VOL. XXXV JANUARY 1 No. 1
A. D. 1914--A. M. 6042
Views From The Watch Tower........................ 3
The Days Are at Hand.............................. 4
Time Features Unpopular....................... 4
"Rest in the Lord"............................ 4
Unrest on Every Side.......................... 5
A Famine--But Not for Bread................... 5
"Our Deliverance Draweth Nigh"................ 5
The Great Privilege of True Service............... 6
Selfishness Unfits for the Kingdom............ 6
Our Responsibility as Stewards................ 7
The Humble to Be Exalted...................... 8
The Millennial Reign a Service................ 8
Who May Pray and for What?........................ 8
"Seek, Knock, Ask--And Receive"............... 9
Prince of Darkness Vs. Prince of Light............ 10
Names Written in the Lamb's Book of Life.......... 11
Two Books of Life............................. 11
Introduction to the Father.................... 12
Thanksgiving With Prayer and Supplication......... 12
Some Interesting Letters...................... 14
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies............. 15
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.
Foreign Agencies:-British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
---------- ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:-All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
========== ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
========== ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N. Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
THE MEMORIAL SUPPER--1914
Friday evening, April 10th, after 6 o'clock, will be the proper date for the celebration of the Memorial Supper, according to the lunar or Jewish reckoning--Nisan, 14th, twenty-four hours in advance of the Jewish Passover--Nisan, 15th.
HOW YOU CAN ASSIST US
Our dear readers can save much of our time:
By writing their letters plainly.
By putting their full address at the head of the letter.
By putting their orders on a separate piece of paper from their other correspondence.
By giving our file reference in replying to any communications from our office. Write "File A," "File B" or "File R," as the case may be, on face of your addressed envelope or postal card and at beginning of your letter.
Some, we notice, are using a small rubber stamp for their address. This is convenient and may also be used for stamping return address on your envelopes.
We thank you for interesting clippings sent in, but request that you give name and date of the publication. If you send the paper entire be sure to mark the interesting items.
When sending remittances to the Society, please remember to make them payable in all cases to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR FEBRUARY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the Manna text is considered. Hymns for February follow: (1) 14; (2) 208; (3) 46; (4) 147; (5) 311; (6) 43; (7) Vow; (8) 145; (9) 12; (10) 259; (11) 65; (12) 78; (13) 221; (14) 105; (15) 34; (16) 240; (17) 307; (18) 313; (19) 87; (20) 303; (21) 113; (22) 130; (23) 152; (24) 286; (25) 176; (26) 300; (27) 191; (28) 224.
::R5373 : page 3::
VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
FROM every point of view the Year 1914 seems big with possibilities. The headlines of all the newspapers of the world tell that our Master's prediction of nearly nineteen centuries ago is being fulfilled--"Men's hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" in the present social order of affairs. Evidences multiply on every hand that the teachings of the Colleges for the past thirty years along the lines of human Evolution and destructive Higher Criticism of the Bible are bearing their fruitage. What only the educated and the wealthy a few years ago knew respecting these matters, people of all classes now know. Doubts about the inspiration of the Bible have led people to guess for themselves and to realize that all who reject the Bible are merely guessing at the future.
This matter affects the industrial classes as it does not affect the wealthy and the learned. The industrial classes, with little financial backing, do not feel satisfied with their own or other men's guesses respecting a future life. The next logical process of their minds is to inquire how we may know that there is a God, and in general to doubt everything. The next step in order is a determination to make the most of the present life, in view of their uncertainty about the future one. Under such conditions, can we wonder that Socialism in its various forms and phases is growing--that a general spirit of doubt and discontent is increasing?
So long as employment continues at profitable wages, the majority of these people are too cautious to desire a wreck of the social system, through whose operation they have a comfortable living and by whose destruction their comforts might be diminished. The world, therefore, must face the fact that, if dire necessity comes, as it has done in the past, the common people, the artisans of the world, will meet the situation differently from what their fathers did. Faith in God and in the Bible shaken--gone with most of them--we may be assured that a stoppage of the wheels of industry would speedily bring a terrible Time of Trouble to the civilized world. And these very conditions are threatened at the present time. It is on this account that many of the rich and influential are trembling as they face the near future.
The man or the woman possessed of a hope beyond the grave has in the storms of life an anchorage for the soul which others do not have. Should the time come, soon or later, when the social fabric will be stretched to the breaking point, when banks suspend payment of money to their depositors, when factories and mills are closed, when people are hungry, we may be sure that a roar and an explosion will not be long deferred. This awful condition is just what the Bible portrays. So far as our judgment goes, the Year 1914 is the last one of what the Bible terms "Gentile Times"--the period in which God has allowed the nations of the earth to do their best to rule the world. The end of their "Times" marks the date for the beginning of Messiah's Kingdom, which the Bible declares is to be ushered in with a great Time of Trouble, just such as we see impending.
As already pointed out, we are by no means confident that this year, 1914, will witness as radical and swift changes of Dispensation as we have expected. It is beyond the power of our imagination to picture an accomplishment in one year of all that the Scriptures seem to imply should be expected before the Reign of Peace is ushered in.
Letters from all over the world assure us that the sentiment of THE WATCH TOWER readers is in full accord with that of the Editor in a resolution that, whatever may occur or may not occur during these years, our faith in the great Divine Plan of the Ages and in the Harvest shall not be one bit shaken. We know in whom we have believed. We consecrated our lives to His service--even unto death, whether that death shall come within this year or at another time.
The signs of the times clearly indicate the near approach of the very trouble for which we have for forty years been looking. The signs of the Son of Man in the wonderful inventions and progress of the world are manifest to us. We believe that the Parousia of our Redeemer took place thirty-nine years ago and that He is the potent Factor in all the affairs of His Church and the Supervisor now of the conditions which will shortly lead up to the establishment of His own Kingdom and the binding of Satan, the Prince of Darkness.
We believe that the Year 1914 gives evidence of greater possibilities of service for the Truth than has any previous year of the Harvest. Moreover, all those who have tasted of the good Word of God and who are rejoicing in the light of Present Truth seem to be actuated by zeal for God and for His Cause and for His people, both in Babylon and out of Babylon, more than ever before. Besides, the number of these fully consecrated ones increases every day. Also the conditions are
::R5373 : page 4::
favorable to the opening of the eyes of understanding and the unstopping of the deaf ears of our dear brethren of various denominations.
Let us be more than ever on the alert, therefore, to be used and useful in the service of our King. Let us remember that the moments and the hours are important, that no matter how many cares of life we may have, we can always find some time for the service of the Truth, not only in our own hearts and homes, but also in doing good to all men as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith.
While watching for the consummation, while realizing that it will bring the Time of Trouble, while seeking to be as fully prepared as possible for whatever share we may have in that Trouble, let us not unduly emphasize this feature of the Divine Plan in presenting matters to our Christian friends of the world. Let us more and more cultivate a sobriety of mind, a loving tenderness of disposition, which will seek to tell only so much as may be necessary to be known. Let us emphasize the goodness of God and the great blessing that is in store for mankind and the nearness of this blessing and the grand results to be obtained. Let us tell that the fulfilment of our Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," is close at hand!
::R5374 : page 4::
"THE DAYS ARE AT HAND"
"For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry."--`Habakkuk 2:3`.
GOD'S PLAN OF THE AGES is the vision seen by the Prophet Habakkuk, who was told to write it and to "make it plain upon tables, that every one may read it fluently" (Leeser's translation); that in the end the vision should "speak and not lie;" though it would seem to tarry, yet it would not tarry. It would seem to all that the great Plan of God was long delayed. The groaning creation would think the Heavenly Father was very slack. Many would be inclined to lose their faith in respect to the Seed of Abraham, and to think that God had forgotten the promise which He had made to Abraham. We know that disappointments have come to God's people along this line. The Jews were disappointed in their expectations. Christians in this Laodicean period were disappointed at first, not clearly understanding what to expect.
During the early persecutions of the Church, it was believed that those who suffered would soon enter into glory. They thought the Kingdom was near. Some of the disappointed ones continued to wait and hope and pray. Others organized the great Papal System, and declared that the Church should have her glory now, that the Kingdom of Messiah was here, and that the representatives of Messiah should sit upon a throne and personate Messiah and bring the kingdoms of the world into subjection. They were evidently led to this by Messiah's not coming at the time expected, and they thought that they must bring about a fulfilment of the Scriptures which foretold His Coming and Reign.
