VOL. XXXI MARCH 15 No. 6
A.D. 1910--A.M. 6038
A Layman on the "New Theology".................... 99
The Shepherd and His Flock........................100
Money Changes All Things..........................101
Verging on Danger.................................101
"All Deceivableness of Unrighteousness"...........102
Is the Mediator an Advocate?......................104
When God Covenanted with Abraham..............105
"He is Not a Jew--Outwardly"......................106
Note Further Misinterpretation................106
Sin and Sickness Related..........................107
Our Easter Lesson.................................108
Faith, the Channel of Blessing....................108
Re Berean Studies in the Scriptures...............110
Re Fifth-Sunday Local Conventions.................110
Some Interesting Letters..........................111
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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BROTHER RUSSELL IN EUROPE AND AFRICA
Brother Russell proposes a very hasty European tour. Incidentally, at the instance of the newspaper people connected with the publication of his sermons, he will extend the journey to Jerusalem and the Great Pyramid in Egypt. A brief outline of his journey follows:
Leave New York April 5, arrive Cherbourg (France), April 11; Paris, April 12; Basle (Switzerland), April 13. (Here an all-day meeting with French and Swiss brethren is proposed.) Rome, April 14; Naples, April 15; Alexandria (Egypt), April 18; Cairo (and Pyramids), April 19; Port Said, April 20; Jaffa, April 21; Jerusalem and vicinity, April 21-24.
Return same route to Rome, April 30; Venice (Italy), May 1; Vienna (Austria), May 2; Warsaw (Russia), May 3, arriving 7:42 a.m., leaving midnight. (An all-day meeting is proposed.) Berlin, May 4, arriving 11:25 a.m., leaving 10 p.m., May 5. Here we hope to meet many German friends as well as representatives from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. May 6, Barmen-Elberfeld; London, arriving Charing Cross Station, 5:12 p.m., May 7.
London meetings, May 8, 15 and 21. The intermediate dates are open for the various cities of England, Ireland and Scotland as reports may be received at our London branch office.
Louisville, Ky., June 17-19.--Brother Russell will be present on the 19th and be the principal speaker.
Chicago, Ill., June 24-26.--Brother Russell will be present on the 26th and be the principal speaker.
Lake Chautauqua (Celeron Auditorium), July 30th to Aug. 7.--This will be the chief or General Convention of the year. Specially favorable excursion rates have been secured. The cheapest rate will be for those who will start their journey July 29. On that date tickets should be bought to Chautauqua for one fare plus $2. Another date will be announced later at one and one-half fare for the round trip. Full particulars then. We merely announce the dates now that all desiring to attend may make timely arrangements. The location is ideal. Specially low rates of board for the nine days or less will be secured at cottages and hotels on the lake shore at $1.00 per day and up. Numerous little steamers plying the lake will afford easy communication with the Auditorium.
ONE-DAY CONVENTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED
BY THE EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL:
WASHINGTON, D. C., MARCH 13
Morning and evening sessions, Masonic Temple, Ninth and F streets, N.W., 10:30 a.m. Praise, Prayer and Testimony meeting. 7:30 p.m. Brother Russell will address the friends. Discourse for the Public, New National Theater, at 3 p.m. Subject, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Visiting friends will be heartily welcomed.
ALLENTOWN, PA., MARCH 20
All meetings in Lyric Theater, 25 North Sixth street. Praise, Prayer and Testimony meeting at 10 a.m. Address for the interested at 11 a.m. Afternoon service for the Public at 3 p.m. Subject, "Man's Past, Present and Future." Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.
BOSTON, MASS., MARCH 27
Praise, Prayer and Testimony Meeting at 10:30 a.m. Evening meeting for the interested at 7:30. Morning and evening meetings at Franklin Union Hall, Berkeley street, near junction of Tremont street. Afternoon session for the Public at 3 p.m. in Tremont Temple, Tremont street, between School and Broomfield streets. Subject, "Man's Past, Present and Future." Visiting friends will be heartily welcomed.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 3
Morning services at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, 13-17 Hicks street, two blocks from P.R.R. Annex Ferry and five minutes' walk from Brooklyn Bridge entrance. Question meeting in the same building at 8 o'clock, preceded by a half hour's song service. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in Brooklyn Academy of Music, on Lafayette avenue, St. Felix street, and Ashland place. Subject, "Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.
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A LAYMAN ON THE "NEW THEOLOGY"
[A STRIKING AND ABLE REVIEW OF DR. ELIOT'S VIEWS.]
THE following from The Religious Herald contains considerable truth and is well worth the reading as bearing on matters seen from THE WATCH TOWER:--
"You have probably seen in the papers references to the definition of the new theology given by Dr. Eliot, president emeritus of Harvard College, and for thirty-five years the first citizen of Massachusetts, if not of New England. But second-hand newspaper accounts are apt to be inaccurate; I thought you might like to see the original, and accordingly am enclosing a copy of the Harvard Theological Review, under separate cover, containing his lecture.
"Dr. Eliot has been much criticized, but for my part I admire his courage and honesty. Now, as always, he speaks the truth as he sees it, without fear or favor. Too many of the advocates of the new theology pursue the policy which a Methodist minister in a neighboring parish explained to me; they express their views freely at ministers' meetings, but have a tacit understanding not to mention them to the pews. And this respect for the tender feelings of the superstitious ones (!) who occupy the pews is, after all, not impolitic; for if the new theology were understood by the average layman, he would find it so hard to distinguish from the old atheism that, according to his temper, he would stay at home and save his money, or would try to get a new pastor installed.
"The Methodist clergyman I mention tells me that a great majority of the younger ministers of that Church, in this part of the country, are believers in the new theology. A majority of the Protestant ministers that I know hereabouts adhere to it, including most of the younger men.
"You will see that Dr. Eliot's lecture consists of two parts. The first, which is negative, is practically undistinguishable, so far as I can see, from ancient atheism. In fact, the new theology, as I understand it, in its advanced form, has less belief in a God (considered as a personality, with conscience and will), who created the universe and the living creatures in it, than David Hume, Edward Gibbon, Thomas Payne, Voltaire, and J. J. Rousseau had.
"As to the positive part of the new theology--well, I shall wish to know what you think of it.
"It is easy for me to understand this state of mind of the atheist, agnostic, or materialist, and in this age so many of the foremost intellects, especially on the Continent, deny all evidence of the existence of God, that I am not surprised to learn that any man holds such views. But to deny positively, on the one hand, all those conceptions of the Creator that seem natural to man, and then, without adhering to the logic of atheism, agnosticism, or materialism, to set up the hazy, and, to my mind, illogical view of God which is presented in this new theology, hardly seems normal, nor does it seem as if it could ever acquire many earnest followers among the common people. It seems to me to bear strong internal evidence of its origin in the study of the skeptical professor of theology, and to have, if I may use the expression, a perhaps unconscious but yet hypocritical origin. Of course, when I say this, I do not at all refer to Dr. Eliot.
"But let us put ourselves for a moment in the place of the man who has been ordained to the Christian ministry, who has lost faith and lacks the courage to turn his back on his calling and his friends, to confess himself a failure, and to begin life anew. To such a one the new theology appeals strongly; it saves his consistency; it saves his salary; it saves him from the humiliation that open apostasy would involve. Skeptics commonly feel more or less dislike of an ex-priest; the faithful consider him an apostate. But by embracing the so-called new theology, he holds his pastorate or lectureship and wins reputation as being learned, liberal and progressive.
"Whatever the cause may be, the so-called new theology seems to be dominant in most Protestant theological seminaries in Germany, England and the northern part of the United States, or where not dominant, to be rapidly increasing its influence.
"You will note in Dr. Eliot's lecture that in denying the existence of a conscious personal God (as distinguished from the God who is the sum of all living souls, human and brute, good, bad and indifferent alike), he denies all hope of a future life.
"How curious, also, the misunderstanding of the mission of pain on pages 399 and 400. The most ordinary intellect ought to see that if there were no pain in the world, a baby would chew off its own fingers; a cat, or even a child, would walk into the fire before intellect had taught him his danger; and so on to the end of the chapter.
"Perhaps one might think that because this lecture was delivered at Harvard it is too extreme a statement of the New Theology. But the New Theology is world-wide. For many of its disciples it has no God (except as the soul of the universe may be a God, if one can grasp that idea), no inspired Bible, no heaven-sent Savior of the world; its fundamental principle, if I have been able to make it out, is the absolute and positive negation of any supernatural
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power whatever in the past, present or future, with all that that implies. And as far as its professors and votaries have come under my observation, it is, in this fundamental principle, pretty much the same at Harvard, Union, Yale, Chicago; very much the same among Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists as it is among Unitarians and Congregationalists; and it seems to have won a large majority of the young clergy of the Protestant Churches in this section. There are minor differences, of course; Dr. Eliot's position is the advanced logical position, towards which all the others are tending, but which not all have yet reached. Some men, moreover, are entirely subject to the influence of the new theology; others are influenced partly by the new and partly by the old in all stages of progress, but in general acquiring a little more of the new leaven and losing a little more of the old each year.
