VOL. XXXVII. MARCH 15 No. 6
A. D. 1916--A. M. 6044
Thoughts of the Memorial Season . . 83
First-Fruits and After-Fruits . . 83
Jesus Our Passover Lamb . . . 84
Primary Significance of Bread and Cup 84
Deeper Significance of Loaf and Cup . 85
The Celebration in the Kingdom . . 85
Opposition from Religious World . . 86
The Ransom and the Sin-Offering . . . 87
Ransom Price and Ransom Work . . . 87
The Sin-Offering is Different . . 88
The Secondary Sin-Offering . . . 88
Value of Scape Goat's Suffering . . 89
"Why Persecutest Thou Me?" . . . . 90
Conscientious Wrong-Doing . . . 90
St. Paul as a Type . . . . . 92
Aeneas and Dorcas . . . . . . 92
Meaning of the Term Saint . . . 92
Lesson of the Lilies . . . . . . 94
Passover Proving (Poem) . . . . . 94
Interesting Letters . . . . . . 95
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THOUGHTS ON THE MEMORIAL SEASON
"For as often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."--`1 Corinthians 11:26`.
THE Passover season, as celebrated by the Jews, is approaching, beginning this year on the 17th of April. But the interest of Christians in this season centers especially in the slaying of the lamb, which preceded the Passover Feast, and which typified the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. Our celebration of this Passover season, therefore, relates to the great Antitype. At this time we as Christians commemorate the greatest event of all history, the sacrificial death of the Savior of the world. Our celebration this year properly begins on the evening of April 16th, after six o'clock, which is the beginning of the 14th of Nisan.
We greatly regret that, while millions of professed Christians and Jews will in some formal ceremonies and in a perfunctory manner celebrate at that season this most important event, but few of either religion discern the real significance of the celebration. Could their minds be thoroughly awakened to its true significance, there would be a religious revival such as the world has never yet known. But, as St. Paul declares, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds" of many; and even some whose eyes of understanding are partially opened, St. Peter describes as being blind and unable to see afar off. They are unable to see the deep things of God in respect to these ceremonies, which have been celebrated for now more than three thousand years, in type and antitype.
The Israelites were commanded to celebrate the Passover as the first feature of the Law and as one of their greatest memorials as a nation. Therefore we find that in some degree the Passover is celebrated by Jews in all parts of the world, even by those who claim to be agnostics. They still have a measure of respect for the Passover as an ancient custom. But is it not strange that with the bright minds which many of our Jewish friends possess, they have never thought it worth while to inquire as to the meaning of this celebration?
Why was the Passover lamb slain and eaten? Why was the blood sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintels? Of course, God so commanded; but what was the reason, the motive, behind the Divine command--what lesson, what object? Truly a reasonable God gives reasonable commands; and in due time Jehovah will cause His faithful people to understand the significance of every requirement. If the Jew can realize that his Sabbath day is a type of a coming Epoch of rest and blessing, of release from toil, sorrow and death, why cannot he see that similarly all the features of the Mosaic institution were designed of the Lord to be foreshadowings of various blessings, to be bestowed "in due time"?
FIRST-FRUITS AND AFTER-FRUITS
Blessed are those whose eyes can see that Jesus was indeed "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world"; that the cancellation of the world's sin is to be effected by the payment of man's penalty, by the application of Jesus' sacrificial merit in due time for the sins of all mankind. Only the Church have as yet received of the merit of Jesus' death. Greatly favored are those who can see that as the whole world lost Divine favor and came under Divine sentence of death, with its concomitants of sorrow and pain, so it was necessary that a satisfaction of Justice should be made before this sentence, or curse, could be removed; and that therefore, as the Apostle declares, "Christ died for our sins"--"the Just for the unjust," that He might bring us back to God. Thus He opened up a new way--a way to life everlasting.
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The Scriptures call the Church of Christ "the Church of the First-borns," "a kind of First-fruits unto God of His creatures," "the First-fruits unto God and the Lamb." (`Hebrews 12:23`; `James 1:18`; `Rev. 14:4`.) These expressions imply that ultimately there will be others of God's family later born; they imply after-fruits. Christian people in general seem to have overlooked these Scriptures, so far as making application of them is concerned, and have generally come to believe that only those are ever to be saved who are designated in the Bible as the First-fruits--that there will be no after-fruits.
But the Passover type indicates that it was God's purpose to save all Israelites; and that as a nation they represented all of mankind that will ever come into harmony with God and be granted everlasting life in the Land of Promise. Let us note that there were two Passovers-- the one in which only the first-borns were passed over; and another greater one at the Red Sea, when by Divine Power the whole nation of Israel was miraculously delivered and led across the channel of the Sea especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. These passed over dry-shod and were saved; while the hosts of Pharaoh, representing all who eventually will go into the Second Death, were overwhelmed in the Sea. The passover at the Red Sea pictures the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and death of every creature of Adam's race who desires to come into accord with the Lord and to render Him worship, all who will ever become a part of Israel; for not one Israelite was left behind in Egyptian bondage.
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RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FIRST-BORNS
But this passover is not the one which we are about to celebrate. We are to celebrate the antitype of the passing over of the first-borns of Israel by the angel, in the land of Egypt. Only the first-born ones of Israel were endangered on that night in Egypt, though the deliverance of the entire nation depended upon the salvation, the passing over, of those first-borns. So only the First-borns of the sons of God from the human plane, the Church of Christ, are now being passed over during this night of the Gospel Age; only these are in danger of the destroying angel. These are all under the sprinkled blood.
We see, in harmony with all the Scriptures, that the "Little Flock," "the First-fruits unto God of His creatures," "the Church of the First-borns," alone is being spared, passed over, during the present Age. We see that the remainder of mankind who may desire to follow the great antitypical Moses, when in the Age to follow this He shall lead the people forth from the bondage of Sin and Death, are not now in danger of eternal destruction-- only the First-borns.
The Church of the First-borns are those of mankind who, in advance of the remainder of the race, have had the eyes of their understanding opened to a realization of their condition of bondage and their need of deliverance and to God's willingness to fulfil to them all of His good promises. Furthermore, they are such as have responded to the grace of God, have made a full consecration of themselves to Him and His service, and in return have been begotten of the Holy Spirit. With these it is a matter of life or death whether or not they remain in the Household of Faith--behind the blood of sprinkling.
For this class to go forth from under the blood would imply a disregard of Divine mercy. It would signify that they were doing despite to Divine goodness; and that, having enjoyed their share of the mercy of God as represented in the blood of the Lamb, they were not appreciative of it. For such, the Scriptures declare, "There remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins"; "Christ dieth no more." They are to be esteemed as adversaries of God, whose fate was symbolized in the destruction of the first-borns of Egypt. The Church of the First-borns, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit and the greater knowledge and privileges which they enjoy in every way, have a far greater responsibility than has the world; for they are the only ones yet in danger of the Second Death. This is the lesson of the Passover type, and applies only to true Christians.
By and by the night of sin and death will have passed away, the glorious Morn of deliverance will have come, and The Christ, the antitypical Moses, will lead forth, will deliver, all the people of God--all who, when they shall come to know, will be glad to reverence, honor and obey the will of God. That Day of Deliverance will be the entire Millennial Age, at the close of which all evil and evil-doers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt, will be utterly cut off in the Second Death--destruction.
JESUS OUR PASSOVER LAMB
The Apostle Paul clearly and positively identifies the Passover Lamb with our Lord Jesus, saying, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast." He informs us that we all need the blood of sprinkling, not upon our houses, but upon our hearts. We are to partake of the Lamb; we must appropriate to ourselves the merit of Christ, the value of His sacrifice; we must also eat of the unleavened bread of Truth, if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the Morning of the New Dispensation. Thus we put on Christ, not merely by faith; but more and more we put on His character and are transformed into His glorious image in our hearts and lives.
We are to feed on Christ as the Jews fed on the literal lamb. Instead of the bitter herbs, which aided and whetted their appetites, we have bitter experiences and trials which the Lord prepares for us, and which help to wean our affections from earthly things and to give us increased appetite to feed upon the Lamb and the unleavened Bread of Truth. We, too, are to remember that we have here no continuing city; but as pilgrims, strangers, staff in hand, we are to gird ourselves for our journey to the Heavenly Canaan, to all the glorious things which God has in reservation for the Church of the First-borns, in association with our Redeemer, as kings and priests unto God.
Our Lord Jesus also fully identified Himself with the Passover Lamb. On the same night of His betrayal, just preceding His crucifixion, He gathered His Apostles in the upper room, saying, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." It was necessary that as Jews they should celebrate the Passover Supper on that night--the night of the anniversary of the slaying of the Passover lamb in Egypt, of the saving of the typical first-borns from the typical "prince of this world"--Pharaoh--the same date on which the real Passover Lamb was to be slain. But as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled, our Lord Jesus instituted a new Memorial upon the old foundation, saying, "Do this in remembrance of Me."
