VOL. XXVIII SEPTEMBER 1 No. 17
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035
Views from the Watch Tower........................259
Young Men and the Christian Ministry..........259
Looking the Facts in the Face.................260
The Race, the Prize, the Course...................260
Berean Bible Study in Tabernacle Shadows..........261
The Dying Message of a Great Man..................261
Earthly Prosperity and Reward.................262
The Chief or Primary Commandment..............263
"The Servant of the Lord Died"....................266
The Hidden Sepulchre..........................267
The Meekest and the Greatest..................268
The Chatauqua Salute..............................270
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers...........270
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
YOUNG MEN AND THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
THE fact that fewer young men than formerly are preparing for the ministry is arousing comment in nearly all denominations. We extract below from Rev. D. J. Burrell's comments on this question and concede that as an educator his opinion should have weight. Nevertheless we can agree with it only in part. From our point of view the loss of positive faith, induced by so-called "Higher Criticism" and the "Evolution Theory," make void the Word of God. The very few young men who come out of college with a remnant of positive faith in the Bible are perplexed and inclined to doubt their convictions, and see that anyway they are out of tune with the majority of those with whom they had hoped to colabor and to serve, and that the message they intended to give would no longer be palatable to the people they would address nor satisfactory to themselves.
They feel drawn more to some service like that of the Salvation Army, and yet they feel that somehow it is not right either, and certainly far from their original ideal when entering college. Several of these, as well as some ministers who have resigned their pulpits in Churchianity, are now having blessed times "harvesting" --colporteuring.
Those described, however, are seemingly but the few. The vast majority seem intent merely on choosing a profession; and law, dentistry, medicine, osteopathy call loudly to them, and business holds out still more inducements. Hence the smaller proportion offering themselves for the ministry.
Dr. Burrell's views from "The Christian Intelligencer" are as follows:--
"Put yourself in his place. With life before you, presenting its various avenues of usefulness, you would be likely to reason thus: 'I am urged to go into the ministry. What for? "To seek and to save the lost?" But they say there are no "lost." To preach the truth? What truth? A personal God? They say there is no God but law, energy, a "something not ourselves, that maketh for righteousness." The supernatural? They say the miraculous is played out, and all things are to be accounted for by natural law. A divine Christ? His virgin birth is denied, and he is affirmed to have been a mere excellent man. The atonement? The idea that sin requires expiation is pronounced unphilosophical and therefore untrue. Justification by faith? Justification from what and by faith in what? In the New Theology faith has no object and justification no ground. Well, then, since all the doctrines once regarded as fundamental are explained away, suppose I devote my life to the preaching of ethics? But where shall I find my ethics? In the Bible? Pooh, pooh! The Bible is merely one of the many volumes of the world's literature and by no means the truest of them. In the Decalogue? The Decalogue is declared to have no more authority back of it than any other portion of the discredited book. Is there, then, no ultimate authority for truth and morals? Only in the inner consciousness of the individual. The question of entering the ministry, then, resolves itself into this: Shall I invest the assets of my life in a profession which has no end but to persuade a man to believe what pleases him, to be what he would like to be and to do what, in his opinion, without any reference to "authority," he ought to do? And, that being so, is the game worth the candle?'
"If he is a really 'smart' young man he will be sure to answer, No. He knows that he has only one life to live in this world, and it behooves him to make the most of it. He would be a fool to put all his eggs in such a basket as the ministry of 'The New Theology.' It isn't worth while. The man who chops wood to keep people warm and bake their bread is a contributor to the general good, but the man who preaches when he has nothing to say is a non-producer. His profession ought to fail for want of candidates, because there is nothing in it.
"It is a mistake, however, to assume that 'bright young men' are not consecrating themselves, here and there and everywhere, to the work of preaching the straight gospel. The doubter drops out; why not?
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But the youth who believes in Christ and the Bible covets the privilege of treading in the beaten path of service; and he knows that the higher form of service is proclaiming a positive gospel, on the authority of a 'Thus saith the Lord,' with the supreme purpose of saving men."
LOOKING THE FACTS IN THE FACE
There are over 250,000 insane and imbeciles in the United States today. Statistics show that insanity is increasing three hundred times faster than the population. At the present ratio of increase, even if it gets no worse (in reality it is getting worse each year), it will require but 290 years to produce the utter destruction of the mental endurance of the race.
One death in every seven is from tuberculosis. Recent statistics issued by the German government show that one-fourth of all people dying of diseases other than tuberculosis, have had consumption at some time in their life. It would thus appear that very nearly one-half of the grown-up people have had or now have tuberculosis in some form or other.
The deadly cancer is terribly on the increase, and a prominent surgeon, appointed by the State of New York to investigate this disease some time ago, said that if it continues to increase the next ten years as fast as it has in the last ten years, it will claim as
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many victims as tuberculosis.
On every side there is abundant evidence of the rapid increase in the numbers of deformed, defective and degenerate human beings.
Nervous diseases and stomach troubles number their victims by millions, and very nearly three-fourths of the population are afflicted with one or other of these disorders.
It is an acknowledged fact that vice and crime are tremendously on the increase. The rapidly increasing army of dentists testifies to the fact that, as a race, we are tending toward toothlessness.--Exchange.
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THE RACE, THE PRIZE, THE COURSE
UNDOUBTEDLY the Apostle does in two of his epistles more or less clearly represent the Christian as running a race to win a prize. But as is usual with all figures and parables there seems to be room for slightly divergent views of his meaning, or rather of how to apply his figure of speech to the recognized facts. Let us be glad that the facts are generally very clearly seen. This is the important matter anyway.
Shortly before St. Paul was executed he wrote, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." (`2 Tim. 4:7,8`.) If this was written six months before he died or even one month or only six days should we understand it to mean that the day before he wrote or the year before it would not have been true? We think not. We must believe also, that when, some time before, the same Apostle wrote, "I am in a strait betwixt two" as to choice between living and dying, he must have felt equally sure that he was at the mark which would win for him the great prize.
But we cannot assume that the Apostle was always at that mark which would win for him the prize. Surely he, like all of us, was first begotten of the Spirit and subsequently quickened of the Spirit. Surely during the period between the begetting and the quickening neither he nor we could be at the "mark" for the prize.
There must, therefore, be recognized a mark or standard of character necessary to the overcomers, which is not possessed at the beginning of the course nor usually for a considerable time thereafter--and a mark or character development which may be possessed a considerable time before death. Since "love is the fulfilling of the law of God" is it not proper that we consider it to be the mark or standard? We have, therefore, assumed that PERFECT LOVE is the standard of our acceptance with God to life eternal: and that to die before attaining it would insure our losing the prize, as death at any time after reaching this mark would insure us the crown of life.
Perfect love includes love for God, for the brethren, for our own, for our neighbors and for our enemies; and much of the teaching of the Scriptures is devoted to the outlining of this perfect love and to encouraging God's people to strive for it; for it represents the fruits of the Spirit which must be grown or developed as the fruits of the vine. The pruning of the branches is to bring this fruitage to perfection, for without it the branch will be cut off from the Vine.
True, some things are imputed to us from the time we become members of Christ; purity is imputed, but not the fruit of the Vine--Love. That must be developed. Hence it behooves every Christian to run, to strive, to attain this acceptable standard or mark. All of this is surely true whether the Apostle had in his mind a race illustration or not.