"Well, this is rather a long letter on theology from one who is not a theologian. My interest is not wholly, perhaps not chiefly, theological; it is rather practical and sociological. I have long been convinced that the Church could not adopt Darwinism without being killed by it, and the New Theology is largely the effect of Darwinism on the Church.
"We all know that there is a sort of elective affinity between unbridled democracy and atheistic socialism. By unbridled democracy, I mean the kind which gives to the Sea Island negro the same political weight as to his former master; which gives to the half-pauper, half-vicious denizens of the slum districts of our great cities the same voting power as the independent householder or business man possesses; aye, which gives them more, since as they are more numerous, they who pay no direct taxes are allowed, in effect, to levy them on those who do, by electing aldermen and other officers as worthless as themselves --the sort of democracy which really believes the old maxim, "Vox populi, vox Dei." This may seem like political heresy to many, but when the new theology shall have destroyed the common man's belief in God, the feeling of moral obligation to him and to our fellows, as his children (as it will do if it is not vigorously opposed), and when the Marxian missionaries shall have made as much progress in teaching their gospel of robbery to the negroes of the South and the poorer classes of our cities as they have already made on the Continent, and are making in London, we shall begin to appreciate what sort of a Vox Dei the Vox populi of a godless people can be. This affinity between extreme democracy and atheistic socialism has long been strikingly manifest on the Continent; it begins to be seen in England and America. The North of Germany, I am told, is so far won by atheistic and Marxian socialism--the so-called Social Democracy-- that the existing order is chiefly maintained in the German Empire by the Catholic South, the country districts, and the well-drilled bayonet.
"And to me, one of the most interesting things in connection with the so-called new theology is the fact that so many of its disciples are showing about as much affinity for militant socialism as the atheism of the Continent shows, and for the same reasons. This, of course, is not true of all its disciples or teachers--is emphatically not true of Dr. Eliot--but it seems to me to be a tendency of the system.
"Christianity teaches that man is inclined to sin; that his natural impulses are often bad; that he needs human government as well as Divine guidance; "the powers that be are ordained of God." The majority of the followers of Marx and many of the professors of the New Theology alike deny the existence of God (in the sense in which the Church has heretofore understood that existence), and the tendency of man to sin; they say that man's natural impulses are good and for the most part teach that salvation lies in the destruction of poverty and misery. Christianity teaches brotherly love, but forbids robbery and even covetousness. Marxian socialism pretends to advance brotherly love, but its maxim is the appropriation
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of all the means of production (farm and factory alike) to the use of the State, without compensation; and the majority of its apostles, knowing well that it can never succeed where Christianity prevails, wage constant and bitter warfare on the Church. And it is from their camp that the attacks on the doctrine of a future life, as tending to make contented slaves of men in this world, most frequently come. That rather astounding doctrine has to my knowledge resounded from at least three or four of the pulpits of this country within the last year, without exciting remark or answer, so far as I have heard.
"The inter-relations or inter-actions between Darwinism, the New Theology (or its equivalent, for most practical purposes, the old skepticism) and Marxian socialism are interesting and in a way important, but much too large for a friendly letter."
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THE SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK
VOGUE, a secular journal, may not have keen spiritual vision, but it surely sees some earthly things rationally, as the following extract clearly proves:--
"Although the masculine non-church goer has for a long time attracted the disapproving attention of Church writers as well as of a large number of the clergy, who have sternly rebuked him from the pulpit, he stubbornly continues to pursue the even tenor of his way. And worse than this, whereas in days gone by he alone was to any great extent open to the charge of backsliding in such respect, of late years his wife and daughter in increasing numbers have taken to omitting regular church attendance, and that without the least loss of caste, except, perhaps, in small, conservative communities.
"Why is it that men and women who not only lead respectable lives, but who devote much of the time they can spare from the most pressing personal claims to what are incontestably good works, are today so frequently to be counted among those who habitually absent themselves from divine service? This is the question over which many good parsons are in despair, and it is but natural that they should be, for between their concern for the souls of their communities, and the prospect of being left without employment, they have much to worry them. It is also the question that is perplexing church councils, which are at their wit's end to devise methods of persuading (coercion being no longer permissible in the Protestant communion, at least) people to come back into the fold. But in spite of all the perturbation and efforts at reform on the part of the religious agencies of the age, the number of the non-church goers keeps on increasing at a rate alarming to those who regard Sunday observation, according to ecclesiastical formula, as the only test of character, and the only hope of salvation.
"Perceiving the trouble churches are in over the drifting
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away of their congregations, ex-President Eliot, of Harvard, not long ago submitted to an interested world his plan of a new religion, but although it was cordially received by the public, the ecclesiastics would have none of it. The projected system failed to provide for any phase of current ecclesiasticism, including the ministerial office, mysticism and the like, and, therefore it is not surprising that they frowned upon it, and refused to permit it Christian sanction. But whether the Protestant leaders like it or not, the only hope of winning the majority of those who have forsaken the Church back to affiliation with religious groups is the reduction of Church system, as nearly as practicable, to the two principles--Love Thy God With All Thy Heart and Thy Neighbor As Thyself. In spite of ecclesiasticism the more enlightened classes are already engaged in conjuring out in a myriad practical ways the command of neighborly love, and it is only by a convincing presentation of the claim of God upon the loyalty of the race, that the majority of the unchurched can be made to include that also in their creed of life.
"The right of private judgment--fought for and won centuries ago--is what is now being exercised by the non-church-goer, and what he asks of the ethical leader is not high-priced choirs to discourse glorious harmonies, or sacerdotal vaudeville of any kind. These aids to crowd-drawing do not touch the core of the matter. His demands are more serious and fundamental, for he believes that the hour has come when the Church must go back to the Master, and seek from him a new interpretation that shall fit the requirements of this age."
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MONEY CHANGES ALL THINGS
ASSUREDLY the public prints assist in keeping the world straight--sometimes by sarcastic allusions like the following from the Easton Call. Undoubtedly the intelligence and freedom of the press should be credited with much of the advantage of our day over that termed "the dark ages." We quote:--
"One of the most amusing phases of the sacerdotal vaudeville this country is witnessing, is the way schools and colleges of the denominational kind are trying to shake off their religious connections in their greed to get hold of some of Mr. Carnegie's money. It is a well-known fact that Mr. Carnegie has no gifts for institutions ruled by church boards and trustees. To comply with this condition, Dickinson College, always regarded as a Methodist institution, has been turning all kinds of somersaults. The trustees of that college met in Philadelphia recently and passed resolutions, denying that the Methodist Church had any control over Dickinson College whatever, and forbidding the journals of that Church from publishing any such statement. The president of the college was also instructed to report his college as "nonsectarian" in the future. So that the reforms that once caused men to be tortured and burned at the stake, now come voluntarily to the tune of the Carnegie funds.
"Soon we may expect to see Lafayette College saying good-bye to the Presbyterian fathers and falling in line for something more substantial than the dope handed down by John Calvin.
"Of course, the ecclesiastical gentlemen are making a stubborn fight to preserve the special privileges of the clergy. They say that if you take away the religious foundation, the colleges will go to pieces. This reminds us of a story: Some years ago a large manufacturing plant at High Bridge, New Jersey, was discovered on fire at night. A message was sent to Phillipsburg for aid and one of the local companies loaded its engine on a car and went to High Bridge, but arrived after the buildings had burned. Early the next morning an Irishman arrived in Phillipsburg from High Bridge. 'Well, Pat,' asked some one, 'how did our boys make out last night at the fire?' 'Sure, and they did nobly well,' answered Pat; 'after strinuous ifforts, they succeeded in savin' ivery bit of the ground on which the great buildings were built.'"
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VERGING ON DANGER
THE following from the Censor shows how the people, as represented by their spokesmen, are thinking. Our admonition to our readers is, "Seek ye first the Kingdom"! "Be content with such things as ye have"! While seeing the strife and trouble coming on the world take no part in it. "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord"! In his own time and way our God will right every wrong and Messiah's Kingdom shall bless all the nations of the earth. We quote:--
"While it is a pitiful confession of their own abject weakness, when the people do without food as the only means of protecting themselves from robber monopolies, a vast amount of good may flow from the present food strike, nevertheless. While to do without meat can be nothing more than a temporary expedient, for the Beef Trust, as one paper says, can save until next month the meat you refuse to eat this month, at which time it can restore old prices, with a little something by way of interest, the movement, as a most forcible agitation, is bound to result in something, although we may feel sure that the 'passes' now being made by politicians in office will never result in much.
"Surely this general blind uprising of the people should carry a warning to Pierpont Morgan and those under him at Washington and elsewhere. The strike is a mild but distinct danger sign, and if Mr. Morgan had ever had time to read history a little bit he would see it. The extortionate price of food is not Hunger, but it verges on Hunger. Our masters should know that it is dangerous to fool with the popular stomach. So undeveloped is the average man, that the stomach is still lord of life. To get food is still the main incident of existence. Our masters, if they are wise, would know that it is possible to oppress the people to any extent that pleases them, so that they but have the sense to stop short of hunger. The average American can be deluded, abused and robbed to an extent that is amazing, just as long as those who spoil him leave him enough to eat to keep him from starvation. He has no ambition, to speak of, beyond filling his stomach, and he will tolerate conditions that give him less than that. Leave him enough to eat to keep him from positive starvation, and he will do little more than murmur. But don't go beyond that point. That tyrants, oppressors and robbers have occasionally overstepped that limit has caused results which have made history. They will tell you that the French Revolution was a great protest against
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feudalism and a great uprising for democracy. Stuff! The French Revolution was a hunger strike pure and simple. "How long present conditions persist in this country, depends on how soon our masters force us to the hunger point. Revolutions and reforms are not results of reasoning of the popular brain, but of feeling of the popular stomach. The people in the mass have small power of reason, and have never had much. Our degree of progress is the amount of increased nervous sensitiveness in the human stomach. Until we reach the hunger point there will be no reform in this country. The plunderers of privilege will continue to ride our necks until the insistent call of our stomachs forces us to assert our torpid manhood.
"The food strike is a thing the Censor foresaw years ago. Who knows but it is the beginning of that revolution which we must have to restore our liberties? For it is a matter of history that all oppressors are blinded by their own success and keep going until they go too far--past the danger point of hunger. Thus I feel certain that while there may be breaks in the system of despoiling the people, seasons of temporary relief, this matter may be considered as merely in its incipiency. The present discrepancy between wages and prices is not a new thing; it is not of today or yesterday or last year. This conspiracy is nearly fifty years old. Ever since the Civil War the conspirators have been toiling to secure control of the government, and organize their little game. It is within the last five years only that they have perfected the vast scheme of plundering the people through monopoly of all sources of distribution. Will they quit now or be satisfied? It is not to be expected."
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"ALL DECEIVABLENESS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS"
"The energy of the Adversary, with all powers and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with every deception of iniquity to those who are perishing, because they admitted not the love of the Truth, in order that they might be saved. On this account God will send an energy of delusion to their believing the falsehood."--`2 Thess. 2:9-11`--(Diaglott).
DO WE forget that the Apostle's solemn words apply particularly in this harvest time, and specially to the closing years of the harvest? We are now in the time above all others when we may expect strong delusions, not only upon nominal Christendom, but upon those who have been specially favored with the light of Truth now shining. Should we not expect that the next five years of the harvest would clearly demonstrate the truthfulness of this prophecy by St. Paul?
Some of the strong delusions are apparent enough-- Spiritism, Theosophy, Christian Science, Church Federation, the Adversary's means of distracting the hearts and heads of some who otherwise would be Bible students. So far as we understand the prophecies of the Bible, these delusions will have wonderful power upon the world of mankind and especially in Christendom, which will gain power during the next few years. As the Apostle expresses it, these delusions will have their power largely because God's people have not been sufficiently awake to the privileges of Bible study--they have reverenced creeds rather than the Word of the Lord. They have worshipped and served and sought to be in accord with Churchianity rather than with the Truth. Hence, they are unfortified; they are without the Christian armor which St. Paul urged, saying, "Put on (therefore) the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand...in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand."--`Eph. 6:11-13`.
But our special thought properly centers upon ourselves and those who, with us, have been favored of the Lord with the illumination of this harvest time. Will all of those who have heard the harvest message and rejoiced in it be safe in this "evil day," or will there be some strong delusions for them also--for their testing, their sifting?
Other Scriptures assure us that the great hour of trial coming upon the whole world must begin with the Church --"with the house of God"--with those professing to be saints. St. Peter implies this when he says, "If it begin first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?" (`I Pet. 4:17`.) St. Paul gives the same thought, saying of the Church, "Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it; because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (`I Cor. 3:13`.) The intimation is that the severity of the testing will come first to the saints. In whatever proportion our doctrines include fallacies, errors, in that same proportion will be the severity of our testing. Those whose faith structure contains little of wood, hay and stubble will suffer least; while those who have more of these combustibles will suffer the more.
Be it noticed that all the creeds handed down to us contain many errors and that the test of our loyalty to the Truth was our willingness to renounce these and to replace them with the gold, silver and precious stones of the Divine Word. For one reason or another this matter of confessing error and relinquishing it is a severe trial to many. It tests loyalty to God and his Word. It tests humility of heart. It tests willingness to confess our errors. It tests love for the brethren. However trifling the mistake it requires an overcoming courage to declare it, to renounce it. This has been the procedure for the past three hundred years, as God's people have emerged more and more from the smoke of the "dark ages." Because of these difficulties and tests the progress out of darkness into the full, clear light has been slow. At every step of the journey Light and Truth have been slandered, opposed, vilified, persecuted, and the advocates of Truth have been pilloried and roasted either figuratively or literally.
Our Adversary, intent upon maintaining his hold upon the minds of God's people, has fought every inch of Truth for the past four centuries. He has made it hot for those whom the Lord has by his grace been leading step by step into the clear light of the knowledge of the glory of God and of his wonderful Plan of Salvation. Shall we wonder if our Adversary still pursues the same course and with still greater vigor than ever--with still more "energy" than ever? By no means! We accept his present opposition as the fulfillment of Scripture and we expect no cessation, but rather a further aggressiveness on his part to the end of the harvest.
It is not necessary for us to assume that only the devilish are used by Satan. Satan uses as his agents in opposing the light, in persecuting those who go on in the path of the just, which shines more and more, the very best people he can get hold of. The pathway of the Church shows from the first that the Adversary has succeeded in using good as well as bad men in the accomplishment of his purposes --and undoubtedly the better the man the more acceptable would he be as Satan's servant and the more influential. Note the case of Saul of Tarsus, instigator and assistant
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in the murder of St. Stephen; note the fact that St. Paul tells us that he acted in all good conscience, and verily thought he did service to God and not to Satan, who blinded his eyes. Note the case of John Calvin, who, with many noble traits of Christian character, was so led astray by the Adversary, so blinded, that he used his high office in Geneva to burn a fellow-Christian at the stake. Doubtless he also thought that he did God service. Note also that scribes, priests and Pharisees were responsible for the death of our Lord and thought that they did God service. Of them St. Peter says that they did it ignorantly, for had they known they would not have crucified the Prince of Life. And so, doubtless, it is today, and will be until near the close; some, loyal of heart, may be amongst our enemies--slanderers, murderers. Like St. Stephen, let us pray for them.
But we cannot hope thus of all--especially now when the light of Truth is shining so much more brightly and when the Lord is especially testing the loyalty or disloyalty of those professing his name, with a view to their separation and to the determining of their eternal destinies. No doubt some who will be of the "Great Company" will be more or less deceived of the Adversary by the strong delusions of this hour. Such in their blindness and deception may set forth darkness for light and light for darkness. They may do it with great positiveness, but scarcely, we think, with bitterness--anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife --works of the flesh and of the devil.
Is it inquired, why? since this Saul of Tarsus was so bitter? We reply that that great persecutor of the Church had not yet received the begetting of the holy Spirit. He could not, therefore, sin against it and "grieve the holy Spirit of promise." On the contrary, those who will constitute the "Great Company" will all be of the consecrated and spirit-begotten class. All so begotten of the holy Spirit must have the Spirit of Christ. If it be lost the result
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would not only mean loss of the illumination and going into outer darkness, but also a total loss--the extinguishing of the Spirit of begetting--the Second Death. Let us not forget that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of love-- meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.
Some one has said, "It is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous," because of the facility of human imagination. Similarly it might be said that right and wrong, Truth and untruth, may be so viewed as to change the sentiment almost instantly. Hypnotists act upon this power and so do attorneys. As the case may be, the client will be pictured by the one attorney as the representative of every grace and virtue, and by the opposing counsel the same traits, acts and words may be distorted and a beautiful character be represented as hideous, mean of motive, puerile and false of conduct. Thus the Apostle wrote, "Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure."--`Titus 1:15`.
Your great Adversary's endeavor, therefore, is to poison our minds, to introduce thereinto impurity, anger, malice, envy, hatred and other works of the flesh and of the Adversary. To the extent that he succeeds in poisoning our hearts he alienates us from the Lord and from all those who are in accord with him; and this is his object. He succeeds best through human instrumentalities. We all know that if one dog becomes affected by hydrophobia every other animal is more or less in danger of becoming mad through even slight association--and infection. Thus Satan's "strong delusion" spreads from one to another until many be defiled by the root of bitterness. And to the mind, the heart, once embittered and out of alignment with the Divine view of things, everything takes on different colors and the end of the matter is far-reaching; as the Apostle intimates, "Lest thereby many be defiled."