PRIMARY SIGNIFICATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CUP
We recall the circumstances of the first Memorial-- the blessing of the Bread and of the Cup, the fruit of the vine; and our Lord's declaration that these represented His broken body and shed blood, and that all His followers should participate, not only feeding upon Him, but being broken with Him; not only partaking of the merit of His blood, His sacrifice, but also laying down their lives in His service, in cooperating with Him in every and any manner, that they might later share all His honor and glory in the Kingdom. How precious are these thoughts to those who are rightly in tune with our Lord!
In presenting to the disciples the unleavened bread as a memorial, Jesus said, "Take, eat; this is My body." The evident meaning of His words is, This symbolizes, or represents, My body. The bread was not actually His body; for in no sense had His body yet been broken. In no sense would it then have been possible for them to have partaken of Him actually or antitypically, the sacrifice not being as yet finished. But the picture is complete when we recognize that the unleavened (pure, unfermented) bread represented our Lord's sinless flesh --leaven being a symbol of sin under the Law, and especially commanded to be put away at the Passover season. On another occasion Jesus gave a lesson which interprets to us this symbol. He said, "The Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world." "I am the Bread of Life." "I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."--`John 6:33,35,51`.
In order to appreciate how we are to eat, or appropriate, this living Bread, it is necessary for us to understand just what the bread signifies. According to our Lord's explanation of the matter, it was His flesh which He sacrificed for us. It was not His prehuman existence as a spirit being that was sacrificed, although that was
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laid down and its glory laid aside, in order that He might take our human nature. It was the fact that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners--without any contamination from Father Adam, and hence free from sin--that enabled Him to become the Redeemer of Adam and his race, that permitted Him to give His life "a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time."--`1 Timothy 2:3-6`.
When we see that it was the pure, spotless nature of our Lord Jesus that was laid down on behalf of sinners, we see what it is that we are privileged to appropriate. The very thing that He laid down for us we are to "eat," appropriate to ourselves; that is to say, His perfect human life was given to redeem all the race of man from condemnation to death, to enable them to return to human perfection and everlasting life, if they would; and we are
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to realize this and accept Him as our Savior from death. The Scriptures show us, however, that if God would consider all past sins canceled, and should recognize us as having a right to human perfection, this still would not make us perfect, nor give us the right to eternal life.
In order that any of the race of Adam might profit by the sacrifice of Jesus, it was necessary that He should rise from the tomb on the Divine plane of life, that He should ascend to the Father and deposit the sacrificial merit of His death in the hands of Justice, and receive from the Father "all power in Heaven and in earth." As relates to the world, it was necessary also that in the Father's due time He should come again to earth, a glorious Divine Being, then to be to the whole world a Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King, to assist back to perfection and to harmony with God all who will avail themselves of the wonderful privileges then to be offered.
It is this same blessing that the Gospel Church of this Age receive by faith in their Redeemer; namely, justification by faith--not justification to a spirit nature, which we never had and never lost, and which Christ did not redeem; but justification to human nature, which Father Adam possessed and lost, and which Christ redeemed by giving His own sinless flesh, His perfect human life, as our Ransom-sacrifice. The partaking of the unleavened bread at the Memorial season, then, means to us primarily the appropriation to ourselves, by faith, of justification to human life-right--a right to human life--with all its privileges, which our Lord at His own cost procured for us. Likewise the fruit of the vine symbolizes primarily our Savior's life given for us, His human life, His being, His soul, poured out unto death on our behalf; and the appropriation of this by us also signifies, primarily, our acceptance of Restitution rights and privileges secured by our Lord's sacrifice of these.
DEEPER SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LOAF AND THE CUP
Now let us note that God's object in justifying the Church by faith during this Gospel Age, in advance of the justification of the world by works of obedience in the Millennial Age, is for the very purpose of permitting this class who now see and hear, who now appreciate the great sacrifice which Love has made on man's behalf, to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and thus to have part with the Lord Jesus in His sacrifice--as members of His Body. This deeper meaning of the Memorial He did not refer to directly. It was doubtless one of the things to which He referred when He said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit, when it, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, it will guide you into all Truth, and will show you things to come."--`John 16:12,13`.
This Spirit of Truth, the power and influence of the Father bestowed through Christ, speaking through the Apostle Paul, clearly explains the very high import of the Memorial; for St. Paul says, writing to the consecrated Church, "The Cup of blessing for which we give thanks, is it not the participation of the blood of Christ? The Loaf which we break, is it not the participation of the Body of Christ?"--the sharing with Christ as joint-sacrificers with Him even unto death, that thereby we might be counted in with Him as sharers of the glory which He has received as the reward of His faithfulness?--"For we, being many, are one Loaf and one Body."--`1 Corinthians 10:16,17`. --Emphatic Diaglott.
Both views of this impressive ordinance are very important. It is essential, first of all, that we should see our justification through our Lord's sacrifice. It is proper then that we should realize that the entire Christ, the entire anointed company, is, from the Divine standpoint, a composite Body of many members, of which Jesus is the Head (`1 Corinthians 12:12-14`), and that this Body, this Church, as a whole must be broken--that each member of it must become a copy of the Lord Jesus and must walk in the footsteps of His sacrifice. We do this by laying down our lives for the brethren, as Jesus laid down His life--directly for His Jewish brethren, but really for the whole world, according to the Father's purpose.
It is not our spiritual life that we lay down, even as it was not Jesus' spiritual life that He laid down. As He sacrificed His actual, perfect being, His humanity, so we are to sacrifice our justified selves, reckoned perfect through Jesus' merit, but not actually so. Likewise the Loaf and the Cup represent suffering. The grains of wheat must be crushed and ground before they can become bread for man; they cannot retain their life and individuality as grains. The grapes must submit to the pressure that will extract all their juices, must lose their identity as grapes, if they would become the life-giving elixir for the world. So it is with the Christ company, Head and Body. Thus we see the beauty and force of St. Paul's statement that the Lord's children are participants in the one Loaf and the one Cup. But it is His blood, the virtue of His sacrifice, that counts. Our blood has virtue only because of His merit counted to us, only because we are members of His Body.
Our Lord distinctly declares that the Cup, the fruit of the vine, represents blood; that is, life--not life retained, but life shed, given, yielded up--sacrificed life. He tells us that this life poured out was for the remission of sins; and that all who would be His must drink of it, must accept His sacrifice and appropriate it by faith. They must receive life from this source. It will not do for any to claim an immortality outside of Christ. It will not do to declare that life is the result of obedience to the Law. It will not do to claim that faith in some great teacher and obedience to his instructions will amount to the same thing and bring eternal life. There is no way to attain eternal life other than through the blood once shed as the Ransom-price for the whole world. "There is none other name given under Heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved." (`Acts 4:12`.) Likewise there is no other way by which we can attain to the new nature than by accepting the Lord's invitation to drink of His Cup, and to be broken with Him as members of the one Loaf, to be buried with Him in baptism into His death, and thus to be with Him in His resurrection to glory, honor and immortality.--`Romans 6:3-5`; `2:7`.
THE CELEBRATION IN THE KINGDOM
On the occasion of the institution of the Memorial Supper, our dear Lord, as usual, had something to say about the Kingdom, the theme of His every discourse.
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Those to whom He had promised a share in the Kingdom if faithful, He reminded of His declaration that He would go away to receive a Kingdom and to come again and receive them to Himself to share in it. He now adds that this Memorial which He was instituting would find its fulfilment in the Kingdom, that He would no more drink of the fruit of the vine until He should drink it anew with them in the Father's Kingdom.
Just what our Lord meant by this statement might be difficult to determine positively, but it seems not inconsistent to understand Him to mean that as a result of the trials and sufferings symbolized in His Cup, there will be jubilation in the Kingdom. "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." He will look back over the trials and difficulties endured in faithful obedience to the Father's will, and will rejoice in these as He sees the grand outcome--the blessings which will come to all mankind. This jubilation will be shared by all His disciples who have drunk of this Cup, first in justification, then in consecration and sacrifice with Him. These have His promise that they shall reign with Him; and when the reign shall have begun, when the Kingdom shall have been established, looking back they shall praise the way that God has led them day by day, even unto the end of their earthly course, and even though it has been a "narrow way," a way of self-sacrifice, a way of self-denial.
Our dear Master's faith stood the test of all these trying hours which He knew to be so near the time of His apprehension and death. The fact that He rendered thanks to the Father for the bread and the cup is indicative of a joyful acquiescence in all the sufferings which the breaking of the bread and the crushing of the grapes implied. Already He was satisfied with the Father's arrangement. In line with this spirit was the singing of a hymn as they parted, a hymn of praise no doubt, thanksgiving to the Father that His course on earth was so nearly finished, and that He had found thus far grace sufficient for His need.