When the Apostle exhorts, "Having done all, stand!" it implies that the race has been run, the acceptable mark of character attained before death. And is it not thus with all the "overcomers?" Did we not begin our Christian experience with a mere duty-love toward God and the brethren? Did we not "go on unto perfection"--progressing toward perfect love? True, the Apostle says, "Not as though I were already perfect"--and we with him may well disclaim actual perfection. But from the time he in heart reached the mark of perfect love, the righteousness or perfection of the Law was reckoned or accounted to him. Hence he adds, "Let as many [of you] as be perfect be thus minded."
But what, if anything, is expected of those who reach this mark of perfect love? Ah! very much! Only after they reach it do they begin to tread in the footsteps of Jesus around and around that mark on its every side. Being actually perfect our Lord needed not to run to get to the mark, for he was actually there, even as the perfect man. It was for him to "stand" firmly and uncompromisingly at this "mark" as it is exhorted of us that after "having done all" we should stand complete in him. This standing at the mark is the real trial, the real test. To stand is to be an "overcomer" of the world, the flesh and the devil. The
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attainment of the mark is often tedious and slow, but it should not be. Since it is merely a state of the mind it surely might be attained speedily, whereas from lack of zeal many are long years about it and some never gain it,-- are never quickened, and will never, therefore, be born of the Spirit.
It is after we have reached the mark of perfect love that we, like our Lord, must endure hardness and fight the good fight. The encouragement held out is the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" promised to those who display special valor in the King's service.
When the Apostle says, "A man is not crowned except he strive lawfully," he in other words is saying that a man must be at the mark of perfect love (the fulfilling of the law) ere his strivings would be meritorious or acceptable in God's sight.
Another possible view of the race is to suppose a line marked out and that line to represent perfect love, each runner being expected to keep as close to that line as possible to the end of life. But this view does not allow for or explain St. Paul's having finished his course weeks or months before he died, nor his "strait betwixt two," years before that.
So then whatever view illustrates the facts best to our minds let us enjoy it, and meantime rejoice that the facts are so clear and plain as to be beyond dispute.
BEREAN BIBLE STUDY IN TABERNACLE SHADOWS
"THE ASHES OF A HEIFER SPRINKLING THE UNCLEAN"
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1907
1. Was the sacrifice of the red heifer a "sin-offering" in any sense? How do we know this? `Num. 19:1-5`; T.105.
2. What was done with the ashes of the heifer? T.105.
3. Was this sacrifice in any way related to the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement? T.106, par. 1 (1st 5 lines).
4. Was it different from the sacrifices offered by the people of Israel after the Day of Atonement? T.106, par. 1 (6th line down).
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20
5. What, then, did this sacrifice of the red heifer signify? And what class was represented by it? And how would their sufferings have to do with the cleansing of the people of God, both of this age and the age to come? `Heb. 9:13`; `11:32-38`. T.106, par. 3.
6. Is this class, represented in the red heifer, a part of the Body of Christ, the Royal Priesthood? `Heb. 11:39,40`; T.107, par. 1.
7. How can we be sure of this? `Matt. 11:11`; `Heb. 6:19,20`; `2:3`; T.108, par. 1.
8. What was typified by the "ashes" of the heifer? T.108, par. 2 (first half).
9. What will be the station or position of the "Ancient Worthies"? `Psa. 45:16`; T.108, par. 2 (last half).
10. Who witnessed the burning of the heifer? and what did he do?
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27
11. What was typified by the "cedar wood," the "sprig of hyssop" and the "scarlet string"?
12. Why were they cast into the midst of the burning heifer? T.109.
13. Who would seem to be typified by the under-priest who approved this burning and took of the blood and sprinkled it toward the Tabernacle door? T.109, par. 1.
14. What was typified in the choosing of a red heifer which "never wore a yoke"? T.110, par. 1.
15. Why was a heifer chosen and not a bullock? And why must it be red? T.110, par. 1.
16. For what particular cleansings were the ashes of this heifer prescribed? `Ex. 12:22`; `Lev. 14:4,49`; `Psa. 51:7`; `Heb. 9:19`; T.111, par. 1.
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THE DYING MESSAGE OF A GREAT MAN
--`DEUT. 6:1-15`.--SEPTEMBER 15.--
Golden Text:--"Beware lest thou forget the Lord."
DEUTERONOMY is the title of one of the most important books of the Bible. From it evidently David and the other prophets of the Old Testament drew considerable of their inspiration, and from it our Lord and the apostles freely quoted. It may be said to be a grand summary of the whole Law of God. It presents to us a number of the orations of that great man of God and leader of Israel--the mediator of the Law Covenant. Its preparation may have been a gradual work on the part of Moses, but its delivery to the people of Israel was apparently reserved until shortly before his death, and about the time the Israelites were ready to pass over Jordan under the leadership of Joshua to take possession of the promised land. The grandeur of its language and figures of speech is freely conceded by all, and some have ranked its orations quite as highly as those of Demosthenes of ancient times and of Burke, the more modern. The evident object of the book was to impress upon the Israelites the glorious lessons of their past, and to inspire them with reverence for Jehovah their God, and thus to be to that people the voice of Moses and the voice of the Lord through Moses, encouraging and admonishing them and, through them, future generations.
Note carefully the loyalty of Moses to the Lord. He boasted not of Israel as "his people," as we frequently hear modern preachers do respecting their congregations--although Moses indeed might have been excusable had he used such language, because he
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was personally the mediator, the representative of the whole nation according to their covenant with the Lord at Sinai. Note well that his great work as a leader passes comparatively unnoticed, and that his exhortations to Israel are all along the highest conceivable lines of duty towards God and responsibility to him for all the comforts and blessings of the past, as well as for all the hopes they cherished for the future. The preparation and delivery of this oration to Israel reminds us of the words of the Apostle Peter in connection with his epistle when he says, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth." (`2 Pet. 1:12`.) Not only did these orations of Deuteronomy have a valuable influence upon the Israelites at the important juncture of their passing from the guidance of an old leader to that of a younger one and into a new land, but Scriptural history tells us that six hundred years afterwards, when the nation had fallen into idolatry, when the Temple of Solomon was practically abandoned, and the religious worship of the people was at a very low ebb, the finding of this book, Deuteronomy, in the rubbish of the Temple, and the reading of it first in the ears of King Josiah and afterward at his command in the hearing of all the people, awakened one of the greatest revivals in the history of that nation, and led to the destruction of idols throughout the land and the reestablishment of divine worship.--`2 Kings 22:8-20`.
PROPER FEAR OF THE LORD
Our lesson of today is generally recognized as belonging to the second oration (`Deut. 5:11`). Some surmise that at the close of this oration the "Book of the Covenant"--the Law contained in `Deut. 12:26`--was recited or read. Later the book was placed beside the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies, as described in `Deuteronomy 31:24-29`.
