VOL. XXXVII OCTOBER 15 No. 20
A. D. 1916--A.M. 6045
Prices on All Books Advanced . . . . 306
What We Preach and Teach . . . . . 307
Not Higher Criticism Nor Evolution . 307
Scriptural Terms and Ordination . . 308
How Errors of the Past Crept In . . 308
All Needed Bible Helps Now Available . 309
The Ransom Not the Sin-Offering . . . 310
Why a Ransom Was Necessary . . . 310
The Philosophy of the Ransom . . . 310
The Sin-Offering . . . . . . 311
"Suffer the Word of Exhortation" . . . 312
"Straight Paths for Your Feet" . . . 313
A Vow Unto the Lord . . . . . 314
From Malta to Rome . . . . . . 314
Why the Gospel Is Rejected . . . 316
A Living Sacrifice . . . . . . 316
True Christian Living . . . . 317
Los Angeles, Seattle, Milwaukee Conventions 318
Interesting Letters . . . . . . 319
Fiery Trials in Britain Easing
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.
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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.
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PRICES ON ALL BOOKS ADVANCED
With the phenomenal rise in the cost of paper, ink, cloth, leather and labor, the advance in prices on all kinds of books becomes a necessity. Hoping that the advance would be only a temporary one, we have delayed making any change until we are now losing as much as 10 cents per copy on some of the volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. Hereafter the price of the first three volumes of STUDIES will be 50c each, including postage, and the price of volumes 4, 5, and 6 will be 60c each, including postage.
CREATION DRAMA SCENARIO
Hereafter the prices on these books will be as follows:
Paper edition, prepaid, 25c.
Cloth edition, prepaid, 65c.
De Luxe Gilt Edge edition, prepaid, $1.00.
DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA
Cloth-bound edition, prepaid, 60c.
Leather edition, De Luxe, prepaid, $2.00.
Question Booklets, 7c. per copy, postpaid.
All other booklets, including Za, 10c. per copy, postpaid.
Prices on the above to Colporteurs and to I.B.S.A. Classes in lots of 50 or more, assorted, charges collect, will be one-half of the above mentioned prepaid rates.
BLUE PRINT CHARTS, ETC.
Chart of the Ages (8 ft.), $2.50 each, postpaid.
Chart of the Ages (5 ft.), $1.85 each, postpaid.
Chronology Charts (7 1/2 ft.), $2.00 each, postpaid.
Tabernacle Charts (7 1/2 ft.), $2.00 each, postpaid.
WATCH TOWER Binders (spring-back), 60c. each, postpaid.
WATCH TOWER Bibles are not advanced, as we have a good supply at old cost.
I.B.S.A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR MONTH OF NOVEMBER
MANUAL ON SERIES THIRD
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES" STUDY VII.--"DELIVERANCE AND EXALTATION OF CHURCH"
STUDY VIII.--"RESTORATION OF ISRAEL"
Week of Nov. 5. Q. 15 to 20 Week of Nov. 19. Q. 27 to 33 Week of Nov. 12. Q. 21 to 26 Week of Nov. 26. Q. 1 to 7
Question Manuals on Vol. III., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 7c each.
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WHAT WE PREACH AND TEACH
"For I determined not to know anything
among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him
crucified."--`1 Corinthians 2:2`.
AT NO time in the Church's history has our great Adversary been so active in multiplying false doctrines and in diverting attention from the Truth by introducing unprofitable and irrelevant questions as at present. Just when the exaltation and glory of the Church are soon to be accomplished, and when the faithful are about to be received into the joy of their Lord, every device is resorted to to beguile them of their reward and to frustrate this feature of the Divine Plan. To really frustrate any part of the Divine Plan is impossible: God has purposed to take out from among men a Little Flock, "a people for His name," a Royal Priesthood; and such a company is assuredly being gathered; but whether all of those now in the race for the Prize will surely be of that number, is still an open question. Take heed, beloved, that no man take thy Crown. (`Revelation 3:11`.) If any come short of their privileges and prove unworthy of the inheritance, there are others who will fill their places.
We beseech you, brethren, as you value the glorious hope set before you in the Gospel, that you give no heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, as the Apostle terms them (`1 Timothy 4:1`); but that, with fixedness of purpose, you apply yourselves to the one thing to which you are called and are privileged to do as prospective members of that Royal Priesthood. Let us never forget that we are a "peculiar people," separate from the great body of nominal Christians, as well as from the world, having higher hopes, aims and ambitions and favored with a clearer insight into the deep things of God, having been called out of our former darkness into His marvelous light. And if thus separate from the world and from Christians who partake largely of the spirit of the world, what wonder if we find them all out of harmony with us, and either ignoring or opposing us!
OPPOSITION TO BE EXPECTED
Such opposition is to be expected and will, doubtless, continue until we finish our course in death. To submit patiently to this opposition is to sacrifice our own natural preferences for the friendship and the pleasures of the present life, and to endure hardness as good soldiers for the Truth's sake, in whatever shape that hardness may come, in our effort to do the Lord's will and work of advancing the interests of His Kingdom. This is what is meant by the presenting of our bodies living sacrifices in the Divine service. To be really in this service involves, First, the careful and continual study of God's Plan; Second, the imbibing of its spirit; leading, Thirdly, to an enthusiastic zeal for its accomplishment, and to activity to the extent of ability in its service, at whatever cost or sacrifice it may require.
If we are faithful in this service we have no time, nor have we the disposition, to give heed either to false doctrines or to other themes which have no bearing on the one thing to which we have solemnly dedicated our lives. Our time is not our own if we have dedicated all to God; and consequently, we have none to spare for the investigation of fanciful false theories, built upon other foundations than that laid down in the Scriptures. Neither have we time to devote to the ideas and pursuits which engross the world's attention, many of which are harmless in themselves, but would be harmful to us if we were to allow them to occupy consecrated time and divert our attention from the one thing we ought to be doing. The Apostle warns us to "shun profane babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness"; but adds, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." "Teach no other doctrine; neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith."--`2 Timothy 2:15,16`; `1 Timothy 1:3,4`.
NOT HIGHER CRITICISM NOR EVOLUTION
Ours is not the gospel of the Higher Critics and Evolutionists. We cheerfully accord these friends of a modern gospel their liberty to believe as they think proper, reminding them, however, of the warning words of the Apostle Paul in `Galatians 1:6-9`. Our own faith is firmly planted on the Bible as the only Divine Revelation of the will and Plan of our Creator. But this does not mean that we believe the Bible to teach all that our well-meaning forefathers of the Dark Ages supposed were its doctrines. We find that they burned one another at the stake for disbelieving things that the Bible does not teach.
The growing scepticism of today regarding God and the Bible, we find, is generally the outgrowth of a misunderstanding of the Bible's teaching respecting Hell. No sane man can be blamed for rejecting the old theory that God first made a roasting Hell, and then made a race, knowing that all would spend an awful eternity there, except the few who would hear of Christ and become saints. This blasphemy against our Creator's holy name needs to be rebuked. The people need to be taught what the educated clergy and laity already know--that the only Hebrew word translated "hell" is SHEOL, and that
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its Greek equivalent is HADES, and that neither word signifies a place of torment, but the tomb, the grave, the state of unconsciousness, in which both good and bad must remain after death until the resurrection, which is to follow the Second Coming of the Redeemer.
The literature of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY has helped thousands along this line, as we go into details of explanation of the parables, dark sayings and symbolisms of the Bible, which other Bible teachers do not find time for, with their many and varied cares connected with modern church activity. In a word, the work of our Society is conducted on the belief that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and that we are now living in the wonderful Day, mentioned by the Prophets, when "the wise shall understand," when they shall receive "meat in due season" from God's wonderful Book. By the "wise" we mean, of course, those who are wise toward God, not the worldly-wise.
OUR VIEWS OF THE MILLENNIUM
If our understanding of the Bible's teaching is correct, we are on the threshold of the Millennium. And this fact explains not only the progress of invention and natural science, but also the finishing of the Mystery respecting God's gracious purposes for our race, foretold in the Bible in symbols and types. However, our expectations of the Millennium are along different lines than some might suppose. We find no Scriptures to teach that the world will be converted by our commendable missionary efforts or any other efforts. To us the Bible teaches that the conversion of the world will follow the Second Advent of our Redeemer to gather His Elect Church (the saints out of all denominations), that they, changed to the spirit nature, may be, under their Lord and Head, the teachers, guides and helpers of the remainder of the race--those now dead as well as the living nations--to uplift all the willing and obedient from sin and death to perfection and everlasting life on earth, which will then, during those Times of Restitution, become Paradise restored.
Statistics agree that the Millennium is not coming by the conversion of the heathen; for there are twice as many today as there were a century ago, notwithstanding all our missionary efforts. On the contrary, we must agree that the signs of the times presage the near approach of the culmination of the great "Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation," by which, the Scriptures assure us, Messiah's Kingdom will be ushered in, to "bless all the families of the earth."
SCRIPTURAL TERMS AND SCRIPTURAL ORDINATION
Perhaps we should explain that we do not recognize as Biblical the terms "clergy" and "laity," nor the titles "Reverend," "Doctor of Divinity," and other similar appellations now in vogue. This, however, does not lead us to disfellowship those who differ from us. We use the Scriptural terms "Pastor," "Evangelist," "Teacher," "Elder," "Deacon," etc., and recognize that all of God's consecrated people are ministers--that is, servants--each authorized to serve his brethren as his talent may permit and as the brethren may desire. As for ordination, we cannot accept as Scriptural the theory of the "Apostolic Succession," and that the specific power or authority comes from men to men. We hold that the anointing of the Holy Spirit alone gives the power and the authority to understand and explain the Scriptures.
