Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:39
YOU would not want your neighbor to use brain and tongue in evil surmises and slanders against you; and you should not do so to him....the law of the Lord commands that all under His Covenant shall not utter one solitary suspicion against a neighbor: and that if suspicion beyond knowledge is
upon the mind by associated circumstances, the new mind shall promptly, with its native benevolence, counterbalance the suspicions by suggestions of the possibility of misinformation or misinterpretation and always give the apparently guilty the benefit of the doubt.
And now, why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized. Acts 22:16
THERE is a directness in this address that is worthy of being copied by all who have an influence upon others, and who are seeking to bring them along in the right way. Urge them to promptness, to full and complete obedience, to a full confession of the Lord and the Truth. If they are not inclined to promptly obey after their eyes of faith have seen the Lord, and after their ears have heard His voice, they will be much less likely after a while, when the world and the flesh and the devil will say to them, Do not be an extremist; be moderate; do not make a full consecration of yourself to the Lord. Your neighbors and friends will think you beside yourself, and it will interfere with your hopes and prospects, and turn your friends into enemies. It will cost you too much; go slowly.
Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10
THIS is the special reward of those who are running the race with
in the present time, in the Laodicean period; while it was not our privilege to escape the hour of temptation, it is our privilege to have a counter-balancing special blessing as a result of living in the time of our Lord's
(presence). We may have His fellowship, His instruction, His dispensing of spiritual food which is now "meat in due season," in a manner and to a degree in which none of the faithful of past periods enjoyed these. But as we might expect, this greatest favor is correspondingly offset by the subtility and severity of the trials of this hour of temptation coming upon the whole world. If ever
was necessary it is necessary now.
If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? Luke 11:13
IF the Lord's consecrated people could all be brought to the point where the chief aim in life, the burden of all their prayers, would be that they might have a larger measure of the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of a sound mind, what a blessing it would mean! If then they should wrestle with the Lord until the breaking of the day, their hold upon Him would be sure to bring the desired blessing. The Lord has revealed Himself to His people for the very purpose of giving them
blessing; nevertheless, He withholds it until they learn to appreciate and earnestly desire it.
Choose ye this day whom ye will serve;...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
LET others reverence whom and what they will; we, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, we, who have come to know Him through the power of the spirit by which we are begotten again to newness of life--we can do naught else than reverence our God; and reverencing Him we must trust Him implicitly; and trusting Him implicitly we will gladly walk in whatever way He may mark out for us; and thus trusting and thus walking we are content, whatever lot we see, since 'tis His hand that leadeth us. And let us be assured that, following the true Shepherd after this manner, we shall ultimately reach the heavenly fold. In these assurances we have joy and peace and blessing of heart, even in the house of our pilgrimage, before we reach the heavenly city.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Proverbs 25:28
THE battle with self is the greatest battle, and we have the Lord's word for it that he that "ruleth his spirit (his own mind, will) is better than he that taketh a city," because he has to that extent learned to exercise the combativeness of a true character in the right direction, in self-control. It is after we have had considerable experience in battling with sin and selfishness in ourselves, in casting the beam out of our own eyes, in subduing anger, malice, hatred and strife in our own hearts and flesh--it is then, and by means of this severe battle and experience, that we will be prepared to assist the brethren, and to assist our neighbors in their difficulties--to help them to overcome their besetments and weaknesses.
When He was reviled, He reviled not again. 1 Peter 2:23
NOT because His enemies had found in Him something that could properly and justly be reviled and evil spoken of;--nor because His enemies were so nearly perfect that He could find nothing in them to revile and speak evil of; but because He was so full of submission to the divine will that He was enabled to take the scoffs and railings of the people, and to bear these humbly and patiently, and to remember that
even hereunto He was called
, did Jesus endure patiently and learn the lessons, and prove Himself faithful, and develop and demonstrate His true character, and feel and manifest His pity for the people, in their blindness and ignorance, and His love for them.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. John 15:18
AS our Master was hated without a cause, so let it be with us so far as possible, that the hatred, malice, envy and murder which may be poured out against us may be wholly unmerited by us--that our lives shall be as nearly pure as possible; that so far as we are able our thoughts and words and deeds may show forth the praises of our Lord, and speak of our love for all men, especially for the household of faith. By and by, when the church shall have been glorified, and a new dispensation inaugurated, those who hate us now, largely because they are blinded by the Adversary and misled, will bow before us, as the Lord's Anointed, and we shall have the great pleasure of lifting them up blessing them, encouraging them and forgiving them; and assisting them back to the full image and likeness of God.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. James 1:12
IF we could but keep in memory the fact that every trial, every persecution, every difficulty of life, permitted to come upon those who have made the covenant of sacrifice with the Lord, is intended to
, to test their love, to see whether or not their characters are fixed, rooted and grounded in righteousness, and being built up in love, it would put all these trials, difficulties and temptations in a new light before us, and greatly assist us in fighting a good fight and overcoming. We would say, if by these little trials the Lord is proving my love and devotion to Him, then, however trifling they may be or however important, I will diligently use them as favorable opportunities to demonstrate to my Lord the fullness of my love and devotion to Him and His cause.