This lesson opens with the statement that the book is a summary of the divine commandments, the statutes and judgments which the Lord commanded to be taught and to be performed in the land of promise. The word "judgments" here, as in many other places in the Scriptures, signifies decisions as to right and wrong. The object of these is stated (`v. 2`): "That thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes." This was not only to apply to those who entered the land, but to extend to all their children, and their favor in the land and their continuance in it were made dependent thereon. The Apostle counsels us that perfect love casteth out fear, but the Scriptures also show us that the "fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Nor are the two statements in disagreement, for a proper reverence carries with it a fear to displease or offend one who is loved and reverenced. Moreover, it is only the perfect love that fully casts out all fear, and the perfecting of love is a gradual matter. A beginning of love is not incompatible but quite harmonious with the spirit of deep reverence, and, as related to the Almighty, a feeling of reverential awe as respects his greatness and perfection and in contrast with our own littleness and imperfection. It is as the Christian grows in grace and knowledge that he is enabled to "perfect holiness in the reverence of the Lord" and at the same time to perfect his love-- the latter eventually entirely swallowing up every feeling of fear, although reverence will remain an integral part of the love, for who could fully love God without reverencing him?
EARTHLY PROSPERITY AND REWARD
There is no doubt about it that in this lesson (`v. 3`), and in many other parts of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Lord distinctly sets before that people earthly prosperity as reward for their obedience and loyalty to him and his laws. This to some has been a stumbling-block; and not recognizing the fact of the dispensational change from the Jewish Age to the Gospel Age, they have applied this promise equally to Spiritual Israel, and their error has resulted in confusion of mind, for it is plain to be seen by any one that earthly prosperity in the present age does not attend the Spiritual Israelite, but rather, as the Apostle expressed it, "Yea, all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (`2 Tim. 3:12`.) Ah! how important it is, as the Apostle suggests to Timothy, that we learn to "rightly divide the Word of truth"--that we notice which Scriptures belong to the Jewish Age, which to the Gospel Age and which others still to the Millennial Age. Observing this rule, everything is plain. Fleshly Israel had earthly promises and not heavenly ones, while Spiritual Israel has heavenly promises, and merely the assurance of bread and water as respects their earthly interests, and no assurance beyond these as respects their temporal prosperity.
So far, therefore, as this teaching of earthly rewards is concerned, instead of reflecting against the book of Deuteronomy and its inspiration, it supports them. The promise to Natural Israel, that they would be blessed in basket and in store, in flocks and in herds, in long life and many children, finds its counterpart in Spiritual Israel on a higher plane. The heavenly Father was pleased to give Natural Israel earthly blessings because they were of the earthly seed, and because the dealings of their dispensation foreshadowed the divine dealings with the world during the Millennial Age in rewarding every good deed and punishing every misdemeanor. To God's people, begotten of the holy Spirit at Pentecost and since, belong the "exceeding great and precious promises," the heavenly glory, honor and immortality as members of the New Creation, spiritual. Your Father is more willing to give the holy Spirit to them that ask him than are earthly parents to give earthly good things to their children. Spiritual Israel, therefore, is to seek to grasp, to appreciate, to enjoy spiritual things by faith now, and, if faithful to the end, will enjoy these actually throughout eternity by participation in the First Resurrection as New Creatures.
As the opening statement of the most important of
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all truths, the great Prophet, Moses, cried to the people, "Hearken, O Israel!"
"JEHOVAH OUR GOD IS ONE--JEHOVAH"
If this statement was true at the time of its utterance, it is still true; if its importance put it at the very top of the list of injunctions, it should still be regarded as the most important amongst the doctrines or teachings of the Lord's Word. Yet what do we see? We see as respects Fleshly Israel that they soon forgot the words of Moses, and time and again they were punished on the score of idolatry--for recognizing other gods, for forgetting the declaration that there is but the one, and his name Jehovah. Quite similarly we find amongst Christian people a tendency to forget this great integral truth that there is but one God and his name Jehovah. Our Roman Catholic friends make many gods: the Father, the Son, the holy Spirit, Saint Mary, all the apostles and saints, are gods of higher or lower dignity, with various degrees of reverence, and objects of adoration and prayer. And even Protestants, while rejecting many of the lesser gods of Romanism, yet, contrary to this Scripture and every other Scripture and without any reason, persistently declare that we have three Gods in one; nevertheless they reject this statement also and reverse it, saying, that there is one God in three persons! If we attempt to question them and to ask a reason for their hopes and beliefs on this subject they are silent, except to say that it is a great mystery, which neither they nor any one else can understand--how there could be three Gods in one person or one God in three persons. No reasonable mind could grasp this; it would be a mystery indeed. But why should we make a mystery out of the plain, simple statement of God's Word? Why not accept the inspired statement of Moses that there is but one God, and that he has not three names but one name, Jehovah.
Nothing in this need hinder us from recognizing our Lord Jesus as a god also, a "mighty God." Thus the Scriptures describe him, and clearly tell us of his greatness, his wisdom, his love, his power, his full harmony with the heavenly Father, Jehovah, and his full submission to his heavenly Father's will in all particulars. As he himself said, "Of mine own self I can do nothing," "My Father hath sent me," "I came not to do mine own will but the will of my Father"; and again, "The Father is greater than I." (`John 5:30,36`; `14:28`.) Is it not the part of true wisdom and faith to take the inspired Word on this subject as on every subject, and not to trust to wild theorizings of our own or those of other men, which admittedly make confusion and mystery and darken the counsels of the Lord's Word? How beautiful the thought presented in the Scriptures in the language of the Apostle, "All things are of the Father--all things are by the Son." (`I Cor. 8:6`.) How beautiful the thought that the Son was the very "beginning of the creation of God," and that "by him all things were made," that he was the active agent and representative in all the great work, not only as respected man but angels also. The Bible teaching of the relationship between the Father and the Son honors both, does violence to neither Scripture nor reason, but leaves the teachable in a happy frame of mind, the more ready to be taught of the Lord on all subjects.
How beautiful the thought that Jehovah God presented to his first-begotten Son--our Lord Jesus, in his prehuman condition--the proposition that he should be the Redeemer of the world, and that this should be accomplished by the humbling of himself to man's nature, and then the further humbling of himself even to death, even the death of the cross; and that as a result of this humiliation and this evidence of loyalty to the Father, he should be raised from the dead to a plane of nature above and beyond his original glorious estate, made partaker of the divine nature, and share in all the glories of that nature. How grand the thought that the dear Redeemer did thus manifest his love and loyalty, and that he is now exalted and is set down at the right hand of the majesty on high, awaiting the time when in the Father's name he shall take possession of the dominion of the world to rule, to
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bless with light and knowledge, and to uplift the willing and obedient from the mire of sin and death to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary. Truly all who really hearken to the Word of the Lord are made both wiser and happier thereby. "The secret of Jehovah is with them that reverence him, and he will
"SHOW THEM HIS COVENANT"
That wonderful Covenant, shown to all who are seeking the Word in honesty and sincerity, assures us that as our dear Redeemer humbled himself for our and the world's redemption and has been highly exalted, so, if similarly faithful, we may suffer with him now and by and by share his glory and be co-laborers with him in the Kingdom which is to bless all the families of the earth. O, what riches of grace! what loving kindness! what tender mercy! what evidences of divine wisdom, skill, justice, love and power! How this view of the Only Begotten of the Father shows him to us as our Redeemer and also as our Lord and Head, who by and by, according to his promise, will present us as his Bride, blameless and irreprovable before the Father in love. Viewed from this standpoint the recognition of Jesus, our dear Redeemer, the Sent of God, the Savior of the world, is not in derogation of the command of our text, "Jehovah, our God, is one"; for the Apostle assures us that, according to divine authority, all should reverence the Son even as they reverence the Father--not reverence him as the Father, but reverence him as the Son whom the Father has appointed heir of all things, and who, as the Father's associate, is to bless all the families of the earth, and who a thousand years later will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, that he may be all in all.