TIME FEATURES UNPOPULAR
This has brought serious disaster in many respects; it has made all Christendom "drunk." (`Rev. 17:2`.) Many, even today, are in bewilderment. Some, getting out of that darkness, have stumbled into other errors. The majority have lost all faith in prophecy. God foreknew all these things and foretold them, and they will not interfere with the Divine Program. Just as the wrong impression that our Lord was born in Nazareth was a reflection upon Him, so that many would not accept Him as the long promised Messiah, so these have said, Can any good thing come out of the prophecies, or anything relating to the Second Coming of Messiah? These people who proclaim His Second Advent are laboring under a hallucination! Are not the things written in the prophecies merely fanciful dreams of men--of the rebuilding of Zion and the restitution of Jerusalem?
Thus they scoff. They are inclined to feel an opposition to everything in the Scriptures regarding the return of our Lord to accomplish His foretold work. The Lord tells us that although the vision may seem to tarry, yet we are to exercise faith, because in the end it will speak; it will make itself heard, and will not lie. It will then be seen to be the Truth. The Divine Plan of the Ages is to be made plain upon tables. It will be made so very plain to us that he who runs may read. He who is asleep may not read; he who is drunken with the wine of false doctrine may not read; he who is standing in the way of sinners may not read. But he who runs may read, if his heart be teachable and pure.
"REST IN THE LORD"
This vision is to be made clear at the appointed time. We may not read the time features with the same absolute certainty as doctrinal features; for time is not so definitely stated in the Scriptures as are the basic doctrines. We are still walking by faith and not by sight. We are, however, not faithless and unbelieving, but faithful and waiting. If later it should be demonstrated that the Church is not glorified by October, 1914, we shall try to feel content with whatever the Lord's will may be. We believe that very many who are running the race for the prize will be able to thank God for the chronology, even if it should prove not accurate to the year, or even out of the way several years. We believe that the chronology is a blessing. If it should wake us a few minutes earlier or a few hours earlier in the Morning than we would otherwise have waked, well and good! It is those who are awake who get the blessing.
If 1915 should go by without the passage of the Church, without the Time of Trouble, etc., it would seem to some to be a great calamity. It would not be so with ourself. We shall be as glad as any one if we shall all experience our change from earthly to spirit conditions before 1915, and THIS IS OUR EXPECTATION; but if this should not be the Lord's will, then it would not be our will. If in the Lord's providence the time should come twenty-five years later, then that would be our will. This would not change the fact that the Son of God was sent by the Father, and that the Son is the Redeemer of our race; that He died for our sins; that He is selecting the Church for His Bride; and that the next thing now in order is the establishment of the glorious Kingdom at the hands of this great Mediator, who during His Mediatorial Reign will bless all the families of the earth. These facts remain the same. The difference would be merely that of a few years in the time of the establishment of the Kingdom.
If October, 1915, should pass, and we should find ourselves still here and matters going on very much as they are at present, and the world apparently making progress in the way of settling disputes, and there were no time of trouble in sight, and the nominal Church were not yet
::R5374 : page 5::
federated, etc., we would say that evidently we have been out somewhere in our reckoning. In that event we would look over the prophecies further, to see if we could find an error. And then we would think, Have we been expecting the wrong thing at the right time? The Lord's will might permit this. Our expectation as a Church is that our change is near. Nothing of Restitution blessings can come to the world until after the Church has been glorified.
Another thing to be considered, should our hopes not be so soon realized as we expect, would be as to whether we were surely of the elect class. But we are not worrying ourself at all. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." There are no people in the world so blessed as those who have the Truth and are serving the Truth. There is plenty of work to do.
UNREST ON EVERY SIDE
The remainder of mankind are dissatisfied--not only the nominal Church, the professedly godly, but all others also. They are disappointed in all they undertake to do. There is failure on every hand. Not long since we were speaking to a business man, and our conversation turned to religious matters. He is a very fine man; whether a Christian or not we do not know. We find that there are a great many pleasant and very honorable people who are not Christians at all. This man, speaking of the Churches, said, "It is a sad thing--the condition of the Churches. I am particularly interested in the Methodist denomination. Some time ago our Church had a fortunate sale of their property, and they purchased a new site and built a fine church. And they think now that if there are sixty who attend service there it is a good congregation. And it is the same elsewhere. People are all going pleasure-mad. Every one wants to go on some pleasure excursion--to the beach, or what not. No one seems to care for religion now." This man voiced the general spirit of disappointment. But a better Day is near.
In San Francisco, a year or more ago, at a Sunday School Convention, one speaker gave quite a long address on getting the children into the Church. He said that the whole Church institution was likely to be foundered. He said that every member brought into any of the Churches had cost six hundred and fifty dollars. Then he proceeded to tell how many workers were employed, and yet they were bringing only these comparatively few into the Church.
And we know that the great majority of those who are brought in would not think of calling themselves saints, or of professing consecration at all. This gentleman seemed to think that there is not much in the Gospel for a mature mind. He said that the way to do was to train a child up for the church, and then he could not get away from it. Yet the statistics show that out of the thousands in Sunday Schools only a very small number ever go into the church.
SORROW AT MAGNITUDE OF OUR WORK
Some say they are sorry that our sermons are being printed in the newspapers all over this country, Great Britain, etc.; and that our seats are free, and that no collections are taken. One minister said, "By and by people will think it is a crime to take up a collection, and then where shall we be? Pastor Russell is bringing us all into disrepute." Another thing they say is, "When those doctrines are preached, they influence the best ones that we have."
So we have every reason to feel that it is wonderful, very wonderful, that when we are comparatively so few, and with so comparatively small an amount of money used, we have so great privileges and opportunities in the Lord's service. In EVERYBODY'S PAPER was given, more than two years ago, the report of the American Tract Society, and next to it was given the report of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The former showed "excess of assets over liabilities, $851,092.53." The latter showed no assets in excess of liabilities. The reports show that the one without excess of assets is putting out vastly more literature than the other. We think this goes to show that we have miracles in our day.
::R5375 : page 5::
A FAMINE--BUT NOT FOR BREAD
When we were in Boston some time ago, an Editor of a Boston religious journal said to us on the Monday following our discourse, "I was at your meeting yesterday; I saw that immense congregation. I looked it all over and said to myself, What is it that brings these people here? I remembered that there were seaside attractions, parks--everything to induce people to stay away. Yet on that warm summer afternoon there were four thousand present at the meeting, and two thousand turned away. We have many ministers in Boston, good choirs, and everything to attract; but these ministers at this time of the year have only forty or fifty at their services. How is it that so many came out to your meeting, and sat there for two hours?"
We replied that it seems to us that we are seeing the fulfilment of the prophecy: "There shall be a famine in the land, not a famine for bread nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the Word of the Lord." (`Amos 8:11,12`.) We further remarked that the people have been feeding on very unsatisfactory nourishment, and that they are not satisfied with the chaff they have been receiving, and that they do not go to the churches for the reason that they do not believe in the eternal torment doctrine--the preachers do not believe it, and nobody believes it, except a comparatively small number, and that number is constantly diminishing.
We reminded him that these people, instead of hearing of eternal torment, now have offered them suggestions from the colleges to the effect that their forefathers were monkeys; that there are large interrogation points in the minds of the people; that they are hungry to know the Truth. We told him that we believe this accounts for the large number present to hear us, that they were hearing something more rational, something more Biblical, than they had heard before. So we have everything for which to be thankful.
"OUR DELIVERANCE DRAWETH NIGH"
So far as we have been able to see up to the present time, the failure of a full development of matters in 1915, or before, would imply that all the chronological arrangements, as we have them, are wrong--our view of the Harvest and all. And we have no reason to believe that these are wrong. We remember that we are not infallible, and that our judgment is not infallible; but the wonderful inventions of today, and the light that is dawning in every direction, as well as the universal unrest, seem in corroboration of the chronology--that we are in the dawning of the New Age. But just how far along we are we do not positively know. We are waiting for the Sun of Righteousness to appear.
The fact that the Vision is now speaking, and is made plain upon tables, is very convincing. We believe truly that "the days are at hand, and the effect [matter or thing (as spoken)] of every vision."--`Ezek. 12:21-23`.
::R5375 : page 6::
THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF TRUE SERVICE
"The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a Ransom for many."--`Matthew 20:28`.
THE word minister has the same import as the word serve. The Master tells us that the purpose of His coming into the world was not a selfish one. He had been quite content with the glory and honor which He had with the Father before the world was. (`John 17:5`.) While it is true that the Savior is now exalted to a position very much higher than His previous one, yet He assures us that it was not with the spirit, the desire, for exaltation that He came into the world. On the contrary, He wished to serve. He said, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God! Thy Law is written in My heart."--`Psalm 40:8`.
In obedience to this Divine will, our Lord left the glory which He had with the Father, came down to earth and gave Himself up to death, even the death of the cross. On the night of His betrayal and arrest He said, "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?" He was obedient even unto the end.
Before coming into the world, our Lord had perceived that mankind was in need of a Savior, and no doubt this had to do with His gladly accepting the Divine arrangement. He saw something of the Father's purpose in regard to fallen humanity. And when, during His earthly life, He saw these poor creatures in sin, degradation and weakness, He did not try to make them slaves. He did not try to use His power, His intelligence, selfishly for His own comfort; but He laid down His life unselfishly. He set Himself to work out the Plan which the Father had arranged.
Our Lord came not to be ministered unto. He did not come into the world to have servants and to get all that He could in return for the expenditure of a small amount of His own energy. He came not from any selfish motive whatever, but to serve others--to do good. As He Himself testified, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." This He did in harmony with the Father's Plan.
We do not understand, however, that our Lord refused to have any one serve Him. He accepted service from others. The thought of our text is that He came to render a service; not that He might be served; and in order that He might carry out His purpose it was necessary for Him to become a servant. Had there been no need for that service, we cannot think that the Lord would have humbled Himself and taken the bondman's form, or have undergone the severe trials of His earthly existence. But He came to render a service that was necessary to the well-being, happiness, yea, the very life of the entire human family.
Through Adam's disobedience sin had entered into the world. God's Law pronounced the penalty of death for that sin. Thus the whole race of mankind was perishing; and if they were ever to be rescued, so that they would not perish like brute beasts, they must be redeemed. According to the Divine Law, there must be a Ransom-price for the first perfect man, who had sinned. The Only Begotten was willing to meet this necessity. He rejoiced to do this work, to be the servant, the minister of God for this purpose, because of the need of the service, because it would bring blessing to others.
This is the spirit that should actuate every one of us. We should desire to incorporate into our character this principle of service. We should not serve merely because we like to work, like to be busy, but because we perceive there is a work necessary, and we are glad to lay down our lives in this blessed service.
THE ATTITUDE OF TRUE CONSECRATION
There are some who think it necessary to wash the feet of others. But since there is no real good to be accomplished by such a ceremony--nothing desirable-- there is no reason why it should be performed. We cannot think that Jesus would have washed His disciples' feet unless they had needed washing. But if at any time we can thus render a real service, any of us should be glad of the opportunity to serve a fellow-member of the Body of Christ--by washing his feet, or in any manner. The thought is to appreciate the privilege of real service, rather than the opportunity of doing something merely because it is menial. Jesus did what He did because it was helpful service, and was the Father's will. He wished also to teach His disciples that they should not be above doing the humblest service for each other as brethren. In addition, Jesus' words on this occasion seemed to emphasize the thought of the need of daily cleansing of the Lord's disciples from earth-defilement. See `John 13:6-10`.
The laying down of our Lord's life was accomplished moment by moment, day by day, in teaching, in healing the sick, the deaf, the blind, and in instructing His disciples. In nothing did He seek to serve Himself. Therefore the record is, "He went about doing good." We should make application of this principle to ourselves; for "as He was, so are we, in this world." The attitude of true consecration is that we walk in Jesus' steps, and that we seek to know the Father's will in order to do it. This implies that we be Bible students, like the Bereans of old, who "searched the Scriptures daily."
If we have the Master's spirit, we shall be desirous of "doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially unto them who are of the Household of Faith." (`Galatians 6:10`.) And this is the advice of St. Paul, who urged that we be followers of himself, even as he followed Christ. The lives of Jesus and the Apostles stand out very distinctly on the pages of history as notable for their unselfish service of others.
Many have lorded it over God's heritage. The context shows that our Lord had this class in mind. He declares that the rulers of the Gentiles exercised authority over their people; and that this was at the expense of the ruled, and was very rarely accompanied by a desire to serve the people.
SELFISHNESS UNFITS FOR THE KINGDOM
We see how our Master came to use the words of our text. The disciples were afflicted with a common ailment --love of honor of men and also love of honor of the Lord. Two of them had made an earnest request to have a place of special honor in His Kingdom. Their request aroused a spirit of indignation among the other ten, and a controversy resulted. They had the thought fixed in their minds that Jesus had promised them a share in the Kingdom. (`Matthew 19:27-29`.) If it had been wrong for them to have this promise in mind, it would have been wrong for the Lord to give them the promise. But they failed to see that the Father would give that place to none who would not manifest fullest loyalty to Him and to His Word.
The disciples had at that time a certain amount of false dignity, or pride, that would have made them unfit for a place in the Throne. Hence the Lord reminded them that the conditions upon which a seat in the Throne would be given to any one were that such a one should
::R5376 : page 7::
manifest so great loyalty to the principles of God's Government, and so great humility of spirit, that he would be glad to render service to any one in need. And He set Himself forth as an Example.
We paraphrase our Lord's words: Do you think that I left Heaven and came down to earth that people might serve Me? No. The conditions to which I have come are very inferior to those which I left. But the Father gave Me the privilege of service in this matter, and I am glad to have this service, because it is the Divine will. I have come to minister, to serve, to give My life as a Ransom-price for all.
This thought, then, He set before them--that they should rejoice in the privilege of service--rejoice in having the privilege of doing something really helpful to others, especially the brethren in the Body of Christ. As we apply this principle broadly, we see how it is exemplified in the world, in the affairs of every day life. The whole human family are servants. One man serves as a jeweler; another as a manufacturer of woolen goods. He serves by buying wool, converting it into cloth and into garments. Another serves as a grocer and supplies food. Some are chiropodists; some, barbers; some, tailors; some, physicians; etc. In every case it is a service to others.
Bringing the matter still lower, we see that the principle extends even to service of the dumb brutes. A horse cannot curry himself; and even a hog needs to be served--needs a trough, a bed, and food. We in turn are served by the brute creation. Whoever separates himself from this arrangement of service is getting away from his own good, and violating a Law of the Universe. Whoever gets to the place where he does no service, but has others to serve him, is to be pitied. He will be unhappy, be he ever so wealthy. Whoever would take this attitude would be arrogant and selfish, and his life would be devoid of beauty or of worth.
SERVICE A DELIGHT TO THE CHRISTIAN
The true Christian enters into the spirit of service, as did his Master, and delights to do a good turn to any one as he has opportunity. If there are those who are helpless, who are sick, these are calls upon his services as he has ability and is able to lend a helping hand. We are to serve all men "as we have opportunity, especially those who are of the Household of Faith."
Where shall we draw the line? The answer is that we must use moderation. We find ourselves every day passing by services that others have needed, but that we have not been able to perform. How then shall we regulate the matter, since we cannot do all that we would? Our own family should be our first charge, or responsibility. He who neglects his own is worse than an unbeliever. Charity begins at home. If we have responsibilities there, we could not give so much comfort, so much time, so much money, to others as we would to those of our own family.
LAZINESS NOT TO BE ENCOURAGED
Those who have money have a talent that they can use in doing good. They will not find very much opportunity so far as the world is concerned. Even if we had millions of dollars, the spirit of a sound mind should govern us in its expenditure. To give money to encourage anybody in wastefulness, slothfulness and idleness would be to misuse it, and not to do good. God Himself declared, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." The happiest people are those who are employed; the most unhappy are those who have nothing to do, those who have no ambition.
We cannot do even for our own families all that we would wish to do; for in the case of our own there is often a lack of appreciation. Some of our relatives would never have enough. We could never do sufficient for them. We should exercise the spirit of a sound mind, then, in deciding what to do. Let us ever remember that when we have entered the service of the Lord we are given a new commission, a special work to do in the world.
What kind of service are we then given? It is the service of ambassador of the Lord. We are to preach the Truth wherever there is an ear to hear and an eye to discern. Those who have not the hearing ear and the seeing eye might rend us, as the Master foretold. (`Matthew 7:6`.) We are therefore to use the spirit of a sound mind in discriminating between those who are good subjects for the Truth, and those who are not.
We say to the Master, Lord, we will give all of our time to Thee and to Thy Truth. Then He replies, But you are not to go ragged or naked, in order that you may preach the Gospel. It is proper that you provide the things needful. But do not think to get a certain amount of money laid up for yourself first, and then afterwards go and proclaim the Kingdom.
We may ask, Does this excuse us, Lord, from doing anything for our fellowmen and for our own families? He answers that we should not neglect our own families, but should care for them according to their necessities. We are, however, to guide our affairs with economy. If our family fail to do their part, and will not put forth any effort when of sufficient age and able to earn a livelihood for themselves, then we are to do nothing for them; for having their own strength, they do not need our assistance. We are to do for them only the things that are needful. We believe this is the mind of the Lord.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS STEWARDS
While we are to do good to all men, yet our special service is to be rendered in the Lord's work, the work of the Father--in dispensing the Truth. But while we are so doing, we may be able to speak a kind word to those with whom we come in contact. If we have money we may help in that way. But we should remember that we do not own even a penny of what we possess, or a moment of our time. All belongs to the Lord and should be spent along the lines of spiritual things, except where there is real necessity along earthly lines. To be sure, the world will not esteem us so much as if we would do more along earthly lines; but we have not received our commission from the world.
We perceive that the spirit of the Lord Jesus has had great influence in the world. It has made a deep impression upon noble souls, and has led them to the establishment of Orphans' Homes, Hospitals for the blind, Homes for the incurable, etc.; and these institutions are provided for by the public. It is recognized today to be proper to provide for those unable to provide for themselves. Since the world has settled this matter from a business point of view, the Lord's people are excused from personal responsibility which they have as God's ambassadors. It is the proper thing to care for the sick and the maimed; but because the city and state have provided, individual responsibility is largely lifted.
There are wealthy people who say, I prefer to look after my sick friends myself, and send them to a high-priced institution. If any do so, this is their own business. They may also say, I prefer to live in a million dollar house. This, too, is their own business. They have a right to do so; and they may also have their automobiles and private yachts for pleasure, etc. But with the Christian it is different. All he possesses belongs to
::R5376 : page 8::
the Lord. He therefore is in a different position from any others. He is not to be like the world. All that he does is for God--because of his relationship to Him as a son. "Now are we the sons of God."
THE HUMBLE TO BE EXALTED
In the words of our text, the Master was instructing His disciples that they should not desire to rule--that He desired as His followers those who had most of His spirit of humility and service. If any man were to exalt himself, they were to have correspondingly a lower esteem for him; for "He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." The Lord will send the experiences which will exalt or abase, and it is for us to show our appreciation where we see the right principles in operation. Whoever manifests most of the Spirit of Christ is to be highest in our esteem. Whoever has less of the Spirit of Christ is to be lower in our esteem. These characteristics are to be quietly observed by us.
The basis upon which the world operates is selfishness. This is the secret of war, rebellion, revolution, etc. --one party and another seeking selfishly to control riches, honor, power or authority. We are delighted, as Christians, to note the difference in the spirit which we are of. We are to remember that we are by nature "children of wrath even as others." We are not to suppose that we shall be changed instantly; but the mind will be changed, we shall grow more Christlike. And as New Creatures in Christ we are to keep a diligent watch lest the service we are so desirous of rendering to the Lord become vitiated more or less, after the fashion of the spirit of the world.
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN A SERVICE
Our Lord, when He takes His great power to reign, will not have the same motive as have the rulers of the present time--merely to assume power for His own glory and for vaunting Himself. He will, indeed, have great power and authority, but it will be in harmony with what the Heavenly Father has arranged. It will be a
::R5377 : page 8::
manifestation of glory and power, not to crush the world, but to bless and uplift it. This work will be accomplished from the standpoint of service, with a view to helping mankind to be the real rulers of the world; for the Messianic Kingdom will cease when the world shall be able to take care of itself.
We perceive that this is the way it was purposed from the first. The Heavenly Father made man the king of earth. God crowned man with glory and honor, and set him over the works of His hands. (`Psalm 8:5,6`; `Hebrews 2:7`.) It is not His purpose to keep mankind under the iron rod forever. The rod will be merely for temporary service, for man's true development, that the race may be brought back to the full blessing of their original privilege as kings of earth.
The Lord's Kingdom, we see, will be very different from any other ever instituted. Our service, as members of Christ's Body, will be the same as His. We shall share with Him in the uplifting of humanity. "God hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."-- `Ephesians 2:6,7`.
::R5378 : page 8::
WHO MAY PRAY AND FOR WHAT?
--FEBRUARY 1.--`LUKE 11:1-13`.--
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."--`LUKE 11:9`.
APPARENTLY Jesus usually prayed alone. We read that on some occasions He spent the entire night in prayer to God. How inconsistent that would have been if He Himself were the Father, who for a time was with men and outwardly appeared as the "Man Christ Jesus"! But how consistent is the thought of Jesus' prayer to the Father when taken in connection with His own declaration: "My Father is greater than I" (`John 14:28`); "I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me" (`John 6:38`); "Of Mine own self I can do nothing; as I hear [of My Father], I judge."--`John 5:30`.
Instead of being the Father masquerading as a man, Jesus was the Logos, the Word, or Message of God, whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world to be the world's Redeemer, and who by and by is to be its King, to deliver it from the power of Satan and sin, and to restore the willing and obedient to the Divine likeness, the Father's favor and everlasting life.--`Isaiah 25:6-8`; `Romans 8:21`.
Realizing the importance of His mission, Jesus kept properly in touch with the great Author of the Plan of Salvation, His Heavenly Father. His prayers were not mockeries; they were sincere. He worshiped the Father
::R5379 : page 8::
in spirit and in truth, as He declared all must do who would be acceptable to the Father.
No doubt the disciples noted the Master's frequency in prayer, and the blessing which He seemed to receive therefrom. Instead of urging them to pray, Jesus by His example taught them to desire the privilege and blessing of prayer. In due time they requested instruction, saying, "Lord, teach us to pray!" It is well that we inquire who may pray, and for what things we may petition the great Creator, else we might be praying without authority, or praying amiss, as St. James declares some do.
There is a difference between worship--adoration, homage--and prayer. Any one may offer homage to the Lord, bow the knee or express thanks and appreciation. But as for making requests of God, prayers, this privilege is distinctly limited. The Jews were privileged to offer prayer, because they as a nation were in typical relationship with God under the Law Covenant, as a "House of Servants." But the Gentiles had no privilege of approaching God in prayer until after the Jewish favor had ended--three and a half years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
The first Gentile whose prayers were received, according to the Bible, was Cornelius. And even his prayers were not acceptable until he had been instructed respecting Christ and His redemption work and had become a follower of Jesus. Then his prayers and his consecration were acceptable to the Father, and he was received into the family of God as a son. Then as a son he had the right or privilege of prayer.--`Acts 10:25-48`.
So today while any one may offer worship and reverence to God, none is privileged to pray unless he has become a consecrated disciple of Jesus, except it be the immature children of such consecrated persons. All over the world today's lesson will be misinterpreted. Jesus' words, "Our Father," will be misinterpreted to signify the "Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." The
::R5379 : page 9::
context will be ignored. The fact that these were consecrated disciples, and not mankind in general, who were instructed to pray "our Father," will be ignored.
There is a general tendency to ignore personal faith in the redeeming blood--to ignore the fact that no man cometh unto the Father but by the Son. (`John 14:6`.) Adam indeed was created a son of God; but his disobedience and death sentence cancelled the relationship, which cannot be restored except in God's appointed way--through Christ. Prayer is a wonderful privilege. It is not for sinners, but for those who have been justified by the great Advocate whom the Father has appointed--Jesus.
"AFTER THIS MANNER PRAY"
The model prayer which Jesus gave His followers is grandly simple. It is devoid of selfishness. Instead of "I" and "me," the prayer is comprehensive of all who are truly the Lord's people, in any class--we, us, our. It is unselfish, too, in that it is not a prayer for earthly blessings. Only one petition, "Give us this day our daily bread," can be construed to apply to even the simplest of earthly blessings. And this may also be understood to signify more particularly spiritual nourishment.
The prayer opens with a reverent acknowledgment of the greatness and sacredness of the Heavenly Father's name, or character. Next comes an acknowledgment of the present condition of sin in the world and an acknowledgment of faith in the promise that God has given, that eventually His Kingdom shall be established in the earth, and shall overthrow the reign of Sin and Death which has prevailed for six thousand years, and will bind Satan, "the Prince of this world." (`Rev. 20:1-3`.) The petition, "Thy Kingdom come," not only manifests faith in God and in His promise to abolish sin and establish righteousness in the earth, but it means more; namely, that the suppliant is in his heart in sympathy with God and His righteousness and out of sympathy with the reign of Sin and Death.
The next petition is, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven." This signifies full confidence in the promise of God that His Kingdom when it shall be established will not be a failure--that Satan will be bound; that the reign of Sin and Death will end; that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth and triumph, destroying all wilful opposers, until finally every knee shall be bowing and every tongue confessing, to the glory of God.
It is an expression of confidence that the Kingdom will effect the full restoration of the earth to its Edenic condition and of man to his primeval perfection in the image of his Creator; for not until such conditions prevail will it be possible for God's will to be as perfectly done on earth as it is now done in Heaven. An included thought is that when sin and death shall thus have been effaced, the world of mankind will be as happy in God's favor as are the angels now. This Jesus clearly expressed later, assuring us that eventually there will be no more sighing, crying or dying, because all the former things of sin and death will have passed away.--`Rev. 21:5`.
The request for daily bread implies our realization that our sustenance, both temporal and spiritual, must come from God. And the failure to specify any particular kind of food implies not only a hunger and desire on our part, but a full resignation to the provision of Divine Wisdom.
When the justified pray, "Forgive us our trespasses," they do not refer to Original Sin; for they were freed from that condemnation in their justification. By trespasses are signified those unintentional imperfections which appertain to all, and which all the followers of Jesus are striving to overcome. The request that we shall have forgiveness of our blemishes as we are generous and forgiving toward those who trespass against us is a reminder of the general terms of our relationship to God. We cannot grow in grace and abide in the sunshine of God's favor except as we cultivate the spirit of love, which is the spirit of God--a forgiving spirit, a generous spirit, in our dealings with others. God thus purposes to favor more especially those who particularly strive to exemplify His gracious mercy.
"Abandon us not in temptation" indicates that we are aware that we are surrounded by the powers of evil, and that as New Creatures we would be unable to withstand these successfully except as we should have Divine aid. "Deliver us from the Evil One" is a recognition that Satan is our great Adversary; and that we are on the alert to resist him, and yet realize our own insufficiency, our need of Divine aid. "We are not ignorant of his [Satan's] devices." (`2 Corinthians 2:11`.) "We wrestle not against flesh and blood [merely], but against wicked spirits in high positions."--`Ephesians 6:12`.
"SEEK, KNOCK, ASK--AND RECEIVE"
In the concluding verses of the Study, Jesus admonished that the prayer should be with fervency or earnestness, and not merely lifeless, formal words. He gave the illustration of the man who at first refused to be disturbed, even by his friend, but was finally moved by the earnestness of his friend's petition. So when we pray for God's Kingdom to come and His will to be done, as it delays long, we are not to think that our prayers are unheeded. We are praying in harmony with the Divine promise, and although we are not hastening the Kingdom by our prayers we are entering into a blessing of rest through faith, by continually bringing before our minds these promises of God, and thus waiting upon the Lord for the fulfilment of His promise.
What God really wishes to give to His people is His Holy Spirit. Because of the imperfections of the flesh none of us can be filled with the Spirit at first, as was our perfect Master. But as we come to God desiring to be filled with His spirit, desiring to be in harmony with Him, desiring to be in His character-likeness, by the seeking we find, and to our knocking the door is opened.
Nor should we be afraid that our Heavenly Father would give any bad answer to our requests. Would an earthly parent give to a hungry child a stone when it asked for bread; a serpent when it asked for fish; a scorpion when it asked for an egg? Surely not! We are to know that our Heavenly Father is much better than we, much kinder, much more just and loving, and that He delights to give His good gifts, His Holy Spirit, to those consecrated disciples of Jesus who earnestly seek it.
::R5373 : page 9::
"A little talk with Jesus--
How it smooths the rugged road!
How it seems to help me onward,
When I faint beneath my load!
When my heart is crushed with sorrow,
And my eyes with tears are dim,
There is naught can yield me comfort
Like a little talk with Him.
"The way is sometimes weary
To yonder nearing clime,
But a little talk with Jesus
Has helped me many a time.
The more I come to know Him,
And all His grace explore,
It sets me ever longing
To know Him more and more."
::R5377 : page 10::
PRINCE OF DARKNESS VS. PRINCE OF LIGHT
--FEBRUARY 8.--`LUKE 11:14-26,33-36`.--
"Look therefore whether the light that is in thee be not darkness."--`LUKE 11:35`.
HOWEVER much the worldly-wise may scoff at the Bible teaching that there is a personal Devil, and that he is a prince over a demon host of spirit beings--rebels against God's government--let us always remember that this is the teaching of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The difficulty with the worldly-wise is that their good reasoning faculties are not guided by the Word of God. They say it is difficult enough to believe in a God and an angelic host, His servants, spirit beings and invisible to men. Much more difficult is it-- yea, to them unreasonable--to believe in another spirit ruler and another spirit host, the adversaries of God. They reason that it would not be thinkable that God would create beings opposed to Himself; or that if, created holy, they became the adversaries of righteousness, an all-powerful Creator would not destroy them, but permit them to continue their evil opposition.
The Bible explains that Satan was the first transgressor,
::R5378 : page 10::
in that previously he was a cherub, an angel of superior rank and nature, who lost his loyalty to God through pride and ambition; and that he seduced into disobedience those whom the Bible now designates a demon host. Everywhere the Scriptures set forth that this host of spirit beings are associated with our earth, and not in some far-off fiery furnace torturing the human dead.
The Bible indicates that God does not lack the power to deal with these rebels, but that He is permitting them for a time, allowing them to manifest the fruitage of sin, anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife--as a lesson for angels and men. They are under certain limitations which the Apostle styles "chains of darkness." They have not been permitted to materialize as men since the Deluge. But they have sought intercourse with humanity; and in proportion to their success their victims are said to be obsessed by evil spirits. When the victory is complete, the victim is said to be possessed of a demon and insane.
It is estimated that fully one-half of those in insane asylums are demon-possessed--the demons belonging to the very class so frequently mentioned in connection with our Lord's ministry. As in the past, intercourse was sought through witches, wizards, necromancers, etc., so today, intercourse with humanity is sought through ouija boards, planchettes, and spirit mediums. Humanity, deceived by the doctrines of these demons inculcated in the Dark Ages (`1 Timothy 4:1`), has neglected God's testimony in the Bible to the effect that the dead are asleep, and "know not anything." (`Ecclesiastes 9:5`.) "Their thoughts perish," until their awakening in the morning of the New Dispensation, otherwise styled "the Day of Christ"--"the Times of Restitution"--the Millennial Day. (`Philippians 1:10`; `Acts 3:21`.) Today's Study introduces the Master delivering a man from demon possession. The people rightly understood what was the difficulty; but, being opposed to the Master, some of them evilly declared that the demons obeyed Jesus because He Himself was Satan, Beelzebub, the Prince of devils. Others said: Your miracles are all earthly; show us some sign from Heaven.
Jesus answered the accusation that He was the Prince of demons rather than the Prince of Light by showing that for Satan to cast out his own hosts would signify a warfare in the camp of the evil ones, which would imply that Satan's house was divided and that it would soon fall. It would be foolish, therefore, for Satan to cast out Satan; consequently such an argument should have no weight. But, said Jesus, other Jews have exercised this same power of casting out devils, and you never charged these with being the Prince of demons. And how could there be several princes of demons? Judge according to this whether your argument against Me is good. But, on the contrary, to those of you who realize the truth that I am casting out demons by the "finger" of God, the power of God, there will be no doubt that this power, which I possess more than others, and which I have exercised through My Apostles also, is an evidence of special favor from God and a corroboration of My testimony that God's Kingdom is near you-- that the power of that Kingdom is being exercised in your midst.
