VOL. XXXII FEBRUARY 1 No. 3
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6038
Views From The Watch Tower........................ 35
Leading Sheep Astray.......................... 35
Fertility of Palestine........................ 36
Disowns Fanciful Speculations................. 36
Reply to Cardinal Gibbons' Sermon................. 37
Counterfeiting the True Church................ 38
Are There Protestant Counterfeits?............ 39
Royal Priesthood Composed of Saints
Regardless of Denomination.................. 39
1911--The Memorial Supper--1911................... 40
Lifted by Whirlwind Out of Sight.................. 41
Elisha Successor to Elijah........................ 42
Elisha Considered Typical..................... 42
Defeat Through Drunkenness........................ 43
Melchisedec and Aaron as Types.................... 44
God's Perfect Peace (Poem)........................ 44
Taking Heed to Our Hearts......................... 45
Interesting Questions............................. 46
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies............. 47
Brother Russell's Foreign Itinerary............... 47
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
PITTSBURG, N.S., PA., FEB. 19
Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony, 10 o'clock, and discourse for the interested at 7:30 p.m. in Bible House Chapel, 610 Arch St. Lecture for the Public in Carnegie Hall, Federal and Ohio Sts., at 3 p.m.
FALL RIVER, MASS., FEB. 26
Morning Rally at 10:30 and discourse for the interested at 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall, 37 Franklin St. Public discourse at 3 p.m. in the Academy of Music, Main St.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., MARCH 5
Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The evening Question Meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. Topic: A Century-Old Sinner (`Isa. 65:20`), in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Ave. and St. Felix St.
"INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION"
While this Association has its Head Office in Brooklyn, it cannot properly be said to be of Brooklyn. Being international, it is of every nation and city where there are classes in affiliation in Bible study, etc. In advertising meetings have this in mind. Your local meeting is a class of Bible Students of your own, and are members also of the "International Bible Students Association." And meetings may be said to be under the Association's auspices--but not "of Brooklyn."
The newspaper Syndicate request that Brother Russell's name be not identified in any manner with your local meetings nor with the names of the Pilgrims. They believe that this course will be to the advantage of the general work we are desirous to forward.
When writing to us, if your question relates to anything you have read, cite issue, page and paragraph and particularize the point of your difficulty.
Give your full address in every letter, in some manner indicating the writer's sex.
FRAUDULENT SOLICITORS--$5 REWARD
We learn of some dear friends of THE WATCH TOWER having been imposed upon by persons misrepresenting themselves as brethren. Our readers must learn to take care of their pocketbooks and monies, over which they are the stewards. Ordinarily it should not be difficult in conversation to know a child of God from a worldling. Those unwilling to talk religion, so that we might become acquainted with them, we would best reject as being doubtful disciples of our Master.
We have lately, however, heard of some who solicited money in the name of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. We wish to have it distinctly understood that nobody, any place, under any circumstances, is authorized by the Society so to do. And we hereby authorize any policeman or anybody of authority to arrest such mendicants as frauds. And we offer $5 each for their conviction.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR MARCH
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for March follow: (1) 281; (2) 135; (3) 95; (4) 145; (5) 208; (6) 152; (7) 325; (8) 138; (9) 165; (10) 160; (11) 129; (12) 93; (13) 87; (14) 327; (15) 109; (16) 279; (17) 291; (18) 46; (19) 255; (20) 176; (21) 50; (22) 283; (23) 105; (24) 333; (25) 178; (26) 60; (27) 222; (28) 224; (29) 177; (30) 213; (31) 214.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
LEADING SHEEP ASTRAY
WE HAVE already noted that at the Chicago Stock Yards they have what they call a bullock that meets the animals for the slaughter, tosses his head and gallops before them along a narrow passage leading to the slaughter. He has a niche into which he knows to turn aside, while the animals following him butt each other ahead into the slaughter pen.
It appears that at St. Louis they have a goat which serves a similar role towards the sheep. When a flock of sheep has been sold and it is to be transferred to the purchaser's pen a white billy-goat (that is said to chew tobacco with a relish) is trained to lead the sheep. He enters their pen, looks around upon them serenely and compassionately, and then, as though saying, "I sympathize with you; you are not being rightly treated; I will lead you to a better place," he stamps his foot, tosses his head, gives a snort and rushes out of the pen followed by the sheep. He leads them into the pen of the slaughterers.
The Lord likens his people to sheep. They are frequently less worldly wise than the goat class. All the more they need to take heed to the voice of the Shepherd and not to follow goats everywhere under any pretext. Failure to give heed to the Shepherd is an evidence of unfitness for the special purpose for which he is now selecting his "little flock." Of these it is written that they will not heed the voice of strangers, but know the voice of the Shepherd.
It seems natural for the goats to be leaders, and the sheep must be on their guard and discriminate, and follow none except those who have the sheep character of meekness, gentleness, patience, etc.--those who follow the Chief Shepherd's footsteps. If any have been doing otherwise let them take heed in time and rearrange matters. None should be in the Eldership of any class of Bible Students who does not give evidence of having been with Jesus and learned of him in doctrine, and been developed in the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit. "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him."
REFORMATION BY SURGERY
"The wonders performed by surgery constantly increase, and perhaps in no direction has the beneficence of the science been so much demonstrated as in the direction of making mental and moral cures through surgical operations. From time to time a number of cases have been reported whereby--with an operation on the head, removing some depression from the brain, or perhaps opening the skull to allow greater brain expansion-- backward and vicious boys have been given normal mental and moral conditions and a fair chance in life.
"Edward E. Grimmell, when 14 years of age, received a blow on the head from a picket, which fractured the skull and left a discernible depression. His parents paid little or no attention to the incident, but the boy grew up and from time to time showed criminal tendencies. He made little progress at school and was vicious, and was frequently the subject of police attention. After serving three terms in State's prison he was finally arrested and tried for forgery. He did not deny any of the facts, and his counsel contended that his criminal impulses were the result of injuries to the head.
RELEASE OF PRESSURE ON BRAIN CHANGED COURSE
OF MAN'S LIFE
"The Judge did not place credence in the claim made in his behalf, considered him a clever professional crook, dangerous to the community, and sentenced him to the Dannemora prison. The man begged the prison surgeon to perform an operation, saying he desired to lead a decent life, but could not resist the opportunity to commit crime whenever he had a chance. He preferred death to a continued career of crime, such as he felt he was doomed to have. He finally attracted the attention of an eminent surgeon of Boston, who performed the operation, relieved the pressure on the brain and changed the whole tendency of the man's thought and action, and from having the most perverse and criminal nature prior to the operation, he has since become, to all appearances, a moral man of the highest impulses.
"It has been found that surgical operations, removing adenoids and other growths of nose and throat, allowing proper breathing, has changed many cases of stupid children into bright and active ones. Crime comes ordinarily through an abnormal physical condition; viciousness is considerably the result of ignorance through the presence of abnormal conditions."--Plattsburg Sentinel.
* * *
If accidents to the skull can produce degradation of morals, who will deny that the shape of the brain of the child is largely influenced by heredity--particularly by
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the mother? This agrees with the Scriptural declaration, I was born in sin, shapen in iniquity; in sin did my mother conceive me.--`Psa. 51:5`.
Who will deny, further, that the father has much to do with the child's physical vitality and vigor of constitution? But additionally he is largely responsible for the mother's surroundings and mental condition during the period of gestation. Injustice, harshness, cruel words at such a time from anybody, but particularly from the husband, would arouse in the mind of the mother grievous
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thoughts, gloomy thoughts, anger, hatred, etc., sure more or less to leave their impress upon the child she is carrying.
No one should be more generous to the weaknesses and vices of humanity than the parents; but all should have a measure of sympathy. While enforcing law and order let us remember that in the whole human family a reign of sin and death is in progress. And let us sympathetically do all in our power to promote righteousness and to be helpful to those who are in still greater difficulty than themselves along these lines.
Not only do such thoughts give us great charity toward all, but they cause us the more reverently to look up to God as the only One competent to fully release the groaning creation. Looking into his Word we perceive that the entire Plan of Salvation for the race is along the lines of uplift from mental and physical weaknesses to full perfection in God's likeness. And while praising the Almighty for this generous Plan soon to be put into operation for the world at the Second Coming of Messiah and the establishment of his Kingdom (`Acts 3:19-21`), let us also note with joy our own privileges --our "high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
FERTILITY OF PALESTINE
Prof. Richard Gottheil, of Columbia University, the director of the American school of archaeology in Jerusalem, believes that the time will soon come when Palestine will be in fact what the Hebrew Scriptures say in poetry it was at one time--"a land flowing with milk and honey." The professor admits that changes will have to come before the ideal is realized, but he believes that the changes will come.