In considering the events of those solemn hours which followed the Memorial Supper, let us follow the Redeemer to Gethsemane, and behold Him "with strong cryings and tears" praying "unto Him who was able to save Him out of death"--expressive of our Master's fear of death lest in some particular He might have failed to follow out the Father's Plan, and therefore be thought unworthy of a resurrection. We note that our Lord was in some way comforted with the assurance that He had faithfully kept His consecration vow, and that He would surely have a resurrection as promised.
We behold how calm He was thereafter, when before the high priest and Pilate, and Herod and Pilate again. "As a lamb before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth" in self-defense. We see Him faithful, courageous to the very last; and we have His assurance that He could have asked of the Father and could have had more than twelve legions of angels for His protection. But instead of petitioning for aid to escape His sacrifice, He petitioned for help to endure it faithfully. What a lesson is here for all His footstep followers!
On the other hand, we recall that even amongst His loyal disciples the most courageous forsook the Master
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and fled; and that one of them, in his timidity, even denied his Lord! What an occasion is this for examining our own hearts as respects the degree of our own faith, our own courage and our willingness to suffer with Him who redeemed us! What an opportunity is thus afforded for us to buttress the mind with the resolution that we will not deny our Master under any circumstances or conditions-- that we will confess Him not only with our lips, but also by our conduct.
OUR OPPOSITION TO BE FROM RELIGIOUS WORLD
We are shocked with the thought that it was Jehovah's professed people who crucified the Prince of Life! and not only so, but that it was the leaders of their religious thought, their chief priests, Scribes and Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, rather than the common people, who were responsible for this dreadful deed. We remember the Master's words, "Marvel not that the world hate you; for you know that it hated Me before it hated you." We see that He referred to the religious world; and realizing this, we know that it will be the religious world that will hate us, His followers. We are not to be surprised, then, that opposition to the Truth and persecution of the light-bearers should come from the most prominent exponents of so-called Christianity. This fact, however, should not cause us to hate either our own opponents or those who persecuted our Lord to the death. Rather we are to remember the words of the Apostle Peter respecting this matter: "I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers."--`Acts 3:17`.
Ah, yes! Ignorance and blindness of heart and mind is at the bottom of all the sufferings of Christ--both Head and Body. The Father permits it to be so now, until the members of the Body of Christ shall have filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of their Head. (`Colossians 1:24`.) Soon, as our dear Lord declared, those who now partake of His broken body and are broken with Him in the service of the Truth, those who now participate in His Cup of suffering and self-denial, will drink with Him the new wine of joy in the Kingdom, beyond the veil. With that glorious Morning will begin the great work for the world's release from the bonds of sin and death--the great work of uplifting, the "Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began."--`Acts 3:21`.
The thought before the mind of each of those who participate in the Memorial service should be that expressed in the words of St. Paul, "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him; if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him"; "for our light afflictions, which are but for a moment," "are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (`Rom. 8:18`.) With these thoughts respecting the passing over of our sins as the First-borns through the merit of the precious blood, and our share with our blessed Lord in all His experience of suffering and of glory, we may indeed keep the Passover feast with joy, notwithstanding the trials and difficulties. So doing, continuing faithful as His followers, very soon we shall have the great privilege of leading forth the Lord's hosts--all who ultimately shall hear and know and obey the great King--out of the dominion of sin and death, out of Egypt into Canaan.
THE COMING ANNIVERSARY
According to custom, the New York and Brooklyn congregation will this year meet to celebrate the great event which is so full of precious significance to all the saints who have come into an appreciation of Present Truth. We recommend that the dear friends in various parts of the world neglect not this blessed Memorial. We do not advise the leaving of the smaller groups to meet with larger companies, but rather that each little company, or band, meet together as is its usual custom; for this seems to have been the course of the early Church. Let us "keep the Feast," with joy of heart, but with due appreciation of its solemnity, not only as relates to our Lord's sacrifice
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for us, but also as relates to our own covenant to be dead with Him. We recommend that the leaders of each company make arrangements to obtain unleavened bread, and either unfermented grape juice, or raisin juice, or other fruit of the vine. Our recommendation is against the use of fermented wine, as being a possible temptation to some weak in the flesh, though provision might be made for any, if there be such, who conscientiously believe that fermented wine was meant to be used.
We recommend that these little gatherings be without ostentation. Decently, orderly, quietly, let us come together, full of precious thoughts respecting the great transaction we celebrate. Let us not have our attention too much taken up with forms and ceremonies. Let us in this, as in all things, seek to do that which would be pleasing to our Lord; and then we shall be sure that the service will be profitable to all who participate.
We have heretofore suggested that none are to be forbidden to partake of the emblems who profess faith in the precious blood and full consecration to the Lord. As a rule there will be no danger that any will accept the privilege of this fellowship who are not earnest of heart. Rather, some may need to be encouraged, since wrong views, we believe, are sometimes taken of the Apostle's words concerning those who "eat and drink damnation (condemnation) to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body." (`1 Corinthians 11:29`.) For the sake of these timid ones, who, we trust, will not forego the privilege of commemorating this great transaction, we would explain that to our understanding the class mentioned by the Apostle is composed of those who fail to realize the real import of the sacrifice, and who recognize this service as a mere ceremonial form. The failure to investigate and learn what this signifies, brings condemnation, reproof.
We trust that the occasion will this year be a most precious and profitable one to all the saints. As we are approaching the end of our course, the great importance of our Calling, its responsibilities and privileges, should be impressed more and more upon our hearts and minds. We are living in wonderful times. We know not what a day may bring forth. Then let us walk with great carefulness, with great soberness, yet with joy and rejoicing, knowing that our deliverance draweth nigh; and that, if faithful, soon with our Beloved Bridegroom we shall partake of the wine of joy in His Kingdom and be forever with Him.
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THE RANSOM AND THE SIN-OFFERING
NOTWITHSTANDING all that we have written on the subjects of the Ransom and the Sin-Offering in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, in THE WATCH TOWER and in the TABERNACLE SHADOWS, it would appear that some of our dear readers are not yet clear in respect to these matters. Some even confuse themselves and others by hinting that "Brother Russell has changed his views--or that the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES contradict THE WATCH TOWER. These are harmful mistakes. Should our views change we will state the change in no uncertain terms. We therefore make a renewed effort to make plain what we believe to be the proper interpretation of these subjects.
"The Ransom-Price relates to the valuable thing itself; namely, the blood or death of Christ--a ransom price sufficient for the payment of the penalty of one member of the human family or of all, as it may be applied."-- Z'09, p. 309.
The Ransom views the matter of man's recovery from sin and death as a purchase--a Redemption. The basis of this thought is the Divine Law, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a man's life for a man's life." (`Deuteronomy 19:21`.) Adam and his entire race of thousands of millions are in dire distress through sin and its penalty. God has provided a recovery by a Ransom process--purchasing back from their fallen condition.
Our first thought naturally would be that to redeem, or purchase back, the right of humanity to life, would mean that each member of Adam's race must be purchased by the life of another person, holy, harmless, unsentenced. But looking deeply into God's Plan we find that only one man was tried before the Divine Court-- namely, Father Adam; that only Adam was sentenced to death; and that all of his children go into death, not because of their individual trial and death, but simply because Adam, having failed to maintain his perfection, was unable to give his children more life or rights than he possessed. And so it has been throughout the entire period of six thousand years from the time of Father Adam's sentence until now.
Here we see a wonderful economic feature connected with the Divine Plan. God would not permit more than one member of the human race to be tried and sentenced to death; for His purpose from the beginning was that the sacrifice of one life should redeem the entire human race. By one man the whole trouble came; by another Man the whole trouble will be rectified. This the Apostle points out, saying, "As by a man came death, by a man comes also the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive-- every man in his own order."--`1 Corinthians 15:21-23`.
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Thus we see the value of Jesus' death--that it was not merely for Adam, but included all his posterity. We see, too, how necessary it was that Jesus should be "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners"; otherwise, He, like the remainder of the race, would have been under a Divine death sentence. Because all of Adam's race were involved in sin and its penalty it was necessary to find an outsider to be the world's Redeemer; and that outsider, whether angel, cherub, or the great Michael Himself, the Logos, must exchange the spirit nature for the human nature in order to be a corresponding price--a Ransom for the first man.
It was not a God that sinned; hence the death of a God could not redeem. It was not a cherub that sinned; hence the death of a cherub could not redeem. It was a man who sinned, and the ransom for him must be furnished by the death of a man. It was for this cause that the great Logos, in carrying out the Divine Plan for human redemption, left the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, humbled Himself and became a man, "was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor [the perfection of human nature]; that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man."--`Hebrews 2:9`.
RANSOM PRICE AND RANSOM WORK
If we have established clearly what a ransom is, and that Jesus was the only One suitable to be a Ransom for Father Adam, our next point is to show from the Bible that He did give Himself as a Ransom. We have the word of Jesus Himself on the subject (`Matthew 20:28`); and also St. Paul's testimony, "the Man Christ Jesus,
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who gave Himself a Ransom-price for all, to be testified in due time." (`1 Tim. 2:6`.) This proves that the giving of the price sufficient to ransom Adam and all his race was accomplished in Jesus' death at Calvary.
