VOL. XXII. JULY 15, 1901 No. 14.
"Beheaded for the Testimony of
Abraham Called of God.............................229
Abraham's and Lot's Testings......................233
A Special Edition of the Linear
Public Ministries of the Truth....................240
Items:--When Requesting Pilgrim
Visits,--Millennial Dawn in
Leather Binding, Etc........................226
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MILLENNIAL DAWN IN LEATHER BINDING.
These are put up in sets of five volumes,--and not sold otherwise. Retail price $5.00, plus 50 cents expressage or postage. Wholesale rates $2.50, plus 50 cents expressage or postage. The books are quite handsome and substantial--gold edges. The price is very low; less than cloth bound religious books with many publishers.
DAWN VOL. V. IN GERMAN.
Our German friends are urging that DAWN, VOL. V., be published in their language for the benefit of those who cannot so clearly, or at all, understand the English language. We submit the matter to you and inquire now,--How many consider this advisable? Say how many copies you will want at 12-1/2c in paper covers postpaid in America, or 25c in cloth plus 10c postage anywhere. If we obtain a sufficient number of orders to meet one-half of the expense we will publish it. You need not send the money now, but merely say how many copies you will take if it is published.
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"BEHEADED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS."
"And I saw the souls [persons] of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God;...and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."--`Rev. 20:4`.
ALL constituting the Kingdom class are here referred to as beheaded--every member of the glorified Church must, eventually, have this experience, whatever it signifies. But we reflect that our Lord was not beheaded and, so far as history shows, few, if any, of the apostles were literally beheaded; indeed, very few, if any, of the Lord's saints, from Pentecost to the present time, have died by decapitation. We are to remember, however, that this statement is from the symbolical book, and is therefore a figure of speech, a word-picture, and its meaning must be sought for accordingly.
The Apostle gives us the key, saying, "The head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (`1 Cor. 11:3`.)
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As a woman who becomes a wife accepts her husband as the head of the family, so the Church accepts Christ as its head, and each member of the Church thus comes into relationship with the Lord as a member of his body--not the head; and all of these, to be acceptable as members of the figurative body of Christ, must be will-less, headless: their own wills must be surrendered, so that, like their Lord, they can say, "Not my will, but thine, be done." They must be headless in the sense of ignoring their own wills, being dead to self and actuated henceforth by the will of the head of the body, Christ Jesus. His will, his mind, his spirit, must dwell in each member of the body, and abound, if it would abide a member of his body, the Church. Thus, as the wife loses her own name, and accepts the name of her husband and his headship, so each member of the bride of Christ must lose his or her individuality in order to be accepted as the Bride of Christ. It is this self-surrender to Christ on the part of his Church that is represented in the symbolism of the text before us.
One of the prime hindrances to Christian growth is the failure to discern the completeness of the sacrifice requisite in those who would be accounted as members of the elect Church, the body of Christ. No one can be of this elect number, to live and reign with Christ in his Millennial Kingdom, who has not been thus beheaded. We often think of this when we hear well-meaning Christian people say, "I have a mind of my own; I do my own thinking." It is certainly better, in many instances, that one should do his own thinking than that he should let another man or another woman do it for him; than that he should allow a body of men to make a creed for him, even tho that body of men, professing to be his head, be called a Synod or a Presbytery or a Conference, and desire that the individual shall submit himself to its headship, and become a member of some earthly church. Such sectarian systems--heads and members--are false bodies of Christ, which the real Head never recognized.
It is required of every one who would be counted in as a member of the true Church, that he should be not only beheaded (lose his self-will), but that he shall be united to the true Head of the Church and recognize himself as a member of the true body of Christ --"the Church of the living God, whose names are written in heaven." Membership in the Presbyterian body, or in the Methodist body, or in the Lutheran body, or in the Baptist body, or in any other human institution, does not count anything, for the simple
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reason that Christ never recognized any of them, never founded any of them, never joined or agreed to join any of them as their head. There are not many bodies of Christ, but only one, the Church of the living God --there is one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The Lord is not the head of these human institutions, which call themselves his bodies, and membership in them will avail nothing as respects the reward of joint-heirship with Christ in the Kingdom; but rather (as intimated in the words of this verse which we have omitted), the worship, reverence, of these human systems, when once they are seen to be counterfeits of the true body, would be a barrier to a place in the true body and in the Kingdom glories.
As Jesus was not the founder or institutor of these bodies, neither is he their head; neither were the apostles members of any of these human sects or parties, and all of the Lord's true saints who, under Satan's misrepresentations, have been led to consider these human institutions as bodies of Christ, and to join them, while really in heart holding an allegiance to Christ as far above them, as the only true authority and Head--these are now urged to come out of all these various systems; and the light of present truth is for the purpose of showing them where they are, and permitting them to renounce their allegiance to the human systems, and to declare their allegiance only to the one Head and to the one "Church which is his body." These systems are so numerous, and their theories so diverse and confused, that the general term "Babylon" (confusion) is applied to them as a general or family name, and God's true children are admonished, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."--`Rev. 18:4`.
In Israel God gave a typical representation of his Church in Aaron, the high priest, and his sons, the under priests. So, says the Apostle, we are "a Royal Priesthood," and again, "Consider the high priest of our profession [or order of priesthood], Christ Jesus." Now, be it noted, that in the type the beheading of the under-priests was fully illustrated in the fact that the under-priests were required to wear "bonnets," while the high priest alone was without the bonnet and wore the mitre. The high priest was thus proclaimed to be the head of the priesthood; and in covering their heads the under-priests said in the type, We are headless; look to the high priest; he is our head. So, in the antitype, the spiritual Royal Priesthood must all be headless, must all, in the language of the hymn, say:--
"O to be nothing, nothing,
To him let all voices be raised;
He is the fountain of blessing,
He only is most to be praised."
And this headless or will-less condition is not merely a sentiment; it must be a reality, so far as the new creature is concerned. All those who are really "members of the body of Christ" must in their hearts reach that condition where they can say with the greatest sincerity of heart, The Lord's will be done, Teach me thy will, O Lord. They must reach that attitude of relationship to Christ that will be continually seeking to know the will of the Head, and seeking to do it. True, the new creature must operate through, and think with, the human organism; and the latter being imperfect, through the fall, the result may frequently be an imperfect apprehension of the will of Christ, as well as an imperfect doing of that will. However, the imperfections of the flesh are not imputed against the new creature, if the heart be loyal in seeking to know and in seeking to do the will of Christ.
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" and the intimation of our text is that it will be fidelity to this spirit of the truth, the spirit of Christ working in us, in conjunction with the Word of God, the "exceeding great and precious promises," that will work upon us to effect the change from our own wills to the will of Christ--beheading us, making us dead to self and alive toward God through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no intimation here of dependence upon sectarian arrangements and institutions; each "soul" (individual) must be beheaded for himself, and must be individually united to Christ, the Head of the Church. There is no intimation of the acceptance of sects and parties. On the contrary, sectarianism, in every sense and degree, is opposed to the Scriptural arrangement of union, direct and complete, between the Lord and the individual alone.
