VOL. XXXVI NOVEMBER 15 No. 22
A. D. 1915--A.M. 6044
The Editor's November Itinerary...................338
Views From The Watch Tower........................339
The Sin of the Church.........................339
Marching to Universal Slaughter-House.........339
The Secret Place (Poem)...........................340
Why God Has Permitted Satan's Lying
Fallen Spirits Especially Active Today........342
Delusions of Christian Science, Etc...........342
All But "Very Elect" to Be Deceived...........343
The Ministry of Sorrow............................344
Depths of Sorrow--Heights of Joy..............344
"This Honor Have All His Saints"..................346
Amos the Fearless Prophet.........................347
Giants in the Earth Forebode Evil.............349
"Pride Goeth Before Destruction"..................349
"Light Afflictions--But for a Moment".........351
Blazed a Track Through Bad Theology...........351
Canada Red Cross Contributions................351
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
Pastor Russell has arranged to visit the following Classes and to give Public addresses at the places and times named. Additionally he expects to address the Bible Students at each place less publicly. In many of the places arrangements have been made for two and three-day conventions:
Montreal, Que., Nov. 21.
3:00 P.M., His Majesty's Theatre, Guy St.
Watertown, N.Y., Nov. 22
8:00 P.M., City Opera House, Arsenal St.
Orillia, Ont., Nov. 24.
7:30 P.M., Orillia Auditorium.
Galt, Ont., Nov. 25.
7:30 P.M., Scott's Opera House.
Port Huron, Mich., Nov. 26.
7:30 P.M., Masonic Temple.
Pontiac, Mich., Nov. 27.
7:30 P.M., The Armory.
Grand Rapids, Mich., Nov. 28.
3:00 P.M., Powers' Theatre, Pearl St., N.W.
Jackson, Mich., Nov. 28.
8:00 P.M., Masonic Temple, Cortland St.
Jamestown, N.Y., Nov. 29.
7:30 P.M., Samuels' Opera House, E. Second St.
Commencing with the next issue Brother Russell's appointments will be shown on the last page of THE WATCH TOWER.
"POEMS OF DAWN"
In our issue of Nov. 1, page 334, re new "Poems of Dawn," we neglected to mention that it has both an alphabetical index and a topical index. This is a feature which, we understand, some of the friends missed in our former edition.
The prices quoted are very low, permitting the books to be freely used as Christmas tokens. We can imagine very few Christmas gifts more appropriate. The book contains beautiful poetry suited to nearly every condition of the Christian's life.
SPECIAL PUBLIC PILGRIM MEETINGS
We are well aware that the Bible Students' classes do not represent a large amount of wealth, and hence, that their means for advancing the Truth are to that extent circumscribed. Nothing below is intended to urge any class to do more than its judgment and opportunities will reasonably permit it to do.
The success of the one-day conventions in conjunction with the public address by the Editor of THE WATCH TOWER leads us to the thought that possibly similarly good results might be obtained in conjunction with public lectures by others of the Pilgrim brethren. We had in mind, therefore, selecting from the Pilgrim staff several brethren of special ability for interesting the public, and employing these for special meetings at places where the friends desire and can provide for public meetings.
Only first-class auditoriums of good reputation should be thought of. Rinks, casinos and coliseums are generally unsatisfactory. They do well enough for political gatherings and other public functions where it is not necessary for every word to be heard; but for the presentation of the Truth, opera houses, theatres, etc., are usually much to be preferred. Large audiences and good houses are obtainable any night in the week if intelligently sought.
Whenever the class has a good auditorium, not higher up than the second floor, the follow-up meeting should be held on the following Sunday by one of the local brethren, if competent. The topic for that meeting might well be "The Second Coming of Christ--How? When? Why?"
Classes desiring such special public services will please notify THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, Care Pilgrim Department.
I. B. S. A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
Questions from Manual on Series Third of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
Week of December 5..Q. 21 to 27 Week of December 19..Q. 35 to 42 Week of December 12..Q. 28 to 34 Week of December 26..Q. 43 to 50
Question Manuals on Vol. III., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 5c. each; or 50c. per dozen, postpaid.
::R5798 : page 339::
VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE SIN OF THE CHURCH
BY RT. REV. CHARLES D. WILLIAMS
(PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MICHIGAN.)
IT IS an appalling thought that the Church should have had a part in the crime of Calvary, and yet it did, and that the chief part. It is really the villain of the plot.
What was the sin of the Church that crucified Christ? Or, to put it another way, what are the characteristics of a perverted religion? They are chiefly two:
1. The ecclesiastical mind.
2. The ecclesiastical conscience.
The ecclesiastical mind is a closed mind--and there is nothing it resents so much as being pried open to receive a new idea. Its settled rule of judgment, its accepted test of truth, is "What is new is never true and what is true is never new." Philip Gilbert Hammerton has aptly compared the conventional process of religious instruction and training to the process of etching on glass. The mind of the pupil is first covered with an impervious coat of pious prejudice. The pattern of the desired creed is then carefully traced with the stylus of authority; and then only is the mind exposed to the sand-blast of reality and the acid test of experience, which cut along the exposed lines only and the desired creed is indelibly engraved upon the mind.
The other characteristic of a perverted religion is the ecclesiastical conscience. It is strikingly illustrated by one Good Friday scene. A procession is sweeping through the streets of Jerusalem, bound for the Governor's Palace. Who compose this procession? They are the religious leaders of the people, the prominent divines, the chief ecclesiastics, the dignitaries and prelates of the Church, and the Sanhedrin, the chief religious legislative body of the nation. It is as if you rolled into one the Presbyterian General Assembly, the Methodist General Conference, the Episcopal General Convention, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, and the House of Lords, with the whole Bench of Bishops.
What is the business they have in mind? They are intent on committing the greatest crime in history--a crime at which the whole world has shuddered ever since. They would crucify the Son of God. But at Pilate's threshold they stop. Why? Ah, they have stumbled across a statute with a penalty, a canon of the Church with a sanction. And these people have great respect for penalties and sanctions, if they have little for truth and righteousness. If they should enter a heathen house that Passover morning, they would become ceremonially defiled and unfit to partake of the sacrament. They would lose their reputation for strict churchmanship. They are indefinitely scrupulous and utterly unprincipled, entirely sincere and yet completely untruthful and unrighteous, pious and perverted.
The "ecclesiastical conscience" holds the precept so near the eye that it hides the principle; it substitutes petty, thumb-nail rules for the fundamental law of righteousness. It makes religiousness a substitute for righteousness instead of a means thereto. It puts technical priests and properties in the place of character. It makes churchmanship do for religion and "churchianity" for "Christianity."
And the ecclesiastical conscience is not confined to the Church. The lawyer who makes a legality his test instead of justice; the merchant who is satisfied simply to conform to the code of his trade, whose excuse for any dishonesty is, "They all do it"; the "gentleman" or "lady" who puts good form and manners in the place of sincerity and kindliness of heart, and politeness in place of courtesy --all are alike animated by the ecclesiastical conscience.
It was this ecclesiastical mind and this ecclesiastical conscience which crucified Jesus Christ.
MARCHING TO UNIVERSAL SLAUGHTER-HOUSE
Again we quote for the benefit of our readers, truthful words from an editorial of the New York American, as follows:
"We are living today in a time more trying to the souls of men than any period of the world's history. We are witnessing, in the war which involves every continent of the earth in the direct conflict of arms, a visitation of horror and destruction greater than the human race has ever suffered before. From North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, from every corner of the earth and every clime, human beings are marching to the universal slaughter-house.
"In one year of this fearful struggle billions of property has been destroyed, and the bloody combatants already claim to have murdered or maimed more than four million human beings. This is all in one year, and no decision is yet in sight. Neither side has yet won a decisive advantage.
"The military experts believe that the war has only just begun. Lord Kitchener, head of the British forces, declared, even before the Russian defeats, that it would
::R5798 : page 340::
take three years to reduce the Teutonic allies and the Turks, while the disinterested military experts are doubtful if the Central Empires can ever be conquered.
"The French, the British, the Russians and the Italians are waiting until their factories, and our own American factories, can equip their armies with guns and ammunition which they need in order to bring to bear their greatest power for destruction. If four million men have gone in one year in which the side that is stronger in numbers has not yet brought its full strength to bear, what will be the wastage in human life if they fight it out to a finish?
"We Americans are neutral. But are we not interested?
::R5799 : page 340::
Are we not involved in this fearful struggle? Are we not involved in it as a part of the human family, as members of the white race, as participants in the Western civilization, all of which are threatened by a prolongation of this dreadful carnage?
"If this war is fought out to a finish, shall we not suffer morally and materially, whichever side wins? If the allies are the conquerors and the German people are overwhelmingly beaten and broken, shall we not, as part of the world, suffer an irretrievable loss? Germany's wonderful contributions to the world of science and industry and commerce are known to all business men. But, great as they are, her contributions to governmental efficiency, to the ability of society acting as a social unit to perform wonders for the benefit of her people beyond even the dreams of individuals, have scarcely yet been recognized. She is making a contribution to socialistic experiments greater than was ever known to any people before. Her national Government owns its railroads, its telephone and telegraph companies. Her great cities own their waterworks, their gas and electric light companies and their street railways. They build wharves and docks and they plant forests and they develop land, not by individual initiative, but as a governmental function. They, first among the nations, began to free their workingmen from industrial slavery by old age pensions, workingmen's compensation laws and rigid safety appliance laws and inspections. They first devised the means of freeing the farmers from financial peonage by rural credits through which the farmer could borrow money from the State to improve his farm. They are showing the world what the people in their organized capacity can do and how prosperous they can make themselves, even though crowded within the confines of a not too favorable territory. We Americans are every day copying something from the German socialistic experiments. Can we see them crushed without immeasurable loss to ourselves?
