VOL. XXVIII OCTOBER 15 No. 20
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6036
Views from the Watch Tower........................307
Romanism Beset in Strongholds.................307
Secular Editors Criticize Theologians.........307
Jewish Emigration to Palestine................308
Progress or Revolution........................309
The Pope Not a Higher Critic..................309
Edison's Glimpse of the Millennium............310
His Presence (Poem)...............................310
The Approaching Battle............................310
Provoking One Another.............................312
That Ye Receive a Full Reward.....................315
The Cities of Refuge..............................317
Israel Renewing the Covenant......................317
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers...........318
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ROMANISM BESET IN STRONGHOLDS
ONE after another so-called "Catholic countries" are shaking themselves free from the Roman Church-fetters which have held them for centuries. All are familiar with the situation in France, where the authority of Rome is now disowned and disallowed --Catholics, Protestants and Jews, etc., all standing on a common footing before the law--much as in this country.
Spain followed the same course with, it is reported, the following outline of policy:--
First. No religious order shall be established without the authorization of parliament.
Second. The State shall accord support to any member of a religious order desiring to renounce the vows taken.
Third. The Minister of Justice is empowered to withdraw the authorization of any religious order found to be inimical to morality or public tranquility.
Fourth. The Cabinet shall forthwith examine the authorizations previously granted to religious orders and cancel those which are illegal.
Fifth. Religious orders whose members are foreigners or whose director resides abroad shall be dissolved. The authorities are empowered to enter monasteries without ecclesiastical sanction.
Sixth. Religious orders shall not be allowed to hold property in excess of the objects for which they were instituted.
Seventh. The sums of money given by members of religious orders to such institutions on their admission and the sums derived by orders from charitable subscriptions shall be strictly limited.
Eighth. All legacies to religious orders or donations to orders by living persons or by testaments or through intermediaries are formally prohibited.
Ninth. Religious orders engaging in trade or industry shall pay the regular taxes.
Tenth. Regulations for the dissolution of religious orders shall be established.
Eleventh. The law of 1887 concerning the registering of religious orders remains in force.
Now the people of Italy are in a ferment. Charges of immorality against the clergy (many of them probably false) are being widely published, with demands for the opening of all "homes," "reformatories," "nunneries," etc., to civil inspection, as are all others not Roman Catholic. In a word, the special privileges and immunities of the Church of Rome are likely to be abolished--as of course they should be. Austria-Hungary is the only great nation still acknowledging pronouncedly the Roman Catholic system as entitled to special and exclusive rights and privileges.
The reason for the apparent greater prosperity of Romanism in Protestant countries--Germany, Great Britain, Canada and the United States--is that in these their clergy wisely refrain from expecting much special privilege, though they quietly obtain some because of their solidarity and the respect of politicians for the influence of their votes.
The stripping of Romanism's power and special privileges will doubtless prepare her the better for the new role marked out for her in Revelation--her cooperation with Federated Protestantism in the exercise of power during the closing days of this Gospel Age--just before the downfall of everything in horrible anarchy.
SECULAR EDITORS CRITICISE THEOLOGIANS
Under the heading, "Preaching without Religious Faith," a secular editorial says:--
The confusion of religious thought at this time of declining religious faith was never made more apparent than in the sermons preached hereabouts on Sunday.
The Rev. Dr. Van Dyke, preaching on the Atonement, declared his belief "that the Son of God would have come into the world whether man had sinned or not," a confession which conflicts radically with the whole orthodox theory of the sacrifice of Christ. He said also that "there are a thousand true doctrines of the Atonement," which is substantially the same thing as saying that no doctrine specifically is true, for instance, the doctrine of the Westminster Confession, to
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which Dr. Van Dyke pledged loyalty when he was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
The first sermon of the Rev. Dr. Hillis, as pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, was devoted to extolling Christ without any reference to the Atonement or any doctrine which raises him to a divine or a supernatural elevation. He spoke of "the supremacy of Christ among men of genius," said "Jesus is the supreme literary artist," and celebrated the wonderful power of his "imagination." Nowhere in his sermon was there any evidence of the positive faith which gave the impulse to Christianity; only generality, sentimentality, the vague imaginings of a mind without any definite belief were made manifest in the pretty sentences of Dr. Hillis.
* * *
Secular editors deprived of theological instruction in word and conscience-twisting seem much more logical and more honorable than theologians. This editor evidently sees clearly that those who have abandoned the faith of their ordination vows should seek a new ordination in accord with their present agnosticism, and not practise a fraud.
We publish the item to call attention to the departure from the central feature of the Gospel--our Lord's atonement for sin. We have challenged the evidence that there is a single college or theological seminary in the United States where Evolution or Higher Criticism infidelity is not taught publicly or privately. No one thus far has produced proof in refutation of this charge.
Similar conditions prevail in Canada. A minister recently charged publicly that there is but one college in Canada loyal to the doctrine of original sin and our redemption from it by the death of Christ. We challenge that one case. We are morally sure that investigation will prove that if Higher Criticism, Evolution and No Atonement for Sin are barred from the textbooks and curriculum some of the professors surely hold these wrong views and privately confess them and laugh at the backwardness of their college. Well did the Apostle declare, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears [desiring something new and different] will gather to themselves teachers after their own liking: and they will turn away their ears from the Truth and unto fables"--respecting monkey progenitors millions of years ago.--`2 Tim. 4:3,4`.
JEWISH EMIGRATION TO PALESTINE
Dr. M. Scheinkin, Director of the Information Bureau, Jaffa, Palestine, says in a recently published report in The Jewish Exponent:--
"Soon after the October riots of 1905, Jewish immigration into Palestine considerably increased. Every vessel from Russia brought sixty and even one hundred passengers. About 1500 persons arrived in Palestine during the winter of 1905-06. Among these three to five per cent. were wealthy people, between ten and fifteen per cent. workmen, ten per cent. artisans and twenty per cent. had no particular occupation, and the remainder consisted of old people who became proteges of the Halukah. Almost all of the young workingmen found work in the colonies. Most of the artisans, with the exception of the tailors and shoemakers, who arrived in very large numbers, obtained employment in the cities of Jaffa and Jerusalem. Twenty families of the wealthier class remained in the land, eight of whom acquired land in the colonies, one rented a large farm from an Arab, and the rest engaged in business, chiefly in Jaffa. Eighteen thousand dunams of land passed into Jewish hands during the past two years.
"Different societies undertook the rebuilding of various streets in Jerusalem. A London philanthropic society built up one quarter of 150 houses. There are also two private building associations which are financially assisted by the Anglo-Palestine Bank. A large society of artisans recently began to build up a new quarter in Jerusalem. Ten families formed a company to build up a Jewish quarter in Kaifa, at the foot of Mt. Carmel.
"The large commercial enterprises are still in the hands of Mohammedans and Christians, although during the last decade many Jews also attained a high position in the commercial world. In consequence of the recent immigration, twenty new Jewish stores were opened in Jaffa, a similar number in Jerusalem and several in Kaifa and in Beyrut. During the last month a Russian Jewish immigrant opened a large grocery store in Damascus. The lumber business is passing entirely into Jewish hands, due to the large credit allowed them by the Anglo-Palestine Bank.
"The spiritual condition of the Palestine Jews greatly improved during the past two years. The hundreds of young laborers, the teachers and other intelligent persons brought with them a new life and new spiritual aspirations.