Them that honor Me, I will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30
IN whatever department of the Lord's service He is pleased to open the door of opportunity to us, we should enter it promptly and with energy--with zeal for Him and for the cause to which He has called us. This is one condition of our acceptableness to Him. If we are slothful, inattentive to opportunities, undoubtedly they will be removed from us, and given to others, for the Lord is abundantly able to raise up one or another to serve His cause without interfering with, or overruling our free moral agency. Let us more and more appreciate what a privilege we enjoy in being co-laborers together with God, and especially in connection with this great service which our Lord and Master Jesus is exercising, and to fellowship in which we have been called, as His bride and joint-heir.
My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways. Proverbs 23:26
THE heart, the will, thus given over to God, seeks to know the divine will, to catch the divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect--in ambitions, hopes, sentiments and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the divine will and plan is furnished to believers-- that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the divine plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7
IT...behooves the Lords consecrated people...to carefully strain out the impurities, and see that they do not enter into our hearts, our thoughts, realizing that with them in, the result will be to work to our defilement, to a greater or less degree. Whoever maintains purity of thought will have comparatively little effort in maintaining purity of word and of action. Whether the impurity come from one direction or another-- from the world or the flesh or the devil--its attack must first of all be upon the mind; and if repelled there the victory is won; if not repelled we cannot know what the consequences might be, as the Apostle James declares: "Lust [selfish desire of any kind], when it has conceived [in the mind] bringeth forth sin [develops sinful words or deeds], and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."
Lay not this sin to their charge. Acts 7:60
HOW great a blessing it would be for all spiritual Israelites to learn well this lesson; viz., that if we accept the results of any matter as being good, and if we realized that we were guided to those results by divine providence, we should think and feel most generously, most kindly, toward those who were the instruments used by providence, notwithstanding the fact that they might have been unwilling instructors, or, like Joseph's brethren, have verily intended opposite results. Those who are enabled to take such a view of affairs and forces operating in their daily lives are enabled "always to triumph through the Lord," as the apostle expresses it. And such find no room for bitterness or railing, either against Satan or against any of his servants.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7
ALL do not know it, but it is a fact that the grandest quality that man can exercise, and the one which brings the largest amount of blessing itself, is the exercise of the God-like quality of
, compassion, benevolence. The Lord lays great stress upon this quality of mercy, declaring that whatever else may be our attainments of knowledge or of grace, if we have not this one we can never be acceptable to Him --if we do not have mercy upon others neither will our Heavenly Father have mercy upon us. And to insure that we do not consider this mercy to be merely an outward form, an expression of forgiveness and benevolence, our Lord expounds the matter, saying, "If ye do not from the heart forgive one another, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you."...Only the merciful shall obtain mercy: and if we have not mercy at the hands of the Lord all is lost; for by nature we were children of wrath, even as others, and under just condemnation.
Z. '01-332; '00-70
The Lord is my Shepherd. Psalm 23:1
THE Lord, in calling His people His sheep, chose a very significant emblem of the character He would have manifested in them. The most noticeable characteristics of the sheep are meekness, docility and obedience to the shepherd to whose care they fully entrust themselves....The true sheep will carefully listen for the faintest accents of the voice of the Shepherd-- i.e., he will treasure up His words in his heart, he will study His providences, and he will cultivate that communion and personal fellowship with the Lord which are his privilege. Those who thus abide in Him can never go astray. "They can never, never lose their way."