"If, on the other hand, the Allies should be crushed, it would involve the destruction of France and of a historically great people whose contribution to human liberty and to the economic freedom of the world John Stuart Mill, the distinguished political economist, has declared greater than that of any other, even including our own.
"Would it benefit the world to see the spirit of England broken and her commercial and industrial efficiency impaired and her purchasing power destroyed? There never was a time in the last twenty-five years when, if England could no longer buy from us, we would not have faced a financial crisis. We do not forget the great enterprises and the great industrial developments in America which English capital has financed. We cannot forget that most of the elementary principles of liberty which we call our own had their birth and first development in Great Britain."
* * *
When, after reading the above editorial, we call to mind that the Lord in the Bible has foretold the direst things foreboded in the editorial, and much more--even to anarchy and the entire destruction of the present order of things--we might well weep. God has kindly veiled the eyes of humanity that they do not see the coming storm in all its dread severity; because they have no eyes of faith to see the resulting blessings as we see them.
How glad we are to know that ours is a God of love --to know that the millions that are dying in frenzied strife are not going to eternal torture, but in due time they shall share in the general blessings of the world which Messiah's Kingdom will accomplish. Can we wonder then that our Master left the message, "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then lift up your heads and rejoice; knowing that your deliverance draweth nigh"?--`Luke 21:28`.
If the deliverance of the Church meant eternal suffering to the non-elect, how could we rejoice in it? But as our eyes of understanding are opening, we see with astonished wonder the lengths and the breadths, the heights and the depths of the great Creator's love and mercy. We perceive that the glorification of the Church means the blessing of all then alive by the inauguration of the reign of righteousness and peace, and by the breaking of the shackles of sin and ignorance, and by the binding of Satan for a thousand years. And oh, so much more, the release of the thousands of millions of heathens who, for the past six thousand years, have been going down into the great prison-house of death--the Bible hell--the tomb! With this rosy view of the future, which the Bible so surely gives, darkness and clouds, sorrows and tears for the immediate present cannot daunt us. Our souls do magnify the Lord! We sing daily, hourly, the new song, "True and righteous are Thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty! Who shall not come and worship before Thee, when all Thy righteous dealings shall be made manifest?"--`Revelation 15:3,4`; `16:7`.
THE SECRET PLACE
Wondrous the thought--that the Father
Knows of our every care;
Feels for us when the shadow
Lurks where the sky was fair:
Knows of the pent-up sorrow,
Feels for the eyes that weep;
Tells of a brighter Morrow
Where shadows never creep!
Precious to know the Good Shepherd
Tenderly guides His sheep
Over the stony places;
Cares when the path is steep:
Watches for greenest pastures,
Tends them with loving skill;
Guards them from fright and danger,
Leads them by Waters still!
Joyous the thought--that the angels,
Guardians are, to keep;
Bearing in hands so tender
Weary and wounded Feet
Daily are gaining access
To the dear Father's face;
Hourly are seeking succor
For those who crave His grace!
Blessed to feel we are dwelling
Safe in the Secret Place;
Under Jehovah's shadow,
Trusting till we can trace:
Knowing no ill can harm us,
Knowing His Arm of Love
Safely will shield, till He calls us
Unto His Home above!
--MARY CLEVELAND JEWELL.
::R5799 : page 341::
WHY GOD HAS PERMITTED SATAN'S LYING DECEPTIONS
"The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." --`Deuteronomy 13:3`.
GOD'S children realize that this text is to them full of deep significance and import. It can scarcely be considered too often or be too strongly emphasized. The word prove has the sense of test, demonstrate. The words were addressed to Israel, God's chosen people who had entered into a special Covenant with Him, agreeing to be His people, set apart from the heathen nations by whom they were surrounded, to be a holy nation, Jehovah's peculiar treasure; and He had agreed to be their God. As they had promised to obey all God's requirements, so it was proper that the Lord should prove them. He did not prove the heathen nations; for they had made no covenant with Him and were not in relationship to Him as His servants. But Israel must be proved. The character of their testing is shown in the context. This proving would be accomplished by permitting false teachers, false prophets, to be amongst them.
We are to remember that the word prophet, in its broadest signification, means one who teaches, as well as one who foretells. The Lord permitted some to be among the Israelites who would declare things designed to mislead them into the worship of other gods. This would not be because God could not have stricken down the false teachers, but it was permitted as a test to the people who professed to be consecrated to the service of the true God, Jehovah. These false prophets were able to give signs or demonstrations to convince of their miraculous power. But Israel was warned of God to give heed to no prophet whose teachings and works would tend to lead them away from Jehovah and His service. Such signs and wonders are still frequent accompaniments of the heathen religions, which are inspired by Satan and his demon hosts.
Since all that happened to fleshly Israel was for our
::R5800 : page 341::
admonition (`1 Corinthians 10:11`), our text has a very forceful application to Spiritual Israel. "The Prince of demons" and his hosts of fallen spirits have great wonder-working powers, as well as considerable ability to foretell future events, sometimes with marvelous accuracy. The fallen angels possess much knowledge of earthly affairs, with power to read the mind as well. This has been true throughout the past.
One of the tests that spirit-mediums formerly used was to tell of the death of some one before it had become known. They would tell, for instance, of the death of some notable. They might declare, "The king of Sweden died today." There would be no means of verifying this information until some ship would come over; for in those days, before the invention of the telegraph and cable, news traveled very slowly. But in a month or two the news would come, and it would prove to be true as foretold by the medium. It would sometimes be found that he had died at the very hour that the medium had declared. Mediums can do less along this line today because of modern inventions for the rapid transmission of news throughout the world; but they have many other means of ascertaining facts and communicating them.
GOD'S WORD HIS PEOPLE'S GUIDE
We are not informed regarding the power used by the fallen angels in their miracle working and cures, but we know that it is not from God. It is for the Lord's children to remember that He has given us His Word, and that He reveals Himself through this Word. It is sufficient that He warns us against having anything to do with these occult powers. Examples of such warnings are found in the following Scriptures: `Leviticus 19:31`; `20:6,27`; `Deuteronomy 18:10-12`; `2 Kings 17:17`; `23:24`; `1 Chronicles 10:13`; `2 Chronicles 33:6`; `Isaiah 8:19`; `Jeremiah 27:9,10`; `29:8,9`; `Luke 8:26-35`; `Acts 16:16-18`.
We are to search the Scriptures and thus to learn about God and His great Plan, and we are not to permit any of these false prophets to lead us away from Him or to have any influence over us. The Lord permits this evil influence to be in the world. Why? Because He is now selecting the Bride for His Son, and He wishes the members of this class to be tested. Only by permitting false teachers could He demonstrate to Himself and to the angels to what extent His professed people are loyal to Him, and whether they will follow false doctrines and false teachers. The Lord will have only those to be of the Very Elect who will obey Him and will trust Him even where they cannot trace Him; so long as they have His Word, His Testimony, it should be sufficient.
The tendency of all these false teachers is to lead away from the one true God to the worship of demons. There are a great many gods, even in America. When a Brahmin comes to this country to live, he just as truly worships Brahma here as in India. Theosophists also make their images or idols to take the place of the true God. Because of greater civilization the false gods are not always of clay or bronze or wood. But today the idol images are often made with printer's ink. The gods that the heathen of civilized countries worship are very different from the God of the Bible.
There are very many today in civilized countries who do not worship the true God. Some have an abstract idea of a principle of right, and this principle is their god. They have also an idea of a principle of evil or wrong, and this evil principle is to them the Devil, and is the only devil they recognize. These people are seeking to do right, but they are deluded.
There are more and more of these false gods coming up in these days. There is the New Thought god. We believe that these new, unscriptural theories and ideas are from the demons, who are gaining greater power to deceive at this time. We do not know that the false teachings of the past were recognized as false by those teaching them--their promoters were probably not aware that they were false teachers. And so it is today. The teachers of false doctrines, the leaders of all these cults, ancient and modern, which deny or make void the Scriptures, are deceived. The evil spirits are responsible for much of the confusion and difficulty in which the world is today.
The Apostle Paul, in referring to the close of this Gospel Age, declares that false doctrines will be multiplied. He tells us why many will be misled and deceived. He says, "They received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie [`Genesis 3:4`]: that they all might be condemned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (`2 Thessalonians 2:10-12`.) The intimation here seems to be that those who have come into touch with God and with His Truth will be so attracted by the Truth that it will be like the needle attracted to the pole. God is the great Pole. Those really drawn to Him will be difficult to swerve. Although a magnetic needle may be temporarily diverted from the pole, yet it will surely swing back and point in the right direction. And so it
::R5800 : page 342::
is with God's true people. They have an affinity for the Truth, they are influenced by it, magnetized by it, drawn.