"Aside from lower-grade schools the grown-up youth is desirous of obtaining more knowledge, and for that purpose there was organized in Jaffa, first, evening classes for languages, natural history, history, etc.; and secondly, popular lectures on hygiene, political economy, etc. It is interesting to watch the groups of young people returning in the evenings from the various places of study and instruction. In Jerusalem there is an evening school in connection with the Bezalel. The educational and cultural work of the Alliance and the Hilfsverein are being strongly influenced by the new tendencies."
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PROGRESS OR REVOLUTION
"The distinguished author, Prof. Goldwin Smith, approaches this vexed question with a judicial spirit, and in the brief space which he has occupied tells some plain truths which both sides in the controversy might study with profit. His sympathy with labor goes back to the days when he defended the unions after the Sheffield outrages, and stood on the platform of Joseph Arch. 'All round the industrial horizon there are signs of continuing storm,' he says, in opening. 'The outlook is threatening, not to industry and commerce only, but to the general relations between classes, and even to the unity of the commonwealth.'
"He accepts the estrangement between labor and capital as a fact. Capital has been erected into an industrial tyrant, the mortal enemy of labor, and yet, what would labor do without capital? 'Without capital we should be living in caves, and grubbing up roots with our nails. Such, in fact, was the state of primitive man. The man who first stored up some roots was the first capitalist, and the man who first loaned some of his roots on condition of future repayment, with addition, was the first investor.'
"On the other hand, the author admits that a strike is a legitimate engine for enforcing the concession of a certain wage, though not for any exaction beyond. Further exaction must break the trade. As a matter of policy the author believes that employes should share in the prosperity of their employers, and the want of inducement to improving effort on the part of workmen is a weakness in the factory system. While capital can be rapacious and unjust, it is also true that organizations formed for an aggressive purpose are naturally apt to fall into the hands of the most aggressive and least responsible section. 'There would be fewer strikes if the votes were always taken by ballot, and every married man had two....Power newly won and flushed with victory seldom stops exactly at the line of right. From enabling the wage-earner to treat on fair terms with the employer, unions seem now to be going on to create for themselves a monopoly of labor. To this the community never has submitted, and never can submit. Freedom of labor is the rightful inheritance of every man, and the vital interest of all.'
"'Refusal to work with non-union men is undeniably lawful, though far from kind,' is another of the author's many obiter dicta. 'The best of tempers,' he adds, 'can hardly fail to be tried by the intrusion of a walking delegate. Why aggravate by discourtesy the perils of the industrial situation? Capital and labor must settle down in harmony at last, or both must be ruined.' His examination of Socialism leads to a rejection of that remedy for the industrial ills. In spite of the harsh aspects of competition, he believes it will remain the indispensable spur. The danger attending public ownership is interfering with the rights of those who have been allowed to invest their capital under the protection of the law, and disregard of whose rights would be public rapine.
"The conclusion reached by the author, after his all-too-brief discussion of the problem, is found in his closing paragraph:--
"'It would seem, then, that there is something to be said for acquiescing, provisionally at least, in our industrial system, based as it is on the general relation between capital and labor, and trying to continue the improvement of that relation in a peaceful way, without class war and havoc. Progress, in a word, seems more hopeful than revolution. When the Socialist ideal, perfect brotherhood, is realized, there will be social happiness compared with which the highest pleasure attainable in this world of inequality, strife and self-interest would be mean; but all the attempts to rush into that state have proved failures, some of them much worse. It is conceivable, let us hope not unlikely, that all who contribute to progress may be destined in some way to share its ultimate fruits; but there is no leaping into the Millennium.'"--Toronto Globe.
THE POPE NOT A HIGHER CRITIC
Whatever may be said of Pope Pius X. he cannot be charged with being a Higher Critic or sympathizing with the agnostic spirit of our day which has gained such absolute control of all Protestant seminaries and secular colleges. It would appear that this same spirit has been gaining rapidly amongst Roman Catholic professors, etc., also. This fact has led the Pope to condemn and prohibit recently a large number of books tinctured with "Modernism" or "New Theology," and on Sept. 16 led him to issue an encyclical or general epistle to all Roman Catholics, condemning the same. In it he declares:--
A SYNOPSIS OF THE ENCYCLICAL
"Modernism is a peril for the Church. Its reforms in faith, philosophy, theology and history are all errors and drive those who believe in them to atheism. Boundless curiosity, pride of individualism and disregard of true Catholic knowledge and discipline actually have spread modernism among the clergy."
The encyclical decrees that philosophy and theology hereafter must be taught in the Catholic schools and universities in the complete spirit of the Catholic Church and in accordance with the rules of the Church.
It is decreed that all teachers imbued with the spirit of modernism be dismissed and all bishops must compel the clergy and the faithful to abstain from reading papers inspired by the spirit of modernism or advocating the new theories.
A board of censors is to be established in every bishopric to revise and edit all Catholic publications.
The ecclesiastics are forbidden to send papers through the mails or otherwise directing them without the consent of the bishop. The ecclesiastics also must keep a close watch upon their assistants to prevent violation of this ruling.
Clerical congresses are forbidden, except in cases when dangers of modernism arise; or when the laity show signs of restlessness and rebellion against clerical domination.
A board of supervision is to be formed in every diocese to prevent the spread of "new errors."
All bishops are instructed that they must forward
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to the pope individual reports regarding the matters covered in the encyclical.
The encyclical has caused a great stir throughout Europe and is regarded as by far the most important issued during the present pontificate. It is regarded in some circles as liable to arouse as much controversy and discussion as the famous promulgation of the dogma of the immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX.
EDISON'S GLIMPSE OF THE MILLENNIUM
Mr. Edison does not profess a general knowledge of the Millennium, but he does see some things in the line of his own experience and work. He sees them to be near, too. Of his views The Electrical Trade says:--
"'A great electrical discovery which I expect to see before I die,' remarked Thomas A. Edison, the man whose own inventions have done so much to revolutionize modern life, 'is the direct generation of electricity from coal. Imagine what will be the consequences! Then locomotives will be thrown into the scrap heap. All trains will be run by electricity. No longer will coal be laboriously transported to the cities, but there will be great power plants established at the mouths of the mines, from which the electricity will be sent out over the country by wire. There will be no horses in the streets, no stables, no flies. Wagons will be propelled by electricity, for it will be so cheap it can be used by the humblest tenement dwellers. Ships will no longer be driven by steam. Electricity will be their motive power. And then it will be possible to cross the Atlantic in three days. At the present time nine-tenths of the power obtained from coal is lost by the use of boilers, wheels and dynamos. With the direct generation of the electrical current, therefore, the world will have ten times more energy than now. We are still ignorant of the true character of electricity. Indeed, to me, after all the years I have spent in studying electricity, it is more a mystery now than ever.'"
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Whenever I am lonely
Or anxious or distressed;
Whenever earth seems only
A battlefield at best,
I hear a voice I know--
The words are sweet and low:
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."
When heavy cares encumber,
Temptations come to test;
When questions without number
Assail my troubled breast,
The voice rebukes my fears--
And oh, the message cheers!
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."
Whenever I am weary
And life hath little zest;
Whenever skies are dreary
And I am sore oppressed,
Again the voice is heard--
What comfort in each word:
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."