The embittered or impure heart sees things from its own standpoint. The evil tongue once started may "set on fire the course of nature," as St. James declares; and that evil tongue is itself ignited from Gehenna--the Second Death. (`James 3:6`.) That is to say, the evil, malicious, baneful, slanderous, back-biter is already himself bitten by the Adversary, and, unless cured, his would surely be a case of Second Death. And the same rule would apply to all bitten by him. The Scriptures, therefore, continually urge God's people to observe the Golden Rule--to do, to say, to think of others as they would be thought of, spoken of and dealt with. They continually urge upon us the putting away of bitterness, evil-speaking, busy-bodying, that we may the more fully and the more completely put on Christ and be more fully under the control of his holy Spirit of love, meekness, patience, long-suffering and kindness.
"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (`John 13:17`), is the Lord's message. The Lord is not now speaking to those who need to be forced and pounded into proper shape, in accord with the Divine character. He will deal with that class during the Millennium under the New Covenant, when his Mediatorial Kingdom will bring them into subjection forcibly. Now the Lord is speaking to another class of an entirely different disposition: He seeketh such to worship him as worship him in Spirit and in Truth--such as love him and love his righteous requirements of the Golden Rule, and beyond this, the high standard of the New Commandment--to love one another to the sacrificing point, as he loved the Church and gave himself for the Church.
The Lord is now seeking merely the class called--the "little flock" who possess the Lord's Spirit or disposition, and love the brethren to the self-sacrificing point. It is incumbent, therefore, that all who would be recognized of the Father as possessing the character-likeness of the Lord Jesus should resist and put away, mortify, deaden, every unholy, unloving, unjust sentiment, as they would avoid the virus of hydrophobia or of a contagious disease. In a word, while we still urge as always growth in knowledge, we also admonish as always that growth in grace must be proportionate, if we would be pleasing to the Lord and accepted as joint-heirs with Jesus in his Kingdom. Whoever unkindly, untruthfully, slanderously, wickedly, underhandedly, insinuatingly with others may speak or act towards us, we must not dare to render evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but "be kind and gentle towards all."
In fact, we must not even entertain an unkind thought respecting those who oppose us, but, as Michael would not speak evil of Satan, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee!" so must it be with us. And here notice the slanders of Satan. His own mind, full of ambition, accredited the Almighty with the same and told Mother Eve that God had forbidden her eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because he desired to keep his human children in ignorance and under mental slavery. He even declared that the Almighty had falsified when he declared that the wage or penalty of disobedience in the matter would be death. As Satan could and did speak evil of the highest dignities, so his followers, misguided by his Spirit, speak slanderously of us. But as Michael dare not bring against Satan an accusation of railing, so let us beware that we do not retaliate upon those who speak evil of us and say all manner of evil against us falsely, because of our faithfulness to the Lord and his Word. A little while and the faithful will all be rewarded.
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IS THE MEDIATOR AN ADVOCATE?
SOME speak of "The New Covenant Advocate." Is such an expression true respecting our Lord Jesus? Is he the Advocate of the New Covenant? We answer, No. Our Lord is the Mediator of the New Covenant, but not its Advocate. He is its Mediator in the sense that he is referred to in the prophecies as the one who will fulfill his Office. He began his work at his consecration and continued it faithfully to Calvary. By that consecration and faithfulness unto death he became the surety of the New Covenant--the assurance or guarantee to us that the Covenant will ultimately go into effect, and that he will be the one through whom it will be made effective. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant since he ascended up on high, in that he is co-operating with the Father in the carrying out of the Divine purpose of the selection of the Church as members of his Body--sharers in the sufferings of Christ and in the glory that shall follow. Soon the Mediator will have received to himself every member of his Body, all whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Then the Mediator complete will begin his work officially. The merit of the Mediator's sacrifice, now loaned or imputed to us, the Church, for our justification and sanctification, he will then, as Mediator between God and men, apply on behalf of Israel and all who may become Israelites under the New Covenant provisions, which will immediately go into effect. For a thousand years the great Mediator will stand between God and man--because God cannot accept or deal with the sinful of heart. These during the Mediatorial Kingdom will receive full enlightenment and instruction and assistance, to the intent that they may be lifted out of their sin and death condition up to perfection and everlasting life. Not until they shall have reached actual perfection at the end of the Millennium will the Mediator step out of his Office and thus bring together God and restored mankind--all the children of Adam except the Church, the "great company," and those who die the Second Death. As soon as the Mediator thus steps from between God and men, mankind will become responsible directly to God, and Justice without mercy will prevail. None will need or deserve mercy, because, having enjoyed God's mercy for a thousand years and having been perfected thereunder, they will be fully able to maintain their standing on the plane of Justice, if their hearts be loyal and true.
It can be readily seen that the world thus under the Mediator during the Millennium will need no Advocate, because they will have no dealings with the Father, but merely with Christ, the Mediator.
Note the difference between the above and the Church's attitude to the Father and the Son during this Gospel Age. We are introduced to the Father at once, because our hearts are in the right condition--desirous of knowing and doing of God's will to the extent of our ability and trusting in the merit of Christ's sacrifice already applied on our behalf. When we consecrate our lives after the example of our Redeemer--"to suffer with him," "to be dead with him," that we may live and reign with him--the Redeemer, according to the Father's Plan, becomes our Advocate, endorses our petition, applies his merit on our behalf and becomes guarantor for us, that we may be loyal to God, or die the Second Death. As our Advocate, our Lord does not stand between the Father and us, but stands with us as our Elder Brother, as Chief Priest over his own House of Priests. "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee."-- `Heb. 2:11,12`.
The Redeemer purposes no mediatorial work in behalf of the Church. He is not styled our Mediator, but our Advocate. "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." (`I John 2:1`.) Instead of standing between the Father and us, as during the Millennium he will stand between the Father and the world, he introduces us immediately to the Father, and the Father, on receiving
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us, immediately begets us of the holy Spirit. Our Lord's words are, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me" --the Advocate of the Church.
As sinners we had no relationship to God. When we believed and turned from sin we had a justification by faith tentatively imputed to us, permitting us to draw nigh to God and to hear his message through Christ-- speaking peace to us and informing us of the High Calling and assuring us that "Now is the acceptable time"; that during this Gospel Age he is willing to accept us as living sacrifices through the merit of Jesus and to beget us of the holy Spirit to the divine nature. The moment we accepted those terms our Redeemer became our Advocate and immediately the entire contract was closed and we were begotten of the holy Spirit. We were no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit--no longer in the Court, but in the Holy.
The New Creature being without sin needed no Mediator to come between it and God. On the contrary, the New Creature sings:--
"Sun of my soul, my Father dear,
I know no night when thou art near.
O! may no earth-born cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servant's eyes."
But the New Creature needs an Advocate. Even though it is in full relationship with the Father, and even though as a New Creature it has no sin--the sins cancelled at Calvary were those of the old creature only. Is it asked why the New Creature, begotten of God, sinless, needs an Advocate? We reply that it is because he has the treasure of the new mind in an earthen vessel that is very imperfect through the fall. The sins of his mortal body were all cancelled through the imputation of the Advocate's merit and at that moment the old nature died and ceased its responsibility. He that is dead "hath ceased from sin." (`I Pet. 4:1`.) The New Creature, which at that moment was begotten and as a new mind or new will took possession of the mortal body reckoned dead, is held responsible for its conduct in exactly the same manner that the owner of a dog is responsible for him. Whatever violence the dog may do, the owner is responsible, because he should have chained him up. So we, as New Creatures, are responsible for our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongues, in what they may do. If the tongue slander another through weakness, force of habit, etc., the New Creature is responsible and must give an account. If other wrongdoings be committed, there is a similar responsibility in every case.
The New Creature cannot claim that the merit of Christ has cancelled these imperfections of his flesh in advance. He can merely claim in the Apostle's words, "The forgiveness of sins which are past, through the forbearance of God." (`Rom. 3:25`.) What, then, must he do in respect to these daily deflections--trespasses of omission and commission due to the imperfections of his flesh? The Apostle's answer is, "If any man (in the Church) sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." (`I John 2:1`.) "Having such an high priest
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over the house of God (the antitypical priests and Levites) let us draw nigh to God in full assurance of faith, that we may obtain mercy and find help in time of need." We thus pray, "Our father which art in heaven...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." If as New Creatures our Lord and Advocate sees that we are cultivating his Spirit of mercy towards others, he will at once advocate our plea and secure for us Divine cancellation of the errors of our flesh, to which we, as New Creatures, were not a party and did not consent. If as New Creatures we gave partial consent to the wrong course, we would be liable in that proportion to some kind of stripes or punishment. And if any sin wilfully --heartily assented to sin knowingly and intentionally and without protest--it would prove that such was no longer a New Creature, but "twice dead, plucked up by the roots."
Our Lord will continue to be the Church's Advocate with the Father down to the moment when the last member of his Body and of the Great Company shall have finished his course and passed beyond the veil to be a member of the "Church of the First-born, whose names are enrolled in heaven." Then they will no longer need an Advocate, because their resurrection change will make them perfect and the good intentions of their wills as New Creatures will find no impediment in their new bodies. They will be like their Lord, partakers of the divine nature and sharers of his glory and of his work. Then, as members of the great Prophet, Priest, Mediator, Judge and King, they will assist in dispensing the Divine blessings to the world of mankind for a thousand years. Then our Lord's office of Advocate will terminate with the glorification of the Church, and his office of Mediator between God and the world will be ready to begin.
WHEN GOD COVENANTED WITH ABRAHAM
Gradually those who went out from us because they were "not of us" are going into darkness on all subjects. This was to be expected. A root of bitterness developing in the heart affects the sight. Light becomes darkness; darkness becomes light. New things pass away. All things become old again in the wrong sense.
These friends, not content with urging unscripturally that they need a Mediator between them and God, become very angry with us because we point out to them the truth on the subject--that the Mediator is between God and men and not between God and the New Creature. They seem to want to have a different view, and, of course, find plenty of opportunity for it. People usually find what they look for. Infidels who are in a wrong attitude of mind and desirous of finding fault with the Bible succeed in convincing themselves of its inconsistencies, contradictions, etc. Sometimes they succeed in deceiving others whose intentions are good, but who are lacking in spiritual discernment. We suggest that our proper attitude towards these erstwhile friends is to let them alone --to allow God to deal with them. Such of them as he sees to be honest-hearted and of right spirit he will guide in judgment and lead back again into the Truth; such as he cannot approve for any part of his work, he has a perfect right to cast aside. We may not murmur, but rather be glad that our eyes are open to see the wisdom and the justice of the Divine decree, "The wages of sin is death." If, then, those who were once with us and "of us" have not been influenced by all the Lord's leadings in the past and the presentations of the present, what more can we do for them but leave them in the hand of him who is too wise to err and too just to be unkind?
These erstwhile friends, busy seeing what they can object to, are step by step walking into darkness. One of their recent claims of finding new light and proof that THE WATCH TOWER teachings are erroneous is that there was no Abrahamic Covenant at all; that what God said to Abraham was merely a proposition to make a Covenant and that the New Covenant is the promised one. They think that it began somewhere about the time of our Lord's First Advent, but they do not know when and can find no Scripture on the subject, and are afraid to make a guess, lest it be shown to be fallacious. The reason back of this endeavor to cast out the original Covenant with Abraham, and to declare that it was merely a promise that the New Covenant would be made in due time, is evident. They perceive that the Church cannot properly be under two Covenants, or two "mothers," and are determined that they are the children of the New Covenant; hence they strive to show that there was no Covenant, except the Law Covenant, until Christ came. They are put to great perplexity when some one quotes the Apostle's words that the "Law was added because of transgressions (added, of course, to the Abrahamic Covenant) until the Seed (specified by the Abrahamic Covenant) should come." (`Gal. 3:19`.) Another Scripture which gives them trouble is St. Paul's statement that the Law Covenant was 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant. They know not how to explain this in harmony with their theory that the Law Covenant was made 1600 years before the time they claim the New Covenant began.
After worrying themselves as above, some of them have taken up a new line--anything to be different--anything to prove that the DAWN-STUDIES are incorrect, blind guides. The later claim is, "Yes, there must have been some kind of Covenant made with Abraham, but it was made fifty years later than the DAWN-STUDIES say. It was made after Abraham had typically offered Isaac in sacrifice." There, they tell us, God said to Abraham, "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; because thou hast done this thing and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing, I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."--`Gen. 22:16-18`.
See, they say, THE WATCH TOWER and DAWN-STUDIES have erred in saying that God made the Covenant with Abraham when first he came into the land of Canaan; whereas he merely promised it then but did not actually make the Covenant until fifty years afterward--when Isaac was twenty-five years old, and after Abraham had offered him as a sacrifice in a figure.
We reply that our critics are in error. God called Abraham while he was yet in Haran, to come out into the Land of Canaan and that he would there make a Covenant with him. Abraham believed and, at the death of his father Terah, removed to Canaan. Thereupon the
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Lord blessed him and consummated the Covenant with him. That Covenant was repeated in different forms from time to time and confirmed to Isaac and to Jacob long afterward. Even if the time of making oath to the Covenant were a matter of dispute it would not alter the fact that the Covenant itself was made directly after Abraham obeyed and removed to Canaan. The various statements respecting the matter are, "I have made a Covenant with thee," "I have sworn," etc. To suppose that these restatements of the Divine Purpose are either New Covenants or intimations that the Covenant had not been made is to suppose erroneously.
See where the argument of our friends would lead them chronologically. If the Abrahamic Covenant was not
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made until after the figurative offering of Isaac it would add fifty years to the chronology at that point. We base our reckoning on St. Paul's words, "The Covenant, which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the Law, which was 430 years afterward, cannot disannul." (`Gal. 3:17`.) If, therefore, instead of counting the 430 years from the time Abraham entered Canaan we count it from a date fifty years later when he offered Isaac, we would be adding fifty years to our chronology. What would that mean? It would throw everything out of gear--the chronology itself and the harmony based upon it. For instance, add that fifty years and it would make the six thousand years end fifty years sooner than 1872, namely, in 1822, which would mean that the Millennium, the seventh-thousand year period, would begin in 1823. The absurdity of this need not be discussed. Another beautiful time feature would thus be spoiled--the one suggested by Brother Edgar--that the giving of the Covenant is exactly midway chronologically between the time of the fall and the sending of the Gospel to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first one to receive it. However, as before intimated, we can expect anything, everything, in the way of misunderstanding and misrepresentation, bitterness and personalities from these erstwhile friends. "If the light that is in thee become darkness, how great is that darkness!" The darkness seems to affect people, not merely intellectually, but morally, blunting their sense of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, decency and honor. Let us beware of rendering evil for evil, slander for slander, or the cultivation in the slightest sense of roots of bitterness, hatred, envy, strife--works of the flesh and of the Adversary.
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"HE IS NOT A JEW--OUTWARDLY"
"He is not a Jew who is one outwardly,...but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart." `Romans 2:28,29`.
THOSE who argue that the Church is under the New Covenant, instead of under the Abrahamic Covenant, symbolized by Sarah, as the Apostle says, are perplexed with the plain prophecy of `Jeremiah 31:31-33`. It distinctly declares that New Covenant provision to be for the house of Israel and the house of Judah--the ten tribes and the two tribes of the Jewish nation. Perplexed, they answer that they are Jews; that all Christians are Jews, and that the New Covenant prophecy, therefore, applies to them and proves that it has already been established and that they are enjoying its provisions.
In reply, we ask them first of all to read the context from `verse 27` to the close of the chapter. It seems difficult to imagine a mind so twisted and blinded that it would be unable to see that the entire passage is for the Jew--natural Israel. There is not the slightest reference to Spiritual Israel or any spiritual experiences.
In desperation they quote the text at the head of this article in proof that they are Jews and therefore in New Covenant relationship with God. But, alas for them, they thus go from one misinterpretation to another! If they will look up the context of the above text they will find that it applies not to spiritual but to natural Israel. It is a portion of St. Paul's argument showing that the Jew was not justified by being under the Law Covenant; and that he could be justified only by accepting Christ as his Redeemer from the sentence of the Law Covenant incurred by his inherited imperfection. Note the argument --`verses 17-24`.
The culmination of the Apostle's argument is found in the next chapter (`3:9,10`) in the words: "What then? are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]? In no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin [condemnation]. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." See the further argument of `verses 19-29`.
St. Paul's constant argument was that it was not necessary for Gentiles to become Jews in order to become Christians, but that the Jew must become dead to the Law and the Gentile become dead to sin in order that both might become one in Christ Jesus--Christians.
NOTE FURTHER MISINTERPRETATION
Let us ask these bewildered brethren a few simple questions, that they and we may know just where they do stand on the question of their being Spiritual Jews.
Is it as "new creatures in Christ" that this claim to being Jews is put forth? Yes, they answer. We reply with the Apostle's words, "There is neither Jew nor Greek" in Christ. Besides, the New Covenant proposes restitution and applies to those whose stony hearts are to be changed to hearts of flesh. Where is there a spiritual promise to the Jew? And the New [Law] Covenant would condemn every imperfect person, as did the Old one. "Ye are not under the Law [Covenant], but under Grace."-- `Rom. 6:14`.
"Ah, yes," they answer, "We erred in stating that we are Jews and under the New Covenant as 'new creatures.' We will change that answer and say rather, that as Jews we were justified under the New Covenant and then became 'new creatures' and members of Christ under the Abrahamic Covenant."
You are making a bad argument worse, by a further confusing of the Scriptures. The natural Jew could get free from the condemnation of the Old Law Covenant only by renouncing it--dying to it and becoming alive toward God as a member of The Christ. What advantage would accrue to a Gentile, to get under another Law Covenant, new or old? None, surely!
Christ is the Mediator of the New [Law] Covenant to bring as many as possible of Adam's race back into full harmony with God. During the Gospel Age he is laying the foundation for his great work by first making satisfaction for their sins. Soon the antitypical Atonement Day will end and satisfaction for the sins of the world will be made. Forthwith the world will be turned over to him, and his mediatorial reign will begin.
His mediation will not be for each person individually, but for the world collectively. He will reign or mediate for a thousand years, and not until its close will he deliver over to the Father--Justice--those whom he will succeed in uplifting out of sin and death conditions. During all the time he mediates the world will have no direct dealing with the Father, but only with the Mediator of the New Covenant.
On the contrary, the Church of this age is justified and accepted by faith, as was Abraham, and is backed by "the blood of Christ." Then, upon consecration to be "dead with him," they at once come into relationship with God as "members of the Body of Christ." Thank God for our portion of blessing under the Abrahamic Covenant and our glorious Redeemer-Advocate! And praise God for the world's coming blessing under a Redeemer-Mediator!
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SIN AND SICKNESS RELATED
--`MATTHEW 9:1-13`.--MARCH 20.--
Golden Text:--"The Son of Man hath power
on earth to forgive sins."--`V. 6`.
JESUS left the country of the Gergesenes at their request, because they feared that other healings of obsessed people might destroy other herds of swine, the chief industry of that place. He came by boat to his own city of Capernaum, where most of his mighty works were done. The people thronged about him and soon he was busy preaching to a houseful about the love and mercy of God and the duty and responsibility of man. The house was of the ordinary type of one story, with large tiles constituting the roof and with outside stairs leading thereto. Presently a paralytic borne upon a stretcher was brought by his friends that the Lord might heal him. They could not enter because of the multitude which filled the room and extended into the court. In their earnestness they climbed the stairs, removed the large stone tiling near the center of the house and let the man on the stretcher down in front of the Savior. It was not necessary to explain or to entreat. The Great Physician's heart went out in loving sympathy. He recognized the prayer of faith and answered it at once, but not as might have been expected.
To teach a great lesson respecting the relationship between sin and sickness, and to show himself powerful to deliver them both, he said to the sick man, "Son, be of good cheer. Thy sins be forgiven thee"! Possibly the palsied man and his friends may have felt disappointed. Like many of our day they may have appreciated the loaves and fishes and healings accomplished by our Lord more than they were able to appreciate his work as a Redeemer, the Sin-Bearer, the one through whom comes forgiveness of sins.
But there were present some very religious people learned in the Law, who understood that transgression of the Divine Law could not be forgiven, except by the satisfaction of that Law. When these in their hearts began to murmur, Jesus knew it and said aloud, "Which is easier-- to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and walk?" The Master would have his critics see that even they without authority could say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, and none have power to know on the subject. But they could not heal the man and dare not say to him, Arise and walk. He thus convinced them that what they had thought the more difficult was really the easier, and that the one who could say the latter could doubtless truthfully say the former. Then, turning to the sick man, Jesus said, "Arise, take up thy bed and go unto thine house"--and he did so.
On a very similar occasion the Scriptures tell us that our Lord said to the healed one, "Go thy way and sin no more, lest a worse thing fall upon thee." In these words our Lord indicated a relationship existing between sin and sickness. The more we consider the subject the more we are assured of this. Sickness is so much of death working in us toward completion. Before the death sentence came there was no sickness. After the Redeemer shall, during the Millennium, have put away sin, the time will come, we are sure, when "there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying." Not only so, but do we not all recognize that the dying we have inherited from father Adam has come to us down through the ages along the lines of mental, moral and physical sickness, impairment of function? And do not all recognize that to whatever extent sin is indulged in willingly, the effect is not only moral abasement, but an increase of disease, sickness--death working in us?
The Jews were under the Law Covenant of DO AND LIVE and hence the forgiveness of sins with them would imply proportionate release from sin's infirmities, under the New Covenant during the Millennium. (`Jer. 31:31`.) When the glorified Christ shall in the end of this age antitypically sprinkle the mercy-seat with the virtue of his secondary sacrifice it will not be for the Church, as at first, but for the world, "for all the people." (`Lev. 16:33`.) With the Church of this Gospel Age the Divine programme is different. Received under the Abrahamic Covenant the forgiveness of their sins is associated with their Consecration Vow to sacrifice the earthly life and all its interests for the attainment of the heavenly life and joint-heirship with the Redeemer in his Kingdom. Hence the forgiveness of sins does not mean to the Church release from physical ailments.
It was shortly after this that Matthew, elsewhere styled Levi, was called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a publican--that is to say, a collector of taxes for the Roman government. Publicans were despised for two reasons:--
(1) It was considered very disreputable to assist a foreign government to collect taxes from one's friends --kin.
(2) Many of these publicans were rascally and took advantage of their position to make themselves wealthy through bribes, over-collections, etc. We may be sure that Matthew-Levi was not of the dishonest type, else he never would have been called to association with Messiah as one of his Apostles and prospective joint-heirs with him in his Kingdom. For such position the highest degree of honesty is requisite. And if Jesus would never call a dishonest man, neither would a dishonest man have accepted his call, because there was nothing to be gained--neither reputation, wages nor fraud. Similarly Zaccheus was an honest publican who proffered to restore fourfold to anyone he had wronged, thus emphasizing the fact that he would not want to be dishonest.
Other Scriptures intimate that Matthew at once made a supper for his friends and acquaintances, that these might thus have the better opportunity for acquaintance with the Lord, who also was a guest. But the Pharisees, cynical and critical and fault-finding, objected that if Jesus were righteous he would not be found in such company. Our Lord, however, sent them word that not the healthy, but the sick need a physician, intimating that for this reason he was fellowshiping sinners, that he might do them good. He was not descending to sin in any form, but seeking to lift up sinners. Then he quoted to them from his wonderful memory the words from Hosea the Prophet, "I desired mercy and not sacrifice." (`Hosea 6:6`.) He tells them that he came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
Note a lesson for ourselves and for all: "There is none righteous, no, not one." (`Romans 3:10`.) All are sinners. All have come short of the Divine standard of perfection. Whoever, therefore, claims that he is righteous and on that score rejects the Redeemer is a hypocrite--in a wrong condition of mind, not ready for any of the blessings God now has to bestow.
God is calling none to discipleship with Jesus, except such as acknowledge that by nature they were children of wrath and who first accept forgiveness of sins through the precious blood.
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OUR EASTER LESSON
Golden Text:--"I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore."--`Rev. 1:18`.
WITHOUT quitting our study of the teachings of the great Prophet of Galilee we must not allow Easter Sunday to pass without noting its peculiar lesson--the resurrection of the Savior from the dead. Our text comes to us as fresh as though delivered yesterday from the lips of the risen Redeemer--his special message to his people. How much there is in these few words! They affirm with positiveness that Jesus really died, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring mankind back from sin and condemnation to harmony with God. With equal force they tell us that he is dead no longer, that although unseen to our natural eyes, our faith may recognize the fact that he arose from the dead and ascended up on high, there "to appear in the presence of God for us."--`Heb. 9:24`.
What was effected by his death and what is the value of his life to mankind?
His death was necessary because death was the sentence against Adam and all his race, because of original sin--disobedience. St. Paul says, "By one man's disobedience sin entered the world, and death as a result of sin, and thus death passed upon all, for all are sinners." It was not an angel that had sinned and hence an angel could not be the Redeemer. The Divine Law was an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an ox for an ox, a man for a man. Hence nothing but the sacrificial death of a perfect man could redeem the race from their death sentence. Any perfect man could have thus been substituted, but there was none in the whole world; hence the necessity that our Lord should be "made flesh" that he might redeem us. (`John 1:14`.) Hence, as the Scriptures explain, "he who was rich, for our sakes became poor"--leaving the perfection of the heavenly nature and coming down to perfect human nature; he was "holy, harmless and undefiled, separate from sinners."-- `Heb. 7:26`.
The death of Jesus did not redeem the world, but it constituted a ransom price for the world whenever it
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might be applied. Our Savior laid down his life, surrendered it to the Father, in obedience to the Divine suggestion. As a reward he was highly exalted, given a name above every name on the spirit plane. Not having forfeited his human rights by sin, but merely having laid them down, in obedience to the Father's wish, he has these to dispose of, to give as a bequest or testament to humanity.
But if we may thus see clearly an inestimable value in our Redeemer's sacrifice of himself, a glance will show us that his resurrection was of equal importance. Had the Father not raised him from the dead, it would have implied some unfaithfulness, some failure on our Lord's part. And if he had not arisen, how could he have made application of his human rights on our behalf? No wonder St. Paul forcefully declares, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain....Ye are yet in your sins. And they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished....But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept."--`I Cor. 15:14-20`.
So, then, upon the death of Jesus and his resurrection hang the resurrection hope of the Church and of the world. We must differentiate these as the Scriptures do. The Church is to have share in the "first" or "chief resurrection," called also "Christ's Resurrection," "his resurrection." (`Phil. 3:10`.) The resurrection of Christ and his Church is to the spirit nature of glory and perfection. On that glorious plane the Heavenly Bridegroom will soon claim his espoused Church as his Bride and joint-heir in his Kingdom.
Then the world's resurrection will be due to begin-- not a resurrection "change" to spirit nature, etc., nor an instantaneous work at all. Theirs will be a resurrection to human nature, human perfection, but of gradual development --first the awakening, "every man in his own order," and subsequently the gradual raising of them up out of sin and death conditions to perfection of life--as many as will obey the great King of the Millennial Kingdom. And such as will refuse obedience will be cut off-- destroyed in the Second Death.
It is greatly to be regretted that very many Christian people, including many of the clergy, have failed to discern the great importance of the resurrection, in connection with the teachings of God's Word. This serious omission has aided greatly in the confusion which has led many to a rejection of the Word of God under the teachings of Higher Criticism and Evolution. Let us honor the Heavenly Father and the Redeemer by heeding the testimony of the Bible respecting the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. In proportion as we do this we will be surely following the example of the Great Teacher and of all the Apostles. And are we wiser than they that we should leave their teachings or neglect them? Nay, we will "take the more earnest heed, lest we should let these things slip" and become bound, as many have been, through the neglect of the teachings of this doctrine.
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FAITH, THE CHANNEL OF BLESSING
--`MATTHEW 9:18-34`.--APRIL 3.--
Golden Text:--"All things are possible
to him that believeth."--`Mark 9:23`.
FAITH in God consists in taking him at his word--accepting and believing his Revelation of his Character and his Plan in respect to ourselves and others. We should clearly distinguish between faith and credulity. Some very good people make the mistake of supposing that the more absurd the thing which they believe, the greater is the faith. Faith does not spurn reason, but uses it within certain prescribed and rational lines. In order to have faith in God, we must first satisfy our reasoning faculties:--
(a) That there is a God;
(b) That he has a dependable character--is Just; is Wise; is Powerful; is Gracious;
(c) We must reasonably assure ourselves that what we accept as his message is worthy of acceptance--bears marks of truthfulness and harmony with the Divine Character. He who does not seek such evidences as a foundation for faith is merely credulous--not faith-full.
Because so many Christian people ignore the proper definition of faith many candid minds are repelled from Christianity, refusing, they tell us, to believe absurdities. We urge Christian people to a more rigid examination
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of their faith in God and in the Bible, that, as the Apostle says, We may be able to "give a reason for the hope [the faith], that is within us." (`I Pet. 3:15`.) We owe this to ourselves, as well as to those whom we would endeavor to interest in God's Word. In the light now shining upon God's Word it is possible, as it was in the days of the Apostles, for the man of God to be "thoroughly furnished" and able "to rightly divide the Word of Truth" and to show to his friends and neighbors solid, logical grounds for each item of his faith. We admit that this was not, apparently, possible during the dark period which intervened between the first century and now. Knowing how to sympathize with the many who have perplexities respecting the reliability of the Bible as the inspired Word of God, we invite correspondence from such, feeling sure that we can assist them.
Our present study illustrates faith from four different standpoints:--
(1) The faith of Jairus--the father, on behalf of his daughter;
(2) The faith of the woman who, on her own account, touched the hem of the Lord's garment;
(3) The faith of the two blind men who encouraged one another;
(4) The faith of those who brought to the Lord a deaf and dumb man possessed of a demon.
Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum, our Lord's home city, knew Jesus well. He sometimes called upon him to read the Sabbath lesson. (`Luke 4:16`.) On a previous occasion with others he entreated the Lord on behalf of the centurion's servant. (`Luke 7:4`.) Now affliction had invaded Jairus' home. His only daughter, twelve years old, was dying. The Master had been absent across the sea. Amongst the throng awaiting him was Jairus, who, because of his prominence as a representative man, was properly given first audience. He manifested his faith not merely by his request that the Lord would come and heal his daughter, but also by his conduct in prostrating himself, figuratively expressing his homage, obedience and faith. He had left the daughter in a dying condition. She was dead at the time that he was talking to Jesus and urging haste. Before they reached the house messengers came, saying that it was too late, that she was dead. When Jesus arrived, neighbors had gathered, in harmony with the Jewish custom. Some were playing doleful tunes on flutes; others were groaning and lamenting. It was the custom for the females of a family and neighborhood, when they heard of a death, to give a shriek and then to continue murmuring, mourning as they entered into the death chamber a while later. The Master bade all these to depart, lightly saying, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth." The language is similar to that used respecting Lazarus. She was dead, according to the usual human expression. But she was not dead from the Divine standpoint--not extinct as is a brute in death. God's provision from the first was that the death sentence upon humanity would be cancelled by the Redeemer's sacrifice and that as a result there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. From this standpoint the Scriptures speak of death as a sleep, from which there will be a glorious awakening in the resurrection morning--in the dawning of the Millennial Age. Thus Abraham and others of the past, both good and bad, are referred to as falling asleep, sleeping with their fathers, etc. Thus Stephen, the first Christian martyr, fell asleep. (`Acts 7:60`.) Evidently this does not mean that the dead go to sleep in either heaven, purgatory or hell. The Bible explains the matter, saying that many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. (`Dan. 12:2`.) As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. (`I Cor. 15:22`.) What would have been death to them and eternal cessation of being has been changed by virtue of the Redeemer's sacrifice and is a sleep of unconsciousness, until the morning when the great Redeemer will say to all, as he did to Lazarus, "Come forth," or as he did in this case, to Jairus' daughter, "Talitha Cumi"--"Come, my child." So, we are assured that eventually all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth. (`John 5:28`.) On the way to Jairus' home a woman in the crowd surrounding the Lord touched the hem of his garment, believing in his greatness and power and that thus she would get a blessing. The thrill of life and strength immediately came into her body, just as the touching of the storage battery with a wire would draw the electric current. Our Lord was full of vital energy. He was perfect, not only free from sin, but free from sickness and death conditions. He noticed the loss of vitality and, turning, inquired, "Who touched me?" The poor woman was fearful that she had stolen a blessing, of which she felt herself unworthy. But soon she was assured by the kindly words and look of the Master. This incident teaches us clearly that our Lord's miracles drained upon his vitality.
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Thus from Jordan to Calvary he willingly, gladly, responded to the needs of those about him--laying down his life.
The two blind men who met Jesus, hailing him as Messiah, the promised King of David's line, encouraged one another and both got the desired blessings, according to their faith. Here we have illustrated the advantages of Church fellowship in respect to faith stimulation. Let us assist one another in the most holy faith. Let us be helpers and not hinderers to fellow-pilgrims. The Master did not attempt the healing of all the people. For instance, there was but one healed at the Pool of Siloam, though many were there. So here Jesus admonished those whose eyes were opened to keep the matter quiet. But they could not. Their joy was so great and the Lord's humility in the matter served to draw forth their praise the louder. So with us--quickened from the dead, spirit-healed, and with the eyes of our understanding opened--we cannot refrain from telling the good tidings and praising the Lord.--`Romans 1:12`; `Acts 4:20`.
The man possessed of a demon and made both deaf and dumb was in such a deplorable condition that he could not help himself, neither could he ask the Master's aid; neither could he hear, if anyone should exorcise the demon. His friends, however, exercised faith in his behalf. Jesus responded and cast out the demon. The man was healed. The multitude marveled. But the Pharisees were envious. They wished to pose as the chief religionists and to have and to hold the popular respect, which was rapidly passing to Jesus. The poison of envy in their minds so perverted them that they declared that Jesus himself was Satan, Beelzebub, the Prince of devils. Let us learn the lesson and avoid envy, malice, hatred, and fill our hearts instead with the spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, love, and thus become more and more like our Master, increasing our faith.
O for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by every foe;
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe;
That will not murmur nor complain
Beneath the chastening rod,
But in the hour of grief or pain,
Will lean upon its God.
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RE BEREAN STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Brother Bohnet's interesting letter in February 1 TOWER, re Berean Studies, suggests to my mind that you might be pleased to have me recount our experience in the Church at Los Angeles, where I believe the Berean Bible Studies originated, in the form of "Outlines," as we then called them. We had had some very unsatisfactory experiences in the Bible Study by book, chapter and verse, which we tried for about one year, if I remember correctly. But we were continually "running up against" verses which had not been explained in DAWNS or TOWERS, and whose proper interpretation we could only "guess at," and the result was that some combative spirits in the meeting would insist upon their private and personal expositions being accepted by the congregation, to the ultimate disruption of the meeting. This we found so unedifying, so unprofitable, that we were led, I believe by the Lord, to the arranging of Topical Bible Studies on various subjects, with questions and references to be examined by the members of the class before coming to meeting.
I do not believe any other Church has received the benefit enjoyed by the Los Angeles congregation in these studies. And I can account for it only in this manner:--
First--the class studied the questions at home, studied as though each one was to lead the meeting, studied as though upon each member rested the responsibility of seeing that the Truth, and that only, was clearly set forth in every statement made in the class. (You see we were so far away from headquarters that we were not favored with Pilgrim visits more frequently, during that period, than about once in three or four years, and we had no brethren among us who were gifted with the talent of public speaking, and thus we were thrown upon our own resources, and compelled to depend upon the Lord and each other for our "edification in the most holy faith"!)
Secondly, the leader called upon individuals by name, to answer the questions. As we are only "children of a larger growth," I believe the feeling that we would probably be called upon personally to answer a question incited us to study more than if we thought, "Oh, I won't be called on; it does not matter whether I study or not." There is in all of us a little pride, which must be appealed to sometimes.
Again, our aim was not to leave a single question until every member in the class had a perfectly clear understanding of the matter, even though we were often obliged to spend two, three or four meetings on one question alone. Every member was encouraged to ask questions, not to be ashamed of his ignorance, but to realize we were all students in the School of Christ, all learners at the feet of the Great Teacher!
Again, we studied to bring up Scriptural quotations which would corroborate, or seem to contradict, our accepted position on any doctrine, and thus we were enabled to "put on the whole armor of God" to such an extent that the various Pilgrim brethren who visited us afterwards mentioned especially the knowledge manifested in the Los Angeles Church, as well as their growth in the fruits of the Spirit, due to the application of this knowledge. (Pardon what might seem to be undue laudation; I refer to it only as a proof of the good received by us in the Berean method of Bible Study.)
As some of the friends seem to think you, dear Brother, "got up" this method and are "forcing it upon the Church," perhaps the above may assist them to a better understanding of the matter. You are at liberty to use this letter as may seem to you best. Praying his continued blessing upon you,
Yours in the service of our blessed Lord and Redeemer,
G. W. SEIBERT.
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RE FIFTH-SUNDAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I heartily enjoyed my visit yesterday and Saturday with the dear ones at Canton in their "Fifth-Sunday local convention," and thank you for affording me the blessed privilege to meet with them. Enclosed find program. It was my privilege to address the local class twice on Saturday and the general assembly twice on Sunday, besides the Berean lesson after-talk.
Brother, you should have been present at the morning testimony meeting and heard the splendid testimonies of the dear friends. It would have comforted your heart to hear yourself so frequently referred to as the faithful servant of the Lord, and the assurance of loyalty to your teachings, and the confidence in you as a loving brother, a noble-minded man, whose every word and act bespeaks the thorough Christian. I fear, however, your modesty would have prompted you to leave the hall before half a dozen testimonies had been given, for every one of them had some favorable allusion to yourself and your service. Truly it was good to be there, and when finally the Vow song was sung by the entire congregation tears of joy came to more eyes than mine. It sent thrill after thrill through my being until I could hardly refrain from shouting, and you know I am not easily swayed by emotion.
I have perhaps been to twenty conventions, large and small, since coming into the Truth in 1892, and write truly when I assure you that this little convention of about 200 Truth friends afforded me greater pleasure than any of the others. Possibly, as we come nearer the goal of our hopes, we more and more appreciate the sweet fellowship of the saintly ones of like precious faith, and possibly the attitude of the opposing ones draws us closer and closer together. Often, on the farm in my earlier days, when some strange dog or other animal would come near the sheep, I noticed how they would huddle together as though for mutual protection. Just so when we see enemies near, we, like sheep, instead of scattering, draw closer together. The dear sheep about Canton are drawn very, very close to you, dear Brother. Not only would the sheep in threatened danger bunch together, but they kept close to the one who fed and cared for them. The sheep of the Lord well know who it is that is supplying them the wholesome spiritual food today. The goats are ever on the alert for brush and leaves, which they prefer. Peter was admonished of the Lord to feed the lambs and sheep, but he could not hope to satisfy goats with sheep provender. Neither can you or any of us.
Some of the friends at Canton told me of the effort of a certain brother who came amongst them to turn them out of the way by what they considered were exaggerated or wrong assertions. They took note of his changed deportment from what he had been on former visits when he came to them in like faith. He preferred to talk mostly on matters of no interest to them. He mentioned religious matters only in connection with evil speaking, slander and backbiting until he fairly disgusted his hearers. But not so the certain class who seemed to enjoy his unchristian attacks on the life and character of another. The friends called to mind the text, "Speak evil of no man," and especially Paul's admonition prohibitive of the speaking aught against an Elder, and thus he was unconsciously "driving nails into his own
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coffin," as the Germans say. I cautioned the friends to ever beware of anyone who allows himself to speak evil of others, assuring them that even were the statement entirely true the one who so speaks is manifestly more guilty in God's sight than is the one he is endeavoring to malign and injure.
In giving my own testimony in the general assembly, prompted by the other testimonies of the friends present, I told the dear ones of how I had for many years been a member of the Bible House family, had eaten and lived there, and even enjoyed your uncomfortable bed-lounge with you on various occasions since the year 1895, and that never once in all that time had I heard a cross or angry word from your lips, and that never had I known you to do or say aught unbecoming a Christian and a gentleman. Brother, I may have been somewhat personal, but in view of some malicious attacks that had been made on you behind your back I could not refrain from uttering the truth in your defense, although I am well aware of your practice to make little or no defense of yourself, but to vigorously defend others, or the Truth, or a matter involving a principle or doctrine. While I can say, All honor to the man who can adhere to such a policy persistently, yet sometimes I feel that you really ought to defend yourself, if not for your own sake, for the sake of many dear ones on whose shoulders part of the burden falls. You always say in substance, "The Lord knows all about it," and with him you let it rest. The letter enclosed contains a sentence right along this line. You will not need to return it.
I think these Fifth-Sunday conventions are a means of great blessing to our people, stimulating and refreshing. I would like to hear from the friends elsewhere as to their experience re these little gatherings. I feel like encouraging all the Truth friends to institute these occasions of spiritual uplift. I will do all in my power to assist. Both at Detroit and Canton they worked me pretty hard, yet it was joy to serve the friends. I regret my inability to serve as I should like. The Lord, however, knows I am willing to do the best I can. The bond of Christian love was strengthened in the heart of everyone who attended yesterday's convention, I am sure, and you are more dearly than ever entrenched in the hearts of all who were there. God bless you and keep you in his tender care.
Thanking you once more for making it possible for me to be there, I remain in loving sympathy,
Your Brother in Christ, our Advocate and Lord,
J. A. BOHNET.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I desire to let you know of an incident that is an occasion of joy to our little class, and I believe it is an act of justice to a Brother to hasten to tell the good report we can now give, inasmuch as you were acquainted at the Jacksonville Convention, February, 1909, with the estrangement that existed.
We are so glad to announce that Brother __________, once our Elder, has won a great victory over the "old man," pride, self, and the Adversary. He, by the grace of God, at a testimony meeting, arose and confessed his faults, saying that pride and the Adversary combined had deceived and cheated him of the blessed fellowship of this class, that he had been to the throne of grace with the matter and desired to do nothing but the Lord's will in all matters and desired to again meet regularly with "those of like precious faith."
Each one present at the end of our Brother's testimony came forward and extended the hand of fellowship and love. Stimulated by the example, another one of our class who had been unstable, arose and testified in like manner, to whom also we demonstrated our love and good will by shaking hands. We felt that the power of God's holy Spirit had worked mightily in our midst and rejoiced greatly. These two Brothers are demonstrating the sincerity of their testimony by attending all the meetings regularly, which is our Lord's appointed way of blessing his Church, those who "forsake not the assembling of themselves together as is the manner of some."
Yours faithfully in our Redeemer and King,
M. L. MCILVAINE.
MY DEAR PASTOR:--
For months the publications of those poor "dreamers," so graphically described by the Apostle Jude, have been coming through the mail into our home.
Dear Pastor, what a fearful thing to be "spots on the feasts of love" of God's dear people as they meet to worship and learn of him. To be "trees whose fruit withereth--twice dead, plucked up by the roots"! The empty clouds ("without water"), carried about by winds, "every wind of doctrine."
Will you offer a special prayer for me and mine that we may "keep ourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life"?
And for the foolish ones, deluded for a time by these "wandering stars," who have gone in the way "of Cain, Balaam and Core," pray that we may have all proper "compassion, making a difference," "pulling them out of the fire," by continually feasting our minds on the Truth, and keeping on the "whole armor of God," thus being equipped for any service or any trial. Surely, we never could help any one by imbibing error, even with the thought of being better able to contrast it with the Truth.
A number of times I have thought of writing letters to some, trying to help them; but if all the clear, beautiful expositions of Scripture we have been given through the TOWERS cannot dispel their mental and spiritual clouds, I thought anything I might say surely would do no good.
May the God of all grace keep you continually; give you wisdom, grace and strength to meet every need.
Yours in our blessed Redeemer and Advocate,
MRS. C. A. WISE.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Since the opponents of the Vow called attention to the small number of names registered, the Birmingham Church has decided to send a full list of her members that have taken the Vow, as a means of expressing to you our hearty approval and appreciation of it.
While the majority took it some time ago and so notified you, yet others have been dilatory about sending in their names. Only a few have not yet seen the necessity for taking it, and we trust, in God's providence, they may soon see "eye to eye" with us, as no antagonism has been shown.
We would like to say, also, that we feel most grateful for the season of refreshing that we have recently enjoyed, and are confident that much permanent good will result therefrom.
Yours in him,
B. T. M.,--Secretary.