HOW ERRORS OF THE PAST CREPT IN
The Editor is being attacked at present by about one-fourth of all the ministers of the world, simply because we preach the Bible Message voiced by the angel at the birth of Jesus: "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto ALL PEOPLE!" (`Luke 2:10,11`.) That good Message of God's Love and of His merciful provision in Jesus' death for the sins of the whole world began to be lost sight of in the close of the second century. The doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" led the people of that time to respect the bishops as successors to the Divinely-ordained Twelve--St. Paul, and not Matthias, taking the place of Judas.
It is not to be wondered at, that at a time when ability to read was not general, when Bibles were few and expensive, and when this doctrine of Apostolic Succession
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had gotten a foothold in the Church, the people hearkened to the so-called Apostolic Bishops. It is not wonderful that those bishops liked to be considered authorities. For fourteen centuries there was no Bible Study--merely a study and worship of creeds. Bibles were publicly burned, and those who dared to study the Bible and accept its statements were hunted like the wild beasts of the forest--even in Scotland.
The Reformation Movement brought the Bible forward, but its friends had much of the smoke of the Dark Ages still in the eyes of their understanding. As one leader after another prayed, "Lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom," and rubbed his eyes, new sects were started, all endeavoring to reach the light, yet all acknowledging that the creeds, for which many of them died, were not satisfactory to either their hearts or their heads.
PRESENT ERRORS AND OPPOSITION TO LIGHT
Now we have come to a time when the various divisions of God's people have too much enlightenment to burn each other at the stake, and when they are disposed to federate, and to ignore their differences. Meantime, Higher Criticism has come in and has turned a majority of Christian preachers away from the Bible entirely. But they are still tied to their sects and to the creeds which they no longer believe.
Meantime, in God's providence, the Bible has come into the hands of the people. Education is now general, and Bible helps are abundant. This seems to be, according to the Bible and facts, a favored time for God's people to obtain proper knowledge of His Word. With others, the Editor has been greatly blessed in studying the Bible and in making clear to others its true meaning. We have been doing this for the past forty years without serious objection, until recent years. The objection now is that the teaching of ourself and our associates of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION is beginning to exercise a world-wide influence. We have Bible Study Helps printed in thirty-two different languages. We have Bible Study Classes in all parts of the earth. This leads some of the ministers to consider our work a menace-- just as the Episcopalians once thought the Presbyterians and the Methodists a menace, as the Jews thought the early Christians a menace to their institutions, and just as the Baptists thought others a menace to them, etc.
As we make clear the meaning of our Lord's parables and dark sayings, and show the harmony of the Bible's teaching from Genesis to Revelation, the creeds of the Dark Ages become unpalatable, nauseating. As some of the best people renounce these creeds, the class of preachers alluded to become bitter. Unable to meet our Scriptural arguments, they indulge in personal abuse and invective, with a view to hindering people from hearing us and from reading our publications. But nevertheless the work goes grandly on, with increasing momentum. Those who get their eyes of understanding open are prompt to help others. As the people learn the real motives of the attacks which are being made upon us, they have less sympathy
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for those making the attacks, and are more disposed to investigate our teachings.
ALL NEEDED BIBLE HELPS NOW AVAILABLE
We have never claimed to be a finished scholar in either Greek or Hebrew. More than this, we claim that not one minister in a thousand, of any denomination, is a scholar in these languages. The ability to read the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, and to spell out the words in these languages, is not scholarship; nor does it follow that the person able to do so has thereby any knowledge of these languages. By scholarship we mean thorough understanding of the grammatical construction of a language.
Furthermore, we claim that in God's providence such knowledge is not necessary to the right understanding of the Word of God. Bible students today have access to numerous translations of the Bible made by the scholarly few. More than this, the Presbyterians have Young's Greek, Hebrew and English Lexicon-Concordance; the Methodists have Strong's Analytical Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic and English Lexicon-Concordance. Besides these, there is the Englishman's unsectarian work, covering the same ground; Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, McClintock and Strong's Criticisms, the Emphatic Diaglott, which has the original Greek text with interlineary word for word English translation, and parallel emphatic version in English, etc.
The value of such concordances as an aid to the correct understanding of the Scriptures cannot be over-estimated. In the preface to "Young's Analytical Concordance," the author says of his work: "Its great object, as Tyndale says of his New Testament, is to enable every 'PLOUGH-BOY' to know more of the Scriptures than the 'ancients,' by enabling him at a glance to find out THREE DISTINCT POINTS--First, What is the original Hebrew or Greek of any ordinary word in his English Bible; Second, What is the Literal and primitive meaning of every original word: and Third, What are thoroughly true and reliable parallel passages."
Whoever has these works in his possession, and knows how to use them, and does use them, has a better working knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek and Chaldaic of the original Bible than could be gained by four years' study of these languages. We possess these books and many others, and have learned how to use them effectively. As a result, we have better knowledge of the Bible in its original languages than have nine-tenths of the ministers who have taken merely a four-year theological course. We advise all Bible students to use these wonderful helps of our day, which represent the highest scholarship, rather than to waste their time spelling out the words in the original languages, the meaning and the grammatical value of which are appreciated by only about one in a thousand. We are glad to say that thousands of Bible Students habitually use Young's and Strong's Concordances, besides numerous versions of the Scriptures, such as Young's Translation, The Variorium, Leeser's (Jewish) translation, and of the New Testament, Tischendorf, the Syriac, Rotherham, Emphatic Diaglott, etc., etc.
As for ordination: However ignorant the public may be in regard to this matter, we can but suppose that ministers and editors of religious papers are well-informed. These all know that the word "ordination" simply signifies authorization. Thus the Baptists authorize, or ordain, their ministers; the Methodists authorize, or ordain, theirs, etc. There is no such thing amongst Christian people as a general ordination. On the contrary, Catholics dispute all ordinations except their own and denounce all Protestant ministers as unordained. The Anglican Church similarly refuses to recognize the ordination of those whom they term non-conformists.
As God has but one Church, so He has but one ordination for all who are His ministers. The one Church of God includes the saintly Christians of all denominations, and the God-ordained ministry consists of those only who have received the Divine benediction--the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Head, or Chief, of this Church. He is its Chief Minister. His ordination took place at the time of His consecration and baptism in Jordan, when He was thirty years of age, under the limitations of the Mosaic Law. All coming into membership in Him and receiving the begetting of the Holy Spirit share in His ordination. The Master declared, "As the Father hath sent Me, even so have I sent you."--`John 20:21`.
This commission is referred to in prophecy, The Christ, Head and Body, being the Speaker: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."--`Isaiah 61:1-3`.
The Holy Spirit is symbolized by the oil poured upon the head of Aaron the high priest, of which we read that it ran down the skirts of His garment, even to its hem. This typified that the Holy Spirit, poured out upon our Head, Christ Jesus, has come down over the Church, His Body, during all these nineteen centuries, beginning at Pentecost--the anointing, ordaining, qualifying power of God on all His Royal Priesthood, authorizing them to declare the "Good Tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people." And any who give evidence of possessing this anointing of the Holy Spirit, and who have the ability and the spiritual qualifications of character-development in the likeness of Christ, which are Scriptural requisites in teachers of the Church, may be chosen by the Ecclesias of the Lord's people to minister to them publicly, as their more special servants in spiritual things. But any one who has received the Spirit's anointing is Scripturally ordained to proclaim the Message of God according to his ability and opportunity, observing only the proprieties pointed out in the Word as to sex distinctions, etc., regarding public proclamation.
So then, adhering closely to the written Word of God in our teaching, and striving to follow faithfully in the footsteps of the Master in our daily walk and conversation, we pray with all saints: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven."
"And this hath been the Lord's wise will,
To find one here, one there,
Who counting earthly gain but dross,
Would daily take the Christian's cross,
E'en at the risk of any loss--
God finds one here and there.
"And oh! the grandeur of the work
For this one here and there,
To join in lifting up our race,
To wipe away of sin each trace,
To make of earth a perfect place,
Put glory everywhere!"
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THE RANSOM NOT THE SIN-OFFERING
IT SEEMS difficult for some of our dear readers to distinguish clearly between the Ransom and the Sin-offering. Although we have repeatedly tried to make the subject clear, we will try again.
The word "ransom" in the Old Testament seems to be used less definitely than in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated ransom is kopher, and signifies a covering, a protection, as when we read, "The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous" (`Proverbs 21:18`)--their covering, their protection. The righteous are few and uninfluential in the world; and laws would not generally be made especially for their protection. The laws of society are made for the masses of the people--not for the saints; but those laws made for the people in general we--the Lord's saints --have as a covering.
The Prophet David declares that no man can give a ransom for his brother. (`Psalm 49:7`.) That is to say, all mankind are imperfect through the Adamic fall. All are sinners; therefore none could stand before God in the sense of justifying themselves; and thus unable to justify themselves, they would be wholly unable to justify another--their brother. Here the thought is very similar to that attaching to the word "ransom" in the New Testament, showing that to be such a ransom, or covering, requires perfection, righteousness, which no man of all our race possessed, except the Man Christ Jesus, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," who was therefore able and qualified to give Himself "a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time."--`1 Timothy 2:6`.
The word used in the New Testament Greek for "ransom" is very explicit; it signifies a price to correspond, or a corresponding price. The implication is that something was lost that needs to be re-purchased, redeemed, bought back; and the thing which is competent to purchase it back must be of equal value to the thing lost or forfeited--no more, no less--a "corresponding price."
WHY A RANSOM WAS NECESSARY
The thing that was lost by Father Adam for himself and all of his family was the right to life. As the perfect man, God's arrangement provided him with the privilege of living forever on condition that he would be obedient, loyal to his Creator. His sin was disloyalty, disobedience, and its penalty was death--the forfeiture of the right to live. Thus, because of Adam's disobedience, he came under the death sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die." (`Genesis 2:17`, margin.) Adam's children were born to him after he had thus forfeited his life-rights, and he was unable to give them more than he possessed--a dying nature. Thus we read: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all, for that all have sinned, etc.--`Rom. 5:12`.
God reveals to us in His Word that while He wishes to be merciful and to receive back to Himself all the willing and obedient of the race, nevertheless He must maintain the dignity of His own Law and cannot set aside the death sentence except upon the conditions which He has arranged; viz., a Ransom. If Adam is ransomed from the sentence of death, Justice will have no further claim against his life, and the ransomer would have the right to restore Adam and his race. But no ransomer could be found amongst all the family of men; for all were sinners--none was perfect, all had inherited the blemishes of sin. Hence God's arrangement--the sending of His Only Begotten Son to be the Redeemer, the Ransomer, of Adam and his family, and ultimately to be the Restorer of all that was lost.
To this service--to this carrying out of the Divine Program--God attached a very great reward of glory, honor and immortality. The Logos, "The beginning of the creation of God," "the first born of every creature" (`Revelation 3:14`; `Colossians 1:15`), accepted the Divine arrangement gladly and humbled Himself. Leaving the honors and favors of His high position on the spirit plane, He was made flesh in order "that He by the grace of God, should taste death for every man" (`Hebrews 2:9`) as the Ransomer of Adam. St. Paul tells us of Him as the One "who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame," and now as a result, "is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God" (`Hebrews 12:2`), henceforth expecting, waiting, until the time shall come for Him to bless Adam and his race for whom He has already died--waiting that the Father in due time, after the selection of the Bride Class, may put all things in subjection under Him-- under the Messiah--that He may reign a thousand years for the uplifting and blessing of those for whom He died.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RANSOM
As the sinner was the perfect man, Adam--in full harmony and fellowship with God and only a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor as a perfect human being--so the one who would redeem him, or be his ransomer, must have all these qualifications. He must be a man, and a perfect man; in him God's image and likeness must be complete; he must be crowned with the glory and honor of perfection; he must be "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" and in full fellowship with God.
All these requirements were fully met in the Man Christ Jesus when He was thirty years of age, at which time He presented Himself at Jordan to complete and confirm His consecration unto death, giving Himself a Ransom-price for all the race, to be testified to them all in due time. As a bullock could never take away sin by its death, neither could an angel or other spirit being ever take away sin by dying for Adam. Under the Divine arrangement, the Redeemer must be a corresponding-price to the one redeemed. Jesus was all this; nothing more was either necessary or possible. There was nothing lacking in the merit of the perfect Man to redeem the first man and his family; nothing therefore that the Church could give or do that would help in the matter. Justice could accept only the corresponding price.
That Ransom-price, that Corresponding-price for Adam, has already been placed in the hands of Justice. Jesus did this in His consecration at Jordan, in that He agreed to do the will of the Father even unto death; and on the Cross He declared, "Into Thy hands I commit My spirit"--the spirit of life, His right to life, which He had not forfeited, either by sin or otherwise. That Ransom-price, or Price sufficient to redeem Adam and all of his race, has been in the hands of Justice as a deposit ever since, and is there now--still unapplied. It cannot be applied piecemeal, a little to each one; when applied, it must be applied for all at the same moment.
Why must it be applied all at one moment? Because it is just the one life. It would require the entire merit of Christ's sacrifice to recover Father Adam from his condemnation, and it would require the entire merit of that sacrifice for any one of the children of Adam. The Ransom cannot be divided up into millions of parts and a little piece given to each member of the race. The whole sacrifice of Christ was necessary for each one of the race, and is sufficient for the entire race, when it shall be so applied. It is to be applied for the entire race, but not until the Father's time has come for turning over the
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race to the Redeemer--not until His appointed time for the Redeemer to take possession of the race as King of kings and Lord of lords, to establish over them His glorious Kingdom, to release them from the power of sin and death and to give them all the Restitution privileges which His Ransom-sacrifice makes possible.
In the meantime, another feature of the great Heavenly Father's Plan is working out--an arrangement by which a certain number of the children of Adam may become associates with Jesus in the suffering of this present time and in the glory that is to follow. This feature of the Plan is not the providing of a Ransom; for that was already provided in the death of Jesus; but this plan is to provide an under-priesthood who are eventually to be kings with the Savior--a Royal Priesthood. Evidently therefore the Sin-offering must not be confused with the Ransom-price; for the Ransom-price is complete, and was complete before the Church was invited to come into this position of self-sacrifice.
The Jewish Day of Atonement pictured the entire work and operation of the Sin-offering, which began in the person of Jesus. The death of Jesus was typified by the killing of the bullock on the Day of Atonement. That was the great sacrifice for sins--a Sin-offering which was made by Jesus, who offered up Himself. He was both the anointed Priest of God and also the devoted Sacrifice. The merit of that Sacrifice might have been applicable to all the people; but if so, there would have been no room for the sacrifice of the Lord's Goat Class, the sacrifices of the under-priests, who, if faithful, are by and by to be made the Royal Priesthood of the Millennium. In the type, the High Priest allows the merit of his sacrifice to be applied to himself and his house--himself representing the Church which is Christ's Body; his house representing the Household of Faith, the consecrated ones who will fail to become members of the Body of Christ and will instead be on the spirit plane, "a great multitude" who will serve God day and night in His Temple--in the Church glorified.
OFFERINGS MADE DURING THE GOSPEL AGE
This passing of the merit of Jesus' Sacrifice, first of all, to and through His Church does not diminish the merit of that sacrifice nor its value, for every one who shares in that merit, participates on condition that he will surrender his earthly rights, following in the footsteps of Jesus. The priestly class includes those who keep their covenant arrangement, voluntarily and heartily lay down their lives in the Lord's service. The Great Company Class is composed of those who have failed to fully surrender
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their earthly lives and rights, and will therefore have these earthly rights taken from them through great tribulation. Any others who receive of the Lord's favor during this Age and fail to get into one or the other of those classes--if they fail to become members of either the Royal Priesthood or of the Levite-servant company --cannot retain any Restitution blessings or privileges, but will die the Second Death. Thus the entire merit of Jesus, designed for Adam and his race, merely passes through the Church Class, the consecrated ones, on its way to Adam and his race. The Church having the opportunity, by reason of this arrangement, to share with Jesus in suffering for righteousness' sake--the great High Priest accepts our consecrated beings and makes them part of His sacrifice, and the full measure of His merit as the Ransom-price passes on to humanity to give Adam and his family Restitution privileges for a thousand years.
These are the better sacrifices and offerings for sin not made by us, but made by the great High Priest whom the Father has appointed for the purpose. This great High Priest has been completing His sacrifice for sins; first His own flesh, and then the flesh of all those who have come unto the Father through Him during the past nineteen centuries. He will soon complete His sacrificial work, and glorify with Himself those who suffer with Him--making of them His consorts in His Messianic Kingdom. Then He will apply on behalf of all mankind the merit of the sacrifice which He finished at Calvary and which He has merely loaned or imputed to the Church during this Gospel Age.
This Sacrifice will be given fully, completely, everlastingly, to Justice, appropriated as the full offset of Original Sin. Forthwith Adam and all of his children will be turned over by Justice into the hands of Jesus. Divine Justice will have no more to do with mankind. All will be under the administration of the Millennial Kingdom. For a thousand years the Redeemer, the Ransomer of the race, will teach, reward, punish, deal with humanity for their instruction in righteousness and their uplift from the sin and death condition, giving to every one a full opportunity for returning to perfection.
At the close of the thousand years, Messiah having accomplished everything possible for every member of the race, will turn over all to the Father and will say to the sheep class, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the [earthly] kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (`Matthew 25:34`.) All others, found unworthy of everlasting life, will be destroyed in the Second Death, symbolically pictured as a devouring fire.
Thus we have striven to make plain the distinction between the Ransom-price and the application of the Ransom-price, and the Sin-offering and the blessings resulting to the Church from the privilege of participation in those sin-offerings--the sufferings of Christ.
THREE INTERESTING QUESTIONS
We take occasion here to answer some related queries:
Question.--Is it proper to say that we, the Church, receive by imputation "a certain portion" or "our share" of the merit of the Ransom now--during the Gospel Age?
Answer.--The person using this language might have the proper thought, but would not be using the best words in which to express that thought to avoid being misunderstood. As above shown, all the merit of Christ is necessary to each member of the race. If we divided up the merit of Christ, nobody would have enough. If it were all given to one, the others would get none. God's Plan, therefore, is to hold that Ransom-price in reserve until the due time for the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom, and then apply that price and transfer the whole race at one time to Jesus--to the Messianic Kingdom. Then during the Millennium, it might be proper to say that every one will be receiving the Restitution blessings as his share or participation in the Ransom merit; but strictly speaking, the whole blessing of the whole world is the ransom blessing.
Question.--If the Ransom has not yet been applied, apportioned, credited, to the race on the Books of Justice, and if we who are of the Church are members of the world, how do we participate in the Ransom blessing?
Answer.--The entire Ransom merit being in the hands of Justice, the one who owns that merit, Jesus--in harmony with the Father's Plan--imputes it to the whole company who will accept the offer of this Gospel Age and surrender themselves sacrifices to walk in the Master's footprints. There is quite a difference between giving and imputing, just as there would be a difference between giving a man a thousand dollars and imputing to him a thousand dollars by endorsing his note. Jesus, as
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our great Advocate, imputes to us, or endorses us to the full extent of our contract with the Father. Our contract is that, like Jesus, we will surrender our earthly rights.
The Heavenly Father could not recognize us as worthy of entering into such a contract, except as our great Advocate endorses for us, or guarantees us, in the matter. What does He guarantee? He guarantees that we shall lay down our lives--that our earthly lives shall be fully surrendered in due time.
As we have seen, there are three classes for whom Jesus becomes Surety, Guarantor. First are those who fully and completely carry out their contract both in letter and spirit, laying down their lives voluntarily, after the Master's example. These will be the "more than conquerors," the members of the Body of the Anointed. Next will come the Great Company class, who will eventually be conquerors, but not "more than conquerors." Because conquerors, they will be granted everlasting life on the spirit plane; but because of lack of zeal and love, they will fail of the election as members of the Body of Christ.
Third, there are those who will be neither more than conquerors nor even conquerors, but failures--turning back to sin, like the sow to her wallowing in the mire. These will die the Second Death. In any event, our great Advocate, the High Priest, having endorsed for all of these, will thus be ultimately free from all liability for them in that they all will have died according to the flesh and none of them will receive or retain Restitution rights or privileges. Those Restitution blessings will be fully and completely released when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have gone into death.
Question.--Would it be proper for us to suppose that the world might begin to receive its share of Restitution blessings while some of the members of the Church are still in the flesh?
Answer.--No! This would be an impossible thought. The whole merit of Christ is mortgaged by the imputation which Jesus has made of His merit to the company consecrating during this Age. This mortgage must be released fully, completely, before the New Covenant can be sealed and put into operation for giving Restitution blessings to Adam and his race. Hence, we are not to expect any Restitution, either of the Ancient Worthies or others, until the Little Flock shall have passed beyond the Veil and the Great Company class shall have passed through its tribulation.
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"SUFFER THE WORD OF EXHORTATION"
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all
malice, and be ye kind one to
THE same Apostle who uses these words of our text has elsewhere classified these evil fruits here enumerated as works of the flesh and of the Devil. He tells us that they that do these things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. He indicates that these traits have come with our fallen nature. But we who have left the world, who have renounced its spirit, are under the most solemn obligations as New Creatures in Christ to bring our fallen nature with its tendencies to evil into full subjection to the new nature, to bring the old creature under control of the mind of God, the Holy Spirit, the holy will, crucifying the flesh and bringing every thought into captivity of obedience to Christ. More and more the Lord is impressing this thought upon us day by day.
St. Paul contrasts these fruits of the Adversary and of the fallen flesh with the precious fruits of the Spirit of God. The one Spirit is Heavenly, Godlike, while the other is "earthly, sensual, devilish." Faith, goodness, meekness, gentleness, patience, peace, self-control, love-- these are the Heavenly fruits. They are the very opposite of the spirit of the Adversary. As we endeavor to do the will of God, to cultivate the sweet qualities of the Holy Spirit, we find continual warfare with the inherited weaknesses of our fallen flesh. Some may succeed in a comparatively short time in gaining to a large degree the victory over these works of the flesh and of the Wicked One, while others may have a great war to wage. But the victory over this evil disposition must be won; else we shall never be granted an entrance into the Kingdom. The Lord is watching to see the zeal and earnestness with which we strive to put off these works of the fallen flesh, these evil traits of character. Knowing our own natural weaknesses, each of us is so to watch and guard himself, so to cry unto the Lord for help, so to fill his heart and mind with the Word of the Lord, that he may be kept pure and free from the alloy of sin.
Coming to analyze the Apostle's exhortation of our text, it would seem as if he were mentioning one of the
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worst traits first--"all bitterness." Bitterness is an acrid condition, the very opposite of sweetness. It represents a rancor in the heart, and is very closely allied to the last trait mentioned--"malice." Maliciousness in the heart, leads one to malevolence, to seek to do injury to another. The spirit of bitterness and malice, granted an entrance into the heart, is very likely to extend to all the affairs of life and to make complete shipwreck of the New Creature. Its effect is most baneful. While it is possible for one to become angry, and to feel vengeful momentarily, without the feeling amounting to bitterness which would be lasting, without a development of malice, nevertheless, fleshly anger and wrath are sinful, dangerous and certain, if not conquered, to lead to bitterness and malice.
"AS YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO UNTO YOU"
The Lord's Word admonishes us, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." No matter what provocation one may have had, he should see to it that the matter is settled as quickly as possible. Anger or wrath must not be harbored and cherished; for it is sure to lead to permanent bitterness and hatred. The word anger seems not to be so strong a word as wrath. Wrath in an imperfect, fallen being, seems to be deep, determined and lasting anger, something that is resentful, retaliatory. Evil speaking is a more refined, a more subtle matter, more deceitful, more malicious. Many people become so weak in character, so unbalanced, that they do not realize the proper application of the Golden Rule in their daily lives. They say things of others that they would not wish others to say of them. They treat others in a way that they would not wish to be treated. All such conduct should be put far away from the Lord's children, from those who have taken God's holy Covenant upon themselves and who profess to be God's ambassadors.
We are not saying that there is no such thing as righteous anger, righteous wrath. "God is angry with the wicked every day." Even now His righteous wrath is kindled against the nations of the earth, and He is smiting them to their final overthrow. If all anger is wrong, then God Himself would be guilty of sin. But God's wrath, His anger, is always of a proper kind. It is not fleshly anger or bitterness. God is angry with wickedness,
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and this anger signifies that He will punish it. The Scriptures, however, never refer to the Lord as being bitter or malicious. God is Love; He is patient and good, even to the wicked. He does everything in justice and love.
Now if it is right for God to have certain anger, certain wrath, would it be right on our part to exercise anger or wrath on any occasion? There may, as we have intimated, be times when one may properly be angry. For instance, we should properly feel a certain degree of anger against ourselves. If we found that we had not properly improved our opportunities, if we have been careless or negligent in watching our "thoughts, and words and doings," we might well be provoked, even angry with ourselves. But if the heart is right, we should be neither too indignant nor discouraged on account of our failures in this direction, but strive more and more carefully, with the Lord's assistance, to overcome, endeavoring to learn a lesson from every mistake we make.
NEED FOR EARNEST HEART-SEARCHING
Not having the right or the ability to judge the heart of another, we should be very slow to anger, and very careful how we express ourselves. We are to remember that only the Lord has the right to punish. The Lord's people should strive against all of these weaknesses, these blemishes, of the flesh, which are stimulated by the Adversary and his hosts--anger, wrath, strife, malice, hatred. We should fear these things as we would a plague.
What carefulness, what scrutiny of ourselves, what earnest prayer for help, this thought should bring! How we should guard our tongues against evil-speaking, back-biting, slander, for this is the fruit of lovelessness and malice. And in guarding our tongues, we must remember that it is from the heart that these evil words proceed. Therefore our heart must be made and kept so loyal to Christ, so in tune with God's Holy Spirit, that it will not send forth any such bitter waters.
The Psalmist says, "Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth." See also St. Paul's counsel to `Titus, 3:2-8`, and to Timothy. (`1 Tim. 3:11`.) Oh, that the spirit of love and kindness and consideration one for another might so richly dwell in every member of the Church of Christ that each one would not only refrain from speaking evil of a brother or sister, but that it would give pain to hear a defamatory tale about any one, and particularly about a fellow-pilgrim in the "narrow way"! If this were the attainment of each member of all the different Ecclesias, how much more closely would they be bound together in the bonds of Christian love!
As we have said before, we believe that the majority of the dear friends are developing more and more of this spirit of love and consideration; but there is still room for improvement in the cases of some, at least. The mischief that can be done with the tongue is almost unlimited. How watchful and prayerful, then, we should be of our influence! We urge a careful rereading of Vol. 6, pp. 583-588, of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. It is good that our pure minds be stirred up by way of remembrance. We believe that our time is short in which to complete our work of character structure. This should be impressed upon us more and more as we see one after another of the Body members of Christ passing beyond the veil. Let us seek by prayer and by daily, yea, hourly effort, that we may in all things become copies of God's dear Son, and hear, when our time shall come, the Master's sweet "Well done!"
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"STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET"
"Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let
it rather be healed."--`Hebrews 12:13`.
OH, FOR a trumpet voice with which to call upon the Lord's people everywhere to be on the alert to resist our great foe--Satan! And in the word "Satan," we include all the arts of our great Adversary, whereby he lies in wait to deceive and to entrap the Soldiers of the Cross. He is indeed the Adversary of the whole world, in that he is the Adversary of God and of all the wise and gracious provisions and laws which God has made for human protection against the downward and destructive tendencies of sin.
From information reaching us in various ways, we incline to the belief that a great wave of immorality and sensuality is passing over the civilized world. No doubt the War and the various new conditions which it has opened up have much to do with this evil condition. It could hardly be otherwise. But additionally, it would appear that our great Adversary has for thousands of years found sensuality, immorality, to be one of his best avenues through which to attack mankind, and especially those of humanity who have acknowledged the Lord and the righteous regulations which He establishes for all those who will be His people.
Bible students familiar with the history of typical Israel will recall that it is along this line that Balaam and Balak plotted against Israel with so great success, bringing upon the Israelites Divine judgments. St. Paul tells us that it was in this manner that our race, originally created in the image of God, fell so far into degradation. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. * * * God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their bodies between themselves. * * * As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which were not proper; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things," etc. --`Romans 1:21-32`.
If any one wonders how our race came into its present depraved condition, he has in the above words of the Apostle a full explanation. And now, after the propagation of the Gospel for more than eighteen centuries--after the Bible has been printed in every language, and when education is so general that practically everybody can read the Bible, and when knowledge on every subject is so greatly increased, is it not astounding to see that our Adversary's early tactics are again prevailing? Again the learned are professing to be wise, and are foolishly rejecting the wisdom from above; and again immorality is rampant: anger, malice, hatred, strife, backbiting, whispering, wars, and murders are prevailing. The Lord seems to be letting mankind learn the lesson that Civilization does not spell Salvation, as some had expected.
The Bible represents mankind as birds, and the great Adversary as the hunter seeking to entrap and to kill them; but the saints are pictured as speckled birds, especially attractive to the hunter. Against these he uses his arts and snares with keen interest in their downfall.
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A BLESSED MEANS OF GRACE
Some years ago, in the Lord's providence, we were guided to a presentation of A VOW UNTO THE LORD which we earnestly recommended to His people and which we believe has done them great good. Not that this Vow, or any other vow, could be greater or wider in its scope than the vow of self-sacrifice which each of the Lord's people took upon himself before he was acceptable to the Lord and begotten of the Holy Spirit; but this Vow has proven helpful to His saints in that it has drawn to their particular attention certain dangers of the way, counseling as respects their abiding in the Lord's favor.
About 20,000 of the Lord's consecrated people have written us, desiring to be enrolled as amongst those who have taken this Vow. From very many of these we have heard what great blessings have come to them through their endeavors to observe faithfully the various items of that Vow--how their feet have been kept from stumbling; how they have been helped in respect to their fellowship with the Lord; how they have been refreshed in spirit as they remembered daily at the Throne of Grace all others who have taken the Vow; how they have been blessed also in their daily remembrance of the Harvest Work and their own privileges therein; and how they have been made the more cautious by the resolutions respecting Spiritism and Occultism, and respecting their fellowship with persons of the opposite sex.
With the thought that many may be readers of THE WATCH TOWER now who were not at the time this Vow was presented, we print it afresh:
A VOW UNTO THE LORD
1. Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of Thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.
2. Daily will I remember at the Throne of Heavenly Grace the general interests of the Harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear colaborers at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel, and everywhere.
3. I Vow to still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve Thee and Thy dear flock.
4. I Vow to Thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways as being of the Adversary.
5. I further Vow that with the exceptions below, I will at all times, and in all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public--in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people.
6. And, so far as reasonably possible, I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.
7. Exceptions in the case of Brethren--wife, children, mother, and natural sisters. In the case of Sisters--husband, children, father, and natural brothers.
A WORD OF WARNING
We have heard from some that, while they had great blessings when they carefully observed the Vow, they gradually grew careless of it and began to lose their blessings, and stumbled into sin. We shall never be beyond danger, dear Brethren, so long as we are in the flesh. Hence everything that we can do on the side of the Lord, on the side of righteousness, as New Creatures enlisted under the banner of our Redeemer, we should do--for the maintenance of our own standards and for the assistance of others in the fight against the world, the flesh, and the Adversary, in which we have enlisted.
The text at the head of this article should never be forgotten by any of the Soldiers of the Cross. The strongest need to remember it, and surely the weaker ones need to obey it. We are all lame. None is able to walk uprightly, perfectly, in the footprints of our Lord. At very best, we limp. How necessary, then, that we do our best to avoid trials and temptations which would be a special strain upon us because of our weaknesses of the flesh! How we should seek to walk close to the Lord and to hold firmly to His hand while passing through the trials and the difficulties of the present time!
Does some one suggest that such a course represents weakness and dependence? Surely, it does; and surely the one who does not know of his weakness and dependence upon the Lord has not learned his primary lesson! Let us not be ashamed of regulating our lives so as to avoid temptations as far as possible; for this is the wise course admonished by the Lord's Word. To be proud, self-confident, and willing to trust in ourselves anywhere bespeaks the spirit which is not in close fellowship with the Lord, who shows His face to the humble and the meek.
If there are special trials upon the world and upon the Lord's followers now, we may expect that these will be increasingly severe in coming days and years. How necessary it is that the Lord's followers shall be courageous, strong, determined for the right--especially in all matters of self-control! "He that ruleth his own spirit [his own mind] is greater than the warrior who captures a city," is the inspired announcement. Let us seek to be great from the Divine viewpoint--pleasing to the Lord; guarding well our words and thoughts and doings, not merely on our own account, but additionally in the interest of all with whom we have to do. Thus we shall more and more be bright and shining lights, showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light."--`1 Peter 2:9`.
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FROM MALTA TO ROME
--NOVEMBER 19.--`ACTS 28:11-24,30,31`.--
THE JOURNEY TO ROME ACCOMPLISHED--MEETING WITH THE BRETHREN--FRESH EVIDENCES OF BROTHERLY LOVE--ST. PAUL CALLS TOGETHER THE LEADERS AMONGST THE JEWS AT ROME--THE GOSPEL PROCLAIMED AND EXPOUNDED--AS
USUAL, SOME REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE MESSAGE.
"I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one
that believeth."--`Romans 1:16`.
EARLY in the spring, A.D. 60, Centurion Julius and his soldiers of the Augustan Band started from Malta with St. Paul and the other prisoners for Rome in another ship, Luke and Aristarchus accompanying the Apostle. The voyage was effected without special incident, the landing being made in the Bay of Naples, at Puteoli, the seaport of Rome, which is one hundred and fifty miles inland. Here they tarried for seven days, the centurion awaiting orders from Rome respecting the disposal of his prisoners.
This delay afforded St. Paul an opportunity to meet with a little band of Christians residing at Puteoli. Doubtless he took the opportunity also to send word to the Christians residing at Rome, whom he had repeatedly declared that he longed to meet, and whom the Lord promised that he should meet. The journey to Rome was made on foot. En route the Apostle was frequently cheered by evidences of the Christian love of the brethren. Some of them met him at Appii Forum, forty-three miles distant from Rome; and another delegation met him at Three Taverns, thirty miles from the great city.
Many famous generals had come this same way with
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their troops to the imperial city, to receive honors and applause. But few preachers have had so great honors as were accorded to St. Paul. The journey to and from Rome was sixty miles for one delegation and eighty-six miles for the other; and the record shows us that by these manifestations of loving interest the Apostle was made acquainted with the true spirit of brotherhood amongst the Christians at Rome. The brethren doubtless came on the journey for their own refreshment and joy, not realizing, perhaps, that the Apostle needed this evidence of their love.
Commenting along these lines a gifted writer says, "We often forget that great men are often very lonely; and while we hesitate to say kind words to them, yet words of recognition for what they have done are refreshing to those who receive more criticism than praise. A few days ago an editor showed me a letter which he had just received from one who had held nearly the highest position in the gift of the American people, thanking him for his kindly words in a late editorial. My friend said that at first he was astonished that so great a man should care for anything that he could say; but that on further thought he understood the value of generous appreciation even to the greatest and wisest of men."
"IN HIS OWN HIRED HOUSE"
The fact that there were no charges of an evil character against St. Paul, and the further fact that the centurion who had him in charge during the voyage became his friend, were quite sufficient reasons why the Apostle should not be treated as an ordinary prisoner, but permitted to live in his own hired house under the care of a soldier to whom he was lightly chained. Although not permitted to go at liberty, he was allowed, however, to receive his friends and others who called upon him.
It is difficult to estimate how much Divine providence had to do with all these arrangements. Moreover, the soldier on guard was changed every few hours, so that probably the Apostle came into contact with at least six every day. Thus gradually he probably came into close contact with the entire imperial guard, and thus many were made acquainted with Christian teachings and example. It is claimed that through these soldiers the Gospel Message was carried to France, Germany and Great Britain. Truly, "God works in a mysterious way!"
St. Paul must have had some financial means. It is assumed that ere this he had come into his patrimony. The Scriptures intimate that Felix had held him captive at Caesarea in hope of receiving a bribe for his release, implying some knowledge respecting St. Paul's finances.
PREACHING TO THE JEWS OF ROME
The Lord's servant was not slow in using his God-granted privileges. He knew not when they might be taken away. First of all, of course, he met the Christian brethren. But, as early as the third day after his arrival at Rome, he sent for the Jewish leaders and officers of the synagogue; for at that time there were seven synagogues in the imperial city. He desired to give them information at first-hand respecting why he was there and a prisoner. Then he wished to preach to them the Gospel of Christ.
The Jewish leaders accepted his invitation and visited the Apostle. Doubtless they came readily for several reasons. First, the Jews at Rome had been subject to persecution, which some three years previous had driven Aquila and Priscilla from the city. This persecution had now to some extent abated; but doubtless it had left the hearts of the Jews in a much humbler condition than otherwise they would have been. Second, the Jews doubtless were interested in a fellow countryman in distress, especially one whom they found to be so peculiarly treated by the Roman government--one granted so great liberty as St. Paul enjoyed.
The Lord's providence was certainly in this matter; and the Apostle's peculiar form of restraint was evidently favorable to the cause which he represented. The Jews would certainly beware how they would raise a commotion against one who, although a prisoner, was treated with such consideration, one who was under the direct protection of a soldier, and one for violence to whom they would be directly responsible to Julius, supposed to have been the prefect of the Praetorium--"the captain of the guard."
St. Paul explained to his guests that, although a prisoner at the instance of the Jews of Palestine, he was not disloyal to his nation or to its customs. He had been pronounced innocent at the Roman Court, but had been compelled to appeal to Caesar for his safety. Even then, however, he was making no accusation against his countrymen. He proposed that gladly he would explain to them the good news that the long-expected Messiah had come, in whom the Jewish expectations had rested.
Mark the Apostle's wisdom in handling his subject. He not only showed no unkindness of sentiment toward those who had been the cause of his imprisonment, but he declared to his hearers that he was suffering imprisonment because of his loyalty to Israel and to the hope of Israel. Kindness often begets kindness. The Jewish leaders responded in most considerate terms that they knew nothing against the Apostle, and that they would be pleased to hear his story from his own lips. They admitted, however, that they had some prejudice against the doctrines which he advocated; for they had unfavorable reports concerning Christianity--that "everywhere it is spoken against."
TESTIFYING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD
On the day appointed, the Jews came to hear the Apostle's Message. From morning until evening he quoted, explained and expounded, showing from the Law and from the Prophets that Jesus is the Messiah; that He is now gathering a Spiritual Seed of Abraham to be His Kingdom; that when this Kingdom class is complete, it will be glorified in the First Resurrection; and that then will begin the work allotted to the Seed of Abraham--the blessing of all the families of the earth.--`Gal. 3:8,16,29`.
Doubtless, too, the Apostle gave an account of the purity of our Lord's life and teachings, and narrated the facts proving His resurrection from the dead. Doubtless he witnessed that the Lord was no longer a man, but a glorious spirit being, whose presence, when seen by St. Paul himself, shone above the brightness of the sun at noonday. Doubtless, also, he pointed out the High Calling of the Church, and explained that this opportunity for becoming Spiritual Israel was accorded first of all to Fleshly Israel; and that the Gentiles, nevertheless, according to the words of the Prophets, would be called in to fill up the elect number which God had predestinated to this glory. Doubtless he showed that the Call involved suffering, sacrifice and self-denial now on the part of those who desired to share in the glories of the Heavenly Kingdom as it will be established at the Second Coming of Messiah and the resurrection of the one true Church.--`Rom. 8:28-30,17-19`.
When some of his audience refused the Message, St. Paul sought further to influence them, or at least to influence the believing ones, by quoting from the Prophet `Isaiah (6:9,10)`, showing that God had foreknown and had foretold that the majority of the Jews would reject the Message when it should come to them. As our Lord said of them, "Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive." The Apostle was not responsible for the effect of the
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Truth upon his hearers. He earnestly desired to do them good, and used his very best endeavors to present the Truth wisely. The responsibility then lay with the hearers, not with St. Paul, not with the Lord.
The Apostle did not mean that those who are deaf to the Gospel will be eternally tormented; but that they will lose a great blessing--the wonderful privilege of becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ the Redeemer in His Millennial Kingdom. They lose a share with the saints in the glorious work of human uplift, which will then be in progress. They lose this privilege because not worthy of it. For this cause they were blind to the Truth. Had the unworthy ones been permitted to see, hear and understand the Gospel Message, their responsibilities would have been increased, and possibly the outworkings of the Divine purposes would have been to some extent hindered.
WHY THE GOSPEL IS REJECTED
Some of the Jewish leaders believed St. Paul's Message, and some did not. It is always thus. The Truth is a searcher and discerner of the hearts; it is also a separator. It is the Lord's purpose that the Truth shall attract only the one class--the pure in heart, the "Israelites indeed"; and that it shall separate and antagonize those who are not in the right condition of heart, but who are moved even in their religious life by selfishness. Not all are ready for the Present Truth. Some who are noble and generous in many respects have a prejudice of mind or of heart, which hinders them from receiving the Good Tidings. With others it is love of the sect, the party, with which they are identified, and whose teachings must be more or less antagonistic to the Truth because of the error they contain. With still others it is the fear of man, which bringeth a snare--the fear of unpopularity, and the realization that faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ would mean self-sacrifice, the giving up of the will.
Now, as then, the Lord is using just such testings to separate the wheat from the tares, the gold from the dross. We cannot expect that He will do otherwise. Therefore our prayers and our endeavors must be in the direction of thorough honesty with the Lord, with the brethren, and with His Truth--the love of the Truth being above all things else. The Lord's declaration respecting the class that will fall during this time of testing is that He will send them strong delusion, that they will believe the lie, because they received not the Truth in the love of it. --`2 Thessalonians 2:10,11`.
For nearly two years St. Paul remained under these conditions, preaching the Kingdom of God, and explaining how it may be attained at the present time by becoming members of the Elect Little Flock, the Bride of Christ, and how the Kingdom, when established, will during the Millennium bless the whole earth. He taught that all these things were dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice; that without the redemption which is in Christ Jesus there could be no remission of sins, no everlasting life, no Kingdom class upon the spirit plane, but only everlasting destruction.--`Acts 3:23`.
Here the narrative of St. Paul's work ends. Tradition tells us that at the end of two years he was liberated; that again he visited the churches of Asia Minor and subsequently went to Spain; that, later on, he came back to Rome as a prisoner without favor; and that after spending a considerable time in the Mamertine prison, a dread dungeon, he finally suffered martyrdom. Tradition also says that his Roman citizenship saved him from crucifixion; and that instead he was decapitated. St. Paul's Cathedral at Rome is said to have been built near the place of his execution.
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A LIVING SACRIFICE
--NOVEMBER 26.--`ROMANS 12:1-8`.--
THE PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS--THE ADVANTAGE OF THE JEW OVER THE GENTILE--THE CAUSE OF ISRAEL'S FAILURE TO GET THE CHIEF BLESSING--THE CALL OF THE GENTILES TO COMPLETE THE ELECT NUMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST--ISRAEL'S RETURN TO FAVOR THE SIGNAL FOR BLESSINGS UPON THE WHOLE WORLD--THE CHURCH
CALLED TO SACRIFICE--VARIOUS INSTRUCTIONS.
"Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."--`Verse 1`.
WHILE the Apostle Paul was a wonderful logician, and in his writings has set forth the elements of Christian faith along doctrinal lines more than has any other Apostle, yet we notice that he is in pursuit of a certain object. He is not beating the air, not discussing theological points for the sake of making an argument or of showing his own ability. His arguments along doctrinal lines lead the reader in every instance onward and upward, as a stairway, to a grand upper room of perfected Christian character.
Nowhere is this more manifest than in St. Paul's `Epistle to the Romans`. Beginning with the distinctions between the Jew and the Gentile, he contrasts the former, informed respecting God and to some extent respecting the Divine Plan, with the latter, "without God and having no hope in the world." After calling attention to the general ignorance of God prevailing amongst all classes of Gentiles, the Apostle carries the mind forward, pointing out how the degradation had come, and how the knowledge of God had reached Israel first--not because the Israelites were better than the Gentiles, but because of the Divine favor, "grace," "election."
Then the Apostle demonstrates that nevertheless "the Law made nothing perfect," but was merely a pedagogue --a servant, whose business it was to take the children to school. Thus the Law was designed to bring Israel to Christ, the great Teacher, that they might learn of Him. He further demonstrates that, while Israel was seeking Divine favor, they failed to get the chief blessing because they were not thoroughly candid with themselves, and hence mistook the mission of the Mosaic Law. They hypocritically claimed that they kept the Law inviolate and were therefore entitled to its blessings of eternal life, etc.; whereas they should have admitted that the Law was so grand and so perfect, and they themselves so fallen from perfection, that they were unable to keep it. Then they should have looked to the Lord for help. In this attitude of mind they would have been ready to receive eternal life as a gift, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and would have given up the seeking of life by the perfection of their own works.
So the Apostle points out that Israel failed because they sought the blessing not by faith, but by works. Thus "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the Election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." (`Romans 11:7`.) He then points out that Israel's fall into blindness and the calling of a peculiar people from amongst the Gentiles to complete the elect company was foreknown of God and declared by Him through the Prophets of Israel. (`Romans 9 and 10`.) But he shows
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that Israel is not cast off forever; but that when the elect class shall have been completed, all Israel shall be saved from the blindness into which they stumbled in the rejection of Christ; and that their recovery then will be the signal for blessings upon the whole world of mankind.-- `Romans 11:15,25-32`.
THE MAIN POINT OF THE ARGUMENT
After eleven chapters of argumentative, logical, beautiful, instructive, blessed reasoning the Apostle reaches the crown of his argument, saying, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [presented in the previous eleven chapters], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." He is addressing the Household of Faith, urging them to accept the Divine invitation to enter the elect Body of Christ, a part of which was being gathered from amongst the Jews, and the remainder of which was being made up from those called from amongst the Gentiles. These were already justified by faith in Christ Jesus as the Redeemer, and therefore were "brethren" of the Household of Faith.
St. Paul exhorts these brethren to appreciate fully the grace of God through Christ and to become faithful sons and heirs of God. The way to this exalted position is pointed out as a way of sacrifice. To "present your bodies a living sacrifice" is to do just what our Lord Jesus did. He said, "I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." (`John 6:38`.) It is to ignore the will of the flesh, with all of its ambitions, hopes and aims, however proper they may be in themselves, henceforth to devote all our time, our energies, our talents, be they many or few, to the doing of the Master's work, so that with Christ Jesus we may say, "It is my meat to do His will and to finish His work."--`John 4:34`.
This full consecration is even unto death, when, the course being finished, the reward is sure. Such a sacrifice on the part of justified believers is reckoned of God as holy, because the merit of our Redeemer's sacrificial death is imputed to them through faith. Therefore their sacrifice is acceptable to God, and is but their reasonable service, even though no exceeding great reward had been promised.
This class should know what are the terms and conditions upon which God has called them: (1) to suffer with Christ in the present time; and (2) to be glorified and to reign with Him during the coming Age, in order to bless the world. They should know the reason for their sufferings. They should have a clear understanding of the character which God would develop in them, and without which they would not be fit for a place in the Kingdom. It is concerning some of these characteristics, necessary to those who would make their calling and election sure, that today's Study treats.
TRUE CHRISTIAN LIVING
`Verse 2`. "And be ye not conformed to [patterned after] this world [its ideas, its hopes, its aims]; but be ye transformed [remodeled, changed] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This we do by taking the mind of Christ--endeavoring to think as He thought and to do as He did, or as He would do if He were in our circumstances. Only by coming into such an attitude can we fully know the will of God. Any other attitude is more or less biased by prejudice, thus making our discernment of the will of God more or less indistinct.
`Verse 3`. Through the grace given unto the Apostle he foresaw that one of the greatest temptations amongst Christians would be the ambition to be great, to be highly esteemed--if not by the world, at least amongst those of the Household of Faith--and to do some great thing which would attract attention, rather than the common things which constitute the bulk of actual service. Therefore the Apostle counsels every man in the Church to take a sober estimate of his talents, neither overrating nor underestimating them, in order that he may make the best use of them as a wise, faithful steward.
This sober thinking of one's talents must be proportionate to the time we have been under the Lord's instruction and the degree of attention we have given to learning the lessons designed for the increase of our faith. This development is in the Scriptures spoken of as a gift, as a fruit of the Spirit of God in us, and again as God's workmanship; for by His Truth and by His providences He is working in His children, not only to will, but also to do His good pleasure. He is working in us faith, hope, joy, peace, love and all the graces which He approves; and if we are obedient to His teachings and leadings, He will eventually complete the work. Then we shall be copies of His dear Son our Lord.
`Verses 4 and 5` assure us of the important and honorable place occupied by every member of the Body of Christ, even though all have not the same office. All are useful; all are needful, one to another; and each should seek to know his place and to do his part in it for the edification of the Body. Clearly and distinctly the Apostle points out to us in this illustration the close relationship which the members of the Church of Christ bear to their Lord and Head. As the head controls the body, thinks for it, plans for it, uses one or another member of the body for the assistance of others, so the Lord supervises His Church and sets the various members as it pleases Him.
`Verses 6-8` urge faithfulness in the use of our talents in accordance with a sober and just estimate of them. Thus, if we have no talent for public speaking or teaching, we should not waste our energies and misrepresent the Truth by poor attempts to use a talent not possessed. Rather, having found that capacity in which we can do most effectual service for the Truth, let us spend our energies along that line with diligence and carefulness. "Having, then, gifts differing," let us use them with diligence, patience, simplicity and cheerfulness, contented to be very humble in the estimation of others in order that our humble talents may increase the more to the Master's glory and in respect to our Heavenly interests.
Dear Lord, I pray for courage, strength and love,
For that pure wisdom, promised from above,
That I may faithful be and worthy found
To stand "that day" beside the grass-grown mound
Of my beloved dead, and say, "Arise!
Come forth to light and life, lift up thine eyes!
Awake, and burst the prison bands of death!
Stand up, the God of Heaven restores thy breath!
Return unto the land that gave thee birth--
No longer, as of old, a sin-cursed earth--
The desert places blossom as the rose,
With fragrance laden, every breeze that blows!
A Highway thou shalt find, a way of life,
No pride, nor selfishness, no envy, strife,
Shall prosper there; the ransomed of the Lord
Shall walk thereon, obedient to His Word;
No longer shall the 'lion' or 'ravenous beast'
Upon the poor, the weak, the innocent feast;
There God shall wipe all tears from every eye.
No grief shall touch thine heart, not e'en a sigh,
And there shall be no death, nor any pain!
Awake! Rejoice and join the glad refrain,
'Hosanna, peace on earth, good will toward men,
All honour to the Lamb. Amen! Amen!'"
GERTRUDE W. SEIBERT.
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LOS ANGELES--SEATTLE--MILWAUKEE CONVENTIONS
THE Los Angeles Convention of the I.B.S.A. opened September 2d and closed September 10th. The Chairman of the Convention, Brother Rutherford, declared that, without any exception, it was the finest and most spiritual Convention he had ever attended, and many others voiced the same sentiment. One Sister remarked that the addresses and general tone of the Convention were so spiritual that her eyes were suffused with tears at every session. Surely, it was good to be there! The program was closely followed, and the arrangement of the fixed topics in advance seemed to work beneficially, as it has done with other Conventions this year.
The attendance at the Convention was estimated at one thousand. The special service for the public on the closing Sunday packed the spacious Temple Beautiful to its utmost capacity, with about 200 brethren on the platform and about 600 in an overflow meeting, making a total of 3,800--besides about a thousand turned away. The close attention given by the public was remarked by many. The audience was an extremely intelligent one, probably one-half of it gray-haired people. Good results are hoped for from the public service, and we hope also that the Convention's general influence will be far reaching, not only in the Los Angeles Congregation, but also in the smaller companies round about, which were well represented.
The PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION had two full exhibitions-- four nights each, with a Finale, making nine in all. It was well attended and a large number of cards were handed in, requesting further information and literature.
An interesting event outside the Convention Program was an address by Brother Russell in the Park Avenue Christian Church, Los Angeles. The Minister of the Congregation, Brother Anderson, has within the past few months come in contact with Present Truth, and has been feasting upon it. He has also been preaching it to the Congregation, and has had various of the brethren lead Berean Studies and give Addresses. His invitation to Brother Russell to take supper at his home and afterwards to address the Congregation was accepted with appreciation. The attendance crowded the edifice, about 500 being present. The attention was excellent. Evidently a considerable number of the Congregation were deeply impressed with the Divine Plan of the Ages, as were also visitors from the neighborhood. Brother and Sister Anderson seem to be very thoroughly committed to following the light as the Lord may privilege them to see it. They give evidence of full consecration to the Lord, and a clear spiritual insight into the Plan.
A public witness to the Truth was given in San Bernardino and seemed to be well received. About 500 very intelligent people gave close heed to the subject, "The World on Fire." This was considered an excellent attendance for a Tuesday afternoon in September. Many requests were made for literature.
Our next stop was at San Francisco, where we addressed about 400 of the brethren of that vicinity gathered for Wednesday afternoon. No public meeting was attempted, but we had splendid fellowship with the brethren, about 100 of whom accompanied us to Oakland, where we took our train northward.
At Ashland, Oregon, about 50 of the friends awaited our train and gave us a most cordial welcome during the 20 minutes we stopped there, some of them accompanying us farther.
The next stop was at Medford, Oregon, where we had about 10 minutes, and were warmly greeted by about 20 of the friends. Again we exchanged cordial greetings and sang, as the train pulled out, "God be with you till we meet again."
Portland, Oregon, was our next stop. Although about 20 of the Portland brethren attended the Seattle Convention, we were warmly welcomed. About 50 awaited our arrival at the station. We had splendid fellowship with the Brethren during the day, nearly 300 being in attendance. The evening meeting for the public was in the largest hall available. Its capacity of 1,300 was stretched by putting about 200 brethren on the platform, while about 150 stood. A more earnest and sympathetic audience could scarcely be imagined. The closest attention was given and we hope that the eyes of understanding of many were opened and their hearts drawn nearer to our Blessed Lord.
THE SEATTLE CONVENTION
This was one of the most successful Conventions of the year. There were 1,100 in attendance. A considerable number of these came from Victoria and Vancouver, Canada-- probably 200. The spirit of the Lord seemed to be manifest everywhere amongst the brethren--love, joy, peace, the Holy Spirit, shone in their faces. Every way this Convention was a great success. We cannot say that it was better than the Los Angeles Convention, or others, but it would be hard to imagine a better one, or a more earnest and loving spirit of fellowship. This Convention lasted only four days, but they were brimful of good things--a spiritual feast.
The service for the public was held in the Arena Sunday afternoon. A vast audience of 4,500 very intelligent looking people heard, "The World on Fire," and what the grand outcome will be--"a New Heavens and a New Earth," wherein will dwell righteousness. The closest attention was given and probably one-fourth of the audience, or more, were gray-haired. Requests for further literature were many.
The Love-Feast Sunday evening at the close of the Convention was very enjoyable. All hearts seemed to be overflowing with love for the Lord and appreciation of His Truth, and with brotherly love for all who are followers of Jesus.
The PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION was shown in another theater every night during the four nights of the Convention. The theater's capacity of 1,100 was packed, and hundreds were turned away each night. The DRAMA will be repeated on account of the interest manifested. Incidentally we remark that one of the brethren attending the Convention from Canada informed us that the showing of the DRAMA in his city had brought between fifty and sixty into the Truth and into regular class attendance.
* * *
Our next stop was at Spokane, Wash., Monday, Sept. 18. We were greeted at the station by about 60 brethren and sisters. They had arranged a one-day Convention for friends from nearby points. Nearly 300 were in attendance, and a splendid season of Christian fellowship was enjoyed. The evening meeting was for the public, Brother Russell's topic being "The World on Fire." The attendance was about 1,500, many standing and many turned away. Excellent attention was given and we have reason to hope that some impression for the Truth was made upon some hearts and minds.
Thursday, Sept. 21st, we arrived in Duluth, Minn. Again we were given a warm welcome, again a one-day Convention had been appointed, and again the Lord seemed to pour out a blessing upon us, refreshing our hearts as we considered together the good things of His Word. The attendance was not large--less than 100, but the loving interest manifested was pronounced. Although the weather was wet and cold about 750 were present at the night meeting for the public. They gave splendid attention.
A night's ride brought us to St. Paul, where we had a short stopover between trains. The St. Paul and Minneapolis friends had heard of this stopover and quite a little gathering assembled to bid us God-speed for the Milwaukee Convention, to which some of their number had already gone, while others were intending to go. We had a pleasant hour with them, very truly refreshing and profitable.
When we arrived the Milwaukee Convention was under full swing, and excellent reports reached us of blessings already received from the Lord by those in attendance. We had two days with the dear friends, and greatly enjoyed the same. The total number in attendance, about 950, was not as large as we had hoped for, but the interest made up for the lack in numbers. The addresses were reported to be excellent, along the lines of the program and very edifying.
The PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION showed for eight nights-- the DRAMA being repeated. The attendance throughout was splendid, averaging about 2,000 per session. About 2,200 cards were handed in expressing desire for further literature.
The climax of the Convention was the Love Feast and the Public service. About 900 participated in the former at the conclusion of Brother Russell's address on "I am the Light of the World."
The public address was attended by about 4,500, mostly intelligent and elderly people. Excellent attention was given. Some results will surely follow to the Master's praise and His people's joy!
Homeward bound we stopped between trains at Chicago. There also some of the friends met us--nearly a hundred. A short address was made to them along the lines of the importance of brotherly love amongst the Lord's people.
Our next stop was Brooklyn, where we arrived on schedule time.
Amongst the interesting features at nearly every place was
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the consecration of children. And we should not forget to remark that the new "Pastoral Work" seemed to make quite an impression upon the hearts and minds of the friends. Many of the sisters were glad to have a share in the work and to know how it could be carried out. We believe that much will be done immediately, and that the dear sisters throughout the country will be awakened and taught by experience how to work efficiently, and that the great smiting of the Jordan shall begin and progress with wonderful power, as we expect it to do.
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FIERY TRIALS IN BRITAIN EASING
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings and fond love in the Lord! It is now some little time since last we wrote you with respect to those of our dear brethren who are affected by the Military Service Act in this country. We are glad now to report some slight improvement in the situation. From the very beginning our brethren have claimed exemption from the provisions of the Act as Conscientious Objectors, but for a long time the Tribunals before which their cases came were not prepared to acknowledge their conscientious objection, one difficulty being that the I.B.S.A. was not known to them. But things have changed now and our brethren are finding it less hard to secure--as an alternative to Military Service-- some work of National Importance. At the present time five of our brethren have been given absolute exemption, twenty-three are in a Non-combatant Corps, one hundred and fifty-four have been given work of National Importance, and eighty-two have been handed over to the Military and have suffered various punishments rather than obey Military orders. With reference to this latter number the Government put into operation a scheme whereby these men are to be released from Prison and--as State servants--be employed in work of National Importance, such as road-making, quarrying, etc. About thirty of the eighty-two mentioned are already thus engaged and about twelve others are at home on parole waiting for work to be found for them.
You will be interested to know that the War Office officials have kindly consented to cancel the papers calling to the colors all those brethren who are Elders, pending the decision of the High Court as to the proper status of our Elders under the Act. This decision we expect to receive about the middle of November. This means, of course, that various Classes are to receive the benefit of their Elders' services meantime. We are grateful to the Lord for this evidence of His loving care for His dear ones in this hour of need.
We need hardly say how keenly we are anticipating further opportunities of service that the Lord in His gracious purposes may have this side the veil; and we are looking to you as His faithful servant to point out to us such further privileges of witness as it may be His good pleasure to provide. We believe that the trials through which our beloved brethren here have been called upon to pass of late have had a mighty, sanctifying influence and have helped us all to be still more devoted to our Lord, and prepared to spend and be spent in His service--realizing the privilege of being His witnesses and suffering, if it be His will, for His name's sake.
We pray for you, dear Brother, and all our beloved brethren associated with you in service for the Lord, that He grant you all Heavenly wisdom and grace sufficient each and every day, so that your labors may ever be to His praise and glory.
With much fervent love in Him to yourself and all the dear colaborers with you, we are,
Your brethren and servants in the Lord,
REJOICING AGAIN IN THE LORD
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
Some twenty-five years ago I read Vols. I. and II. of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. I found them very interesting, but to me at that time not spiritually helpful, so I read only part of Vol. III.
Of late years I have been greatly oppressed by the growing power of evil in every denomination, and I felt a withdrawing of the Holy Spirit from me. I prayerfully sought to know the reason, and my only answer was a direction to study the book of Revelation. I tried to do so several times, but even with the help of a commentary, I could not understand it. Finally, I thought that if I carefully and prayerfully read your books they could not harm me. I did so, and looked up every reference and the context, and also the history of the world.
The dates from the Bible seemed very conclusive; but the Pyramid chapter convinced me, and I resolved that I would be guided in the future according to the STUDIES.
I belonged to the Anglican Church, and had a fair knowledge of its doctrines and those of several denominations; and I thought you belonged to one that I did not know about.
While trying in St. John to get other volumes of your books, I met with some people who believed as you do. I bought the whole set of books and subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER.
I rejoice now again in the Lord, and in our dear Savior's Second Presence.
I have not yet finished all the volumes, but I have taken the Vow, and I mean to follow on in the way that God may guide. Praise His name!
I wish to thank you for the help I have received through your writings, and I mean to do all I can to spread them, and speak about the Truth.
Your Sister in Christ, ELIZABETH WETMORE.
MAGNIFYING GOD HER CREATOR
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Our Father has been doing great things for me, whereof I am glad; and I am sure that you, too, will rejoice with me.
It was just a whole year (a long one) that He saw fit to permit me to be laid on the shelf--until He graciously opened the way for me to go out again in the follow-up work, just six weeks ago. You know something of the starvation of soul it meant. Now I can tell you that, true to His promise, when we hunger for these things, we shall be filled; so my whole soul doth magnify the Lord my Creator for His refilling. Through this experience I realize that I have never in the past sufficiently appreciated the goodness of the Lord in permitting me to handle His precious truths and to feed His lambs, to uphold His name and character to all with whom we come in contact. Henceforth many times daily I will by His grace remember my vow to thank Him, "particularly for the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work," and with reverence handle these sacred vessels of the Lord.
Every day we meet some hungry souls who declare inability to understand the Bible--some who say their neighbors think them peculiar because they love to talk about the Bible; some say they are "starved" for the truth of the Bible. "What manner of persons ought we to be" who are entrusted with a Message for just such waiting hearts!
The Father Himself has provided "strength for every day"--temporal blessings far better than we deserve or would ask for and spiritual joys which we could not have dreamed of, except that "it is just like our Father." We wish that we had much more that we could sacrifice for Him, for our little sacrifice is completely lost sight of because of present joys and the joys in prospect.
If He is so good to us we know how He is caring for and blessing His faithful servant "over His household." May your joys in Him daily increase! With love and daily prayers,
By His Grace, -----
HOLDING TO FAITH'S ANCHOR
VENERATED BROTHER IN THE LORD:--
While renewing my subscription to THE WATCH TOWER, I avail myself of the opportunity to tell you how much its semi-monthly calls gladden us. We ever find therein, abundantly given, the strong meat necessary to properly maintain us as new creatures, that we may grow in all the graces and fruits of the Spirit.
In spite of the trials and difficulties abounding in these perilous times, the condition of our little class is very satisfactory. Each of us is holding firmly to the anchor of faith-- the precious promises of our Heavenly Father, which alone can protect us against the waves already foaming, roaring and threatening to engulf the "mountains." We make `Psalm 46` ours.
In behalf of the whole Ecclesia here and vicinity, I present to you, beloved Brother Russell, this expression of the sincere sentiments of our love in the Lord.
Your humble brother in the One Hope. ELIE THEROND.