These receive the Truth in the love of it--not in the love of building up a denomination, not in the love of soliciting money for a denomination, not in the love of certain ideas of their own, but in the love of the Truth itself. The Lord will not permit those who receive the Truth in the love of it to be turned aside. But He will send strong delusions to those who receive it from any other motive or for any other reason. These strong delusions He will permit to be spread abroad because He purposes to demonstrate the real heart attitude of each of those who have named His name and taken His vows upon them. Thus the loyal-hearted ones will be made manifest, and of them He declares, "They shall be Mine, ...in that Day when I make up My jewels."--`Mal. 3:17`.
FALLEN SPIRITS ESPECIALLY ACTIVE TODAY
The fallen spirits have been very successful throughout the entire world in deluding and ensnaring humanity. The Lord advises His people that these spirits will be especially active and especially seductive in their methods of attack in the Harvest of this present Age. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, [through] giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy." (`1 Timothy 4:1,2`.) We are forewarned that this "hypocrisy" on the part of the seducing spirits consists of personating "angels of light" (`2 Corinthians 11:13,14`), and pretending to bring in "new light."
Amongst barbarians there is no reason why the spirits should try to bring new light; for these are asleep and already under the power of delusion and false doctrines. But amongst the enlightened and civilized, thought and investigation are being aroused in this the beginning of the great Day of the Lord. Despite the blinding influences of Satan and the hosts of fallen spirits many of these are awakening, and it is here that Satan is kept busy.
Amongst mankind today the old time necromancy and incantations will not do; their intellects are too alert to be much or long hoodwinked by these things. Even the deceptions of Spiritism in its manifestations of superhuman powers through tipping, writing, spirit-photography, voices, etc., all for the purpose of proving human immortality and the ability of the dead to commune with those on earth, are too gross and foolish to deceive and captivate a large proportion of intelligent people, and especially God's consecrated ones, the very class Satan is most anxious to stumble. Consequently there are changes in progress--new "garments of light" are assumed continually; and every feature of Present Truth sent by God as "meat in due season" for His saints is promptly counterfeited to "deceive if possible the Very Elect."
But it is not possible to deceive and lead away those whose faith in God, through Christ, is fixed, who are trusting in the merit of Christ's great redeeming sacrifice, and whose hearts are wholly consecrated to the Lord and His service. Such shall "never fall"; but all others are to be separated from the faithful. God so uses Satan's wrath in the outworking of His plans that He may be said to send the strong delusions which are now misleading all whose faith is not securely founded on the Rock Christ Jesus, who have not put on the "whole armor of God," supplied in His Word. Those who are attracted by error and take pleasure in it are thus being manifested, and their condemnation as unfit for a share in the Heavenly Kingdom will be demonstrated as just and holy and righteous altogether.
DELUSIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND THEOSOPHY
Among the popular and more refined devices of the great Adversary, and all the powers of darkness, are Christian Science and Theosophy. These on the outside, together with the evolutionary and anti-Biblical theories on the inside, called Higher Criticism, advanced thought, etc., are rapidly tearing to shreds all of Truth that the poor nominal systems ever had. These theories all bear the distinctive marks of the "father of lies." (`John 8:44`.) They all with one consent declare man to be immortal. Higher Critics regard as "old wives' fables" much of the Word of God, including the record of miracles, the story of Adam and Eve and their fall in Eden, the story of Jonah and the great fish, etc.
The name "Christian Science" is a misnomer for the tenets of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. Her teachings are devoid of scientific elements, and the word "Christian" attached as part of the name given her theories is only calculated by Satan to deceive and destroy God's people. To Christian Scientists Christ is not a Savior, nor was a
::R5801 : page 342::
Savior needed. Christ was only a good man, a Christian Scientist, who but imperfectly understood the new science which He introduced, but which in these latter times has been perfectly and fully set forth by the late Mrs. Eddy, of Boston. It has for its trademark, so to speak, "All is life; there is no death!" Thus they declare Satan's old falsehood started in Eden, "Ye shall not surely die." Jesus declared that Satan "was a liar from the beginning and abode not in the truth," not from his own beginning, but from man's beginning.
The various shades of Universalism unite in the same conclusion--Christ did not die to ransom man from the power of the grave, as the Scriptures declare. He was only a man like other men, a good and wise Teacher, but not a Savior in any substitutionary sense, they assert. Some hold that man evolved from an ape or a tadpole or from protoplasm; that he was a very bad likeness and not at all an image of God; that he was like a "half-baked cake." But all unite in the belief that mankind are being gradually evolved to perfection. All assure us in Satan's very language, "Ye shall not surely die!"--death is only a process of evolution; man is his own savior.
Then we have Theosophy--a theory appealing to a goodly number of the cultured and aesthetic who are of the blind, naked and hungry in the nominal churches. (`Rev. 3:17`.) It comes forward as one of the newest and most polished forms of religious thought. But those versed in ancient history know that in its very essence it is a revival of the central thought of Hindooism, and in many particulars of the delusions of the so-called "German Mystics" of medieval times. Theosophy holds that "all things are of God" in the absolute and ridiculous sense. It holds that all finite existences were effluxed or thrown off from one Infinite Being; that these effluxed beings-- angels, men, beasts, birds and devils--being portions of Deity, are immortal, and (as Satan has always taught) "shall not surely die."
In harmony with the philosophy of Socrates and Plato (while denying these as the authors or even the burnishers of their doctrine, and claiming that these Greek philosophers got their information, as they now get it, direct from God by communion and intuition), Theosophy claims not only that man will live forever future, but that he has lived forever past. It appeals to the weak-minded with the question, "Have you never seen places that seemed strangely familiar the first time you visited them? Those were places you had seen before your present existence began." And, as of old, Satan may
::R5801 : page 343::
sometimes assist a sluggish imagination with a dream. Theosophy holds that death is not death, but a new birth; and that each individual will be reborn again and again until he has developed sufficiently the Divine nature; and that then he will be reabsorbed into God for eternity.
MAN'S WISDOM IS FOOLISHNESS WITH GOD
Theosophy professes to be based upon neither theology nor philosophy. The word Theosophy is defined by its advocates to mean the Religion of Wisdom. They claim that its wisdom is Divine, resulting from direct intuition and communion with God. Consequently they reject philosophical reasoning, and revelation such as the Scriptures, as hindrances to true wisdom. They have substituted for the Revelation of God the vain imaginings of their own imperfect minds--holy meditations. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," was written by Divine authority of a similar class.--`Romans 1:21,22`.
Theosophy rejects all revealed religion, ignores all doctrines and claims to be the religion of cause and effect --that sooner or later wrong-doing will react upon the wrong-doer, bringing its penalty; and right-doing will bring its reward. It places Christ and Moses on a parity with Socrates, Plato, Confucius and Mohammed as world-teachers. It is ready to quote from the Bible or from the Koran any fragment that can be turned to account in its own support, but does not regard any book or man as especially inspired authority. It professes to be the patron of every noble trait and every benevolent design, and is willing to class as Theosophists all popular people. It favors alms-giving and good deeds, so done as to be seen of men.
Therefore Theosophy is, as it claims to be, preeminently suited to the sentiments of the majority of the wise children of this world, who do not appreciate either their own imperfection or God's mercy in Christ. They say, "I want no one to pay my debts for me. I expect to pay for myself the penalty of my sins--if I commit any." All holding such sentiments are ripe for Theosophy. Indeed, the entire "Christian world" is ready to leave its former confused creed-mooring, and to set sail, with Theosophy for pilot and good works for motive power, to reach a haven of rest and happiness--if there be such a haven; for many of them doubt it. Alas! how ignorance of God's Word and Plan and how the confusion of the nominal churches have paved the way for this great falling away from the cross of Christ to "another gospel," which is really no Gospel.--`Galatians 1:6-9`.
Of course none of these delusions has any use for the doctrine of the cross of Christ--the "Ransom for all"-- or its testimony "in due time," now or hereafter. See `1 Timothy 2:4-6`. The Apostle here declares that God our Savior "will have all men to be saved [from the Adamic death now holding sway over the whole world], and to come to the knowledge of the Truth; for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." But no, the Bible doctrine of a Ransom past and of a consequent Restitution in the future (`Acts 3:19-23`) finds no place in any of these theories.
SATAN'S LIE THE BASIS OF FALSE DOCTRINES
These foretold "strong delusions" of our day are none of them actually strong or powerful. On the contrary, they are very weak. But they have great power to delude many because a large proportion of professed Christians of our day have never become real disciples of Christ, but are merely "tares," imitation Christians. Among those who are real Christians, few are "weaned from the milk." (`Isaiah 28:9`; `Hebrews 5:12-14`.) Few Christians in the nominal church are mentally or spiritually out of their swaddling clothes. Few have even used the milk of God's Word, and grown thereby to the use and appreciation of the "strong meat" of Present Truth, which is for the developed man in Christ. It is not surprising, therefore, that those whom Spiritism and Swedenborgianism did not affect are now being gathered into Christian Science and Theosophy, the later developments of Satan's cunning and deception.