The clouds hang huge and leaden
Above the mountain's crest;
The troops of Armageddon
Must soon be manifest.
I tremble at their tread,
But I am comforted--
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."
--Grace P. Bronaugh.
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THE APPROACHING BATTLE
THE Bible forewarns us respecting the character of the great trouble-time everyone sees is approaching rapidly. It tells us it will be different from any trouble of the past. It points out that selfishness will be its basis and that the whole world will be involved --"every man's hand against his neighbor." (`Zech. 8:10`.) The spirit of the Evil One will possess the world and cause them to be and to act the reverse of those who possess the Spirit of Christ, whose delight it must be to "do good unto all men, especially to the household of faith."
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EMMA GOLDMAN'S SPEECH
The bitter, vitriolic spirit of the unregenerate heart, when soured and stung to resentment, is well illustrated in the speech of Emma Goldman, the anarchist. She declared in a speech to workingmen, as reported in the public press:--
"Why should workingmen warn their employers when they are about to strike?" she demanded, stamping her foot. "Why should workingmen govern their actions in such cases by moral or ethical considerations? Why should you give notice, time to prepare your own destruction. Oh, I think it is time for workingmen to become unmoral. Your employers will tell you piously that they have been placed by God in the position that they occupy. That is right. You will always find God on the side of the thief and the robber.
"Win your demands quickly by direct action. The striking tailors of Glasgow went back to work with apparent docility, but when they were inside the shops they used their shears to destroy a large quantity of goods until their employers saw the wisdom of yielding.
"Oil workers, striking in a Russian city, when they saw that they were about to be overcome by scabs and militia, burned huge quantities of kerosene, thus striking their employers in their one vulnerable spot, their pockets.
"Paris-striking bakers doped the bread with kerosene and castor oil and made the city sick. That is the way to enforce your demands. You can't do it by process of law."
FORCE WILL MEET FORCE
Happily only a few people as yet have so bitter a spirit toward their fellow-men; but it is our expectation that conditions during the next few years will
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eventually sour the hearts of thousands to just such a frenzy. Now, comparatively few are so wicked and so desperate; but under favorable conditions such a ferment might develop quickly.
Nor are we to suppose that the wealthy and educated are all saints. The natural mind is in its last analysis under desperate conditions, all that the Scriptures claim--"deceitful and desperately wicked." Education and training assist in the development of moderation and self-control, but it will be seen that brutish ferocity will characterize their conduct also, though it may take a different form.
CAPITAL MAY GO ON STRIKE
A hint at the possibilities along the line of capitalistic combination was recently thrown out by The Wall Street Journal, a staid financial sheet which daily visits all the prominent financiers, bankers and brokers, in a semi-humorous article written after the style of "Looking Backward." It is in the form of telegraphic news, dated next year, and begins thus:--
"WHOLE COUNTRY 'TIED UP.'"
"Washington, D.C., June 10, 1908.--Capital has gone on strike. On Friday, June 12, at 8 o'clock in the morning, practically every wheel in the country will cease to turn. Manufacturing establishments will be closed. Railroad trains will be brought to a standstill, mining will be suspended, banking houses will close their doors and the stock exchange will take an indefinite recess, as in the panic of 1873. Fully 15,000,000 persons, the bread-winners of 15,000,000 families, will be thrown out of employment. It is believed that many of the rich men of the country have gathered their available funds together and have prepared to leave the country."
Then follows the names of the leading bankers, railroad presidents and industrial managers, with an account of a visit by them to President Roosevelt. The reporters are represented as waiting long for a report of the interview, until Mr. Carnegie comes out, saying, "I see my way clear, now, to die poor and undisgraced"; then followed President Baer of the P. & R. RR., referring to `Isaiah 66:15`.
Then follows the story of the stormy, desperate interview, E. H. Gary representing the iron and steel trades and "all of the 216,000 manufacturing establishments of the United States, representing invested capital of $12,000,000,000." Next President Baer of the railroad interests and Jacob H. Schiff of the banking interests are represented as telling the President that all these interests have decided to stop work.
Then the President makes an impassioned speech. He tells them it is a monstrous, inhuman thing they plan, and says he will call out the army and navy to prevent them from carrying out their threats. Then Harriman asks the President, with "snapping sarcasm," "What can you expect from undesirable citizens?" The President then roasts Harriman and demands of all those who confront him if the conditions of which they complain--hostile legislation, exorbitant demands by the labor unions and socialistic agitation for government ownership by confiscation--are not the outcome of capital's outrageous treatment of the people. Then he tells them that if they will not operate the factories, the railroads and "the various tools of commerce, the people will take your properties and operate them on their own account."
The capitalists at this point paralyze the President by telling him they have formed a union which includes, in addition to all employing capitalists, "the great mass of high-class labor, such as executive heads of departments, experts, scientists, etc., who preferred to throw their lot and portion with the employing capitalists." Henry H. Rogers, after stating this, demands to know whether the people could run the properties if they took them.
Then the meeting is represented as breaking up, the President not even saying adieu to his callers, and the article ends with this paragraph:
"Long past midnight the lights were burning in the cabinet room, where the President and his advisers (the cabinet) were laboring on a plan to avert the catastrophe."
An improbable picture this, yet who acquainted with human nature, who that knows the indomitable force and energy of these "captains of industry" will doubt that if not this method some other would be used to "bring the masses to their senses"?--in other words to convince the public of the value of brains in all the affairs of the world.
Selfishness will spur on both sides: each will proudly feel its strength and imagine erroneously that its next stronger show of power will discourage its opponent, until matters will get beyond the control of all human wisdom, counsel and power.
THE OTHER SIDE WARNED
Mrs. Hettie Green, reputed the wealthiest woman, sees the writing on the wall, and is reported to have said:--
"There is going to be a revolution in this country. The people are going to revolt against the oppressions of the Trusts. There will be a deluge and the streets will run with blood when the people are aroused. The people are finding out gradually about the Trusts, and when they realize a little more fully how they are ruining the chances of the average person there is going to be a revolution. It will be a deluge, I tell you."
On the other side of the question we have Chancellor Day of Syracuse University, N.Y., who discerns that brains are necessary to the world's progress, but nevertheless joins in predictions of coming disaster so clearly set forth in the Scriptures. He says:--
"For some time we have been in the grip of this mighty spasm over corporate wealth and swollen fortunes. These current phrases are from high sources. All of our national ills are being stated in this formula. Down with the rich! Puncture the swollen fortunes! Make the rich poor and all the poor will be rich! Destroy the corporations, hamper them, obstruct them, sue them in the courts! Assail them in the press! Tie the strings of the Lilliputians to them in Congress and bind them, and then the individual can have a chance!
MAKE GREAT MEN UNNECESSARY
"Make the returns of great businesses sufficiently small and uncertain by petty legislative restrictions and control and we shall not be troubled by the genius of a Rockefeller, a Hill, a Morgan, a Carnegie, an
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Armour or a Swift. The little men will be big enough for the little things remaining to be done. It is a crime for several men to exercise the power of giving employment to 50,000 or 150,000 men.
"I predict," he says in conclusion, "that we are passing through an epoch that will stand in future times to our everlasting disgrace and shame. We are phenomenally blessed by providence. We are steadied by the calm confidence and signal ability of the greatest men ever known in the commercial world. But if this mania continues, it is not far on to a crash that will carry down all confidence, confuse all property rights, block the wheels of all progress and wreck not only the millionaire's fortune, but the laborer's cottage. The demand of the hour is control of the controller. Swollen fortunes are a thousand fold less dangerous to our land and people than swollen demagogy."