THE CHIEF OR PRIMARY COMMANDMENT
After calling attention to the one true God, Jehovah, we are exhorted, "Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy
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might." This is the summary of the first great commandment, as approved by our Lord himself. (`Matt. 22:37`.) It is not in conflict with this that we love our Lord Jesus also, for the Apostle declares, "Every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." (`I John 5:1`.) He who loveth the Father must love the Son also, who is the Father's express image and who has manifested to us in his own flesh the glorious character of the Father. As the Son loved the Father, prayed to the Father, and felt that he must be about the Father's business, and finally died in the accomplishment of the Father's will --the work unto which the Father had sent him--so with us, imbued with the Spirit of our dear Redeemer, our Head. We as his members must have such a reverence for the Father and for his will as is here specified. The nation of Israel could not love the Lord with all its heart, with its soul, with its might; this exhortation must be understood to be of an individual kind. Similarly the Church, Spiritual Israel, is not called upon to love the Lord with heart, soul, being, strength, but the individuals who are the Lord's and who are seeking to please him, to serve him, to lay down their lives in obedience to his will and in the forwarding of the divine purposes, are called upon so to do.
"And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart." It is not sufficient, as the Lord subsequently pointed out, that we should make a profession to be his people, for the "Lord looketh upon the heart." The complaint of the Lord through the Prophet against Spiritual Israel of today is the same as against Israel of old--"This people draw night unto me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me" --not all, but apparently the great majority. (`Isa. 29:13`; `Matt. 15:8`.) The lesson to us as Spiritual Israelites is contained in the Apostle's words that this command of chief love shall be in our hearts. If so, this love for God will permeate everything; we will love him and his service better than we would love sin and its pleasures, better than we would love friends, kindred, houses or lands or any other thing; and whoever has this first great commandment in his heart and is living in harmony with it, will be sure also to have the second commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
THE FRUITS OF SUCH A LOVE
That the Lord and Moses, his mouthpiece, did not seek to inculcate the mere nominal professions of love for God is clearly attested by the next verse, which declares respecting these divine commands, "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." One whose mind and heart would be so filled with love for God and the glorious attributes of his character would indeed be a saint. What time would he have for sin or frivolity? What a model home his would be! how well instructed his children would be in the dealings of divine providence and all the gracious promises of the divine Word! What moderation of word and of act would result from this intimate fellowship with God, and yet how the light would shine out from such a life!
The highest attainments under this exhortation were not reached under the Jewish dispensation, as the Apostle most clearly sets forth. The Jew did recognize a grandeur in the Mosaic Law, but it was so far above him and all his abilities that he gradually drifted into mere outward and formalistic observance of its propositions. But the Apostle explains that the highest attainments under this Law may be made by Spiritual Israelites during this Gospel Age. He declares, "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."-- `Rom. 8:4`.
In other words, although we are not more able to accurately keep that grand law than were the Jews, we who are in Christ, having his righteousness imputed as a covering for our blemishes and being made partakers of his holy Spirit, are able to approximate in spirit this grand position. And, although there are not many such "saints" in the world, we believe that WATCH TOWER readers represent a considerable number of those of whom the description in the verse before us is a fitting one. (`v. 7`.) And a still larger number are awakening to a realization of the true standard which the Lord has set for those who are following in the footsteps of Jesus. These are more and more watching and praying for the fulfilment in themselves of the Lord's will as here expressed. They are seeking to teach the divine statutes, laws of righteousness, etc., to their children by word and by example. They talk of them continually in their leisure moments, in the house, on the train, on the street--and thoughts of the Lord and his wonderful plan of salvation come first into their minds on awaking in the morning and are last in their thoughts as they retire to rest at night.
We are glad to testify that our increasing knowledge of the readers of this journal leads us to believe that they are in their hearts and in their lives seeking to approximate the condition of mind and heart here set forth as the ideal one, most pleasing to the Lord. At conventions this is particularly noticeable, and many have remarked that, with from five hundred to a thousand gathered from various parts, very rarely is there a word heard respecting business or pleasure or any other matter except as associated and connected with the Lord, his character, his plan and the service of his Truth. Strangers have commented upon this and marveled at it. Nevertheless, what else might we expect amongst those who are growing in grace and knowledge and love--amongst those who are coming nearer and nearer to an appreciation of the divine standards and whose hearts are full of the desire to know and to do the divine will.
Nor would we discourage those who have not yet attained to anything like this, the proper standard for the Lord's people. Rather would we bid them be of
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good courage and continue the fight against the world, the flesh and the Adversary, and to continue to watch and to pray, and to strive to attain the conditions here set before us as those pleasing and acceptable to our Father in heaven. To have the desire of heart is the first condition, and to heroically carry this forward in all the affairs of life is the second step. The two constitute overcoming the world. Thus God works in us first of all to will aright, and subsequently as we become stronger in faith and knowledge and grace the spirit of the truth works in us to do his good pleasure, so that in all our ways we acknowledge him and request that he may direct our paths. The family worship, the Heavenly Manna at the table--if we give it as important a place as the earthly food--and the study of the divine plan are channels through which the divine blessing is more and more entering the hearts and lives of many of our readers, and we trust that the good work will continue to go on and progress. Proportionately each one is a burning and a shining light in his home or amongst his acquaintances, whether they acknowledge this or make little of it. His testimony is pleasing to God and hopeful to himself, and ere long the Lord's favor will be abundantly manifested.
THE JEWISH PHYLACTERIES
Our Lord Jesus referred to a custom amongst the Jews of his day which still prevails--of binding the phylactery upon their foreheads and their arms, while making void the law of God through their traditions. The eighth verse is the foundation for this custom. It says, "Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine
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hand and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."
A phylactery is a little square leather box attached to a leather strap about a yard long. In the cubical leather box are placed parchments containing four passages of Scripture in four columns. (`Exodus 13:1-16`; `Deut. 6:4,11,13-21`.) These the Jews at times fastened upon the head, the box coming above and between the eyes; or again they fastened the box at the inside of the elbow, and wrapped the strap about the arm, holding the end in the hand. Poor Jews! they grasped with fervency an outward form, but, as the Lord pointed out, they missed the real kernel of the Law, namely, love out of a pure heart for God and for their neighbor. The wealthy and infidel Jews have of course abandoned this custom, but it is still in vogue amongst the most earnest or orthodox, who usually spend one hour in prayer every day and in putting on and off the phylactery.