The strength of these delusions lies in the grave errors mixed with truths long held by Christian people, because of the "falling away" from the pure faith of the Apostolic Church, foretold in the Scriptures. Among these errors none is designed to open the heart and mind to these delusive and destructive theories of today more effectually than the general belief of the first lie--"Ye shall not surely die." The general acceptance of this lie results from a failure to understand the Bible doctrine concerning life and immortality, which were brought to light by our Lord Jesus through His Gospel of salvation from sin by His Ransom-sacrifice.
Every error held obscures and hinders some truth; and we have now come to the time when every child of God needs all the panoply of Truth--the armor of God. He who has not on the "whole armor of God" is sure to fall into error in this "evil day," this "hour of temptation, which has come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell on the earth." And "judgment must begin at the House of God." Who shall be able to stand? None except those who are "building themselves up in the most holy faith" with the precious promises and vital doctrines of the Word of God.
ALL BUT "VERY ELECT" TO BE DECEIVED
The advocates of these false doctrines are surprisingly alert and active everywhere, especially in the United States, where thought is most active and where liberty often means license. Hundreds of thousands have embraced these errors as new and advanced light. The extent of their success is not fully apparent to many; for their success lies in a still hunt for prey. Their advocates are to be found in almost every congregation of every denomination, and especially among the more cultured; and the "angel of light" feature is seldom neglected. The nominal Churches are already permeated, leavened with these false doctrines.
The Scriptural prophecy that "a thousand shall fall at thy [the true Church's] side, and ten thousand at thy right hand" (`Psalm 91:3-14`), is now fulfilled before our eyes. The doctrine of the Ransom, the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world, has been the test. "The cross" has been the great stumbling-stone now, as in the days of our Redeemer's First Advent. Nearly all have fallen away from faith in this vital and fundamental doctrine of Christianity, of the Bible. By the great majority Jesus is now considered as only an Example for us to follow in certain particulars, not as our Redeemer, not as our Ransom.
From the teachings of Scripture we may expect that all but the "Very Elect" of God will be more or less stumbled by the errors and worldliness of our day. (`Matthew 24:24-27`; `2 Peter 2:3-11`.) The "angel of light" sophistries of the powers of evil, and their works of healing, will surely delude all whose eyes of understanding are not open through heeding the testimony of the sure Word of God.
The doing of many wonderful works is one of the old tricks of Satan and his evil hosts. If disease and death are to a considerable extent under Satan's control during
::R5802 : page 344::
the reign of evil (`Hebrews 2:14`), why might he not, in his present emergency, when his fall is so near, reverse his methods of working and do some works of healing, thereby to clinch his errors and deceptions and to re-blind some whose eyes have been gradually opening under the light of the dawning Millennial Day, the Day of Christ?
We believe that he is adopting this policy, and that he will do so yet more. We believe that our Lord's pertinent inquiry was suggestive of this when He said, "If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?" And, "If Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end." (`Matthew 12:26`; `Mark 3:26`.) So now, as Satan's kingdom is about to be overthrown, it is his effort to support it by many wonderful works, done by his unknowing as well as by his wilful agents, falsely and in the name of Christ.
THE FAITHFUL SOON TO SHINE FORTH
These various errors, "doctrines of demons," are gathering out of God's Kingdom "all that offend, and them which do iniquity" (and these constitute the great mass); while the faithful, who are to receive the Kingdom and be joint-heirs with Christ in His great Messianic Reign now about to be inaugurated, alone will stand. (`Eph. 6:11-13`.) When this separation is complete--and we believe it is now almost accomplished--the fire of the great Time of Trouble will make general havoc of present arrangements--social, financial, political, ecclesiastical. Then all errors and falsehoods in religion will go down forever. Then the Lord's faithful Little Flock, having received immortality and the Divine nature, "shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father," seated with Christ in His Throne. (`Revelation 3:21`.) For a thousand years they shall reign over the world, for the scattering of all ignorance and blindness and the uplifting of all the families of the earth, the living and the dead.
Then let all who know the Truth as set forth in the sure Word of the Lord be active in its spread. The time is short! If you cannot preach orally in public, perhaps you can preach privately, to your neighbors and friends and those with whom you come in contact. Surely nearly all can preach privately, to your neighbors and friends and those with whom you come in contact. Surely nearly all can preach by the printed page and by pen, as well as by consistent daily conduct. Those about us need whatever help we can give them; and if they do not get it very soon they will surely become entangled in some of these latter-day delusions of the Adversary.
::R5802 : page 344::
THE MINISTRY OF SORROW
"Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord!" "When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?"--`Psalm 130:1`; `Job 34:29`.
THE life of every human being has its lights and shadows, its heights of joy and its depths of sorrow. These make up a large part of the warp and the woof of experience; and the web of character which flows from the active loom of life, will be fine and beautiful or coarse and homely, according to the skill and carefulness with which the individual weaves into it the threads of experience. In every life, in the present reign of sin and evil the somber shades predominate; and to such an extent is this true that the Word of God aptly describes the human family in their present condition as a groaning creation. "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now," says the Apostle. The children of God are no exception to this universal rule; we also "groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the deliverance of our Body"--our company, the Body of Christ.--`Romans 8:22,23`.
But while we are waiting for our deliverance, the daily experiences of life have a most important mission to us, and the manner in which we receive them should be a matter of deepest concern; for according to the use we make of them, each day's prosperity or its adversity and trial bear to us a blessing or a curse. Those experiences which we are accustomed to regard as prosperous often have in them subtle dangers. If wealth increases or friends multiply or a large measure of earthly joy comes to us, how almost imperceptibly the heart finds its satisfaction in the things of earth! But when the keen edge of sorrow and disappointment is felt, when riches or health fail, when friends forsake, and enemies take up a reproach against us, the natural tendency is to despondency and despair.
Just here is a very important part of the great warfare of the Christian's life. He must fight the tendencies of his old nature and must confidently claim and expect the victory, in the strength of the great Captain of his salvation. He must not yield to the alluring influences of favorable outward conditions, neither must he sink beneath the weight of trials and adversity. He must not permit any experience in life, however hard and painful, to sour and harden him or make him bitter, morose or unloving. Nor may he allow pride or love of show, or self-righteousness, to feed upon the temporal blessings which the Lord in His loving providence has given him to prove his faithfulness as a steward.
DEPTHS OF SORROW LEAD TO HEIGHTS OF JOY
Sorrow and griefs may, and perhaps often will, come in like a flood, but the Lord will be our Stay and Strength in every experience which He permits. The soul that has never known the discipline of sorrow and trouble has never yet learned the joy and preciousness of the Lord's love and helpfulness. It is in seasons of overwhelming sorrow and grief, when we draw near to the Lord, that He draws especially near to us. So the `Psalmist` found it, when in his deep affliction he cried to God, saying, "Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!" (`Vs. 1,2`.) Feeling his own weaknesses and shortcomings, longing for full deliverance from every imperfection, and prophesying of the bountiful provisions of the Divine Plan of Salvation through Christ, he adds, "If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities [imputing them to us], O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared [reverenced]."--`Vs. 3,4`.
How precious are such assurances when the soul is painfully conscious of its infirmities, of its utter inability to fully measure up to the perfect law of righteousness! How blessed it is to know that when our hearts are loyal and true, our God does not mark against us the unavoidable blemishes of our earthen vessel! If we come daily to Him for cleansing, through the merits of our Redeemer, our failures are not imputed to us, but freely forgiven and washed away. The perfect righteousness of our Savior is our glorious dress, arrayed in which we may come to God with humble boldness, courage--even
::R5802 : page 345::
into the presence of the great Jehovah, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If thus God ignores the infirmities of our flesh, and fully receives us and communes with us as His dear children, we should so regard one another, considering not and charging not against one another the infirmities of the flesh, which each humbly confesses, and which they, like us, are earnestly endeavoring to overcome by the grace of God, to the best of their ability. To each one of the Lord's true children the words of the Apostle apply: "If God be for us, who can be against us?... Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's Elect? Shall that God that justifieth? Who is he that condemneth? Shall Christ that died?" (`Romans 8:31,33,34` --Diaglott.) The case is different, however, when the infirmities of the flesh are cultivated, indulged in without proper effort to correct them, and are justified, in order that the faults may be continued. Then, indeed, they are charged against us, and if we do not speedily "judge ourselves," and take decisive measures to correct them, the Lord will Himself judge and chasten us.--`1 Cor. 11:31,32`.
In the midst of the cares, perplexities and difficulties that come to the children of the Lord, we are to trust Him fully, and to possess our souls in peace and patience! We are to wait patiently for the Lord to outwork the issues of our experiences in His own good way. How necessary is the patient waiting on the Lord! The Psalmist says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning." (`Psalm 130:5, 6`.) In every experience of sorrow and distress, and when the strain of the jarring discords and the stinging vexations, and wounds that make the heart bleed, threaten to overwhelm the spirit, let the child of God remember that "He knows, and loves, and cares," and that His ministering angel is ever near us, and that no trial will be permitted to be too severe. The dear Master is standing by the crucible, and the furnace heat will never be permitted to grow so intense that the precious gold of our characters shall be destroyed, or even injured. Ah, no! If by His grace the experiences may not work for our good, they will be turned aside. He loves us too well to permit any needless sorrow, any needless suffering.