IF THE RICH WERE SAINTS
If all the rich were "saints" according to the Scriptural usage we might blame them for not sacrificing their talents and opportunities and incomes for the welfare of others. But amongst the "saints" are not many rich or great or noble. The rich children of this world, like the poor of the same class, know no consecration to self-sacrifice. Each is doing his best to serve his own best interests as he conceives these. The difference lies in the birth, environment and opportunities. Both wisdom and grace bid the followers of Jesus to think generously of the entire "groaning creation" and rejoice that to all--rich and poor--the Millennial Kingdom of God's dear Son will bring soon after the day of trouble a day of grandest blessings and opportunities.
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PROVOKING ONE ANOTHER
"Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day drawing on."--`Heb. 10:24,25`.
THE word "provoke" signifies to arouse or incite, or stimulate to activity. It is generally used in an evil sense, but is applicable, as in our text, to describe an incitement to good works, good thoughts, etc. The tendency of fallen human nature is toward things that are mean, selfish, groveling, and the natural bent is to incite or provoke or encourage similarly mean and unworthy thoughts, actions and words in others, and it has become a proverb that "Evil communications corrupt good manners." Everyone of experience knows this general tendency of evil to beget evil, and to corrupt and to pollute what is nobler and purer than itself; hence we have the Scriptural pronouncement, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Those who neglect this counsel need not be surprised if they are continually falling into temptation, and if the influence upon their own lives results in a measure at least of ungodliness and sin, and disfellowship from those things which are noble and true and pure.
But the "New Creature in Christ Jesus" is one in whom the transforming influences of the Lord's Spirit have already begun--one who has a new heart, a new will, a new disposition. With such, "old things have passed away, and all things have become new"; they have been begotten again-- i.e., re-begotten--to new hopes, new wishes, new ideas of propriety. Instead of the earthly wisdom and way, with its "bitter envying and strife," which "descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish," they have now the wisdom that is from above, and a heart (a disposition) to appreciate and pursue its counsels, which are, first purity, then peaceableness, gentleness, meekness, mercy, good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the disposition of this class, in proportion to their attainment of this heavenly wisdom and new nature, will be to "provoke" or incite or encourage one another, and all with whom they come in contact, to similar goodness of thought and word and act, in harmony with the heavenly wisdom which is guiding their own course.
This is laid down in the Scriptures as an unvarying rule: "A bitter fountain cannot send forth sweet water, and a good fountain cannot send forth brackish water." A thistle cannot bear grapes, and a grape-vine cannot bear thistles. It is the Master himself who says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." If, therefore, we desire to prove ourselves, and to judge respecting our progress in mortifying (putting to death) the old nature, and our growth in the new nature, we will judge ourselves by this standard; answering to ourselves the question,--Is my own spirit (disposition) one which delights in sin in its various forms (not necessarily in its grosser forms of murder, theft, etc., but in its more refined forms, falsity, envy, strife, vainglory, slander, evil-speaking, evil surmises, etc.), or is my delight increasingly in righteousness, truth, goodness, gentleness, meekness, patience, love? If the former, we are yet, either wholly or partially, in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity, and have need to go at once to the Great Physician, and to submit ourselves to his radical treatment --the cutting off of sin, the mortifying of such fleshly desires, etc. If the latter be our condition of heart we have cause for rejoicing, yet no cause for pride or boastfulness; for we can say no more than that we only have done our duty, having merely learned, and that imperfectly, the lessons set before us by our great Teacher.
The Apostle is addressing the Church, the consecrated New Creatures in Christ Jesus. This is shown in the text, for he classes himself with these, using the word "us"; it is also shown by the context. He calls the attention of the consecrated to the influence which goes out from each to each, and the consequent importance that the influence shall always be stimulating, or provocative of that which is good. No doubt the Apostle found in his day, as we find now, that many who are consecrated at heart fail to see clearly how this consecration should associate itself with and mark itself
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upon our every act and word. Perhaps he saw then, as we see now, that the holy influence of truth, gathered at a meeting of the Lord's people, through their communion of heart with each other and with the Lord, is not infrequently spoiled, dissipated entirely, by inconsiderate or unkind remarks of some of the company, upon dismissal.
Who, of experience, does not know how great a matter a little fire may kindle; how much evil may be started by the fire of the tongue? how many unkind thoughts, evil suspicions, surmises, how much envy, malice, hatred and strife may be started by a mere insinuation? Since the Lord declares, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," it follows that the hearts and lips, from which emanate these evil influences, are not controlled by the wisdom that cometh from above, though they be in some measure consecrated to the Lord.
It is a great mistake, also, to suppose that because the evil thing is said in a kind and gentle manner, therefore it is a good thing, and evidence of a pure heart, that is full of love; quite to the contrary, we know that the great Adversary is continually presenting himself in garments of light, that he may exercise the greater influence for evil upon those who have made a covenant with the Lord. So, likewise, those who implant evil thoughts, surmises, etc., in a smooth and polished manner, and perhaps with a tear, are the most dangerous foes of peace and fellowship, and often accomplish the greater harm; because they succeed in planting roots of bitterness and thoughts of evil in hearts which would utterly resent the same evil thoughts and evil surmisings if presented in a coarse, offensive and obtrusive manner.
We are not to be reckless of each other's interests. In our contact with each other, whether a personal contact or a contact by mail or a contact through the columns of this journal, we are to "consider one another." We are to consider what would be helps, and what would be hindrances, what would be encouragements and what would be tumbling-blocks; and we are to do all in our power to assist one another to run with patience the race for the heavenly prize. If we are truly consecrated to the Lord, we can do nothing "against the truth, but [every effort must be] for the truth." (`2 Cor. 13:8`.) What a burning and shining light every Christian would be if his every act were considered and shaped for the benefit of those with whom he comes in contact! What a blessing it would be in the home! What a blessing it would be in the Church! This brotherly consideration is what the Apostle is urging upon us: "Consider one another to provoke [incite, encourage] to love and to good works." Avoid every word and every act, so far as possible, that might incite to hatred, envy, strife, bitterness (and bad works, corresponding to these feelings), all of which are "of the flesh and of the devil."
The Apostle links this advice with the exhortation to forget not the assembling of ourselves together, as the Lord's
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people. None of us is so strong in the new nature that he can disregard the fellowship of kindred minds. But even if we did feel sufficiently strong for ourselves, the spirit of love in us should so control that we would delight to meet with "the brethren" for their sakes, if we ourselves received no benefit therefrom. But we are more or less like coals of fire, which, if separated, will tend to cool rapidly, but which, if brought together, will tend to increase in fervency the entire mass. Our Lord has encouraged his people to seek each other's fellowship for companionship in the study of his Word, and in prayer, pronouncing special blessings upon the meeting of his people together, even if so few as only two or three.
It is true that sometimes isolated ones, who have no fellowship in the Present Truth (except through the WATCH TOWER) are often amongst the most staunch and devoted and self-sacrificing of the Lord's people: but we should not from this infer that the blessing comes from their isolation, but rather, since their separation is unavoidable on their part, we may reasonably suppose that our Lord makes up to them, in his own presence and blessing, that which they lack of fellowship with other members of the Body. But if one had opportunity for assembling with others for worship of the Lord and the study of his Word, and neglected to avail himself of his privilege, we need not expect that for his benefit the Lord would work special miracles of grace. The Lord's miracles may be expected only in times of emergency, to make up for natural deficiency.
Besides, we are to remember that through the WATCH TOWER and the mail the Lord has established a channel of communication amongst his people so that no one needs be without such fellowship and spiritual intercourse. And we call attention to the fact that the terms of our journal are so liberal that the very poorest of the Lord's people may avail themselves of this privilege of communion. If they refuse or neglect to use this grace which the Lord has put within their reach, at a cost of one postal card per year, it is their own fault; they are disregarding the Lord's instruction, through the Apostle, and are neglecting the means open before them for having fellowship with others of like precious faith. If such find themselves growing cold, as a result of neglect of the Lord's arrangements and providences, they have themselves to blame. We do not know how to make the WATCH TOWER terms more reasonable than they are. We exhort all the poor to accept it, not as a personal gift, but as a part of the Lord's provision for his people, to which they are as welcome as to all the features of his grace. Freely we have received, freely we will give the message of his love and mercy.
The Apostle intimates that, as "the Day" draws near there will be the more need for the observance of this instruction respecting the fellowship and communion of the Lord's people with each other. And experience proves this: the great Millennial Day which has already begun, chronologically, has brought with it new activities in mind and body, a greater pressure of business and rush to keep abreast of the times, and a correspondingly greater danger to the Lord's people of being choked with the cares of this life, or with the deceitfulness of riches, or the seeking of riches. We need a counteracting influence to off-set this increasing influence of the world and its affairs upon us; and this counteracting influence is to be sought and to be found by the Lord's people among themselves,--communing one with the other and with the Lord, and exhorting and encouraging one
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another to steadfastness along the lines of instruction laid down in his Word.
And not only so, but we find that the beginning of this great Millennial Day is a "day of trouble." We find that the latter part of this day of trouble is to be upon the world, and that the Lord promised his Church that, if faithful, they shall be "accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world." But we have found also that the forepart of this day of trouble, which is the time of preparation for the world's trouble, will be a special time of peculiar trouble and trial, testing and sifting upon the Church; for--The judgments of this day "must begin with the house of God." We see this sifting and shaking in progress all about us in the nominal Church, and still more intensely among those who occupy a still higher position and enlightenment through the knowledge of the Present Truth. "The great day of his wrath [judgment, testing, sifting, first of the Church and afterward the nations] is come, and who shall be able to stand?" We hear the Apostle's exhortation, as he looked down prophetically to our day, saying, "Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in exalted positions."--`Eph. 6:13,14`.
It is "as we see the day drawing on" that we are to be the more diligent in assembling ourselves with those of like precious faith; the more earnest in exhorting and provoking to love and to good works, and thus to assist one another in putting on "the whole armor of God"--the graces of character, meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, faith, truth, hope--that with these as the divine panoply or armor, protecting us from the assaults of the Adversary in this day, we may be able to stand. The clear intimation is that, unless we have on this armor, we will be unable to stand. And this armor includes more than mere head-knowledge, represented by the helmet; it includes, be it noted, the entire breastplate of righteousness, purity of heart, and it includes the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, and the sandals of consecration.
In the succeeding verse the Apostle mentions the possibility of wilful sin among the Lord's people, and what it would imply--the Second Death (the sorer punishment than the first death, in that it would be without hope)--"everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power."
While wilful sin has always been the same, it would not be unreasonable to infer from the Apostle's words that the temptations and dangers of "this evil day" in which we live will specially tend to trial along this line. Let it be clearly noticed that the Apostle is not speaking of sins of ignorance nor of accidental missteps by being overtaken in a fault, whose sin is not unto death, and from which the transgressors may be restored in a spirit of meekness. He is referring directly to full, complete sin--the sin upon which the full penalty is justly and properly to be recompensed.
At first thought, many may be inclined to say, "Well, I am in no danger of that sin, for I am sure that I would not commit sin wilfully, intentionally, designedly." But let us notice, dear friends, that there is a way in which sin may come upon us without being at the time a wilful sin, but which later might become wilful sin: for instance, any transgression committed, either in total ignorance or with only a partial acquiescence of our wills, might become a full, wilful, deliberate sin afterward, if we afterward came to a clear knowledge of the truth respecting the subject, and failed to repent of it to the Lord, and to undo so far as was in our power the wrong toward our fellow-creatures. To consent to a sin clearly and fully understood, simply because at the time of its committal we were in ignorance, and to refuse to make amends for it, and thus to endorse the sin intelligently, would appear to make it a will-full sin.
With this view of the matter, the children of God cannot afford to sanction in their minds even the slightest injustice or untruth towards each other, or towards anyone. The essence of this thought is found in our Lord's command: "If thou comest to the altar [if we have anything to offer to the Lord, either of service or of worship or of thanks], and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee [that someone has been wronged by you, either in word or thought or act] leave there thy gift before the altar [do not think that it will be acceptable to God while in your heart or outwardly you are practising injustice toward others]; first go and be reconciled to thy brother [make amends to him, apologies, explanations in full, of whatever wrong you have done him] and then come and offer thy gift [assured that in such an attitude of heart the Lord Almighty will be pleased to accept your gift]."
In describing those who sin wilfully, the Apostle uses very strong, figurative language, declaring that, inasmuch as they are in heart-sympathy with sin, and not in opposition to it, they are the opponents of the Son of God, who was so out of sympathy with sin in its every form that he laid down his life to redeem us from its power and curse. The Apostle declares that such wilful sinners may be esteemed as the enemies of Christ, who really trample him and his goodness and love under their feet, figuratively, disdaining his mercy and favor as well as his instruction in righteousness. He says that, inasmuch as they were once sanctified, as a result of their faith in the precious blood and its cleansing from sin, their turning now into harmony with sin would imply that they now disesteem the precious blood of Christ which redeemed us to God, counting it a non-sacred thing-- common--and do despite to the spirit of divine favor which had held out to them freedom from the yoke of sin, and ultimately release from its penalty, death; and the attainment, as the Lord's people, of the crown of life eternal.
While holding up before the Church the dangers of sin, and the danger of falling away from steadfastness for Christ and to the principles of his righteousness, the Apostle encourages us to continue our fight against sin and its influence in ourselves and in others, "perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord." Accordingly he calls our minds back to our first love and first zeal--"the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of affliction; partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches
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and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used." He would thus encourage the Lord's people to continue the good fight--to continue to wage warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil, and the spirit of these, especially each within himself, in the battlefield of his own soul. And he urges that faith in the Lord and the rewards which he shall grant by and by, when he shall be glorified in his saints, is very necessary to our endurance of hardness as good soldiers in the fight against evil, both within and without, saying, "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward"--"forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhort one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
And this reminds us of the words of the Lord, through the prophet `Malachi (3:15-17`): In the time when the proud are happy, and they that work wickedness are established in power and influence, and they that tempt God seem to be blessed--"then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another [sympathizing with and encouraging one another, so much the more]: and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him of them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name; and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." But while all should seek to provoke to love and to good works and to happy looks, we well know that the majority do the reverse. Hence, we suggest that the Lord's peculiar people may be so controlled by the Word and its spirit that they will be incited to good works, good deeds and good looks even by the most unfavorable conditions. Consider Stephen, confronted by those who afterward took his life: not only had he courage to preach to them, but his heart was so provoked to love and good works that his face shone with an angelic beauty. (`Acts 6:15`.) And the same grace abounding enabled him to pray for his murderers. (`Acts 7:60`.) Nothing could provoke such a spirit-filled saint to evil. Let us follow the example of such close followers of our Lord's footsteps.
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"THAT YE RECEIVE A FULL REWARD"
"Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward."
`2 John 8`, R.V.
SOME of our readers appear not to grasp fully the fact that two classes are being saved during this Gospel Age--a "little flock," to be the "Bride," the "Lamb's Wife," "Joint-heirs" in the Kingdom; and a "Great Company," who will constitute the "virgins, her companions, that follow her." (`Psa. 45:14`.) We might say from one standpoint that this is not a fundamental doctrine, and that hence differences of opinion respecting it need cause little concern. However, every truth has its place and bearing upon the divine plan as a whole, and upon our doctrinal establishment, and hence upon our ability to "stand in this evil day." Those who see not the two companies in the process of development during this age will of necessity be somewhat confused in respect to certain features of the divine plan. Take, for instance, the statement that the final overcomers of the Bride class will be those who were not only called but also chosen, and also found faithful. (`Rev. 17:14`.) All can readily recognize that, while sinners are called to repentance, only justified believers are called of God to this High Calling, this heavenly calling of joint-heirship with their Lord in the Kingdom. If we assume that throughout the age all the justified ones were granted that privilege in order that they might be ready, we must admit the force of the declaration that "many are called but few are chosen." This Scripture shows us a wide distinction between merely a position of justification by faith and a position of acceptance with God. Only such called ones as accept the call by making a full consecration of themselves belong to this "chosen" class.
The chosen ones, begotten of the holy Spirit and adopted as Spirit-begotten sons of God, are forthwith in the school of Christ, with a view to their development in grace, knowledge, love, and with a view to their testing as respects the thoroughness of their consecration even unto death. We well know that not all who reach this chosen place will prove faithful and win the crown. The great majority of the exhortations in the New Testament are addressed to this chosen class, accepted of God as probationary members of the Bride company, the little flock, the Body of Christ. To these come the exhortations to "fight the good fight," to "bear much fruit," to "let their light shine," to "so run that they may obtain," to "lay aside every weight," to "strive to enter in," to be "faithful unto death, that ye may receive the crown of life," to be "filled with the Spirit." They are exhorted that if the various fruits and graces of the Spirit be in them and abound, an entrance shall be ministered to them abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.-- `2 Pet. 1:11`.
THE UNFAITHFUL, THE FOOLISH VIRGINS
If in the foregoing it is intimated beyond question that only the "more than conquerors" will gain the prize--or, as our text expresses it, "gain the full reward" --what shall we say will become of those who will not gain the full reward, not gain the prize, who, being begotten of the Spirit, will fail to have part in the First Resurrection of the blessed and holy, amongst the Body of Christ? These evidently are referred to in the various parables. In one parable the Lord styles this class a wicked and slothful servant. He does not deny him the honor of being a servant, he does not charge him with becoming an enemy, and the entire parable shows no such attitude toward the reproved.
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He is counted wicked and slothful because, having undertaken certain responsibilities as a servant, having certain talents committed to his care as a steward, he has failed to manifest the proper spirit of earnest devotion which he had professed at the time of his acceptance, when the talents were entrusted to him. Similarly the foolish virgins are still virgins in the parable. They are not shown as having become corrupt or become lovers of sin. They were drowsy, overcharged with the cares of this life, and did not show proper spirit and alertness in connection with the interests of their Master, the Bridegroom. Hence they did not at the time have the proper oil in their vessels nor in their lamps, and hence were not ready nor of the class finally accepted as the "Very Elect," though for a time they had been a part of the nominally elect. The parable shows the door into the high calling to the exclusion of these.
Moreover, aside from the parables, our own experience teaches that amongst those who have made a real consecration to the Lord and who have for a time manifested a thorough devotion to him, some fall away to the extent of carelessness, lukewarmness, a condition which the Lord describes as "overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches"--true wheat, but choked so that they do not bring forth the proper fruitage. We cannot suppose for a moment that such would be accepted of the Lord under the strict terms and conditions of the high calling on the narrow way and the faithfulness unto death--the terms and conditions everywhere implied in connection with the little flock. What then shall we say would be the portion of these lukewarm, overcharged ones?
The Scriptures inform us that as that which is begotten of the flesh is flesh, so that which is begotten of the Spirit is spirit. That is to say, that whoever has been begotten of the holy Spirit has experienced a change of nature so radical that it would be impossible for him to share a resurrection with the world on the human plane. He must either be born of the Spirit and become a spirit being, or else experience the only alternative we find, namely, the Second Death. We remember, however, the declaration of the Lord that he willeth not the death of him that dieth, but would that all should turn unto him and live. We must suppose, therefore, that God would feel a deep sympathy with the large class of Christian people who have made a consecration unto death but who have not rightly valued or improved the opportunity for carrying out that covenant in self-sacrifice. Some of this class the Scriptures clearly indicate are destined for the Second Death. One of the apostles describes them as those who have been washed, but like the sow have returned to wallowing in the mire. Another Apostle describes this class saying, "If we sin wilfully after that we have received a knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no longer a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking
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for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour us as adversaries." (`Heb. 10:27`.) And again he tells us that it is impossible to renew again unto repentance those who have counted the blood of the covenant a common thing, and done despite to the spirit of favor. (`Heb. 6:4`; `10:29`.) And again we read, "There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."--`I John 5:16`.
But are there not many Christians who have not taken these extreme backward steps to sin and to rejection of divine favor, who nevertheless are not so running as to obtain the prize? Is there not a large number that would come under the classification made by the Apostle as those who build with wood, hay, stubble, instead of with gold, silver and precious stones?--a large number, therefore, whose works will be burned in this trial time just before us. And does not the Apostle say of these, "themselves shall be saved so as by fire?" (`I Cor. 3:15`.) This is a large class; no wonder it is styled a Great Company, no wonder it is symbolically represented in the Levites, while the more than conquerors, the faithful, are but a little flock, heirs of the Kingdom, joint-heirs with their Redeemer. It is in great mercy that the Lord will deal with these and bring them into judgment, testing, so that all of them, who at heart love righteousness and hate iniquity, may be manifested, may be blessed, may be saved, even though they do not come up to the glorious standard which God has predestinated as the only acceptable one for the Redeemer and all those who shall be joint-heirs with him, for he has predestinated that these shall be conformed to the image of his Son--more than conquerors through him who loved them and bought them with his own precious blood.
The Apostle James seems to speak of this Great Company class when he says, "The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." (`Jas. 1:8`.) These surely cannot be the more than conquerors, yet who will say that some of the dear people who manifest considerable vacillation and double-mindedness are enemies of God and righteousness, whose portion will be the Second Death? Such is not our opinion. Rather we understand the Scriptures to teach that this Great Company class, double-minded, intent on serving the Lord and hoping to gain a crown, and at the same time loving the world and seeking to have its approval and emoluments, will miss the prize of our High Calling and not be counted worthy a share in the Kingdom, but put to the crucial test so many of them as under stress will fix their characters for righteousness and become its loyal servants--these will be saved with the lesser salvation --on the spirit plane indeed, but not as partakers of the divine nature nor joint-heirs with our Redeemer in his Kingdom.
A BIBLE STUDY OF THE GREAT COMPANY
Brother C. J. Woodworth has sent us a Bible study upon this subject which we append and recommend to you all. He says that the subject was recently brought to his attention and that he looked it up in the memoranda he has prepared for our new Bibles, and that he found all of these citations within an hour and a half,
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whereas without the references he might have been obliged to hunt for days or for weeks to find these various allusions to the Great Company. The study shows where and how the class is referred to in the Scriptures--not directly, because no one was called to be of the Great Company, all being called to the high calling, the little flock. But they are referred to indirectly, yet specifically, as a part of the divine work of grace of this Gospel Age. We recommend a study of the subject to all of the dear friends, reminding you again in the words of our text, that even though loyal at heart to the Lord we should look to ourselves lest we lose the things which we have wrought--that we receive a full reward, the high calling, the joint-heirship, the Kingdom, the divine nature. The letter references denote DAWN-STUDY volumes, TOWERS, etc.
TWO COMPANIES, BOTH JUSTIFIED, BEGOTTEN OF THE SPIRIT, AND CANDIDATES FOR JOINT-HEIRSHIP WITH CHRIST
`Lev. 16:7-10`..Selection of goats by lot.................T.60 `Lev. 23:17`....Two leavened wave loaves, 16th Nisan..Z.'98-68 `Zech. 13:8`....Two parts cut off....................Z.'06-151 `Gen. 15:5`.....Included in the heavenly Seed........Z.'96-277
DISTINGUISHED SEPARATELY WHILE STILL IN THE FLESH
`Dan. 5:2`......Silver vessels at Belshazzar's feast..Z.'99-175 `Mal. 3:3`......Silver in the Refiner's fire..........Z.'05-379
FIRST CAUSE OF FAILURE--IDLE
`Matt. 25:2`....Five were foolish....................C.94, F.75 `1 Cor. 3:12`...Builded with wood, hay and stubble.........T.69
SECOND CAUSE OF FAILURE--DISOBEDIENT
`Col. 3:6`......Included in Children of Disobedience..Z.'99-141 `Gen. 19:26`....Remember Lot's wife.......................C.194 `Psa. 1:1`......Sinners against their covenant........Z.'00-281
THIRD CAUSE OF FAILURE--FEARFUL
`Heb. 2:15`.....Lifetime subject to bondage.............T.70,71 `Num. 13:31`....The ten spies with Caleb and Joshua...Z.'07-251 `1 Kin. 18:3`...Obadiah...............................Z.'04-221 `Jas. 1:8`......Double-minded, unstable........................
FOURTH CAUSE OF FAILURE--PRESUMPTUOUS
`Num. 10:1`.....Abihu and his strange fire............Z.'07-220 `Jer. 8:20`.....Harvest is past; we did not do the Lord's will. [D.578 `Matt. 25:24`...Unprofitable servant........Z.'01-61, Z.'06-318 `Matt. 18:28`...Cruel servant, not possessing Master's Spirit. [Z.'00-219, Z.'06-199
SUBJECTS OF SPECIAL CHASTISEMENTS
`Rev. 7:9-14`...Out of great tribulation...........C.364, F.127 `Isa. 66:8`.....Delivered after Zion's travail........Z.'94-135 `Matt. 24:20`...Pray that your flight be not in winter....D.578 `Isa. 34:16`....Slaughter of the lambs.....................D.17 `1 Cor. 3:15`...Saved so as by fire.................A.321, T.69 `1 Cor. 5:5`....Turned over to Satan for destruction of flesh. [T.69,71
FINALLY DELIVERED FROM BABYLON, WITH REJOICING
`Rev. 19:6-9`...Called to the Marriage Supper...A.87,240, F.128 `Psa. 45:15`....With gladness and rejoicing...............F.121
SAVED WITH A HEAVENLY SALVATION: MADE SERVANTS OF THE TRUE CHURCH ON A HEAVENLY PLANE OF EXISTENCE
`Num. 3:15`.....Northward..........................D.653, F.129 `Rev. 7:15-17`..Before the throne, servants...............F.127 `Gen. 24:61`....Damsels who went with Rebecca.............F.171 `Ezek. 44:1-14`.Door was shut: servants...............Z.'05-269
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THE CITIES OF REFUGE
--`JOSHUA 20:1-9`.--NOVEMBER 3.--
Golden Text:--"Who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us."--`Heb. 6:18`.
THE cities of refuge were appointed in Israel for the protection against summary punishment of any who might accidentally take human life, but not for any wilful murderer. There were six of these cities in central localities, to any one of which the manslayer might fly and there find protection until his case could be legally tried. These cities did not shelter the wilful murderer; but the authorities, after a fair trial, delivered such up to the just penalty of their crime, which was death.--`Deut. 19:11-13`; `Num. 35:30-34`.
If the killing proved to be accidental the man-slayer must still remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest then in office. This restraint upon his liberty was the penalty for his carelessness, and thus an additional protection to human life.
This feature of the typical Mosaic Law strongly foreshadowed the refuge which the sinner may find in Christ. He is our shield and hiding-place from the penalty of all sin, save that which is wilful. He is no shelter for obstinate, unrepentant sinners; but for every one born in sin and shapen in iniquity--and thus sinners by the accident of birth or heritage, yet earnestly desirous of escaping from sin and its just consequences, and seeking refuge in him by faith--there is protection. We are all under sentence of death; Justice is the avenger; and only those in Christ are shielded.
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But, mark you, the sinner must continue to abide in this city of refuge as long as the high priest liveth --i.e., as long as Christ continues in the priestly office, which will be until he is able to present all the redeemed who abide in him under the New Covenant conditions faultless before the throne of God, at the end of his Millennial reign as King and Priest. Then, being made actually perfect by the great Redeemer-Physician, they will be able to stand, not in the imputed or reckoned righteousness of another, but in their own glorious perfection, yet never forgetful of the great atoning sacrifice, and the patient work of restitution which made possible such a glorious consummation.
Like the cities of refuge, Christ is easy of access to all who diligently seek him, and who have no will in opposition to righteousness, nor to any of his measures of just and righteous discipline.
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ISRAEL RENEWING THE COVENANT
--`JOSHUA 24:14-25`.--NOVEMBER 10.--
Golden Text:--"The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."--`Joshua 24:24`.
ISRAEL became God's people by solemn covenant (See `Exod. 19:5-8`), and on several occasions that covenant was renewed that succeeding generations might not forget the obligations thereby resting upon them. The instance before us was one of these occasions, and a very appropriate one--after their settlement in the land of promise and when Joshua their leader, being very old, must of necessity soon be taken
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from them by death. Joshua, therefore, remembering the command of Moses to thus remind the people of their covenant obligations (`Deut. 27`), made this the occasion for solemn exhortation, warning and counsel, as well as for leading the people to a renewal of their vows and a purging of themselves from every semblance of idolatry, which his address shows still lingered in some degree among them.
