VOL. XVI. APRIL 15, 1895. No. 8.
Special Item--Being Reviled He Reviled
Not Again................................... 90
Views from the Tower--............................ 91
The Drift of the Times........................ 91
The Just Shall Live by Faith...................... 92
God Not the Author of Sin......................... 93
Bible Study: The Lord's Supper.................... 94
Bible Study: The Agony in Gethsemane.............. 95
Encouraging Letters............................... 97
The Memorial Celebration..........................100
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WHEN REVILED, HE REVILED NOT AGAIN!
"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."--`Matt. 5:11,12`.
From various quarters come jibes and misrepresentations and bitter invectives against MILLENNIAL DAWN, the OLD THEOLOGY tracts, ZION'S WATCH TOWER and the Editor. We keep a file of these, and wonder how much shame and confusion of face will come to their authors when, very shortly, "every hidden thing shall be revealed," and the Lord shall make manifest to the world the now secret motives which actuate men in their opposition to truth.
In sending these to us (and we are always glad to receive them), the brethren often express their confidence that we will "reply" on the subject. But, since the WATCH TOWER was started, we have carefully refrained from personalities relating to ourselves or others. Nothing has ever appeared except what we deemed necessary by way of explanation to keep the flock from being deceived,--nothing more; nothing as a defense or bombast of ourselves, nothing of an attack upon others. We attack false doctrines, and, in the event of their being promulgated by well known, public men, we give their names. (As in the case of Dr. Abbott, Bishop Foster, H. W. Beecher, Prof. Drummond, et al.) But we never discuss men, nor personal affairs, theirs or our own. We are-- Set for the defence of the Truth, and the overthrow of Error, pertinent to the Gospel; not for self-defence, nor for attack upon others.
Our readers may rest assured, however, that if any criticism be made which in our judgment would need answer, it will be given. The so-called criticisms of MILLENNIAL DAWN so far are merely invectives apparently prompted by malice, which can command neither Scripture nor logic, and can use only epithets. They are worthy only of silent pity or benevolence, according to the standpoint of the writers. The best answer to anyone inquiring concerning such misrepresentations is to hand him a copy of the DAWN to read. That will be answer enough for people desirous of comprehending the subjects.
And we write thus for you, as well as for ourselves; for all associated with the truth bear some of its reproaches (`Psa. 69:9`), and will in due time share the rewards with our Lord and Head.
Let our watchword be, Onward! in the name and love and service of our King of kings. "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart."--`Psa. 31:24`.
MONEY IN THE MAILS is unsafe; and, besides, it puts too great a temptation before some people. Send by Draft or Money Order.
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
THE five items below are from the columns of The Gospel Message. We are glad to see that some of Zion's Watchmen are awake and not afraid to "Sound the Alarm!"
THE DRIFT OF THE TIMES.
"A western Bishop of the M.E. Church in conversation with one of our county workers in Nebraska said that Verbal Inspiration was one of the most dangerous doctrines ever taught, that it was the cause of more abominable heresies than most any other doctrine, being associated with such ideas as the Second Coming of the Lord, and the rest of those things, and urged another worker--a Methodist-- to stand by the Church of his fathers.
"If this Methodist worker should stand by the Church of his fathers, he would probably not be in speaking distance of this present, Bible-destroying Bishop, for, thank God! Wesley, Fletcher and the fathers believed the Bible to be very words from God, and earnestly desired and looked for the second coming of Christ....Sound the Alarm!
"The First Congregational Church of Denver has just installed Dr. John P. Coyle as pastor. During the examination previous to the installation services he would not admit that Christ was the Son of God more than any other good man. That he lived in closer personal relationship with God and in greater conformity with his will and nature than any other who ever lived, he acknowledged, but no more. Answering the question, 'What do you mean by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ?' he said: 'Coming into the same kind of personal relationship with him that some poor fellow does who cannot get along without depending upon Brother Uzzell.' (This brother is pastor of a church that does much to supply the needs of the poor). He also stated that he regarded Christ as a consummation of the development of the world at the time when he came. ....At the conclusion of the examination the committee retired and discussed the situation nearly two hours, the final vote standing fourteen to five in favor of his installation as the new pastor....
"We say it deliberately, and after due consideration, we believe that it would have been better for this church to have installed some noted infidel, for then a less number would likely be deceived and led away into the arms of the Adversary. Thus the teachings of those destroyers of the Faith--Professor Herron and his associates--are being worked out in Congregationalism, and the end is not yet. Sound the alarm!
"A leading Y.M.C.A. in western Iowa analyzed its membership in the official organ of the Associations, and under denominations placed Catholics, Unitarians and Jews, along with Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, etc., with no distinction whatever.
"A southern Y.M.C.A. General Secretary writes us of his dissatisfaction with his present work, and states that he is crowded from early morning until late at night with finances, gymnasium classes and the social and educational departments, and even the religious work is becoming such a display with catchy attractions that it is hard work to get a religious meeting (so-called) without a brass band, and the less spirituality there is the more it is liked, even by those who seem to deplore such a state of affairs.
"All classed in together, and all given over to worldly sides of the work, that the Society may be made to go, and be counted a success before men--these are certainly not the marks of a Christian organization. It is, however, gratifying to know that all the Associations have not reached this place, but such is certainly the downward tendency of the day; and lest many of our Christian young men be carried down the stream, the servants of the Master will do well to--Sound the alarm!
"Christian Science is developing rapidly. The teaching of the advocates of this unscriptural sect leads them into peculiar positions. In Burlington, Iowa, the disciples of this theory have requested that the authorities excuse their children from attendance upon the classes in physiology,
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maintaining that there is no such thing as a material body: they do not want their children to be taught to believe in lungs, livers and stomachs as actually existing. Of all the silly fads which intelligent people have been guilty of advocating, this fad of Christian Science seems the silliest: its very name is a misnomer, for they deny the Christ. If they have no bodily organism it seems a wanton waste of money to purchase food--they might better use their cash for the propagation of their doctrines....Sound the Alarm!
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"A short time ago a prominent Presbyterian minister in eastern Kansas made the opening speech for a Hebrew fair. There were present Jews, Roman Catholics, Congregationalists, Presbyterians and other classes of people, and among other things he said, 'This meeting shows me that the people are rising above sectional differences and are becoming more acquainted with good ways along this line; it is a sign of progress and that man will soon be free. I love to meet men as men; God is the Father of all and not of any particular church. Such feelings better men and refine women, and I am glad to see all kinds of people here for the benefit of this church. I congratulate you on your Rabbi; he is the best minister you have ever had; he is a man of God; stand by him; he stands before you as a representative of the Almighty God.' The Rabbi then thanked the minister, saying, 'He is my brother, broad-hearted and world-embracing. I am glad to see such a union to bring offerings to the High Priests of Benevolence.' As he concluded his remarks the minister stepped to his side and the two grasped hands for a few seconds, after which, the minister announced, 'This fair is now open.' Among the attractions there were to be voting contests with prizes--the most popular young lady, a side saddle; the most popular minister, a fine clock; etc.
"Has this Presbyterian minister forgotten Calvary? --Does he intend to deny his Lord and Master? Our Savior said, 'No man cometh unto the Father, but by me,' and instead of preaching Jesus of Nazareth, Israel's crucified Messiah, to this poor Christ-rejecting Rabbi, he closely associates with him in the foolishness of a church show, and publicly tells him he is 'a man of God.' Such words seem almost to be blasphemy against God's only begotten and well beloved Son. May God forgive him, and raise up some faithful Gospel preacher in that city to--Sound the alarm!"
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THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them who believe to the saving of the soul."--`Heb. 10:38,39`.
THERE is a solemn significance about these words of the Apostle which the thoughtful Christian will not fail to perceive. Those addressed are not worldly people, but consecrated believers, justified by faith in Christ as their Redeemer. By faith they have passed from death unto life; to them old things have passed away and all things have become new; they are new creatures in Christ Jesus; they are sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, if so be that they suffer with him, following in his footsteps of self-sacrifice, even unto death. They are begotten again to a hope of life (eternal), to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away--an inheritance, however, into which they are not immediately ushered, but which is reserved in heaven for them.
The promises of God made to this class are exceeding great and precious, and if they are really believed they cannot fail to powerfully influence the life; but if they are not received, it is manifest that they can have no power over the life. And more, if they be not fully believed, if they be not personally appropriated, they are not applicable, and no one can hope for anything in them. This is clearly intimated in the above words of the Apostle--"Now the just shall live by faith." It is not enough that, by faith, we receive the first impulse of life, but, having passed from death unto life, by the same means, we must continue to receive and appropriate spiritual nourishment, that we may grow thereby: we must walk by faith, following the leading of the holy spirit through the Word of Truth.
In this way of faith there is much of present privilege, as well as future prospect. It is the way in which we may enjoy the fellowship and the abiding presence of our Lord Jesus and our Heavenly Father, in which we may have intimate personal communion with them, and in which we may also have the witness of the holy spirit to our adoption and continued acceptance as sons of God, and the comfort of the Scriptures, the communion of saints, and the blessed inspiration, assistance and encouragement of all the means of grace. These present privileges, together with the glorious hopes they inspire and keep alive within us, are the meat which we have to eat which the world knows not of, enabling us to live a new life apart from the world--apart from its spirit and its fellowship. This is what it is to walk by faith. It signifies a course of life quite contrary to the usual order of the world, which is to walk by sight and after the desires of the flesh. Men of the world look at the things that are seen: they judge of their relative values, but only with reference to temporal interests, entirely ignoring their eternal interests and the claims of the Creator upon them. Lacking faith in the divine Word, they lack substantial hope beyond the present; and upon their own judgment of the relative values of earthly prizes and their hopes of winning them, they exercise themselves in their pursuit, leaving the questions of the future and of present responsibility to God practically out of consideration.
But not so is it with the true child of God. He walks by faith and not by sight: he looks not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen (`2 Cor. 4:18`), ever bearing in mind that the things that are seen are temporal, uncertain and unsatisfactory, while the things that are unseen are eternal, sure to the faithful, and of inestimable value. He is living, not for the present, but for the future--for the things revealed to the eye of faith in
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the promises of God, all of which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, to them that believe. In this life of faith the motives, hopes, aims, ambitions and joys are all of a higher, nobler order than those of the world; but they are such as depend entirely upon faith. If the Christian's faith be overthrown he must of necessity to that extent cease to live the life of faith; that is, he will cease to be actuated by the same motives, etc., which his faith previously inspired. And if, through unfaithfulness, his spiritual vision has become dim, so that he can no longer see or rightly estimate the value of spiritual things, the world, the flesh and the devil are still busy presenting allurements and deceptions to lead him farther and farther away from God, in whose favor alone is life.
Weariness in well doing and desire for the rewards of
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unfaithfulness are first steps in drawing back from the way of faith and also from the favor of God. In the light of our text, this drawing back is a most serious matter. The intimation of `verse 39` is that it is a drawing back unto perdition, destruction--"If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
The drawing back may at first be a very slight departure from the narrow way of sacrifice--only a looking back, perhaps, with a sigh for the things behind, a little slowing up of speed in the race set before us; then a little disposition to compromise the truth in favor of the cravings of the fallen nature. Thus the way is prepared for the arts of the tempter, who is quick to note our weak points, and to take advantage of them in a manner best suited to our case. Subtle errors are brought to bear against the judgment; pleasing allurements, with a show of righteousness, are presented to the fleshly mind; and, almost imperceptibly, the soul forgets its "first love" for the Lord, and its first zeal in his service, and drifts away from the truth and the spirit of it, being no longer led of the holy spirit of God.
Few indeed are the children of God who have never been tempted in this direction; for we all have the treasure of the new nature "in earthen vessels," and between the new and the old natures there is a constant warfare; and only by continued vigilance can the new nature keep the old in abeyance. In the wearisome life-long struggle we often need our Father's chastening hand to guide and keep us in the way. "What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?" By instruction, discipline, experience, he leads us on, and if at heart our disposition is to be led of the spirit--to gratefully receive the instruction, humbly accept the discipline, and meekly profit by the experience, then will the Lord have pleasure in leading us on from grace to grace and from victory unto victory. To merely stand and battle on the defensive is very wearisome, and gains no victory. To gain the victory we must not only put on the armor of God, but we must be heroes in the strife, and wage an aggressive warfare upon the lusts of the eye and flesh and pride of life and all the foes of righteousness and purity. Love--love for the Lord, for the truth and for righteousness --must inspire us, or we shall never be victors. Love alone will keep us faithful even unto death, and make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Where fervent love rules in the heart it implies that the heart is fully submitted to the Lord, and that means that nine-tenths of the battle is already won. But even then, as the Apostle says (`Jude 21`), we must keep ourselves in the love of God, in watchfulness and prayer and zeal; and grace will abound where love abounds.
In such faithful obedience to the truth, and earnest endeavor to conform to its principles, the way and the truth grow more and more precious, and our willing feet with joy are led in the paths of righteousness and peace-- into life everlasting.
The life of faith is an individual matter, as well of the heart as of the head. It is far more than an acceptance of doctrines which we consider Scriptural and therefore true; it is the assimilation of that which we have proved to be the truth, so that its principles become our principles, and its promises our inspiration. This is what it is to "believe to the saving of the soul." "As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." And however we may realize our insufficiency of ourselves to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil in this seemingly unequal contest, let us remember, for our encouragement, that he who has begun a good work in us will carry it on to completion, if we humbly submit ourselves to his leading and discipline. Our Lord's promise is that he will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we are able to endure. Let us hold fast our faith and our confidence in his sure word of promise--hold the truth in righteousness and faithfulness, and we shall not be of them who draw back and mind earthly things.
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GOD NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN.
A BROTHER who was greatly helped by the vindication of God's character in the article, "Christian Common Sense," in our March 1 issue, refers us to `Job 42:11` as a positive statement that the evil which befell Job was brought upon him by Jehovah.
In reply we quote from our issue of Aug. 1, '94, page 245, as follows:--
"Satan is indeed the prince of the air, the present heavens --ecclesiasticism, both heathen and nominal Christian-- and only the Lord's "little flock" are kept, so that the "wicked one toucheth them not."--`1 John 5:18`.
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"But in another sense Satan is prince of the air power, --literally. When Job was given into his hand to be tried, he manifested his power of death. He caused fire to fall from heaven (probably a bolt of lightning), and destroyed
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several of Job's servants and his sheep. He caused a great wind (a cyclone or tornado) to come upon Job's house, and thus killed Job's sons and daughters.
"Satan's object evidently was to make Job suppose that God caused those calamities and thus to cause Job to feel bitter and resentful against God, and to 'curse God and die;' or to shake his faith in there being any God. Indeed, that such was Satan's object is implied in the narrative; and Job's friends, although God-fearing men, were deceived into this view, and tried for days to convince Job that his afflictions were the work of the Lord. But of Job it is written, 'In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly [with being the author of his calamities.]'-- `Job 1:22`."
Nevertheless, Job knew to recognize his adversities as God permitted (`Job 2:10`); because Satan could do no more than God would permit him to do.
However, the Brother only partially grasped our argument; which was not that God never causes calamities, such as Job experienced, such as Israel experienced, and such as are promised in the judgments of the "Day of Jehovah;" but that God never commits sin (moral evil), nor influences nor compels men to do so.
We do not wonder that the real points might be confused in some minds in which Christian Common Sense rules, to whom it would be too absurd--nay, too blasphemous --to suppose that the Holy One, who is the very standard and pattern of righteousness (`1 Pet. 1:15,16`), could be the author and instigator of "all sin, wickedness and crime," as some are declaring is the "new light" into which they have come and into which they are striving to lead others. --See `2 Cor. 11:14`.
Another inquiry is with reference to the Hebrew word rendered evil in `Isa. 45:7` and `Amos 3:6`, which in our issue of March 1 we showed had not the remotest reference to moral evil, sin.
We reply,--The word in Hebrew is ra. It is translated thirty-two different ways in our common version, thus:--Adversity, Affliction, Calamity, Distress, Grief, Hurt, Ill, Mischief, Misery, Sorrow, Trouble, Wicked, Wickedness, Evil, etc.
Thus it will be seen that like our English word evil it might be used in referring to anything not good, undesirable; and both in the Hebrew and the English we should be obliged to judge from the context whether moral evil (sin) or physical evil (pain, trouble, etc.) is meant. We showed beyond question in our article referred to that the context showed that physical evil (trouble, calamity, etc.) is the only meaning which can be drawn from "evil" in the texts cited as proof-texts (`Isa. 45:7`; `Amos 3:6`) by those who would blasphemously, as well as foolishly, charge God with being the author and instigator of "all the sin and wickedness and crime" of the world.
An illustration of the use of ra where it does signify sin, wickedness and crime may be found in `Isa. 5:20`. It there, however, seems to apply to those who are traducing God's character--calling his good evil, calling his righteousness sin, and in general confusing themselves and others by calling darkness light, and light darkness. Verily, "If the light that is in thee become darkness, how great is that darkness."--`Matt. 6:23`.
[We still have over 1000 extra copies of our March 1 issue which we will supply free to our readers to loan to people disturbed by the blasphemous doctrine it opposes and exposes. An occasional one whose head has been confused by sophistry, but whose heart, as well as his tongue, is still loyal to the Lord, may be reached; but our experience is--not many. Whenever the blasphemous words have eaten "as doth a canker" (`2 Tim. 2:17`) into the heart, so that they love darkness rather than light, when both are before them,--prefer to think of God as the one from whom cometh every evil thought, propensity and act, rather than to recognize him as the Light wherein is no darkness--you may conclude that not only is the head confused, but that the heart also is radically antagonistic to both the spirit and the Word of God. Turn from such, notwithstanding their "feigned words," and turn to and fellowship "him that hath an ear to hear" and a heart to love the first principles of the gospel and only such further teaching as is in full harmony with those first principles. As our Lord did, let us give special attention to "Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile."]
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THE LORD'S SUPPER.
--APRIL 28, `MARK 14:12-26`;--`MATT. 26:17-30`; `LUKE 22:7-30`; `1 COR. 11:23-25`.--
Golden Text--"This do in remembrance of me."
`VERSES 12-16`. The first day of unleavened bread when they killed the Passoverlamb, was the 14th of Nisan (See March 15 TOWER, page 71). The Feast of Passover began on the 15th and lasted for seven days; the day beginning at sunset--6 P.M., of the preceding day. (`Exod. 12:18-20`.) The prohibition of the use of leaven during this time was a reminder (1) of the haste with which they fled from Egypt, not having time to wait for bread to rise (`Exod. 12:34,39`); and (2) of their sufferings in Egypt, on account of which it was called the bread of affliction. (`Deut. 16:3`.) But (3) its chief significance was the putting away of sin, leaven being incipient putrefaction and hence a symbol of impurity. (`1 Cor. 5:6-8`; `Matt. 16:6`.) Considering Israel in its typical character and their deliverance from Egyptian bondage as a type of the deliverance of the world from the bondage of sin and death, this feast is seen to be a type of the world's proper condition in the Millennial age. Having, through Christ, experienced the great deliverance from the present bondage of sin and death and the great time of trouble, it will be required of all that they put away from them the leaven of sin and, in grateful remembrance of their deliverance, keep the feast (rejoicing in and partaking of the good things of God), not with the leaven of selfishness, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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The killing of the passover lamb, which prefigured the sacrifice of Christ, was always done on the 14th of Nisan (`Exod. 12:6`); so also the sacrifice of Christ was accomplished on this same day, thus fulfilling the prediction of the type. The sacrifice of the lamb prefigured the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of "the Church of the first-born," and the subsequent deliverance of the whole groaning creation of which the nation of Israel was a type.
During the passover week hospitality was recognized as a duty in Jerusalem: hence the readiness with which the Lord's request for a room was granted. Probably the man was a believer, as `verse 14` would seem to indicate; or there may have been some previous arrangement with him, as `verse 15` seems to show.
`Verses 17-21`. The strife to be greatest, mentioned only by `Luke (22:24`), probably began when they were taking their places at the table, each desiring to be nearest to the Lord and so manifesting somewhat of a selfish spirit. This was made the occasion of a very touching illustration of humility on the Lord's part, and the enforcement of the truth upon the minds of the disciples that without this very necessary qualification they could not enter the Kingdom of heaven.--`John 13:5`.
The attitude of the disciples upon the Lord's announcement that one of them should betray him showed at once the effect of this lesson on humility. They were not overconfident, but each seeming to fear his own stability, inquiringly turned to the Lord saying, not, Lord, is it this one or that one? but, Lord, is it I? They had the spirit of self-examination.
The hardness of Judas' heart and the depth of hypocrisy manifested in the coolness with which he heard the Lord's warning (`verse 21`) and in the deliberate plotting and wicked perseverance in evil are in marked contrast with the humble, loving spirit of the eleven. It is an illustration of the hopelessness of a soul willingly submitted to the power of Satan. `Verse 21` leaves no ray of hope for his restoration. See also `John 17:12`. The goodness of God only hardened his heart and therefore there was no remedy.
`Verses 22-24` point out the very obvious import of the emblems, bread and wine. The broken bread represented the sacrifice of Christ's humanity for our redemption, the benefits of which sacrifice we must individually appropriate by faith, such appropriation being symbolized by the eating of it. The cup, the wine, which symbolized his shed blood, the blood of the New Covenant shed for many for the remission of sins, had the same significance as the broken bread, our partaking of it also meaning our appropriation of the benefits of his sacrifice, thus securing our justification. So the Lord declares, saying, "Except ye [thus by faith] eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you." (`John 6:53`.) And to this significance the Apostle Paul (`1 Cor. 10:16,17`) shows another; viz., our participation with him, as members of his body, in the sacrifice: --"The cup of blessing for which we bless God, is it not a participation of the blood of the Anointed one? The loaf which we break, is it not a participation of the body of the Anointed one? Because there is one loaf, we, the many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf."
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After the Supper followed all those words of instruction, consolation, comfort and hope, and the touching prayer reported by `John (13:33-38`; `Chapters 14-17`). It was a season never to be forgotten by the disciples, one whose influence was very manifest in their subsequent course.
`Verse 25` foretells the final triumph of Christ and the Church when the sufferings of the present time are all ended. Then their feasting together will have a new and blessed significance, being commemorative of the heroism of their faith and their fidelity to the divine purpose under the most crucial tests, and a rejoicing together in the victory that faith and fidelity.
`Verse 26`. "And when they had sung a hymn they went out into the Mount of Olives." Instead of dispersing they went out together. Observing the Lord's sadness and forebodings, the eleven sought to comfort and help him with their love and sympathy, while Judas went on his diabolical errand.
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THE AGONY IN GETHSEMANE.
--MAY 5, `MARK 14:32-42`;--`MATT. 26:36-46`; `LUKE 22:39-46`; `JOHN 18:1`.--
Golden Text--"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
AS we consider the solemn scenes of this lesson, let it be with reverence and deep gratitude, remembering it was our load the Master bore, that it was the chastisement of our peace that was upon him, and that with his stripes we are healed.
The narrative, so familiar to every Christian, is one full of precious lessons, especially to those who, by his grace, are endeavoring to follow in the Lord's footsteps. We observe (1) that when the Master realized that his hour of betrayal and fierce temptation was close at hand, having first comforted, counselled, and prayed for and with his disciples, his next strong impulse was to seek a solitary place for prayer and communion with God, that he might find grace to help in time of need. (2) We note also his love for his disciples, and his desire for their love and sympathy in return. "Having loved his own, he loved them to the end." And because he loved them, and knew that they loved him, he permitted them to accompany him to the place of prayer, that they might watch and pray with him. Leaving all but Peter and James and John at the entrance of the garden, as a sort of outer guard against the sudden intrusion of his betrayer upon his last hour of prayer, he advanced with the three--the three in whose ardent natures he seemed to find the most active and consoling sympathy--and, with an earnest appeal to them to watch and pray, he left them and went about a stone's throw beyond. Three times did he rise from prayer and return to them in anguish of soul to feel the touch of human sympathy, saying, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." It was a sorrow, an agony, which, of itself, would have worn him out shortly--an intense mental and nervous strain which caused him to sweat great drops of blood.
It was no sign of weakness in the Master that he thus craved human sympathy. His was no coarse, stoical nature, insensible to pain and shame and loss; nor was it a proud, self-centered nature which stood aloof from human fellowship, although those with whom he associated were so far beneath his glorious perfection. Gracefully he condescended to men of low estate, and esteemed them brethren beloved, of whom he was not ashamed. His was a refined nature, keenly appreciative of all that is lovely and pure and good,
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and correspondingly sensitive to pain from everything to the contrary of these. Human degradation and human woe must continually have borne heavily upon him during all his earthly life. But in this awful hour all the griefs and burdens of the whole world were rolled upon his shoulders, and he was to suffer as though he himself were the sinner--to suffer death, extinction of being, trusting alone in the Father's grace for a resurrection. Into this one hour were crowded, not only the mental realization of death and the physical agony and shame, the cruelty and torture of a horrible death, but also the sense of desolation to be experienced when even his beloved disciples, overcome by fear and dismay, should forsake him; and the sorrowful reflections upon the irretrievable loss of Judas, and upon the course of the Jewish nation--"his own" people, who despised him and were about to call down upon their own heads the vengeance of his blood, saying, "His blood be upon us and on our children." He foresaw the terrible calamities that in consequence must soon overwhelm them. Then the degradation of a whole guilty world, which must continue to groan and travail in pain until by his sacrifice he should gain deliverance for them from sin and death, caused him to feel the burden of responsibility to an extent which we can only approximate, but cannot fully comprehend. And in addition to all this was his knowledge of the fact that every jot and tittle of the law with reference to the sacrifice must be perfectly fulfilled according to the pattern in the typical sacrifice of the day of atonement.* If he should fail in any part of the work, all would be lost, both for himself and for men. And yet, though a perfect man, he realized that the flesh, however perfect, was unequal to the task.
How much depended upon our Lord's fortitude in that awful hour, alone and defenceless in the darkness of overwhelming night, awaiting the certain arrival of his betrayer and the will of his persecutors maddened with hate and full of the energy of Satan! Oh, how the destinies of the world and of himself seemed to tremble in the balances! Even the perfect human nature was not equal to such an emergency without divine aid, therefore it was that he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from death, by a resurrection. The necessary comfort was provided through the Prophet `Isaiah (42:1,6`), by whom Jehovah said, "Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: ...I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee [from falling or failure], and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles....He shall not fail nor be discouraged."
When the fearful ordeal in Gethsemane strained the powers of endurance almost to their utmost tension his prayer was only, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." Then, though the cup might not pass from him, an angel came and ministered to him. Just how, we know not, but probably by refreshing his mind with the precious promises and prophetic pictures of the coming glory, which none of his disciples had sufficiently comprehended to thus comfort him in this hour when the gloom of thick darkness settled down upon his soul, crowding out hope and bringing a sorrow exceeding great, "even unto death." Ah, it was Jehovah's hand upholding him, blessed by his holy name! according to his promise, that he might not fail nor be discouraged.
The result of that blessed ministry was a reinforced courage which commands the deepest admiration. It was not a courage born of stoical indifference to pain and shame and loss, but a courage born of that faith which is anchored fast within the vail of the divine promises and power. With his eye of faith upon the glorious victory of truth and righteousness, when he should see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied--satisfied with the eternal joy and blessedness of a redeemed world, with the welcome and wealth of the Father's blessing, and the love and gratitude of every loyal creature in heaven and in earth--yes, comforted and encouraged thus with a realizing sense of the rewards of faith and faithful endurance to the end, he could now calmly and even courageously, go forth to meet the foe. Yes, this was the victory by which he overcame, even his faith, and so we also are to overcome.
Now commenced the realization of the dreadful forebodings of Gethsemane. Mark his calm, dignified fortitude, as he addresses Judas and the Roman soldiers, and its effect upon them. They were so overpowered with the grandeur and nobility of this wonderful man that they could not have taken him had he not voluntarily placed himself in their hand. Notice, too, his kind consideration for the bewildered and weary disciples, and his loving excuse for them, "The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak," and his request to the Roman soldiers at the time of his arrest that they might be permitted to go their way (`John 18:8`), that so they might escape sharing in his persecutions. So through all the trial and mocking, and finally the crucifixion, his courage and solicitude for the welfare of others never failed.
As we thus view our Lord under a trial so crucial, and mark how the hand of Jehovah upheld him, let it strengthen the faith of all who are endeavoring to walk in his footsteps, to whom he says, Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world: and this is the victory that overcometh, even your faith. (`John 16:33`; `1 John 5:4`.) Has not the Lord, Jehovah, commissioned his angels also to bear up the "feet" of the body of Christ, lest at any time they be dashed against a stone (lest some overwhelming trial should prove too much for them)? (`Psa. 91:11,12`.) Yes, as surely as his hand upheld the Head, our Lord Jesus, so surely will he bear up the feet. "Fear not, little flock: it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom," though through much tribulation ye shall enter it. The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. Though their ministry is unseen
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by us, it is not therefore unreal, but potent for good. Our fellow-members, too, in the body of Christ are all the Lord's active messengers to each other, thus in turn sharing the privilege of bearing up the feet.
But to have this help in time of need we must invoke it. Every day and every hour is indeed a time of need; hence our necessity of living in an atmosphere of prayer-- to pray without ceasing. And if the Lord needed often to seek retirement from the busy scenes of his active life to be alone with God, to keep the close bond of loving sympathy established, surely we need to do so; and in so doing we shall always find grace to help in time of need. In seasons of heavy trial the darkness may indeed so deepen upon the soul, as in our dear Lord's case, as almost to shut out the stars of hope; yet if, like the Lord, we hold on to the omnipotent arm of Jehovah and meekly say, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done," his grace will always be sufficient; and with the Psalmist we can say, Though my flesh and my heart fail, yet God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (`Psa. 73:26`); and, with the Lord, our hearts will respond--"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
*See TABERNACLE SHADOWS, page 39.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--This morning, in thinking over the subject of "present experience," or "present privilege," I thought, I will write of it to one of the brethren; then I thought, I will write it to the Church at New York; then again I thought, No: I will write it to Brother Russell for the Church in general. So here it is:--
KNOWING AND DOING.
Practical and perfect obedience (on our part to God) "is a consummation devoutly to be wished." It is, it seems to me, one of the most timely, vitally important and intensely interesting subjects that can engage our attention at this season of the Christian year, when we have again been privileged to "Do this in remembrance of me."
It is not enough simply to resolve or determine to do right or to obey God. We may sing:
"I want to touch lightly the things of this earth,
Esteeming them only of trifling worth!
From sin and its bondage I would be set free,
And live, my dear Savior, live only for thee!" But unless we go further, and actually make advancement in character, we will prove failures, and finally be completely shipwrecked.
"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (`John 13:17`.) Our Lord, here, as in other places, lays special stress on obedience, as do also all of the New Testament writers. Many seem content simply to know these things. Alas! how many there are who stop with a knowledge of God's plan, as it is now revealed and understood, seemingly unmindful of the latter clause of this text. Their lives are not conformed to the Word, nor to the likeness of Christ. (See `Rom. 6:17`, Diaglott; `Rom. 8:29`; `12:1,2`.) It would seem at first that they really desire to be moulded and fashioned into the image of God's dear Son, but they go no further. They are not willing to pay the price: obedience is the price. They are not willing to endure the self-sacrifice and self-denial required by their covenant; for the "High Calling" costs all we have, though it is also worth all it costs. But these forget, or disregard, our Lord's words: "Happy are ye, if ye do them!"
How prone we all are to desire and to acquire knowledge, at the expense of our spiritual development, and of the chief "fruit of the spirit," love--forgetting that "knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." Knowledge does not bring, nor produce, happiness. Obedience does. This we know, not only from our text, but by experience as well.
We must bear in mind, however, that obedience is prompted by love; even as he said: "If ye love me, keep my commandments;" or "If a man love me, he will keep my words." Our love, then, is the measure of our obedience, and vice versa.
Perhaps some one will say, "Oh! but you forget that he takes the will for the deed," and that it is written: 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.'" No, we do not forget: we are well aware of that glorious truth; but we claim that there is great danger, right here, of "presumptuous sins."--`Psa. 19:13`; read also `Rom. 2:1-6`; `6:12-22`.
Let us now notice some other texts on the importance of obedience. In `Mark 3:34,35`, our Lord does not say, whosoever shall hear, or understand, or desire to do, nor even try to do, but "whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." What a privilege! Is it not worth striving for?
`Luke 6:46`: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
`John 15:14`: "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." What an honor to be the Lord's friend!
`Matt. 7:21-27`: Here we are taught that works are not always obedience; in other words, "Obedience is better than sacrifice." Many there are who are consecrated to a system, or to a work, who are not fully consecrated to him. How earnestly we should desire and strive to be "wise" in his estimation!
`James 1:25`: "Blessed," not in his profession, not in his desire, nor yet in his determination; but blessed in his doing.
`John 14:21-23`: Here is an experience to be coveted.
`Gal. 6:9`--not in well-meaning, but in well-doing. So in `1 Pet. 4:19`.
`Col. 3:23`: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Oh, to measure fully up to this experience!
`Heb. 2:3`: Simply to neglect is fatal. We must stand (`Eph. 6:13,14`), or progress. To stand, in this "evil day," requires the "whole armor;" and, to progress, we have to (beside having on the whole armor) "pray always" and "watch," as in `verse 18`.
When tempted in any line or to any degree, "Let us fly to the Word."--`Matt. 4:4`. Here are some of the "exceeding great and precious promises," upon which we may stand. Please read them carefully.--`2 Cor. 12:9,10`; `2:14`; `1 Cor. 10:13`; `1:26-31`; `2 Cor. 9:8`; `Phil. 4:19`.
We will never (while in the flesh) be exempt from temptations; but it is not a sin to be tempted: "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin!" We must expect a constant and a hard fight. Satan is so persistent. The poet says truly:
"Yield not to temptation; for yielding is sin.
Each vict'ry will help you some other to win."
So also there is truth in the old proverb, "We cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads; but we can prevent them from building their nests in our hair." And the Scriptures exhort us to "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." "Neither give place to the devil." "Above all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one)." "Take us the little foxes (i.e., wicked thoughts, etc.,) that spoil the vines." "Love thinketh no evil!" (Oh, for instant and constant victory!) Whatsoever things are pure, lovely, etc., think on these things. See also `2 Cor. 10:5`.
"All for Jesus, all for Jesus! all my being's ransomed powers. All my thoughts, and words, and doings; all my days and all my hours."
As one recently wrote, "By never permitting wrong thoughts to have a place (in our minds or hearts), one can overcome much more easily. I speak from experience." Or, as another said, speaking from another standpoint, "We realize more and more the necessity for the development of positive traits of the Divine character, as well as the maintenance of our loyalty and integrity (to him) in the crucial tests to which the world, the flesh and the devil subject us. Oh, the sweet joy and peace that brighten our pathway tonight!" We must not only "cease to do evil," but we must "learn to do well"--really do good works; be "rich in good works;" "always abounding in the work of the Lord."
We all desire to be more spiritual-minded; but how can we? Answer: By feeding constantly on the Word, and by following closely in Christ's footsteps. (`1 John 2:6`;
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`3:3`; `1 Pet. 1:22`; `Acts 10:38`.) A recent letter voiced my sentiments: "How I long for a higher life, a closer walk with God, a more realizing sense of Christ's presence. It does seem as though I were not living as high as I ought, or as in my privilege. I see so clearly the necessity of the willing sacrifice. I feel the need of higher, spiritual teaching."
Praise God! that we are growing up "in the unity of the Spirit" and to "the unity of the Faith." (`Eph. 4:1-13`.) `Verse 13` should describe our present experience; or, better, our present experience should approximate that description. And, "speaking the truth in love, may [we] grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
As a fitting close for this subject of obedience, I present this, as our motto for the coming year--"What would Jesus do?" And for a definite and complete answer, how appropriate his own words: "I do always those things that please Him!" (`John 8:29`.) Amen! And may God Almighty help us so to do!
Your Brother, "all for Jesus," JAMES A. WEST.
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DEAR BROTHER:--It is evident that not a few of your readers are solicitous in regard to their spiritual state and prospects; and well they may be, for the time is short, and the issues are tremendous.
In my own mind it lies in this way. When the Lord would open my eyes to the truth, he found in me a will at variance with his. I was born with it, and my evil acts were generated by it. My whole life and activity were inspired by self-will; and what was externally correct was vitiated at heart, because done in alienation from the life and will of God. The carnal mind minded not the things of God.
But, on acquaintance with himself and myself, I saw that, not only is his will sovereign, but righteous--holy, just and good; while mine, being variant from his, was essentially vicious, and could end only in ruin. "For desire, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." It follows that the universal welfare, in earth and heaven, demands the universal prevalence of God's holy will. His claim to our loyalty and obedience is co-incident with our truest welfare, and enforced by true love. Hence I renounced my self-reliance, self-assertion, self-seeking, and sank my whole self-will into his righteous will. I desire nothing more than his will, I accept nothing less. That he has a will about it, that covers all my case, enthuses me. I am of value in his sight when I am of his mind and will, and act on his plan; he is mine, and I am his; and I can trust his infinite wisdom and power to do all for me that is in his heart of love. Why should I ask more? how can I accept less than he so freely offers? I find it my wisdom to refer it all to his own wisdom and sovereign pleasure. Neither do I envy any other one's fortune. He has a dispensation for you, and also one for me--both conceived in consummate wisdom, and provided for of sovereign grace. Your fortune is fitted to you, and mine is suited to me. And when the Lord's will is done in you, and in me, and in every other one wise enough to submit theirs to his, then every star will shine in its own place and magnitude--even though one star may differ from another star in glory.
Every life, therefore, is a standing success when free and whole-souled choice has been made of the whole will of God--no matter what its worldly circumstances. The endeavor after the obedience of love--as complete as its surrender of will--will be accepted of the Lord, despite the imperfections arising out of nature's infirmities. He is accepted in the Beloved, complete in Christ, and justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
For myself, therefore, I do not specify, nor bargain with the Lord. What he offers freely I accept thankfully. I will neither go beyond nor stop short of all his will. I take him at his word, and trust him for all that grace of life that is in Christ for us, and which his holy spirit administers in every soul that offers itself to him. When he fills me, all else is shut out; and when his work is done, all is done. The redeemed of the Lord are guided into all truth. All are complete in him, and satisfied with him. He sees in them of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied.
Great things are present, but greater ones are ahead. How blessed to be on the Lord's side, and to have the Lord on our part in these tremendous times, and thus to escape the things that are coming upon the earth!
J. R. LENTE.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Since receiving the tracts we have been at work among our Methodist friends, and as a result our supply (4,000) of No. 25 is exhausted. We still have a number of Do You Know? but will be glad to have at least 5,000 more of No. 25, and such others as you feel disposed to send.
Our friends here all seem glad to help spread the truth, and I am glad to say that it is having a sanctifying influence on our own lives and hearts, and that we rejoice that we have the privilege of serving our Master, even though it is in doing some of the small things. But, as I said to Sister Wise last night, the plan of the ages has become a part of my very life. How precious does the old story become to us, who are in Christ Jesus! How gratifying it is to note the unfolding of God's great plan day by day! Truly the Lord is good! Your Brother in Christ, C. A. WISE.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--While Brothers Wright and Causer have been finishing here, I have been down to Bedford. It is a little place, of about three thousand. I was there not quite nine days, and took 195 orders, and think I will have better success in delivering there than here, where I have had to work against more opposition than ever before; for even some of the colored ministers oppose the truth very bitterly. While I cannot say that this opposition and loss of orders have made me feel good, I realize that in view of the life of our Lord and his faithful followers, and the things which they suffered in living a godly life, if I am a follower of the Lord I cannot expect it otherwise; and so I strive to take it patiently; and my earnest desire is that when opposition to the truth waxes stronger I may, by the grace of God, endure faithfully to the end.
When I view the favor that my Heavenly Father has bestowed upon me, in leading me out of gross darkness into his marvelous light, in opening my eyes to an appreciation of our high calling and in enabling me to apply the precious truth to myself, I am greatly comforted, and I experience that peace and joy which the world cannot give or take away. And not by words alone would I show my appreciation of God's grace to me. By my actions, by my daily life in his service, would I prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
Please take from my account One Hundred Dollars and apply it where it is most needed. I thought to save what money I could in view of going to New Zealand in the interests of this gracious gospel (as you remember I spoke to you about it), but seeing the amount of work to be done here, I would rather submit to the leading of the Lord as circumstances may direct. S. J. RICHARDSON.
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DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--It is about a year since I came into the light of harvest truth. How wonderfully God has been leading me--more and more fully into the light.
I sometimes ask myself these questions: Am I the same man that I was one year ago? Why is it that all my earthly surroundings have so changed? I seem to see everything in a different light. Earthly objects do not seem so real as before. Is this the experience of all to whom God reveals his plan?
Oh! it does seem that God has drawn me to himself, that I have caught a glimpse of the glories of the heavenly kingdom; and as the truths of the spiritual kingdom are revealed to me more and more, I can say from the heart, "Heaven is my home." Heavenly hopes grow brighter as earthly hopes fade away. And, while here, I rejoice to be counted one of the harvest laborers, though but a humble one. I can never do enough.
Sometimes it is necessary for me to surrender or stand boldly for the truth. Through the grace that is given unto me, I always choose the latter. If I had built my faith on Millennial Dawn only, I should long ago have proved an unfaithful member of the "one body." Thank God! I have searched his Word to learn whether these things are true or not. My dear friends, it is God's work in which we are engaged. I never start out selling Dawns or distributing tracts without first asking him to bless my efforts to aid in spreading the blessed truths of the coming kingdom. I have sold thirteen of the DAWNS ordered of you, and have loaned several among my neighbors. I sell four or five in a half day, and eight or nine when I can give a whole day to the work--which is not often. I could sell many more than that only many poor people are not able to buy. May God bless them. The good news of the kingdom is received more gladly by the common people than by the rich, even as at the first advent.
Dear friends, may God's richest spiritual blessings be showered upon you. Forgetting the present "light afflictions," let us press forward toward the great prize.
Yours in the blessed hope, W. B. LINDSLEY.
DEAR BROTHER:--For more than a quarter of a century I had been an active worker in church and Sunday School and a diligent Bible student; but as I always approached and viewed the Bible through erroneous doctrines, the effect produced on my mind was one of confusion. When I either read or heard from the pulpit of God's promises to gather his people together into their own land, or that every one should be brought to a knowledge of the truth, or other similar statements, this thought always thrust itself into my mind: "What benefit is this to the thousands of millions who are already dead, and who will yet die, before this gracious time comes?" As I could never find an answer to this, I fell at last into a state of spiritual apathy, content to drift along and teach doctrines which I did not comprehend and only half-believed, my only consolation being that these things would all be cleared up in the next life.
Eighteen months ago a DAWN, VOL. I., was put in my hand by a neighbor. It opened at the chapter on Restitution, and after reading a few sentences my interest was aroused. As I went along, again and again I said to myself, "It is too good to be true." And when I reached the end I resolved that I would not leave a stone unturned until I had satisfied myself whether or not your views and statements were in harmony with the Word of God.
Within six months I had read VOL. I. more than a dozen times, and VOLS. II. and III. four or six times each, comparing the references with the Bible, to see if you had used any of them in a strained sense. Afterward I read the entire
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Bible through, so as to view it as a whole; and I became thoroughly satisfied that your statements are in harmony with the original Scriptures, with the accepted character and attributes of God, and also with reason and common sense. And this cannot truly be said of any other system of religious belief with which I am acquainted.
Since I have been thus enlightened, the Bible appears to be an entirely new book. Once it was a duty to read, now it is a pleasure. It seems as if for twenty-five years I had been trying to read it at night by the light of the stars only, and that now the light of the glorious sun shone full upon it.
Mrs. W. and I are still alone in our immediate neighborhood, but we feel and know that we have God on our side; and within a radius of a few miles we have the encouragement and fellowship of more than a score of others who are living and rejoicing in the light of present truth. This is a privilege which has not been always enjoyed by some of us. Bro. Edmonds says he was entirely alone for more than six years after he was led into the light, and he now appreciates the privilege of meeting those of like precious faith almost daily.
We are trying to let our light shine among our friends and old religious associates, but the results thus far have not been very pronounced. I have a number of DAWNS out, but nearly all my friends take hold of the matter in a very sleepy manner. Some only read snatches here and there, and of course miss all the force of their systematic reasoning. One who has given me the most encouraging hopes has carefully read VOLS. I. and II., and is now engaged on VOL. III. He is a Methodist, but says he has been satisfied for years that the orthodox teachings were wrong, yet felt somehow that it was not specially his business.
I can get any number of listeners when I talk on the new truths, but I can not get the same persons to search and prove the truths for themselves. The restitution prospects are embraced the most eagerly, and those who are afraid to believe usually hope that it may prove true. The last new tract, "Do You Know," is a most excellent one, and I think I can make good use of one hundred among such as I know to be thoughtful and religiously inclined, with a request to read as a personal favor.
I have prepared a series of discourses on these Bible truths, and purpose inviting in my friends and neighbors to listen to them; and if they do not bear any fruit now, they will in 1914.
My dear Brother, as a slight encouragement on your toilsome way, I wish to assure you what a blessing the visits of the WATCH TOWER are: how eagerly we look for them, how they are devoured and re-read again and again, and what palatable and strengthening food we find them.
Your brother and friend, SMITH WALKER.
DEAR FRIENDS:--Please send TOWER for one year to __________. He was a notorious infidel, but now, thank God! he is firmly grasping the truth. The other day he told me, "Each day I see a little more plainly than I did the day before." Yours fraternally, W. HOPE HAY.
MY DEAR BROTHER:--"One of the characteristics of religious activity in our day is the mobilization of young workers in church work. The annual national and international assemblies of these societies attract world-wide attention and interest. These assemblies bring together as many persons as the national political conventions, and few
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cities now have halls large enough to accommodate them."
The above editorial, from the Philadelphia Ledger, goes to substantiate the truth of the final massing of the sects. One word particularly drew my attention--"mobilization."
I am much pleased with the interest manifested by the brothers and sisters here. They are taking a firm hold on the truth; yet the adversary still darkens the intellect of some with reference to "Babylon." Brother Sears has done a most excellent work--I think a harvester's work.
You will find enclosed an order slip for DAWNS. An old acquaintance of the family stopped me on the street this afternoon, and greeted me thus: "What is the name of that book you have been reading, that has so changed your views in religious matters, and where can I procure a copy?" We walked up the street together and had (I trust) a very profitable talk. He told me, among other things, that he was somewhat of a skeptic at present. On leaving I handed him some tracts. I find there is a good field in this direction, and keep a record of the tract given to a person and the date, so that I know how to approach that one again.
Yours in the Faith once delivered to the saints,
L. J. WILCOCK.
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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION.
BY many the sentiment was expressed that the Memorial celebrated on the evening of the 7th at Bible House chapel, Allegheny, was the most impressive and enjoyable of any ever held here. The program mentioned in our last issue, page 2, was closely followed. The morning discourse was from the words:--
"And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, 'They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.' And, sitting down, they watched him there."--`Matt. 27:35,36`.
Sister Russell took notes of the discourse, and at some future time portions of it may be reproduced in the TOWER. The morning session, although unusual and less convenient for some of the friends, was well attended, --about one hundred and twenty-five being present--and, on the whole, the arrangement worked very favorably, giving a quiet afternoon for meditation.
Previous opportunities having been afforded for baptisms among the usual congregation, the majority of those immersed were visiting Brethren and Sisters from near-by towns. One Brother, however, came nearly four hundred miles. Twelve were buried in the likeness of the Lord's death, emblemizing in water the burial of their wills into the will of their Redeemer, and thus outwardly confessing him and pledging themselves before men to be dead with him, that they may share also in "his [the first, i.e., the chief] resurrection."
The evening service was well attended--about two hundred being present. We missed the pleasure of meeting with a number of earnest ones from abroad, enjoyed when we used to have the general Conventions at this Memorial date; but we believe that our loss was the gain of the little companies scattered here and there who specially need the very talent which used to be with us on such occasions. This service was introduced by a praise and voluntary testimony meeting in which a number told of the Lord's goodness, their deep appreciation of present truth, and their increased determination to let the love of Christ constrain them to his service--the service of his truth and of his Brethren.
The Memorial Supper followed at eight o'clock. The simplicity of our Lord's ordinances (Baptism and the Memorial Supper) was remarked;--so different from the rituals and ceremonies of men as practiced, not only by the heathen religions, but also as practiced by some who bear the name of Christ: no altar, only a linen-covered table; no candles, but instead the true light of life--Christ; no incense, except the true incense which God accepts through Christ's merit--the prayers of the saints; no priests, except "the royal priesthood" memorializing the death of the great "High Priest of our profession [order];" no gorgeous robes, no vestments, except the robe of Christ's righteousness.
Then we noticed the appropriateness of the emblems, the unleavened bread representing the sinlessness, the purity, of our dear Redeemer--the fruit of the Vine representing the blood of the New Covenant. We noticed how necessary is this bread from heaven; it is indeed bread of eternal life--none can ever get eternal life without it. (`John 6:53`.) We considered how we had already eaten the true bread, Christ, and how we appropriated his virtue and merit--by accepting by faith, as his gift of love, the blessings secured for us by his death--"a ransom for all."
We considered the Lord's statement concerning the "cup" of which our Lord said, "This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins." We saw how our Lord's words contradict the words of many who speak in his name, and who declare that his blood, his death, has nothing to do with forgiveness of sins. We saw, too, that his words contradict the teachings of some who declare that all men will be everlastingly saved, and who fail to note that there are special conditions specified; viz., the New Covenant. We noticed also that his words contradict equally the view of others who claim that all except the "little flock" of this Gospel age will be eternally lost; for our Master declares that his blood was shed for the remission of the sins of many under the terms of the New Covenant.
Then the emblems were partaken of, and we departed for our homes, after singing,
"Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee"-- thinking meanwhile upon what our Lord endured for us, and judging that it is but a reasonable service now that we suffer with him and lay down our lives for the brethren in such little services as we can render; thus testifying our love and devotion to him who redeemed us.