VOL. XXXIV JANUARY 1 No. 1
A. D. 1913--A. M. 6041
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 3
This Wonderful Period......................... 3
Foregleams of Messiah's Kingdom............... 5
A Text Suggested for 1913......................... 6
The Harvest Work World-wide....................... 6
Our Lord's Knowledge of His Pre-Existence......... 8
His Knowledge at the Age of Thirty............ 8
His Illumination of Mind...................... 9
The Year Before Us (Poem)......................... 10
How Righteous Character Is Produced............... 10
Conscientiousness Gives Strength.............. 10
The Deluge Effect................................. 11
No Rain on the Earth.......................... 11
"Thy Word Is Truth"........................... 11
The Cause of the Deluge....................... 12
God's Rainbow Covenant............................ 13
Fire, the Next Calamity....................... 14
Interesting Questions............................. 14
Interesting Letters............................... 14
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies............. 15
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
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BROTHER RUSSELL'S WEEKLY SERMONS
We remind all the dear friends afresh of the weekly sermons published in the newspapers. We recommend that you continue to encourage the publishers of these sermons by subscribing to the papers. Take as many as you can afford to purchase, especially the cheaper-priced papers--more especially those which publish the three-column sermons. Use these as tracts, marking sermon with blue pencil; give or send to such as you believe would be interested.
A NEW ARRANGEMENT
Some of the dear friends use the sermons as a part of their weekly service. At their Sunday meetings one of their number, who has a good voice and who is in every way qualified, reads the sermon to them--having first studied it over to comprehend it and to know how to read it--where to lay the emphasis, etc.
We have made arrangements with the Lecture Bureau that the weekly sermons may be published in advance for all classes who have elected Brother Russell as their Pastor and who write to us, indicating their desire to use the sermons as above. But we expect them also to assure us that this sending of the copy for class readings will not interfere with their patronage of the newspapers which publish the sermons. Secretaries requesting these advance copies will please ascertain from the classes how many different newspapers publishing the sermons are being taken by the class regularly.
NEW POEMS OF DAWN
Our attention was called to the fact that many of our readers do not know that the Book of POEMS OF DAWN recently published is quite different from the old edition. It does, indeed, contain the choicest poems from the old edition, but it includes many entirely new. We believe that every WATCH TOWER reader would be desirous of having this new edition if thoroughly aware of the contents. Its beautiful verses are very restful and helpful, well adapted to the various experiences of the Lord's people. As a part of His staff for His weary ones to lean upon they are a present help in time of need. The prices are extremely low and include postage--cloth-bound, 25c.; Karatol-bound, 35c.; India paper, leather-bound, 50c.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR FEBRUARY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for February follow: (1) 44; (2) 130; (3) 305; (4) 310; (5) 299; (6) 314; (7) 248; (8) 281; (9) Vow; (10) 273; (11) 270; (12) 105; (13) 267; (14) 4; (15) 320; (16) 238; (17) 109; (18) 110; (19) 95; (20) 112; (21) 286; (22) 108; (23) 249; (24) 151; (25) 115; (26) 268; (27) 160; (28) 19.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THIS WONDERFUL PERIOD
THERE never was such a wonderful period! We never before knew so much or could do so much. We never experienced an age of equal comfort. No part of yesterday was as glorious as this hour.
The hundred years behind us are jammed and crammed with achievements that out-balance the sum total of progress since the signing of the Magna Charta.
The average mechanic enjoys luxuries that Midas, with all his wealth, could not command. The college freshman has more real information in his little finger than the erudition of the foremost scholar of the Renaissance. We have done more to put existence on a sane, logical and definite basis than the sum total of our ancestors.
A mere hundred years ago even the scientist thought that the atmosphere was simply space--that gas was only a smell.
The first microbe hadn't disclosed his identity.
Metchnikoff's announcement of battling hosts in every drop of human blood would have earned him a padded cell.
The best illumination George Washington could secure came from tallow dips, lighted by striking a spark from flint and steel.
Every piece of fabric was woven by hand.
The only horse-power was four-legged and wore a tail.
The steamboat was still building on the ways of Fulton's brain, and the wheels of the steam engine had only moved in Stephenson's head.
It took Benjamin Franklin two weeks to send a letter from Boston and get a reply from Baltimore.
Abraham Lincoln's angular frame never reposed in a Pullman berth.
Garfield called a 20-day "liner" an "ocean greyhound."
It is hardly a year since the father of antiseptic surgery was gathered to his fathers.
Electric light, trolley cars, bicycles, automobiles, department stores, skyscrapers, 10-cent collars, tinned salmon, airships, penny newspapers, appendicitis and power cranes are infant ideas still toddling in their diapers.
Thirty years ago electricity had never been hitched to a wheel; gunpowder was the most powerful explosive; subways weren't considered within range of possibility.
"Impossibility" is now an old-fashioned word with a definition, but not a meaning. Almost every dream of the past is a reality today.
The magic cities and the fairy kingdoms of your grandmother aren't half so wonderful as the world in which you live.--The Cincinnati Post.
* * *
PRESENT DAY INVENTIONS FOREGLEAMS OF
The above surely is not exaggeration! What thanks should be rising from all our hearts to God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift! How energetic we all should be to rightly use present blessings and opportunities for our own good, for the good of our families and neighbors --all men!
Thinking people cannot help wondering why so many blessings have been crowded into our day. There is but one answer, and remarkably few seem to realize it. Some are disposed to say that all of these blessings come as a result of another onward step of evolution! Is this reasonable? Do we see signs of excessive wisdom in ourselves or others? How many people do any of us know personally who have ever invented any great, wonderful or useful article of the many which go to make up our wonderful day?
Examining carefully the personality and history of individuals through whom present day blessings come, we may well be astonished. We find that very few of them have been men of great education, and many of them are by no means great men in any sense of the word, except in the one particular of their invention. It is by no means sure that the prodigies of today are any more numerous than those of previous periods, but our facilities for knowing about them have increased a thousand-fold.
Through the printed page the knowledge of an invention, carried before the civilized world, becomes a stimulant to others, furnishing, perhaps a connecting link for another invention. Many of our great inventors tell us that they merely stumbled on their invention. Our successful air-brake patent, for instance, is merely the development of the cruder thought that water, hydraulic power, could be used to operate brakes. A still brighter mind caught the thought, and realized that air would serve the purpose better.
As an illustration of the fact that mental illumination may be along some one particular line, we remind our readers of "Blind Tom." He was noted for his wonderful skill in playing any tune that he might hear. He had no education; in fact, he was almost idiotic, incapable of receiving an education. But he had an ear for music
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which made him famous. Can we claim that we or others of our day stand so high intellectually as to be able to look down upon some of the bright minds of the past? Have we many Shakespeares, many Byrons, many St. Pauls, many Ciceros? Have we many Solomons? or are there many who could compare with Moses?
THE MILLENNIUM HAS COME!
We must look in another direction, if we would rightly understand and properly appreciate the meaning of the wonderful inventions of our day. They are coming to us because we are living in the dawning of a New Dispensation! They are the foregleams of an Epoch so wonderful as to be beyond our most vivid imagination. Evidently God has been gradually lifting the veil of ignorance from the eyes of human understanding. Gradually He has allowed us to see the power of steam --gradually to learn how to apply it. Later He lifted the veil in respect to electricity. Now its marvels are enlightening the world.
Shortly chemistry will be accomplishing wonders for us--no doubt making unnecessary the mining of coal. From the air that we breathe and the water that we drink we shall doubtless shortly know how to separate the elements necessary to furnish us the light and the heat indispensable to the world's progress. Everything is getting ready for the Millennium! Not only is it coming, but it is here! We are not, indeed, enjoying its full blessings yet; but what we are enjoying is a foretaste of them.
All of our hearts should be attracted more and more to the Lord in thankfulness for His wonderful mercies. More and more we should be studying His Divine Word, the Bible. From it we should be coming daily to a clearer understanding of the Divine Character and Plan. This alone will chase away our ignorance and superstition, and bring us love, joy, and peace.
The blessings of God now coming to the world will center in Christ's sacrifice at Calvary. During the past eighteen centuries, His redemptive work has been the gathering of the Church, and now it is to mean the blessing
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of all the families of the earth, as the Scriptures have promised. Yea, the Scriptures clearly show that these blessings are intended for those who are in their graves, as well as for the living.
IS THERE A LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THE MINISTRY?
Rev. Chas. E. Newlin addressed the regular monthly meeting of Methodist preachers in Atlanta some days ago, and in the course of his address Mr. Newlin used the words: "I can prove by 99 per cent. of the business men of Atlanta that they lack confidence in the real, true manhood of the preachers of the city."
The Rev. B. Frank White, in leaving the pastorate of the First Presbyterian church, of Connellsville, Pa., is quoted as saying: "A man can't be honest in the ministry and hold his job." As Mr. White expects to remain in the ministry, although seeking another field, the inference is that he prefers a station where he can preach the word in a style more in keeping with his conscientious scruples.
The writer is inclined to believe that both of the assertions above quoted are rather broad, if not more or less exaggerated. We believe that the great majority of ministers are honest and are doing all in their power to advance the cause of religion here on earth; we also believe that there are some in the pulpit who have no right to be there. The vision they saw in the clouds, "G. P. C.," meant not to "Go Preach Christ," as they imagined, but to "Go Pick Cotton."--South Georgia Progress.
WHY MINISTERS DESERVE SYMPATHY
Christian ministers deserve considerable sympathy. They are at the present time in a very trying position. It is the conscientious ones who are in trouble. Behind them are the creeds and theories of the Dark Ages, to which they are chained:
(1) By the vows which they took at their ordination.
(2) By the honor of their position in the sight of their friends and neighbors.
(3) By their financial necessities and those of their families.
Ministers possessed of an education know not only that the creeds of the past are in conflict with each other and with reason, but also that those creeds are in conflict with the Bible. Better translations and older MSS. have shown us the fallacy of deductions made by our forefathers. Every educated minister now knows that the Hebrew word translated "hell" in the Old Testament Scriptures, means the tomb--the state of death--the only hell that was known for four thousand years. They know that in our Common Version of the Bible this word Sheol is translated grave and pit more times than it is translated hell. They know that it never means and never did mean, anywhere, a place of fire and torture.
Baptist ministers have gotten out a new Bible, in which they go to the trouble of translating this word Sheol by three English words, "the under-world." This hides the truth from the average mind about as much as the mistranslation hell does. But it helps our Baptist friends a little in dealing with Sheol, for of course, in the grave, in the tomb, is in "the under-world." Of course nobody thinks there is another world of living people in the center of the earth. It is only the dead that are in the under-world--in the tomb.
All educated ministers know further that the word Hades, in the New Testament translated hell, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Sheol, and likewise means the under-world, the tomb, the state of death or condition of death. The trouble with these ministers is that they know that their congregations are not generally aware of the truth on the subject, and they fear to tell those truths lest they should be accused of having practiced deception in the past, when as a matter of fact they had simply taken from theologians of the Dark Ages what they in turn gave to the people, without examining the Scripture proof.
HONESTY TO GOD AND RELIGION MOST COMMENDABLE
Another difficulty confronting these ministers is this: For the past twenty years the colleges of the United States, Great Britain, Germany, etc., have been teaching the Evolution Theory--that man was not created in God's image, that he was not in God's sight "very good," and that he did not fall down from Divine favor. It teaches, on the contrary, that he was an evolution from the ape, and instead of falling has been rising in the scale of intelligence and getting nearer to God's image every year, all the time.
Following the Evolutionists came the Higher Critics, declaring that the Bible is really old wives' fables and not at all inspired. Nearly all graduates of colleges and seminaries for the past twenty years have gone into pulpits, consecrated to the preaching of God's Truth from the Bible standpoint, in violation of whatever conscience they have.
These generally are the great and popular preachers of all denominations. They consider not the vows of their ordination, but practically say, "We do not hide our unbelief to any great extent. We answer questions
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of the people with a measure of candor, dodging occasionally; and if they know anything about the Bible themselves, they know that we do not believe in its inspiration. If they wish to continue us as their preachers and to honor us and to pay our salaries, we will continue to serve them. By and by we will get their faith in the Bible thoroughly undermined; and then we will come out into the open. Then we will tell them that we falsified a little for their good, as a mother would tell her babe some fairy story for its entertainment."
The preachers who are in trouble are the conscientious ones who believe the Bible to be true and who have not yet gotten their bearings. They cannot long believe in an eternity of torture, yet are afraid to follow the course of the International Bible Students Association in a thorough Bible Study which ignores the creeds. These poor men know not what to believe, and are in great trepidation when a question is asked them by the people who pay them for religious advice. They cannot dig. To beg they are ashamed. And to tell the whole truth about what they know and what they do not know respecting the Bible they are afraid. They have our sympathy.
Our advice to all such is, "Tell the truth and shame the Devil!" Take your stand for what truth you see, and seek for more light upon God's Word in this glorious dawning of the New Era, in which God declares that He is pleased to give an increase of light on things Divine. "The wise shall understand, but none of the wicked [or hypocrites] shall understand."--`Daniel 12:10`.
It would appear as if we are living in the time of special testing so clearly foretold by the Lord. Everything hidden would be uncovered, He said. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness. (`I Cor. 4:5`.) If we would not be put to shame before Him, we must be honest. Who can doubt that honesty, especially in respect to God and religion, is most estimable from the Divine standpoint? None of us have anything whereof to boast. But if we are honest with our God, we can look up to Him, by faith realizing that we are acceptable through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE REMEDY FOR INEQUALITY OF CONDITIONS
"The struggle under the competitive system is not worth the effort," wrote the publisher at Girard, Kan., of a widely circulated Socialistic newspaper, just before he committed suicide. Could there be a more mistaken reason for a Socialist's self-destruction?
This man's peculiar creed had been accepted within a few days of his death by a million of his countrymen. A new political party that subscribed to many of his beliefs had polled 4,000,000 votes. If Socialism is a true remedy for political and industrial ills, those who preach it should be filled with confidence and hope.
It is to be feared that it is not a true remedy. Human nature is competitive. No matter how it may be governed, it will not be radically changed.--N.Y. World.
* * *
We agree with the Editor of the World, that four millions of American voters and as many millions abroad are Socialists from the conviction that Socialism is the proper remedy for the world's difficulties. We agree with the Editor of the World, also, that these well-meaning men are deceiving themselves. The only remedy for the inequality of human conditions is the one which God has declared He will provide. Selfishness is so ingrained in humanity that apparently none can be absolutely just when self-interest is in the opposite balance.
God purposes to settle the whole matter for rich and poor in His own way--and His way must be the best way. He purposes to change the hearts of men. In the Bible He tells us that He will take away the stony heart and give a heart of flesh. (`Ezek. 36:26`.) This signifies that He will make mankind more tender-hearted, more sympathetic. He will restore that condition of things which existed at the beginning, when Father Adam and Mother Eve were created in the Divine likeness, and declared to be very good and acceptable in God's sight. --`Genesis 1:26,31`.
The fall drove our first parents from Eden and necessitated the battle for daily bread, against thorns and thistles, etc. Under this influence selfishness has developed and now, after six thousand years, is deep-seated. What a blessing it will mean for God to take away this stony heart and to give the heart of flesh! When that time shall come and that change shall have been effected, Socialism will be a success and surely will prevail throughout the whole earth.
But, you ask, by what mighty miracle can this change of heart be accomplished? How can the whole world be thus converted? The Bible answers that it will be done, not by sudden conversion, but by a gradual one, which will
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require nearly a thousand years for its accomplishment.
Are we asked, What power could intervene and force this change of heart upon humanity? The Bible answers that it will be Divine Power represented in Messiah's glorious Kingdom. The Second Coming of Christ, once supposed to mean the destruction of the world, Bible students now see to mean the very reverse--the blessing of earth, the taking away of the curse, the lifting of the fallen race to all that was lost in Eden, and the destruction of the finally impenitent.
FOREGLEAMS OF MESSIAH'S KINGDOM
We are not to look into the sky to see Messiah come, but rather to remember that His resurrection exalted Him to the glory which He had with the Father before He became a man. He will at that time indeed empower earthly representatives, to whom the world will look for guidance and instruction; but Messiah and His glorified Church, His Bride, will be invisible to men--on the spirit plane.
Many of our readers will be surprised to know that the glorious blessings of Messiah's Kingdom will steal over the world gradually, coming through human channels-- entirely unaware of being used of the Lord. Bible students are so interpreting the wonderful things of our day. They are foregleams or early dawning of Messiah's Thousand-Year-Day, during which He will roll away the curse and shed forth Divine blessings. Whoever can see the matter from this standpoint must be deeply interested in every fresh advance of invention. In another column we refer to some of these present-day wonders which have come in during the last century.
If it be true, as we hold, that these blessings are the foregleams of Divine favor through Messiah's Kingdom, with what patience should all exercise themselves to wait upon the Lord, and not to seek to disturb too radically any present condition which is at all bearable! Who will dispute that everybody today is much better off than his grandparents were--even fifty years ago? St. Paul by inspiration declares that "Godliness with contentment is great gain." We commend this thought to Socialists and every one else.
We do not claim that even-handed justice prevails, nor do we admit that it would be possible under present conditions. People of superior brain power will not use that power for the public good solely. All still have a
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sufficiency of selfishness to claim that their superior qualities justly entitle them to superior conditions. Why may we not concede this point, rejoice in the blessings we have, be thankful to God for them, and wait patiently for His Kingdom?
Under present (selfish) conditions each workman demands wages according to his skill. Why quarrel with the wealthy, learned, more capables on that score? What great advantages have come to the world thus! Why stop it before God's providence brings us a better rule--the Golden Rule. "Have patience, brethren," and be ye peacemakers not strife-breeders.
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1913--A TEXT SUGGESTED FOR--1913
WE SUGGEST to all THE WATCH TOWER readers as a special text for the year the words of the Psalmist, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of the assembly of His people." --`Psalm 116:12-14`.
The Editor for some months has been trying the plan of calling this text before his mind as his waking thought. He has found it very helpful, and now suggests it to all the readers of this journal.
How appropriate that each day should begin with the inquiry as to what are the possibilities of our service or sacrifices in the Lord's Cause! What is more appropriate than that we should remember the benefits which we have received, as well as those which we hope yet to receive from our gracious Heavenly Father? What could be more appropriate than that we should resolve afresh every morning to take the cup of salvation, remembering that the cup of salvation is the cup of suffering, the cup of trial--His cup--the cup of communion, or fellowship, in the sufferings of Christ? As the Master said, so should we each say, daily, "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?"
What is more appropriate than that we each should take pleasure in following our Master, being made partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that we may also be sharers in His glory? What could be more appropriate than that our waking thoughts should recall the Vow which we have made to the Lord, and that those thoughts shall be open to all the congregation of the Lord's people? We will not keep secret the matter of our Vow, nor the matter of our obedience, but we will stimulate one another in the good way.
Furthermore, we call upon the name of the Lord for help, assistance, that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts and the conduct of our life throughout the day may be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of our Lord. The day thus begun will surely be a happy day to those who have taken the vows of full consecration to the Lord. And what a happifying thought we have in this connection; namely, that so many of the dear brethren and sisters may at the same time be lifting their hearts in thanksgiving and making resolutions afresh.
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THE HARVEST WORK WORLD-WIDE
THE INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
THIS ASSOCIATION sprang up spontaneously and gradually during the past thirty years, but particularly during the past ten years. It is composed of thinking Christian people of various ages who are studying the Bible reverently and profitably. There are no limitations as to membership, except such as could be properly applied to any true Christian: (1) Faith in God as the great Creator and Heavenly Father; (2) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the world's Redeemer; (3) Faith in the Bible--that it is the inspired Message of God, respecting His will and purposes in connection with mankind; (4) A clean and honorable life.
Our Association finds this platform broad enough for all true Christians, regardless of all denominational lines, quirks and frills. We have no bondage, and any one is as free to leave the classes as to enter them. Indeed, following the example of the early Church in this as well as in other matters, we avoid any special manner of joining these classes, or any special enrollment, or any special commitment as to faith and practise other than the broad principles already mentioned.
The INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION has classes in nearly every city in many countries, and you may also desire to know about these and their relationship to each other and to the Association.
Each class of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION is independent, manages its own affairs, conducts its own meetings, and provides for its own expenses. The Association provides public instructors and ministers to lecture on the Bible, and to give suggestions as to the methods of the primitive Church, and as to the best means of conducting Berean Bible Classes. No Class is obliged to have these lectures, nor to have the literature which the Association publishes for their assistance. They all do, however, find it very convenient to avail themselves of these helps to Bible study; and when requested, the Association provides the assistance to the extent of their ability--subject to the limitations and the accessibility of the classes, and the condition of its treasury funds.
As for the personnel of the classes, they are from all walks of life--laborers and physicians, pupils and teachers, housewives and society people. They are mostly thoughtful, but have been dissatisfied for years, and have been feeling after God, and seeking to satisfy their hungry souls. They are from all denominations--Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews; and a large percentage were once agnostics. These include all nationalities, also: English, Scotch, Irish, French, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, etc. Indeed, we find that all over the world there is an intelligent class who hunger after God, righteousness and Truth, and who have nothing satisfactory in any of the creeds, but are now finding a soul-satisfying portion in the Bible itself.
Here, as elsewhere, we are asked if these classes are confined to America. We say, "No, indeed!"
Throughout Great Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, India, China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, these classes are to be found, as well as in Canada and the United States. Indeed, the original charter of the Association was a British one, the office being in London. The international character of the work is the reason for that feature of the Association's name.
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It is well understood that many of these Bible Students were unsatisfied when they studied the Bible from various denominational standpoints, and that they are now satisfied, and we are asked how we account for this. Do we use the same Bible? or how comes it that Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, etc., can gain a clearer light in the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION Studies than in their own denominational lines and classes?
There is a difference. Each denomination seeks to uphold its own traditions of the past, some of which are true and some false. But in our methods all denominational predilections are ignored. We pause not to inquire what Brother Calvin or Brother Wesley taught, nor what others taught before them or since. We go back to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles and Prophets, and ignore every other teaching. True, all denominations claim more or less to do this, but they are more or less handicapped by their traditions and creeds. They look through colored spectacles. We ignore all those and strive to view the Words of Inspiration in the light of the context only, or in the reflected light from other passages of Scripture.
There is another reason why our position is blessed of God--the time mentioned in the Scriptures when the wise ones of God's people are to understand is here. The Scriptures show what all people are beginning to realize clearly--that we are in the dawn of the New Dispensation. All the wonderful inventions of the last eighty years corroborate the testimony that these are the foregleams of a New Dispensation; and that now, when these earthly blessings are increasing, is the time when God promised that He would give special enlightenment respecting His Word and Plan, which He declares He purposely kept under a veil, a partial mystery. The Mystery of God is to be finished, completed, and the full Plan of God is to be revealed in this New Dispensation already dawning.
We are also asked, "Is the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION affiliated with any of the regular organizations or creeds?"
It is not. We purposely avoid all such trammels of thought. Nevertheless, we are sympathetic with all Christian people of every creed. We are realizing that the various denominations were organized, not for the purpose of dividing and distracting the Lord's Flock, but each with an endeavor to find the light and Truth. We urge Christians to ignore all sectarian fetters and fancies, and point out that there is but one Church, and that there is but one Head of the Church.
Our public meetings are preferably held in large auditoriums, opera houses, etc., for these prove to be common meeting places for people of all faiths, and those without any denominational bias--all who are Truth seekers, not satisfied with the husks upon which they have been endeavoring for some time to feed.
We are often told that considerable interest and comment attaches to the fact that our Association uniformly advertises its meetings with "Seats free and no collections." This has become quite a trade-mark with our Association, because it is so different from the usual practise; and an explanation was requested as to the object of this, and as to how we get along without money, or how money is raised to meet the expenses, which are often quite large.
As thinking people, we have for years noticed that the money question has been the burning question in nearly all religious meetings. The Church members are usually assessed up to the extent of their willingness, or more, and the public collections are specially taken to "milk the goats"--to get money from the worldly. We do not find this method to have Scriptural sanction, and we are seeking to follow the teachings and example of Jesus and the Apostles.
The work started along the lines of these examples thirty years ago seems to commend itself to all Bible students. They received help freely; they are glad to extend assistance to others without money, without price, without collections. Nor are collections found to be necessary. The Association receives whatever contributions are sent in to it for the carrying on of the work. Such moneys are not put up as Foundation Funds, nor consumed in expensive buildings, but are used promptly, freely, in the dissemination of free literature and in providing free public meetings. The Association is content to spend what the Lord thus sends to it, and does not go into debt, or make appeals for more money.
Each local class, in arranging for public meetings, follows the same course. Nevertheless, in the case of the new classes, or those financially weak, the general Association helps with the expenses. All meetings conducted by the Association's representative speakers, and under its auspices, are strictly free.
"Since you are not gathering people into different denominations, and since your INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION has no creed but the Bible, what would you say that your Association aims to gather the people into, and what reply would you make if one should charge you with trying to build up a new denomination at the expense of others?" may be asked.
Our Association endeavors to bring all Christian people into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, as His members. We recognize that the different denominations contain true people of God, and we are in full sympathy with such, and are glad to co-operate with them in any manner, for the furtherance of the Lord's work in harmony with the Scriptures. Our only opposition to sectarianism is that it attempts to divide God's people, insists upon the theories of the Dark Ages, and refuses to recognize the Bible as paramount in authority. We urge Christian people to stand for the Divine Character, Plan and Word, even though this should mean opposition and persecution from those of the sectarian spirit.
The INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION labors specially for Christian unity, on the Bible basis, in harmony with the words of the Apostle, that "By one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body."--`I Cor. 12:13`.
THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION
This is an affiliated association organized to conduct the interests and affairs of the Household of Faith in New York State, and from that centre, according to the requirement of the laws of that State. It guides the interests of the Bible Students as respects the holding of Public Meetings, supplying speakers and literature freely.
THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
Is the PARENT organization, through which the moneys for all parts of the work are supplied. To it all voluntary donations for the work should be made.
Brother CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL is President of all three of these organizations. Newspapers and the public frequently refer to him by the titles "Reverend," "Mr." and "Doctor"; but he prefers to be known as "Brother" or "Pastor," because these are Bible terms.
There are great truths that pitch their shining tents
Outside our walls, and though but dimly seen
In the gray dawn, they will be manifest
When the light widens into perfect day.
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OUR LORD'S KNOWLEDGE OF HIS PRE-EXISTENCE
"By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities."--`Isa. 53:11`.
THIS STATEMENT implies that our Lord's knowledge had some very important relationship to His work. Without this knowledge, although He had made His consecration, He might not have been able to withstand the attacks of Satan, and the misinterpretations of the Scriptures which the Adversary used to try to turn Him aside from that consecration. The knowledge which our Lord had at thirty years of age, a perfect man, was that of His miraculous birth, that in some manner Jehovah was His Father, and that in some manner He was to fulfil the Old Testament Scriptures. This was information enough to lead Him up to the point of consecration. With the larger knowledge which came to Him later, came testings to prove His loyalty. From the beginning He was loyal in His intention and thought; but we may infer from the Scriptures that there was, at least, a possibility that without the knowledge which He had, He might not have been competent to meet the besetments of the way.
This experience is similar to our own. When we consecrate ourselves, we have a sufficiency of knowledge for that step. As we proceed, we are guided into the knowledge of the Truth, which constitutes part of the grace of God to assist us in making our calling and election sure. As the Lord said, "The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth and will show you things to come." (`John 16:13`.) So apparently the Holy Spirit guided Jesus Himself and showed Him both of the future and of the past--made the Plan of God as plain to Him as it now is to us. He understood it better, however, because His mind was perfect, while our minds are imperfect.
HIS LIFE PRINCIPLE TRANSFERRED TO A LOWER PLANE
When considering the question as to how and when our Lord Jesus, the Man Christ Jesus, came to an appreciation of His pre-human condition, we struggle with a question respecting which we have no direct revelation. We are, therefore, left to deductions, and different minds might draw different deductions from the facts and circumstances of the narrative. Of one thing we are assured, namely, that during our Lord's ministry He had a clear knowledge of the heavenly things, as His words indicate. He said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" (`John 3:12`.) Again, He said to His disciples, "What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?" (`John 6:62`.) On the night of His betrayal He said to the Heavenly Father, "Glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the
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world was" (`John 17:5`), showing that He had knowledge of His pre-human existence. We question then, How and when did He obtain this knowledge?
Reasoning on this subject we see in the Scriptures nothing that says that the Logos, who was with the Father from the beginning, entered into the body of Jesus, and thus used the flesh of Jesus as a veil or covering. On the contrary, the record is that the Logos was made flesh, not that He got into flesh. Hence, we disagree with the theory of the incarnation; it is from a deranged theology. The Bible tells us that the Logos was made flesh and that He became the Man Christ Jesus, that He humbled Himself and took a bondman's form and was found in fashion as a man. (`Phil. 2:5-8`.) The Bible says that He laid aside the dignity and honor which He once had; that He became poor--not that He posed as poor while in the flesh, but that He who was rich became poor for our sakes. (`2 Cor. 8:9`.) The necessity of this procedure we see in the Bible arrangement that, "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." (`I Cor. 15:21`.) He came to be a corresponding price for the first man's life and life-rights.
From these Scriptures we are led to the conclusion that the spark of life previously vivifying the Logos was transferred from the spirit plane to the human plane-- from the higher plane or nature to a lower plane or nature. This glorious being was begotten of the Holy Spirit and ultimately born a human being. The same spark of life, we believe, was maintained. The very fact that His spark of life could not come from the condemned Adamic race, assures us that the same spark of life was transferred to the womb of the Virgin Mary. This child that was born, then, was born like other human children, only that He was perfect, because of the perfect germ of life from which He was developed. He would certainly be a very peculiar boy, and wiser than other boys. We read further that he not only grew in stature, but in wisdom and in favor with God and man. (`Luke 2:52`.) Humanity perceived that He was different from others. The whole matter was pleasing to God, to whom Jesus became more and more pleasing as He neared maturity.
DEVELOPMENT OF HIS SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
When He was twelve, Jesus had, apparently, much knowledge. He knew, probably from His mother, that He was miraculously born and that He was different from others. He had also His mother's explanation that He was to be the "Son of the Highest" and fulfil the predictions respecting the Messiah. (`Luke 1:32,33,55`.) At this time He began to inquire--not by way of showing His precocity, but in sincerity and in truth--whether or not this was the time when He should begin His ministry. He began to consider at what time a man should become a priest--thinking of His responsibilities as a priest. The doctors of the Law must have marveled that a child of twelve should think of such questions. We may suppose that a dialogue took place, the results of which satisfied His mind that this was not the time when He should begin His ministry. He did not have this knowledge by any inductive process, but obtained it by inquiry of the Scriptures and of those who were best versed in the Scriptures. The decision was that there was nothing for Him to do until He was thirty years of age.
Then we read that He returned home with His mother and her husband Joseph, and was subject to them. He did not then enter upon His work of ministry. He treated Himself as a minor, subject to those who had charge over Him. This was His condition until He came to John at Jordan. There is not a suggestion anywhere that He had previously manifested any teaching powers. He was a learner, not a teacher. Every Sabbath day He was in the synagogue to hear the Word of God read, to meditate upon it and to know the Divine requirements respecting Messiah and the wonderful things prophesied of Him. Evidently he was perplexed in the same manner that the Jewish nation was. But He had a different cast of mind from theirs. They wondered and queried as to His knowledge.
HIS KNOWLEDGE AT THE AGE OF THIRTY
At thirty years of age our Lord certainly must have had much knowledge which Adam did not possess when he was on trial. Jesus had a knowledge of what sin is
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and what the penalty for sin is; of the fact that God arranged for the redemption of mankind, to be accomplished through the great Mediator of the New Covenant--a Savior, a Redeemer, a Deliverer. He knew of the Divine Law written in the Decalogue; of the inability of others to keep the Law and of His ability to keep it. His mother had told Him of His miraculous birth, of the message that had come through Gabriel and of the prophecies of Anna and Simeon. This amount of knowledge would be very valuable to Him. He had also in mind the prophecy respecting the future of the great Messiah that was to come and deliver the world.
But what He evidently lacked was the knowledge of the deeper things of the Scriptures. He evidently found perplexities in the Bible. While He had not received the Holy Spirit, yet He was much better qualified to understand the Scriptures than was the fallen race. But the Apostle says that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God...because they are spiritually discerned." (`I Cor. 2:14`.) Jesus had not been begotten of the Holy Spirit, therefore He did not have the understanding of the prophecies and of the types of the Law.
But our Lord did not begin to teach until after He was anointed, when He invited His disciples to join Him. They were to proclaim the message without understanding the matter at all, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand and that Israel should try to get near to God, to be prepared for this Kingdom when it should be revealed. Our Lord put His power upon them so that they cast out demons; for they had no power of the Holy Spirit until after Pentecost.
Similarly, now we see that no one is competent to be a teacher in the Church of Christ as an Elder except He be fully consecrated, except he come under the terms and conditions necessary to the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Apparently the people knew of our Lord's consecration. When our Lord had received the begetting of the Holy Spirit at His consecration at Jordan, John the Baptist both saw the descent of the Holy Spirit and heard Jehovah's testimony, and afterward said that he "saw and bare record." If the multitude had seen and heard, he would not have needed to bear record that Jesus was the anointed of God.--`John 1:32-34`.
HIS ILLUMINATION OF MIND AFTER SPIRIT-BEGETTING
After His baptism Jesus Himself became conscious of some great change in His own condition and in His relationship to the Father and to spiritual things; for we read that at the time when John saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Him, "the heavens were opened unto Him." (`Matt. 3:16`.) By "heavens" here is meant, not that Jesus was given a telescopic view of things beyond the sky, but that the higher things were opened to Him-- the things which as a natural man He could not receive. No matter how perfect a man may be, he cannot receive spiritual things. As St. Paul says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness [meaningless] unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."-- `I Cor. 2:14`.
We assume that at the very moment when our Lord received the Holy Spirit an impression was made upon the convolutions of His brain which would give Him those very recollections of His pre-human condition which otherwise the natural brain could not have. In the natural man, every impression of the mind is recorded in the convolutions of the brain. We can see how the convolutions of our Lord's brain could have been so impressed that they would reproduce the experiences, the knowledge and the very thoughts which He had prior to His being made flesh. We know that that very moment marked the time of our Lord's spirit begetting, and we believe that He then received special knowledge of heavenly things.
Instead of beginning the ministry for which He had prepared for thirty years, He turned aside into the wilderness and studied the Scriptures for forty days. He had already had many times forty days to think over these Scriptures, and if He had had the same power of understanding before His consecration that He afterwards had, He would not have needed those forty days for study, but would have given them for service in His ministry. Very evidently, then, all the years of His life on the human plane had brought Him no such perception as He now had through this glow and illumination of mind, received when He came up out of the water. He began to have the full scope and appreciation of the mission upon which He had entered, and everything written in the Scriptures respecting Messiah.
As He now studied the Law and the Prophets, He saw the terms of the Covenant of sacrifice in the light of this illumination; He saw the hitherto hidden meaning of the various types. He began to see that if Messiah would reign it would be by a manifestation of loyalty to God and to righteousness. As soon as He was illuminated, He saw the things pertaining to the suffering through which He afterwards learned obedience in the fullest sense possible. Thus He received the illumination which was so powerful to Him--just as it is a great illumination for us to see the terms and conditions of our calling--that we must walk in His steps if we would reign with Him. The Scriptures act as an enlightening power to those who are taught of God. Only those begotten of the Spirit can understand the real depth of God's Word.
In bewilderment our Lord saw the meaning of the Atonement Day sacrifices and of all the things written in the Book--the things which He had covenanted to do when He entered into consecration. He had already
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pledged Himself to do "everything written in the Book." But now He was finding out what this really meant-- death, even the death of the cross!
HIS FURTHER ILLUMINATION AFTER SPIRIT-BIRTH
We see that when our Lord was raised from the dead a spirit being an equally miraculous work must have taken place; for again He received a change of nature. The One that was raised from the dead was the Spirit-begotten New Creature, who had all the record of His previous experiences, on both the spirit and the human plane.
How, then, did the Father raise our Lord from the dead a spirit being, and how could this spirit being have any knowledge of the things experienced in the flesh and also of the things of His previous existence before He was made flesh? We answer that this is impossible to understand, except that it is done by Divine Power. Whatever may have been the operation, after reaching the spirit plane His mind must have been stamped by Divine Power with recollections of both the earthly and the pre-human experiences. Otherwise all of our Lord's human and pre-human experiences would be valueless.
We see this also respecting the Church. We also are embryo spirit beings. And when we shall be raised in His likeness in the resurrection, we shall not have our fleshly brains for recollection, and we therefore shall be dependent upon the Divine Power for the memory of all
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the experiences of the present time. So when we read, "So also is the resurrection of the dead; it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (`I Cor. 15:42-44`), we have this thought, that the Divine Power will impress this spirit body with the knowledge of all the blessed experiences of the present time, so that these experiences shall not be fruitless, but profitable to us, making us better qualified and more able for the Divine service, as well as for the carrying on of the work of the New Covenant.
OUR LORD "THE BRIGHTNESS OF JEHOVAH'S GLORY"
If our Lord had not been found perfect, loyal, faithful, in His pre-human condition, He would never have had the privilege of becoming a man in order to redeem man. He never showed any defects of character to be rectified, therefore, He did not need any of the experiences which aid in making character. His experiences as a man with adverse conditions were given to test His loyalty and obedience to the utmost.
Our Lord was faithful under all the favorable conditions of His pre-existent condition; He was faithful as a man; and having been glorified to the Divine nature He is still faithful. We may conclude, therefore, that His experiences on these three planes have all cooperated to demonstrate His character to the very highest degree--"the express image" of Jehovah.--`Heb. 1:3`.
THE YEAR BEFORE US
Standing at the portal of the opening year,
Words of comfort meet us, hushing every fear;
Spoken through the silence by our Father's voice,
Tender, strong and faithful, making us rejoice.
Onward, then, and fear not, children of the Day;
For His Word shall never, never pass away.
"I, the Lord, am with thee, be thou not afraid;
I will help and strengthen, be thou not dismayed.
Yea, I will uphold thee with Mine own right hand;
Thou art called and chosen in My sight to stand."
Onward, then, and fear not, children of the Day;
For His Word shall never, never pass away.
For the year before us, oh, what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy, living streams shall rise;
For the sad and mournful, shall His grace abound;
For the faint and feeble, perfect strength be found.
Onward, then, and fear not, children of the Day;
For His Word shall never, never pass away.
He will never fail us, He will not forsake;
His eternal covenant He will never break;
Resting on His promise, what have we to fear?
God is all-sufficient for the coming year.
Onward, then, and fear not, children of the Day;
For His Word shall never, never pass away.
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HOW RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER IS PRODUCED
OUR WILL REPRESENTS our choice, but our choice is made up largely of our impressions and our judgment--or mis-judgment --of things surrounding us. As a child will reach for a finely polished razor or for a light and be cut or burned, so our wills sometimes grasp for things that are not good for us. From the time that we first heard the Lord's voice, therefore, the education of our wills has progressed; for all are defective in their choice, in their views of matters, and in their manner of thinking.
Our soundness of mind increases with our knowledge of the Divine Plan and of the character of our Lord. When we think of His perfection as the Logos and as the Man Christ Jesus, we are enabled to realize somewhat our own imperfection, and we thenceforth seek to eliminate those things which belong to our imperfect judgment. We recall that He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners"--that He was perfect; and we realize, that having a consecrated mind, He entered the "narrow way" with a right will and a balanced mind, which would be accentuated by His experiences in life. With His perfect example before us, we seek daily to train our wills in harmony with the Divine will.
The will is the result of a certain combination of mental qualities, or faculties. We may, therefore, change our wills in various ways by having divers combinations of the mental qualities; for instance, one quality of the mind is called acquisitiveness--a desire to get, to control. Another quality of the mind has respect to justice, another to music, another to art, and so on.
If the quality of justice be small or if it be dormant, a person of large acquisitiveness might be led to steal. He would have no quality of justice to tell him that this act is wrong. Some one might be tempted to take money, or one might be willing to do something dishonorable to gratify love for music or what not. On the contrary, if one has a large organ of justice, it would control him. If this faculty were thoroughly awakened and brought into exercise, he would say, "No, it is wrong to steal. In this matter there are principles to be regarded." Thus his desire is not gratified at the expense of principle.
One's will is made up of the organs which control his conduct. If the selfish propensities rule, he will be selfish. In some people the organ of conscientiousness seems to be dormant. Along some lines these people act just as an animal would--without thought as to either their own motives or the effect that their actions will have upon others. If such people should at any time give their hearts to the Lord in consecration, their attention is sure to be called, sooner or later, to their manner of living. If they consult the Word of God for instruction, the Scriptures tell them that God is not pleased with their conduct. As a result of this information, they begin to learn to scrutinize their thoughts and words and doings, and in due time to change their ways.
CONSCIENTIOUSNESS GIVES STRENGTH OF CHARACTER
A person who has large veneration, large spirituality and large conscientiousness has great advantage over one who has small veneration, or small spirituality or small conscientiousness, for as different matters come up, these three faculties naturally agree and say, "This is right" (or wrong, as the case may be). When the thing seems right, judgment would say, "This is a proper thing." This kind of people can be martyrs for anything that they believe is right, for they are strong in three qualities of the mind which give them a force of character for righteousness.
A person who has less conscientiousness would have less of this strength of character. Strong will exerted in any direction produces strong character; bad will, bad character; good will, good character. We are to some extent what we are by birth. After our consecration God instructs us and we are so transformed by the renewing
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of our minds that we have our minds made up to do right instead of wrong. This making up of the mind is the formation of will.
We should strive to have strong will, strong character, and should put away everything that would be likely to weaken our character. One who builds strong character reasons out what he thinks is God's will--what he thinks is the right thing to do. Then he determines to do that thing and resolves to let nothing interfere with the accomplishment of his purpose. Whoever has a good, strong will has something to help him over every trial and difficulty in life.
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THE DELUGE EFFECT
--FEBRUARY 2.--`GENESIS 6:9-22`; `7:11-24`.--
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--`Romans 6:23`.
SCIENTIFIC BIBLE students are rapidly reaching the conclusion that we are fully justified in laughing at the so-called scientists who have denied the Bible story of the Deluge. The Bible is corroborated by Geology, Astronomy and History. The oldest records of Babylonia tell the story of the Deluge--of Noah and his ark.
To discredit the Bible, these archaeologists declare that the Genesis account was merely copied from the Babylonian records. How foolish! Who does not know that there were no records of ancient times that will at all compare with our Genesis account! None other even professes to give a connected history of the human family, a chronological line of 1656 years from Adam to the Flood, or a definite record, as the Bible does, of just how long it rained, just how high the floods rose and just how long was the period required for the waters to drain off.
"Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan" God's Book in vain.
But, says one, the theory of a deluge, whose waters would cover the hills and the mountains, might be thinkable if the earth were flat; but how could it possibly be true since we know that the earth is a sphere?
Geology comes to the rescue of the Bible student and points out distinctly that there have been several great deluges. It shows us great beds of sandstone, clay, shale, etc., all of which Science declares must have been placed where they are as the settlings of great floods. Some of these deposits are hundreds of feet below the surface.
When we ask where such floods could come from, Astronomy answers us, pointing us to Saturn and Jupiter, with their "rings." Scientists declare that these rings consist of minerals and water thrown far off in a gaseous state when the planets were at white heat. They subsequently cooled and formed into various strata or rings. Because of their great distance from the planets their motions are different, and they are held in suspense by the same laws which hold the planets themselves in space. Nevertheless, the superior weight of the planets draws them nearer and nearer.
The ring nearest the planet, and approaching it, is still held off by the "firmament" of circumambient air. The rotation of the planets on their axis gives least resistance at the poles; and these rings, after spreading out as great envelopes, gradually thin at the center, or equator, and thicken at the poles, until the weight at the poles becomes so great as to overcome the power or the strength of the firmament, and then breaking through from both poles, causes deluges.
NO RAIN ON THE EARTH
The astonishing statement that, prior to the Deluge, there had been no rain on the earth (`Genesis 2:5`), is in full agreement with what we have seen from the foregoing. The earth once had similar "belts" or "rings." These were precipitated, as we have described, one after the other, at long intervals during the Six Creative Days mentioned in the first lesson of the year. By means of these deluges, our minerals were deposited and our coal beds buried.
God, foreknowing all things, foreknew the necessity of the Noachian Deluge, and hence so timed the features of His Plan that the last of earth's "rings" was still unbroken when man was created. But it was no longer in the form of a ring. The waters above had approached the earth and formed a great watery canopy or veil, merely held off by the "firmament."
There could be neither rain nor storm under such conditions. The temperature of the whole earth was equable, the sun's rays acting upon the watery canopy as they do upon the white glass of a hot-house. The temperature was the same at the poles as at the equator. This accounts for the remains of tropical animals and of plant life found imbedded under hundreds of feet of ice in the polar regions.
WHY THE POLAR ICE?
Geology testifies to a Glacial Period, when great icebergs, carried by floods of water, rushed from the poles toward the equator. Geologists have traced great valleys cut by these icebergs. On their findings they base the theory that the earth was once ice-covered. Instead of attributing the ice to the period of the Deluge, 4,400 years ago, they add a handful of naughts; and the more they add, the prouder they feel of their achievements, because they think that they are getting away from the Bible and discrediting it.
But scientific Bible students are having their faith in God's Word established more and more. Without affecting the torrid zone, the warmer temperature is now extending itself into the frigid zone quite rapidly. "Greenland's Icy Mountains" will soon be things of the past. The poles are warming up. The ice caps are dissolving. Last winter was called the "straw hat season" of Alaska, because of the higher temperature than ever before known.
"THY WORD IS TRUTH"
The fitting of these facts to the Bible narrative is not only intensely interesting, but conducive to faith in God, in His providences, and in the Bible, and very conducive to a disregard of the wild guesses of "professors," who have no faith in the Bible and are seeking to discredit it.
The sudden break of the canopy of water would not only cause a deluge to come down at both poles, and the flow of great tidal waves toward the equator, as geologists show was the case, but it would also produce a sudden and intense cold at the poles. The water froze so rapidly that out of the solid ice animals have in recent years been dug, which have grass between their teeth.
We have only to put two and two together to have a chain of evidence linking us to the Bible. For instance, is it asked why it was colder at the poles then than now? The reply is: The more direct rays of the sun then, as now, fell on the equator; but the torrid zone was hotter than now, until the trade winds sprung up, which carried
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the heat and distributed it all over the earth. And the waters of the equator must have been hotter then, as the poles were colder, until the ocean currents set in-- which, like the Gulf Stream, carry the water from the equator and distribute it along the shores of America and Europe--and the Japan and other currents, which in the Pacific carry their water warmed at the equator to the poles.
These processes, going on for 4,400 years, are gradually thawing out the polar regions, as all scientists agree; and this it is that has recently been causing larger numbers of icebergs from the glaciers of the polar region to break loose and float down, to the distress of mariners.
Still there remains the question, Why was not Noah's ark carried off by this swift current toward the equator? Why did it apparently remain not far from the place where it was built and come to rest on the top of Mount Ararat? Professor George Frederick Wright has dropped the suggestion which fits well with the Bible narrative. As we understand the professor, the geological evidences are that the swift currents of water, laden with icebergs and rolling rocks, visited various parts of Europe and America, and perhaps Asia, but seemingly avoided the vicinity of Mount Ararat. There, alluvial deposits are of extraordinary depth. The geologists say that while there was a commotion round about, there was an eddy and back water in that particular vicinity.
Is it too much for the child of God to believe that the Great Creator, who intended to preserve alive Noah and his family to begin afresh the population of the earth, was fully competent to regulate the currents of that Deluge?
"Faith can firmly trust Him,
Come what may." It is pleasing to us, additionally, to note that the time required for the draining off of the waters (`Genesis 8:1-14`) is reasonable and in harmony with the scientific investigation conducted from the Bible standpoint.
THE CAUSE OF THE DELUGE
We have already seen that physical causes led up to the Deluge. Next let us inquire, Why did Divine Providence decree the obliteration of man, except Noah and his family? Why did He who knew "the end from the beginning" purposely allow that last canopy to remain to cause the Flood, instead of precipitating it before man was created?
The answer is that God foreknew the rebellion of Satan and his attempt to become the "Prince of this world." God also foreknew that His human son, Adam, would fall before the temptation which would come upon him. He permitted the temptation and the fall solely because He foresaw a way by which, ultimately, good would be accomplished thereby and valuable, instructive lessons be given both to angels and to men. These lessons test the love and loyalty of every creature in Heaven and on earth, and when rightly learned, will serve their purposes to all eternity.
All of God's dealings with His intelligent creatures are along the lines of absolute Justice, guided by Love Divine. But while Love can guide Divine Justice, Justice must rule, as we read: "Justice is the foundation of Thy Throne." (`Psalm 89:14`.) The Bible record is that at the time of the Flood wickedness had become so great that the conduct of mankind and the thoughts of their hearts were "only evil continually."--`Genesis 6:5`.
This great increase of wickedness for 1600 years is explained to have come, not merely from human depravity,
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but by the connivance of some of the angels. These, although created holy, perfect, became enamored of sin through humanity, until they became disobedient to God, and by their greater intelligence led humanity into depths of iniquity.
The Bible cites many instances in which holy angels have materialized, assuming human bodies and clothing. Thus three spirit beings, naturally invisible, appeared to Abraham as men and did eat and talk with Abraham; and he knew not that they were angels, until afterward. This power appears to have been possessed by all the holy angels before the Flood. It was then that some of them, becoming enamored of the beautiful daughters of men, took to themselves wives, and lived in their materialized bodies, preferring to live as human beings.
The Apostle Jude declares that thus they "left their own habitation," or condition as spirit beings, in violation of the Divine Law. Thus, instead of using their permission to appear as men to help and instruct mankind, they used this power to still more rapidly degrade humanity. Moreover, the children born of those angelic sons of God by human mothers were human beings of a new order--different from Adam's family. We read that they were giants--physical and mental--"men of renown."
The fact that they grew to manhood and became renowned proves that this improper relationship between angels and humanity continued for centuries, because in that primitive time full manhood was not reached in less than a hundred years. Those giant sons of the angels, begotten in lust and in violation of the Divine Law, would not, naturally, be renowned for their virtues or holiness, but the reverse. Therefore, it does not surprise us to read further that those sons of the angels tyrannized over humanity, and that the whole earth was filled with violence.
The time had come when God's displeasure with those conditions should be manifested--not by sending those angels and their giant-renowned sons and the depraved antediluvians of Adam's race to a hell of torture, but by merely overwhelming them in the Deluge. God thus set an example of His opposition to sin and His determination that, eventually, it should be fully stamped out. But neither in this, nor in anything else, did God ever suggest any thought of torturing sinners, or anybody, throughout eternity.
On the contrary, all those antediluvian sinners of Adam's race were as much redeemed by Christ's sacrifice as other sinners of the race at any time. They belonged to the great mass of mankind, with whom Messiah will deal during His Millennial Reign of righteousness. They will all be brought to an accurate knowledge of the Truth, like the remainder of the race. The object in so doing will be that after lessons of chastisement for any wilful disobedience, they may be, if they will, fully recovered from sin and death, and brought back to all that was lost--human perfection and everlasting life in an earthly Paradise restored--world-wide--at Jesus' cost.