How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, follow him. 1 Kings 18:21
WE need to have some touchstone, as it were, some matter which will help us to decide, which will enable the mind to reach a decision quickly. This touchstone should be
; so that to perceive the Lord's will in respect to any question would be to settle it--as quickly as discerned....Ability to decide quickly, and to decide always on the right side, what the Lord's will is, requires some experience and discipline; but the sooner we begin the sooner we will become proficient. The more energetically we set ourselves to know the Lord's will and to do it, and to show Him by our promptness that we delight to do His will, the better and the more quickly will we find our characters established on proper lines.
Beloved,...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12,13
IT was God that provided for us the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and it is God that has drawn us unto Himself and that has promised us all needed grace to walk in the paths of righteousness; and more, even to follow in the footprints of Jesus in the way of self-sacrifice. While, therefore, with fear and trembling, --with great
--we endeavor to work out our salvation, it is our privilege always to realize the promised grace to help in every time of need, and to be confident that our best
toward righteousness are acceptable to God when presented through the merit of the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us by faith.
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6
TO have the proper course in life, to be able to meet the trials and difficulties of life as they come to us, and to meet them in the proper spirit which the Lord directs--in the spirit of rejoicing in tribulation, and counting such experiences all joy,--it is necessary that all fear of man, which brings a snare, shall be removed. And it is our Lord's direction that we shall fear Jehovah, and not fear our mortal fellows. The righteous are bold as a lion, as well as gentle as a dove, and meek as a lamb. This peculiar combination should be found in every Christian, and we doubt if it will be found elsewhere.
Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. 1 Kings 20:11
THE test of endurance is certainly one of the severest tests of faithfulness to which the elect church, the body of Christ, is subjected. It is the test which gauges and registers the strength of every other virtue and grace, and no soldier of the cross will be crowned with the laurels of victory who has not stood this test....In the battle of this day, as in all other battles, the effort of the enemy is to surprise and suddenly attack and overwhelm the Lord's people; and the only preparation, therefore, that can be made for such emergencies is constant vigilance and prayer and the putting on of the whole armor of God--the Truth and the spirit of the Truth.
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
THERE is much significance in that word
and only the studious find the narow way to the divine approval and acceptance.
to show thyself approved--study the doctrine; study your course of conduct, to keep it in harmony with the doctrine. Study how to promote the peace and prosperity of Zion, and how to shield yourself and others from the missiles of error and from the poison of an evil, worldly spirit. Study to perform the duties of a faithful soldier of the cross--the seemingly insignificant, as well as the bravest and noblest deeds.
Who is worthy? Revelation 5:2
LET us, dearly beloved, as we realize that thus far God has counted us worthy to look upon the scroll of His plan which has been unsealed for us by our blessed Lord Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, prove our worthiness to continue to look therein and to read the wondrous things of His law, by faithful obedience and loyalty to it in all things. Let us not undervalue our great privilege in being counted worthy to have some part in the blessed ministry of reflecting the light of divine Truth; let us prove ourselves jewels of rarest value, diamonds indeed, heartily receiving and beautifully transmitting to others the light of Truth, and faithfully enduring the severest pressure that God may permit to come upon us; for, if faithful in these small things we shall in due time be counted worthy also to reign with Christ in power and great glory.
If a man therefore purge himself, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
IF any man desire honor from God, let him not fail to seek it in God's appointed way--along the pathway of humility; for the Lord giveth His favors to the humble. If you would be a vessel fit for the Master's use and a vessel of honor, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time. Do not be in a hurry about it either; but whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, beginning and ever continuing to cleanse your earthen vessel, that it may be fit for the Master's use.
A word in season, how good it is! A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 15:23
WE are to remember, when talking with those who have an ear to hear and are inquiring the way to the Lord, that there are great crises in the lives of men, momentous occasions, in which one word may be more valuable, more potent, than would be a hundred words or a thousand words at another time, under different circumstances; and we are to be instant in the Lord's service, whether seasonable or unseasonable to ourselves, --gladly ready to lay down our lives for the brethren....We are to distinguish, however, between out-of-season to ourselves and out-of-season to others; and to be willing to serve others at any time, however out-of-season to ourselves, if it be in season and opportune for them. We are not to intrude even the Gospel itself at inopportune times, however convenient the occasion may be to ourselves.
Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
THE noting of those little incidentals by which divine providence prepared for our Savior's birth and for the sending forth of the Gospel message, are strengthening to the faith of the Lord's people. Realizing God's care in the past over even the little things, gives a foundation for confidence in His wisdom and provision for the features of his plan which are yet future--the fulfilment of all the exceeding great and precious promises which centered in Him who was born in Bethlehem. And so also a realization of the divine providence in the larger affairs of the divine plan stimulates faith also in the Lord's providences as respects the personal and more private affairs of His people.
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10,11
ALTHOUGH we cannot agree that this is the proper day for celebrating the birth of our dear Redeemer, but must insist that it was about October first-- (Volume 2, p.54) nevertheless, since He did not intimate His desire that we should celebrate His birthday, it is quite immaterial upon what day that event, of so great importance to all, is celebrated. Upon this day, so generally celebrated, we may properly enough join with all whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Savior. The habit of giving little remembrances one to another at this time of year seems to us specially appropriate. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He is continually giving and we are continually receiving from Him; but amongst all His gifts the one of greatest importance to us is the gift of His Son to be our Redeemer.
Be thou strong and very courageous. Joshua 1:7
"BE strong and of a good courage." There are different kinds of courage; one sort is begotten of egotism and self-reliance; another kind is begotten of a recklessness which fails to take into account the difficulties of the situation; but the courage which the Lord inculcates, and which all the spiritual Israelites are to seek to possess, is the one which, while coolly and calmly discerning the trials and difficulties of the way and while humbly realizing its insufficiency for the occasion, is supported by a faith in the Lord--a trust in the divine promises which enables them to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
WE are not to put our trust in leaders, but in the Lord. This does not signify that we are not to trust leaders, and not to acknowledge leaders, for all the history of the Lord's dealings with His people, the typical as well as the antitypical, shows us that He is pleased to use human agencies as His representatives in the teaching and leading of His people from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge. The lesson to be learned is that the Lord is thoroughly competent to manage His own work, and that while we may look for His leading through human agencies our trust is not in them, their wisdom, their strength, but in the Lord's wisdom and strength, guiding them and us through them.
He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall He lift up the head. Psalm 110:7
WE want to ask the Lord, our Master and Head, that He will bless us more and more, as with fresh zeal we shall endeavor faithfully and rejoicingly to drink of the brook of life's experiences, and gain wisdom therefrom that will fit and prepare us for His service by and by; and which will the better fit and prepare us for His service also in the present time, and enable us by His grace to show forth His praises in all the trying circumstances and vicissitudes of life so as to glorify Him in our bodies and spirits which are His. Let us, as we drink of the brook, take a lesson from the little birds, which, when drinking, repeatedly lift the head as though giving thanks to God. Let us continually give thanks to our Lord for every taste of life's experience, for every lesson, for every trial--appropriating them all to our spiritual development.
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. Ecclesiastes 11:6
ALL of the Lord's people, in proportion as they desire to be the servants of the Truth, should be continually on the alert to note opportunities for service, and should expect to be guided and used of the Lord. Wherever we see evidences of devotion to the Lord and His Word, we should be on the alert to extend a helping hand....We are to be on the alert to pass along the blessing which we have received, and to esteem that this is the chief business of life with those who have consecrated themselves to the service of the King of kings.
Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness. Psalm 65:11
AS we review the leadings of divine providence during the year that is past, let God's goodness and mercy stimulate our faith and confidence in Him as respects the New incoming Year. A proper retrospect on the part of a proper child of God will enable him not only to render thanks for the past, but to look up and lift up his head, realizing that our deliverance is nearer than when we first believed; and that He that began a good work in us is both able and willing to complete it, if we will but continue to submit our wills, our lives, our all, to His wisdom and loving care.
What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now, in the presence of all His people. Psalm 116:12-14
THE close of the year is an excellent time for the making of new resolutions for the year to come. Let us, beloved brethren, make plenty of good resolves respecting what we shall be willing to be, to do, to suffer, in fellowship with our Lord; that we may by His grace make of it the best year thus far of our lives--the year of largest hopes, of largest endeavors, and by the Lord's grace of largest successes in self-sacrifice, in overcoming the world and its spirit, in vanquishing self and the desires of the flesh, in resisting the adversary, and in glorifying our Lord and blessing His people.