THE REWARD OF PATIENT WAITING
"Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (`Psalm 37:5-7`.) We must not be disappointed and allow our faith to falter when the test of patient endurance is
::R5803 : page 345::
applied, while the outward peace and quietness which we crave tarry long. Our Father has not forgotten us when the answer to our prayers seems to be delayed. Outward peace and calm are not always the conditions best suited to our needs as New Creatures; and we would not desire conditions in which the precious fruits of the Spirit would not grow and develop in us. Therefore, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice." (`1 Peter 4:12,13`.) He who numbers the very hairs of our heads is never indifferent to the sufferings and needs of His weakest and humblest child. Oh, how sweet is the realization of such loving, abiding care! "When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?"
The saints have indeed in every sorrow and grief a blessed consolation of which the world is wholly in ignorance. None but the true child of God can know it. What is this consolation? Oh, you who have never enlisted under the banner of the Cross, who have never put yourselves wholly into the hands of the Lord to be moulded and fashioned into His glorious likeness, who have never made an earnest effort to stem the tide of the tendencies of your own fallen nature, who have never contended earnestly for Truth and righteousness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, what can you know of the sweets of this Divine consolation? It is the precious balm of Gilead for wounded spirits on the battle-field of life, it is the stimulating, refreshing draught for fainting souls, hard pressed by the relentless foe. It is the soothing caress of a loving hand upon the fevered brow of the noble contender for Truth and godliness. It is the gentle whisper of hope and love and courage when heart and flesh are almost failing. This is Divine consolation, the only consolation that has in it any virtue of healing or refreshment. It is reserved alone for those noble souls who are faithfully bearing the burden and heat of the day in the service of the King of kings; while those who listlessly drift with the current of the world and the downward tendencies of the carnal nature can never have an intimation of its sweetness.
How loving and tender is our God, and how wise and strong! His promises have never failed those who have put their trust in Him. We may feel that our efforts to be good and to do good are very unproductive, that the opposition from without and within is very strong. But it is when we are weak, when we realize our own helplessness and incompetency, that we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. It is then that we may realize that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The fact that we are weak and lame does not separate us from the love and power of our God, while we are striving to do His will; for "He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust." Then let us more and more lay hold of this strength of the Lord, that we may courageously pursue our course in the narrow way of difficulty and trial. Precious indeed to the saint of God is the ministry of pain and sorrow!
"YE HAVE SEEN THE PATIENCE OF JOB"
The saints of every Age have learned the blessing of afflictions and sorrows. The Psalmist David says, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes"; and again, "Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept Thy Word." (`Psalm 119:67,71`.) God's faithful servant Job suffered almost overwhelming troubles, but the Lord brought him out into a large place when his testings had accomplished their designed effect. He was proven and strengthened by his sore experiences. Few if any of us could suffer more. He suffered the loss of all his property, then of all his children, whom he loved, then of the love and loyalty of his wife; and finally, he was smitten with sore disease-- boils, from head to foot. To crown all, three of his friends came to see him on hearing of his great trials; and instead of being true comforters, they added to his sorrows by insisting that his own sins must have been the cause of all these disasters; that his experiences must surely be punishments from the Lord because of unfaithfulness on his part. Surely poor Job was afflicted!
But did he lose his faith in God? Hear him: "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord!" (`Job 1:21`.) "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (`Job 13:15`.) Job was indeed much cast down, but he maintained his integrity of character and his faith in the Lord through all. He did not charge God with injustice, and God did not desert His
::R5803 : page 346::
faithful servant. He reproved his accusers and required them to offer sacrifice, and instructed Job to pray for them, that their trespasses might be overlooked. In the end he was blessed more abundantly than ever before. God made him a great type of the human family, of the troubles of their fallen condition and of their final restoration to all that was lost in Adam, with the blessings of added experiences to make them wise. How faithful is the Lord in all His dealings! Truly His children should never doubt His love; for
"Faith can firmly trust Him,
Come what may."
PRECIOUSNESS OF INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
It is when continued trust in the Lord and His many responsive providences in our lives have ripened into precious personal acquaintance and intimacy that we learn to delight in Him. Yes, it is when heart answers to heart, when pleading prayer brings recognized answers of peace, when the Divine love and care have been clearly seen in the guidance of our way, that we can recognize the abiding presence with us of the Father and the Son. Then, however dark may be our way, however severe may be the storm that rages about us, the thought of Divine protection is ever with us, so that as the children of the Lord we are never in despair; though cast down, we are not destroyed; though persecuted, we are never forsaken. We know our Father's hand is ever at the helm, that His love and care are sure and unfailing.
Those who have come into real heart sympathy with God have learned to see Him as the Fountain of all goodness and Truth and blessing. To them He is the One altogether lovely. His Law is their delight. His friendship and love are their very life. When the heart has become thus centered in God, it is the most natural impulse to commit its way unto Him. These can truly sing with the poet:
"So on I go, not knowing,
I would not if I might;
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with Him
Than go alone by sight."
Surely these have the desires of their heart, and no good thing shall be withheld from them. Their fervent prayers avail much, and in the Lord's good time their righteousness, however much it may now be misunderstood, misrepresented and evil-spoken of, shall be brought forth as the light--clear, cloudless and widely manifest; and their judgment, the justice and righteousness of their course and of their hearts, shall be brought forth as the noonday. Even while we remain here as aliens and foreigners in the enemy's land, we shall be fed, nourished, temporally and spiritually, and shall rejoice and be glad in the "house of our pilgrimage." Precious indeed are the promises of God; and to the praise of His abounding grace, His saints of the past and of the present all bear ample testimony to their fulfilment.
"Who need faint while such a river
Ever flows their thirst to assuage?--
Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
Never fails from Age to Age!"
::R5803 : page 346::
"THIS HONOR HAVE ALL HIS SAINTS"
"Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written."--`Psalm 149:5-9`.
WE ARE frequently asked whether we understand that there is to come a time when the Lord's people, the saintly ones, while still in the flesh, will have a full understanding of the entire Word of God, including the dark expressions of `Ezekiel`, `Zechariah`, `Revelation`, etc. In reply we usually remind the questioners that eighteen hundred years ago St. Paul wrote, "Take unto you the whole armor of God," including the "Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"; and that we are, therefore, to understand that St. Paul himself and other Christians of his time had the "Sword of the Spirit." We are sure, however, that they did not understand certain portions of the Word of God which were not then due to be understood; for instance, that portion of Daniel's prophecy which the angel said was to be sealed up until "the time of the end," and many other prophecies which were not then unfolded. This has always been more or less true ever since. Prophecy unfolds gradually. Today more is due to be understood than ever before.
We are not to understand that the Bible will have no value in the incoming Age, but rather to the contrary of
::R5804 : page 346::
this. Our thought is that the Bible will be used then, not so much as the sole means of communicating God's will, but as a source of information, much as we now use histories. It will enlighten men respecting the Divine promises and supervision of the world and respecting God's laws, etc. There is nothing to indicate that every matter of which the Bible treats will be seen clearly by the Church while we are on this side the veil. The Apostle says that "now we see through a glass, obscurely"; but that beyond the veil we shall see "face to face." We shall see clearly; for we shall then be like our Lord. "Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as we are known."--`1 Corinthians 13:12`.
The Scripture which tells us that the Bible will be used in the future, tells us that all the world will be judged by the things written in these books, and informs us that the books will be opened (the books of the Old and the New Testaments), implying that up to that time they were not opened. (`Revelation 20:12`.) They are open now to God's people in a large measure. We believe that there has been "meat in due season" for the Household of Faith in every time. There was not so much knowledge of spiritual matters necessary in the past as in the present; hence never before have the books been so widely opened as they are today. Now the entire Plan of God shines very clearly. But we do not know of anything in the Scriptures which says that these books will be understood in every detail by the Lord's people on this side of the veil, on this side of the resurrection change.
THE WORK NOW GOING ON
In speaking of this present time, as we think, the Prophet David says, "Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds." The children of God should be joyful at all times--even in tribulation, knowing that these experiences work out for us a development of character and a preparation for the Kingdom glories. The Psalmist here foretells that the saints at this time are at rest upon their beds, while they sing God's praise. This statement might be meaningless to us until we understand from other Scriptures that these beds represent creeds or the sum total of one's religious belief.
::R5804 : page 347::
While some are reclining on a short creed bed, which cramps and fetters them, and the narrow covers of which cannot give them warmth and comfort, the true saints of God have at this time beds of full and proper size, and a cover which is warm and ample. They are shown in this prophetic picture as taking their ease, resting in faith, while others are restless and uncomfortable. But while thus resting in these good beds, representing their mental attitude and heart condition, and while praising the Lord, they are using skilfully the "two-edged Sword." This Sword in their hands is the Bible. The thought is not necessarily that God's people have absolute knowledge of every feature of God's Word; but that they have all the knowledge needful to the efficient use of the Sword at this time, all the knowledge designed for the saints now, when this prophecy applies.