There is a lesson for us in this failure of Natural Israel to catch the spirit of the divine command. Our Lord said that while they thus made an outward show their hearts had vicious thoughts, unloving, unkind thoughts, and hence they were merely drawing nigh to God with their lips in a formal manner and were not acceptable. We Spiritual Israelites do well to remember that, while we do not use the same outward forms, we might bow the knee and pray long and much and yet be far from acceptable to the Lord unless we allow his spirit of grace and truth to enter into our hearts and there produce that transformation which he tells us is alone pleasing and acceptable to him--a transformation which will make us less selfish, more generous, less proud, more humble, less children of this world, more the children of the Kingdom, seekers less of the things of this present time and more of the Kingdom of God and of the righteousness which it represents and will in due time enforce.
OUR OUTGOINGS AND INCOMINGS
"And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house and upon thy gates." It is doubtful if the Lord meant this to be understood and practised literally. It is probable that, instead of introducing to the people phylacteries, the meaning of the Lord's word was that they should consider the divine laws as overshadowing everything that they saw and as affecting everything that they did with their arm (strength) and as affecting every affair of life, in the home and outside of it. However, if the spirit of the matter could have been retained by the Jews, their phylacteries, we presume, would have proved no interference to the divine blessing nor their method of complying with the last requirement (`v. 9`). They complied with the letter by fastening in a prominent place in the doorway what they termed "mezuzah." This is a square piece of paper or parchment inscribed with `Deuteronomy 6:4-9`; `11:13-21`. It is rolled and placed in a small cylinder usually of wood or tin. It is the custom of the pious Jew to touch this with his finger on each occasion of his passing it, and say in Hebrew (`Psa. 121:8`), "The Lord preserve thy going out and thy coming in," etc.
The real thought which we attach to this injunction is that everything pertaining to us who are the Lord's, especially everything pertaining to the Church, which is the house, the family of God, is sacred to him and under his blessing, and we must confess him in every matter--"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Next (`vs. 10-12`) Moses exhorts on the blessing and prosperity soon to come to them in the Lord's providence should they not turn their hearts away from the source of their blessing. And we as Spiritual Israelites --especially we who at this time are enjoying so much refreshment at the Lord's hand in spiritual things--should never forget while enjoying these that they have all come to us through the Father. True, the Father, now as ever, uses means, agencies, Pilgrims, Colporteurs, books, tracts, etc., for bringing his grace and truth to his family, and everything that God is pleased to use for our blessing should be appreciated by us if we are in the proper attitude of heart and truly thankful to him. But neither the good things themselves nor those who bring them to us are to distract our attention from the great fact that all these blessings are of God, who giveth to us liberally, richly, and upbraideth us not for our seeking of them, but
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rather rewards us richly. As Israel was exhorted continually to remember how God had brought them out of the house of bondage, so we should continually remember how the Lord brought us out of the house of bondage--bondage to sin and error, and that this was accomplished through the great antitypical Moses, our Redeemer.
The closing verses of the lesson are exhortations again for reverence for the Lord and his name, and the repudiation of all other gods or rulers, and the assurance that instead of divine favor would come reprobation if we, after having been recipients of his favors and blessings and the spirit of adoption, should forget our obligations or turn from him unto sin. These lessons, so appropriate to Natural Israel, we recognize as still more appropriate, still more important, to us as New Creatures. Let us then take a valuable lesson, gird up the loins of our minds and strive patiently to the end of the way, when we shall be crowned if we faint not.
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"THE SERVANT OF THE LORD DIED"
--`DEUT. 34:1-12`.--SEPTEMBER 22.--
Golden Text:--"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."--`Psalm 116:15`.
MOSES had faithfully fulfilled the work of the Lord committed to his care down to and including his orations, mentioned in our last lesson, in which he urged upon Israel faithfulness to God similar to that which he had illustrated in himself. The Lord's time had come for a change in Israel's leadership, and Moses was instructed to go up into the mountain called Nebo, whose culminating peak is Pisgah --about nine miles east of the northern end of the Dead Sea. There God gave him a vision, a view of the glorious land where the people he had loved--and in whose interests he had sacrificed the honors and dignities and luxuries of the Egyptian Court--were to have their home as the people of the Lord, under the terms of the Covenant which he had mediated at Mount Sinai. In the clear atmosphere of that country any eye may see much of the land of promise, but under divine blessing and assistance, as in Moses' case, we can readily realize that the vision, the view, could be a very comprehensive one. It was a part of this great leader's reward, which doubtless greatly comforted his heart, enabling him to see that his labor for the Lord had not been in vain, but was destined finally to bring forth great fruitage.
The mental vision of Moses probably took in more than was visible to his natural sight. He understood that the Lord's blessing upon the nation, including that upon himself, was all a part of the great Abrahamic promise. He understood that the coming of Israel into this land which God had given to them was merely one step in the development of the divine plan. He understood that Israel was to become very great in the world, and ultimately be used as the Lord's instrumentality in guiding and instructing all the other nations. He understood that ere this would be accomplished a greater teacher than himself would come, a greater lawyer, a greater leader, a commander of the people --the Messiah. He could see in the promise made to Abraham--"In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed"--the ultimate results, but he could not see, we may be sure, the intermediate steps of divine providence as they are now open and plain before the eyes of those who are guided by the Lord's Word and Spirit to an understanding of the "deep things of God," which other eyes have not seen nor ears heard.
"THE HIDDEN MYSTERY"
The Apostle tells us that the riches of God's grace revealed during this Gospel Age were mysteries hidden from past ages and dispensations. (`Col. 1:26`.) Due time for their revealment had not come. Nor were they ever intended to be understood except by the Elect--To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom, but to outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings.--`Mark 4:11`.
The mystery of the divine plan, which Moses saw not, but which we now see through the apostolic explanation provided by the holy Spirit, is that the natural seed of Abraham, though it will have a part in the blessing of all the families of the earth, will not have the chief part except as it is represented by Jesus and the apostles and members of the early Church, who according to the flesh were of the natural seed of Abraham, but according to the spirit were the spiritual Seed-- the true heirs. Neither did Moses nor others of his time see that to this spiritual Seed, which originally was of the Jews, would be added members gathered out of every nation, people, kindred and tongue during this Gospel Age. Nor was it necessary that Moses should see or understand or appreciate more than he did. Greater knowledge would have been confusing to him instead of favorable. Thus, "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform." And again, as the poet declares:
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"Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will."
As we in mental picture see the great Moses looking over the land of Canaan and feasting upon the gracious promises of God to Israel--as we note his faithfulness in his long and arduous service and his peaceful resignation of his life into the hands of the Lord at its close, in full confidence of the fulfilment of the Oath-Bound Covenant, it points a lesson for us. We similarly are standing at the close of a great epoch. The antitypical Moses, Christ the Head and the Church his Body, has arisen amongst men, and for eighteen centuries has been leading onward in the direction of the
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Millennial Kingdom. The journey is almost concluded.
By the Lord's direction the living representatives of the Body of Christ, the antitypical Moses, are already on Mount Pisgah, and, looking beyond, are getting the antitypical vision of the glories of the age to come--of all the blessings that shall come to the world of mankind during the Millennial reign of Christ. With the eye of faith we perceive the blessing of all the families of the earth through the faithful ones of Spiritual Israel and the Ancient Worthies. We see gathering to their leadership and instruction, not only Israel, but all the families of the earth. We perceive the blessing of the light of the glory of the Lord as it shall fill the whole earth and make it no longer necessary for each to tell his neighbor and his brother, Know thou the Lord, because all shall know him. We perceive the fall of Babylon, the antitypical Jericho, and the rescue at the time of the Great Company of the Lord's true people who there were represented by Rahab. With the eye of faith we perceive the victory after victory which the people will gain over their various foes under the Spiritual Joshua, the Christ of glory. We perceive that ultimately, with still continued victories, even the last enemy shall be destroyed, and the whole groaning creation brought to the glorious place where there shall be no more sighing, no more dying, no more crying, because all the former things of sin and condemnation shall have passed away. This is our present vision from Mount Pisgah, and surely it is glorious and heart-inspiring. Soon in our changed condition beyond the vail we shall be members of the great Joshua, leading all the families of the earth to the victories and blessings promised through faith and obedience.
The prophecy of Baalim might properly be considered as the sentiment of Moses, as, looking down into the future he endeavored to discern the shadowy outlines of the coming blessings of God's Covenant, namely:
"I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not nigh:
There shall come forth a Star out of Jacob,
And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel."
"So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died...according to the word of the Lord: This is the land which he sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed. I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither." As we look into the beauties of the Millennial epoch, the Lord tells us that we shall not go over to possess it, but that it shall be for mankind. But he tells us more, namely, that he has "provided some better thing for us." (`Heb. 11:40`.) He tells us that we must die, that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (`I Cor. 15:50`.) The glorious vision shown us is merely for our comfort and strengthening in connection with the closing scenes of this age.
In the Hebrew language the expression, "according to the word of the Lord," would literally be, "by the mouth of the Lord," and Jewish rabbis have given this a poetic turn and say, "by the kiss of the Lord." It is a beautiful thought, for while Moses was about to pass to the extreme limit of the curse--death--he was recognized of the Lord and dealt with as a faithful servant; and in view of the fact that the divine plan had arranged for his redemption from sheol, the grave (`Hosea 13:14`), his death is appropriately described as a sleep. And thus we have the picture of a father kissing his child to sleep, and the other picture of the glorious morning of the resurrection in which the antitypical Moses, as the Father's representative, will awaken him to the blessings and eternal rewards which are his in the divine plan because of his faithfulness.
"THE DEATH OF HIS SAINTS"
This is the signification of the Golden Text, "Precious in the sight of Jehovah is the death of his holy ones." In a prominent sense our Lord was the Holy One of God, and his death was in the sight of the Father very precious, and his soul was not left in sheol, in hades, in the state of death. He was "raised again from the dead on the third day." And through him not only the faith and obedience of the Church are counted for righteousness, but likewise the faith and obedience of Moses and the Ancient Worthies. It is on this account that these may be called saints, holy ones, because in the divine plan the merit of the Redeemer is imputed to them, and through him all these are now in divine favor. Consequently, precious in Jehovah's sight was the death of all such; and of all now walking by faith and seeking to do his will.
From this standpoint we may understand that the death of our dear Redeemer, like that of all of God's consecrated ones who have died, and much more so, was precious in the Father's sight, and that even though he died as the sinner, crying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me," nevertheless he died with the Father's kiss. So may it be with all those consecrated to walk in the footsteps of their Redeemer. Covered with his robe of righteousness they are all precious to the Father, and their death under whatever circumstances will really not be accidental, but a kiss of divine approval and seal of the coming blessing in the First Resurrection.
THE HIDDEN SEPULCHRE
The Lord himself buried Moses, hiding the place of his sepulchre. The primary reason for this probably was to hinder the Israelites from carrying his corpse as a mummy, which in after time might have become a temptation to idolatry. The passage in `Jude 9`, which mentions Michael contending with Satan concerning the body of Moses, is a hint along this line, that Satan desired to have the corpse to use it for the further misleading of the people, but that the Lord through Michael the archangel hindered, prevented this, and kept the burial-place a secret from the Israelites.
But there is another view of this matter which is interesting because it relates to Spiritual Israel. Jesus and the Church unitedly constitute the antitypical, or greater Moses--the Spiritual. Their inheritance is not
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to be earthly but heavenly, and a grave is a symbol of hope as respects an earthly resurrection. Hence it was appropriate that the type should not show an earthly grave since the antitype has no hope in that connection. Our hopes are not fleshly, not restitutional hopes, but hopes as New Creatures of glory, honor and immortality in joint-heirship with our glorious Head.
THE MEEKEST AND THE GREATEST
The Scriptures write down Moses as the meekest man, and history has written him down as one of the greatest of men. Our Lord and the apostles and others of the Church are not introduced in this comparison because their greatness is not as men but as New Creatures. They sacrificed earthly occupations, etc., that they might preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and suffer therefor.
When one hundred and twenty years old Moses' eye was not dim, his vigor had not fled! This is a remarkable statement in whatever light we view it. Forty years was he schooled in all the learning of the Egyptians, a member of the Court and a general. Forty years more he was hidden from view in the desert region as a herder of sheep, learning, we may be sure, lessons of patience, endurance, self-control and humility. And now, finally, the last forty years of his life he was used mightily of God, and yet maintained humility and exemplified the wonderful qualities of a judge and lawgiver, and later a general, a prophet, a priest, a teacher. The poet has said of him:--
"This was the truest warrior
That ever buckled sword;
This the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word.
And never earth's philosopher
Traced with his golden pen
On the deathless page, truths half so sage
As he wrote down for men.
"And had he not high honor?
The hillside for his pall,
To lie in state, while angels wait
With stars for tapers tall;
And the dark rock pines, like tossing plumes,
Over his bier to wave,
And God's own hand, in that lonely land,
To lay him in the grave."
Our lesson says of him that there has risen no prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, because not only was his birth and development specially under divine blessing and guidance, but he fully submitted himself to the Lord in meekness, in humility, and was therefore specially used of him as a type or picture of
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the still greater Prophet--the Christ of glory. (`Acts 3:22,23`.) Let us use the words of others in describing this great servant of God:--
Moses, the Statesman: "Inspiration apart, Moses possessed all those endowments and qualities which form the consummate statesman and chief magistrate; an intellect of the highest order; perfect mastery of all the civil wisdom of the age; a penetrating, comprehensive and sagacious judgment; great promptness and energy in action; patriotism which neither ingratitude, ill treatment nor rebellion could quench or even cool; a commanding and persuasive eloquence; a hearty love of truth; an incorruptible virtue; an entire freedom from selfish ambition; an invincible hatred of tyranny and injustice; a patient endurance of toil; a courageous contempt of danger, and a greatness of soul in which he has never been surpassed by the most admired heroes of ancient or modern times. Comprehensiveness, grasp, force, sagacity, were the predominant characteristics of his mind; magnanimity, disinterestedness, an enthusiastic devotion to liberty and an ardent but rational piety, were the leading qualities of his heart."
As a General: "Moses delivered his people from the most powerful nation on earth; maintained them amid the perils of the desert for forty years, and led them in confidence against a country settled by fierce tribes, which they conquered."
As a Lawgiver: "However much may have been added by the development of the people, like the amendments to the Constitution and laws of the United States, yet through Moses was instituted the great system of civil and religious law."
As a Poet: "The two songs in `Deut. 32` and `33` and `Psalm 90`."
As an Orator: "The great orations in Deuteronomy stand among the few greatest masterpieces of eloquence in the world's history, if not at their head."
"WHOM THE LORD KNEW FACE TO FACE"
To others of the prophets the Lord usually manifested himself through visions or dreams or by angels in human form, but seemingly Moses was granted a still closer approach to the divine presence. When thinking of the expression, "face to face," we should understand it to signify that Moses enjoyed a closeness of fellowship and favor with the Lord rather than that he really looked into the face of Jehovah, concerning which it is written, "No man can see my face and live" (`Ex. 33:20`); and again, "Whom no man hath seen or can see." (`I Tim. 6:16`.) It may be that our Lord Jesus as Michael especially represented the Father with Moses, as it was he who prevented the Adversary from having Moses' body after death. But in any event, applying the matter antitypically to the Christ, we see that in a special sense the antitypical Moses in the flesh throughout this Gospel Age has had a favor in connection with the divine presence not enjoyed by any others of previous times.
We see the Lord's face with the eye of faith, for we have seen our Lord Jesus, who represents the Father, and who declares that whosoever hath seen him hath seen the Father--has enjoyed the best possible revelation of the Father whom no man hath seen. Again he declares respecting the Church, his Body, "Their angels [messengers] do always have access to the face of my Father," as though he would tell us that all of our interests and affairs are brought directly to the Father's attention, so that there is no danger of any delay and any peradventure that all things will work together for good to them who love him. Again we see the Father's face in the sense that we see his love, which is displayed to us through a knowledge of the Truth by the holy Spirit granted to us. Not merely divine
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power do we see, not merely divine wisdom do we see, not merely divine justice do we see--but God himself is love, and he has shown us his love. We who with the eyes of our understanding have seen our Redeemer and come to a knowledge of him have seen the Father and become acquainted with him proportionately, for all things are of the Father and all things are by the Son. "Let me die the death of the righteous--let my last end be like his."--`Numbers 23:10`.
Our Lord Jesus was the Righteous One, and when we think of death we are to think of him and his death, and to remember that as he laid down his life we also ought to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren. As he sacrificed earthly interests and advantages and privileges and pleasures that he might die the sacrificial death in accord with the divine plan, so let us remember that we have covenanted similarly to be "dead with him." For if we be dead with him we shall also live with him; if we suffer with him we shall also reign with him. Our hope of participation with him in his resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, is based upon our faithfulness in participating with him in his death, which means also a share with him in the sufferings of this present time. But standing as we do with the Pisgah prospect before us, strengthened by might in the inner-man, why should either death or its attendant sufferings deter us? Nay, in all these things we will rejoice and triumph through our Lord and Redeemer, our Head!
"MEN OF LIKE PASSIONS WITH YOURSELVES"
These were the words of the Apostle Paul, and his humble statement respecting himself and his companions is true also of Moses and all the Ancient Worthies, and is in full harmony with the Scriptural declaration, "There is none righteous [perfect], no not one." We here quote the words of another respecting the blemishes of Moses' career:--
"Two or three items to his fault are attributed to Moses, as every saint has failed in some point at some time. There is no garden but has some weeds. But the most unjust thing we can do is to measure its value by its weeds and not by its fruits. 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' Moses' few faults are such as will never be noticed at all by a worldly man. They are like a broken limb on a tree loaded with magnificent fruit. All God's works through men are done by imperfect instruments."
"There's a fleck of rust on a faultless blade--
On the armor of price there is one.
There's a mole on the cheek of the lovely maid;
There are spots upon the sun."
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Golden Text:--"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy."--`Psalm 103:8`.
BEFORE starting the studies of a new quarter we are urged to take a glance back over what we have seen during the present one. It discloses an interesting panorama and a profitable one. Israel's history therein depicted is in sharp contrast with that of any other nation of earth. How consistent with the facts is the Scriptural declaration concerning Israel, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." (`Amos 3:2`.) God, of course, knew of the other nations, and in a general way caused his sun to shine upon the just and the unjust, the evil and the good. He has supervised the affairs of the nations to the extent of hindering conditions which would be inimical to his gracious plans for the ultimate blessing of all the families of the earth; but, as declared, he revealed himself to and was in active cooperation with the nation of Israel alone, the seed of Abraham, up to the time that they were cast off, when they rejected Messiah. Since then, as we have seen, the divine care, blessing, promises, revelations, etc., have been turned to Spiritual Israel--the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, Christ and the Church, the new nation, the Royal Priesthood, the Holy People.
We get the most good from the experiences of fleshly Israel by seeing through them as types, figures, illustrations, the Lord's providences toward Spiritual Israel. Thus Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage corresponds to our deliverance from the bondage of sin, condemnation and death. Their deliverer, Moses, corresponds to our deliverer, Jesus. Their trial and testing at the Red Sea correspond to the test of our full consecration to the Lord at the beginning of our journey--the entrance upon the narrow way. The springs and oases of their desert journey to Sinai correspond well with the times of refreshing of a spiritual kind granted to us in the midst of our trying experiences, resulting from our following our Leader and finding as a consequence the world against us. Their coming to Sinai corresponds in some measure with our growth in knowledge and our greater responsibility therefor, and our fuller realization of the greatness of our God and the responsibilities of the relationship to him into which we have entered. Their daily portion of manna, God's supply, but painstakingly received, corresponds well to our spiritual sustenance received of the Lord from his storehouse, the Bible. Although the supply is sufficient, time and patient perseverance are requisite for securing it, for gathering it. The fact that their manna came every day, and in the proportion necessary, well illustrates the fact that our spiritual food must be partaken of daily, must be gathered daily --"meat in due season."
The short journey to Kadesh-Barnea, from whence spies went forth, indicates the short time which should elapse with us before we should enter into the riches of God's favor by faith. The viewing of the land enjoyed by Caleb and Joshua represents well the joyful experiences of those who fully trust in the Lord and fully
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consecrate to him and are already able even on this side the vail to enter into the joys of the Lord by faith. The evil report of the other spies, and the unwillingness of the Israelites to go forward in faith to possess the land, represent well the condition of the majority of the Lord's people--they cannot enjoy because they cannot believe, because they have not sufficient faith in the power of God and in the certainty of his promises.
MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS, SLOW TO ANGER
Our Golden Text reminds us that the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, and we see this well illustrated in the case of fleshly Israel in the wilderness experiences, in the history of the Lord's people of this Gospel Age, nominal spiritual Israel, and also in the cases of the faithful ones. Can we not all realize how patient and merciful the Lord has been to us in our various experiences in life? Can we not see how he would have been fully justified in canceling our Covenant long ago, and that only of his mercy and love have we been permitted to come thus far on the way toward the heavenly Kingdom? Surely a realization of these things should make us both humble and trustful. Moreover the Lord informs us that he has a still further requirement, namely, that if we would appreciate his greatness and mercy through Christ in our own cases we shall exercise similarly mercy and forbearance toward others who may transgress against us. Indeed, so earnest is the Lord in impressing this matter upon us that he positively declares that none of us can maintain relationship with him except as he shall develop this spirit, this character, in relationship to his brethren and fellow-servants. How generous, how considerate, how moderate, how forgiving, all this should lead us to be in our dealings with the brethren, especially with those who have in any measure wounded or injured us or our interests.