When a friend suggested that there would have to be a change in the soil, as well as in the government, he replied that appearances were often deceitful in Turkey as well as America, and that what appeared to be rock on the hillsides of Judea was really a fertilizer in rock form. Prof. Gottheil is a truthful man, but a truthful man is sometimes called upon to explain statements which seem contrary to facts, and this is the explanation he made:
"The soil of Palestine is peculiar. It is remarkably fertile, as the primitive methods of cultivation show. If so much can grow as does grow with the mere scratching which the ground receives, how much might be produced if western methods were employed? I have seen trees growing where there was absolutely no dirt visible, but in some way the roots had reached the soil and they had obtained a foothold, which enables them to grow and bear fruit.
PREDICTS GREAT FUTURE
"But what is more remarkable still is the fact that there is in the rocks which one sees on these hillsides, chemical properties which correspond with those ingredients in the best fertilizers, and these rocks decompose from time to time, so that what seems so forbidding from an agricultural point of view is really going back into the soil as manure. There is an institution in Jerusalem, founded to give work to poor Hebrews, whose manager actually pounds up the soil, not waiting for it to decompose, and he produces very fine crops as a result of this mixture. Several cases might be cited where hillsides may be made to bear, not exactly forests, but a sufficient number of trees to prove my contention that a great future awaits this country, when conditions now prevalent are changed; and they will be changed; a new spirit is in the air, and in the government as well."
TO MAKE EDEN BLOOM AGAIN
Sir John Jackson has obtained the contract for the construction of the first dam in the irrigation works designed by Sir William Willcox for the Turkish Government, with the object of again making an Eden of Mesopotamia.
Sir William Wilcox, who has been engaged in surveying the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates, in 1908 predicted that this vast territory, now an arid waste infested by swamps, but showing traces of ancient irrigation canals, would again blossom as the rose, provided that works, of which this dam is the first, be carried out.
DISOWNS FANCIFUL SPECULATIONS
Brother W. H. Bundy has forwarded to us a mimeographed three-page article speculating in regard to time prophecies and implying that the writer has some foreknowledge of the contents of STUDIES Volume VII., and that his presentations are in line therewith. Brother Bundy is credited with having presented these fanciful interpretations. His letter below denies all relationship to the article.
As for the Seventh Volume, the Editor can assure the readers that nobody knows what its contents will be, for not a word of it has yet been written. While our hands are so full of important work, and while the Church evidently needs to study more deeply the Six Volumes already possessed, we cannot consider it to be the Lord's will to turn aside from work in hand and pressing, to take up the writing of the Seventh Volume. No doubt in his own due time the Lord will give us the time and everything else necessary for an exposition of Revelation, if it be his will that we should thus serve his Church.
Our advice to the dear friends everywhere is to accept nothing in a way of Scriptural exposition as ours, except what is published by our Society or over our signature.
Brother Bundy's letter denying the fanciful, prophetic interpretations, follows:
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
This is the fourth letter of this kind I have received lately and I feel that I would be glad to have some way of assuring the friends that I have no sympathy for speculations, but endeavor always to confine myself to the Scriptural teachings of the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES and THE WATCH TOWER. There is no foundation for thinking I ever presented such fanciful teachings suggested in the enclosed letter and I fear my name is confounded with some other Pilgrim. Can you recommend some way whereby I can clear myself, if you think it advisable? It grieves me to think any of his little ones could suppose I would act so unwisely and so contrary to your admonitions. I love you! God bless you! In much gratitude.
Your Brother, W. H. BUNDY.
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REPLY TO CARDINAL GIBBONS' SERMON
[FROM THE "OVERLAND MONTHLY"]
CARDINAL GIBBONS' sermon, widely published, attracted a great deal of attention amongst Protestants as well as Catholics. What will Protestantism say to this? was the query. We have heard but one Protestant response, and that, properly enough, from the pen of the best and most widely known Protestant minister in the world-- Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle, New York:--
PASTOR RUSSELL CONGRATULATES THE CARDINAL
It falls to my lot to respond to Cardinal Gibbons' sermon on "A Plea for United Christendom," in which he urges very forcefully that there is but one Church, and that, therefore, all Protestants should abandon their sectarian attitude and join the Roman Catholic Church. The reply falls to my lot, because, although I stand free and independent of all Protestant sects and parties, my brethren of the ministry in various denominations of Protestantism would find it rather awkward and difficult to acknowledge that there is but one true Church, and, in the same breath to acknowledge that their denomination is no more that one church than is any other sect.
I am very pleased with Cardinal Gibbons' kindly moderation in the handling of the subject. It contrasts very forcibly with the terrible times of the past, when Roman Catholics on the one hand and various Protestant sects on the other, waged an indirect and internecine strife to the death in the name of God and of our Redeemer and of righteousness. Surely what all intelligent people need is to abandon foolish prejudices, hypocrisies and superstitions of the past, and to come together as true followers of the Nazarene. Everything which points in this direction is to be appreciated, whether coming from the lips of Cardinal Gibbons or from others. Surely we should all desire the Truth, and desiring it, should seek it in God's Word, of which the Master said, "Thy Word is Truth."
AGREES WITH CARDINAL GIBBONS
I am pleased to say that I agree most heartily with Cardinal Gibbons' presentation in almost every particular. Unquestionably sectarianism is wholly out of accord with the teachings of the Scriptures. Assuredly St. Paul rebuked the Corinthian brethren because they presented a divided front, saying, I am of Paul; I am of Apollos; I am of Peter, etc. St. Paul's reply to this was that it was proof or carnality, of fleshly minds, and proof of an unspiritual state. All Christians are coming to realize this--Catholic and Protestant--although it is but a few years since some claimed that sectarianism was a positive advantage; that it led to a greater zeal and energy in the Divine service than if all were agreed.
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All who are conversant with history understand what I mean when I say that God has been pleased to permit an illustration of--first a united Christendom, and, secondly, a divided Christendom. For long centuries there was practically but one Church in Europe, the Roman Catholic. The results were surely not at all that could have been desired. That unity of Church brought neither secular nor religious education, nor did it bring to the world the Millennium promised as the great desideratum of humanity. Rather in that long period we see that ignorance and superstition held the reins. During the last few centuries we have had the opportunity of testing the division of Christendom into various sects and parties. While the results are not satisfactory, while the condition is not what God's Word prompts us to desire and expect, this divided condition has certainly tended toward greater freedom of thought, greater liberty from ignorance and superstition.
So, then, when we think of the Church, both Catholics and Protestants agree that we should not desire such a unity as prevailed during the period in history known as "the dark ages." The unity we seek and pray for is a knowledge-enlightened and more sanctified unity, which will not require to be maintained through the arm of civilized power, and the rack and thumb-screw and stake. Our prayers and desires should go up for the kind of liberty mentioned in the Bible--"the liberty wherewith Christ makes free"--"the liberty of the sons of God."
THE PERPLEXING QUESTION
So, then, dissatisfied with the sectarian divisions, and strife, and equally dissatisfied with the compulsory union of the past, and, convinced, nevertheless, that the Bible teaches the unity of the Church, we ask, How may this Scriptural unity be attained--the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace and love, which maintains its own liberty and grants the same to others? Where shall we find; how shall we obtain; by what process shall we accomplish this unity?
We agree with the Cardinal that our Lord speaks of himself in the Scriptures as the one Shepherd of the one flock of this Age and the Supervisor of the one fold. We agree that there is but the one Church, for whom the Master prayed during his dying hour--"That they all may be one in us." We agree also that the Apostle speaks of the one Church, likening it to a human body, over which there is the one Head, and of which all are members. We agree that there are not many bodies, but one; not many heads, but One. We agree, also, that there is but the one true Vine of the Father's right-hand planting, and that this refers to Christ, the parent stock, and to his true members, the branches. We agree, also, that as there is only one Lord, so there is but one faith, and, additionally, that there is but one baptism.
Agreeing with all these Scriptural premises laid down by Cardinal Gibbons, we must, nevertheless, dispute his conclusions, that this one Church which Christ declared he would build upon the rock of Truth, and which would grow to a glorious temple composed of living stones, of which St. Peter was one, is the Roman Church, just as we disagree with our Baptist friends when they tell us that the Baptist Church is the one Church. Equally we disagree with our Presbyterian and Methodist, Lutheran and Congregational systems when they each protest that they fill these requirements--that they are the one Church.
Our contention is that every one who turns his back upon sin; who accepts of Jesus as his Redeemer and Savior, and who approaches the Father in full consecration through Jesus, and who receives the begetting of the holy Spirit of God--all such are the brethren of Jesus and sons of God, whether they join the Roman Catholic, the Congregational, the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian or other human systems. Our contention is that none of these human systems, Catholic or Protestant, is recognized by the Bible--none of them is recognized by God. They are all human institutions--originated by men and maintained by men; sometimes good men and sometimes bad men have had to do with their organization and maintenance.
Indeed, we hold that such a reformed, consecrated believer is equally a child of God in whatever denomination he may be, or if he be outside of all denominational walls or creeds. It is our contention that the various creeds of Christendom have been so many stumbling
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blocks and hindrances to honest souls who sought their God and the light of his Word. True, they may have assisted in some particulars, as well as they may have done injury in other respects. All the same, none of these institutions has Divine authority. None of them is sanctioned by the Word of God, the Bible. They are one and all built upon false assumptions.
WHICH IS THE TRUE CHURCH?
According to the Bible we may all find the answer we are seeking--an explanation of what and where is the true Church. In the Scriptures it is described as "the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in heaven." (`Heb. 12:23`.) Will our Protestant friends claim that their Church roll corresponds to that written in Heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life? Would Christian friends of any denomination dare to make such a claim? Most assuredly, No. We all realize that at very most the various sects and parties of Christendom are composed of wheat and tares, and that, so far as human judgment can discern, the tares are vastly in the majority.
The Scriptures declare that the Lord knoweth them that are his! The intimation is that no one but the Lord certainly, truly, knows which are the true sheep and which are the goats in sheep's clothing. We are exhorted not to judge one another. "Condemn not that ye be not condemned." Each heart is Scripturally exhorted to have its own fellowship with God, not through synods or presbyteries, not through priests or popes. Every branch is to be vitally united to the Vine; every Christian, every member of the true Church, is to be vitally united to Christ.
In that very parable our Lord declares that every branch in him that bears not fruitage of the Spirit in love, the Father will cut off from membership. Thus, from the standpoint of Divine wisdom and knowledge the Church of Christ on the earth is composed only of saints--only of those who have fled away from sin, who by faith have laid hold upon the Redeemer and who have consecrated their lives unto death in the Divine service--and of these only such as maintain this standing and bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
So, then, without attempting a personal identification of the branches of the Vine, we may surely know that they are very few. We may surely know that the nominal membership of the various sects contain comparatively few of these saintly ones, who alone have Divine recognition as being "the Church of the First-borns whose names are written in heaven"--fruit-bearing branches in the true Vine, living stones in the temple of God imbued with the holy Spirit, active members in the Spirit-begotten Body of Christ.
To this conclusion the words of Scripture agree, assuring us that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that go in thereat." They assure us again that these favored few number not many great, not many rich or learned, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom. They assure us that this Kingdom class must all be footstep followers of Jesus; as he said, "If any one would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, that where I am, there shall my disciple be." And again he said, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
CHRISTIAN UNION NEVER LOST
From this standpoint we perceive that the great masses, Catholic and Protestant, are not, and never were, the Church of Christ; they deceive themselves. They have been children of this world, not spirit begotten New Creatures in Christ; they have not been living stones in the temple, not branches of the true Vine, not members of the "little flock." They have been worldly people with religious sentiments and good desires who misunderstood that great teaching of the Bible--that only the sanctified are in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. What has been done by these large numbers of well-meaning but mistaken people in the way of organizing churches, lodges, banks, etc., had nothing whatever to do with the great organization which God effected eighteen centuries ago, and which has persisted as a unit in the world ever since.
The true Church has never been divided, because each member of it is united with the Lord, the Head, and, through him, united to every other "member of his Body, which is the Church," the "little flock." In this one Church, there has always been maintained one Lord Jesus, one faith, his Word of promise, one baptism--the baptism of consecration into his death--to suffer with him that, by and by, we may reign with him.
THE HIDDEN MYSTERY
Does some one say, Where is the history of this Church? We answer, in the language of the Apostles, that "the world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not." The world of Jesus' day were the professed religionists; yet they knew not the great religious Teacher
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and Redeemer whom God had sent, and they crucified him. Similarly all the way down, the great religious teachers of the various systems have not known, have not recognized the "members of the Body of Christ" a bit more than the Jews recognized the Head of that Body.
This is the very point which St. Paul emphasized. He declares that the fact, as well as the philosophy, of the Church being members of Christ is to the world--both the religious and the irreligious world--a Hidden Mystery; it is outside of their philosophy, their theory, their understanding. Hence it is that the most saintly characters, both in Catholicism and Protestantism, have been martyrs, as Jesus was, as St. Stephen was, as all the Apostles were, and all the faithful during the intermediate centuries were, and as some may yet be if an outward union be effected such as once prevailed--in the "Dark Ages."
COUNTERFEITING THE TRUE CHURCH
If now we declare that, to a certain extent, the true Church has been counterfeited, both by Catholics and Protestants, let no one take offense and suppose that we are wishing to speak unkindly. We do not charge that these counterfeits of the true Church were made knowingly or intentionally, but merely that the Church, coming under the control of brilliant minds not spirit-begotten, not heaven-enlightened, misread the Word of God, misinterpreted it, and followed their misinterpretations.
Notice, for instance, the Roman Catholic Church. The average Roman Catholic does not know that he is not a member of the Church. But Cardinal Gibbons will not deny it, nor will any of the ecclesiastics. Their teaching, most explicitly, is that the Church is composed of the Pope and the other religious instructors, and that the common people are not members of the Church, but, as they style them, "children of the Church."
Thus, the Catholic Church appropriates to itself the words of Jesus respecting the "little flock," etc.; they apply those Scriptures to the clergy, and not to the congregation. This is the secret of Papacy's great mistake.
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In their ecclesiastical system they have a counterfeit of the true Church. And because the Scriptures declare that the Lord's faithful "little flock," "the Church of the living God whose names are written in heaven," will reign with Christ, therefore Papacy claims, on the strength of that promise, the right to reign with imperial power and heavenly authority over its kingdoms of earth. And it has been Papacy's endeavor to carry out this erroneous reasoning, and to make good its counterfeit of the true Church and her work, that has led to so many grievous difficulties, persecutions, wars, turmoils.
THE TRUE REIGN OF THE SAINTS
If Papacy has the counterfeit of the true Church and the counterfeit of the true reign, what does the Bible teach respecting the genuine? This: That the faithfulness of the unknown, disesteemed, rejected of men, saintly followers in Jesus' footsteps, constitutes their schooling, testing, preparation for a share in the Kingdom with Christ their Lord.
When the full number of the elect Church, predestinated of the Father, shall have been thus gathered out of the world and finally glorified--then the Kingdom to which they are heirs will be established, and they shall be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, King of kings and Lord of lords. His Kingdom will rule the world, not by guns or swords, not by racks or burning at the stake and inquisitionary torments, but by heavenly power, which then will have full control of earth's affairs.
CHILDREN OF THE CHURCH
What our Catholic friends have is merely a foreshadowing --or, shall I use the harsher word counterfeit --of the Truth respecting the Church as a mother and certain children. The Scriptures teach that, in the new order of things, when Christ shall take to himself his great power and institute his Messianic Kingdom for the blessing and uplifting of mankind, he will have a Bride --the Church--"The Bride, the Lamb's Wife." (`Rev. 21:9`.) And the Scriptures further represent that the glorified Jesus, who is the heavenly Bridegroom, and the glorified Church, who is the heavenly Bride, will, figuratively, beget children. That is to say, all through the thousand years of the reign of righteousness the glorified Jesus will be the everlasting Father, or Giver of everlasting life, on the earthly plane to Adam, and all of his children who will accept it on the terms of the Kingdom. Then the Church will be the mother or nourisher and caretaker of all mankind to uplift them, instruct them, develop them, in the ways of righteousness--to bring as many as will prove willing up to the full perfection of human nature and life everlasting. All refusing this uplift and rejecting the grace of God will be destroyed in the Second Death. St. Peter tells us that their destruction will be similar to that of the brute beast that perisheth. --`2 Pet. 2:12`.
ARE THERE PROTESTANT COUNTERFEITS?
Although Protestants repudiate the Roman Catholic idea that the clergy alone constitute the Church, and that the people are the children of the Church, nevertheless in many denominations we see this insidious error in a slightly different form. This is notably true of the Episcopal Church, which puts everything in the way of government into the hands of the clergy and treats the laity, to a considerable degree, as though they were children unable to comprehend spiritual things. The Methodist Episcopal Church follows closely in the same line of procedure. The Presbyterian and Lutheran systems also quite particularly differentiate the clergy from the laity, even though the laity be given some apparent recognition on the ecclesiastical boards. This is done usually for a reward or for the purpose of securing financial or legal advice. But the laity is not supposed to have an equal standing with the clergy in respect to spiritual things.
Congregationalists and Baptists and Disciples most nearly recognize an equality between the clergy and laity and that the entire Church of God, whoever they may be, are a Royal Priesthood. Yet even with these congregational bodies there is an attempt made to separate between clergy and laity, and to hold all the spiritual power and authority in the hands of the clergy. This is done along financial lines in the Congregational Church through the so-called Congregational Union.
In the Baptist Church the ministers combine in what is known as a Baptist Ministers' Association, which holds the reins over the people as parents over children, and tells them whom they may call for a Pastor and whom not--whom the Association is willing to ordain as their Pastor, and whom it will refuse. Thus the same spirit is manifested in all these earthly systems, and by it they are all distinctly differentiated from the true Church and her Scriptural regulations, which declare, All ye are brethren--and One is your Master, even Christ, and One is your Pope, or Father, even God.
ROYAL PRIESTHOOD COMPOSED OF SAINTS REGARDLESS
So, then, we ask Cardinal Gibbons to consider with us the Scriptural teaching which we have presented, namely, that the Royal Priesthood is composed exclusively of saints, regardless of whether they belong to their clergy or laity, or are to be found elsewhere--"The Lord knoweth them that are his." We ask the Cardinal to consider that this one Church is indivisible; that the Heavenly Father is the Husbandman of this true Vine; that he does not suffer any to remain as branches, members, of the true Church unless they bring forth the true fruit of the Vine.
We ask the Cardinal to consider the Scriptural teaching that this saintly class, already vitally united with Jesus, is now the espoused virgin class mentioned by St. Paul (`2 Cor. 11:3`), and that they are waiting for the completion of their number, when the Heavenly Bridegroom, at his Second Coming, will receive them to himself in glory. By the power of the First Resurrection they will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and be with their Lord and be like him. Then, as the Scriptures declare, will come the marriage of the Lamb, "for his Wife hath made herself ready." And shortly after that will come the Messianic Kingdom and the Times of Regeneration mentioned by our Lord, when his faithful will sit with him in the Throne, and the regeneration of Adam's race, the giving to them of new life from the Life-Giver, will begin.
As for the great and prosperous human institutions which are more or less duplicating the Lord's Kingdom all over the world, these also, in the Scriptures, are called vines--the vine of the earth, in contrast with the Vine of the Heavenly Father's right-hand planting. It is not for us to determine how much good and how much harm these earthly churches, vines of the earth, have accomplished. That the Lord will declare in his own season, but he tells us that the grapes borne by these vines-- anger, malice, hatred, envy strife, evil-speaking, etc.-- will overflow the wine-press of the wrath of God in the near future, and bring upon the world that great time of trouble, which all may see upon the horizon and which, the Lord declares, will be such a time of trouble as the world has never known.--`Daniel 12:1`; `Matt. 24:21`.
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1911--THE MEMORIAL SUPPER--1911
AGAIN we are approaching the anniversary of our dear Redeemer's crucifixion; once more we remind our readers of the lesson which years have taught many of us, namely, that for some unexplainable reason the Lord's consecrated people experience special trials and testings at this particular season--corresponding to our Lord's time of heaviness and sorrow, and the time of special testing amongst the early disciples. It was shortly before he went up to Jerusalem, foreknowing the crucifixion, that he explained it to the Apostles. It was then that he declared that only those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have life in them. Many of his close followers said, "This is a hard saying; who can receive it?" and walked no more with him.--`John 6:60`.
Shortly after, when telling the twelve of his approaching crucifixion, St. Peter brought upon himself a rebuke by saying, Far be it from thee, Lord. This thing shall not happen unto thee. But Jesus answered him, saying, Get thee behind me, Adversary, for thou savorest not of the things of God, but of the things of men. (`Matt.16:22,23`.) Your suggestions and advice are contrary to the Divine Program; it is necessary that the Son of man suffer sacrificially, that he might enter into his glory and accomplish his appointed work as the Savior of the Church and of the world--whosoever wills.
Later on, near the climax, we remember the special trial upon Judas, and how his love of money led him to oppose the anointing of the Master for his burial, and later on led him to sell that Master for thirty pieces of silver, and, later on, to betray him with a kiss. Still later we remember how all the disciples were disconcerted by the arrest of their Master and by his evident willingness to be arrested, so that they "all forsook him and fled." (`Mark 14:50`.) We remember how, still later, the noble St. Peter was overtaken in a serious fault and denied his Lord and Master, even with cursing.
Perhaps we partly imagine a parallel of testing on the Lord's people at this season of the year. And perhaps it is real and appropriate that the members of the Body of Christ should, in this particular at this season, have special trials, peculiar difficulties, testings of faith, obedience and loyalty.
THE LENTEN OR FASTING SEASON
It would appear that thoughts along the line above suggested came to others long ago and led to the appointment of the Lenten Season as a time of special fasting and prayer amongst the consecrated ones of the Lord's family. Certain it is that for long centuries this fasting has been in observance in the Roman Church, in the English Church, in the German Church, and, to some extent, in others.
Although with the majority fasting has become a mere outward form and ceremony, without heart appreciation, and, therefore, not pleasing to the Lord, nevertheless we believe that some fasted from the best of motives in olden times, and that some still so fast. It is not for us to judge and individually condemn anybody, yet many, we are sure, will confess to just what we have charged in an indefinite way. It is impossible, of course, for any laws or regulations to be made which will govern the heart--they can scarcely govern the flesh, even in the most casual manner.
We do not approve of set rules and laws governing such matters. The suggestions should be quite sufficient for all those who heartily desire to practise abstemiousness in respect to diet. We have the Master's suggestion that after his departure his followers would fast. Several instances of such fastings are recorded in the Scriptures, and these may be considered proper examples for the Lord's followers, none of whom are under law, under command, in respect to meats or drinks or other earthly ordinances.
A measure of self-restraint in fasting is valuable to us physically, as well as spiritually--and particularly in the Spring of the year. The stronger foods necessary for the cold weather of winter are less necessary, as the weather becomes milder. Much of the Spring sickness is undoubtedly due to over-eating and may be considerably corrected by the observance of a measurable fast-- restraint from the eating of dainties and rich food. And when the system is clogged with over-supply of nourishment, the brain becomes more stupid, impairing the higher mental powers, and particularly including those which connect us appreciatively with heavenly and spiritual things.
We throw out these suggestions without any desire to put a yoke or a law upon anybody, but wishing each to fast and pray according to the dictates of his own conscience and to receive spiritual blessings according to the degree of his fellowship with the Lord in this and in every matter.
THE DATE OF THE MEMORIAL SUPPER
As we have previously remarked, our Lord gave no intimation such as many dear Christian people have imagined--namely, that the Memorial Supper should be celebrated weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, tri-monthly. Most evidently the Supper was instituted by all of the Jewish arrangements as an annual observance--to take the place of the Passover Type. There was a definiteness about the date of the type which would not necessarily attach to our celebration of the antitype. The type was intended to specifically mark the exact date on which our Lord would be crucified. Hence great particularity on the part of the Jews was appropriate. Now that the great fact of Jesus' death is a thing of the past, there seems not to be as great necessity for particularity as to the exactness of a day and an hour.
Hence we see no objection to the custom followed by Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans of celebrating the Friday and the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of our Lord's death and resurrection, as Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Indeed, something may be said in favor of their custom, as it permits the anniversary to harmonize with the days of the week. However, for over thirty years we have been accustomed to observe this Memorial--the nearest that we know to its exact anniversary, according to the Jewish reckoning of time-- on the preceding evening of the 14th day of the Jewish Month Nisan. In view of this long custom, and the fact that some might not see clearly any advantage of a change; in view of the fact also that some might become confused and think that they were following an error, it is our preference. We advise, therefore, that the exact date, according to the Jewish calendar, be followed.
This year the new moon of the Spring Equinox appears March 30th, thus constituting it the First day of the First Month, Jewish time. Our Lord was crucified on the 14th day of the First Month, which this year will be April 12th. But the Memorial Supper, commemorative of his death, was celebrated on the evening preceding and therefore we, according to our previous custom, recommend that all, with one heart and one mind, unite in celebrating the great Redeemer's death on Tuesday night, April 11th, after six o'clock. Even then, of course, we will not all be able to celebrate at the same
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hour, because of differences of time; but the celebration will be very nearly at the same hour all over the world. The thought of this general fellowship will add to the joy and solemnity of the occasion. We recommend that all who love the Lord and are fully consecrated to do his will, even unto death, join in this celebration, which means so much to all of us.
It first of all reminds us of our dear Redeemer's sacrifice on behalf of his Church and on behalf of all the families of the earth. It reminds us, secondly, that we have vowed unto the Lord to walk in his steps, to suffer with him, to drink of his cup, to be baptized with his baptism of death. Of course, the breaking of the bread and the sipping of the cup, memorially, is far less important than our participation in the realities, of which they are merely a figure. We must in our minds and hearts feed upon the broken body of Jesus and realize by faith that we partake first of all, imputedly, of justification of our flesh through him and that, through him,
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comes all our hopes of a future life.
Secondly, as represented by his cup, we must share his sorrows, be partakers of the sufferings of Christ, fill up that which is behind of his afflictions, in walking faithfully in his footsteps--even unto death. The cup which the Father poured for the Master he drank. And by the grace of God we are privileged to share in his cup; for if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him. And if we escape the sufferings of Christ and fail to become living sacrifices with him, we will thereby also be escaping the glorious privileges of his Kingdom.
We are giving this timely notice because some of our readers live in remote Australia and China.
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LIFTED BY WHIRLWIND OUT OF SIGHT
EXPERIENCES OF ELIJAH THE PROPHET
--`II KINGS 2:1-11`.--MARCH 5.--
"Enoch walked with God and he was not."--`Genesis 5:24`.
THE Bible tells of three notable men who disappeared --God took them. One of these, Enoch, we are told, did not die. Another of them, Moses, we are told, died and was buried. Of the third one, the special subject of our lesson, it is not stated whether he died or not. But it is our understanding that he did die.
The heaven to which Elijah was taken by a whirlwind was the aerial heaven, in which the birds fly. His taking away after this manner was in order to complete the typical features of his life, as we shall see. That neither he nor Enoch went to heaven, in the sense of passing into the heavenly or spiritual state and into the presence of God, is clearly testified to by Jesus, who declared, "No man hath ascended up to heaven, save he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man." (`John 3:13`.) Although of Enoch it is declared that he was translated that he should not see death, it is not stated that he was translated to heaven. And our Lord's words assure us that he was not. Where he now is no man knows. We can merely by faith accept the fact.
The object served in the translation of Enoch probably is to show by and by that it was quite possible for God to have maintained our race in life perpetually--that only because of sin was it necessary for Adam and his family to die; that when sin and death shall be abolished by Messiah during his Kingdom, and when the willing and obedient of mankind shall have been brought to human perfection again, they will never need to die. The preservation of Enoch, an imperfect man, for five thousand years, by Divine power, will be an evidence to mankind and an assistance to their faith while the work of restitution will be progressing. Enoch himself is one of those Ancient Worthies who, during the Millennium, will be one of the "princes" or rulers in the earth, representatives of Messiah's invisible Kingdom. "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth."--`Psalm 45:16`.
ELIJAH A TYPE OF THE CHURCH
As Melchisedec (a King and Priest at the time) represented or typified the Church in glory, so Bible students understand that Elijah, the Prophet, typified or represented the Church in the flesh--this side the vail--from Jesus to the present. Thus long after Elijah's death God, through the Prophet, declared to Israel, Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet before the great and notable day of the Lord, and if he do not turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, then the earth shall be smitten with a curse--a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. (`Malachi 4:5,6`.) John the Baptist, as the forerunner of Jesus in the flesh, typified this greater Elijah (the Church in the flesh), the forerunner of the Messiah of glory. As John the Baptist did not succeed in bringing the people into harmony with the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc.), so likewise the Church in the flesh, as God foresaw, has not been successful in bringing peace to the world.
As John the Baptist's failure with Israel was followed by the overthrow of their national polity in A.D. 70, so, we believe, the failure of his antitype, the Church in the flesh, to bring in harmony and righteousness, is by Divine intention to be followed by the world-wide trouble which will humble man and prepare the way for the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom in power and great glory.
CAUGHT UP IN A WHIRLWIND
Many Christians have not noticed that there is not only a difference between the heavenly salvation, which God has provided for the Church, and the earthly restitution (`Acts 3:19-21`) which God has provided for the world, but additionally there are two distinct classes of the Church brought to our attention in the Bible. First, we have the faithful Royal Priesthood styled "The Body of Christ," of which Jesus is the Head. These have the promise that they shall sit with Christ in his throne and be judges of the world during the Messianic Kingdom. The other class of saved ones on the spirit plane, the Scriptures designate as a "great company, whose number no one knows." (`Rev. 7:9`.) These are different from the elect, whose number is positively fixed by Divine predestination --one hundred and forty-four thousand. As that company is Scripturally styled a "little flock" and a "royal priesthood," so the "great company" in the Bible is styled antitypical Levites. While the elect sit upon the Throne with Christ, this secondary class of the saved will serve before the Throne. While the saintly few will wear crowns of glory, the greater company of their brethren, before the Throne, will have no crowns, but instead have palms of victory. While the elect are the living stones of the temple of God soon to be brought together in the
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"first resurrection," to be the meeting-place between God and men for a thousand years, the "great company," the Levitical class, are neither living stones nor pillars in this Temple, though they will be blessed with the glorious opportunity of serving God in this Temple day and night.
Having located Elijah as the type of the "elect" class, Bible Students are inclined to consider Elisha as probably a typical character; also a representative of the greater spiritual class, the antitypical Levites. It was toward the close of Elijah's experience that Elisha became his servant and companion. The various instances in which Elijah suggested to Elisha that he should tarry behind are supposed to represent the trials and difficulties in the pathway of the Church here, which will suggest to the "great company," the Elisha class, that they continue not to follow their more zealous brethren of the Elijah class. These various stoppages and suggestions represent sifting or separating work, and all who continue on may be understood to belong to the Elisha class. Any falling away are not of either class.
CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN OF FIRE
If these interpretations of Elijah as a type be correct, the lesson is that the close of the Church's career in the flesh will come suddenly, abruptly. The fiery chariot may prove to be fiery trials or sharp persecutions, separating between the Elijah and the Elisha classes. The whirlwind which carried up Elijah to heaven is a type or figure, very uniformly used in the Scriptures to represent great confusion and strife--a cyclone.
The denouement will not be entirely unexpected, either by the Elisha class or by the sons of the prophets, who would represent here a respectable class of Bible students who have not made a full consecration of their lives to the Lord, and who will not be eligible to the heavenly condition as members either of the Elijah or the Elisha class.
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ELISHA SUCCESSOR TO ELIJAH
--`II. KINGS 4:25-37`.--MARCH 12.--
"The gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord."--`Romans 6:23`.
OUR lesson follows in order the one of a week ago. Elisha was with Elijah until the whirlwind separated them and took Elijah out of sight. His mantle dropped to Elisha and Elisha's prayer was answered that a double portion of Elijah's spirit might rest upon him and that he might take up, in a measure, the work of Elijah as a teacher. Using the mantle to smite the river Jordan, the same miracle occurred to him as to Elijah. He passed over safely. On the other side of Jordan he began his career as a prophet. At Jericho the supply of water came from a brackish stream, unpalatable and unhealthful. Elisha went to the fountain and there performed a miracle similar to the one performed by Moses at the Wells of
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Moses at Marah. To this day the spring is known as Elisha's Fountain.
Again we read that one of these "sons of the prophets," or students, died and that his widowed mother was in want and that the Prophet Elisha helped her to exercise faith. She had a cruse of oil, which increased in supply as she poured it from vessel to vessel until she had sufficient for all her debts. Several other miracles of a restorationary character are noted, the most prominent of which is related in our lesson, namely, the restoration of a boy to life and health. The thing connected with Elisha's experiences which has attracted to him world-wide attention and general reprobation was his cursing of forty-two youths. These were children in the sense that every person is by the Law considered a child until twenty-one years of age--they had been mocking Elisha, crying, "Go up, thou bald head." Your Master, Elijah, went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Why do not you go also? You are a bald head, or one who has lost his master. You are not fit to pose as a prophet nor to be compared to Elijah. (This is our paraphrase.)
Elisha did not swear at the children; when we read that he cursed them the proper thought is that he condemned them, just as Jesus said to some with most kindly art, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees," etc. So Elisha pronounced woe or blight upon those youths of various ages who taunted him. He declared that something would befall them. Divine Justice would square accounts and vindicate him. Forthwith two she bears came upon the rabble, put them to flight, and forty-two of the mob were torn and wounded--more or less. Opponents of the Bible read into this that forty-two children were killed, but nothing of the kind is stated.
We are to remember that the Israelites under the leadership of their King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had been turned to idolatry, and that although the Prophet Elijah had re-established the true religion, the King and Queen and the majority of the people merely tolerated it.
The youths who had tiraded against Elisha were probably the young men and boys of Jericho, a hoodlum set ranging in years from ten to twenty, who had followed the Prophet, taunting him and, doubtless at the instigation of their parents, seemed to destroy his influence. The Divine judgment following the Prophet's denunciation was doubtless intended as a just rebuke and a profitable lesson for those torn and for their parents and for all who heard about it.
ELISHA CONSIDERED TYPICAL
Our interest in this story of Elisha's experiences after Elijah was taken away increases as we consider the fact that he, like Elijah, was quite a positive and typical character. We have already intimated a correspondency between Elijah and the antitypical priests and between Elisha and the antitypical Levites of the Gospel Age. Elisha may also typify the Ancient Worthies, into whose hands the instruction and blessing of the world will be placed at the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom: "Princes in all the earth." From this standpoint we might think of Elisha representing the secondary class of the spirit-begotten ones first, and that his crossing of Jordan represents the death of this class of antitypical Levites. With this view the after progress of Elisha and his work of judgment and restitution already referred to correspond well with what we should expect at the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom under the "princes." The healing of the water-spring would well represent the healing of the stream of Truth. For long centuries error and superstition, combined with Satan's great falsehood, Ye shall not surely die, have made the waters of Truth brackish, unpalatable, unhealthful. The putting of the salt into the Fountain or Spring symbolically represents the cleansing from untruth and error, through the co-operation of the Church in glory, which, while here, is appropriately styled, "the salt of the earth." The healing of the stream of Truth will come from the glorified Church, although it
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will come through the Ancient Worthies as a part of the New Covenant blessings then to come to the world of mankind through the Jews. This is also what St. Paul calls to our attention in `Romans 11:25-33`.
The "death in the pottage" will be effectually offset by the blessings of the Lord through his glorified Kingdom. The earth shall yield her increase. The wilderness shall blossom as the rose. Streams shall break forth in the desert. The blessing of the Lord will be everywhere-- represented symbolically by the sons of the Prophets. These were some who separated themselves from the idolatries of their land and who gladly gave heed to the teachings of the Prophets, prophesying themselves, as their followers.
The blessing upon the widow's cruse of oil has symbolical signification, in proportion as we realize the value of the oil to the people of that time. It was not only a part of their food, but their general medicine and furnished them their light. What came through the prophets, therefore, is a very beautiful picture of restitution blessings, which may be expected in due time and which will come to all the worthy.
The restoration of life to the dead is to be one of the great features of the New Dispensation--Messiah's Kingdom. And this power will be exercised doubtless through the "princes" of that time, typified, we believe, by Elisha. Those most to be favored will be those who will most thoroughly appreciate and best receive the "princes," represented by Elisha, even as the parents of this child whom Elisha raised from the dead had made gracious provision for the prophet's comfort.
The judgment upon the opposers of the Elisha class, typified by the tearing of the forty-two, would seem to tell of disciplinary judgments which, during Messiah's Kingdom, will be promptly executed against all opponents of the Divine arrangements. The assurance of the Scriptures is, "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness"; "Judgment shall be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet."
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DEFEAT THROUGH DRUNKENNESS
--`I. KINGS 20:12-21`.--MARCH 19.--
"It is not for kings to drink wine; nor
for princes strong drink."--`Proverbs 31:4`.
TODAY'S lesson recounts an invasion of the land of Israel by King Benhadad, over-lord of Syria, who had under him thirty-two kings of Syria and a large army of invasion. Warfare in those days, of course, was very different from what it is today. The numbers in conflict were fewer and their weapons inferior. Their motive was plunder. They would take back with them, not only the gold and silver and other valuables but fruits, grains, etc.
Our day witnesses a considerable advance along the lines of diplomacy. Wars and invasions now are always based upon some philanthropic motive--to free people from bad government, or to compel them to pay their debts, or to open up their country to civilization, or to give them more responsible and representative government, or greater freedom of religion. Robbery and pillage, by an invading army, are reprobated. Whatever is taken from the conquered people must be obtained in a different manner--by the levying of an indemnity fund, amounting to far more than could be stolen by the looting processes. All this speaks to us of a higher moral sense, even though much relating to it be hypocrisy. The very need for the hypocrisy implies that, with a considerable number, there are qualms of conscience on the subject.
THE BATTLE WAS THE LORD'S, AND OF COURSE HE WON
Benhadad sent his demands to King Ahab saying, "Thy silver and thy gold are mine; thy wives and thy children, even the goodliest of thine." King Ahab, recognizing the greatness of the army and his own unpreparedness for resisting them, answered, "My Lord, O King, according to thy saying, I am thine, I and all that I have." But when the invader broadened his demands and included with it the wealth of all the nobles of Israel, their wives and their children, etc., resistance was aroused and the message went back that the additional demands would not be granted. Thereupon the invaders set the battle array against the walls of Israel's capital, Samaria.
At this juncture God sent a Prophet to Israel's King, informing him that he would deliver the invaders into his hand and give him a great victory. The astonished Ahab asked by whom would the battle be waged against the host. The answer was that at the command the princes of the provinces should fight under Ahab's direction, supported by the militia. By this signal victory God would demonstrate his power by protecting the nation with whom he had made the Law Covenant. He would revive their faith and loyalty.
The Divine order was followed. Two hundred and thirty-two princes, or chiefs, of the people at noon passed out of the gates of the city, followed by seven thousand militia--a small number wherewith to meet a host. Apparently this was poor generalship; but the Lord was the General and overruled the results. King Benhadad and his associates had been drinking and were amused by the sallying forth of the battle army from the gateway. The Syrians were ordered to capture the men alive.
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But this they did not do. Soon the Syrian forces were in disorder and completely routed. Humanly speaking, the battle was lost by Benhadad's over-confidence, and particularly by his indulgence in intoxicating liquors.
LESSONS WHICH WE MAY DRAW
The honest, the holy, the reverential of mankind, who seek peace and righteousness may be likened to Israel, to God's people. Benhadad and his thirty-two kings and their armies would correspond to Satan and his various hosts of unrighteousness. We may name these hosts as we please. To some, one portion, and to others, other portions of these hosts are the more reprehensible. Many of these kings may represent various trusts which, by manipulation of life's necessities, are attacking the welfare of the people. Others of these kings may represent political grafters. Others may represent various vices which prey upon the public, including intemperance. The forces thus set in battle array against the public are appalling, especially when the wealth at their command is considered.
The demands of these various "interests" come first upon the honorable and well-meaning public servants. These, like Ahab, would be inclined to submit, even ignominiously, if thereby the public would be safeguarded. But when the demands broaden, and it is evident that general pillage is the intention, the voice of the Lord
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should be heard and heeded, and a stout resistance should be made.
As with Ahab, the resistance should not be defensive merely. The call is for the princes, the chiefs of the people, who love righteousness, to go out first to do battle with all iniquitous invaders of the rights, happiness and interests of the people. And these princes or leaders who stand for righteousness should be ably seconded by all the courageous and efficient of the people who love the same standards.
KING ALCOHOL RECENTLY SUFFERING NUMEROUS
Every man and woman should have positive convictions respecting every question of right and wrong, and they should have the courage to take their stand on the side of right. Christians, of course, should expend their activities mainly along the higher lines, which others do not so clearly see and could not so well serve. But in every question of right and wrong, equity and inequity, every child of God should be a positive force for righteousness.
Amongst the most powerful foes of righteousness is King Alcohol, who has recently been suffering numerous defeats and admits being badly crippled and fearful.
Not long since the streets of Chicago witnessed a novel parade, which at first was headed by General F. D. Grant, Major-General of the United States Army. Later he withdrew from the ranks and reviewed the marchers for nearly two hours, frequently doffing his hat. The General evidently wished to give his moral support as against drunkenness.
The Springfield Republican, commenting, said, "The sudden and unexpected prominence of General F. D. Grant, as a possible Prohibition candidate for the Presidency, is explained by his alleged statement in an interview, 'If I could, by offering my body as a sacrifice, free this country from this fell cancer, the Demon Drink, I would thank the Almighty for the privilege of doing it. If I had the greatest appointive power in the country, no man would ever get even the smallest appointment from me unless he showed proof of his absolute teetotalism.'"
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MELCHISEDEC AND AARON AS TYPES
THERE was really but one priest--the High Priest. The under-priests were merely representatives of the High Priest. So with Christ, the Great Priest of the future. The association of the under-priests with the Lord recognizes him as the Head and the under-priests as his members, and the "great company" as the servants of this Great Priest.
God's work for the world is future. The only work yet accomplished is the providing of the priesthood and the qualification of the Great Priest and his members and his servants for the work of instructing, healing and uplifting mankind during the thousand years of Messiah's reign.
During the Gospel Age the getting ready of the Great Priest, Head and members, has required of them sacrifice. As the Apostle declares, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable." The sacrifice of the Head was acceptable because of his perfection. And all the sacrifices which he subsequently offers, represented in his members, are likewise acceptable to the Father, because the merit of the Head Priest is imputed to the other sacrifices.
THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD CONTRASTED WITH THE
Two priesthoods are set before us in the Scriptures, the Aaronic and the Melchisedec. Both typify The Christ--Head and Body. The Aaronic pictures the sufferings of Christ, but shows nothing of the glory and reign, except as these were symbolized in the garments of glory and beauty. The Melchisedec Priest represents merely the future of The Christ, after the sacrificing shall have been finished and all the members of the Body completed.
The work of the Priest may be viewed from these two standpoints. His sacrificing is the most important in one sense, because all of his future work is based upon these sacrifices. But in another sense the sacrificings are merely a preparation for the great work which will follow. The Priest must first offer sacrifice, in order to become worthy of his own exaltation to the Priestly Office and glory; and, secondly, he must have the merit of that sacrifice wherewith to satisfy Justice on behalf of the sins of the world, in order that, as the Glorified Priest, he may have the full right to stand as Mediator between God and mankind--to bless the latter and uplift them during the thousand years of his reign as the Melchisedec Priest--a priest upon his Throne.
The Apostle declares that Messiah is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron (`Heb. 7:21`); for if he were on earth, he could not be a priest. The significance here is that Jesus, being of the Tribe of Judah, and not of the Tribe of Levi, could not have served as a priest under the Mosaic Law, which gave this office to Aaron and his sons forever. Aaron and his sons, however, as a priesthood typified the preparatory feature of Messiah's priesthood--the sacrificial preparation. Messiah's claim to priestly functions is not, therefore, to be expected from the Aaronic line, for the Scriptures expressly declare, "I have sworn; I will not repent; Thou art a priest ever after the order of Melchisedec." (`Heb. 7:21`.) The Priest here referred to is the glorified Messiah, Head and Body, at the conclusion of this Gospel Age, when the consecrating and sacrificing will be at an end and the glorious Priestly Office, serving the world of mankind, will begin.
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GOD'S PERFECT PEACE
"Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its glad increase.
Perfect; yet it floweth fuller every day;
Perfect; yet it groweth deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are truly blest,
Finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest.
"Hidden in the hollow of his blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry toucheth spirit there.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are truly blest,
Finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest.
"Every joy or trial cometh from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of love.
We may trust him solely, all for us to do;
They who trust him wholly, find him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are truly blest,
Finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest."
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TAKING HEED TO OUR HEARTS
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice."--`Ephesians 4:31`.
THIS list of dis-graces seems to have a connection or relationship, the one to the other, and usually, it is presumed, the relationship is inbred. The Apostle speaks in one place of a danger of having a root of bitterness spring up, and thereby many being defiled. In this case he seems to indicate how defilement grows from such a root of bitterness, and what would be the evil results from permitting such a root to grow. Bitterness is frequently represented by brackish water--not pure water, but alkaline, unpalatable. In the text under consideration it seems to represent first the heart condition. And so, if the fountain become defiled or impure, the thoughts, words and actions will be impure--brackish.
The thought seems to be to take heed to our hearts-- not to have an ungenerous sentiment. And if such intrude, it must be immediately repulsed, just as we would resist anything contagious. And so we must resist everything of bitterness of spirit, not only anger toward a person, but even a disposition to criticize, or find fault with anything he would do. This is the place to watch our hearts. As soon as the bitter spirit has found place, all the faults of that person will be exaggerated and all his good qualities minimized. Then would come an angry feeling, a bitter spirit of opposition. The angry feeling persisted in would immediately lead to hatred for the individual.
The person would not merely feel indignant, but the feeling would grow to a positive dislike. It is the growing of a feeling of bitterness which will develop into a plant which will do much harm. Next would come the disposition to speak evil of that person. Naturally that which people do not love is that which they hate. And then comes the condition of malice, a resentful feeling--
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not only willingness to speak evil, but a willingness to do them some injury, and to feel glad if some injury befalls them. And thus the evil goes on.
The influence of all this is to stifle the New Creature, to mortify the New Creature. As every victory of the spirit over the flesh is a victory of the New Creature over the old creature, so any victory of the flesh over the spirit is a victory of the old creature over the New Creature.
THE SCRIPTURES ARE A MIRROR
To get a proper view of ourselves seems to be a most necessary thing to any reformation movement in connection with ourselves. It was not until we saw ourselves without strength that we appreciated the great offer of God to draw us to himself, reconciling us through the merit of his Son. The Scriptures are a mirror. So if we are living in the right attitude it will be proper to take a look into the mirror every day and see what manner of persons we are. Our Lord's prayer is, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."
We are to be in a right attitude of mind. The very suggestion, Is there anyone against whom I have trespassed, or who has trespassed against me, ought to be enough, so that if we find any trace of unforgiveness we should eradicate it, put it away. The roots of bitterness would not only be put away, but hindered, if the very first sign of such a feeling were heeded and dealt with. If any one found that he had gotten into such a condition of heart, he should think, How does the Lord view such a condition; how impossible it would be for him to have love for one who has such a disposition? Anyone who really loves God would be so shocked at the picture he would thus get in the looking-glass of God's Word that he would immediately want to ask forgiveness and go forthwith to the one he had wronged. If the wrong had proceeded to anger, evil-speaking, then this should all be overcome, nullified. If the matter had gone so far, and no one else knew it, then this would be the end of the matter.
But since anger and bitterness are entirely out of order, the flesh should be humiliated in some manner. For instance, on going to the person one had been acting bitterly against the latter should be told that he had thought bitterly of him, but that he should have left the matter in God's hand. It is our belief that some make a mistake in not giving themselves a correction in righteousness. "Well," they may say, "I will stop it and not do this thing again." When that is done, it is our opinion that the flesh is being fostered and encouraged. A special blessing comes to those who chasten themselves, judge themselves. As the Apostle says, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord."-- `I Cor. 11:31`.
In this connection we are reminded of the story that is told of a man who was driving along the road and saw a beggar and then said, "I will give this man twenty-five cents; it is Christmas morning." Then he thought, "I won't; I will give him a penny." As this thought came he thought how mean he was. He thought that he should have given him the quarter, should have allowed the generous impulse to have sway. Then he said to himself, "Give that man a dollar--make it four-fold." So he gave him a dollar, and was out seventy-five cents.
Using that same principle or illustration, we believe that it is most advisable for the Lord's people to judge themselves--not after the manner of our Catholic friends, who would say, "Now go and pray so many hours," or, "Wear something uncomfortable," or "Take a whip and lash your back." But it would be wise to judge ourselves in a more rational way. A certain kind of penance tends to produce fruit of an acceptable kind.
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Question.--In `Romans 5:18`, we read, "As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." When will this "free gift" be applied for all?
Answer.--Aside from the "household of faith," dealt with in this Gospel Age, we understand that this free gift will come to the world in the next--the Messianic-- Age, but that, as a gift, it will have certain conditions attached to it, just as the gift of grace to the Church has certain conditions attached to it. In our case, it is to take up the cross of sacrifice and follow our Head; otherwise, it does not apply to us. But for the world after the close of this Age, the great High Priest will appear in the presence of God and will sprinkle the blood upon the mercy-seat a second time; and that, so far as Jesus is concerned, will fulfil all demands of Justice, and the whole world will be turned over to the Redeemer.
The method by which he will bestow this great gift is a matter that is associated with responsibility. We are guaranteed that a full opportunity will reach all, but that opportunity will be under the terms of the New
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Covenant for the blessing of all the families of the earth. It will be first applied to the Ancient Worthies; they will get the blessings and privileges of the New Covenant immediately. After that it will be, "to the Jew first," because for his long waiting for such a Kingdom, and his waiting for such a Kingdom will be rewarded with the joy and blessing which he will at that time enter into.
However, it will not stop with the Jew; but all mankind will be privileged to come into these blessings, and thus they will be blessing themselves through the Seed of Abraham. While it is true that the Seed of Abraham will bless the world, this is particularly true of the Spiritual Seed which will bless all; yet the strict reading of the text would imply that "In thy Seed will all the nations or families of the earth bless themselves." They will bless themselves by coming under the New Covenant arrangements; just as the Jews were not blessed by the Covenant which Moses mediated, immediately after they said, "All these things will we do," but not until they came voluntarily under its terms; so, the acceptance of the New Covenant by whosoever will accept it and will comply with its conditions, will ensure to them eternal life--and this they will get only by obedience to that Covenant. Thus the gift which they receive will not be their gift at once, as with the Ancient Worthies. It will be their gift and will be attainable as they come into harmony with the Lord during the thousand years of Messiah's reign by their compliance with the terms of the New Covenant.
Question.--When will the obedient of the world be entitled to eternal life and when will they receive it?
The obedient of the world will get their life under the terms of the New Covenant, and will begin to receive it just as soon as they begin to obey; in proportion as they do this they will get a little more and a little more life, and so on. The whole thousand years will be for the purpose of giving life to the world and they will receive more and more of it as they progress in the right way: "He will swallow up death in victory." --`Isa. 25:8`.
It will be a gradual work; as they come into the terms of the New Covenant they will be blessed with life: "The man which doeth those things shall live by them." (`Rom. 10:5`.) They will come to perfection gradually, as they keep the Law. There will be no death there; there will be no occasion for death. But as Adam needed to be tried and to be tested, so will it be with those who reach the end of the Mediatorial reign; they will be tested as to whether they are worthy to keep this life. God applies the various temptations or tests so as to demonstrate whether or not they are worthy of eternal life; and all who do not give way under the testing, "shall not perish, but have everlasting life."-- `John 3:16`.
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Question.--Is Christ the Advocate for the "great company," as well as for the "little flock"? If so, will he be the Advocate of the "great company" during the time of trouble, until they shall have been made white by the blood of the Lamb?
Answer.--Yes. The "great company" is part of the Church of the First-born. In the type, the "passed-over" ones, the Church of the First-born, were represented in the whole family of Levi. They took the place of Israel's first-born, who were spared through the blood of the lamb. We keep our garments unspotted by the blood of the antitypical Lamb--"the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth us from all sin." Evidently "the great tribulation" through which the "great company" will pass will take place before the Mediator takes the Kingdom, hence they are not now under him as a Mediator, but must be under him while he is now holding the office of Advocate.
The "great company" are not distinctly recognized anywhere, save in an incidental way. For instance, when Rebecca became the bride of Isaac, her two maids also became part of the family; but no particular notice is taken of them. In connection with the Church, it is stated that those that followed her are her servants. This is particularly shown in the illustration given in `Psalm 45`.
Question.--Are the Lord's people more awkward than others, more quarrelsome, or more injurious to their neighbors that they should have tribulation; or why does the Lord say, "In the world ye shall have tribulation"?
Answer.--We believe the Lord's own answer to the question is that himself and all of his true followers would have tribulation in the world because "the darkness hateth the light." We do not mean that all but the saintly are vicious or unkind. We know that there are many well-intentioned people. The thought is that there would be such inharmony between God's people and those of the world that there would be continual disapprobation manifested by the worldly toward the saintly. Some of the world would hate righteousness while others would be so out of sympathy with the light that they would not give God's people the defense or assistance which they would otherwise be willing to give.
We think it quite true that those who are looking for the coming Kingdom must expect their peace, not from the worldly, but from another quarter. "In the world ye shall have tribulation." We also believe that part of our tribulation in the world is because we are being more and more transformed; hence we do not find the satisfaction in the world that we otherwise would and that others find. Our chief business is to keep our bodies under and restrain our natural appetites. The opposition of ourselves --the warring against our human nature and the misunderstandings of others--all these combine to make our tribulation in the world.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
Question.--What is the connection between the first and the latter part of this text, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"?
Answer.--We have before us a very remarkable proposition in the Lord's call. We are called to be children of God, sons of the Highest, joint-heirs with Christ, his Son, in the Kingdom work. Instead of this bringing us great honor among men in the present life, it brings the very reverse--persecution, tribulation. God's people have persecution because they have consecrated their lives to him. The tribulation would naturally lead them to disappointment and to feel that God's favor is not with them.
Hence it is quite necessary for them to have some such encouragement as the words of our text, as though the Lord had said, Do not allow these tribulations to make you discouraged; remember that I am the Captain of your salvation; remember that I have gone before you; remember my degradation before obtaining a share in this Kingdom; remember that although entirely without sin I endured great contradiction of sinners against myself. These things should be an assurance to you of the greatness of the coming Kingdom; that the glories far outweigh any sacrifices you may endure. Furthermore,
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in every trial and difficulty you may have my succor. In every tribulation I will provide a way of escape. Fight a good fight. Think of the joys and honors and privileges which will be yours if you are faithful to the end. "We shall be kings and priests unto God and reign with Christ a thousand years."
WHICH WEARS THE ROBE?
Question.--Is the robe of Christ's righteousness worn by the New Creature or the Old Creature?
Answer.--The answer can be approached from either standpoint; for instance, we might say that the New Creature needs no robe, never having sinned, but that the flesh, which is imperfect, needs the robe as a covering for its blemishes.
But while the answer is correct it would not be correct to say that the Old Creature needs the robe, for those who wear the robe are dead as Old Creatures, and have their standing with God only as New Creatures, "Old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."--`2 Cor. 5:17`.
So, then, it is the New Creature only that is recognized of God, and invited to the wedding, and granted the wedding garment, the robe of Christ's righteousness. The New Creature needs this robe, not for itself, but as a covering for its flesh. The fleshly will is dead, but the fleshly body is the New Creature's only body at the present time while it waits for its new body in the "first resurrection." "Reckon ye your bodies dead indeed unto sin, but alive toward God through Jesus Christ."
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study IV., V.--The New Creation Predestinated.
--The Organization of the New Creation.
(26) Apply illustration of the "King's Own" to the New Creation. P. 179, par. 2.
(27) To what were these foreknown ones (`Rom. 8:29`) predestinated? to escape eternal torment? P. 180, par. 1,2.
(28) What is God's purpose in calling the New Creation, and what qualifications does he require? P. 181.
(29) Explain why `Romans 8:28-30` is so generally misunderstood and give the proper interpretation of this passage. P. 182, par. 1,2.
(30) Paraphrase the Apostle's argument in `Romans 8:31,32`, P. 183.
(31) What is the argument in `Romans 8:33,34`? P. 184, par. 1.
(32) Is it possible for anything, or any other creature, to separate us from the love of God and our Redeemer? P. 184, par. 2.
(33) Who alone can separate us from that love?
(34) In the "making of our calling and election sure" what three important steps belong to God? P. 185, par. 1.
(35) What important steps must be taken by the elect? P. 185, par. 2.
(36) How may we analyze the essential heart-likeness to God's dear Son? P. 186, par. 1.
(37) Show how the fruits of the Spirit, mentioned in `Gal. 5:22,23`, are but different manifestations of Love. P. 186, par. 2.
(38) What was our attitude in starting upon the race-course for the prize of the High Calling? P. 186, par. 3; P. 187, par. 1, first part.
(39) How does our experience in the race differ from our Lord's? P. 187, par. 1, last part.
(40) If we divide the race-course into four quarters, what would be our attitude toward the Mark (love) in the first quarter? P. 187, par. 2.
(41) What is our attitude when nearing the second quarter? P. 187, par. 3.
(42) How do we designate the third quarter? P. 188, par. 1.
(43) What is the fourth or final quarter mark of our race? P. 189, par. 1.
(44) What is the climax of perfect love, and when should we expect to reach it? P. 190, par. 1, first part.
(45) When will our experiences begin to correspond with our Lord's? P. 190, par. 1, last part.
(46) What will be the nature of the temptations or testings after we have reached the Mark? P. 190, par. 2.
(47) Name some of the evidences that we are the children of God. P. 191, par. 1.
(48) How should we recognize each other as members of the New Creation? P. 191, par. 2.
(49) What warnings and encouragement are found in `Matt. 24:24`? P. 191, par. 3; P. 192.
(50) Cite a good illustration of the necessity for effort and overcoming in the character-building required of the New Creation. P. 192, par. 2.
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BROTHER RUSSELL'S FOREIGN ITINERARY
NEW YORK, LONDON, BERLIN, ETC.
Leave New York Tuesday, March 7th, 9 a.m., steamer Prinz
Friedrich Wilhelm; arrive Plymouth about 13th or 14th. London--March 19 (Sunday), at London Tabernacle; subject
for public discourse, "Two Salvations, But No
March 20 (Monday), leave for Barmen, Germany. Barmen--March 21 (Tuesday), arrive prepared for meetings
according to times and trains; leave at night for
Vienna. Vienna--March 22 (Wednesday), afternoon or evening meeting;
one for Jews. Budapest--March 23 (Thursday), one or more meetings for
Jews; leave on night train for Lemberg. Lemberg--March 24 (Friday), one or two meetings for
Jews; leave at night for Berlin. Berlin--March 25 (Saturday), arrive at Berlin; possibly
March 26 (Sunday), two services at Berlin; one for
Jews; leave on night train for Copenhagen. Copenhagen--March 27 (Monday), hold two meetings; leave
on afternoon boat for Stockholm. Stockholm--March 28 (Tuesday), hold two meetings; one
public and one for the interested; leave at night for next
two appointments. London--April 2 (Sunday), meeting at "London Tabernacle"
at the regular hour; evening meeting at Royal Albert
Hall. Edinburgh--April 4 (Tuesday), two meetings, both under
auspices of International Bible Students Association. Glasgow--April 5 (Wednesday), two meetings, under the
auspices of the International Bible Students Association. Belfast--April 6 (Thursday), meeting under the auspices of
the I.B.S.A. Dublin--April 7 (Friday), meeting under the auspices of the
I.B.S.A. London--April 9 (Sunday), meeting in the "London Tabernacle"
at usual hour; night meeting at Royal Albert
April 11 (Tuesday), in "London Tabernacle"; Memorial
Supper celebrated at 7 p.m.
April 13 (Thursday), take night boat for Lens, France,
via Dover-Calais. Lens, France--April 14 (Friday), I.B.S.A., etc. Denain, France--April 15 (Saturday), near Valenciennes;
return at night to London. London--April 16 (Sunday), "London Tabernacle," two
April 23, "London Tabernacle," two services.
April 26, depart from London, Waterloo Station, at 9:25
a.m. for Southampton and steamer Kron Prinz Wilhelm,
due to arrive at New York May 2.
Time will be apportioned to Liverpool, Manchester and
sundry other large cities; timely notices will be sent.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
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