But the work of ransoming Adam and his race is much more than merely the providing of the Ransom-price. The thought connected with the word Ransom goes beyond the mere giving and appropriating of the price. It includes the recovery of Adam and his race from the power of sin and death. Manifestly, this work has not yet been accomplished; indeed, it has scarcely begun. The only disposition thus far of the Ransom, the merit, has been its imputation to the Church, and this only by faith. The Church is not yet glorified as a whole--not yet delivered from the power of sin and death completely. Manifestly, then, it will require the entire thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom to ransom, to deliver, to set free, from the power of sin and death, Adam and all his children. Consequently, the Ransom work, which began more than eighteen centuries ago, is still to be accomplished.
There is no difficulty about the Ransom-price; for that price has been in the hands of Justice for nearly nineteen centuries. But it has been unapplied as respects the world and only imputed to the Church that has been called out from the world during this Gospel Age. The full completion of the Ransoming work will include what the Bible speaks of, saying, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave." (`Hosea 13:14`.) Nor will the Ransoming work be fully accomplished when the last member of the race has been delivered from the power of the grave; for there will still be a great resurrecting work to be done--a raising up out of imperfection of mind, morals and physique, to the full image and likeness of God, lost through Adam's disobedience and redeemed by the precious blood at Calvary.
THE SIN-OFFERING IS DIFFERENT
With the thought of the Ransom before our minds, we now investigate the subject of the Sin-Offering, remembering to keep the two subjects separate and distinct. "The Sin-Offering shows the manner in which the Ransom-price is applicable, or effective, to the cancelation of the sins of the whole world." (Z '09, 309.) The Sin-Offering does not require so long a time for its accomplishment as does the Ransom. We have already seen that the Ransoming work has been in progress nearly nineteen centuries, and will be in progress nearly ten centuries in the future, or a total of twenty-nine centuries. But the Sin-Offering will all be completed before the glorious Reign of Christ begins, His Church then being with Him in glory.
The Sin-Offering of Israel's Atonement Day shows us the same sacrifice of Jesus which constitutes the Ransom-price, but it is a different picture; for it shows how God appropriates the merit of Christ in behalf of human sins. This matter was pictured in that feature of the Law which provided the Day of Atonement. The sin-offerings were its principal feature. There were two. First was the bullock of sin-offering, which was furnished by the priest himself, the blood of which was made applicable to the priest's own family and tribe. This we see represented the death of Jesus, and the primary imputation of His merit to the Church of the First-borns.
This Church consists of two classes. First, is the priestly class, who, like the High Priest, are especially devoted to God and His service, who "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, their reasonable service." (`Romans 12:1`.) In the type these were pictured both by Aaron's sons and by the body of Aaron, he being the head. Thus the Apostle speaks of Christ as being the Head of the Church, which is His Body, we being "members in particular of the Body of Christ."--`1 Corinthians 12:27`.
Second, there is the other class of the Church which, although making the same Covenant of Sacrifice, fail to go on obediently to lay down their lives in the Lord's service. They do not draw back to sin and to death, but neither do they go on to the sacrificing stage: hence they constitute a secondary class, servants of the first class. These were typified in the Levites, who were the servants of the priests. These are not to be in the Throne with the sacrificing Priests, the Royal Priesthood, but are to serve God in His Temple. They are not to have the crowns of Glory, but will be granted eventually palms of victory. And all not found worthy of a place in either of these classes will die the Second Death.
In this picture the Lord shows us a special imputation of the merit of Jesus for the sins of His consecrated people only; and that these, justified by the merit of Jesus, are thus qualified through His merit to be sharers with Him in His glorious priestly functions.
THE SECONDARY SIN-OFFERING
The secondary Sin-Offering of the typical Atonement Day was called the Lord's Goat. It was not provided by the typical High Priest, as was the bullock, but was taken from the people. Indeed, two goats were taken at the same time, as representing the two classes of the Church. The sacrificing class or priestly class were represented by the Lord's goat. The less zealous of the Church, the antitypical Levites, were represented in the second goat-- the Scape Goat. It was the Lord's Goat class, the under priesthood, that constituted the secondary Sin-Offering.
The account says that the Lord's Goat was sacrificed and was in every way dealt with in precisely the same manner as the bullock, which preceded it. Thus the type tells us that the Church must walk in the footsteps of her Lord, sacrificially even unto death. We should remember that the blood of the bullock was not applied for the sins of the people, but merely for the sins of the high priest's family and tribe--typically for the Church. We should also notice that this secondary Sin-Offering, the Lord's Goat, was not offered for the same persons; for they needed no further offering. It was offered by the high priest as a secondary part of his own original offering; and its merit was made applicable to all the people, to bring atonement to all.
In the antitype, the High Priest, Jesus, completed His own personal Sacrifice at Calvary. Forty days later He ascended up on High, and appeared before the Mercy Seat and presented the merit of His Sacrifice, not for the world, but for the Church. As the Apostle writes, "He appeared in the presence of God for us," the Church --not for the world. (`Hebrews 9:24`.) This is in full accord with what we have just seen in the type.
Ever since Pentecost the Lord has been accepting the consecrated persons represented in the two goats; and those sufficiently zealous He has accepted as His members, and has been offering them up as a part of His own Sacrifice. Soon He will have finished this work--when the last member of His Body shall have been found faithful unto death. The next step in the antitype will be for the High Priest then to present again at the Mercy Seat the blood of the antitypical Lord's Goat as His own blood --otherwise, the sacrifice of His Church as part of His own Sacrifice. This He makes applicable to the sin of all the people--the original sin of all the people.
At that moment, which we believe is in the near future now, the Father will turn over to the Son all the people, their sins fully forgiven so far as the original transgression
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is concerned. Forthwith Messiah's Kingdom, established in power and great glory, will begin to deal with the world for its rescue from sin and death, for the ultimate uplift to human perfection of all who are willing and obedient to the regulations of His Kingdom.
PUNISHMENT FOR SINS AGAINST LIGHT
Meantime, there will be other sins of the world not included in the Adamic transgression. The Sin-Offerings are merely for Adam's sin and all the various weaknesses and imperfections which flow from that original sin. The other sins will be such as are not to be attributed to human weakness, but which represent more or less of sin against knowledge, against light. Full, wilful sin against
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full light would bring upon the sinner the Second Death. But only a few have had full light, full knowledge, full opportunity; and hence very few indeed will have sinned the sin unto death.
Wherever the light of the Gospel has gone, however, a certain measure of knowledge has gone, and a certain measure of responsibility accrues; and God intimates that He keeps a very exact accounting with all. Every sin must receive a just recompense of reward. The penalty of Adam's sin has reached down in a general way over the whole race for six thousand years; but the penalty must be paid for the other sins of which we speak, sins which were more or less wilful, more or less against light and knowledge and which have not been previously expiated, but which have been accumulating since Pentecost.
Before the New Dispensation can rightly be ushered in with all its blessings, the world's accounts must be fully squared. It will be the settlement of these accounts against the world which will bring the great Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation--the Time of Trouble which we believe has begun in the present war, and which will progress until the great catastrophe of anarchy will complete it in the near future. Then the accounts of Justice having been squared in that great Time of Trouble, the blessings of Messiah's Kingdom will immediately begin.
THE VALUE OF THE SCAPE GOAT'S SUFFERING
However, God is a very strict Accountant. As He is sure to count against the world all wilful disobedience, and especially all persecutions of His Church, so also He is willing to give the world credit on account wherever possible. This, we believe, is intimated in the picture given us of a work which followed the Sin-Offerings; namely, the confessing over the head of the scape goat certain transgressions of the people, and the sending away of the scape goat into the wilderness.
Understanding that this scape goat represents some of God's consecrated people who have failed to live up to their privileges, we understand this to signify that these will go into a great Time of Trouble, as represented in `Revelation 7:14`. There they are represented as coming up out of great tribulation and washing their robes and making them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Those tribulations coming upon the Great Company class, the Levite class, are not tribulations for wilful sins, but tribulations for the destruction of the flesh, in harmony with the Covenant entered into by this class, a Covenant of Sacrifice, which they failed to keep. The sufferings of this Great Company class, we understand, therefore, go as a credit to the world to square the account of the world's sins against light and especially against God's people. The Time of Trouble will be especially against the hypocrites, but the Great Company Class will have their portion with the hypocrites and be bearers of a certain share of punishment due the world.
That we may clearly note the character of sins for which the world is held responsible, let us recall the statement of `Rev. 6:9-11`, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? and white robes were given unto them"; and they were told that they should wait "a little season," until their brethren, who also were persecuted, should have the persecutions accomplished in them.
Thus the same idea respecting the Divine requirements in the end of the Gospel Age is given to us that Jesus specified in regard to the Jews in the end of their Age. He said that all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the time of Abel down, would be required of that generation--to square the accounts. (`Matthew 23:34-36`.) In the great time of trouble with which the Jewish Age ended, those accounts were squared up to that time. Similarly we expect that all the remaining accounts of the world will be squared during the culmination of the great Time of Trouble--just before us.