"Let the high-sounding praises of God be in their mouth," urges the Psalmist. We believe that this is more and more becoming true. The saints can praise God more intelligently and fully now than ever before. We can see our Lord's character better, because much of the ignorance, misconception, mysteries and obscurity have fled away. God's Word is shining out with more brightness than ever. We cannot see that our Brother John Calvin could have had very much of the high-sounding praises of God in his mouth; for it is surely not a high-sounding praise to declare that our God would assign thousands of millions of humanity to an eternity of torture. Nor can it be said of people of today who teach this same horrible doctrine, that they have the high-sounding praises of God in their mouths.
God's name is blasphemed, and His glorious character traduced and misrepresented every day. The world is told that God has a devilish Plan--that He has made a hell in which to torture a very large part of humanity; and that He has the devils there already doing the torturing, and that this will go on throughout eternity. There are no high-sounding praises connected with any such beliefs and teachings. But the Lord's people who keep close to His Word are now able to tell forth the wondrous Story of God's Love, Wisdom, Justice, and Power as never before. And the Truth is surely accomplishing a work in the binding and fettering of error. We believe that the words of the Psalmist in this text are being fulfilled at this time. To some extent at least we are already engaging in the great work here depicted.
::R5805 : page 347::
AMOS THE FEARLESS PROPHET
--NOVEMBER 28.--`AMOS 5:1-15`.--
AMOS THE SHEPHERD BECOMES AMOS THE PROPHET--DISASTERS
TO COME UPON THE TEN-TRIBE KINGDOM--DIVINE
METHOD OF PRESENTING THE PROPHET'S MESSAGE-- ISRAEL GUILTY OF INJUSTICE AND OPPRESSION--LESSONS FOR OUR DAY--ISRAEL'S RECOVERY FORETOLD--FULFILMENT
OF THE PROPHECY OF AMOS NOW DUE.
"He that hath My Word, let him speak
My Word faithfully."--`Jeremiah 23:28`.
OUR lesson has to do with the prophecy of Amos, who is noted as being one of the earliest prophets to write down the message which he delivered. True, Moses was a prophet; and we have his teachings in written form. David also was a prophet; and we have his teachings in the Psalms. But Moses' prophecies were chiefly through the types which he instituted under Divine direction; and David's prophecies were in poetic form, but were not discerned to be prophecies until our Lord and the Apostles so pointed them out. The Prophet Samuel seems not to have written any of his inspired messages; neither did Elijah, nor Elisha nor others of their time.
The Prophet Amos belongs to a period about a century after the Prophet Elijah and nearly a century before the Prophet Isaiah, and about two centuries before the Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Amos declared himself to have been of humble birth. His parents were not illustrious; and he was not educated amongst the sons of the prophets. Like David he was a sheep tender, a farmer, upon whom the Lord poured His Spirit with mighty power, sending him to proclaim the disasters sure to come upon Israel unless a change of course should turn aside the deserved punishment for transgressions against their Law.
The brunt of the Prophet's message fell against the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The Divine method of presenting the matter is noteworthy. The Prophet's message began with the adjoining nations: (1) Damascus, the capital of Syria, on the north, is mentioned as being in line with the Divine retributions; (2) the Philistines, on the west; (3) Tyre, to the northwest; (4) the Edomites, to the south; (5) the Ammonites, nearly on the east; (6) the Moabites, also to the south; (7) Judah, to the south; and lastly, the center of the Prophet's message, Israel--the ten-tribe kingdom.
We can fancy the attention which would be given to the Prophet's message by the people of Israel as they would hear fall from his lips words descriptive of the troubles coming upon surrounding nations which were their enemies. But as the circle grew narrower and narrower, and as the weight of the Prophet's testimony was found to be especially against themselves, we may be sure that there was intense indignation. If at first they shouted, "A true Prophet!" probably they afterwards gnashed upon him with their teeth.
This denunciation of Israel occurs chiefly in `chapters 3-6` and in `chapter 7:9-17`. When the Prophet had gone so far as to tell openly of the fall of the reigning dynasty, Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, interfered, bidding Amos to return to his own country. But under the special power of the Holy Spirit, using him to deliver a particular message, the Prophet Amos refused to return home until he had accomplished his errand. He also added to the retribution of Israel some prophecies respecting the priest's own household.
CHANGED CONDITIONS--CHANGED METHODS
In drawing from the experiences of the Prophet Amos a lesson applicable to ourselves of today, we must remember that the Lord no longer sends His messages after this manner. Conditions have changed, circumstances have changed, and prophecies of the kind inspired by the Lord in early days are no longer His method. Respecting these prophecies, the Apostle Peter tells us, "Prophecy came not in olden times by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (`2 Peter 1:21`.) Again, "Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven."-- `1 Peter 1:12`.
In view of the changed conditions and the difference of operation of the Divine power, it is for us to preach
::R5805 : page 348::
the Word to whomsoever hath an ear to hear, to call attention to the application of the prophecies and testimonies of ancient times, and thus to make known the Divine Plan as it becomes due to be understood by those for whom it is designed--the Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile. For any one to undertake at the present time to copy either the Prophet Elijah or the Prophet Amos or any other of the ancient Prophets of Israel would indicate a total misapprehension on his part respecting the Divine will and the Divine message; indeed, it might even be surmised to indicate a mental unbalance. As the Apostle declares, we speak the things that we know, and we testify to the things spoken aforetime for our admonition. (`Romans 15:4`.) There is a good lesson for us, nevertheless, in the method which the Lord guided the Prophet to take in delivering his message.
Our Lord leaves to us of this Gospel Dispensation considerable latitude in the choice of means for serving His cause. He exhorts us, however, to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves; and He promises us rewards in proportion as we exercise such carefulness in His service as He can especially bless and use. Those who use wisely the pounds and talents intrusted to them are to have proportionate rewards when the Kingdom of God's dear Son shall have been set up. Let us then, in the exercise of our liberty and in accord with the Master's injunction to be as wise as serpents, notice that the Prophet's message respecting unpleasant and direful matters, all of which were true, began in such a manner as to rivet the attention of his hearers.
The Apostle Paul practised this same wisdom, and mentioned it subsequently to some whom he had brought to a knowledge of the Lord. He said, "Being crafty, I caught you with guile." (`2 Corinthians 12:16`.) That is, he presented the matter to them in the form that would be most attractive to their hearts. He presented nothing untrue, however. Truth can be stated in a more or less palatable or unpalatable form.
"NOT ALL THAT SAY LORD, LORD"
Another lesson in connection with the Prophet Amos' message is that his opponents rose up from amongst those who were professedly religious--the priests. And so it was with our Lord and the Apostles. The priests and the religious teachers of their day were the chief opponents of the Gospel in its truth and purity; and we must expect the same in our day. The Truth, in proportion as it has been declared in its purity, has always roused opposition, and has always found its chief opposers amongst those who have "a form of godliness"-- but generally amongst those who lack its power.
Today's lesson is a part of the Prophet's pleading with the Israelites that they return to harmony with God and thus avert the calamities which must otherwise be expected. The history of that time shows that it was a very prosperous period, not only for Judah, but also for the ten-tribe kingdom. The prosperity was of the earthly kind. Riches were accumulated. But these were in the hands of the great; and the Prophet proceeds to warn the rich that the poor were being unjustly dealt with. He intimates that it would be from this source that the trouble would ultimately come; that the only terms upon which they could hope to live as a nation would be by seeking the Lord. It would be in vain for them to seek help at Bethel or in Gilgal or in Beersheba, the centers of their religious institutions, which were corrupt. These religious institutions would all go down in the trouble which the Prophet predicted.
The Lord Himself must be sought with an honest heart; else He would cause destruction to break out like a fire to devour the House of Joseph. The ten-tribe kingdom is here called the House of Joseph, because the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were of preponderating influence in the nation; and these two tribes had sprung from Joseph. Hence the fire breaking out in the House of Joseph meant the destruction which would come upon the ten-tribe kingdom unless they repented.
The Prophet proceeds to particularize some of the wrongs on account of which they were in danger. Justice was not rendered in their courts. Instead of the sweets of Justice, those who appealed to their courts, if they were poor, got wormwood--that is, bitterness, disappointment. The Prophet declares that righteousness was cast down to the earth; that equity was not a matter of primary consideration. He proceeds to point out that bribery was rife; that wealth, power and influence could accomplish almost anything. There must be a turning from this condition; and relief could come only from turning to the Lord.
The Prophet refers to Divine Power in language somewhat similar to that used by the Patriarch Job. (`Job 9:9`.) Pointing to the group Pleiades in the constellation Taurus and to Orion, he would have his hearers see that the One whose assistance they needed was the One who was able to create the earth and the heavens also, the One who was able not only to gather the waters into the seas, but also to call the waters back from the seas to the clouds and to pour it down upon the earth again in its seasons. This great God was the One whom they needed; and all others assisting them would be powerless against Him.
GOD CARETH FOR THE POOR AND NEEDY
In `verse 9` the Prophet intimates that God's Power would be with the poor and oppressed for their deliverance; and that this would mean destruction against the strong and powerful, against those that hate reproof and abhor the upright, those that are in opposition to any who reprove unrighteousness.
`Verses 11 and 12` specify and particularize the nature of the injustice which was practised and which needed to be renounced and discontinued. `Verse 13` implies that there were amongst the Israelites some who did not approve of the general course; but that these, being helpless and in the minority, kept silence from prudential reasons--because the time was an evil one, and to have espoused the cause of the oppressed would have brought trouble upon them without bringing relief to the oppressed. But the Prophet Amos was especially commissioned of the Lord to give this very reproof. Hence he must not keep silence because of prudence or for any other consideration, but must speak his message with boldness.
Similarly, it is not the duty of every one of the Lord's people today to take the place of Amos and become public reprovers of public officials, etc., even though they may see unrighteousness practised. Prudence, wisdom, is to be used in connection with whatever we do. Our commission today is not that of reproving nations, but that of letting our light so shine that others may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in Heaven. Our Lord declares that He will rebuke the nations; that He will humble their pride; that He will cast down the mighty from their positions; that He will exalt the humble--in due time. To His people He says, "Wait ye upon Me, until the Day that I rise up to the prey."--`Zephaniah 3:8,9`.
The lesson closes with an exhortation from the Prophet that his hearers should make a thorough reformation
::R5805 : page 349::
--that they should seek good and not evil, love righteousness and hate sin. If they would do these things, then indeed they might apply to themselves the promises of God, as they were already disposed to do, claiming that they were His people. Such claims would be appropriate enough if they would conform to the Divine requirements, but not otherwise. The Lord would be gracious to them as a people if they would come into line with His regulations and requirements. But otherwise they must expect the chastisements and punishments already foretold.
Remembering that the Israelites were a typical people, we properly enough scan the text and the context to see whether anything connected with the prophecy of Amos was of larger application than it appeared to him and the people of his day. From the words of the Apostle Peter already cited, and from other examples in the prophecies, we are justified in expecting this. For instance, in David's prophecies how little the utterer of the words, "Not a bone of Him shall be broken," understood of the real fulfilment of his declaration! Again, when he said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption," how little David or the people of Israel understood the import of those words --that David was a Prophet, and was unwittingly speaking of Christ and His resurrection from the dead--from Sheol! So, while realizing the appropriateness of the Prophet Amos' words, we find certain items in connection with this prophecy which imply a still larger fulfilment of his predictions upon Nominal Israel in the end of this Age.
GIANTS IN THE EARTH FOREBODE EVIL
It is not for us to claim that today Justice is fallen in the streets, and that Righteousness cannot enter in. It is not for us to claim that the poor are inordinately taxed or crushed or robbed. On the contrary, we freely state that there is a great deal of righteousness meted out in the courts of Christendom. We have sometimes wondered how natural men have ever brought together so many wise, just and reasonable laws and regulations. Nevertheless there is a sense in which injustice, inequity, is now operating, not so much through any individual evil as through the changed conditions under which we are living. The blessings of the New Dispensation, coming to us under social conditions which are based upon individual selfishness, are tending to make a few very rich, and before very long, we fear, will be found so to operate as to make many very poor.
The appropriating of the advantages of our day, while legally done under laws that at one time were equitable, is bound to work a great hardship--putting the power and the financial control of the world into the hands of comparatively few. True, these few giants are as yet very moderate in their requirements and dealings; some of them are even generous. But the Scriptures seem to imply clearly that it will not be long until the power, willingly or unwillingly, will be so exercised as to bring great distress upon the mass of humanity, grinding them as between two millstones.
From this standpoint the Prophet's words might well be appropriated by Christendom. But we may be sure that those in power and position are not disposed to hearken to Amos or to any one else; and hence we must expect what the Scriptures everywhere point out--that the overthrow of Christendom will come suddenly, in "a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation"; and that in this conflict the Lord, who made the Pleiades and Orion, will be He that will strengthen the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled ones shall rise against the strong in anarchy.--`Verse 9`.
The close of Amos' prophecy tells of the recovery of Israel and of the blessing of the Lord that will be upon all mankind, including the Gentiles, at that time. It is this prophecy that the Apostle James quoted in the Council at Jerusalem, saying, "After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of Israel, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."--`Acts 15:16,17`.
We are living at the time when this prophecy is about to be fulfilled. The recovery of Natural Israel is about to take place under the reestablishment of God's Kingdom in the world--the Kingdom which once was typically represented in King David, but which is to be actually established in the greater David--the Beloved One. Under that Kingdom, reestablished under more favorable conditions, a Heavenly Kingdom, the residue of men will be given an opportunity to seek the Lord; for the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth.
::R5804 : page 349::
"PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION"
--DECEMBER 5.--`2 CHRONICLES 26:8-21`.--
ISRAEL A TYPICAL KINGDOM--MESSIAH TO ESTABLISH THE
ANTITYPE--UZZIAH'S POLITICAL AND MILITARY SUCCESS
PROVES A SNARE TO HIM--HIS SIN OF PRESUMPTION
--ITS PUNISHMENT--A LESSON TO BOTH THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD--IGNORANCE OF GOD'S LAW NOT AN ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE.
"A man's pride bringeth him low; but he that is of a lowly
spirit shall obtain honor."--`Proverbs 29:23`. R.V.
UZZIAH was a great and prosperous king in Jerusalem. He made a good beginning, was reverential toward God, and put his capital and the remainder of his kingdom into good condition for defense against enemies. When thinking of the wars of Israel, we are to remember that for a time this nation represented God's rule in the earth in a sense that no other nation ever did, either before or after them.
The kings of Israel were anointed by Divine commission and authority, as were no other kings; and they were said to "sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord," as no other kings before or since have held dominion. Theirs was not, however, the Kingdom of God for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," but merely a preparatory arrangement with the typical Israelites.
God's Kingdom will really come to earth after Messiah shall establish it. For a thousand years He shall reign, to uplift the humble, to bless all who seek righteousness, to punish and correct all others, and finally to destroy the incorrigible in the Second Death. It was, therefore, quite in line with the arrangements of the time that the kings of Israel and of Judah should fortify and strengthen themselves and defend the land which the Almighty had especially given to their nation.
THE KING'S PRESUMPTION
The truthfulness of the Scripture, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall," was illustrated in King Uzziah. When his fame had spread abroad
::R5804 : page 350::
and he began to feel his greatness, pride came in. He forgot that he was merely the Lord's representative in the kingdom, and that his first duty as a loyal subject of God was to hearken and to obey the Divine commands.
Having accomplished great things from a political and military standpoint, King Uzziah essayed to a religious distinction. Evidently he felt that God was proud of him and of his success, and would be very well pleased to have him enter the Temple after the manner of the priests and offer incense at the Golden Altar. He knew of the rules and regulations governing the Temple and its service, but considered himself above them. He would go directly to God, and not recognize the priest.
Many successful people fall into the same error of supposing that their success in business or in politics, their brilliancy of mind or their polish of education is the only requisite in the sight of Jehovah God. They feel that if they should go to church and acknowledge God, He should be very proud to have them and, of course, should give them the first place in everything. This is a mistake. The great King Eternal, "the Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity" (`Isaiah 57:15`), has rules and regulations governing all attempts to approach Him. There is just the One Way of approach, and no other.--`John 14:6`.
THE MELCHISEDEC PRIEST
"Oh!" says one, "I see. You wish us to understand that the laity have no access to God; that they must come through the clergy, even as King Uzziah should have approached God through Israel's high priest. But I deny that the clergy are any more than other mortals. I claim that many of them are less brilliant of mind than myself; that many of them are less educated, and others totally devoid of business sense. I admit that it may be well enough for the common people to approach God through the clergy; but whenever I approach, I do so on the strength of my own personal intelligence and with the realization that the Almighty is glad to have me come. Often I pray, 'O Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men, nor even as this publican.'"--`Luke 18:11`.
No, friend; this is not our thought--not the Bible thought, not the lesson which we should draw from the Scriptures under consideration. We must admit that there is no Scriptural authority for a clerical class in the Church of Christ--unless it be the Twelve Apostles, St. Paul taking the place of Judas. Scripturally those Twelve rank as a hierarchy--the special mouthpiece of Jesus.
We are not intimating that the soul desirous of approaching God must come through the clergy of any denomination. We do emphasize, nevertheless, the fact that there is but the One Way of approaching God, and that is by and through the Great Advocate whom He hath appointed for us--"Jesus Christ the Righteous"--"a Priest for the Age after the Order of Melchisedec." (`1 John 2:1`; `Hebrews 5:6`.) "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me," was His Message. "There is none other name given under Heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved," is the Apostle's Message.--`Acts 4:12`.
INCENSE AT THE GOLDEN ALTAR
Those whose eyes of understanding have never been opened to a realization that Jesus is the Divine Appointee for the reconciliation of the world to God may be excused if they approach God in prayer aside from Him. Their prayers may be answered to a limited extent, if offered in sincerity, from the heart, and because, as St. Paul intimates, "God winked at" their ignorance of His arrangements. --`Acts 17:30`.
But as King Uzziah knew of the Divine arrangement that only the priest could offer to the Almighty incense on the Golden Altar, so those who have come to a realization of the fact that Jesus is the great antitypical Priest, through whom communication with the Father has been opened up, would come under condemnation should they intrude into the Divine Presence in prayer otherwise than as provided in God's arrangement, even as King Uzziah was smitten with leprosy for his presumption and pride.