What an honor and dignity are thus given to the Word of God--and the testimony of Jesus,--not in his own words only, but especially in his life and example, the spirit of which all members of the body must partake of, ere they can have fellowship in his sufferings, walking in his footsteps in the same narrow way of self-sacrifice--thus to be made meet for a share with him in the Kingdom. However, nothing in this should be understood to imply that there are no helps, no assistances, to be rendered and to be accepted and appreciated in the body of Christ, as between the various members; indeed, other Scriptures show us that if one member of the body rejoices, other members are comforted; and if one member suffers the others share the injury. And the Apostle makes very clear to us that our Lord, the Head, communicates with the members of his body by using certain of their own number as his representatives--so that one member may serve the body as an eye, another as an ear, another as a mouth. (`1 Cor. 12:12-31`.) Nevertheless, we must
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always consider the headship of the Lord; and the provision which he makes for the body is what in every instance is to be sought, and not what men may scheme or do in self-exaltation and as would-be teachers in the body of Christ.
Dear brethren, let us consider well the force of this strong symbolic statement. Let us ask ourselves, (1) Have I in obedience to the spirit and example of Jesus, and the testimony of God's Word, given up my own self-control, self-will? (2) If I have, to whom did I give it?--to a large denomination, professing to be the body of Christ, or to a little denomination, professing the same? (3) Am I looking to these as my head, my instructors, guides to my conscience, the directors of my spiritual energies? Or have I renounced my own headship and fully accepted the headship of Christ Jesus,--to the ignoring of all other contrary heads and authorities--to be taught of the Lord, guided of the Lord, used of the Lord, and given such experiences as his infinite wisdom sees best for me? (4) And am I fully content to be thus a member of his body, cut off from all others, and to be used according to his will as I find it recorded in his Word? Or am I, so to speak, a double-headed man, seeking to go through life acknowledging the headship of Jesus, but at the same time having another head or will of my own--and thus what the Apostle James called "a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways,"
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attempting to follow my own inclinations at times, and the Lord's directions at other times, and thus unstable, unreliable, as a member of his body, and unsuitable to be used by him, but in a condition to be ultimately repudiated if I do not become entirely beheaded as respects my own will? (5) Or have I, still worse than this, three heads, or parts of three heads,--some of my own head, or will, not fully cut off; some of the head or will of Christ, incompletely attached; and some of a sectarian, man-made head--a confusion worse confounded, which renders me utterly unfit to comprehend and obey the mind of the spirit?
Dearly beloved, the time is short, the great prize we seek is near, the "mark" or standard of character to be attained is plainly set before us, and the Scriptures are luminous with illustrations of the necessity for complete consecration to the Lord,--showing us that it means deadness to self. Shall we not each see to it that by the grace of God every other head and authority is completely cut off and cast aside, and that henceforth, as the Apostle expressed it, "For me to live is Christ"--as a member of the body of Christ, guided by his will as discerned through his Word and providence and example? This is another picture of full completion of character-likeness to our Lord. Did he not fully give up his own headship, his own will, to the Father's will? He surely did; and as that full consecration was rewarded by the Father, so we have the assurance that our full consecration (and nothing less than this) will be fully rewarded by our Lord and Head in the Kingdom.
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ABRAHAM CALLED OF GOD.
--`GEN. 12:1-9`.--JULY 28.--
"I will bless thee, and make thy name
great; and thou shalt be a blessing."
ABRAM received his special call about four centuries after the deluge. The three sons of Noah became the roots, so to speak, of the different branches of the human family--spreading out in different directions. In the words of another, "The world was populated in three different lines by the sons of Noah: Shem, from whom were derived the Jews and other Semitic races; Ham, the ancestor of the colored races; and Japheth, amongst whose descendants are the European nations. To these three, the diverging races and the languages of men converge, as rays of light to their sources."
The four centuries had undoubtedly accomplished much in the way of populating the immediate district which is called the "cradle of the race," in the vicinity of Babylonia. During these four centuries the downward tendency of our fallen race was farther manifested; for altho Noah was evidently a man of faith in God, and his sons and their wives, saved in the Ark with him, were doubtless firm believers in Jehovah God--their experiences attesting his greatness and his wisdom--nevertheless, in a comparatively short time their posterity, lacking faith in God and in his promises that there would never more be a flood, undertook the erection of the Tower of Babel as a protection, little realizing, apparently, the folly of such an attempt to outwit the Almighty.
It was here that the oneness of the race, exercised injuriously, was effectually broken up by the Lord, by confounding the language of the people. Just how he accomplished this division of language is not explained, nor is such an explanation necessary. The fact is that language is split up not only into great divisions, but into minor dialects, notwithstanding the fact that, as surely as the whole race was originally one, the language at first must likewise have been one. This divergency of language tended to the disintegration of the race and its scattering into various bands
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or tribes--ultimately into every corner of the world, as at present. And such changes of conditions, in temperature, habits of life, etc., have undoubtedly had much to do with the great variety of types amongst men which we see today--these racial changes coming in gradually during the past 4000 years.
Abram, and so far as we may know from the Scriptures, his father and all of his brethren, maintained to a considerable degree a faith in Jehovah; and in harmony with this, enjoyed divine favors similar to those which operated in, and brought blessings to, Noah. But during those four centuries, so far as the records show, the world in general had become idolatrous and morally corrupt.
During all those four centuries there was no preaching of the gospel, because there was no gospel to preach, no good tidings authorized to be proclaimed. Nor was there any threatening of men with an eternity of torture, because no such thing is true. The world simply moved along, taking its own course, which, as we have seen, is a downward one. We may safely say that while an individual might for a time hold himself from a moral decline, or might even take a few upward steps toward a better condition, mentally, morally and physically, yet we cannot surmise, from what we know of the race and the tendencies of sin working in its members, that any number would make upward progress: on the contrary, experience proves that the tendencies on the part of the whole is continually downward, in response to some moral force corresponding to gravitation. Observation of the Scripture records as well as observation of life teach us that any particular and extended uplift of our race or its members must come through a power from on high-- a power outside of mankind. And this power of God operates chiefly through the mind, and is conveyed generally through divine promises, which the Apostle declares are designed of God to work in us both "to will and to do God's good pleasure."
Here we find Abram, the youngest son of Terah, living with his father and with his brother Nahor. His elder brother Haran was of the same family group, and is supposed to have left two children when he and his wife died--Lot and Sarah. It was at this time that in some manner, not explained to us, the Lord manifested to Abram his favor, calling him to separate himself; to leave his own country and his father's house, and to expect, in so doing, increased manifestations of divine favor and blessing. Apparently this call, while given before his father Terah's death, was understood by Abram to be a preparatory admonition so that he might respond, as he did, directly after his father's death. Meantime he had reached the age of 70 years, had married Sarah and had considerable possessions in the way of flocks and herds, with quite a retinue of servants and assistants necessary to the care of these. Abram, for his name had not yet been changed to Abraham, was what is called in that country a sheik, and his change of abode in response to the Lord's call meant a great deal in the way of breaking up of established usages, sundering of family ties, etc. How large his camp must have been may be judged from the fact that a little later on (`Gen. 14:14`), the number of his armed servants born in his own household was 318--implying a general household of at least 1,000 persons. Abram was thus a sort of king according to the conditions of that time; or a feudal lord or baron according to later conditions and usages in Great Britain; a sheik, father or ruler, according to his own time and country.
Few seem to get the proper thought respecting the call of Abram: he was not called to escape hell and eternal torment, nor was he called to go to heaven. He was called to leave Chaldea and go forth whithersoever the Lord in his providence might direct. Terah, his father, was not called, nor was Nahor, his older brother. Sarah, who had become his wife, shared with him in the call, of course, but altho he took with him his nephew, Lot, the latter was not included in the call; altho a sharer in God's favors to Abram, he had neither part nor lot in the call and the subsequent promises and covenant connected with it; and this was all right. It implied no injustice on God's part. God had a great and wonderful plan for man's salvation which he purposed to work out largely through human instrumentality, and it was his own business, and no one else's, whom of the fallen race he would elect to use as his servant and as the channel for these purposed blessings--the character of which will be more clearly delineated in future lessons.
During the five years between the time God first called Abram and the time when he started for Canaan, after his father's death, there was abundant opportunity for doubt and fear to do their work in his heart, and to hinder his obedience. Undoubtedly he thought the whole matter over carefully; and from what we know of his general character, we must assume that he decided the matter speedily--his confidence in the Lord being so great he could not question the wisdom of following such a guide. Nevertheless, the time must have come when it would be necessary to inform his friends and relatives respecting his departure and respecting his call of God. We may reasonably surmise their opposition, their lack of faith in the matter, and how they would endeavor to dissuade Abram from going, telling him he was deceiving himself, and that his chances for becoming great were far better at home than in his proposed emigration. No doubt they
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taunted him with a call which did not clearly specify where he was to go;--for we have the assurance of the Apostle that he obeyed God, "not knowing whither he went."--`Heb. 11:8`.
Abram's call very much resembles the call of the elect Church. Neither are we called to escape eternal torment. Neither do we at first comprehend the leadings of divine providence, but are to follow and be led and taught of God day by day. Our friends also are in Babylon, in confusion, and they, like Abraham's friends, would dissuade us from the exercise of full confidence in the divine promises--they would persuade us of the folly of leaving Babylon, its comforts and associations: they assure us that our opportunities for greatness, etc., will be distinctly lessened by the course of obedience which we take. Nevertheless we, like Abram, go forth taking all of our possessions with us, great or small--nothing must be left behind to be a treasure in Babylon and to attract our hearts thither again. All things must be brought with us so that not our own lives and talents only, but our influence upon others, must all be made to count--every item of it--in harmony with the Lord's promises.
The Lord's promise to his elect Church, designated Israel and children of Abraham, is very similar to the promise made to Abram, as recorded in this lesson. To us the Lord says, "Ye are...a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;" yet these promises belong in such a large degree to the future, that only by the exercise of faith like Abram's is it possible for us to appreciate the situation and rejoice in and live up to the privileges of this position.
To us who are united to Christ, the Father's words specially apply, "I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be called blessed." The fulfilment has already commenced in our hearts, but that is not the end, not the fulness, not the ultimate meaning of the promise; for by and by this holy nation (the body of Christ, the Church), shall be great indeed when filled with the divine blessing and power as God's glorified Kingdom. We realize, too, that while it is our blessed privilege to let shine upon others the light which the Lord by his spirit has graciously shined into our hearts, nevertheless, our time for bestowing the great blessing is still future--that it belongs to the period for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth." We reason that, altho our name may be now cast out as evil, and the reproaches bestowed upon the Head of the body may fall also upon us, his members, nevertheless, the time is surely hastening when the name, Christ, shall be great throughout all the earth; and that being the name of our Bridegroom it will also be our name as his bride and joint-heir. We look forward with joy to the time when the holy nation, now so misunderstood and considered a peculiar people, shall recompense the poor, blinded, Satan-deceived world and nominal church for all the evils inflicted upon the Christ, head and body, by blessing them, returning good for evil in the highest degree--instructing and uplifting all who will to return to divine favor.
It is also true of the spiritual seed of Abraham that the Lord defends their cause, and that those who afflict or injure them, figuratively injure the apple of the Lord's eye, while those who bless them are sure to be compensated. Whosoever shall give a cup of cold water to one of the least of the Lord's disciples shall eventually receive a great reward for the kindness --if not in the present life, then, in the life to come.--`Matt. 10:42`; `Zech. 2:8`.
Abraham's experience is recorded as an evidence of his faith. It would have been vain for him to have pleaded great faith in the Lord and to have said, The Lord is as able to bless me and to use me in Chaldea, Babylonia, as in any other place; and since what he seeks is to know my faith, he can just as well see that I have it here. Some who class themselves as spiritual Israel, seem to reason after this manner, but they make a great mistake. It is true that the Lord looks upon the heart, and that it is our faith, and not our imperfect works, which commends us to him, but he assures us that if we have the faith it will speedily manifest itself in works; and that if we have the faith and fail to act in harmony with it, to the extent of our ability, the faith will die out. Perfect works are not demanded of us, because we are imperfect through the fall; but any who would maintain a justified standing before the Lord, through faith, must manifest works in harmony with their faith to the extent of ability, for faith without works is dead--has lost all its vitality, all its virtue, all its life. It is thenceforth dead, worthless.--`Jas. 2:17`.
Justification is a free gift, "not of works, lest any man should boast"--it is God's gift through Christ, based upon the ransom. But as it is accounted unto us only for the purpose of permitting us to go on--to sanctification--to self-sacrifice, such results or works must be forthcoming, or it will prove that we have received "the grace of God in vain."--`Eph. 2:9`; `2 Cor. 6:1`.
After Abraham had thus proven himself obedient, showing his faith by his obedience, the Lord revealed his purposes to him much more specifically than at first, saying, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." This promise must have seemed quite improbable at that time, for the land was already peopled with strong nations, whose posterity would undoubtedly increase greatly, while Abram, on the contrary, had as yet no
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child. There was room for doubt in Abram's mind, but there was also room for faith. His faith accepted the promise, and he ratified it by building there an altar, on which we presume he offered sacrifices to the Lord, typical of the great sacrifice of Christ, through the efficacy of which all of God's promises will be fulfilled. Let us carefully notice that the special promise of God given to Abram ignored Lot and his family, and ignored the thousand or more persons of Abram's household. It is proper to call special attention to these matters in view of the very erroneous conceptions of God's elections, which have gained access to nearly all minds, and which need to be gotten rid of if we would rightly understand the divine plan of the ages. Those non-elect were "passed by" and not associated in the Abrahamic call and election, but not therefore sentenced to eternal torment; but, just like the non-elect of this Gospel age, they must wait for divine blessings until Abraham's seed shall bless the world during the Millennium.
There is no suggestion in this promise neither that Abraham was to preach the gospel to any of his 1,000 camp-followers, and herdsmen, nor that any of them were in any danger of an eternity of torture by reason of such a commission not having been given to Abram. The fact is that the wages of sin is death--including trials, weaknesses and sufferings of the present life incidental to the dying process. The whole world was in danger of this penalty,--more than this, the danger feature was past, for they were already in death;--dying under the original sentence passed against father Adam, and shared by all of his progeny. --`Rom. 5:12`.
The whole race therefore, including Abram and Lot and the servants and all the families of the earth, were going down into the great prison house--death. No way of escape had yet been provided by the Almighty on any terms or conditions, and hence there was no gospel to preach; hence, too, altho the Lord subsequently made known to Abraham that the blessing of all of the families of the earth would in due time come through his seed--the Christ--nevertheless, the proclamation of this gospel or good tidings of a resurrection --of a recovery of the dead through the merits of the great atonement sacrifice--could not be made, could not be authorized of God, till first of all our Lord Jesus had paid the ransom price with his own life, purchasing the whole world of mankind, and the right in due time to resurrect such of them as will come into full accord with the divine law. It is appropriate, therefore, that the Scriptures tell us distinctly that this great salvation from death "began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him."--`Heb. 2:3`.
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ABRAHAM'S AND LOT'S TESTINGS.
--`GEN. 13:1-18`.--AUG. 4.--
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."--`Matt. 7:12`.
DEVELOPMENT of character implies a variety of experiences and tests. In choosing Abraham as his agent and channel through whom he would bring to the world his purposed blessings, God chose a good man, but not a perfect one--for there was not a perfect man to choose, as there has not been since, of all Adam's posterity. While God called Abraham, he made him only partial promises until he had manifested faith by obedience. And it was appropriate that various and severe tests of faith should come before the fulness of divine favor should be guaranteed him. One of these faith-tests came through a drouth in the land of Canaan, and, as a result, a food scarcity, a famine, in the region where Abraham had settled, flocks and herds.
It would naturally be a severe test of faith for him to see his cattle lean and dying, and to think of
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the fertile country which he had left, and that this drouth-stricken land was the one to which the Lord had called him. He must go somewhere to find water and sustenance, and concluded not to go back to Babylon, but to journey south-westward into the country bordering Egypt. Egypt was well advanced in civilization, and like Chaldea, his former home, was a heathen land--to the extent that the people had considerably lost sight of the one God and his worship, and had become worshipers of various deities. It was a dangerous experiment: Abram might have become enamored of the civilization, etc., of Egypt and have lost his respect for the Lord's promise in regard to Canaan; yet it did not have this effect, but apparently, on the contrary, became a blessing to him; for his experience there convinced him more and more that he could not have true happiness under the prevailing conditions: he would rather wander about and have no continuing city, and not be bound by any of the customs and rules of the world which recognized not God. His experience taught him to look for, to hope for, to wait for, the New Jerusalem city or government, which has not yet been established, but for which the Lord's people still pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth."
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Abraham little realized how much he needed to pray, "abandon us not in temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." On arrival he, as a great man, was brought to the attention of the king, and Sarah, his wife, was introduced,--but as his sister, or niece, not as his wife. Abraham heard probably about this time of an incident which had occurred with one of the Pharaohs, of which we now know through recently discovered papyrus records--that at the instance of his princes he sent an armed force and took a beautiful woman from her husband for his harem. Sarah was a beautiful woman, and Abraham feared that Pharaoh might kill him in order to have his wife. This difficulty probably did not occur to him when he started his journey, nor until he had arrived there and was called before the king. Thus the Lord's people always find it: if they leave the land of promise, seeking better things in the world, they find their difficulties and trials greatly increased.
Abraham determined that as an expedient for the preservation of his life he would tell but a part of the truth and speak of Sarah as his sister, without acknowledging her as his wife. The transaction was an ignoble one every way, and quite unworthy of the man; but the Lord did not forsake him, but, as the record shows, returned Sarah to him with a rebuke from the heathen king which must have stung Abraham severely, and have served as a lesson for the remainder of his life. Thus all things work together for good to them that love God--even their mistakes and slips become lessons and blessings under divine providence. Having learned his lesson, Abraham quickly retraced his steps to the land of promise, returning again to Bethel where first he had built an altar to the Lord and formally consecrated himself: there again Abraham called upon the name of the Lord. The prompt retracing of his steps is also a lesson for the Lord's people of this Gospel age. If we find that through lack of faith or weakness of the flesh a wrong step has been taken, contrary to the Lord's will and our best spiritual interests, no time should be lost in retracing the steps and in calling upon the Lord. We have an altar consecrated with the precious blood of Christ, far superior every way to that which Abraham consecrated with the blood of typical animals; and the Apostle exhorts us, "Let us come boldly [courageously--full of faith] to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need."--`Heb. 4:16`.
One of the strongest evidences of the truth of the Bible records, and that they are not the work of priests or knaves, is the fact that the weaknesses and frailties of its grandest and most luminous characters are depicted with as free a hand as their virtues and strong qualities. Had the story of Abraham and the story of David, both men full of faith and after God's own heart, and acknowledged to be his friends, been concocted, they assuredly would have omitted all the blemishes of the present narratives. As it is, the weaknesses of these men, and divine compassion toward them notwithstanding these, and their faith and repentance and reestablishment in divine favor, have been lessons of incalculable value to the Lord's saints throughout the age, many of whom have at times found themselves more or less similarly entrapped, and to some extent stumbled by the great temptations of the world, the flesh and the Devil.
Abraham's flocks and herds increased, and the number of his servants. Likewise also did Lot's--tho he was by no means as wealthy a man as his uncle. Prosperity seems as likely to bring trouble as adversity, or more so; and it does not surprise us to find that a strife broke out between the herdsmen of the two masters, and that apparently the strife extended to Lot. The land at that time was not thickly settled, nor was it owned and controlled by syndicates; hence Abraham and Lot moved hither and thither through the grazing country, merely seeking to find unoccupied pasturage, and as the Canaanites (Lowlanders) and the Perizites (Highlanders) dwelt in Canaan, it necessarily meant that migratory bands, such as Abraham's, would find the pasturage at times somewhat restricted. Abraham's prompt course for the maintenance of peace is worthy of emulation. His words to Lot on the subject would make a good motto for the home or for the shop; "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee...for we are brethren." The Lord's people are not all peaceably disposed according to the flesh, but peaceableness is a prominent element in the new nature, the new mind, the new will, the new heart; hence peaceableness is to be cultivated and more attention is to be given to it in proportion as we find our natural disposition to be contentious. This is one of the ways the Lord's people are to be renewed in word and in deed; --"By the transformation of their minds."
Abraham was not only peaceable, but generous, as his proposition to Lot shows; for altho he was the richer of the two by far, and his larger herds and flocks required more abundant provision, he nevertheless gave Lot the choice. Here is another lesson for all of the Lord's people: generosity, not an unreasoning and unreasonable generosity which would give away everything, but an even-handed, fair generosity which is well represented in our Golden Text; viz., the golden rule that we should treat others as we would reasonably wish them to treat us: whoever follows this rule, will, like Abraham, find that in the end
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it will be profitable--even tho it may at first seem unprofitable.
It would appear that Lot was less generous than his uncle--more selfish; and taking advantage of the latter's liberal proposition he chose the rich, fertile valley of the Jordan--the land of Sodom, of which the record is that it was "like the garden of the Lord" (the Garden of Eden), and like the most favored portion of Egypt. Lot was a keen business man apparently, for his choice signified not only the richest of the grazing country, but additionally the best market for his flocks and herds; because the Jordan valley seems to have been a commercial highway frequented by traveling caravans, etc., the best of customers for sheep and cattle. Abraham and Lot together might have taken the Jordan valley at first, seeing its suitability to their occupation: no doubt the reason why Abraham avoided it is found in the fact of the wickedness of the people there, and that he did not wish to bring either himself or wife or servants into close contact with such people, preferring the less fertile district because of their separateness from such associations, with which he could not feel in harmony or fellowship.
Lot possessed much less faith and much less character than his uncle, but was also a good man, and his determination to make the country of the Jordan his home does not signify that he had fellowship with the Sodomites. On the contrary, the record is that their course "vexed his righteous soul." (`2 Pet. 2:8`.) He evidently was deluded, as many of the Lord's people of today are deluded, into association with evil influences for the sake of worldly prosperity. He no doubt persuaded himself that he could live separate from the contaminations of Sodom, and even exercise a moral influence over the unrighteous. How unwise, very unwise, his course really was may be seen in the light of his subsequent history. The wisdom of Abraham stands out in striking contrast, and the two experiences furnish valuable lessons for all who are seeking the heavenly city and praying, Thy Kingdom come. Abraham's course illustrates our Lord's words, "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and all these [needful] things shall be added unto you." Lot's course illustrates our Lord's words, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world!" Lot's quest for wealth, etc., no doubt brought rich returns, for he became a wealthy and influential man in Sodom, but his wealth and influence cost too much; first, they cost his peace of mind, for "his righteous soul was vexed;" he had no real happiness. Second, it cost him his children, sons and daughters, all but two unmarried ones, and even they apparently were blemished through their contact with evil example. And it cost him also his wife, whose sympathies for her children over-balanced her interest in the Lord and righteousness. It cost him additionally, in the end, all his flocks and herds and wealth, all of which went down in the fire from heaven upon the city of destruction.
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There is a great lesson here for us all, especially for such lovers of righteousness as have the care, the guardianship of children: the lesson is that they should think less of earthly advantages, social, political and financial, and think more, much more, of the moral and spiritual influences and advantages obtainable through isolation from the evil which is in the world,--so far as possible "make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame [blemished through sin] be turned out of the way [of righteousness]."-- `Heb. 12:13`.
Abraham did not attempt to coerce his nephew; but, properly no doubt, after having advised him to the contrary, he let him take his course, contenting himself with giving the admonition and example to the contrary. Here is another good lesson for the Lord's people; very many who like to have their own liberty are disposed to use force and coercion in dealing with others, and the results are generally bad for both parties. Lack of faith lies at the bottom of such difficulties; self-will attempts to regulate our own affairs, and branching out attempts also to regulate the affairs of others: whereas a consecrated will, resting by faith upon the Lord's promise, permits the Lord to have the helm; to control not only in respect to the believer's personal interests, but also in respect to the interests and affairs of others. Abraham had manifested his faith in God, not only in respect to the future blessings promised, but also in respect to the incidental details of his every-day life. Hence he could afford not only to not interfere with Lot's liberty, but could be generous to the extent of giving Lot his choice, knowing that the Lord would take care of him, and fulfil to him all the gracious promises incidental to his call. And in proportion as we are children of Abraham by faith we should have and should continually exercise similar faith, that we may experience similar blessings under God's providence.
While Lot's choice led him farther from the right, Abraham's blessing was increased by his course; for again the Lord appeared to him, in a manner not explained, and gave him renewed assurance respecting the original promise, telling him to look in every direction and to know assuredly that, while this land at the present time was under various rulers, it should in time be given to him and his posterity everlastingly. Yet with this renewal of the promise must have come another testing of faith, because Abraham as yet had
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no child. How improbable, therefore, the fulfilment of the Lord's word, that his seed should ultimately be very numerous, hyperbolically "as the dust of the earth!" Yet Abraham's faith wavered not. Likewise the faith of the Lord's people today wavers not respecting his promise--for it has not yet had a fulfilment, as the Apostles Paul and Stephen both declare.
Abraham lived in the land many years and died there, yet was a pilgrim and stranger; a sojourner and not an owner to the day of his death. (`Heb. 11:13`.) Stephen's explanation of the matter is very explicit. (`Acts 7:5`.) He declares that God never gave him so much of the space as would be covered by his foot; and points out that the time for the fulfilment of this promise is future--during the resurrection, the Millennium of Christ's reign, after the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, the glorified Church, the bride with the Bridegroom, shall have been established in the control of the world as God's Kingdom.--`Dan. 7:13,14`; `1 Cor. 15:24`.
