sisters, watch and pray yet more earnestly for yourselves and for us; for assuredly the Adversary opposes us all, more and more, at every step. In all probability the Church's path will grow narrower and more difficult as the Master's did, until, like his, it shall reach a Gethsemane and a Golgotha. The same thought is illustrated in the career of John the Baptist--pointed out in M. DAWN, VOL. II., pp. 260-262.
The severest feature of the present trial is that it is the work of "false brethren." It enables us to appreciate our Lord's "contradiction of sinners against himself"; and we are not weary nor faint in our minds. We have not yet resisted unto blood--death. We are looking away to Jesus, the author of our faith, who in due time, we trust, shall be the finisher of it.--`Heb. 12:2-4`.
A JEWISH VIEW OF JESUS.
It is becoming quite popular with all sorts of people--religious and irreligious--to point to Jesus of Nazareth, our Redeemer and Lord, as a great and wonderful teacher; and therefore it need not surprise us to find that a similar sentiment is springing up amongst the Jews. It will prepare the way for their ultimate acceptance of him--when the Kingdom is his, and he is the governor among the nations.--`Psa. 22:28`.
The following extract from The Overland Monthly is by a Jew--Jacob Voorsanger--and gives evidence in the direction named. He says:--
"Shorn of all theological attributes, divested of his Greek garments, disrobed and appearing in the strong light of history, the majestic character and figure of the Nazarene are intelligible enough to a Hebrew. A son of his people, his heart aflame with great intents, his ambition wholly to restore the law, his dream that of the prophets, to bring the kingdom of heaven to the children of earth, he preached a Millennium to men engaged in quarrels and contentions. If he failed, if his life paid the forfeit, it was the sorrowful consequence of troubled times. But his teachings, as they appear upon the face of his book (not as they are interpreted by metaphysicians), are the genuine echoes of the holy things propounded by old prophets. A life led in harmony with such teachings, the same teachings given to Israel in the law and the prophets, must needs be pure and holy. This much we understand. Why cannot all the world thus read these teachings, and thus, to quote the great words of Sir Moses Montefiore, 'remove the title page between the Old and New Testaments.'"
These are supplied to TOWER subscribers at 25 cents per copy or, when taken in packs of five, ten or twenty of any one volume, at the Colporteur rate, 15 cents each;--this to facilitate loaning and giving, so greatly enjoyed by those who receive the truth in the love of it. On account of extra postage the foreign rate will be five copies for $1.00.