As for the sons of the angels by human mothers, there is no hope for them. Their begetting and birth were not authorized of God. They were cut off in death. They were not redeemed. They will never be awakened nor resurrected.
As for the fallen angels themselves: The Bible tells us that for these 4,400 years they have been exiles from God, restrained "in chains of darkness," "until the Judgment of the Great Day."--`Jude 6`; `2 Peter 2:4`.
We will supply a full treatise of this subject to our readers free, on receipt of a postcard request, addressed to Brooklyn Tabernacle, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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GOD'S RAINBOW COVENANT
--FEBRUARY 9.--`GENESIS 8:1-9:17`.--
"I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth."--`Genesis 9:13`.
THE HIGHER CRITICS refer us to recently excavated clay tablets found in Babylonia as the earliest record of the Deluge of Noah's day. These tablets, in coarse outline, represent Noah and a boat. A few words descriptive of the Flood follow. And we are asked to accept this as a superior account to the one given us in Genesis, of which today's lesson is a part! We are amazed! and recall to mind the prophecy of Scripture which discusses our day, saying, "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish and the understanding of their learned men shall not be apparent."--`Isaiah 29:14`.
Only the reputation of these men for learning saves them from ridicule; and we, of course, concede to them the right of their opinion. "'Each has a right to his choice,' as the old lady said when she kissed the cow." As for our part, the logical statements of Genesis respecting the particular time when the Flood began, the number of days that it rained, and the increase of the waters, seem reasonable, as does the further account of the cessation of the rain, and of the length of time in which the waters gradually receded, and the length of time in which the surface gradually dried and vegetation manifested itself. Thus the Genesis account of the Deluge is stamped trustworthy--a hundred times more trustworthy than the crude record of the Babylonian! To us it seems evident that Divine Wisdom guided in the Genesis account, but not in the other.
Naturally Noah and his family might dread another Deluge, not clearly understanding the origin of the Flood which had overwhelmed the world. Very appropriately God called their attention to the rainbow, when He assured them that never again would the whole earth be overwhelmed in water. We can see the philosophy of this, whereas Noah and his family merely had the matter by faith, not discerning the philosophy. We can see that when the last of earth's "rings" had come down there could not be another deluge, because there were no waters above the firmament to be precipitated. Since the Flood, we merely have the moderate supply of moisture, in the form of clouds in our firmament, and none in the form of a great envelope beyond the firmament.
Now we may see how it was that Noah had never seen a rainbow; because prior to the Flood, when the sun shone through the watery envelope as merely a great ball of fire, its rays did not strike directly through, and hence no rainbow was possible. But since the watery envelope broke, the fine vapors in the direct line of the sun's rays cause, naturally, the rainbow effect. And, as God declares, so long as there is a rainbow, there can never be a flood. God's words and ways are not less reasonable when we come to see their grand philosophy. On the contrary, the more we understand the Divine methods and operations the more we appreciate their wisdom.
THE TOWER OF BABEL
Generations afterward, when the family of Noah had multiplied, the meaning of the rainbow as a covenant between God and man--the guarantee against another deluge--was forgotten. The worldly-wise of that time were foolish enough to undertake the building of a great tower, to whose top they could go in the event of another deluge. Since they had neglected the Lord's message and disregarded His promise, He let them alone to make manifest their own folly in labor and sweat of face, which could prove of no avail.
Finally, however, when they were measurably wearied with their herculean task, and when they had, to some extent at least, learned a valuable lesson, the Lord confounded their language so that they could not understand each other, nor co-operate with each other in any such vast enterprise. Separated in tongue and in interest, they scattered. Their interests became diverse, and gradually manners and customs and color of skin, during the centuries, became more and more dissimilar. Thus the various races with their peculiarities of temperament and language had their start.
St. Paul tells us all this was a premeditated plan on God's part, as being to the best interests of humanity and most favorable for the outworking of the Divine purposes. He says, God "hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him."-- `Acts 17:26,27`.
How one part of God's Word sheds light upon another! Thus we are enabled to see how Divine Wisdom has had a supervision of the ultimate interests of humanity. Even though God has allowed man in his ignorance to become the servant of Satan, He still has protected him in a measure, and shaped his affairs for his ultimate good. That good, as we have seen, is to be fully attained by the world in general at the Second Coming of Jesus and the establishment then of His Messianic Kingdom, which will bind Satan and scatter the power of darkness and sin. It will shine forth as the Sun of Righteousness, to heal and bless and uplift the willing and obedient of mankind.
But the matter of separating the human family into different nationalities has been specially useful during the dark time preceding Messiah's Second Coming. More
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or less the nations have been occupied in watching each other and guarding themselves against each other. The barrier of language for centuries served to keep apart peoples living in close proximity, to hinder the running to and fro which has been going on, particularly within the last seventy years, since steam power became effective for transportation.
The commingling of all nations within the last sixty years is breaking down the national barriers wonderfully. It is fulfilling the word of prophecy, "My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms." (`Zephaniah 3:8`.) The world of mankind is being brought into close touch, barriers of language are breaking down; and the breaking down of these barriers is favorable to human co-operation, either for good or for evil. Since mankind are sinners by nature, their co-operation is most likely to be along selfish lines, and therefore most likely to be evil.
So we find today that rich corporations are building together a great Tower of Babel for their protection against every kind of calamity which could come upon their riches. The laboring classes are doing likewise. The mechanics are building up a great Tower of Babel of Unionism, which they trust will deliver them from all adversity and in which they hope to be safe forever. Had it not been for the dispersion and for the language-barriers, no doubt these world-wide organizations of Capital and Labor would have developed long ago and the final great catastrophe or conflict between these great giants would have come so much the sooner, precipitating all its terrible anguish and disaster on humanity--
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"a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation."--`Daniel 12:1`.
FIRE, THE NEXT CALAMITY
St. Peter divides the history of mankind into three great Epochs, called "worlds" in our common version Bible, but more properly designated three great Epochs. The first Epoch of earth's experience ended with the Flood, and then the present Epoch began, styled by St. Paul "this present evil world," or Epoch, because during this time evil holds preponderance of power amongst men, even though they do their best.
The first Epoch, or order of things, was overwhelmed and brought to an end by a deluge of water; and St. Peter tells us that the present "world," or order of things, is to be brought to a conclusion by a deluge of "fire." But following the fire, there will be a new "world" or new Epoch, or order of things, much better than anything yet experienced by mankind. "The world to come whereof we speak" will be an Epoch of righteousness, because it will be under the direct rule and supervision of Messiah's Kingdom."--`2 Peter 3:10-13`.
At first many Bible students were inclined to understand St. Peter's words to signify that the fire which will terminate the present order of things and usher in the New Age would be a literal fire, which would consume the physical earth and the heavens. However, closer study reveals the fact that the fire is of symbolic kind, which will merely consume present institutions--everything of the present time that is contrary to the Divine will--everything that is unjust, inequitable.
The "elements" which "will melt with fervent heat" will be the capitalistic and labor elements, and the strife between these, the friction, is already great. A little more and it will burst into a flame, as St. Peter prophesied. The "heavens" that will be involved will not be the Heavens of God's residence, but the ecclesiastical heavens--the church institutions. These will become involved in the strife between Capital and Labor, and they also will perish in that trouble time. But, thank God! the New Dispensation will, in the midst of the trouble, intervene; and it will prove to be as prophesied: "The desire of all nations."--`Haggai 2:7`.
As Noah and his family were the only ones spared from the physical wreck of the old order of things before the Flood, so St. Peter intimates that Christ Jesus is the Ark of Safety now for all who will be saved out of the present order of things. Christ's faithful followers of all denominations and nations will become, with Him, the Royal Priesthood of the future--the "new heavens"-- the spiritual ruling power of the New Dispensation, or Messiah's Kingdom. Under their supervision, speedily a "new earth"--a new social order--will be inaugurated, in which selfishness will be wholly eliminated, and in which righteousness will prevail. Of this new order of things we read: "We look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."--`2 Peter 3:13`.
Although, doubtless, many human lives will be lost in that greatest trouble the world has ever known, with which this Age will end, nevertheless the great mass of humanity will still remain. But all their ingenious arrangements of the present time, social, financial and ecclesiastical, will have perished, and everything will have been put upon a new basis by the Great Messiah.
The Lord, in the prophecy of Zephaniah, describes the time of trouble that is coming, as a fire to consume; and then tells us that following the fiery baptism of trouble, He will send to mankind "a pure Message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve Him with one consent." (`Zephaniah 3:9`.) This teaches that mankind will not be wholly destroyed by the fiery trouble of that Day, but it teaches that the confusion of doctrines given forth in the name of the Lord will all terminate with this present Age. The Message of Divine grace and Truth which will be promulgated in the future will be pure, and the blessing to all who will receive it will be great.
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PROPER COURSE FOR PILGRIMS
Question.--Is it wise or proper for a Pilgrim en-journey to be entertained by those who are out of sympathy with the Vow and with the work of the Society in general, even though he be an Elder of the Class?
Answer.--Most decidedly not. Furthermore the Pilgrims should make clear to the Class that they had greatly erred in selecting such a one for an Elder, and should help them to rectify the matter as quickly as possible.
If the Class likes that Elder who is out of accord with the Society's work, it should not make a request for Pilgrim service. Some of the Lord's dear sheep are very stupid. Meekness and gentleness are commendable; but there are times when they would mean disloyalty to God.
MEANING OF VOICE OF JEHOVAH
Question.--It is said of Adam and Eve, "And they heard the Voice of Jehovah." What is meant by the "Voice" of Jehovah?
Answer.--We suppose that it refers to our Lord Jesus in His pre-human condition. The Logos was a god. The Logos, Word, Voice, of God, communicated with man, as the Representative of God.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I am a stranger to you, having come into a knowledge of Present Truth only last spring; but as I had for long been Truth-hungry, I accepted all of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with the avidity and zeal only known to those who have for long been starving for the Bread of Life.
I have consecrated, taken the Vow, and symbolized both by immersion.
At the time I came into the Truth, I was talking to a class (of women only) on Sociology, having previously given a course of lectures on History, Philosophy and philanthropic subjects. Indeed, for the past twenty-five years I have given the most of my time to giving talks on subjects in the line of humanitarianism, to women.
As I am very deaf, and as the only one talent I have is the gift to make clear the subject I am talking on, my friends have believed that my work has been useful and uplifting. Now, at the advice of our dear Sister Calkins, I wish to ask your advice upon a problem I have now for solution. Immediately upon my consecration I testified to my class as to the marvelous light that had come into the darkness of my life, and that as I considered the "Kingdom of God" was the one and only solution to the problems of present-day questions, hereafter I could not talk upon any other subject than that of the Kingdom.
In pursuance of this plan I invited some of the sisters "in the Truth" to come to my house for a study hour, thinking that gradually I would invite those outside who might manifest an interest in our subject. Then, learning of the Scriptural teaching regarding woman's sphere in the Church, I felt that I should like your advice as to my future work.
As I was perfectly willing to consecrate all, I had in this
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also meant my only gift, or talent--but I could not keep still --every one I met I talked to--I gave the "Divine Plan" into the hands of no less than twenty women; and many people formerly in utter darkness are coming to see the light.
And now, the women of my class of last winter and the winter before are begging me to talk to them again. I may choose my own subject, and I want to give some "Talks on the Bible." I have consulted a dear brother and sister here, and they advise me to give the talks--they think it is a wonderful opportunity. But we finally decided we would submit the question to you.
The situation is, I know, unusual, and as I told Sister C., it is so difficult to make the situation understood in all its details. But I think I have stated the main facts. Of course, my whole object will be to endeavor to have those who listen to me read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES for themselves.
I know, dear brother, you are a busy man, and I am sorry to trespass so much upon your valuable time, but I am so anxious to do whatever work I can at this time; for "the night cometh in which no man can work." And at the same time I do not wish to be disorderly or bring any reproach upon the Ecclesia. Now, will you please tell me what I ought to do?
If you would like to have me, I will give you a list of my subjects and a little synopsis of each.
I am praying only to be guided in this and in all things by the Spirit of Truth. Your sister in Christ,
CHARLOTTE C. HEINEMAN.--Cal.
DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST:--
Yours of recent date is at hand and contents are noted. We rejoice with you in the fact that the Lord has found you worthy of receiving a knowledge of the Truth. May His continued guidance and blessing be with you, enabling you to profit by every experience which comes to you.
My thought would be that the Lord would be pleased to have you use the talent you possess. Apparently He has given you a constituency in which you can work and regarding which you have responsibilities toward Him. I would recommend, therefore, that after you have thoroughly familiarized yourself with the Truth, you resume your lectures to women, discussing nothing but the Truth, and stick close to the teachings in the volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. The restriction that St. Paul makes regarding women's teaching refers to meetings of the Church, and these usually include both men and women. The meetings such as you would have would not be meetings of the Ecclesia, and to my understanding you would not in any wise come under the restriction mentioned by St. Paul. In such a case, even if some men should take upon themselves the position of women and attend one of your lectures, this would bring you under no condemnation.
Not only would it be proper for you to resume your lectures, but if your finances would permit, and the way should open for you to again meet and address women in other cities, whom you had formerly served, or whom you could reach, I would recommend that you extend your work accordingly.
Praying for you the Lord's guidance, wisdom and richest blessing in your endeavors to glorify His name, I remain,
Your brother and servant in the Lord.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
As an encouragement to some who may grow weary in well-doing, we report the instance of a man who said he got PEOPLES PULPITS stuffed into his pockets nearly everywhere he went. We solicited him for STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in his work-place and got his order for six volumes immediately, he saying on sight of the titles that he was just reading a paper about them Sunday. He commended us to three others of his shop-mates with the result of an order for six volumes each. They in turn gave us the names of others yet to be called on, which we trust will likewise result in further sales.
Again, on the train Sunday returning from Bainbridge, we handed out "BRIMSTONE" PULPITS to the conductor and others, having given out 1,000 or more at the above town. When we left the train the conductor was still eagerly reading in a corner beyond interruption.
Trusting the multitude of your labors are continually sweetened by reason of the approval from above, and sending Christian love and Thanksgiving-day greetings,
Yours in the Master's Vineyard,
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study XIII.--Parental
Obligations of the New Creation.
Read P. 524, par. 1, to P. 526, par. 2.
"TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO."
(7) How should the homes of New Creatures be ruled, and when and how should the rod be administered, if necessary? P. 524, par. 1, 2.
(8) Define order, which has been called "Heaven's first law," and show how rewards and punishments are necessary accompaniments of the Law of Love in the ideal home. P. 525, par. 1, 2.
(9) How should parents guard themselves in correcting their children, either by word or action? P. 526, par. 1.
(10) How should Christian parents reason with their children and help them to understand the Divine requirements and necessity for discipline? P. 526, par. 2.
Read P. 527, par. 1, to P. 530, par. 2.
(11) At how early an age may a child appreciate the principles of righteousness, and when should the parent begin the work of character-building in a child? P. 527, par. 1.
(12) What is the all-important thing to be remembered in the training of a child? P. 528, par. 1.
(13) What will be the loss, as well as the bitter experiences of parents who fail to properly train their children? P. 528, par. 2.
(14) What element should chiefly characterize the atmosphere of the home, however humble it may be? P. 529, par. 1.
(15) What may be expected of a properly trained child as respects consecration to the Lord? P. 529, par. 2.
(16) How does the evil influence of a home in which selfishness is the law manifest itself in parents and children? P. 530, par. 1, 2.
Read P. 531, par. 1, to P. 536, par. 1.
CHILDREN BORN IN JUSTIFICATION.
(17) Explain how the children born of consecrated parents are justified. P. 531, par. 1.
(18) What is the provision of Divine Grace as respects children, only one of whose parents is a believer? P. 532, par. 1, 2.
(19) In the foregoing case, upon which parent does the headship devolve, if the wife be a New Creature? P. 532, par. 3.
(20) In a case where the husband is the New Creature, what should be his course with respect to the family? P. 533, par. 1.
(21) In cases where the children have not been properly trained in earlier years, what encouragement and suggestions may be offered to the parents? P. 534, par. 1, to P. 535, par. 2.
(22) What two principles should especially guide parents in training their children? P. 536, par. 1.
Read P. 536, par. 2, to P. 540, par. 2.
(23) How should the rights of maturity in a child be recognized and justly considered by parents? P. 536, par. 2.
(24) How should the education of a child be considered, especially with respect to a collegiate course? P. 537, par. 1; P. 538, par. 1.
(25) What kind of education should be regarded as far superior in every respect to that obtained in the schools of the world? P. 538, par. 2.
(26) What would be a reasonable business schooling? And why is such preferable now to a collegiate course? P. 539, par. 1.
(27) As for play: What are the advantages of proper exercise, and the deteriorating influence of useless and idle pleasures? P. 539, par. 2.
(28) How may children be taught to take pleasure in useful, helpful occupations? P. 540, par. 1.
(29) Why should economy of time, as well as of means, be inculcated in youthful minds? P. 540, par. 2.