Finally, let us remember Moses on Mount Nebo looking across Jordan into the promised land--and preparing for his burial. Let us more and more realize that this should be our attitude; that as the Body of Christ in the flesh we are soon to die, and that beyond the vail we will be New Creatures. Let us remember that the mountain-top of Christian experience should now be our portion, and that from thence the clear eye of faith should be able distinctly to discern the outlines of the glorious inheritance which the Lord hath in reservation for them that love him, the possession of which we are hoping so soon to share.
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THE CHATAUQUA SALUTE
Question.--To our surprise a "Brother" found fault with our giving the Chatauqua salute when Brother Russell appeared at the Denver Convention. I ask for information whether or not any evil significance attaches to such a form of salute?
Answer.--There is no evil significance to the "Chatauqua salute." It is one of the most decorous and civilized salutes known. It was started as an offset to hand-clapping, foot-stamping and cheering; and surely it is much more polite. An audience must have some method of expressing its greeting, and a less objectionable form surely could not be imagined by anybody. True, the Scriptures do not command or even mention the "Chatauqua salute"; but then neither do they commend handshaking, which is merely a private salutation as the other is a general one. However, let us recognize each other's right to shake the hand or the head or the handkerchief or not, as each may choose.
Let us remember, too, that "Your Adversary the devil goeth about as a ferocious lion, seeking whom he may devour--whom resist," says the Apostle. We may be sure that he attends all the Conventions; and that his influence is continually exerted to sow discord, strife and every other work of the flesh and of the devil. He works upon our imperfect heads and hearts. "We are not ignorant of his devices," writes the Apostle, and we well know that wrong-heartedness is far more dangerous than wrong-headedness. The latter the Lord has promised to protect us from, but not from the former: we must be "pure in heart," else we will not long be reckoned amongst the branches of the True Vine, but be cut off; for Love is the fruit of the Spirit--the fruit of the Vine. And "herein is your Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." Oh! then, how we should watch and pray against the spirit of envy, malice, wrath, strife, contention; and cultivate meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, Love. Thus, as directed, let us keep our hearts in the love that is of God; keep them with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life--the decision as to our everlasting future of Life or Death eternal. Let us all be on guard. And let those who have on the whole armor and who know how to use the sword of the Spirit assist the weaker to overcome the Tempter's snares and wiles.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I am thinking of you all this morning as being at breakfast while I write--discussing the Heavenly Manna text for the day: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee," and I am sure the discussion going on is reminding all of the greatness of the privilege of that perfect peace. I am trying to the more thoroughly bring my own heart into that state of staying (fixing) upon the Lord that I might enjoy still more completely the perfect peace.
I am having a great blessing in association with the dear ones here. The community is a country one, and great opposition is manifest by the people, but there is a gathering here which would shame many large cities--about fifty persons. The population is only about 8,000 persons. Bro. S__________, the leader, used to
be a chemist and druggist, but has recently given up his business entirely, so that both himself and wife might engage in the Colporteur work, which they are determined to make the best of, although some conditions here make the work far more difficult than in America. They are aided very much in reaching small towns by an automobile, capable of holding two, the expense of maintaining which is less than the railway fares of one person would be, and they are thus able to carry their books with them while canvassing, and to deliver at once.
I am trying to get as accurate an idea of the Colporteur situation as I can while here, that I may give you an intelligible report of it when I get home, and have been out myself to do some canvassing, that I might know from actual experience the attitude of the people. I find that one of the greatest hindrances here is the absolute indifference of the great majority to any kind of religious matter, and the engagement to a remarkable degree in the pursuit of pleasure. I shall make some canvassing experiments in other parts where time will permit.
The friends everywhere are longing to see you. Many of them have come into the Truth only recently, and they are very anxious to express personally their gratitude to God in bringing the knowledge of his plan to them through you. They love you most sincerely and when I have mentioned your hope to be able to come next year a wave of joy seemed to pass over them all. One dear sister here tells me she wanted to tell you her feelings of gratitude for what the Lord had given her through you, and she wrote seven letters, one after the other, in an attempt to put her thoughts into words, but she never sent you any of them, because she thought they weren't good enough. Doubtless in the Kingdom she will be able to express all she feels.
The zeal and love of the friends is a constant lesson and reminder, and I feel that I am learning very much by my association with them all. I pray that I may have heavenly wisdom to apply the lessons learned.
With much love to you, dear Brother Russell, and to every one of the dear ones at the Bible House, and asking that you will kindly remember me specially in prayer that I may use and not abuse my precious privileges in the Lord's glorious service, and assuring you that every day I remember yourself and the dear ones with you,
Your brother and servant in our Lord,
A. E. WILLIAMSON,--England.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is with pleasure I pen you these few lines, just to inform you of the blessings received in the service granted me in the harvest field, "not of merit but of grace," and never did I feel so weak in myself as of late, but the Apostle so clearly brings the matter to our view, saying, "When I am weak, then am I strong," etc.
Knowing of your love toward all the Lord's people, I am glad to be able to express, on behalf of those whom it has been my privilege to meet, their love toward you, dear brother, which has been manifested in so many ways.
I firmly believe that those who are having the greatest joys "in the Lord" at the present time are those who have first made a careful and prayerful study of the DAWNS, with Bible in hand, thereby putting on the armor, and having done so are active in service to the extent of their ability, in whatever position the Lord has placed them. These seem to be the clearest in Present Truth, and find the yoke easy, rejoicing that they have the privilege of suffering with him.
I enclose a part of a letter received yesterday from a very dear Colporteur brother who has a family to support. It reads as follows:--
"I often think what an opportunity there is for those of our single brothers of good ability and with no encumbrance. I would not think of using my time in secular employment, while the opportunity was afforded of doing "harvest" work, if I were single. I am glad that the dear Lord has given me the privilege of using a little time this way, and trust I will be able to put in a few more months. In the last seven days I have sold 250 books.
"'Lord, if I may,
I'll serve another day.'"
A dear sister has also written me, saying: "Since you were here the Lord has opened the way, and now I am in the 'harvest field.' And oh, the blessings that come from day to day! How unworthy I am of such favors!"
And now, dear brother, may the Lord continue to bless you, as you endeavor to serve the household of faith. As ever,
Your brother in our Redeemer,
W. M. HERSEE,--Pilgrim.
I ask the prayers of the office household that I may be emptied of self and filled with the holy Spirit and wisdom of our Father for this work.
I would like to tell you of the condition of the Church in A__________: I can say as a class they are growing in grace and knowledge, and from what I have seen and heard from other places I think that there is more of grace and peace than in many classes, and I attribute it to our being willing to partake of what is "meat in due season," as it is given to us from the "storehouse" by the appointed servant.
There is none in our company who is pushing ahead for meat not yet due, so that all the little disturbances that come from differences of opinion on such points are avoided--that is, we might say, spiritual dyspepsia, cramps and pains from undigested food.
Nearly all the class a short time ago started to reread the set of DAWNS, twelve pages a day, and are being blessed in it. We have three and sometimes four elders, so avoid strife on that line, and develop new material.
Your brother and servant in the service of our Lord and Redeemer, J. H. HENIKA,--Georgia.