With each manifestation of obedience on the part of Abraham came fresh blessings from the Lord, fresh repetitions and expanded declarations respecting the divine purpose, strengthening and encouraging him. Nevertheless he understood that the realization of his hope lay in the future, and this was clearly indicated by the Lord's words, "Arise, journey through the land, in the length and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto thee." In compliance with this instruction, that he was to be a pilgrim, moving from place to place, Abraham only removed to Mamre, and, doubtless in harmony with his custom at each new stopping place, he built there another altar unto the Lord--another typical acknowledgement of sin, of his own unworthiness, and of the fact that his standing before God, his acceptance with him, was in the merits of a great Sin Offering which had not yet been made. So with us who are the Lord's people, wherever we are; we are under divine care, and may rest, and may have the peace of God which passeth all understanding, ruling in our hearts: nevertheless, we are not to be at home, nor to seek to feel at home under present imperfect conditions. We are to continually remember that the Lord has promised us a heavenly inheritance, and we are to seek for and wait for it, assured that it will be ours if we remain faithful to the end of life's pilgrimage.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Tho a subscriber to the WATCH TOWER I have never written you personally to tell you of the inestimable blessings I have derived from reading the MILLENNIAL DAWN series and the WATCH TOWER. O, the light, peace and joy that came to me! The riches of my Father's precious Word are now inexpressible. And you, dear brother, are the blessed instrument the Lord has provided to bring about these blessings. I am happy to say that by his grace I am running for, or pressing toward, the mark for joint-heirship.
Your humble brother in the Lord,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have been having quite an experience as a result of my attempts to teach the truth. As I have previously told you, I have a class of young people in Sunday school and have been teaching them along the lines of expositions given in the WATCH TOWER. This has brought down upon my head a spirit of opposition from the pastor and some others. They removed me as Superintendent of the Sunday school, and it was understood that I was to give up my class. I resigned the class, but the pupils would not have it so, so I am taking them along with me. I am finding the value of endeavoring to be "as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove," and also that it is not wise to "cast pearls before swine." I am trying to be more discreet and discriminating in handing out the truth, and find that everything must be done in the spirit of Christ if anything is to be accomplished.
The Lord has opened up opportunities for service where I least expected them. I have one family started in the DAWN study, and through them two other families are becoming interested. My experiences thus far seem to be that even among seemingly truth-loving people many are loath to accept any doctrines, except as they seem to be in harmony with their denominational tendencies. I thoroughly enjoy the WATCH TOWER, and was very glad to see in a recent number the article entitled, "Who were Those Saints?"
Sincerely yours in the Master's service,
HENRY M. CAULKINS,--New York.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--For the last twelve years I have been a firm believer in the doctrines you teach. I have read VOL. I. of MILLENNIAL DAWN several times; also VOLS. II. and III. a number of times, and they have given me great consolation and comfort. All that I know of the plan of salvation I have learned from your writings. I was raised by strict Methodist parents, but all I learned from them only served to confuse and bewilder me, and to make me almost an unbeliever in the Bible as a divine revelation. After reading the DAWNS the fog was lifted from my mental vision, the crooked places were all made straight, and all was clear as noonday. May God continue to bless you and your work, is my prayer.
D. P. SCULL,--Pennsylvania.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I feel constrained to write and tell you how very much I enjoy and appreciate your presentations of the truth regarding God's
wonderful "plan of the ages." My mother has read nearly everything you have written for nearly fourteen years, and has taught it to me, as fast as I would receive it; but until recently I have not taken the interest I should in trying to understand the plan, nor did I see the beauty in it I do now. Last March, during the revival at a Wesleyan Methodist Church near us, I was converted and joined that church, thinking that I had found a haven of rest for my weary feet. A few weeks afterwards mother laid VOL. V. of the MILLENNIAL DAWN in my lap, asking me to read certain parts of it. I put aside all the prejudices I had formerly felt for your books and began to read for myself. I was completely captivated, from the first, with the beauty and harmony of the truth as you presented it.
The more I read the more I became convinced of the folly of remaining in the organization I had just joined, especially as it makes such a specialty of teaching the God-dishonoring doctrine of eternal torment. Acting upon my convictions I withdrew from the church on May 14, after telling the pastor my reasons for doing so. He acted very reasonably--admitted that the church could not grant me fellowship unless I conformed to the creed. He, however, made it a point to warn his followers against MILLENNIAL DAWN. He said the author was a deep writer who mixed truth and error in such a manner that it appeared to be truth. I told him I believed it was all truth, for everything you said was based upon the Bible. I loaned him Vol. V., but I do not think he read it--"for fear of the Jews."
Now I am free, thank God, to read anything you write, and my only regret is that I cannot recall the years of wasted opportunity--the time seems so short and I have so much to learn, for I am but a "babe" in the school of Christ. I am perfectly willing to consecrate my all to him; therefore, dear brother, I ask an interest in your prayers that I may be strengthened in love and faith and may become a true member of the "little flock," if it be according to his will. Again let me thank you for leading me "out of the darkness into his marvelous light." As I reflect on the Lord's goodness my eyes fill with tears, and I long to shout, "Glory to God for his love, wisdom, justice and power!" I feel it needless to ask him to bless you, for he will surely bless the instrument through which he is dispensing the "meat in due season to the household of faith." I beg that you will pardon my trespassing upon your valuable time. I believe I could write all day and never tell you half I feel. I will send you some money as the Lord prospers me. We are very poor, and I handle but little money, but I want to give you a little whenever I can.
Your sister in Christian love,
MINNIE R. BARNETT,--South Carolina.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--We continue giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for the unfailing supply of "meat in due season" that comes to us through your labors, nor do we forget the workers in our prayers. We realize that the famine is sore in the land and that darkness is rapidly settling down upon the people. How rapidly the truth is becoming vitiated by the flood of false doctrines; how completely people are losing the last vestige of the faith!
Brother Thompson is in town for a short visit, and we were very much pleased, indeed, with the last page in the June 1 TOWER. It is good to know the Pilgrims are busy spreading the truth; cheering to know there are so many places where Israelites indeed may be found. It helps to sustain our interest--makes us more patient to feel that the Lord is mindful of his own in this way; however isolated they may be, their "bread and water" is sure, spiritually and temporally.
With Christian love to yourself and those associated with you in the work, and making mention of you all in our prayers, Yours in the one faith,
T. K. McGINN,--Manitoba.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Brother Draper has come and gone. I bade him adieu and God-speed yesterday, and trust his heart was rejoiced and comforted by our rejoicing in the glorious light of the truth. Our meetings were not large, but I feel safe in saying that there was an intense interest depicted on each countenance, and that all our little gathering and a few from outside were deeply impressed with all the meetings, which were held in our new hall.
On Sunday morning, at 10.30, about forty assembled at Balmy Beach (about 4 miles from the center of the city, many having to travel 6 to 7 miles) to witness the symbol of baptism in water. The morning was bright, cool, and very windy, causing quite a heavy rolling surf, which rather added to the interest of the occasion. Four sisters and five brothers were buried in the waves, thus showing forth to quite a large number of spectators on the beach their immersion into Christ's death. Our little party was indeed a happy, joyous little band as we returned home, to assemble again at our hall at 3 P.M., and listen to our dear Brother Draper pour forth more of the precious things from the Holy Word.
At 7 P.M. our last meeting commenced, there being 88 or 90 in the hall, quite a number of the friends and acquaintances of the dear brothers and sisters being present, but very few strangers, and about 9.30 our feast of fat things came to an end for the time, and I think it would have been difficult to picture a more happy lot of faces than all wore; all were overjoyed at the precious things they had heard, and the words of comfort, exhortation and strength which came to us from our dear Brother. I feel that I am expressing the heart's desire of our assembly when I say that all were deeply thankful to our Heavenly Father, to our dear Lord and Master, and also to you, dear Brother, and our dear Brother Draper for providing us with such good things. I pray God we may continue abounding in love, peace and joy in the Lord.
I must not close without mentioning one of the most interesting incidents of the meetings. A dear Brother, having come out from amongst the Jews (but quite a stranger to us at first), became deeply impressed with the "True Gospel." He had been seeking rest amongst the sects, but had found little or none. One of his difficulties, and perhaps his chief one, was the Trinitarian doctrine, and his face beamed with delight when he learned we did not accept this. He was indeed hungering for the truth, and at the close of Saturday night's meeting he came to me and expressed his desire to symbolize his consecration in water baptism, which he did on Sunday A.M. He is a most intelligent brother and withal so simple. He has already
undergone much persecution for Christ's sake, his wife and children being taken from him, as it were. As I understand it, they had their choice to remain with him or be cast out of the synagogue. He indeed seems to be an "Israelite indeed." We (I need hardly say) are all much interested in this dear brother. Truly some, at least, are "looking upon Him whom they pierced, and mourning," and yet their hearts rejoice to find Him whom they have waited for.
With much love from all the dear ones here, and a desire for your continued prayers for our stability in the faith,
Your servant in the Lord Jesus,
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The article on "Patient Endurance," in April 1 TOWER seemed most opportune, as we heard a number of our people speak of it particularly; and I may say it is most highly appreciated by myself. Indeed, dear Brother Russell, every number of the blessed TOWER seems fraught with the spiritual refreshment most needed at the time, and my heart is continually lifted in deep gratitude to our Father for the heavenly food furnished through your instrumentality. That you have been enabled to so empty yourself as to be filled with God's precious messages so richly, is a cause of deep gratitude from all the household of faith. In reading over recently the first and second volumes of DAWN, I am astonished at the many things that had previously escaped me, or failed to leave their impression--probably through the pressure of worldly cares. The last three years have brought me riches of knowledge and experience, yet with them such an overwhelming sense of my utter unworthiness and incompetency that I would surely sink, but for clinging to the cross.
I ask your prayers that I may not receive the grace of God in vain, but forget the things that are behind, and press forward to the mark--with patient endurance.
With earnest desire for the continuation of His rich favors to you, and all needed strength, both physically and spiritually, and trusting in the merits of our great Redeemer,
I remain, yours with Christian love,
ALICE E. BOURQUIN,--New York.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--We have heard several times from you through Sister Giesecke in Germany, and received your greetings and sent our regards to you. But I feel as tho I should write directly to you this time, to inform you that the Lord has a people even here in Poland, and that a goodly number have been found here in a comparatively short time. There were only three of us when I first came here; but the Lord has blest the testimony and the circulation of the tracts and booklets to such an extent that now we number fifteen, nine brethren and six sisters. And the opposition on the part of those who claim to be faithful Christians, but who do not grasp the truth was, and is still, very severe, not only in this place, but in the entire vicinity, into which the truth has been carried in a wonderful manner, through various agencies, showing that it is the Lord's work.
We are so thankful that the Lord has counted us worthy to see present truth, delivering us out of the gross darkness of Babylon, and translating us into his marvelous light. And we cannot help feeling that the Lord has condescended greatly in calling us, who in so many respects are much more unworthy than many others whom we know to be blinded and prejudiced against the truth, but who naturally seem to be much more qualified for service if their eyes were only open to the truth.
We have great difficulty in getting literature from Germany, and in fact from anywhere outside the Russian border, especially so of late, on account of the recent ecclesiastical and social troubles, but we are thankful for what we have already received, and are feeding with delight at the richly decked table of present truth. We are glad that you have not decided to discontinue issuing the German TOWER, even tho it comes so seldom and not nearly with the quantity of food the English brethren have furnished them. We earnestly hope that the fifth volume of the DAWN may appear in a German translation, and until then we will endeavor to be satisfied with the grace already bestowed upon us.
We wish you the Lord's richest blessing in your ministries of love, and remember you in our prayers, hoping and praying that we may be remembered also in your petitions. We would be delighted to receive an acknowledgement of the receipt of these lines. And finally we send you hearty greetings. May the Lord bless you! Yours in the fellowship of Jesus Christ,
JOHANN WEINZ,--Russian Poland.
The following is from the Bandera, Texas, Enterprise of April 11, 1901. We commend the Brother's method of announcing in his home paper the reasons for his withdrawal from a system, whose doctrines he could no longer support, and believe the temperate and careful manner in which he has stated the reasons for his action should be helpful in its influence upon any whom he may hereafter endeavor to interest in the "good news."--EDITOR.
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"WHY I WITHDRAW FROM METHODISM.
"Having recently withdrawn from the Methodist Church, of which I have been a member for more than thirty years, and knowing, as I do, that some will be wondering at my motive in doing so, and knowing, also, that of the various motives which will be imputed to me, some are likely to be suggested by those who have not investigated the matter for themselves, and hence will be incapable of rendering a fair judgment, I desire to occupy enough space in my county paper in which to give my true reason for the step I have taken, and then leave it to the public to approve or disapprove as they may feel inclined.
"My reason for leaving the church was not that I had any dissatisfaction with, or the slightest ill will towards, a single member of this or any other church, but simply because my honest convictions as to the true interpretation of God's Word had become too much at variance with the doctrines taught by all the churches with which I am acquainted to admit of my longer remaining therein with justice to the church, to myself or my God.
"Whether by chance or by divine intervention, the MILLENNIAL DAWN series of Bible helps, consisting
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of five books, was recently placed in my hands. I confess it was with no little prejudice that I began to investigate the doctrines taught in them, but to my surprise I have found that:--
"1. They teach nothing which is not in the very strictest accord with the New Testament code of morals.
"2. I find that the author of said books 'reasons together' with his readers in the most fair, liberal and logical manner, giving quotation after quotation and reference after reference to the Bible in support of his construction and understanding thereof.
"So logical, patent and convincing are the theories advanced (if you chose to call them theories: for my part I call them truths) that I cannot resist them. With such beauty and grandeur do the books depict the Power, Wisdom, Justice and Love of the great Father, the Creator of all the world, as well as the beneficent character of Christ, the blessed Redeemer of all the world, that my mind has been opened to a far more vivid realization of the actual existence of God and his glorious plans and purposes concerning his creature, man; also the height and depth and length and breadth of the love of Christ, and the far-reaching efficacy of his sacrificial death on the cross, are so apparent that my heart has seemingly enlarged manifold, and my respect, reverence, love and admiration for God and Christ, as well as my love and good will towards my fellow creatures, have reached a point far, far beyond anything I ever before experienced.
"Hence I have determined to throw off the shackles of church creeds and prejudices, and with God's help let the new light shine forth in my daily life; to present the MILLENNIAL DAWN doctrine to as many as desire to hear it, and to help those who hunger and thirst after truth, to the very best of my ability, trusting God for direction and help. So, then, in the fear of God, I heartily recommend every one to procure these books, and with receptive mind and earnest prayer to God for his guidance, read them with Bible in hand. WM. HUDSPETH."
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A SPECIAL EDITION OF THE LINEAR BIBLE.
A SHORT time ago we proposed arranging for a wide-margin Bible, and selected the new Linear Bible as being in every way the best, most up-to-date Teachers' Bible published--possessing an excellent Concordance, and giving in the text the readings of both the Common Version and the Revised Version in good, readable type, and of a size not extremely bulky. On the adjoining page we lay before our readers what the publishers have to say in favor of the Linear Bible, and their regular prices for them; also a sample page, showing style of type, etc. By special arrangement we can procure a large quantity of these Bibles for WATCH TOWER subscribers at a very much lower rate than the prices at which they are usually sold. And additionally we can have inserted eighty photographs of the Holy land and vicinity; and have the outer margin made 1 inch wide.
At first it was proposed that TOWER readers should in this margin make reference memoranda to the five volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and the last six years' issues of the WATCH TOWER,--opposite each verse, throughout this Bible. Subsequently, however, considering how much labor this would mean--how many hours and days would thus be spent, and how many would fail entirely to secure the desired results, and how many others would blot and blur, and only secure unsatisfactory results, we concluded to see what could be done in the way of printing these references in the margin. We find, as hinted in our last issue, that it will be quite an expense, both of labor and of money, to publish the Bible in this manner. But we reflect that when complete it would be one of the greatest blessings to the Lord's people interested in present truth that could possibly be prepared for them; and this would compensate for much trouble. It would be a Bible Commentary arranged in the most satisfactory manner ever designed. It would give the dear friends, as they meet in various parts of the world for the study of the Lord's Word, an opportunity of having the Editor present with them at each meeting, to offer suggestions respecting the meaning of the texts. This would not mean, of course, that his suggestions would be considered indisputable or infallible, but merely that he would be present with the little companies of the Lord's people throughout the whole world, to discuss with them the Father's Word and to assist as much as possible in throwing a correct light upon its meaning.
We have already received a large number of responses on the basis of our first announcement of a blank wide margin, and unless countermanded we will understand these to be for the Bible as now proposed. But now we invite postal cards from all subscribers who have not responded, who would like to have the Bible as it is now proposed it shall be; namely, with the references in the margin. It is quite possible that we would never get out another edition, and we believe that every WATCH TOWER reader who can afford it at all should have the Bible proposed, in the cheaper or better binding.
We now propose that if we receive responses from 2,000, we will proceed to publish the Bible as stated, charging the following prices: In "French Seal," divinity circuit, gold edges, linen lined, $2.00, including postage. In "Persian Seal" (Morocco), gold edges, leather-lined, $3.00, including postage. These prices will apply only to those who place their orders in advance and thus guarantee us against loss. We may publish a few more than will be represented by the orders, but they will be sold at higher prices. It is our opinion that every WATCH TOWER reader who secures one of these best books, will consider it worth $10-- that he would not sell it for $10. We invite postal cards at once, that the matter may be determined upon. We expect to have them all alike, none with thumb index, which would spoil the references. Send your postal cards at once, but send no money until the books are announced as ready,--which will probably be not much before Christmas.
Comparative Self-Pronouncing S.S. Teachers' Bible
CONTAINING, IN COMBINED TEXT,
The Authorized and Revised Versions of the Old and New Testaments.
It presents in a single line and in large, clear type the texts of the Authorized and Revised Versions, where said texts are alike. Where they are unlike, either in language, spelling, italicization, capitalization, parenthesis, punctuation, or otherwise, the difference is clearly and at once set forth by means of double lines of smaller type, making a readily and easily readable combined text. Thus, direct and instant comparisons of the respective texts are assured, and all complexities and imperfections are avoided. Both eye and mind are instantly, and as fast as one can read, addressed to every difference in the language, spelling, italicization, capitalization, parenthesis, punctuation, or otherwise, of the two versions.
Ease and Comfort of Reading.
There is nothing mysterious or involved about the Linear Parallel readings --all is plain sailing. To read the Authorized Version, one has but to read the large type line along to any point of difference in the respective versions, and then follow the UPPER small type line through such difference. Likewise, to read the Revised Version, one has but to read the large type line along to any difference in the respective versions, and then follow the LOWER small type line through such difference. This rule holds as to every difference, even to that of a comma. Thus, not only the readings but the comparisons of the two versions become easy, immediate, satisfactory and perfect.
Other Distinguishing Features.
This Linear Parallel Edition also embraces all the distinguishing features that have made the HOLMAN S.S. TEACHERS' BIBLE a standard wherever the English tongue is spoken. It is self-pronouncing, introduces the prefaces, company names, and appendices to the Revised Version, and contains a New Analytical and Comparative Concordance, with its 100,000 references; A SERIES OF NEW MAPS, specially engraved to our order, with an elaborate cross-line index, etc.
Labor and Cost.
This grand desideratum for ministers, teachers, students and general Scripture readers, and this triumph in Biblical publication, have not been attained except by long, painstaking and laborious effort, and by a most liberal expenditure on the part of the publishers. They, therefore, feel confident that the achievement of what has not, hitherto, been successfully reached, and the fresh and unique facilities offered for the reading and study of God's word, will meet with instant and hearty approval.
STYLES AND PRICES:
The Linear Parallel Edition of the Holy Bible is printed on the finest Rag Paper, and bound in styles commensurate with its novelty, utility and importance. It is furnished thus:
No.350. Imperial Seal, Divinity Circuit, Linen Lined, Rounded Corners, Red under Gold Edges...$6.00
No.355. Persian Morocco, Divinity Circuit, Leather Lined, Rounded Corners, Red under Gold Edges... 8.00
No.360. Levant, Divinity Circuit, Calf Lined, Silk Sewed, Rounded Corners, Red under Gold Edges...10.00
EXPLANATION.--The "Linear" Parallel Teachers' Bible is a combination of the Authorized and Revised Versions. The words which are the same in both are set in Pica type, and where differences occur the Authorized version is given in the top line, and the New or Revised version in the bottom line of small type.