THE INAUGURATION OF THE NEW COVENANT
The Apostle, in contrasting the typical and the antitypical Sin-Offering, declares that Jesus, not by the blood of bulls and of goats, but by His own blood, accomplishes the blessings. (`Hebrews 9:11-15`.) And again, the sacrifices of the antitypical High Priest are styled the "better sacrifices"--in the plural. This points us back to the institution of the Jewish Covenant arrangement, where Moses took the blood of bulls and goats and inaugurated the Law Covenant, sprinkling first the Tables of the Law, and afterwards the people, with the blood.--`Exod. 24:3-8`.
The question arises, Why did Moses use the blood of bulls--plural--and of goats--plural; whereas in the type of Leviticus 16 the blood of one bullock and the blood of one goat alone was used? We reply that there was really but the one antitypical bullock, the one Man Christ Jesus who died for us; and that there is really but one antitypical Goat, the one Church, which is accepted by the Lord as His Body, and is associated with, and part of, His sacrifice. But in the inauguration of the Law Covenant, more than one animal of each kind was necessary because of the multitudes of the people of Israel who were to be sprinkled with that blood. The blood of one bullock and of one goat would not have been sufficient; hence the statement, bulls and goats--in the plural--and yet not definitely stated as to how many; for it was really the one bullock and the one goat duplicated as many times as was necessary to provide a sufficiency of blood for the sprinkling of all the people.
In the antitype, when the New Law Covenant will be inaugurated by Messiah's Kingdom, the blood of Christ, as represented in the blood of Jesus and also in that of His associated sacrifices, the Church, will be used in sprinkling, or satisfying the Divine Law, first of all. This will be the basis for the turning over, to the Kingdom of Messiah, of the whole world by the Father. Then will progress the work of sprinkling all the people with the blood--the work of cleansing mankind--giving all men the benefits secured by the redeeming blood.
THE ANTITYPICAL ATONEMENT DAY
We trust that from the foregoing our readers will see clearly the distinction between the Ransom which Jesus gave and its application; and the Sin-Offerings of this Gospel Age and what they signify. We wish now to impress a further point; namely, that the Sin-Offerings were associated with the Day of Atonement for sin in the type
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and in the antitype. The antitypical Day of Atonement began with our Lord Jesus and His sacrifices. The entire Gospel Age has been a part of this Day of Atonement. This Day will witness the full completion of all the sin atonement and more; for all of the Millennial Age will be a part of the antitypical Atonement Day.
The sacrifices of the Day of Atonement are merely the means to an end. The end to be attained is the blessing of the world, and the bringing of the world back to at-one-ment, or harmony, with God. That work will require all of the Millennial Age. It will include the teaching of the world, the restoration of mankind to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary. The Sin-Offerings of the Atonement Day merely represent God's Purpose in the use of the Sacrifices which must be completed before the world's at-one-ment with God can begin to go into effect.
So, then, let us hope that all will henceforth see clearly that the Sin-Offerings of the Atonement Day and its Sacrifices constitute a picture of the processes by which God accomplishes the world's blessings; while the Ransom is entirely distinct, and shows the work of Jesus alone and its ultimate effect for mankind throughout the whole wide world.
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"WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?"
--APRIL 2.--`ACTS 9:1-31`.--
A NOTABLE ILLUSTRATION OF ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE--REPROVED FROM ON HIGH--SAUL'S DEEP CONTRITION AN EVIDENCE OF GENUINE REPENTANCE--HIS EYES OF UNDERSTANDING OPENED--ST. PAUL'S "THORN IN THE FLESH"-- THE GREAT APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES A TYPE OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL.
"Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."--`1 Timothy 1:15`. R.V.
WHOEVER thinks of Saul's transformation from an enemy of Christ and His Church to a friend and zealous servant as an experience on a par with the conversion of sinners is greatly in error. Such conduct as is related in today's Study is not the conduct of sinners, enemies of God. In our opinion, however, the term "conversion" would scarcely be appropriate in such a case. Saul of Tarsus was either a bad man and a hypocritical Pharisee, a money-lover, a self-lover, or else an "Israelite indeed," whose aim and object was the service of God, and whose persecution of the early Church was prompted by his fidelity to God. We believe that the latter description is the one which fitted the case of Saul; for it is in harmony with his own testimony on the subject.--`Acts 26:9-11`.
If, then, Saul was a true and loyal member of the favored nation of Israel, thoroughly consecrated to God and serving Him to the best of his ability and knowledge, but merely blinded for the time by prejudice and misconception, we can no more think of his case as a conversion than the cases of the other Apostles. Our Lord chose the original Twelve because they were Israelites indeed; and He gave them the instruction necessary for His service. This He did also for Saul, though in a more striking manner.
The word convert signifies the turning about in an opposite direction. But Saul was already going in the right direction; namely, in a whole-hearted service of God, although his efforts were expended upon the wrong thing in that right direction. The Lord merely opened his eyes of understanding, and showed him the better how his efforts should be used. Saul needed merely to be shown aright; and this he demonstrated by as much fidelity and energy in the Lord's service afterward as he had ignorantly misused previously.
Saul was one of those Israelites who lived amongst the Gentiles, but who occasionally went up to Jerusalem to certain of the feasts. (`Deuteronomy 16:16`.) His home was in the city of Tarsus, a notable city of that time-- said to have been excelled in scholarship only by the cities of Alexandria and Athens. Not only had he the advantages of a home in such a city, but his family was an influential one, as is implied in the fact that he was a citizen, not only of Tarsus, but also of Rome. In addition to the education of his home city, he had received a special course in theology, or Jewish Law, at Jerusalem, under Gamaliel, one of the greatest teachers of that time.
Saul's early training, therefore, and all of its conditions were favorable to producing in him a breadth and refinement of thought equaled by few. These conditions, combined with his honesty of heart and his zeal for God, although not at first according to knowledge, fitted him to become just what the Lord subsequently made him; namely, "a chosen vessel" unto the Lord, to bear His name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Apparently the circumstances connected with the stoning of St. Stephen only incited Saul to greater energy in stamping out what he believed to be a very injurious doctrine--heresy. Our own experience confirms the thought that an earnest, conscientious opponent is more to be respected than a cold, indifferent professed friend. We are reminded of our Lord's words, "I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth." (`Revelation 3:16`.) Let us have respect, therefore, for all who are warm-hearted and zealous, remembering that there is more hope of their being pleasing to God, and being accounted worthy to receive the Truth, than for the lukewarm.
Under the arrangements of the Roman government, the Jewish priesthood was granted considerable power, and had come to exercise very much of the power subsequently used by the Popes of Rome. The religious rulers had power to authorize arrests and imprisonments for the infraction of their rules and regulations. Saul, exercising the same respect to law and authority which subsequently marked all of his dealings and teachings as a Christian, did not attempt to take matters into his own hands in regard to the persecution of the Christians, but went about it in the manner recognized as legal--under the sanction and authority of the highest religious tribunal. Let us remember that nearly all persecutions have been sanctioned by some human law, and regulate ourselves according to the Divine code.
THE THREE ACCOUNTS HARMONIZED
The account given in today's Study regarding the opening of the eyes of Saul's understanding is that of St. Luke, and was doubtless received directly from the Apostle Paul himself, with whom St. Luke traveled for a time. Two other accounts are given by St. Paul himself. (See `Acts 22:6-11`; `26:12-20`.) The three accounts
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are in practical agreement, and show only such variations as might reasonably be expected, considering the fact that they were delivered under different conditions, as it was sought to emphasize or elaborate different points.
Had the three accounts been exactly alike, word for word, there would have been just ground for supposing a special preparation of the text with this harmony in view. When rightly viewed, even the seeming discrepancy of the account is additional evidence of the truthfulness of all. The account itself being simple, we need to give attention only to those points which apparently conflict.
All three accounts say that Saul himself heard a voice, saw a light and fell to the ground. One account adds that all with him fell to the ground as well. The account in our lesson declares that the men of his company "stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man." Another account says, "They beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me." These accounts can be harmonized in this way: Saul himself was evidently the center of manifestation--"a great light shone round about me." Doubtless his companions saw something of this light in a general way, but they did not see the source of the light. They did not see the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ--"seeing no man." Saul, however, saw the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he himself subsequently testified.--`1 Corinthians 15:8`.
Although no one but Saul was smitten to the ground, the others, who stood speechless and terrorstricken, no doubt soon kneeled reverently about their leader. Respecting the voice--Saul and all with him heard a sound, "the voice," but only Saul could distinguish the words-- which were meant for him alone. A similar case is recorded in `John 12:28,29`. In one sense of the word Saul and all of his companions heard the sound, or voice; but in another sense of the word Saul alone heard the voice. We use this same form of expression in our daily conversation. If some one addresses us in a low or indistinct voice, we say that we did not hear. We mean that although we heard the voice, we did not understand or comprehend what was said.