The counsel of Joshua was reverently received, the covenant was renewed, and the nation purged itself from idolatry, and in consequence was prospered and blessed. But why, we may reasonably inquire, should we be interested now in seemingly trivial matters of history of a date so remote? Why so minutely consider the experience and doings of that nation more than others of the ancient peoples? Or why are they so minutely given by the sacred writers?
Their importance to us lies in the fact that in the experiences of that consecrated people were foreshadowed those of God's consecrated people of this Gospel Age; and in God's dealings with them we can read his judgment of us under similar circumstances, we, the Gospel Church, being the antitypes of fleshly Israel, the Spiritual Israel of God--nominally, as in the type, including all the professed members of the Church, but actually only those who are truly the Lord's--"Israelites indeed," Christians indeed.
In the nation of Israel (nominal Israel) we observe a constant tendency to idolatry, while a faithful few ("Israelites indeed") always resisted this tendency, and, with fixed purpose of heart, worshiped the Lord in the beauty of holiness and endeavored to influence others to similar faithfulness. But their forefathers prior to Abraham were idolaters; the nations all about them were idolaters; and idolatrous worship, unlike the worship of the true God, imposed no restraints upon the downward tendencies of the fallen nature, but, on the contrary, cultivated and pandered to its depravity. Nor did it require faith in the unseen, but presented to the senses tangible objects of worship with rites and ceremonies suited to the carnal nature. Hence the continual gravitation of the nation toward idolatry, notwithstanding the wonderful power and goodness of God manifested on their behalf. Joshua, after calling attention to the marvels of divine providence which their wonderful history furnished, urged upon the people a prompt and firm decision, saying, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve," etc.
Joshua also gave them distinctly to understand that in choosing to serve the Lord it must be whole-hearted and sincere service, a full and complete turning to the Lord, and the putting away of all rivals. This exhortation was coupled with warnings of the Lord's indignation and wrath if they should wickedly ignore or violate their covenant and turn to idolatry. "And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."
Happy indeed was it for Israel that such was their decision; and happy would it be for all God's consecrated people, if, with fixedness of purpose they would pay their vows unto the Most High. In his dealings with typical Israel we see that our God is a jealous God and that he desires whole-hearted devotion to himself. If we permit any rival to occupy the mind and heart that were solemnly consecrated to him alone, then we are unfaithful to him and wickedly despising our covenant. Let the language of every heart be, "The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."
"If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt and consume you, after that he hath done you good." The fact that the Lord has richly blessed us in the past while we were in the way with him is no guarantee that he will continue his favor with us after we have forsaken him. On the contrary his positive declaration is that he will withdraw his favor from all such. In addition to the above the Prophet Ezekiel says, "When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die." And Paul adds, ["because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved"], "God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."--`Ezek. 3:20`; `2 Thess. 2:11,12`. See also `Heb. 6:4-8`; `10:26-31`.
We should observe specially in `Heb. 10:29` the reference to a sorer punishment to be visited upon the covenant-despisers of this age than that visited upon the same class in the Jewish Age, because of the higher privileges and advantages received here and despised. The death penalty there was a hasty visitation of the original Adamic penalty, but the death penalty here upon the wilful covenant-despisers is the Second Death, from which there is no escape.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS
DEAR BROTHERS IN CHRIST:--
I thank God for the glorious privilege of thus addressing you and all the brethren. I have just finished making out my report of four days' work as a colporteur --from the standpoint of results as to the number of volumes sold, which was 82 cloth-bound and 12 leather-bound, making an average of a little better than 23 volumes per day. And this report completed I feel that I ought to report something for which I find no blank but which to me has been the most important, namely, my spiritual blessing. I have been blessed as never before, and it is impossible for me to try to tell the brethren to what extent the blessing has been; it has only been limited by my ability to receive it. I am naturally demonstrative, and when I first saw the Truth I had to tell every one about it that would listen, and that interfered with my business, but now my business is to talk of the Truth and the more I talk of it (with discretion) the more business I do--in fact, I am being supplied with daily bread for the flesh and the spirit at one and the same time, where heretofore one or the other suffered. I find selling the DAWNS just like anything
else as far as the selling goes. One has to use tact and adapt himself to the customer, and use the arguments or rather suggestions best adapted to the prospective buyer as shown to one by what he can observe of the person he approaches. I desire to express my thankfulness to God for such an opening as that as "Colporteur" for one who has been disqualified for his position in the world through the Truth, for it is truly a work where a double blessing goes with every sale. May this branch of the work as well as all God's work be prospered, and may those ministering to the household of faith be enabled to go forward in the strength of the Lord. The class at M__________, led by Brother Raymond, is prospering in the only true and real prosperity. We have three meetings a week now, and can hardly contain ourselves between times. We have about eighteen members, whereas a year ago, or before Brother Raymond located here, there were possibly two. Truly God is good to us. May the Lord prosper this harvest work and may all the brethren everywhere be united in Christ our Redeemer, Pattern and Head.
As ever, your brother and servant in him,
W. J. TOOKE,--Indiana.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:
I wish for the benefit of the readers of the TOWER to tell a bit of my experience right here. Mother was a Calvinistic Baptist, believing in eternal torment, or as they call it, "hell." I was converted in youth, and firmly believed the same. But God opened my eyes on that question some twenty years ago, under the preaching of The Crisis (Adventist), which I believed was the "faith once delivered to the saints." In December, 1901, mother came from Canada to B__________ to visit me, and she mourned and cried over the death of her youngest son, who was drowned unconverted, at the age of seventeen years. Her doctrine taught her that he was in eternal torment. I told her he was in his grave and would remain there till Jesus came--but even then there was the Second Death, or "hell," as she termed it. Bro. Haynes, Colporteur, God bless him, came to my home with the DAWNS. I told him, No; and meant it. Mother interfered and told him she wanted the books, and he left the first five volumes. Mother commenced to read the first volume and before she got through with it she was walking the house rejoicing and cried, "Praise God, Sammie is not in hell," meaning eternal torment. I commenced to read and investigate. I found the Truth--"the whole truth and nothing but the truth," and with mother I rejoiced and praised my heavenly Father that he had showed us his plan and his great love for the world. And likewise I thanked him for his great love in sending us such a beloved brother as you, our beloved Brother Russell, who gives us meat in due season. May God spare you a few years yet in the harvest work.
I am rejoicing in the Truth, firm and established in the harvest work.
Yours sincerely in Jesus Christ,
MRS. JAMES FORSYTH,--California.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
We have been delayed from our work on account of sickness, until yesterday, and then, although both of us were under the doctor's care, we went to work. Wife put in about seven hours and I about two. Result: twenty-six volumes for her and fifteen for myself. Praise God! We were so thankful, so happy, when we came home that we could scarcely go to sleep. We are starting out again this morning. We thank you for your kind words of encouragement. We expect to finish this place this week. My orders were all from colored people. I am to preach for them second Sunday in May. Will make full report later both to you and Colporteur department.
J. B. MCGEE,--Colporteur.
The work goes on gloriously. But the trials and testings are severe, and increasingly so. The cry is coming from every quarter. There never was such an important moment as this. Surely the Lord is thus hastening the work of finishing our faith so that we may at once come to the mark, and our faith may be able to stand the final great conflict and we be brought off "more than conquerors." May the Lord grant that none of us may be found wanting in willingness to encourage and strengthen these little ones who are now struggling for existence. In much love to all,
Your servant, O. L. SULLIVAN,--Pilgrim.
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