But, as a matter of fact, when that nation rejected Christ, the Kingdom which God offered them was taken away from them. The offer was discontinued. They were turned aside for a time from God's favor, while the Message of Grace and Truth has since been gathering another Israel--drawing first of all from the Jews such as were Israelites indeed; and later, going hither and thither, it has gathered for this same class saintly ones out of every nation.
The power of Jesus in casting out demons showed that He was thoroughly competent to deal with the Prince of this world, the Prince of Darkness, Satan; and that, had the Kingdom been set up at that time, Satan and his angels would have been bound or restrained then. However, in view of the foreknown and foretold rejection of Jesus and the Kingdom, the work of binding Satan did not progress, but delayed until the Second Coming of Jesus. Then, His Bride class having meantime been selected to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom, He will take His great power and reign. At that time He will deal with Satan and his subordinate demons; yea, with all that have cultivated sin and the spirit of Satan, which has so seriously gotten hold of humanity under the conditions of the fall.
THE BINDING OF SATAN
Our Lord tells that in the end of this Gospel Age Satan shall be bound for a thousand years (the thousand years of Messiah's glorious Reign), that he may deceive mankind no longer, as he has been deceiving and deluding them for six thousand years, putting darkness for light and misrepresenting the Heavenly Father as the worst being imaginable, plotting and predestinating thousands of millions to be born and to go to eternal torture.
Jesus pictures Satan's control of the world at the present time, likening him to a strong man armed and guarding his palace. He can maintain his control until a stronger comes, overcomes him and takes possession of his wrongly-acquired valuables. Thus Jesus foretold that His own Messianic Kingdom will be stronger than that of Satan, and will control it and bind him. The result will be the deliverance of mankind from the curse of sin and death which has rested upon the race for now six great Days of a thousand years each. Messiah's Kingdom will be in the great Seventh Day, or Sabbath, in which all who will accept the Savior may enter into rest.
Meantime Jesus, according to the Father's Plan, during this Gospel Age, through His own Message and the Message of the Apostles, has been gathering out of the world a Bride class, to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom.
::R5378 : page 11::
Satan is allowed considerable liberty in the testing of the loyalty of all these. There can be only the two masters. Knowingly or ignorantly, people are serving either the One or the other. As Jesus said, "He that is not with Me is against Me."
THE WHOLE WORLD OBSESSED
St. Paul declares that the Prince of this world (Satan) "now works in the hearts of the children of disobedience." Jesus took up this same thought, and likened the world to the poor demoniac whom He had released from Satan's grasp. Similarly, all who accept Christ are delivered from the power of Satan. Let not sin, therefore, have dominion in your mortal bodies. --`Romans 6:12`.
Jesus represents such hearts as swept and garnished --sins forgiven and grace of God received. But He declares that Satan will seek to regain control of such through the spirit of the world--pride, anger, malice, hatred, strife, works of the flesh and of the Devil. (`Matthew 12:43-45`.) "Whom resist, steadfast in the faith," writes the Apostle. (`1 Peter 5:9`.) If Satan be not resisted, the danger is that the light and the blessing received through the knowledge of God will become a curse and an injury; and that the result with such a person will be worse than before he came into relationship with Christ.
Jesus emphasized this, declaring that as a candle should not be put under a bushel and hidden, but should be exposed so as to do good, so also the light of the Truth, the grace of God received, must not be hidden, but must be let shine to the glory of God. Otherwise, the light would become extinguished and the darkness would prevail. The eye represents intelligence; and as long as we have the true enlightenment, or intelligence, the whole body is blessed thereby; but if the intelligence be destroyed, if the eye be blinded, the whole body will suffer and be in darkness.
Every one, therefore, receiving the light should take heed to it as a precious thing lest he lose it, and have darkness instead. The eye, the light, here represents the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, which has the greatest power to bless us; and this, if lost, would mean to us even a greater darkness than that we experienced before coming to a knowledge of the Lord.
::R5377 : page 11::
NAMES WRITTEN IN THE LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."--`REV. 3:5`.
THE invitation of this Gospel Age is to a special class, a class which professes to be out of harmony with present conditions-- out of harmony with sin.
Those who may become of this class are such as have been granted a knowledge of God's arrangement through Christ, and these may avail themselves of this privilege without delay, if they choose, by making a consecration to the Lord.
As Jesus laid down His earthly life in the service of the Father and of the Truth, and was misunderstood by those about Him, so those who follow in Jesus' footsteps must in like manner suffer disappointments in earthly matters, if they would be sharers in His glory and immortality. As Jesus overcame and sat down with the Father in His Throne, so those who overcome will sit down with Jesus in His Throne.
We must distinguish between the overcoming of Jesus and that of His followers. His was a perfect overcoming. While He had the instruction of the Father and the help of the angels, He had no one as a sin-bearer, no one to impute any righteousness to Him. His overcoming was full and complete. His followers, being imperfect in the flesh, cannot do perfectly; and therefore by the grace of God it has been so arranged that these may be acceptable through Jesus, if they have the spirit to overcome, the desire to overcome--if they manifest righteousness of heart. But they must show this overcoming spirit, else they can never be associated with our Lord in His Kingdom. They must be copies of their Master in spirit, even though imperfect in the flesh.
Thus the very moment that we take the step of consecration and are accepted, all our blemishes and imperfections are covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness. But it is not only while we have blemishes that we need to be covered; even all those represented in the symbolic pictures of the Scriptures are there shown as clothed. The pictures given of the Heavenly Father represent Him as clothed, and the pictures of our Lord represent Him as clothed. The Revelation pictures represent our Lord and the saints as clothed in white garments. The angels who appeared at the time of our Lord's resurrection are represented as clothed in white. Our Lord said: "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
The glorified Church is represented, not as taking off the robe of righteousness, but continuing to walk in white raiment. It will no longer be an imputed robe of righteousness, however; our righteousness will be our own. To be clothed in white garments then will be to be recognized as one of the pure ones--not as now, in a robe of reckoned righteousness, but in a robe of actual righteousness. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power."
TWO BOOKS OF LIFE
The Bible mentions two books of life--one appertaining to the present time, and the other to the Millennial Age. As we read: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life." Again, "And the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life." (`Rev. 3:5`; `20:12`.) The special Book of Life that is open at this present time is the one in which the names of all the overcomers of this Gospel Age are written. When we take the step of consecration and are begotten of the Holy Spirit, it is appropriate that we should be reckoned as belonging to the family of God. Just as a family will keep a record of its members-- Joseph, Mary, Martha, etc.--so with those who become members of the family of God, through Christ; their names will be recorded.
This recording has been going on throughout this present Age. This means that those whose names are therein written are not only members of the family of God, but also members of the Bride class. In order to maintain this position, they must be overcomers. In some Scriptures it seems that the Great Company class are included; in other passages it is not so. Those who will constitute the Little Flock, or those who will be of the Great Company, or those who will attain perfection as earthly beings by and by, must all be overcomers. The Bride class is referred to as "more than conquerors."
::R5377 : page 12::
They will gain the abundant entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom.--`2 Peter 1:10,11`.
In our text we may not be sure whether or not the Great Company is included. From one standpoint it looks as though they were; from another, as though they may not be. We do well not to settle it too definitely in our minds, but wait to see what the Lord's intention is. We know that there will be some names blotted out. All those who go into the Second Death will be blotted out of the special record, and their names have no place in the Book of Life. Perhaps the Great Company class will also be blotted out of the special Record. But we are not anxious to put that construction upon it. They are our brethren, they also are brethren of the Lord, and we would like to think of them as favorably as possible.
INTRODUCTION TO THE FATHER
"I will confess his name." This gives us, first of all, the thought that, although we have been begotten of God, we have never been introduced to Him--in His actual presence. Our Lord is not only represented as our Bridegroom, but also as our Elder Brother, and is pictured as waiting on the other side until we, His brethren, shall pass over. And as we shall pass over, Our Lord being the One to whom the Father delegated the work of instructing us in the School of Christ, it will be appropriate that He should introduce us to the Father.
In another place, our Lord says that if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. This expression would rather imply that the Great Company class would not be included here. But we are sure respecting the Little Flock class, that they will be introduced to the Father and to the holy angels as the Bride of Christ. This is pictured in the `45th Psalm`: "She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto Thee." Those especially confessed, introduced, are the Bride class only. And we are to hope and strive that we may have a place amongst these. The place that the Father would prefer us to have is the place we would prefer to have.
::R5379 : page 12::
THANKSGIVING WITH PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION
The following Scriptures have been compiled by Brother Daniel Toole:
TAKE TIME TO PRAY.
For my love they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer.--`Psalm 109:4`.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.--`Acts 6:4`.
He went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God.--`Luke 6:12`.
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in Heaven and thou upon earth.--`Eccl. 5:2`.
PRAY IN SECRET.
Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.--`Matt. 6:6`.
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray; and when the even was come He was there alone.--`Matt. 14:23`.
::R5380 : page 12::
PRAY IN GOD'S PRESENCE.
Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. --`James 4:8`.
Have faith in God. What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them. --`Mark 11:22,24`.
O, Lord God of our Fathers, art not Thou God in Heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might so that none is able to withstand Thee?--`2 Chron. 20:6`.
AS A CHILD OF A FATHER.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?--`Luke 11:11-13`.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.--`Matt. 7:7,8`.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.--`James 1:5`.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.--`John 14:13`.
PRAY HAVING FAITH IN GOD.
And Jesus answering saith unto them, "Have faith in God."--`Mark 11:22`.
And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.-- `1 John 5:14,15`.
And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them; for they cried to God in the battle and He was entreated of them because they put their trust in Him.--`1 Chron. 5:20`.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.--`1 John 3:21,22`.
Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.--`Heb. 10:19,20`.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.--`James 1:6,7`.
Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them.--`Mark 11:24`.
PRAY BEING FREE FROM CONDEMNATION.
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud that our prayer should not pass through.--`Lam. 3:40,44`.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul. I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.-- `Psalm 66:16-18`.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.--`1 Peter 3:7`.
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God, and whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.--`1 John 3:20-22`.
WITH THE WHOLE HEART.
I cried with my whole heart, hear me, O Lord; I will keep Thy statutes.--`Psalm 119:145`.
Thou hast given him his heart's desire and hast not withholden the request of his lips.--`Psalm 21:2`.
TRUSTING GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised.--`Heb. 10:23`.
Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.--`Deut. 7:9`.
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him....God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?--`Num. 23:9,19`.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past
::R5380 : page 13::
age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.-- `Heb. 11:11`.
Their children also multipliedst Thou as the stars of Heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which Thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.--`Neh. 9:23`.
PRAY TRUSTING GOD'S POWER.
Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.--`Gen. 18:14`.
Ah, Lord God, behold Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.--`Jer. 32:17`.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.--`Luke 1:37`.
And Asa cried unto the Lord his God and said, Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help whether with many or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.--`2 Chron. 14:11`.
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.--`Eph. 3:20`.
TRUSTING IN GOD'S LOVE AND MERCY.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.--`Psalm 51:1`.
O my God, incline Thine ear and hear; open Thine eyes and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name; for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.-- `Dan. 9:18`.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will He teach sinners in the way....Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving-kindnesses, for they have been ever of old.--`Psalm 25:8,6`.
Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; save me for Thy mercies' sake.--`Psalm 31:16`.
Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy word unto Thy servant.-- `Psalm 119:76`.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.-- `Romans 4:19-21`.
PRAY PLEADING OUR NEED.
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.--`Psalm 22:11`.
Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.-- `Psalm 142:6`.
For he shall deliver the needy when He crieth; the poor, also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in His sight.--`Psalm 72:12-14`.
Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation....He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved....My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.--`Psalm 62:1,2,5`.
PRAY PLEADING GOD'S GLORY.
And Moses said unto the Lord, "Then the Egyptians shall hear it (for Thou broughtest up this people in Thy might from among them); and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land; for they have heard that Thou, Lord, art among this people, that Thou, Lord, art seen face to face, and that Thy cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if Thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of Thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness."-- `Num. 14:13-16`.
O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth; and what wilt Thou do unto Thy great name?--`Joshua 7:8,9`.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice that Elijah the Prophet came near and said: Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, let it be
::R5381 : page 13::
known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant and that I have done all these things at Thy word....Hear me, O Lord, hear me; that these people may know that Thou art the Lord God and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.--`1 Kings 18:36,37`.
For Thou art my Rock and my Fortress! Therefore for Thy name's sake lead me and guide me.--`Psalm 31:3`.
Now, therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline Thine ear and hear; open Thine eyes and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name; for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God; for Thy people and Thy city are called by Thy name.--`Dan. 9:17-19`.
PRAY PLEADING GOD'S JUSTICE.
That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?--`Gen. 18:25`.
In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Thy righteousness.--`Psalm 31:1`.
PRAY PLEADING OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.--`2 Kings 20:3`.
Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.--`Neh. 5:19`.
And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah.--`Neh. 13:4`.
And He said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?--`Luke 11:5-13`.
And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man; and there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not, for awhile; but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?--`Luke 18:1-8`.
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a New Song into my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.--`Psalm 40:1-3`.
And Jacob said, O God of my Father Abraham, and God of my Father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which Thou hast shown unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother
::R5381 : page 14::
with the children. And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.--`Gen. 32:9-12`.
And it came to pass when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah, his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and behold, he stood by the camels at the well.--`Gen. 24:30`.
He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God; yea he had power over the angel and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the Lord God of Hosts: the Lord is his memorial, therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.--`Hosea 12:3-6`.
PRAY WITH PURE MOTIVES.
Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.--`James 4:3`.
PRAY WITH THANKSGIVING.
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. --`Col. 4:2`.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.--`Phil. 4:6`.
By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.--`Heb. 13:15`.
I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.--`Psalm 116:17`.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.-- `Psalm 69:30,31`.
STIR YOURSELF TO IT.
And there is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee; for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.--`Isa. 64:7`.
Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.-- `Isa. 27:5`.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.--`2 Tim. 1:6`.
LET YOUR FAITH GROW STRONG BY MEDITATION UPON THE
The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation, chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth; and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom, then, would ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, my way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.--`Isa. 40:19-31`.
And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.--`Psalm 50:15`.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. --`Psalm 34:15-17`.
For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.-- `Psalm 86:5`.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works.--`Psalm 145:17`.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.--`Romans 10:12`.
::R5382 : page 14::
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.--`James 1:5`.
Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.--`Heb. 4:16`.
And I say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.-- `Luke 11:9,10`.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.--`John 14:13`.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.--`John 16:24`.
ENCOURAGED AND INSTRUCTED BY PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS.
Moses for help to judge Israel.--`Num. 11:11-15`.
Moses for Israel's forgiveness.--`Exod. 32:11-13`.
Moses for Miriam.--`Num. 12:13`.
Moses for murmurers.--`Num. 14:13-19`.
Moses for Pharaoh.--`Exod. 8:12,13,30,31`; `9:33`.
Moses in the case of fiery serpents.--`Num. 21:7,8`.
Moses for Aaron.--`Deut. 9:20`.
Samuel for Israel.--`1 Sam. 7:5-10`.
Elijah for the widow's son.--`1 Kings 17:20-23`.
Hezekiah against the king of Assyria.--`2 Kings 19:15-20;32-37`.
Hannah for a son.--`1 Sam. 1:9-11,27`.
Abraham's prayer.--`Gen. 18:23-33`; `20:17`.
Lot's prayer.--`Gen. 19:17-22,29`.
Isaac's prayer.--`Gen. 25:21`.
Jehoahaz for Israel.--`2 Kings 13:4,5`.
Asa's prayer.--`2 Chron. 14:11,12`.
Jehoshaphat's prayer.--`2 Chron. 20:1-24,26`.
Manasseh's prayer.--`2 Chron. 33:10-13`.
Job for his friends.--`Job 42:7-10`.
Ezra's prayer.--`Ezra 8:21-23,31`. `Chaps. 9`; `10:1-19`.
Nehemiah's prayer.--`Neh. Chaps. 1`; `2:1-8`.
David's.--`Psalm 18:6`; `28:6,7`; `31:22`; `34:1-10`; `118:5`; `116:1,2`; `138:3`.
Paul and Silas.--`Acts 16:25,26`.
Manoah's prayer.--`Judges 13:8,9`.
See `Psalms 62:1-5`; `145:15`; `James 1:17`.
Prayer a necessity.--`Luke 21:36`; `1 Peter 4:7`; `Eph. 6:18`.
"Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding."--`2 Tim. 2:7`.
"When prayer delights thee least,
Then learn to say,
Now is the greatest need
That I should pray." --See `Romans 10:12`.
::R5382 : page 14::
SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
WATCHING LEST HE SHOULD SEEM TO COME SHORT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings in the name of our precious Redeemer! During the weeks that have intervened since leaving Bethel en route for the South, it has been on my mind to write you; and I have refrained from so doing merely because I know that your time is so thoroughly occupied in the Master's service. However, I want to say that the Truth is becoming more precious; and that my appreciation of spiritual things is daily increasing and I am rejoicing in the many, many evidences of the Lord's love and care.
The last few TOWERS have been so grand and truly a spiritual feast; especially those articles re the time features of the Divine Plan. While I have full confidence in the chronological features of the Plan, yet nevertheless my consecration is unto death and forever; and I am trying to live each day as if it were my last, and then there is just ONE DAY between me and the Kingdom.
My heart has been grieved, as I have come in contact with the dear brethren in different parts of the country, to note in many the tendency to complain and to find fault on the slightest pretext. I feel we are drawing very near a time of testing
::R5382 : page 15::
for the Church. Surely if we have a deep heart appreciation of the Truth, we would not be so prone to find fault and to criticize. Personally, the Truth is so precious and so all-absorbing that I feel less inclined to murmur, and more and more inclined to be thankful for every experience in life, be it pleasant or unpleasant. The resolution not to murmur or complain has been so helpful, for which I thank the Lord.
Every day sees fresh cause for thankfulness for "The Vow." As I see the wave of immorality and debauchery which is sweeping the country, and the generally prevailing tendency to lower the standards of morals and propriety, I am sure the Lord has given us the Vow for our protection. Some of the dear friends seem to think they are strong enough without the Vow, and perhaps they are; but for my part I am glad for any protection and help which will enable me to stand more firmly.
Another thing that comes under my observation is this: Some of the friends seem inclined to be rather lax or careless in their deportment, with the excuse that their motives are pure and that they mean no harm; and it seems to anger them if their actions are called in question. Sometimes I wonder how many of those who profess to be in Present Truth will be "overcomers." The standard is so high and we have so much to fight against! Many seem to be lacking in a deep spiritual appreciation of the Truth. I cannot judge the motives of the dear friends; and therefore I am trying by the Lord's grace to walk more circumspectly and watch myself closely lest I would even "seem to come short."
Oh, that prize is so wonderful, so glorious, and the Kingdom so near, "what manner of people ought we to be in all holy conduct"! Praise the Lord, we are almost home! The lights of the Eternal City are almost discernible, and soon we shall be at Home and at Rest!
In conclusion, dear Brother, let me assure you of my hearty co-operation in the promulgation of the Harvest Message, with which I am in perfect harmony. I hope, if it should be the Lord's will, to see you some time this winter. In the meantime, I hope and pray the Father's smile of approval will continue to be your daily portion. Pray for me, as I do for you and all the family.
The classes throughout the South send their love and greetings. With much Christian love, I am
Your Brother, by His Grace, J. P. MACPHERSON.
"CAST NOT AWAY YOUR CONFIDENCE"
Although our Heavenly Father sees fit to try the faith of His people along various lines, yet it seems that during the coming year we may meet a more severe testing of our confidence in God and His Word.
I am aware, however, that the faith of the dear brethren and sisters is very strong, and believe they will continue to fight the good fight of faith successfully to the end.
Pastor Russell, as I have always understood him, never claimed his interpretation of the time prophecies to be infallible. His writings have always impressed me that way.
Should the year 1915 come and not witness all that many of the brethren expect, it will matter but little to me. We know still that "Thy Word is Truth," and that not one jot or tittle will pass till all be fulfilled. We know further that, according to the signs of the times, the Day is not far distant.
When fiery trials assail us, let us remember the words of inspiration, "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."
Yours in faith and hope, N. E. BUTLER, N.S.
WITHOUT HIS CONSENT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
A copy of 1913 "Convention Report" has just come to my attention. It contains what purports to be a report of a discourse delivered by me at the Springfield Convention.
I have not the disposition nor the power to control the actions of others in the publication of what I say at Conventions; but I would like to have the friends know that such publication is without my consent. A stenographic report of the above mentioned discourse was handed me at Springfield, but I declined to read it, not wishing to have anything to do with its publication.
Yours in His service, J. F. RUTHERFORD.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Read p. 715, par. 1, to p. 719, par. 1.
(35) What will be the special advantage in the awakened ones being able to remember their past experiences? P. 715, par. 1.
(36) How will these experiences and the lessons of the Millennial Age benefit mankind? And what is the relation between their judgment and the present trying experiences of the Church class? P. 715, par. 2.
(37) Into what classes does the Prophet Daniel divide the awakened ones? P. 716, par. 1.
(38) How does the Prophet's declaration support our position that the world will not be awakened to instantaneous perfection? P. 716, par. 2.
(39) Explain how Nero may be used as an illustration of those who will "come forth to shame and lasting contempt." P. 716, par. 3, to P. 718.
PUNISHMENTS FOR SINS OF THIS LIFE
(40) Will mankind be punished in the Millennial Age for the sins of this life? If so, for what kind of sins? P. 718, par. 2; P. 719, par. 1.
Read p. 719, par. 2, to p. 722, par. 2.
(41) Explain the meaning of the statement, "Some men's sins go before to judgment, and some they follow after," using Nero as an illustration. P. 719, par. 2; P. 720, par. 1.
"THUS IS THE (CHIEF) RESURRECTION OF THE (SPECIAL) DEAD." (`1 COR. 15:42`.)
(42) Why is the resurrection of the Church designated "the First Resurrection"? And what two other classes will experience an instantaneous resurrection to perfect life? And what is the meaning of the statement, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished"? (`Rev. 20:5`.) P. 720, par. 2.
(43) What are some of the characteristics of the First Resurrection--with what bodies and powers will the New Creation come forth? P. 721, par. 1, 2.
(44) How does the Apostle Paul in `1 Cor. 15`, guard against the thought that all mankind shall eventually bear the image of the Heavenly Father? P. 722, par. 1.
(45) What does the Apostle declare respecting "flesh and blood" inheriting the Kingdom? P. 722, par. 2.
Read p. 723, par. 1, to p. 726, par. 1.
(46) Is it difficult to fully grasp the thought of this complete change from fleshly to spiritual conditions? And how has the Apostle anticipated this difficulty in `1 Cor. 15:51,52`? P. 723, par. 1.
(47) Why has so plain a statement been so generally misunderstood? P. 723, par. 2.
(48) What will be the experience of the Lord's people who remain until His Second Advent--will they not die? Quote Scriptures to support position taken. P. 724, par. 1, 2.
"IT DOTH NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE"
(49) While all the perfected New Creatures will have the same kind of glory, will they all enjoy the same degree of glory? P. 725, par. 1.
(50) How has the Lord indicated these differences in two of His parables? P. 725, par. 2.
(51) Judging from the different degrees of nearness to the Lord among His Apostles, would it not be reasonable to expect various positions of power, honor and closeness of relationship to Him in the Kingdom? P. 726, par. 1.
Read p. 726, par. 2, to p. 728, par. 3.
(52) In the Apostle's description of the First Resurrection in `1 Cor. 15:42-44`, to what does "It" refer? P. 726, par. 2.
(53) What is the nature of the spiritual body in which "It" shall be raised? P. 727, par. 1, 2.
(54) Why is the statement, "It is sown in dishonor," specially applicable to the New Creation in the trial state? P. 727, par. 3.
(55) What is the significance of the statement, "It is sown in weakness"? P. 728, par. 1.
(56) Explain, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." P. 728, par. 2.
(57) If the very thought of the future glory lifts us above our earthly cares and sorrows, what must the realities mean, and how should we strive to be overcomers and so receive an abundant entrance into the Kingdom? P. 728, par. 3.