Leprosy, Scripturally considered, is a type of sin. King Uzziah's experiences, therefore, signify typically that whoever would approach God aside from His ordained Priest, having a knowledge of the impropriety, would come under Divine sentence as a wilful sinner. The penalty would be in proportion to the degree of enlightenment previously enjoyed.
FOURSCORE VALIANT PRIESTS
When the king entered the Holy of the Temple to offer incense at the Golden Altar, the high priest and eighty of the under priests followed him, protesting against his sacrilege. Although this was only their duty, nevertheless it marked them as valiant, courageous men; for in ancient times a king had great power. King Uzziah was feeling his own greatness and was proud of it; therefore he was likely to resent any interference with his kingly prerogatives.
Their words of protest voiced what the king already knew respecting the restrictions attaching to the services of the Temple. But they added, "Go out, for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honor from Jehovah God." True honor, true blessing, true prosperity, cannot be found in opposition to the Divine arrangements. The king's course, therefore, must bring him dishonor. Had he hastened to glorify God, he would have received a blessing, no doubt. But instead, violation of the Divine Law brought him the curse.
The lesson is a plain one, exemplified by our text and by our Lord's words, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; he that exalteth himself shall be abased." (`Luke 14:11`.) It was not enough, even if the king had good intentions, instead of pride, backing him up. Good intentions should have guided him to a study of the Divine arrangements and promises. Ignorance of the Law is not an excuse. Hence the Apostle's exhortation, "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`.
The lesson seems to be one of humility, both for the Church and for the world. Some are born humble-minded, and others are born self-conceited. The latter, therefore, are handicapped as respects this grace, though Scripturally advantaged in respect to courage to battle against present adversities. On the whole, our handicaps through imperfections of the flesh are not so unequal as to make it easier for one than for another to enter into the Kingdom under the call of this Gospel Age. For where much is given, much is required; and the judgment of the Lord will be according to the heart, the will, the intention, the endeavor, and not according to the flesh, its weaknesses and its failures.
Humility is important, not only on its own account, but also because the other graces of the Holy Spirit cannot be cultivated without it. At the head of the list of these spiritual graces is meekness. How could one be gentle or make good progress in the cultivation of these graces if he were not meek? How could one be patient and submissive in the trials and difficulties of life if not meek? How could one be kind toward opponents and kind in all things if he were not meek? How could one be patient
::R5804 : page 351::
toward all if he were not meek? How could one have brotherly kindness except through meekness? How could one be Godlike except he possessed meekness? How could one be loving in the Scriptural sense without meekness? Along these lines all who will be of the Church will be tested. And meekness and humility must be cultivated and must abound in the heart, in order to enable the cultivation of the other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
"LIGHT AFFLICTIONS--BUT FOR A MOMENT"
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER IN THE LORD:--
"Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you, making request with joy, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now."--`Phil. 1:2-5`.
The Vow brought me much blessing, likewise the Resolve; then I began to watch for suggestions. Last fall came one: Z.'14, p. 341--to live each day as though it were our last. That was beautiful to me, and most helpful; to think to myself each morning, You wouldn't want to go Home tonight to a kind, gracious Father and a loving Bridegroom unless you, too, had all the day been kind, gracious and loving. It checked many a hasty word and act and mellowed all my life.
When the suggestion concerning the cultivation of Love came, I rejoiced, for I knew a blessing lay in that also; and there has, and a deep and rich one, too. Not only have I been enabled day by day to be more kind in my thoughts, gentle in my words, and loving in my deeds, but my eyes have opened wider and wider to the measureless love of our Heavenly Father and His dear Son. In every day I find Their love; I have only to follow step by step as They beautifully arrange each day and fill it with blessings and love.
I have more trials than ever before, but they are only blessings in disguise. I am learning what St. Paul meant when he spoke of "light afflictions, but for a moment." The "eternal weight of glory" is getting brighter each day, as I learn more of the height and depth and length and breadth of the wonderful love of God. I shall be glad to go Home by whatever way my Father sees best, but I am not anxious as I used to be, for each day is full of His love and blessing.
I have wished to tell you particularly (as an isolated child of God) of a rich blessing I found I was not shut out from, did I but reach out by faith and claim it: Some time since, a dear sister of the Cameron Class was unable to attend the usual Wednesday night testimony meeting, and so, alone at home, she had a blessed testimony meeting. Afterward, when she told of this experience, I wondered if this blessing were not for all the isolated ones. I remembered your admonitions in Vol. VI. concerning the Memorial--that an isolated individual allow his faith to go out with sufficient strength to the Lord to claim the promise of `Matthew 18:20`, regarding the Lord and himself as two. It seemed to me the same principle applied here, and I began the Wednesday night meetings--and such blessings from the Lord! It is as good as the DAILY MANNA morning service--to be in union with the Body--the whole world over!
I have been very careful to use Wednesday evening, because the Lord's blessing is more especially with me on that day. Other isolated sisters are testifying to this same blessing. We had been getting too much solid food and not enough fluid, heretofore.
The blessing of fellowship with yourself still continues with me through the pages of THE WATCH TOWER. It is ever "meat in due season," for which my appetite grows continually keener.
Dear Brother, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace!"
Your sister in the Anointed, HOPE TATE.--Canada.
::R5804 : page 351::
BLAZED A TRACK THROUGH BAD THEOLOGY
OUR WELL-BELOVED PASTOR:--
Loving greetings in our dear Lord and Redeemer, to you and all of "like precious faith."--`Ephesians 3:14-21`.
Beloved Brother, it has been our thought this year to send you some slight token of the great love we have for you, as God's appointed servant and channel for dispensing the "Meat in due season" to the Household of Faith. How grateful we are to you, under God, for blazing a track for us out of a maze of bad theology! Daily we bear you up before the Throne of Grace, praying that He who has so far worked out His will in you may complete His work in His Elect, that you, with us and all the dear ones who are earnestly pressing forward, may be presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
We ask you, dear Brother, kindly to accept the HEAVENLY MANNA sent herewith with our autographs, also the 2L. Money Order enclosed as a token of our loving esteem from those to whom the Truth has come at the village of Turangarere.
Sister Black by asking Sister Kelly to read Vol. 1, was the means of presenting the Truth which Sister Kelly was privileged to pass on to Sisters Mitchell, Merritt, Clough and Mulvay; and Sister Clough was used to pass the Message on to Sister Brown, and Sister Mitchell to Sister Gage. All are fully consecrated and pressing forward for the Great Prize.
Sister Black received the First Volume in a very strange way. Her little granddaughter was buying a book for a birthday present for her grandmother at a second-hand dealer's shop. The man advised her to take the book, as her grandmother would like it; and so this great blessing came to us.
Another dear one, Sister Bessie Lambei, sent a subscription asking that she, too, might be included in the gift to the Pastor to whom, under God, we all owe so much. Sister Lambei is one of the Lord's isolated ones.
We are hoping if it is the Lord's will to meet in Wellington for Convention on December 25th; but just now New Zealand trade is paralyzed by an industrial strike, which if not soon settled may hinder our meeting. But we all look forward soon now to be favored by being present at the Great Convention of the First-born ones (`Hebrews 12:22-24`) beyond the Veil. Then we hope to meet our Beloved Master; and among all the dear Elect, what joy it gives us to look forward to meeting the dear Pastor, who has been so abundantly used of God to bring blessings to us and all the dear "Feet" Members of the Body, which is the Church! Earnestly entreating God's blessing upon your labors of Love for Him and His,
Your loving Sisters, by His Grace.
North Island, New Zealand.
[The Editor begs these dear Sisters in Christ to accept his thanks for their kind words of comfort, which he will always cherish as priceless in value; also for the copy of MANNA containing their autographs. As for the 2L., he is putting it into the "Comfort Fund," from which he sometimes has the privilege of doling out a few dollars for the aid of brethren falling into dire need. The Editor has no lack. The Society's allowance to him and all the office workers, of ten dollars monthly for clothing and incidentals, is more than sufficient for our comfort.]
THE CANADA RED CROSS CONTRIBUTIONS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Here in Canada there is a general movement on for soliciting funds for the Canadian Red Cross work. Will you kindly give us your view on the subject?
This is a matter of personal judgment--as is every benevolence. The Lord's people must remember that their all is consecrated to Him, and they must seek to use their best judgment respecting the use of their financial talents, as well as others. We would feel disposed to resent anything in the way of an attempt to coerce or compel contributions, and would prefer to exercise our own judgment and conscience, and not to have any one tell us what we should do, or should
::R5805 : page 351::
not do. However, emergencies might arise in which we would have the right to allow mercenary considerations to have their weight--if, for instance, because an employee should fail to contribute it would bring him into disfavor with his employer, so that he might lose his situation, or if a business firm found that they might be boycotted unless they contributed liberally, we believe that they would have a right to treat this matter from a commercial basis. The giving to the Red Cross Society would certainly not interfere with anybody's conscientious scruples.
An examination of the Canadian Militia Act shows that certain persons are exempt from military obligations; viz., Judges, Government clerks, Telegraph clerks, Revenue clerks, Wardens of Prisons and Asylums, Policemen, Firemen, College professors, the Clergy, the son of a widow and persons averse to military service on religious grounds.
International Bible Students Association Classes
STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION