VOL. XXVIII JULY 15 No. 14
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035
Views from the Watch Tower........................211
"This One Thing I Do".........................211
Seeking Cover of the Mountains................212
Surpassing Skill of the Ancients..............212
Methodist Prayers for the Dead................213
Theatre Annex for Church......................213
The Indianapolis Convention.......................213
Report of the London Convention...................215
The Truth in Japan................................215
The Tabernacle of Meeting.........................216
"I That Speak Am He" (Poem).......................219
Offerers of Strange Fire..........................219
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers...........222
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This year's Volunteer tracts are going out very rapidly. We are doing our best to keep up with the increased demand and rejoice that an increasing number of the Lord's people are appreciating this privilege and will gain a spiritual blessing therefrom. We request that all who send in orders specify particularly the quantities they can and will use judiciously and promptly. We will be glad to double the shipments.
THE TABERNACLE AND THE PRIESTS
These two beautiful chromos, considerably delayed, are now in good supply and should be in all of our homes--to remind us of their glorious antitypes, of which we have been studying for some time past in our "Berean Lessons."
By getting them out in large quantities we can supply them at 30c per pair, or 4 pairs for $1.00, post or express prepaid by us. They are very handsome and easily worth several times the price. We merely aim to meet the cost.
All orders have now been filled. If you did not get yours let us know particulars at once. To some who ordered 3 for $1.00 we sent four and to others we sent three and a copy of TABERNACLE SHADOWS.
They are mounted with metal and have hangers and are packed in tubes.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
"THIS ONE THING I DO"
THE Methodist Review gives a report of a sermon by Rev. C. E. Jefferson as follows:
"No other man can wander so easily from his province as the preacher. The fences are low, and if he steps over them no one but God will speak to him about his indiscretion. Every man in the community except the preacher is bound with hoops of steel to the task which heaven has assigned him. The physician must practice medicine and keep close to his patients, the lawyer must practice law and keep close to his clients, the editor must gather news and keep close to his subscribers, the teacher must teach and keep close to his pupils, the banker must keep close to his money, the business man must be loyal to his business; but the preacher can leave his work and flit like a bee from field to field, gathering nectar from a thousand flowers, and he himself may think he is making honey when in fact he is only buzzing."
The "buzzing" preachers who are moved to treat all manner of "magazine" subjects because of the prevalent conviction that the preacher should be "a social agitator, a political reformer, a man who stands before the community as the sworn antagonist of every form of social wrong," are reminded that their day furnishes a social environment different only in matter, and not in manner, from the day of Christ's preaching. "The people of his day wanted him to do everything," says Dr. Jefferson. "That was their conception of the Messiah." Further:
"The air was filled with questions, political, social, economic, ecclesiastical, but he refused to touch them, so eager was he to say just one more word about God. Evils lifted their hoary heads on every side--slavery, Roman tyranny, the social evil, false customs, economic tragedies--but he never lifted a hand to strike them. So narrow was he, so blind was he! Men were hot in their discussion of problems. No age ever had more problems than his. But to him there was only one fundamental problem, and that was the problem of sin, and he had time for the discussion of none other. The estrangement of the heart from God--that to him was the root of all tragedies. A will fixed in rebellion against the good Father--that was the fountain of all the world's woes. All problems of all kinds got their complications from the estranged heart, and all tragedies got their blackness from the mind that had become darkened by going away from God, and he had nothing to say about secondary problems and subordinate evils because his eyes were fixed on the one plague-spot of humanity--a will disobedient to the good God. Such a line of action on his part was of course disappointing. It was even exasperating. The intellectual people of his day had no use for him. Men of acumen and large mental grasp smiled at the poor peasant telling people little stories about God. Men of patriotic fervor, alive to the needs of the day, sneered at him because he did not fall in with their plans and adopt their panaceas. To all practical men who believed in grappling with problems and suggesting solutions he was a visionary, a fool. It did seem visionary, so much talking about God.
"The German Strauss is offended because Jesus allows the life of the family to fall into the background, is neutral toward the State, rejects property, and passes all the esthetic intents of the world unnoticed. John Stuart Mill declares his Gospel is not sufficient as a rule of action, and must be supplemented by instructions drawn from non-Christian sources. The Italian Mazzini thinks his heart was all right, but his intellect deficient because he took no interest in the great ideals of political liberty and national progress which made the nineteenth century glorious."
Christ consciously and stedfastly limited the field of his activity, says Dr. Jefferson, and so was able to say at last, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." If he carved out his work with such clean-cut edges, the writer remarks, it may be that his example was designed "to save us from the tragedy of attempting things to which we have not been called." We read:
"Do you not think that the name of God would be more glorious in the hearts of men today, and the
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Kingdom of heaven would have wider limits on the earth, if all who have been ordained to preach the Gospel had only been willing to confine themselves to the one task assigned them? I like to think that a preacher should talk differently from any other man in the community; that a sermon should be unlike any other discourse known among men. I like to think that a Christian Church should be different in atmosphere from any other building built by man. Public worship, so I think, ought to have a different tone from the tone of society or the street. On going into the house of God one should know at once that it is not a lecture-hall, a reform-club meeting-place, a professor's classroom, a newspaper office, the rendezvous of a literary or musical society. There ought to be in the air a mystical something which awes the heart and impels it to look upward. There ought to be something there which makes one feel like saying, 'This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.' And it is the preacher who must be foremost in creating this atmosphere."
The Monitor (Rom. Cath., Newark, N.J.), in commenting on the lament constantly appearing in Protestant journals over the dearth in Church attendance, observes somewhat similarly:
"Perhaps the spiritual leaders of our separated brethren make a mistake in striving too much after novelty. Perhaps the people, especially the men part, may prefer the teachings drawn from the everlasting and inexhaustible Gospel of Christ; the daily papers can supply all necessary comment and criticism on passing events. Sincerity is a much better heart-mover than sensationalism, and the true preacher will impart to his hearers the thoughts and ideals and resolves that move himself. 'If you wish me to weep, you yourself must shed tears.'
"Two generations ago one of the most peaceful and Christian parishes in Ireland, and that is saying a good deal, was a village near Mitchellstown, County Cork. The aged pastor had been in charge for over half a century, and he was never known to preach but the same sermon in all that time. Every Sunday, after the Gospel, he turned to his people and said solemnly to them, in the old Gaelic, 'Brethren, avoid the evil and do the good.' This fact is historical, and it is also historical that this parish was called the parish of saints, where a lawyer would starve, a judge throw up his position in sheer disgust, and a jail collapse through dry rot."
SEEKING COVER OF THE MOUNTAINS
We have called attention to the statement of Scripture that in the day of the Lord the rich and great and mighty will foresee the impending trouble and seek protection from the stronger institutions. A poor translation says that they will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them, whereas the thought is that they will request of these symbolic rocks, etc., hiding, covering, protection from the storm of trouble brewing.
We have already noted that Croker, Astor, Carnegie and other wealthy men sought the security of Great Britain as greater than that of the United States, and removed their residences thither. We now note a different move by the millionaire J. Pierrepont Morgan. He is far-sighted and seeks a different rock or mountain to cover him. For a long time a Protestant he recently joined the Roman Catholic Church in a manner so public as to advertise him a Catholic all the world over. Newspaper reports say that he presented about one million dollars to the Catholic Church and then received the Pope's public blessing and an amulet which the pontiff took from his own neck and fastened about the neck of Mr. Morgan.
In the case of so astute a financier as he, the public is justified in supposing that he must have associated financial matters with the religious. It is not, therefore, far-fetched to suppose that the gentleman sees the trouble coming, and concludes that his vast interests will be safest if allied with the largest religious system of Christendom, and the one whose millions most thoroughly obey the voice of their leaders. Nor will it surprise us if other wealthy men see the situation in the same light, and flee to the same mountain.
SURPASSING SKILL OF THE ANCIENTS
"We are losing all our secrets in this shabby age," an architect said. "If we keep on the time will come when we'll be able to do nothing well.
"Take, for instance, steel. We claim to make good steel, yet the blades the Saracens turned out hundreds of years ago would cut one of our own blades in two like butter.
"Take ink. Our modern ink fades in five or ten years to rust color, yet the ink of mediaeval manuscripts is as black and bright today as it was 700 years ago.
"Take dyes. The beautiful blues and reds and greens of antique oriental rugs have all been lost, while in Egyptian tombs we find fabrics dyed thousands of years ago that remain today brighter and purer in hue than any of our modern fabrics.
"Take my specialty, buildings. We can't build as the ancients did. The secret of their mortar and cement is lost to us. Their mortar and cement were
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actually harder and more durable than the stones they bound together, whereas ours--horrors!"--New York Press.
Northern Baptists are to be less local and more national in point of view, less independent and more cooperative in their methods of government and denominational activity. After a stirring debate the large gathering of representatives of the churches, sitting at the national capital, finally voted "that in view of the growth of our country and our denomination there is need of a general body that shall serve the common interests of our entire brotherhood." Supplementing this steps have been taken to perfect the organization of a national council, which shall be to northern Baptists what the general convention of southern Baptists has been for some time and what the national council of the Congregationalists has been for a generation. The
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first president of the new body is to be Governor Hughes of New York State, of whom the Baptists naturally are proud. His election also is a fine tribute to the Baptist emphasis on laymen's rights in the Church.
This movement had its origin in Chicago and Boston, and has been backed by some of the ablest and most forceful men of the denomination.--Boston Herald.
METHODIST PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
The editor of The Western Christian Advocate, having recently advocated that Methodists hereafter pray publicly for the dead, has aroused his brother editor of The Central Christian Advocate to a discussion of the subject. He notes that not even Romanists pray for those in hell, but only for those in purgatory, for whom there is a hope of escape. He asks, "Would we [Methodists] adopt the word Purgatory?" He proceeds to show that John Wesley, when charged with praying for the dead, did not deny it, but admitted it --denying that prayers for the dead were "popery." He concludes:--
"We do not think that it is strange that Methodism has not produced a literature on this thing of prayers for the dead. Methodism is practical. The land immediately beyond the grave is shrouded in loving mystery; there is scant revelation. Therefore Methodism is silent."
* * *
So, then, Methodism from Wesley down to the present finds nothing to say against future probation; but has some considerable leaning toward it. Only uninformed Methodists, therefore, have anything to say against the main argument presented and proven in MILLENNIAL DAWN.
THEATER ANNEX FOR CHURCH
Roof garden vaudeville will probably be introduced in Philadelphia by and at a church, the Fairhill Baptist congregation, Lehigh avenue and Fifth street, whose members this morning enthusiastically discussed a startling scheme of their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Charles B. McClellan.
Last night at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of his pastorate, Dr. McClellan proposed "high-class vaudeville" as a feature of his Church's work, and asked for $10,000 to complete the auditorium for winter and provide a roof garden for summer, where every Saturday night a moral "variety performance" could be given, with moving pictures and ending with a Gospel service. Several thousand dollars were subscribed and other contributions were made later.--Philadelphia Bulletin.
Home religion is as important as personal religion, and is essential to it. The relationship between parents and children grows pure and dear when they all kneel together and ask the peace of God to rest on their home. Many of us remember the dear old days when at the family altar morning and evening prayers were offered together, and the Sunday evening hour, when we sang hymns, each choosing his favorite.
Through the whole community the influence of a Christian home spreads. The town seems purer, the birds sing more sweetly, the flowers bloom more radiantly. Joy sings its anthems in such a home as it sings in no other place. And if this blessedness is to continue, we must shut out all unkindness, bitterness and injustice.--Floyd W. Tompkins, D.D.
THE VULGATE TO BE REVISED
In a dispatch from Rome the correspondent of the London Times says he learns the Pope has issued a decree entrusting the entire revision of the Vulgate to the Benedictine Order. This is the most important decision yet announced as an outcome of the Biblical commission appointed toward the end of the pontificate of Leo XIII., the correspondent says.
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THE INDIANAPOLIS CONVENTION
OUR numerous Conventions for this year were designed to bring the Convention advantages within the reach of larger numbers--not only as to location but also as to time. The one at Indianapolis, Ind., being the first and at an earlier date than usual, we feared might be a comparative failure. In this, however, we were agreeably disappointed--both as respects interest and numbers. About six hundred attended, though not all of them from the opening, nor could all of them remain until the close.
The spirit of the Convention was excellent: we can scarcely imagine a better. All of the dear friends seemed to overflow with true love for our heavenly Father and our blessed Redeemer, and for "one another." Enemies were not in evidence, but had there been we believe that a broad spirit of charity and sympathy for their blindness would have hindered harsh or unkind words or actions. And if the crowd was smaller than at our last General Convention, it afforded all the better opportunity for personal fellowship.
The Convention was opened by an address of welcome by Brother Wise on behalf of the local Church, introducing Brother Herr as the Society's General Chairman of the Convention. Then followed a most interesting praise and testimony meeting, participated in by many.
At the afternoon session, following a praise service, Brother Draper was listened to with close attention. He gave an able address, which was much enjoyed. His topic was: "Bible Times and Seasons."
In the evening, after a service of praise and prayer, Brother Herr addressed the Convention.
Saturday's services opened with a prayer, praise and testimony meeting in which many with overflowing hearts participated. Some long in the way told that they were still following on to know the Lord more perfectly and were finding more and more of God's perfect
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peace and love as they sought more and more to heed the words and examples of the Lord and the apostles. Others told of how they had only recently learned the way of the Lord more perfectly and thanked the Lord that he had sent the knowledge through the DAWNS, and thanked the Colporteurs for their labor of love in bringing it to them and told of how they desired by God's grace to show their appreciation of the Truth by spreading it abroad as thoroughly and as wisely as possible, at any cost. One brother intimated that he had "always believed these things" and "got them out of the Bible for himself." He was gazed at rather incredulously, but not replied to publicly. In private one brother remarked: "I am glad that God did not give these Truths to Brother Russell for himself, but for the Church of God in every land and of every tongue."
Brother Russell arrived in time for a Question meeting which lasted from 10 to 11 a.m. As he came upon the platform the audience gave him the "Chatauqua salute" (waving their handkerchiefs), which he returned. This salutation had its start at the Asbury Park Convention, we know not how; but it seems to have come to stay, even though one person has discovered (?) that it is a positive sign of "idolatry" by the friends for Brother Russell, and of Brother Russell for the friends, because he responds. It is difficult to sympathize with dear friends who take such peculiar views of the little courtesies of life. True, the Bible does not commend the "Chatauqua salute," nor even a hand-shake; but who will doubt that either is as harmless as the "holy kiss" commended by the Apostle. If any one has by word and act cautioned against all forms of "idolatry" of leaders, "worshiping messengers," etc., surely that one is Brother Russell. Let us all, however, seek "the spirit of a sound mind" and "moderation" on this and every subject and not run to foolish extremes.
Following the Question meeting came a splendid discourse by Brother McPhail on "Heavenly Wisdom." The address was an able one, and heard with great attention and we trust with profit.
The Saturday afternoon topic was "Baptism--Its Import and Necessity to the Church," by Brother Russell. It was followed by a symbolic baptism service in the First Baptist Church, at which sixty-five were symbolically buried in water.
The Saturday evening service opened with thirty minutes praise and prayer, after which Brother Sullivan gave an address on "The Preparedness of the Church." --`Eph. 4:12`. The attention was excellent, and some remarked the great profit they had derived from it.
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Sunday was the principal day of the Convention-- some attending just for that day, and very cheap excursions prevailing. The opening hour was devoted to praise and testimony, and then Brother Barton spoke on "Spiritual Sicknesses: their Causes and their Cure." The correspondency between the two kinds of sickness was graphically shown, and cures for the spiritual ailments suggested. It was thoroughly enjoyed.
In the afternoon the public service of the Convention drew the largest attendance--estimated at from 1500 to 2500. The topic was, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire," and Brother Russell was the speaker. The audience gave close attention for nearly two hours.
Sunday evening closed the Convention for many who could not remain longer. It was a "Love Feast." Eight different speakers discussed Love from various standpoints. (1) The Love of God. (2) The Love of Christ. (3) Love for the Father and the Son. (4) Love of the Brethren. (5) Love in the Home. (6) Love for our Neighbors. (7) Love for our Enemies. (8) Love the greatest of all Gifts. Brothers C. A. Owen, W. H. Lewellen, C. A. Wise, G. Draper, J. P. Martin, G. B. Raymond, L. W. Jones and S. J. Arnold were the speakers.
Then came one of the most interesting scenes. The friends filed up and down between the ranks of the visiting Pilgrims, local Elders and Colporteurs, singing, greeting and partaking of the broken loaves of bread held by Pilgrims Herr, Barton, McPhail, Sullivan and Draper. Many wept for joy, while some smiled.
Monday was Colporteur Day, but this did not make it a day of less interest to all the dear friends of the Truth. About 400 were in attendance, about one-fourth of whom were Colporteurs and intending Colporteurs. Brother Russell addressed them for an hour on "Our Ambassadorship"--showing the value of the time of all who have consecrated their all to divine service. He showed that the British Ambassador's services are valued by his government at $60,000 per year or more than $20 for every fifteen minutes of an eight-hour day, and that our services are valued by our still greater Government at a still higher valuation. He said that he did not wish to stimulate the self-esteem of the Lord's people, for that would spoil them for any part in the Lord's favor and service; but he did wish them to awaken to the value of their office as "ambassadors for God," so that each might strive daily to "redeem the time" from worldly, social, business and family affairs to be used in joyful service to the honor of our King. He pointed out that this redeeming or buying back of our time from the cares of this life does not mean the neglect of duty, but the wise ordering of life's interests so that no time will be wasted in frivolities and extravagances, after the manner of the worldly, who are not "ambassadors" and have no such message to deliver by word and pen and printed page and living epistle.
In the afternoon Brother Cole gave some valuable instructions respecting the necessity of method in successful colporteuring. He graphically illustrated the proper methods of work, showing how the bicycle can be a valuable aid in delivering, and exhibiting attachments by which 60 books can be carried without inconvenience. Then followed assignments of territory--many new Colporteurs forming partnerships and entering the work in pairs.
The last session in the evening was a Colporteur testimony meeting and was replete with precious experiences
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of the joys of the service and appreciation of the privilege of self-denials in the cause we love. The testimony of several was to the effect that they had seen more fruitage to their labors in the past six months than during several years preceding--an evidence possibly of what may be generally expected in every branch of the service for a little while. The zeal of the Colporteurs seems to be increasing, too.
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REPORT OF THE LONDON CONVENTION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
As probably you know the month of May is in this country the time when most of the religious organizations and societies have their yearly London meetings and they are known as "May meetings." The London Convention just past was a May meeting for us, and was a grand time of refreshment from the presence of the Lord. There were more visitors and more friends of the Truth than at any previous convention in this country, and, accordingly, there was more of the holy Spirit of love manifested; indeed, the Convention was a grand testimony to the increase of the Harvest work, and of the growth in grace and knowledge of those who are walking in the light now given to the consecrated. How we wished that all the Lord's children were sharing with us in the things our Master is now spreading before us! It was good to be there; the light of heaven shone in the faces of the brethren, and the joy of the Lord seemed to fill each heart. Yet there seemed, at least to the writer, to be more solemnity. Probably the clearer realization of the end of the Harvest, and the need for cleansing from all defilement of the flesh and spirit were effectual to this. From first to last there was a "waiting upon the Lord," and our expectations were more than filled.
This time the Convention was held in the heart of the city, in a fine hall attached to the Cannon St. Railway hotel. The hall usually seats over 800, but would at pressure hold 1000. It proved just a convenient size for us, but gave us little liberty for advertising. Perhaps the largest number present would be 850, when Brother Edgar gave an address on "Where are the Dead?" The average number of brethren and friends and partly interested would be 500-600. I remember that when you were here in 1903 and we were looking at the room for the first meeting, a room which would hold 400 at a crush, I said I was afraid it would be too small. You said you would be surprised if that should be the case. The room was well filled, though. When you come next year, if the Lord will, I think the fine hall we have just had may be too small. So much is the Lord blessing his work, and for so much we praise him!
The Convention was opened by a welcome from Brother Hemery and a word from Brother Williamson as your representatives--Brother Williamson in a more personal sense as coming directly from you. Brother J. Hay then gave an address, "Jehovah's Suffering Servant," and later, Brother Hemery gave a talk on the "Songs of Degrees." Sunday was spent in praise and testimony, and in listening to addresses by Brother Edgar and Brother Williamson; their topics were, respectively, "Rest and Restitution" and "The Divine Plan Revealed in God's Attributes." On Monday 58 brethren (30 brothers and 28 sisters) symbolized their consecration by immersion. We praised the Lord for them, and prayed for them and for ourselves, that we all may be kept by the grace of God, and that we may be accounted worthy to stand in our lot. In the afternoon Brother Johnston spoke of the "Feasts of the Lord," and in the evening Brother Edgar gave the address already referred to. Earlier in the afternoon Brother Williamson spoke of the need of laborers in the harvest field, and many who wished to take some part in the Colporteur work signified their intention to shape their affairs to assist them to that end. We hope the dear brethren will use such opportunities as the Lord shall permit them to have, for there is very much yet to be done before the field is gone over. Tuesday brought us a very helpful address from Brother Williamson on the necessity of embroidering our garment with faith, fortitude, love: and an address by Brother Hemery on "Christ, a Priest after the Order of Melchisedec." The closing of the Convention was one of its most impressive features. We asked Brother Williamson to give us an illustration of the "good-bye" said in the American conventions. In this way, instead of merely singing a good-bye, we sang it and spoke it to each other. One lady who came to that last meeting was so taken with the spirit of it that she, too, came round with the brethren to shake hands with the speakers and elders of the meetings represented. Afterwards she said it was all so unusual she could hardly understand it; she said, "Surely the Millennium has begun in you people," and we assured her that was just the case.
Before the final parting a message of love was sent to you, dear brother, and the meeting arose to signify its wish to have the message sent. We all wish your spiritual prosperity, and pray that grace and strength abundant may be yours.
"As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever."--`Psa. 135:2`.
I am, dear Brother Russell, yours in his grace,
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THE TRUTH IN JAPAN
DEAR MR. RUSSELL:--
God gave me, at the opening of the New Year, a quiet time in which to renew my consecration to him, and to pray for more light. It was, I believe, in answer to such prayer that I was led to read your MILLENNIAL DAWN, the first volume of which has stood unheeded on my book-case for eight years. I read it through three times with growing wonder. How the truth now, as never before, shines out from God's Word! How it transcends anything that I had ever thought of! Eternity will not be long enough to praise him for just this knowledge of his wondrous grace. I want to be found faithful hereafter in manner of living, and in helping to make known the precious Truth to others.
To begin with, I should tell you that I have been
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for nearly twenty-five years a member of the West Japan Presbyterian Mission. I have already written to the Foreign Mission Board in New York, as well as to my local home Church, stating my changed views--or, rather, referring them to your books. This will end-- if not on their part, then on mine--in a separation; because duty (and privilege) is much clearer to me now on this point than it was even at the time I wrote to them. Since separation, then, is only a matter of time, I feel justified in writing to you in advance of it, in order to confer with you about the work. Your answer and a final settlement with my Board will thus doubtless come about the same time.
There are three alternatives which suggest themselves to me:
(1) That I accept from the Board traveling expenses and return to America, and there enter (if I may) the Colporteur work. But in order to avail myself of the Board's ticket, I would have to sail, in all probability, not later than August. This will explain my haste in communicating with you.
(2) That I remain in Japan, find some employment as a means of support and teach these precious truths as far as opportunities offer or can be made. But at best it would be a very limited effort that I could make in that way. (a) Time would be limited. (b) Travel would also be impracticable, except at long intervals. But travel would, I believe, be one of the essentials to the accomplishment of any considerable work here. (c) Want of literature, in Japanese, on these truths, would be greatly felt, and would itself be a very serious limitation.
(3) The third alternative is impossible, unless you could supply financial aid from America. It is this: That I remain here and oversee the translation and publication of "The Plan of the Ages," and also of some of your tracts. The tracts could be done first. I could thus begin colporteuring at once. As to the book, I have enquired into the expense, etc., of getting it out. Following is the result:--
Cost of translation............................$ 50.00 gold Cost of printing 1000 copies (500 pages each in Japanese) stiff paper covers.................. 225.00 "
The translation could be done by a Christian Japanese whom I know, a man of literary taste and experience in translating. His price ($50.00) is about half what such work would command if done by a professional translator. The undertaking would necessarily be in the nature of an experiment. Humanly speaking, the demand would have to be created. But there are in Japan (see statistics for 1906) 44,228 professing Christians (Protestant). Some of them are God's humble, consecrated, children longing for a better understanding of the things of the Kingdom.
The third alternative is the one that most appeals to me. I cannot think that God intends to leave the Japanese Christians without a witness of his special revelation for these last days. But if he intends me to be such a witness here, he will surely open up the way. He seems to have shut me up to your answer, and I shall expect to abide by that answer, unless in the meantime he gives me some other indication.
I am wholly in the dark as to your methods with workers, but I have sent for "Hints to Colporteurs." Any good working plan, however, will be satisfactory to me. Will you kindly explain the work of the "Pilgrims"?
May I ask you to kindly tell me, when you write, whether you know of others in Japan who hold a "like precious faith," and if so who they are?
Most sincerely and with gratitude,
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THE TABERNACLE OF MEETING
--`EXODUS 40:1-13,34-38`.--AUGUST 4.--
Golden Text:--"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle."
OUR Berean Studies of the Tabernacle have familiarized us with the main features of this lesson. In the Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices we learned of the form, size, construction, etc., of the Tabernacle which God directed the Israelites through Moses their mediator to erect for his worship. It was portable, and every way suited to the forty-years journey in the wilderness which the Lord foreknew would be their portion as a people. Whenever they encamped the Tabernacle was erected as the center of the camp and the tents of the Israelites were grouped about it: first the tribe of Levi, immediately surrounding it, divided into its various families; outside of the Levites were the tribes of Israel--on the north three tribes, on the south three tribes, on the east three tribes, on the west three tribes. Joseph's tribe being divided into two, Ephraim and Manasseh, made the twelve complete without the Levites.
The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night continued to be the representation of the Lord with his chosen people, and this cloud and fire-pillar seem to have been associated with the Tabernacle in the sense that a branch or foot came down from the cloud to the Tabernacle. When it left it indicated that the time had come for them to travel. They followed the leading of the cloud: when it stayed they rested, constructed their camp, and a connection established itself as before between the cloud and the tabernacle. Thus Israel had continually before them a manifestation of God and his protecting care over them as his people. They had craved an idol to go before them and to serve as an outward manifestation of God; they had been punished for the idolatry implied in the making of the golden calf; they had learned the lesson and repented, and God had given them what he had already planned-- something far superior in the way of an evidence of his presence in their midst and his guidance of their affairs.
GOD FIRST--THE CENTER
From the arrangement of the Tabernacle and its relationship to the camp of Israel we can see that the lesson to that people must have been God first--religion the center of all ambition and activity. All the tribes were related to the
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Tabernacle because it represented God, and they were all related to each other because they were each and all surrounding and directly in contact with this Tabernacle of God. There they and all their interests touched and centered. And thus it must be for Spiritual Israel, whoever, wherever, whenever. Whoever comes into harmony with the divine arrangement will find such an ordering of divine providence as will bring him into touch with all others who are in fellowship with the Father and his glorious plan.
It is in vain that we seek to have order in the Church or harmony with the brethren except as this common center is recognized. If all look to the Lord for guidance then all are ready for his providential leading, whether it be to move or to stay. If all look to the Lord for their laws and government and guidance in all of life's affairs, then all may be in harmony the one with the other, as recognizing the same central standard of divine atonement. But if this central authority be ignored, or in proportion as it may be ignored, there will be discord and conflict. Undoubtedly this is the difficulty with many of the Lord's people who are striving for peace and harmony and meaning well in their hearts. They fail to recognize the Lord and his Word as their standard, and fail to appeal to this standard only in cases of dispute.
THE HUMAN BRAIN SIMILARLY ORDERED
Without claiming that Phrenology has reached a perfection of development--without claiming that any has learned to read accurately from the shape of the human skull the various traits of character therein represented, even while admitting that such a reading of character might be defective, and particularly so with those whose characters have been transformed by the renewing of their mind through the begettal of the holy Spirit--nevertheless we may admit that Phrenology so far as understood fully corroborates the picture given us in the arrangement of the Tabernacle of Israel surrounded by the camp. Thus:--
If we imagine the human skull as spread out flat, we find that the central part would correspond to the Tabernacle and its court; for in the very center of the head on top lies spirituality, and directly in front of it lies veneration.
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The latter organ would correspond well to the court, the former to the holy. As to enter the holies it was necessary to pass through the court, so to enter into a proper heart-appreciation of the spiritual things it is necessary that we enter in through veneration, reverence for God, which will lead us to worship him and to seek to know and to do his will.
Surrounding these two central organs are others which correspond well to the different divisions of the tribe of Levi--the sacred tribe devoted to the service of God in the court and in the Tabernacle. These organs represent faith, hope, benevolence, conscientiousness, firmness, etc., and then outside of these again come the various organs of the mind, which have to do more particularly with earthly things. These, useful and valuable in themselves, all need to be controlled and guided from the center. Even as in the camp of Israel, the center, the Tabernacle, was not controlled by the tribes, but the tribes were controlled and guided from the Tabernacle. Thus all the talents and qualities of mind and body which we possess, and which are all represented in our brains, are all to be subject to and guided by our reverence for God and our spiritual perception of his will concerning us, which will is to be expressed primarily through the intermediary organs of benevolence, faith, hope, conscience, etc.
CONVERSION THUS ILLUSTRATED
Thus may be illustrated the philosophy of what is known as conversion. Thank God it has not been necessary to understand the philosophy of conversion in order to have and to enjoy that blessing, otherwise very few would have been thus blessed. But it will be of advantage to some to be able to analyze the philosophy of conversion and to see how beautiful and how reasonable a matter it is. The natural man, "without God and without hope in the world," is like the Israelites as a Jewish horde when in Egypt, disordered, incongruous, slaves to sin, laboring under taskmasters, and knowing not how to escape. The first step toward order is the hearing of the Word of the Lord directing our course to the promised land, out of bondage. This implies the recognition of Moses, the leader whom God has appointed, and obedience to him in fleeing away from sin.
A time must elapse, whether a moment or year, in which the enslaved one realizes his liberty accomplished by God through the hands of the great antitypical Moses, and thus he is brought finally to a hearing of the law, to a realization that even though all of his past were forgotten he would be unable to keep perfectly the divine law because of the weakness of his own flesh. To this point the divine arrangement is indicated, namely, that to all those who consecrate themselves to the Lord a begetting of the holy Spirit will be granted, and they will be inducted into favors and blessings of the Lord and assistances from him hitherto unknown. This is conversion--the acceptance of the Lord and his will as instead of self-will--in all of life's affairs: the full consecration of heart and life, time and talents, to the Lord, and the recognition of Christ as our Head or High Priest, our Advocate or assistant in all these matters.
The transformation which then takes place corresponds to the setting in order of the tribes in relationship to the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was recognized as the center of the camp and each tribe had its own place in relationship to it, sometimes here and sometimes there. There was no longer any confusion as to one tribe choosing this or that location, sometimes in a preferred position and sometimes in a less preferred position; henceforth each tribe had its own position, its own responsibility and its own relationship to the Tabernacle.
ORDER IS HEAVEN'S FIRST LAW
So with the converted heart and head. Previously sometimes selfishness would be in the center and in control, sometimes conscience, sometimes acquisitiveness, sometimes hope and sometimes fear would occupy the center, around which the various organs would group themselves. But now, as soon as the heart is given to the Lord, his organization and his arrangement is recognized, and the various powers of mind and body represented in our brains are fixed in their relationship to the central ones, which henceforth become
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the dominating ones and always occupy the prominent place of authority. To the truly converted, consecrated Christian, the center from which will proceed all the arrangements of life must be spirituality, which corresponds to the holies in the center of Israel's camp.
This implies veneration for God. Henceforth the various organs must all look to this common center for direction. Acquisitiveness might say how wealth might be acquired, but has no authority to move until first the message shall be received from spirituality and veneration. And this authority must be passed on through the first circle, represented by the Levites: benevolence will have a word to say, so will conscience, so will faith and hope, as to whether or not acquisitiveness may take possession as it proposes. And benevolence, faith, hope and conscience will all surely inquire of the Lord through veneration, spirituality, as to what is the will or mind of the Lord on the subject before giving permission to acquisitiveness to act as proposed.
Combativeness is another of these organs which used to be at times a central one commanding the others, but now it is relegated to its proper place on the outside, at a distance from the center; it cannot act until authority is granted, and the authority can only come through benevolence, faith, hope, conscience, etc., and these again must inquire of veneration and spirituality as to whether or not it would be the proper thing for combativeness to gird on its sword and take the field, and what and how much it may do in any event. If the cause be good permission will be granted, if the cause be evil permission will be refused, and the organ of firmness will see to it that the decisions of the central court are carried out by all the outlying members.
For instance, if combativeness is aroused and wishes to cooperate with selfishness or acquisitiveness in any form, the decision from the central court will be, No! Combativeness may never be exercised selfishly; but if combativeness be aroused in cooperation with conscientiousness for a defence of the faith once delivered to the saints, the decision from the central court will be, Yes! contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Nevertheless benevolence, love, cooperating with caution, will be detailed to see to it that combativeness shall not, even in defence of the faith delivered to the saints, take a harsh and aggressive form of action, but shall be supervised by benevolence, love.
No wonder that worldly people have been astonished to find so radical a change of character and life on the part of some who have come into harmony with the Lord through a full consecration of their hearts to him--some whose minds have been reordered, transformed by the renewing of their wills--by the placing of all the qualities of their hearts and minds in control of and in harmony with the Lord. We sometimes speak of conversion as though it worked a miracle, because its operations worked so wonderful a change in our hearts and lives and sentiments by bringing them under the new management, under the control of the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of a sound mind.
THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE TABERNACLE
In the lesson before us, when the Tabernacle had been constructed and the tents of the Israelites had been ordered in harmony therewith, the first important event was God's recognition of it. This is referred to in the thirty-fourth verse of our lesson in these words, "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle." It was called the Tabernacle of the congregation, or more properly the tent of meeting, not because the Israelites met there as a congregation, not because it was their meeting house, but because they were a holy, separate house or people of God, and in this tent in the center of their camp God made his dwelling-place, and it was here that he met the children of Israel by receiving and communicating with their representatives of the tribe of Levi, through whom, by the Urim and Thummim, the divine will was communicated. Applying this now to us individually, as Spiritual Israelites: When our conversion took place it meant not only the ordering of our minds in accord with the Lord, placing spirituality and veneration first--in the center of our affections--but it meant more than this.
This much we were to do and did do under direction of the Lord's Word. But God then did something more, something very necessary for us, viz., by his holy Spirit we were begotten again to a newness of mind. In other words, the heart which thus ordered itself according to the divine instruction of the Word God recognized. He took up his abode with us, and our meeting-place with him, represented in the organ of spirituality, was blessed by the Lord and lightened. The glory of the Lord filled us. We realized to some extent that we were accepted of the Lord, and the enlightenment of the holy Spirit has since then been with us, an ever-present help and guide: a pillar of cloud, it has blessed us by day in shielding us from the things that would be too trying for us; a pillar of fire by night, it has granted us enlightenment in darkness, and the keeping, protecting power of him who has promised that all things shall work together for our good because we are his and love him and have placed him first in our hearts, and are thus amongst
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the called ones according to his purpose. Thus the new will ordained of God and instructed from his Word may, as the priest in each of us, have intercourse with the Father in the merit of the great atonement sacrifice.
And this new will, consecrated, anointed, set apart, may bring out the wise decisions of God in respect to all the other organs of our bodies, and show what each may and may not do, and how each may or may not cooperate with the others, and which should be restrained and when, and which should be cultivated and how, that the whole body may be full of light, full of order, full of divine blessing, and that as the people of God we might go onward from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, from strength to strength, and be prepared for the everlasting conditions beyond Jordan in the promised land to which we are journeying --the heavenly city.
A TYPE OF THE FUTURE ALSO
This arrangement of the Tabernacle was not a permanent one. It pictured rather the conditions of this Gospel Age, so far at least as the Church is concerned--the Royal Priesthood, who are now permitted to enter the holies as members of the great High Priest, Jesus, and who during the Millennial Age will with him guide all the people of God
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who are willing to be led into the grand eternal rest which remains for them. During the Millennium all who desire to become true Israelites, to come into full harmony with the Lord, will find a place in the divine plan: the Royal Priesthood first, nearest the Lord, yea, even at the very gates of his favor, even as the priests encamped immediately in front of the gateway into the Tabernacle courts; and next to these will come the Great Company, as represented by the Levites in general; and in due course all the families of the earth will come into harmonious order, all looking to God, all seeking to walk in the light of God's favor, and ultimately there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all lovers of sin will have been cut off in the Second Death, and because all others will have come to a full harmony with God through the ministrations of the priesthood.
"I THAT SPEAK AM HE"
`JOHN 4:26`; `9:37`
She came, the thirsty one, to fill her pitcher,
And found a stranger sitting on the brink;
And while she poured for him the well's refreshment,
He gave the precious cup of life to drink.
And when she wondered at her life's revealing,
And if Messiah deeper depths could see,
He graciously her rising faith encouraged,--
"I that speak to thee am he."
And so when we, blest Master, come all empty
To fountains we but drink, and drink, in vain,
Be thou with satisfying waters waiting,
That we may drink and never thirst again.
Our wayward hearts' true inwardness disclosing,
Constrain our timid faith to hope in thee,
And let us hear again the gracious message--
"I that speak to thee am he."
They turned him from the synagogue accursed,
Whose gift of sight the Savior had bestowed;
And, burning under grief and indignation,
He sought again the well-remembered road.
And while he mused upon his kindly patron,
And if he could indeed Messiah be,
Lo, One with beaming countenance addressed him,
"I that speak to thee am he."
And so, dear Lord, when our dim eyes are opened,
And one-time friends thy healing power despise,
Be thou anear with words of cheer and comfort,
To grant our saddest hour a glad surprise.
And when life's subtle mysteries perplex us,
Unlock to us with faith's unfailing key,
That we may hear from out the open portals,
"I that speak to thee am he."
The proud and haughty still a sign requiring,
In vain the zenith and horizon scan,
While walks among them One with vesture girded,
To wield the purging and discerning fan.
But he who humbly treads the path of duty,
With eyes unsealed shall his Deliv'rer see;
His trial hour shall brighten with this token--
"I that speak to thee am he." --R. B. Henninges
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OFFERERS OF STRANGE FIRE
--`LEVITICUS 10:1-11`.--AUGUST 11.--
Golden Text:--"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."--`Prov. 20:1`
ABOUT a year had passed since the Israelites had left Egypt--a year of training under the direction of the Lord through his servant Moses--a year of special evidence of divine mercy and favor toward Israel. Their first-born, miraculously delivered from the tenth plague, had been accepted by the Lord as his priestly tribe, to serve the cause of the Lord and to minister to the people as his representatives. Mount Sinai's experiences with the giving of the Law were in the past. The setting up of the Tabernacle, with its symbolical posts and curtains and furnishments, had been accomplished; the glory of the Lord had rested upon it, as indicating that he was with his people to guide in all their affairs and to bring them eventually to the promised land. The priests had been installed in office and the service of the Tabernacle started.
At this time, while the Israelites were rejoicing in their divinely appointed religious arrangements and the priests in their special relationship to the divine program, an incident occurred which caused an awe and reverence for the holy things: a disobedience to the minute instructions of the priests brought upon the two eldest sons of Aaron condign punishment-- instant death. Awe-stricken and fearful, Aaron and his other sons would have gladly relinquished all further service of the Tabernacle lest they themselves should similarly suffer death through some transgression of the divine commands.
But Moses, the mediator and direct representative of God, commanded that they must not do this--they must not desert their service. He pointed out to them that the holy anointing oil was upon them, and that their entire danger lay in deserting, and that they were entirely safe so long as they heeded carefully the divine regulations. He forbade that they should even make lamentation over the deceased, since their death was a divine judgment, and to have bewailed them would have implied a rebellion against their great King, who had undoubtedly dealt justly with them. Thus at the beginning of their religious services the people of Israel were taught that they must approach the Lord with reverence and that obedience is better than sacrifice.
WHERE JUSTICE AND MERCY MEET
A similar lesson, we recall, was taught at the beginning of this Gospel Age, when Ananias and Sapphira were stricken dead because of false pretense in misrepresenting their gifts to the Lord and his cause. Both of these judgments seem to be severe. There is a seeming lack of mercy in both instances. We are inclined to ask, Why did not God have compassion upon these first transgressors, and merely reprove them and give them a second opportunity? We answer that the lessons taught in these two judgments were much more impressive than they could otherwise have been; and as for a second chance, it is our opinion that
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both parties will be thus favored. For instance, in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, we doubt if they ever had the full consecration of heart, or ever really came to the full knowledge of the truth which would make them responsible for their conduct and liable to the Second Death. Our surmise is that they were well-intentioned, but not begotten of the holy Spirit, and that the Lord made an illustration of them without special injury to themselves, but for the advantage of his consecrated people at that time and ever since, illustrating the facts that the Lord knoweth them that are his, that nothing is hidden from his sight, and that it is in vain that any would attempt to deceive him.
Similarly we have no thought that the two sons of Aaron passed into the Second Death. Theirs was only a typical anointing to the typical priesthood, and their death we similarly understand to be typical, an illustration of some of the antitypical priests who will perish from the priesthood because of disobedience to the divine direction. As for Nadab and Abihu, our supposition is that in the resurrection morning they will be amongst the great world of mankind who will come forth unto a resurrection by judgments --by disciplines. By disobedience they merited the loss of the present life, and God made use of the circumstances to give a lesson to the people of that time that would hinder them from being careless in the handling of holy things, to the intent that the types and shadows of their dispensation might be handed down to us in their purity, and as a type or illustration to us of the Royal Priesthood respecting two classes amongst us represented by these two priests.
TWO CLASSES REPRESENTED BY NADAB AND ABIHU
Since the priests, the Tabernacle and all the services connected were particular types, foreshadowings of higher and better things, it follows that the death of these two sons of Aaron must have a typical signification. They must typify persons who lose their standing in the antitypical priesthood, some who fail to make their calling and election sure, some who were originally accepted and anointed as members of the Body of the great High Priest, but who lose that glorious position because of failure to follow the divine directions. The Scriptures tell us of three ultimate divisions of those originally accepted of the Lord as members of the Body of Christ and anointed with the holy Spirit.
(1) The faithful, who will come off more than conquerors and constitute the Very Elect, the Royal Priesthood of the Millennial Age.
(2) A "great company, whose number is known to no man"--who, failing to be of the little flock, rejected from the priestly office, but nevertheless refusing to deny the Lord, will ultimately constitute the servants of Christ in glory, the antitypical Levites.
(3) Another class of the consecrated who will fail to appreciate and properly use the Lord's favors, and under the tests prove entirely unworthy of eternal life, and fall into the hands of the living God for utter destruction in the Second Death.
If an attempt were made to indicate these three classes amongst the sons of Aaron by proportionate numbers it would apparently have necessitated one of the five representing the little flock, three of the five representing the "great company," and the other one to represent those who would go into the Second Death. But such an illustration
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was not made and would not have been consistent with the divine plan, for it evidently was not intended to indicate in any manner what proportion would go into the Second Death nor what proportion would fail of the priesthood and go into the "great company." On the other hand, to suppose that both the priests who died typified those who would go into the Second Death would imply that two-fifths of all the consecrated would perish. Besides, it would leave the type incomplete in that it would make no showing of the "great company," who consecrated and were accepted as priests, but who failed to prove faithful to the end, failed to become members of the Royal Priesthood of the Kingdom.
It is for these reasons that we understand the two priests set before us in this lesson to represent the two classes who will fail to make their calling and election sure as members of the Body of the great High Priest of glory. Nadab we understand to represent those who will fall from the priestly office to the Levitical, as members of the "great company." In allowing one priest to represent each of these classes nothing is indicated respecting the proportionate numbers of either, but simply the fact that there will be two classes who will fail of the grace of God after they have been anointed with the holy anointing oil for membership in the Royal Priesthood.
It seems to us consistent to thus represent by one person each two classes, whose numbers are not definitely fixed by the divine decree, but merely composed of those who fail to give heed and to rightly use their blessings and opportunities. The names of these two sons who died may be construed in harmony with these suggestions. Nadab signifies spontaneous, self-acting, and suggests to us the class who will go into the Second Death because of their self-will-- their failure to hold the Head. As for the one who we believe represented the "great company," his name, Abihu, signifies son of God. This, too, seems appropriate. The "great company," like the little flock, are begotten of the holy Spirit and will be born of the Spirit--sons of God on a spirit plane, though not on the divine plane. They are thus, as well as the little flock, differentiated from the remainder of mankind, who will be recognized as the sons of Christ--receiving their lives by restitution from him who bought them with his precious blood.
OFFERING STRANGE FIRE--NOT COMMANDED
The crime for which the two sons of Aaron died is described in the same terms yet not with particularity. We do not know whether their transgression consisted in taking an improper kind of incense or in failing to take fire from the altar or burning the incense in the wrong place--perhaps in the court instead of the holy--or whether it may have been the proper incense with the proper fire and in the proper place at the wrong time; nor can we know that both of the offending priests did exactly the same thing.
Some have surmised that the error was in respect to attempting to enter the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest alone was permitted to enter with the
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blood of the sin-offering. The lesson to the remaining priests in the type was the necessity for greater carefulness, greater reverence for the Lord and the particular directions by which they might be his servants and come into his presence and be his ministers to the people. The lesson to us, the antitypical priesthood, would be a similar one--that obedience is better than sacrifice, and that the sacrifices we offer in order to be acceptable must be presented in harmony with the divine will, and that any other procedure on our part will cause the loss of our membership in the Royal Priesthood.
There is a similarity as well as a difference between the errors of those who will constitute the "Great Company" and the errors of those of the consecrated who will be condemned to the Second Death. Their errors are the same in that they fail to sufficiently respect the stipulations of the divine arrangement. Both fail to offer the kind of incense that the Lord directed--self-sacrifice and praise to him, with which sacrifice God is well pleased. (`Heb. 13:15,16`.) The difference, however, between those who will constitute the "Great Company" and those of this age who will die the Second Death is that the latter ignore Christ and the merit of his sacrifice on their behalf, counting his blood a common thing, and doing despite to the favor brought to them thereby. The other class escape the Second Death and become the "Great Company," not because they have offered proper incense unto the Lord, but because they do not deny, do not reject, but maintain their hold upon the foundations of their faith, the merit of Christ's sacrifice on their behalf.
"SHE MADE ALL NATIONS DRUNK"
The fact that immediately after this narrative of the death of Nadab and Abihu the command was given to Aaron and his sons that they should drink no wine nor strong drink, etc., gives some ground for the supposition that the two sons who perished had been somewhat intoxicated, or at least stupefied through strong drink, and that thus their senses were more or less beclouded in respect to the commands of the Lord concerning the offering of incense. This putting away of intoxicants is described as putting a difference between the holy and the common, between the clean and the unclean.
There is no doubt whatever that literal intoxicants were referred to by our Lord in this command, but applying it antitypically we find that a different kind of intoxicants is likely to affect the antitypical priests. We agree, of course, that the words of the Apostle are applicable to all of the Royal Priesthood, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the Spirit." We cannot, however, apply the matter literally to the Royal Priesthood and say that no one who is connected with the antitypical Tabernacle and its services could taste of wine without a violation of the divine law; because our great High Priest himself partook of wine. In seeking, therefore, for the antitypical significations of the command that they should use neither wine nor strong drink, we find it intimated in the declaration of Revelation that Great Babylon made all nations drunk with the wine of her false doctrine and confusion of spiritual and political interests.
Undoubtedly the confusion of doctrine which prevails is to some extent responsible for the failure of the "great company" class to offer acceptable incense. As we get rid of the confusion of mind introduced by the false doctrines of the "dark ages"--the "doctrines of devils" as the Apostle describes them--we find that our clearer thoughts are indeed a great advantage to us in respect to a proper understanding of what would be pleasing and acceptable to the Lord our God as our sacrifices or incense before him. Intoxicated with the errors of the past, many of us doubtless offer to the Lord "strange fire," strange incense, such as he has not commanded. To continue so to do would seem to imply that we would ultimately be amongst those who would fail to reach the glorious priesthood. Most heartily, therefore, do we thank the Lord that we are getting sobered up--that to us is returning through the nutriment of his Word the spirit of a sound mind, that more and more we are coming to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of his love, and thus are the better qualified day by day to know the good, the acceptable, the perfect will of God, and to make our offerings in harmony therewith.
WHOSOEVER IS DECEIVED BY WINE IS NOT WISE
While the "Royal Priests" are in more danger from the symbolic wine than from the natural, and hence need to be more on guard against it, nevertheless an occasional reminder of the dangers that lurk in the literal wine is safe. It is especially well that all see clearly the value of example, particularly upon the young. And the better the Christian and the greater his knowledge of God's Word, the greater his influence either for good or evil. Hence the force of the Apostle's words, "What manner of persons ought we to be?" On this phase of the subject we content ourself with quotations from the pens of others, as follows:--
Prof. Marcus Dods says of College athletics:--"Trainers for athletics act according to St. Paul's rule, 'Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.' Not only during the contest, but during the long preparation for it. The one in training must not touch cigarettes or liquor. The little indulgences which some men allow themselves he must forego. Not once will he break the trainer's rules, for he knows that some competitors will refrain from even that once, and gain strength while he is losing it. He is proud of his little hardships and fatigues and privations, and counts it a point of honor scrupulously to abstain from anything which might in the slightest degree diminish his chances of success."
Coleman in the Independent says:--"A number of gentlemen in the State of New York came together to value certain parcels of land which were to be offered at public sale. They agreed unanimously upon the sum they were worth; but upon the day of the sale the owner cunningly treated them to alcoholic drinks, and one of them bid and actually paid four times as much for the property as he or any other man in his right senses thought it worth. A temperance man, having some standing timber to be disposed of at public sale, decided that he would not furnish alcoholic liquors to the bidders, as was the custom in that day. The auctioneer replied: 'I am sorry, for you will lose a great deal of money. I know how it works, for after the men have been drinking the trees look much larger to them than they did before.' A vendue master in Connecticut said: 'I have often in this way got more than ten times
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the value of the drinks I have furnished.' Horse jockeys, gamblers, thieves, wholesale merchants and commercial travelers often furnish alcoholic drinks for the same purpose."
"Doctor Arnot, the famous Scotch preacher, once used this striking illustration on the total abstinence question: There are plenty of men, and women, too, who proudly say, 'I am not obliged to sign away my liberty in order to keep on the safe side.' To such people Dr. Arnot says: 'True, you are not obliged; but here is a river we have to cross. It is broad, and deep, and rapid; whoever falls into it is sure to be drowned. Here is a narrow footbridge, a single timber extending across. He who is lithe of limb and steady of brain and nerve, may skip over it in safety. Yonder is a broad, strong bridge. Its foundations are solid rock, and its passages are wide. All may cross it in perfect safety--the aged and feeble, the young and gay, the tottering wee ones--there is no danger there. "Now," you say, "I am not obliged to go yonder. Let them go there who cannot walk this timber." True, true, you are not obliged; but we know that if we cross that timber, though we may go safely, many others who will attempt to follow us will surely perish, and we feel better to go by the bridge! Walking a narrow footbridge over a raging torrent is risky business, but it is safety itself compared with tampering with strong drink.'"
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
You will undoubtedly rejoice to know that your visit to our city has given new and increased impetus to the Colporteur work here. We come in contact daily with some who heard the afternoon address on "To Hell and Back" or have heard reports of same, and it has awakened a desire to investigate these new doctrines, and it gives us the delightful privilege of assisting such inquirers in these matters.
A number who have gotten the books lately are taking an active interest in these precious truths, and their expressions and testimonies give evidence of their growth in grace and knowledge. We have begun a meeting at our stopping place on Tuesday evenings, especially for beginners. These meetings are increasing from week to week in attendance and interest. We ask for your prayers that we may receive grace and wisdom from on high to fitly represent the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, that we may act and speak as the ambassadors and oracles of God.
We are meeting with triumphant success in the Colporteur work. I have just returned home from a delivery of 143 books. It is hard work, but the joy connected with it more than compensates us for the physical strain, and when we think of the joy and bliss that await us if we continue faithful unto death, all the toils of the road will seem as nothing.
May the Lord prosper the work of harvest in your hands, and give all the dear co-laborers a share in his suffering and service here, to the intent that we may also become vitally united to him and to one another in the glories of his Kingdom, is our ardent prayer.
Yours in the bonds of love and fellowship,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
My two sisters (Mamie and Frieda) and I have just arrived home after spending nearly eight weeks in the Colporteur work, and thought you would be interested to learn of our success. The last two weeks were very rainy, so we lost quite a little time. We went from here direct to Ft. Dodge, a place of 10,000 population, and worked there a little less than three weeks. Before we started we planned the whole route, how many books for each place, etc. We ordered 1300 volumes to Ft. D., and expected to sell at least 1000. But when we started to work we found the city had been worked very thoroughly by Brother and Sister McFarland and consequently there was considerable opposition, which made it harder to secure orders. However, when we came to add up the amount of books sold, we found it to be 960 volumes, or very nearly the number we had anticipated.
From here we took different routes, Mamie and Frieda going together, taking the larger places, and I the smaller ones. The larger places had also been previously canvassed and there was a great deal of prejudice, etc. At Webster City their work was made exceedingly difficult when the Baptist minister, a very influential man, announced in Church that the books were unorthodox, and if anyone wanted information to call on him, etc. However, with special effort they were still able to secure an average of nearly fifteen volumes per day in that place. The places I visited were towns of 600 to 700, one of 1000 and one of 2000 population, most of them not having been previously canvassed, so I sold nearly as many volumes in the same time as my sisters. In 41 days of work I sold 1012 volumes and they in nearly the same time 1399, or the three of us a total of 2411 volumes. It was hard work, but in all we enjoyed the trip very much.
We feel very thankful to our heavenly Father for this opportunity of service and also for the method which he has supplied through the "Hints to Colporteurs," by which the less gifted colporteurs are enabled to do so well. Surely the Lord has been with us and has blessed us both spiritually and materially. We trust that the dear Lord will grant us still further privileges of service.
I wish also to tell you that we continually remember you in prayer, that you may be granted strength for your trials and labors as in the past.
As ever your brother in him,
A. E. SCHLATTER.--Colporteur.
MY DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
While waiting here for train, en route for Kokoma, will write you a few lines in re the Indianapolis Convention, recently adjourned.
While it is possible that some previous conventions were just as good, and as edifying to others, the writer was more edified and built up spiritually at the Indianapolis Convention than at any of the others. Probably that can be accounted for in this way: I made more diligent effort to get ready for it than ever before --by prayer and the best effort possible to get my heart into such an attitude before the Lord, the Truth and the "brethren" as would make it susceptible to the spirit of the Truth.
In my humble judgment it is for similar reasons the
friends who attend the conventions almost invariably pronounce the last of the series the best. The Spirit of the Master--the spirit of love--which was in evidence at the last Convention was beautiful to behold. I praise God that it was my blessed privilege to be there! The General Conventions and One-Day Conventions are evidently being used of the Lord as channels of much blessing to his people. The study of the Word and the fellowship participated in on such occasions are building up the brethren in the "most holy faith" to a degree that is very gratifying to us--and we believe that it is to the dear Lord also.
Dear Brother, it was a source of much pleasure and profit to the writer to meet you again and hear so many precious truths fall from your lips. I trust that the Convention gave all who were in attendance a fresh incentive to "run with patience the race set before them," and to engage in the "harvest" work with renewed zeal and energy. I praise God that it had that effect on myself. It was a pleasure also to meet so many dear Colporteurs and several Pilgrim brethren. What a source of spiritual strength it is to have fellowship with such a noble band of laborers in the Master's vineyard! For my part, I desire to become more and more acquainted with them--even on this side the "vail."
With much Christian love and very best wishes, your brother and servant,
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I would like to tell you of how much blessing the Colporteur work has been to me this past year. Of course it was entered, from a human standpoint, as one setting sail on strange waters, but the Lord has been as many waters round about to bless, strengthen and cheer.
It seems that I have received blessings multiplied, of which I feel very unworthy and hope that they have not been bestowed in vain, but that all may redound to his glory.
Many have seemed interested and like the books. One dear sister that I would like to mention, who got the books from Sister R__________, is greatly rejoicing in Present Truth. She says that she has learned more in reading the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES than she did during her thirty years as a member of the Lutheran Church.
Praying that you may be kept faithful, and thanking you for the encouragement to the colporteurs from time to time, I am, as ever, your sister in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
My wife and I have come into the Truth since last December, Brother L. W. Jones being the instrument used by God to bring the Truth to us. We were Baptists. About three weeks ago the minister called, but would not answer my wife's questions, saying, "It's no use," and he got angry. My wife said to the minister, "If I were a sinner you would plead with me three or four days to get me to accept Christ; now you believe that I am going the wrong way and you will not show me where I am wrong." He replied, "It's no use!" On Monday, April 30, she was handed a page from the monthly Church Record, which contained the following: "The MILLENNIAL DAWN, with its soul sleeping, denying sin, Christ's deity and atonement, the fact of hell and much more, has carried away Mr. and Mrs. J. and Mr. and Mrs. F. into its deceitful current."
We believe we should send letters to the members of this Church and ask you for a suggested letter which can be sent to them. I am told that you have a regular letter, but do not know whether it will apply to our particular case. I should have said that when the minister called on my wife he told her that we should ask to have our names dropped. Truly, Brother, they have cast us out of the synagogue, whereof we are glad, and pray that we may live with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love. We thank God that you have been used to shed the light of his Truth abroad, which has come even unto my family. Already four of our friends are interested. We pray that the Lord will keep adding to the light he has given you, and that you may be sustained and guided in all things. We await your advice regarding a letter.
ABNER D. FLANNER.--Ill.
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We rejoice to note the opening of other blinded eyes of understanding. God's blessing will surely attend those who when they see are prompt to confess
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and obey the voice of the Light. We counsel that the Baptist minister be not too harshly thought of--that his "blindness" be remembered. What the Apostle Peter said of those who delivered up our Lord will apply to many now: "I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers."--`Acts 3:17`.
The "Withdrawal Letters" referred to are well adapted for use by those withdrawing from any human organization called a Church. There is but one true Church of the living God, "whose names are written in heaven." (`Luke 10:20`.) We supply these "Withdrawal Letters," with envelopes and tracts free, in any quantity. We advise that they be sent to every member of the Church withdrawn from. This is not only an excellent way in which to bear witness to the Truth, but a safe way to guard against misunderstanding and misrepresentation. For--we say it with sorrow--some ministers and Church officials do not notify the congregation of the withdrawal, but allow the impression that the withdrawing one has defaulted on and thereby denied his vows of membership. Still worse, in some cases ministers have deliberately misrepresented the facts--to prevent others of their congregations from examining or hearing further along the lines of the Truth. In one case the withdrawing one was reported violently insane on religious subjects; and all were advised to avoid him lest they should make him worse. Our advice therefore is, By all means use these letters --and use them freely. It will be one of your best opportunities for sowing Present Truth.