OPENING OF SAUL'S MENTAL VISION
Saul's feelings, as he heard from the Lord of Glory a reproof of his misdirected zeal, can be better imagined than described. Nevertheless, we can but admire the promptness with which he at once ceased his opposition and placed himself on the side of the One whose cause he had so recently persecuted. We can imagine him praying, "Lord, teach me! In my blindness and ignorance I have been fighting against Thee, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Messiah, while verily I thought that I did God service. Having made such a great mistake, I am thoroughly humbled. I can no longer trust either to my own wisdom or to the wisdom of those in whom I have heretofore confided--the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees. Now, Lord, I come to Thee. Show me how I can undo some of the great wrong which I have done ignorantly. Show me; and I will gladly and promptly follow and obey."
How deep a hold the matter took upon Saul's mind may be judged from the fact that for three days he neither ate nor drank. He could not think lightly of his own blinded course. Deep contrition is always a good evidence of genuine repentance of wrong. No doubt his thoughts were busy; for he was well educated in the Law and in the Prophets and was familiar with what he had learned concerning the Nazarene. It is reasonable to suppose that those three days of blindness and fasting were days of prayer and reflection, during which he diligently compared the testimony of the Law and the Prophets with what he knew of the Nazarene and His teachings. Saul's natural sight had been destroyed; but his mental vision had been opened, and he now saw matters in a new and wonderful light.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF DIVINE METHODS
In a previous lesson the name Ananias was associated with ungodliness and falsehood. But in today's Study we find another Ananias of a totally different character--a true servant of the Lord. His hesitation to go to Saul does not seem to have been caused by opposition or by faithlessness, but rather a reasonable caution. He had heard of Saul, and possibly also knew Saul's host to be an enemy of the Cause of Christ. Therefore he wished to assure himself that he had not misunderstood the Lord. But the Lord graciously made the matter clear to him, as He always does to His faithful ones; and Ananias promptly fulfilled his mission.
Here again is an illustration of Divine methods. The Lord sent upon this important errand one who apparently was a very humble member of the Church. He did not send St. Peter, St. James and St. John, the Apostles, from Jerusalem, with great pomp and show to receive the penitent enemy of the Cross and to make a public triumph. He merely used a ready and willing instrument that was nearby. This should be a lesson to us that the Lord is both able and willing to use in His service the humble ones who are ready and willing.
The scales which fell from Saul's eyes would seem to indicate that a certain portion of the eye had been destroyed by the great light; and the healing may be said to have been in a natural way. Although informed that he received his sight, we are not informed that his eyes were made whole. Indeed, it seems evident, from subsequent statements, that to his dying day his eyes never recovered soundness, and his sight was never again normal.
It has been surmised, and with good reason, that the continued weakness of his eyes constituted what the Apostle terms "a thorn in the flesh." (`2 Corinthians 12:7-10`.) Although under the power of the Holy Spirit he was granted many gifts of the Spirit, amongst which was the gift of healing, and although he exercised this gift of healing upon many (`Acts 19:11,12`), yet the Lord did not relieve him from his own weakness in this respect. This must have been all the greater trial; for it would seem all the more strange that he who could heal others could not heal himself--that he who had Divine power for the blessing of others of this way should not have the Divine power for his own blessing.
To St. Paul's petition our Lord's answer was, "My grace is sufficient for thee; My strength is made perfect in weakness." The noble Apostle exclaims, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Thereafter he never requested the removal of this "thorn."
Several incidents in St. Paul's experience confirm this conclusion: (1) Although an educated man, he seldom wrote his own letters; and of the one letter which he did write, although one of the briefest, he remarks, "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with my own hand." (`Galatians 6:11`.) The Greek would even give the thought that these words apologize for the use of very large characters in the writing--such as a semi-blind person would use. (2) When standing before the tribunal of the chief captain, St. Paul declared that he did not know Ananias as the high priest; whereas, if his eyesight had been good, he could not have well helped knowing the high priest, on account of his gorgeous apparel.
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(`Acts 23:5`.) (3) In writing to the Galatians he tells them (`4:15`) that, when he first met them, their love and sympathy for him were such that they would willingly have plucked out their eyes for him--an expression which would be meaningless unless his eyes were defective.
After a few days in which to gain strength from his fasting and from the nervous excitement incidental to his experiences--days of communion with those whom he had come to persecute, and whom now in his renewed condition of mind he recognized and fellowshiped as dear brethren--Saul promptly began to preach Christ as the Son of God--publicly using the opportunities afforded in the Jewish synagogues. The account of his enlightenment in the Gospel is that of a most noble character, which commands the respect of every class in every time.
ST. PAUL AS A TYPE
We are inclined to regard the Apostle Paul as in some sense of the word a figure, or likeness, or type of his race --Israel--and the opening of their eyes of understanding which is now shortly due to take place. Amongst the Jews are many who seem to be Israelites indeed, merely blinded, as both the Prophet and the Apostle have described. (`Romans 11:7-12`.) That nation, whose blinding took place in the Fifth Thousand-year Day, and which has been blinded throughout the Sixth Thousand-year Day, is to have its eyes opened on the Third Day, which will be the Seventh Thousand-year Day--the Millennial Day. "After Two Days will He revive us; in the Third Day He will raise us up."--`Hosea 6:1-3`.
During all this time Israel has also been without food or drink of a spiritual kind. Israel also is to be a chosen vessel in the Lord's hand as connected with the earthly agencies in bearing the Message which shall bless the Gentiles and all the families of the earth. We are near to the time for the opening of Israel's eyes. When that time shall have fully come, the Lord will send some Ananias, whose touch under Divine favor shall bring sight. The name Ananias signifies, "Jah is gracious."
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AENEAS AND DORCAS
--APRIL 9.--`ACTS 9:32-43`.--
ST. PETER'S PREACHING TOUR--VISITING THE SAINTS--A TERM MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD--A PARALYTIC HEALED AT LYDDA --ST. PETER CALLED TO JOPPA--DORCAS AWAKENED FROM THE SLEEP OF DEATH--A BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER--THE FRIEND OF THE POOR--PURPOSE SERVED BY THESE TWO MIRACLES.
"In all things showing thyself an example of good works."--`Titus 2:7`.
PERSECUTORS never like persecution for themselves. Those who have the mind of Christ are never persecutors. They feel it to be their bounden duty not to assist things which they believe to be wrong; they may even find it necessary or expedient to denounce the wrong, to show up its inconsistencies, and in some instances to name the active agents in wrong teachings and wrong doings--as the Apostles have done in their writings. But as for persecuting others, the Lord's people can take no part in this. They are hindered by the spirit of love, the mind of Christ, which directs that we should do to others as we would have them do to us--the Golden Rule, our "perfect law of liberty."
The persecution which scattered the disciples throughout all Judea, and of which Saul of Tarsus was one of the leaders, subsided shortly after he became a Christian, and was followed by a period of rest, recuperation, edification. While Saul's changed course may have had something to do with this, in all probability a trouble which arose about this time between the Jews and their Roman rulers had more to do with it.
About the year 38 A.D. the Emperor Caligula, who had but recently come into his office, promulgated an edict that his statue should be set up in various quarters of the empire and worshiped. When the Jews learned that it was the intention to put these statues in Jerusalem, and even in the Temple itself, as well as elsewhere, their indignation and trouble knew no bounds. They gathered in great masses, young and old, to entreat the local governor to intercede for them that such a desecration of their Holy Temple and Holy City and Holy Land should not be permitted. While the governor made every effort to have the Emperor change the edict, the most he could accomplish was a command to leave the Temple untouched. But many altars were raised to the Emperor outside of its gates; and news came that all the synagogues of Alexandria had been turned into temples to Caesar. This state of affairs lasted until January 24, 41 A.D., when Caligula was murdered.
A SEASON OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
It is not surprising that such outside persecution and interference with their own religious rites and liberties caused the Jews to relax their persecutions of the Christians, and thus brought about the period of rest mentioned in today's Study. The record says that the churches were edified. We get the thought, therefore, that this time of peace was a time of upbuilding amongst the little groups of the Lord's people in Palestine. There is a two-fold sense in which the Church may be built up or edified; in numbers and also in the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Apparently the infant Church was edified in both ways; for the declaration is that the believers walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures declare that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (`Psalm 111:10`.) This is not a selfish fear, not a fear that the Lord will eternally torment or otherwise unjustly deal with His creatures, but a reverence of the Lord which recognizes His greatness and His goodness, and fears to do aught that would be displeasing to Him or that would separate from His love and favor. This proper kind of fear, which is the beginning of wisdom, will never be lost so long as the wisdom is maintained.
But reverence of God was not the only grace developed in the early Church. To it was added the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the spirit, mind, disposition of God. This the primitive Church was cultivating, developing it in their hearts, walking in it-- that is, living it. The word comfort signifies united, cemented; and the thought of the statement as a whole is that not only was the Church multiplying in numbers and being built up together as God's holy Temple, but that the various "living stones" were being cemented or bound together by the Holy Spirit.
MEANING OF THE TERM "SAINT"
From our Study we learn that although the Apostles made Jerusalem the headquarters for their work, nevertheless they went hither and thither throughout Judea, meeting with the Lord's people scattered by the previous persecution, and forming little congregations everywhere.
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In one of his tours St. Peter came to Lydda, the chief city of the Plain of Saron (Sharon), about ten miles southeast of Joppa. His special mission, we are told, was the visiting of the saints.
This word "saints" signifies holy ones, those set apart, sanctified believers in Christ. There is much opposition to the use of the word today, attributable, we believe, to two reasons. One is that the vast majority of professing Christians well know that they are not saints, not sanctified, not living as near to the Lord as they could live-- not separate, even in heart, from the world, the flesh and the Devil. Such persons have strong reasons for disliking the word "saints," realizing that it would exclude them and nearly all of their friends and special associates in Christian work.
Another reason for opposition to the word "saints" is the fact that in the Dark Ages it became customary for the Roman and Greek Catholic churches to canonize, or legally set apart as objects of reverence, certain persons respecting whom, after several centuries had elapsed, nothing especially evil was remembered, but only things esteemed as honorable and praiseworthy. The word saints thus became separated from living Christians; and, indeed, this may have been because there were few Christians so faithful as to be representatives of saintship.
Still another reason why some dislike the term "saints" is that they consider it to be rather boastful--some would even say hypocritical. Having lost sight of the doctrine of Justification by Faith, in its proper application, they have become accustomed to think of all Christians as "miserable sinners" and to pray for them as such--overlooking the fact that there are some in whom "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled," because these "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," the merit of Christ covering all their unwilling shortcomings.--`Romans 8:4`.
The Lord's people, however, are to remember to apply and to take pleasure in all the names and practises authorized by Apostolic usage. Thus the term "saint" certainly approves itself to us. Almost all of the Epistles of the New Testament are addressed to the saints; and those professing Christians who cannot properly apply the term to themselves cannot properly apply to themselves the exceeding great and precious promises contained in those Epistles; for all the promises are addressed to the saints, are meant for the sanctified in Christ Jesus. Let it be borne in mind, however, that the word "saint" does not signify actual perfection merely, as in our Lord's case, but also those reckoned holy through Him; and that the Apostles, who were saints and who classed themselves with the saints of God, declared respecting themselves, "We also are men of like passions with you."--`Acts 14:15`.
The term "saints," then, properly applied in the Church, refers to those who, although originally "children of wrath, even as others," have been rescued from that condition of condemnation, have been washed, cleansed, and thus brought into accord with God through the forgiveness of their sins and through the covering of their weaknesses and blemishes; and who have become the "sanctified in Christ Jesus" by making full consecration of themselves to live, not perfect lives--an impossibility while in the flesh--but as nearly perfect as they may be able, the Lord's grace making them continually "holy, acceptable to God," through the merit of Christ Jesus. Let us never be ashamed of this name "saints," if it present before our minds saintship, holiness, separateness from the world; for this is the very thought which should be there continually. It is a thought which will enable us the better to live separate from the world, as the Master indicated.--`John 17:16`.
The healing of AEneas, the paralytic, was a very notable evidence of the power of the Lord, similar to the healing at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. (`Acts 3:1-11`.) Here, as always, St. Peter made sure that none should think that the power which he exercised was his own. He distinctly affirmed that Jesus the Messiah, whom their rulers had crucified, had performed the cure, and therefore was not dead, as they had supposed, but risen.
The fame of this miracle spread abroad and resulted, we are told, in the drawing of many unto the Lord and to the Church. Thus did the Lord establish the Church and attract to it those who were in the right attitude of heart, using miracles then, as now He uses other means. Those miracles, as heretofore pointed out, cannot have lasted much longer than the Apostles themselves; for the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were granted only through the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, and The Twelve had no successors, St. Paul taking the place of Judas. The Heavenly Jerusalem had twelve foundations, and no more; and in them were written the names of the twelve Apostles, and no others.--`Revelation 21:14`.
ANOTHER NOTABLE MIRACLE
One of the saints at Joppa was a woman apparently of means and education. If her name represented her appearance, she was very beautiful; for Tabitha in the Syriac language, Dorcas in the Greek, signifies graceful, beautiful. But this woman was famed for a grace and a beauty entirely separate and distinct from whatever she possessed of these qualities naturally. Hers was the beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, full of love and helpfulness. Evidently she was a burning and shining light for the Lord in that vicinity. She did what she could. She served the Lord, His brethren and all who needed help. According to the best opportunities afforded her she helped the poor, particularly widows, who as a class were at that time apt to be in a very trying position, especially if poor.
The Greek text indicates that Dorcas had been in the habit of assisting the poor with garments, etc., doubtless assisting them also with words of encouragement and helpfulness, and ministering to them the Truth. Under these circumstances it is not strange that her death should have produced sorrow, especially amongst the beneficiaries of her charities and amongst the numerous friends which a beautiful, Christlike spirit of this kind is sure to make.
Apparently Dorcas took sick and died suddenly, at about the time that others of the saints at Joppa heard that St. Peter was at Lydda and had cured AEneas. Immediately they sent for the Apostle, probably with no thought that he would perform such a miracle as that of bringing Dorcas back to life, but rather with the thought that they had lost a highly esteemed member of their little group and that St. Peter could give them some consolation at this time. In those days there was neither telegraph, telephone nor mail service; and consequently some of the brethren became the messengers to take the word to the Apostle--to request his presence without delay.
St. Peter went at once with them to Joppa. As he entered the death-chamber, he saw an affecting scene. Poor widows and others were lamenting the loss of their friend, and showing the garments which she had made for them. This was surely a noble tribute to the usefulness of her life. No millionaire has ever left monuments which will endure so long, or which will reflect so much glory upon his character, as were left by this humble woman. And even the humblest and poorest of us may to
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some extent emulate her example and leave behind us when we die some such monuments of love and some such testimonies of appreciation.
It is sad indeed when any, especially of those who have named the name of Christ, die and leave none who sincerely, truly, mourn for them and miss them. Such a condition testifies to a life that was either selfish or misunderstood. We who are looking forward to the close of our journey, and that before very long, should see that our lives are spent day by day in such a manner that some will be the happier for them; and that our decease will be recognized by some, at least, as a loss.
St. Peter's most notable miracle was the bringing of Dorcas back from the portals of death. Like the other miracle recorded in our lesson, it was peculiar to that time and for the purpose of the establishment of the Church. We are not to suppose that it was the Lord's purpose that all of His people during the Gospel Age should be thus snatched back from death, or that they should all be relieved from beds of sickness, or that they should all have powers such as the Apostle here exercised. There is a ministry of evil--of calamity, sickness, death, etc.--which has often been valuable indeed to the Lord's people, inculcating various lessons and developing various fruits of the Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.
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LESSON OF THE LILIES
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow."--`Matthew 6:28`.
FEAR and anxiety are amongst the most serious foes of our human family. They wear upon the gray matter of the brain; they produce nervous exhaustion and are very injurious to health. For those who would seek to walk in the Divine path which God has marked out for the Gospel Church, fear and anxiety are special hindrances. The Savior had this fact in mind when he spoke thus to His disciples. He would have His followers to be without worry, to be restful of heart. But He would not have them be without carefulness. There is a carefulness which is entirely proper, yea, necessary, on our part, but not this extreme worry--this inability to enjoy the blessings of the present moment because of thoughts, fears, respecting tomorrow. When the Apostle said (`Philippians 4:6`), "Be careful for nothing," he was not referring to a proper care and sense of responsibility, but to an anxiety which would rob the soul of rest and peace, and which would indicate a lack of faith in the Lord
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and in His care for His people. The word rendered "careful" here is from a Greek word meaning over anxious.
In giving a forceful lesson to His disciples on trustfulness in God, the Master used the illustration of the lilies of the field. The lilies of Palestine are quite common --rather a small flower, many of them red. They persist, live, grow, notwithstanding that no special provision is made for their cultivation, and that they are trodden down by those who pass through the fields. Yet they develop and mature and blossom, and have an exquisite organism, which microscopic examination shows is very beautiful. Jesus declared that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. There is a perfection in the texture of a flower that is wonderful. The finest clothing cannot approximate the delicate structure of the flower, created by an Infinite Hand.
The lesson seems to be that although the flowers may be in an unfavorable environment, unable to do for themselves or to take any anxious thought in the matter, nevertheless, God's providence has so arranged for them that they thrive and become very beautiful. These lilies did not look up and wish that they might become great trees, nor wish that they might climb up higher in the world and nearer the sun, as do the vines. On the contrary, they were content with the lot chosen for them by their Infinite Creator.--`Matthew 6:30`.
THE LESSON OF TRUST IMPERATIVE
And so God's people are to take a lesson from the lilies. They too are to be content with the Lord's arrangement for them--as the poet expresses it:
"Content whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me." In proportion as we approximate this condition it will give us peace and rest of mind. We are not to worry, and not to be slothful, but are to be diligent, "fervent in spirit serving the Lord," doing with our might what our hands find to do. When doing this, we are to be content and trustful that He will work out all things for our good. He wishes us to learn this important lesson of trust.
Those who neglect to learn this lesson will be unprepared for the great work God has in mind for our future under Messiah's Kingdom. God will not have any in that Kingdom, we are sure, who are not full of trust. As the flowers flourish under God's providential care, so are all of His people to flourish--to grow in knowledge and beauty of spirit, in beauty of character. And this is not accomplished by some great things that they do, but by the spirit in which they meet the little things, the every day experiences of life. God's people are to grow steadily, though unobtrusively.
The lily would always have a humble place; it would never be great like a tree. So it is with us here in the flesh. And the Lord puts each one in the place He designs for him. We shall learn better the lessons for the future by being placed under humble conditions now, where we may grow, where our entire loyalty to the Father's will may be fully tested, where all the beauties of our character may be the most fully developed.
`John 18:11`; `Psalm 116:13`.
The Cup my Father pours
Shall I not drink? And precious, holy thoughts
Shall I not think? And if His Love doth send
Less joy than pain, And if all friends forsake,
Shall I complain? If foes misrepresent
And work me woes, Shall I not rest content
Since Father knows?
If where once friend I had
I Judas find, Still Jesus holds me in
His love entwined. He knew the love and loss
Of faithless friend; He'll know each step I take
Unto the end. His love enfolds me fast--
I cannot fall. The Cup my Father pours--
I'll drink it all.
Hattie O. Henderson.
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GERMAN SOLDIER'S NIGHT WATCHES
I wish to thank you for your labors in sending me THE WATCH TOWER and letters "To the Brethren in the Field," for it is joy to me to let you know with what eagerness I look forward to your mail. To me it is a holiday and a day of special grace whenever I receive anything which bears the stamp, "W. T. B. & T. Soc'y." I imagine myself in the midst of my brethren, reminiscences are being awakened, and before my mental eye appear forms so dear to my heart. While they all differ in form and character, in one thing they are all alike, that is the new mind. Gentle are their steps, their actions, their language, injuring none; but nevertheless full of power and firmness. These are my brethren in God's family, as I have come to know them.
While we are separated in the flesh, the ties of Christian love unite us all the more firmly.
A few hours ago in our march we passed through fields of corpses, and now night has settled. I am lying in my tent; not far distant, along the ridge of the forest, 21-cm. howitzers are hurling their destructive projectiles, while about a mile and one-half further on rattles the gunfire of the infantry. The mere sound of it makes me shudder. To sleep is impossible. A rattling in my pocket, and the last WATCH TOWER, the Herald of Christ's Presence, has fully awakened me. I am reminded of the `sixth verse of the 63rd Psalm`: "When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate upon Thee in the night watches." O what peace fills my heart, and what precious hours of communion with my Father are my portion!
Weeks ago I passed through Lemberg. The engineer of a machine shop to whom I spoke concerning the hope of the Jews, assured me that they are waiting for the Messiah. Only as I rode by on horseback was it possible to speak to some of the Jews. I laid my hand upon their shoulders and shouted into their ears: "Your Messiah is coming; I have been asked to tell you"! Astonishment, tears of joy and God-speed--and onward went the march.
How far we still have to journey I know not; the Lord knows. But we well know that
"Soon our conflicts and toils will be ended;
We'll be tried and tempted no more,
And mankind of all ages and nations
Shall be blessed in that triumphant hour."
Therefore, while we have such a glorious hope, let us who are His and are called by His Name, continue steadfast till we shall see Him whom we have loved so long.
Faithfully your brother, MAX VON DER STEIL.
(From German WATCH TOWER.)
"THOU CROWNEDST THE YEAR"
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings in the name of our Redeemer from the Class in St. Louis, with best wishes of the Season--a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year increased a hundredfold to you and the Bethel family!
We wish to report to you the progress made by the Class during 1915, which now numbers about two hundred and fifty consecrated members. Seventy-six of these symbolized their consecration this year and two hundred and three partook of the Memorial supper.
Twenty-three meetings are held weekly for Bible study, praise, prayer and testimony, etc. A number of public meetings have been held, in the Odeon, our best auditorium, and other halls, with a total attendance of about ten thousand.
The PHOTO-DRAMA was again presented here this month, the Coliseum being used with most thorough publicity; eight performances were given with an average attendance of three thousand. The EUREKA DRAMA was sent out for one month to small towns near St. Louis, giving twelve performances with an average attendance of two hundred and fifty. Great interest was manifested.
The pieces of literature distributed by the Class this year totals one million.
We feel that every effort has been made to witness to the Truth in the city of St. Louis. It appears now that a clearly marked line is drawn between those who are friendly and those who reject and slander the Truth.
We are indeed thankful for the great privilege that is ours and pray our Heavenly Father's continued blessing and guidance as we seek to do His will, knowing that it is all His work and that we can do nothing of ourselves. Our prayers are offered daily for you and all colaborers in the Master's service. With much Christian love,
Your brother and fellow servant,
J. H. HOEVELER, Secretary.
BRETHREN HELP IMPOSTORS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
From time to time, in the Pilgrim service, I come across the trail of certain "false brethren" who appear to make it their business to travel from Class to Class, borrowing money from the brethren, with the plea that they are bound for a certain Colporteur field, etc., and have just run short of funds. These "gentlemen" seem to be fairly well posted on the main points of the Truth, and can talk glibly about Brother Russell and the Pilgrims, although, if the brethren were a little more cautious, frequent slips would betray these frauds.
One of these men recently passed west through Montana, doubtless bound for the Pacific coast. He succeeded in bilking a number of the brethren. The plan followed is to secure the name of one of the brethren at some farther point, then, upon arrival, to "pump" this brother for detailed information about the other brethren in the Class--their financial standing, etc. This information is all too frequently advanced with surprising freedom.
In my judgment such information furnished to strangers (even though pretended brethren) is wrong. The Bible House plan of giving out no information about the brethren, their names, addresses, etc., especially to strangers such as the above, could profitably be followed by all the brethren.
Might it not be well, dear Brother, to repeat the warnings that have appeared from time to time in THE WATCH TOWER against these "false brethren" that the Classes may again be put on their guard?
With assurance of my deep appreciation of your labors of love on behalf of all the flock, I am
Your fellow-servant in the one Hope,
W. A. BAKER.--Montana
A DEDICATED TOY BANK
Please find enclosed our "Good Hopes" for 1916, and also $10 as part payment toward the same. We are very anxious to serve our dear Master, but there is so little we can do, although if we are a little more alert and thoughtful we can increase our donation to the "Good Hopes."
At the beginning of the year we decided to have a toy bank and dedicate it to the interest of our "Good Hopes" (aside from our regular donation) and drop into it such money as should be saved on special occasions; for instance, if we walk to Prayer Meeting instead of riding, we drop in 10 cents; or if one of the brethren pay our car fare, another nickel goes into the box; or if we decide to have some refreshments and for this reason deny ourselves, another 10 or 20 cents goes into the box. Sometimes we have taxed ourselves a certain amount for foolish words or actions, etc.
It was to my surprise on opening the bank today to find $2.98, which was accumulated within less than a month! So we expect by His grace to continue this plan and see how the dear Lord will bless our feeble efforts. Oh, that we could do more to manifest our appreciation of his unspeakable blessing to us!
The time is almost over in which we shall have the privilege of ministering to the "Feet" of Him, because the last one of the "Feet" members will soon be glorified, and then they will not need our help. May God's blessing be upon you all!
Faithfully yours in the One Hope,
SHIELD H. TOUTGIAN AND WIFE.
EUREKA DRAMA SHOWN IN STATION
I read your regrets in THE TOWER about the EUREKA DRAMAS lying idle and I regret the matter also. We try to make use of ours when we can, but the weather has been cold and expenses high.
February 1, 2 and 3 my wife and I took the DRAMA to Black River, Mich. The three days cost us $8.43, and we were entertained free, at that. A French Catholic family entertained us and we gave the DRAMA in the R. R. Depot, which was a good place. It was well warmed. The stereopticon and graphophone were side by side, inside the ticket window. We had all the light we wanted for operating, while the auditorium was quite dark. We had as fine pictures with gas as I ever saw.
In a town like Black River the passing of the EUREKA DRAMA was a great event and I believe other R. R. Depots could be obtained free of charge. Several persons walked five miles and back again every night to see the DRAMA! The audience was very quiet and needed no reminder. I am sure the Lord's hand was in the whole matter. We had about eighty persons each night. Yours in the service, -----
International Bible Students Association Classes STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION