VOL. XXXII OCTOBER 1 No. 19
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6040
Views of "Our Very Best Convention"...............371
Ten Days Session in the Mountains.............371
A Diversified Program.........................373
Reception at Overlook Inn.....................375
What of the Harvest?..........................377
King Cyrus God's Shepherd.........................378
God's Purifying Word..........................379
The Second Temple's Foundation....................379
Was the Proper Course Taken?..................380
Spiritual Israel's Policy.....................380
"Songs in the Night"..............................380
A Song of Deliverance.........................380
Knowledge Necessary to Growth in Grace............381
The Terms Upon Which We are Called............381
Show Me Thy Face (Poem)...........................382
Some Interesting Letters..........................382
Further Word From India.......................382
The View From Ireland.........................383
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
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Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
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"SCRIPTURE STUDIES" IN NEW BINDING
The binding of the six volumes of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES" has generally been conceded to be quite attractive: it may, therefore, surprise some to know that we have changed the general style and that we believe the change works a wonderful improvement. We are living in a day of progress and we are merely endeavoring to keep up with the procession in outward appearance. We believe that we are far ahead of the procession so far as the subject matter of these volumes is concerned when compared with all other religious teachings and Bible expositions.
We had a sample of the new edition at the Mt. Lake Park Convention. The Colporteurs there and all who saw the sample agreed that the change made is a very desirable one. About sixty new Colporteurs joined the working force at the Convention and were permitted to start with the new edition. Otherwise the old edition will continue to be supplied until exhausted--about November 1.
The new volumes will be supplied in paper boxes, the first three boxed together, or the entire six. Colporteurs are finding that the full set of six, with THE WATCH TOWER for a year, all for $2.65, is a very attractive proposition, which also leaves a good margin for the Colporteur's expenses. Any person of ordinary ability by following the Colporteur "method" of presenting the books should be able to make reasonable expenses. We do not encourage anybody to think of doing more than this, although a few do more. Indeed some of the Colporteurs are contributors to the Tract Fund. There is still a wide field of good territory open.
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THE MEMORIAL DATE FOR NEXT SPRING
It seems early to announce the date of the Memorial for 1912, but some of our readers are asking for it, as our journal reaches far-off points. The date for the celebration next Spring will be Sunday evening, March 31, 1912, after 6 p.m. According to the Jewish calendar the fourteenth day of the month will begin at the time mentioned, and it was on that date that the lamb was to be slain, and that our "Lamb" was slain. And it was on the same night preceding that our Lord instituted the Memorial and symbolical eating of His flesh and blood as the antitype of Israel's Passover Lamb.
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VIEWS OF "OUR VERY BEST CONVENTION"
WE HAVE already noted the fact that there is a general disposition to rate each Convention at its conclusion "the very best." But with full allowance for this tendency we believe that we are fully justified in writing down the Convention of September 1-11, 1911, as outstripping all the previous assemblages of the kind held under our Society's auspices. Several matters contributed. The weather was fine, with rains at night but fair in the daytime, except one forenoon, during the eleven days. The accommodations were comfortable and the mountain air invigorating. The assignments of topics to the various days contributed in a measure also, and the fact that there were no outside attractions of any kind assisted us in our desires to forget the world and all else but heavenly things during this little season of withdrawal from the busy cares of life for communion with the Lord and study of His Word. The Auditorium proved to be a very satisfactory one. The speakers could be heard from all parts of the great building, which seats about thirty-six hundred and has standing room for another thousand.
From morning until night, day after day, the Lord's people assembled for praise and study, comparatively few seats being vacant. Rarely were there under three thousand in attendance. On our principal occasion the audience was estimated at four thousand. These, of course, included residents of that vicinity. A conservative
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estimate of the friends of the Truth present at the Convention would be three thousand.
Noting the mention made in THE WATCH TOWER of the consecration of children on similar occasions a request was made here. Accordingly two opportunities were afforded, which brought forward about a hundred children consecrated by their parents to the Lord--for sickness or health, for poverty or wealth, for life or death--that God's will might be done in them, toward them, and that the parents might be blessed with wisdom and grace to instruct them and guide them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Two opportunities for baptism were given, in order that some who could not stay to the end of the Convention might be served as well as others who could not come at its beginning. The total number of adults immersed in symbol of their full consecration to be dead with Christ was one hundred and seventy-eight.
From Monday evening until Friday evening--five evenings--Brother Russell held receptions at "Overlook Inn," or "Bethel," as it was called. About six hundred were invited each evening. This afforded a special opportunity for greetings and fellowship. Each evening Brother Russell gave a brief address. Intermingled with hymns of praise some simple refreshments--ice cream and cake--were supplied and then, as the dear friends filed out, Brother Russell shook hands with each and engaged in a word of greeting. A newspaper report of the first evening's topic will follow. No reports were published of the other evenings so far as we heard.
One of the most interesting features of the Convention was its closing session, when the speakers, to the number of about one hundred, ranged themselves in front of the long platform and a congregation of about four thousand filed past shaking hands with each. More than an hour and a half was consumed thus. Some were joyful, some were tearful. All seemed earnest and determined by the Lord's grace to attain to the Grand Convention promised in the Scriptures--"the General Assembly of the Church of the First-borns." At the conclusion of the handshaking, as each passed out, one of the little celluloid hearts was presented, as is intended to be done at each Convention.
We cannot attempt to give even a resume of the numerous addresses made on this occasion. Perhaps we cannot do better this time than give newspaper reports, which follow:--
BIBLE STUDENTS TEN-DAYS' SESSION IN THE
For the past week a most remarkable Bible school has been in session in the top of the Allegheny Mountains, in the well-known Chautauqua grounds. The hotels and cottages have been filled to overflowing, and numbers of cots have been in use. The delegates are from all parts of the world. The enthusiasm is not of the boisterous sort, but manifests itself in earnestness of look and tone, and in the continued large attendances at the meetings. These begin in the morning and continue practically all day with an intermission for noon luncheon. The programmes are pleasantly varied. The large auditorium has splendid acoustic properties. Its capacity is rated at forty-five hundred, including the platform, which seats five hundred men.
Lovers of the Bible cannot fail to be impressed with the earnest fidelity of every speaker to the Holy Scriptures. Higher Criticism finds no place in the programme, neither does the doctrine of Evolution. Both are publicly denounced as contrary to the teachings of the Bible. The Bible is treated not as many books, but as one book. The claim is set forth that it is God's Book because holy
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men of old spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. It is claimed that this operation of the Holy Spirit in the minds of the writers of the Bible is responsible for the oneness of its testimony.
WHY THE BIBLE SEEMS CONTRADICTORY
The claim of the International Bible Students Association is that the reason that Christians are divided into various sects and parties is not that the Bible has contradictory teachings corresponding with the contradictions of the creeds, but because our fathers through the colored spectacles of their creeds in the past but partially understood its teachings. Rightly understood it must be in complete harmony with itself and have but one teaching --one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father over all, and one Lord Jesus Christ, and one Church of the First-born whose names are written in heaven.--`Hebrews 12:23`.
These students seem intent upon finding the harmony in the Bible which all acknowledge should be there, if all the writers of the Bible were inspired by the same Holy Spirit. More than this, unlike any other class of Christian people in the world, these Bible students claim to have found the key of interpretation which makes the entire book harmonious from Genesis to Revelation. Surely no more earnest company of Christian people ever assembled at Mountain Lake Park. Surely none ever assembled to give more careful study to God's Word. Surely none ever seemed more thoroughly rejoiced, more happy in the Lord. And the claim is that this happiness springs from a right understanding of the Bible which has drawn the hearts of believers nearer to God and nearer to each other.
THANK GOD FOR THE LIGHT
"Ah!" says one, "Our hearts are glad because we see that the Bible's teaching, rightly understood, is that God is love and that God's dealings with the world are not ended but really only beginning. We now see what we were blinded to for a long time, namely, that the work of this Gospel Age is the selection of the 'Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven.' (`Heb. 12:23`.) We now see that these are to be the Bride of Christ, associated with Him in His glorious Kingdom for which we pray, 'Thy Kingdom come.' We now see that Messiah's Kingdom is to be established in power and great glory amongst men, and that its work will be to bless and uplift humanity.
"Once misled by the creeds of the Dark Ages, we supposed that all the heathen must be in torture because we knew that these were not qualified as saints for the presence of God and His eternal glory. How we wondered at this! We wondered how our great Creator could be either just or loving and yet bring into existence a race of beings under such conditions and for such an end. Now we see that we were deluded and that in so believing we were believing men and not God--mistaken men, however good. We once believed, too, that all our neighbors, friends, relatives who were not of the saintly class--not fit for heaven, and so dying, would be consigned to eternal torture. Ah! how our hearts rebelled against such a decision, but we thought that if our great Creator had so determined, it must be right, and continued to believe it. Now we see, as the Scriptures declare, that this fear was not of God, 'but taught by the precepts of men.'"
CAUSE FOR CHEERFULNESS
"Can you wonder that we are cheerful, happy in the Lord," says Pastor Russell, "rejoicing that we can now see our God and the teachings of the Bible in a new light--a light consistent with consecrated reasoning faculties? Can you wonder that we are happy to find that the Church is to get even greater blessings than it ever dreamed of--to be with the Lord Jesus, the Redeemer, as His Bride in a great work of blessing, reclaiming and saving mankind from sin and death? Can you wonder that we are happy in realizing that the heathen millions who never had an opportunity for testing and trial, which God declares is secured for every member of Adam's race through the merit of Christ's sacrifice, are to be granted a trial?
"Can you wonder that we feel greatly relieved to know that many noble men and women, friends and neighbors, of all denominations, not saintly and not followers in the footsteps of Jesus, and not therefore to be accounted worthy of a share in His Kingdom as members of His Bride Class, are nevertheless to have a glorious provision in God's due time? We are glad that while we may hope for heavenly, spiritual blessings beyond the veil, the hope of the world is in restitution to all that was lost by sin and redeemed by the Cross. We are glad to think that in God's due time Adam and every member of his race will have full opportunity of coming back to harmony with God and to full human perfection and to everlasting life in an earthly Eden. We are glad to understand God's Word to teach that the Second Death will be like the first except that it will be everlasting--none will be redeemed from it, none will be resurrected from it. But we are glad that none but the wilfully wicked, the incorrigible, will be consigned to that obliteration, annihilation. Of such St. Peter tells us that they will perish 'like natural brute beasts.'"
WHEN WILL THESE THINGS BE?
"Will it be long before these matters become general?" was asked.
"No, the glorious consummation is near, according to our understanding of the Bible," replied Pastor Russell. "A revised statement of the Bible chronology shows that six thousand years have just passed, and that we are thirty-seven years in the seventh thousand. This seventh thousand, we understand, is the Messianic period, in which Satan is to be bound and all the works of darkness to be overthrown. During this period Messiah shall reign, establishing truth and righteousness and blessing the whole world with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. Indeed, we believe that the inventions of the past forty years stand closely related to this New Dispensation upon which we are entering. Furthermore, our own better understanding of God's Word we attribute, not to superior wisdom on our part, but to the
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fact that God's due time has come for parting the veil and showing us 'things to come.'"
THE WORK IS GOD'S
"Is it your expectation that your Association will be used of God in bringing about this Messianic epoch--in converting the world?" was the next query.
"Our Association is indeed glad to do what it can to scatter the darkness and to reveal the light now due. It does indeed hope for some blessing upon its efforts, especially among the more religious, the consecrated Christian people of all denominations. But it is far from our expectation that we could accomplish the overthrow of Satan and his intrenched system which now holds sway in the world. We do not by this cast any reflection upon the many good men and good women associated with the powers that be--the ruling powers, the political powers, financial powers, social powers. Doubtless these, like ourselves, are doing all in their power to forward the
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cause of truth and righteousness, each along his own lines and according to his own light.
"This work has been in progress for centuries, but we feel sure cannot effect the grand results foretold in the Bible. For their accomplishment it is necessary that our Lord Jesus, the invisible, glorious King of kings and Lord of lords, shall assume His great power and begin His reign of a thousand years of triumph over sin and death. Nor is it our expectation that His Kingdom will be inaugurated in a peaceful manner, nor that the world will even know what is the matter with its affairs. The Bible teaches us that we are on the verge of the most terrible time of trouble which the world has ever known. The only consolation we have in connection with this matter is the Divine promise that behind that awful cloud of human (rather an insane) fury, there is a silver lining. The storm will level poor humanity in the dust, but thereby, incidentally, it will act as a plowshare to prepare humanity for the blessing of Messiah's reign of righteousness, peace, justice, truth."
An official of the Association made the following comment upon the proceedings of the Convention:--
A DIVERSIFIED PROGRAM
September 1 was the opening day. General W. P. Hall, U.S.A., gave the opening address, which was quite pithy and to the point, as might have been expected from our famous Philippine warrior. Stripped of his epaulets and honor medals the General looked every inch a preacher. It is said that his Philippine experiences had considerable to do with bringing General Hall into the ranks of Bible Students. His glimpse of heathendom convinced him that the world needs the Kingdom of God's Son, in power and great glory, to accomplish among men things which no human arm or human tongue can bring to pass.
Hon. J. F. Rutherford was the chairman of the first half of the Convention, September 1-6. Mr. Rutherford made a very interesting address in which he outlined the hopes and objects of the Convention, and congratulated those present on the beauties of the location chosen for the assembly. He expressed hopes that all might be richly blessed of God and carry with them blessings to their various homes.
THANKFUL DAY--SEPTEMBER TWO
The day opened with a praise and testimony meeting, which manifested no backwardness. There were ten to twenty-five nearly always on their feet waiting opportunity to give their testimony to God's grace, to their appreciation of His Word, and to their desire to be close followers in the footsteps of Jesus. Then followed discourses by Brother W. M. Hersee, of Canada; Brother Daniel Toole, of Michigan, and Brother A. M. Saphore, of Pennsylvania.
The afternoon services opened with a praise meeting. The vast audience seemed to sing with the spirit and with the understanding. Then came an address by Brother R. E. Streeter, of Rhode Island; Brother F. F. Cook, of Michigan, and Brother O. L. Sullivan, of Tennessee.
There was great variety, but the theme which pervaded all the addresses and the testimonies was in harmony with the keynote of the day, thankfulness, appreciation of Divine goodness, gratitude. Discontent and everything analogous thereto were reprehended.
HOLINESS DAY--SEPTEMBER THREE
The opening service was one of praise to the King of kings; then followed Brother A. E. Burgess, of Michigan, and Brother J. F. Rutherford, of Missouri.
In the afternoon Brother A. I. Ritchie, of Ontario, and Brother C. T. Russell, of Brooklyn, and Brother I. F. Hoskins, of California, followed each other. The speakers of the day discussed the subject of holiness, what it is and what it is not. It showed that Adam's race is a fallen one, none of them perfect, hence none of them absolutely holy, however well intentioned. They pointed out that the Divine arrangement in Christ provides that those who by faith accept Jesus and make full consecration to Him and strive to walk in His steps--these are reckoned as holy or blameless. Their imperfections may still be manifest, notwithstanding their best endeavors for perfection, but they are covered in the Divine sight, because their imperfections are unwilful and because they are treated as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
A Sunday evening service was held, conducted by Pastor Russell. It was a question meeting, and a number of very interesting questions were discussed and answered, apparently to the satisfaction of the vast audience.
HOPE DAY--SEPTEMBER FOUR
The day opened with an hour's praise and testimony meeting. It was very orderly, dignified and earnest; those who testified seemed full of hope, and, as some expressed themselves, living on the mountain top of faith and hope.
There were two discourses in the forenoon, one by Brother J. D. Wright, of Ohio, the other by Brother P. E. Thompson, of Ohio. Hope was the general theme, though discussed from different standpoints by the two gentlemen--ably in both instances. Hope was shown to have a basis. Many hopes have a poor foundation, because built upon unsatisfactory promises and by unsatisfactory promisers.
The Christians' hope is built upon the promise of God set forth in the Holy Scriptures. So surely as the Bible is the Word of God, these exceeding great and precious promises are unshakable foundations for an exceeding great and precious hope. The Christians' hope was shown to be a hope of glory, honor and immortality--joint-heirship with the Redeemer in His Kingdom. Theirs is a hope which will endure trials. It will not fail. It has the assurance that all things shall work together for good to God's faithful people, and that if they suffer with Him they shall reign with Him. This hope includes a change of nature from earthly to spiritual and the prospect of reigning with Jesus on the heavenly plane over the affairs of mankind for the purpose of uplifting humanity and the earth from their present condition of imperfection to all that was represented in Eden originally. The unwilling and disobedient are not to be hoped for, however; God has given no promise of eternal life to any except those who will conform their lives to the Divine standards. The wicked will be utterly destroyed after having repudiated Divine favor and opportunity.
The afternoon session was a symposium, participated in by Brother E. Thomson, of Washington City; A. G. Wakefield, of Virginia; F. C. Detweiler, of Pennsylvania, and W. M. Wisdom, of California. The topic was "The Christian's Armor." The helmet, the breastplate, the sword, the sandals and the shield were discussed and their spiritual significance shown. Those who heard doubtless had a fresh impetus toward holy living--keeping the armor bright and in service against the wiles of the flesh and the Adversary.
CONSECRATION DAY--SEPTEMBER FIVE
The day opened with a praise and testimony meeting. Again there was no lack of testifiers who testified to the
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grace of God, to the blessings of the Truth and to the favors and privileges accorded those persevering in their consecration of heart and life, of time and talent.
Brother J. G. Kuehn, of Ohio, and Brother F. H. Robison, of Indiana, delivered addresses in the forenoon, which were received with earnest attention. The thread of their discourses was in harmony with the topic of the day--Consecration. The vast audience heard with deep interest the real meaning of full consecration of heart and life and all to God. Various illustrations were given and exhortations to faithfulness on the part of those who have made a covenant with the Lord lest they should draw back or in anywise prove themselves unfaithful to the covenant of sacrifice. In the afternoon Brother G. B. Raymond, of New York, delivered a powerful discourse on the subject of Baptism. He set forth in no uncertain terms the importance of baptism when viewed from its Scriptural standpoint. He showed that it included a full consecration to the Lord. Following the discourse an opportunity for symbolic immersion in water was granted, and 113 took advantage of the opportunity.
HARVESTER'S DAY--SEPTEMBER SIX
The praise and testimony meeting with which this convention day opened was very interesting from the fact that it confined itself to testimonies along the line of the Harvest work, which were given by many who had energetically engaged in the public service. At 10:30 Pastor Russell gave an address on the harvest and its laborers-- "the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few." He claimed that himself, as well as others, had for years
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been in error respecting the Scriptural use of this expression regarding the harvest. He now saw that death is not the harvest mentioned by the great Teacher. He pointed out that there was a harvest time in the close of the Jewish Age, and that similarly the Master taught that the Gospel Age, in which we are living, would close with a harvest work. He showed that the Jewish harvest lasted for forty years, ending in A.D. 70, with a great time of trouble upon the Jewish nation--upon all who failed to be gathered into the garner. He claimed, giving Scriptures apparently in support, that the harvest is the end of this Age and is to be much more important; that instead of being the harvest of one little nation, it is the harvesting of all the Christian effort manifested in all the Christian work of today.
The harvest work is not sectarian; it is the work of the Lord. Just as the work of Jesus and His Apostles did not gather the whole people of the Jews into the condition of spiritual sons of God, so the harvest of this Age will not gather all the sons of God to heavenly glory, but only those found faithful. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The trouble with which the Jewish harvest ended was pointed out as a prototype of the trouble with which the Gospel Age harvest will terminate. It was even intimated that we are already in the harvest period, and that the separating of the wheat and tares is already in progress.
The diversified means used by our Lord in connection with this harvest work was referred to with appreciation. From what was said one would judge that the International Bible Students Association is carrying on a great work in the aid of Bible students in all parts of the world. The work in America and Great Britain, of course, is the principal work, but mention was also made of the importance of the work in progress amongst the people of India and Africa. It would seem that Bible study from the standpoint which harmonizes the conflicting creeds is appreciated even amongst those Christians who have come out of heathendom.
In the afternoon addresses along the lines of harvest work were delivered by Brother J. H. Cole, of Ohio; Brother I. F. Hoskins, of California, and Brother E. W. Brenneisen, of Texas.
PRAISE DAY--SEPTEMBER SEVEN
The prayers and testimonies and hymns of the opening session were in line with the appointed topic of the day--praise to God from whom cometh every good and every perfect gift. Then followed a discourse by Brother Menta Sturgeon, of Missouri, and another by Brother W. E. Van Amburgh, of Dakota. The praise feature was the dominant note in both discourses, which were heard with deep interest by a full house.
Brother Russell conducted a question meeting for an hour. Many questions were asked which were very interesting, and were apparently handled in a manner satisfactory to the audience.
The afternoon session was a symposium participated in by Brother M. L. Staples, Virginia; Brother (Dr.) A. D. Young, New York; Brother H. E. Hollister, Illinois; Brother J. F. Stephenson, District of Columbia; Brother J. P. McPherson, Ontario; Brother P. D. Pottle, Ohio; Brother Arthur Allen, New Jersey; Brother (Dr.) R. L. Robie, Illinois; Brother Wm. Weber, Maryland; Brother Wm. Mockridge, New York; Brother T. E. Barker, Massachusetts, and others. The topic dealt with the qualities of character which Christians are called upon to put off, and the character qualities they are to put on if they would progress in the Divine favor. Amongst the things to put off were anger, malice, envy, hatred and strife. Amongst the things to put on were meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness and love.
FRUITAGE DAY--SEPTEMBER EIGHT
Another excellent testimony and prayer meeting, with which praise was interspersed, was held. The fruitage of the Spirit was the theme of the day--Christian fruitage. The discourses of the forenoon were by Brother George Draper, of South Dakota, and by Brother A. H. MacMillan, of Nova Scotia. The fruits of the spirit were called to the attention of the audience, and the methods by which they are developed in every Christian heart were discussed. Love was shown to be the sum of all the fruits, while patience was shown to be a necessary element of every fruit.
In the afternoon there was a symposium on the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It was participated in by Brother A. N. Mann, West Virginia; Brother W. S. McGregor, Massachusetts; Brother C. P. Bridges, Massachusetts; Brother C. F. Fillman, Ohio; Brother M. L. Herr, Pennsylvania; Brother James H. Cole, Ohio; Brother C. J. Woodworth, Pennsylvania; Brother Carl Hammerle, Pennsylvania, and Brother W. F. Hudgings, Missouri. The subject was well and thoroughly handled, and doubtless all who heard will hereafter better see and understand the relationship between the trials and sufferings and disappointments of the present life, and the fruits of the Spirit which must be developed in preparation for the future life.
SPIRIT-BIRTH DAY--SEPTEMBER NINE
The morning meeting for praise and testimony was left exclusively to those who had participated in the baptism service of Tuesday. They gave some good testimonies. Very evidently they were very sincere and doubtless many of them experienced a great blessing and reward for their faithfulness in standing up for the truth and symbolizing their consecration after the
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manner prescribed in the Bible and exemplified by our Lord and one Apostle in their own persons, as one present expressed the matter. Brother F. A. Hall, of Indiana, and Brother E. W. Brenneisen, of Texas, were the speakers of the forenoon. They showed clearly the distinction between spirit begetting and spirit birth--that the former takes place at the time of Christian consecration and that the latter will take place at the resurrection of the dead.
In other words, spirit begetting is the start of life as new creatures in Christ. The development of the embryo new creature proceeds during the present life--represented as it were in the chrysalis state. The resurrection will be the birth of the embryo to the full perfection of the new creature, even as the cocoon delivers up the beautiful butterfly whose embryo it held for a time; so human conditions and death will deliver up the new creature, a spirit begotten one perfected.
Paul (`I Cor. 15`) says of spirit birth, "It is sown in weakness, raised in power; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; it is sown an animal body, raised a spirit body." This spirit begetting and spirit birth, however, are exclusive matters not intended for all the human family, but only for the elect--"called and chosen and faithful." The world in general is neither to expect a spirit begetting nor a spirit birth. It is shown that the promise for them is in restoration to human perfection and an earthly Eden. There will be a regeneration to human perfection during the thousand years of Messiah's glorious reign.
This afternoon Pastor Russell is to deliver a discourse on true Baptism and its proper symbol, following which another opportunity for symbolic baptism will be afforded.
KINGDOM DAY--SEPTEMBER TEN
This will be virtually the last of the Convention, though some may remain over for the 11th. The public meetings will be at an end. Today's program includes a testimony meeting, a discourse by Pastor Russell, another by Brother P. S. L. Johnson, and another by Brother B. H. Barton, and at 4 p.m. a farewell address by Pastor Russell to be followed by a love feast. Everyone here is expecting a "feast of fat things" today, and doubtless they will obtain it. Conditions seem favorable, at least.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR ENSUING YEAR
The following officers were elected to serve during the ensuing year: President, Pastor C. T. Russell, of Brooklyn and London; Vice-President, A. I. Ritchie, of Ontario, Canada; Secretary, E. W. Brenneisen, of Texas; Treasurer, W. E. Van Amburgh.
As concerning the work during the coming year, the President, Pastor Russell, said: "We are continuing our work along the present successful and every way advantageous lines. We believe that we are following Divine guidance in our endeavor to make known the true interpretation of God's wonderful Book, which we all in the past so seriously misunderstood and misrepresented. Partially blind eyes everywhere are opening today, and warm Christian hearts are rejoicing to see more clearly than before the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God which passeth all understanding."
"What about your own movements, Pastor Russell?"
"It was understood when I left London in the spring that I would visit them again in the fall; that expectation I must fulfil. With our modern rapid and great conveniences the journey is not a burdensome one. I expect to return about the first of December."
Following this Pastor Russell will go on a world's tour and a committee has been selected to accompany him on his journey.
The persons invited to serve on this committee are Major-General W. P. Hall, U.S.A.; Mr. E. W. V. Kuehn, of Toledo; Mr. J. T. D. Pyles, of Washington, D.C., and Mr. Charles F. Anderson, of Baltimore, Md. Not all of these gentlemen have positively accepted the responsibilities of this service, but it is confidently expected that they will accept. As the Association pays no
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salaries, the invitation carries with it the responsibility of all providing for their own expenses.
RECEPTION AT "OVERLOOK INN"
Although Pastor Russell delivered two addresses yesterday, and is on the programme for several future occasions, none of these afford the Bible Students personal fellowship with the beloved President of the Association. Accordingly arrangements were made whereby six hundred can meet the Pastor each evening by special appointments. Last evening witnessed the first of these Receptions at "Overlook Inn."
The six hundred invitations offered for the evening were heartily accepted. It was a happy crowd--not mirthful, not hilarious, not jolly, but happy, restful, peaceful --just such expressions of faith as one would expect to find amongst earnest Bible students who have found the "pearl of great price." These Bible students claim this and more; that they find in the Bible precious promises for the non-elect world--wholly different from the heavenly prize for which they declare they are striving.
Pastor Russell greeted each guest personally on arrival, then made a brief address, following which some light refreshments were partaken of. Social and religious refreshments were enjoyed, and in good season the gathering dispersed, after joining in a hymn and being led in prayer by the entertainer. Pastor Russell's words of greeting, which we subjoin, were evidently greatly enjoyed by the hearers.
He said: "Dear Christian Brethren, I congratulate you and myself on the Lord's blessings toward us which have permitted us to come together at this beautiful Park in the top of the Mountains for a few days' rest from secular affairs and to engage with each other in Christian fellowship and study of the Father's Word. I am reminded of the Master's words to His Apostles inviting them to just such a little season of rest and refreshment as we are enjoying here. The Apostles had been absent proclaiming the Kingdom at hand. They returned at the time when Herod cruelly beheaded John the Baptist. They were astonished that God would permit such an unjust procedure. They thought of Jesus, the King, whom they proclaimed and whose power had been so abundantly manifest in the casting out of demons and the healing of the sick. They surely wondered why so great a power should remain passive while the beloved forerunner of Jesus was put to ignominious death. If Herod's power could thus be exercised against one of the Prophets, why might he not be able to do similarly against Jesus and His Apostles? Were they trusting in a King whose authority was an empty boast and who was helpless in the presence of opposition?
"The Great Teacher realized the situation, and when they began telling Him of John and of their teachings and of their wonderful works in His Name, Jesus said unto them, 'Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure, so much as to eat.'--`Mark 6:31`.
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"Let us for a moment imagine ourselves as instead of the Apostles, and the Master speaking to us instead of to them. Let us see how much we have in common with them, even after eighteen hundred years have passed. We, like them, have had the pleasure, privilege and responsibility as ambassadors for God, of telling to the ears of the willing that Messiah's Kingdom is at hand. As it was at hand eighteen centuries ago in the sense that it then was offered to the Jews who declined to receive it, so now in the end of this Age, Messiah's Kingdom is at hand in the sense that it is about to be established in power and great glory, because the preliminary work of finding the Bride and the guests for the wedding has about been accomplished.
"As the Apostles were astonished at the beheading of John, so we frequently have been astonished to note to how great an extent Divine providence permits the prosperity of the 'prince of this world' and the 'children of this world' in their opposition to those who are sacrificing their lives for the cause of God, of Truth, of righteousness. Our Great Teacher feels as deep an interest in His followers today as He did eighteen centuries ago, and He has made provision for us financially and otherwise, that we may come together here in this beautiful mountain top away from the world's strife, from business and worldly pleasure. Let us hear again the Master's words and now apply them to ourselves: 'Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while.' Here commune with Me and with the Father. Here tell us of what you have done and what you have taught. Here examine carefully to see how correctly, how truthfully, you have presented My message.
"As the coming and going throng hindered Jesus and the Apostles from even taking proper refreshment, so with us. Being so fully engaged in Divine service and even though greatly enjoying it and glad to tell the good Message in season and out of season, sometimes we do not in the busy course of the Lord's service and in making necessary provisions for our temporal needs have sufficient time for eating the spiritual food, that we may be properly refreshed, strengthened and upbuilt in the 'most holy faith.'
"And now here we are. Already we have had precious fellowship with the Great Teacher and with the brethren. I trust that we are all feeling more than repaid for having come here. I trust that the Message of Divine Grace and Truth which first began to be spoken by our Lord, and which was confirmed unto us by those who heard Him, is now refreshing our hearts as we 'repeat the story o'er and o'er of grace so full and free.' Let our prayers and endeavors continue that our stay may be profitable, strengthening, uplifting, to the intent that we may be the better developed as 'copies of God's dear Son.'
"I am reminded also of another occasion when Jesus took three of the Apostles apart into a mountain top-- the Mount of Transfiguration. He was transfigured before them. His face appeared to shine, His garments to be glistening white. And with Him were Moses and Elias, also glorious in their appearance. The sight was too glorious for the Apostles fully to comprehend. In a partial stupor of drowsiness one of them proposed that they should stay always in the mountain top and that a tabernacle be built. But as they came down from the mountain the Great Teacher explained that what the disciples had witnessed was merely a vision. Moses and Elijah had merely appeared to be present, just as in the vision given to St. John--the Apocalypse. Persons were seen and heard in John's vision. So in this also. Every purpose was served just as well as though Moses and Elias had been personally present.
"As for Jesus, He, of course, was personally present, but not glorified, as the vision show Him. He had not yet passed beyond the veil into the heavenly, glorious state. His garments were not white, but merely were made to seem so. His countenance did not really glow like the sun, but merely so appeared. St. Peter, referring to this very vision, declares that it was no fanciful fable, even though it should not be classed as on an equality with Divine revelation made through the prophets. He says, 'We have not followed cunningly-devised fables when we declared unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we were eye-witnesses of His majesty when we were with Him in the Holy Mount and heard the voice from the cloud. But we have a more sure word of prophecy to which we do well to take heed as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawn.' --`2 Pet. 1:19`.
"Christian experience today runs along the same lines. The more earnest and zealous of the Lord's followers are invited to go up with Him into the Mount of Transfiguration. Our eyes of understanding are opened. We see wonderful things--old things in a new light and new things as they become due to us in our day. Surely the advanced Christian sees his Master resplendent with a new brightness as he comes to closer fellowship with Him and with the Father in the Holy Mount! May this be our blessed experience, dear friends, during this Convention season. Seated with Jesus in the heavenlies, may we appreciate more and more the things of the Kingdom, as in contrast with earthly things.
"It would be foolish for us to think of abandoning the duties of the hour to build tabernacles with a view to remaining in this ecstatic fellowship. No, the vision will be but for a few days, and again we will return to the valley, realizing that what we have enjoyed was but a vision and foregleam of what we shall experience after our resurrection 'change.' May it be with us as it was with St. Peter. As he looked back to the vision in the Holy Mount and was sure that he followed no fable, so may we in coming days look back to present experiences to rejoice in them and to realize that they have brought us into a closer fellowship with our Redeemer in the sufferings of this present time and in hope of the glory that shall follow at His appearing and Kingdom.
"By the way, let us not forget that that transfiguration scene was a picture of the coming Kingdom. The resplendent Jesus represented our Lord in glory, while Moses represented the Law Covenant. Elijah represented the Church of this Gospel Age, which will end her earthly career by being taken to heaven, even as Elijah typically was carried into the heavens. Both branches of the Kingdom, both divisions of the Church, the Jewish and the Christian, stand related to Messiah, the center of the Divine blessing promised for all the families of the earth.
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"In concluding, dear Brethren, let me quote you the words of the poet and trust that they will be more than fulfilled in your experiences and mine during this Convention":--
"Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile,
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng;
Wipe from your brow the sweat and dust of toil,
And in My quiet strength again be strong.
"Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done,
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears;
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won;
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.
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"Come ye aside from all the world holds dear,
For converse which the world has never known--
Alone with Me, and with My Father here,
With Me and with My Father not alone.
"Then fresh from converse with your Lord return,
And work till daylight softens into even;
The brief hours are not lost in which we learn
More of our Master and His rest in heaven."
WHAT OF THE HARVEST?
THE BIBLE HARVEST NOT A HARVEST OF DEATH--NOR A
REVIVAL HARVESTING, BUT A REAPING OF THE
FRUITAGE OF THE AGE--"THE HARVEST
IS THE END OF THE AGE"
Wednesday was known at the Bible Students Convention at Mount Lake Park as "Harvester's Day." The early morning session was one of praise, prayer and testimony, but only those working in a public or semi-public manner in the Gospel Vineyard were classed as Harvest Workers, and these alone were invited to give testimony. It surely could not be denied that the testimonies were excellent, evidencing great zeal for God, for His Word and for His people.
It was subsequent to this testimony meeting, namely, at 10:30 o'clock, that Pastor Russell stepped upon the platform to deliver an address to Harvest laborers. He spoke for one and one-half hours, and evidently to the pleasement of his hearers. His text was, "The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest."--`Matthew 9:37,38`.
The speaker said in part: "Many of us for long years thought of the Bible references of the harvest, our text included, as applicable to every time. We had not then learned that the Bible must be studied dispensationally, in order to be understood. Now we perceive that the time of our Lord's first advent was the harvest time of the Jewish Age, and that as a harvest it applied to that nation only.
For more than sixteen hundred years the Law Covenant had been in operation between God and Israel. Under it they had been disciplined and schooled, instructed through the Law and by the Prophets. Jesus came, not only to be the Redeemer of mankind in general, but especially to offer Himself as King to the Jews, and to make them His joint-heirs in His Kingdom. Had there been a sufficient number of Jews in heart-readiness to receive the Gospel Message, according to Divine agreement, the entire Bride Class would have been elected or chosen from that one nation, and not a Gentile would have been invited to participate in the honors of these Spirit-begotten, called in the Scriptures the spiritual Seed of Abraham. (`Gal. 3:29`.) Nevertheless the Lord foreknew, and had provided for Israel's rejection and the opening of the door to membership in the Bride Class to worthy Gentiles.
"It was at the close of the Jewish Age, at the time, therefore, when that people should have and did have their greatest degree of ripeness and preparation that our Lord presented Himself and began to do the reaping work. He sent forth His disciples as His representatives, two and two, and later He sent 'seventy also.' When these returned our Lord declared to them, 'I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor; other men (the faithful Prophets, etc., of the past) labored and ye are entered into their labors--to gather the fruit of their labors. --`John 4:38`.
"The Great Teacher tells us distinctly that while His work was that of reaping, He blended it with a sowing. Seeing that the Jews were not ready for the Kingdom-- seeing that eighteen centuries would be required for the calling and developing of the spirit-begotten ones, the Master started the work of seed-sowing for the new dispensation. Then, according to His parable, He left the work in the hands of His servants and 'went into a far country,' even heaven itself. Since then He has been supervising His work and has been represented through the faithful members of His Church, His Bride. He and the Apostles sowed the good seed of the Kingdom, meanwhile gathering the ripe wheat of the Jewish nation into the Kingdom class through the begetting of the Holy Spirit. By and by the harvesting of the Jewish Age ended completely, when all the wheat of that nation were gathered into the Gospel Church of spirit-begotten ones, and then came the burning of the chaff--the great time of trouble with which the Jewish Age fully ended, A.D. 70.
"Since then the work of seed-sowing, evangelism, etc., amongst the Gentiles has gone on, not without difficulty, however. As our Lord's parable shows, Satan, the Adversary, came in the night, during the 'dark ages,' and oversowed the wheat-field with tare seed. As a result, the field looked very prosperous, although in reality the tares had a choking and disastrous effect on the wheat. Nevertheless, the Lord would not allow the separating of wheat from tares until the full end of the Age, the harvest. The Bible intimates that the tares were so numerous and so intertwined with the wheat in their various interests that to have plucked them all up would have brought the disastrous 'time of trouble' too soon; hence the decree that both should grow together until the harvest. 'The harvest is the end of the age.'-- `Matthew 13:39`.
"Our studies together, dear Brethren, have led the majority of us to conclude that we are now living in the harvest time--in the end of this Age. Oh! how glad we will be if it is true! How glad we are to believe it true! and, we think, on good evidence. If it is true, as we believe, that the forty years' 'harvest' of this Age began in 1874, the implication is that the trials of the Church are nearly at an end--that the faithful will soon be gathered to the heavenly garner. By the glorious 'change' He will cause us to shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of our Father for the scattering of the world's dark night and the ushering in of the new day. Messiah's day is to bring glorious opportunities for earthly blessings to Israel, and to all the families of the earth through Israel. If our hopes be true then they mean a blessing, not for the Church alone, but for the entire groaning creation, which, if willing and obedient under Messiah's reign, will be released from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty appropriate to the children of God.-- `Romans 8:21`.
"As Bible students we have already seen that the Jewish nation as a people were prototypes of spiritual Israel in many particulars--that the period from the death of Jacob to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is the exact parallel to the period of the Gospel Church from the death of Jesus to October, 1915, A.D.
"Surely it is not by accident that these two Ages correspond, nor by accident that Israel as a people typified spiritual Israel! Neither will it be by accident if the events of 1915 correspond to the events of A.D. 70. In other words, as the harvest of the Jewish Age ended with a time of trouble, so our Lord's words assure us that this Gospel Age and its harvest will end with 'a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.' (`Dan. 12:1`; `Matt. 24:21`.) That a crisis is nearing everybody admits. That socialists and anarchists are threatening
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the very fabric of society nobody will deny. The Bible alone explains the situation and shows us, dear fellow-students, that the work of the present Age is about completed--that the elect members of the Bride of Christ have nearly all been found and made ready. The blessing for the world will be along material lines ushered in by the time of trouble, which will eventuate in anarchy, according to the Scriptures--a general leveling of the human family as the initial step of the reign of the glorious Messiah, whom men will shortly see and recognize with the eyes of their understanding."
Pastor Russell took up the various features of missionary work in home and foreign lands, in which he and associated Bible Students are co-laboring. He referred to the progress in Bible study which is being effected throughout the civilized world and to the more or less successful methods. He urged all to remember that every child of God is an ambassador and representative of the Kingdom and prospectively a member of the "Body" of the glorious Messiah.
Pastor Russell also gave some interesting details respecting the progress of Bible study in Central Africa, in South Africa, in Jamaica, India, etc. He urged that each consecrated child of God should remember that he is to be, with the Master's direction, a burning and shining light, showing forth the praises of Him who called Him out of darkness into His marvelous light. He urged love for God and for our fellows and the absolute avoidance of all appeals for money. He said our Heavenly Father informs us that He is rich, that all the gold and
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silver are His and the cattle upon a thousand hills. "Let us use carefully, frugally, wisely, liberally, what He has so kindly sent, but let us not ask for more, even from Him. And surely we are not authorized to beg in the Name of our rich Heavenly Father! If our work is of Him, He is able to sustain it, and He will do so until it shall be finished. If it is not of the Lord, then the sooner it stops the better we should be pleased."
* * *
In the afternoon, from two to three, was another prayer and testimony meeting along the same lines as the morning meeting. It, also, was a success.
At three p.m. Brother J. H. Cole gave an address to Colporteurs on successful Colporteur methods.
At four Brother I. F. Hoskins gave an address to Colporteurs.
At four-thirty Brother E. W. Brenneisen gave an interesting talk on tract distribution, the distribution of free literature. According to his statement, The International Bible Students Association is engaged in quite an extensive work distributing much free literature in all the prominent languages and on topics calculated to produce healthy growth along lines of Scripture study and righteousness in word and deed.
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KING CYRUS GOD'S SHEPHERD
--`EZRA 1:1-11`; `2:64-70`.--OCTOBER 15.--
"He retaineth not His anger forever, because
He delighteth in mercy."--`Micah 7:18`.
THE HEATHEN GODS are all vengeful. The God of the Bible alone lays claim to being a God of love, "whose mercy endureth forever," as one of the Psalms repeats again and again. Alas! how terribly our God of Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power has been misrepresented to the world, and to the Church, as a God delighting in the eternal torture of the vast majority of His Creatures; for if such were His provision for them, and He knew the end from the beginning, it would surely prove that He delighted in, and intended their torture. But when our eyes open to a proper interpretation of God's Word, how His character becomes glorious before our eyes and commands our love and our devotion! As the Apostle declares, it is the Divine Love which constrains us to be faithful and obedient.
Today's study relates to the release of the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, and their return to Palestine. This return was in exact fulfilment of the Lord's Word at the mouth of Jeremiah, the Prophet, who specifically told, not only of the destruction of the city,
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but also that it would be seventy years before the return of its inhabitants.--`Jer. 25:12`; `29:10`; compare `II Chron. 36:22,23`.
We suggest a careful reading of the Scriptures above cited to establish the fact that the seventy years predicted related to the desolation of the city of Jerusalem and of their land, and not merely to the captivity of the people, some of whom went into captivity twenty years before the city was destroyed. Many in applying this have started the seventy years from the beginning of the first captivity, and thus are twenty years out of the way. Facts of history have been so built around this error, gradually, that many now hold the unscriptural view; but if the Bible is to be our criterion we must stand by it.
One of the most wonderful things connected with the story of Israel's release from Babylonian captivity is that Cyrus was named by the Prophet Isaiah in advance, and called "God's Shepherd"--"Cyrus is My Shepherd and shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid." (`Isa. 44:28`.) Profane history gives Cyrus a very honorable name, calling him "gracious, clement and just, treating men as men, and not as mere tools to be used and cast aside--a conqueror of quite a different type from any the world had previously seen." Plutarch declares that "In wisdom, virtue and magnanimity he seems to have surpassed all kings."
KING CYRUS' NEW METHOD
Nebuchadnezzar's theory of government was to bring representatives of the peoples of all lands to Babylon and there make them homogeneous, choosing the best of every nationality. But when Cyrus came upon the scene, as the conqueror of the Babylonian empire (Darius, the Mede, being under him), he found that the theory of his predecessor had not worked out satisfactorily. The mixed people of Chaldea were not patriotic. Cyrus adopted the opposite plan for governing the world. He not only gave liberty to the Jews to return to their own land, and gave them assistance back, but he did the same for the people of other nations, exiled in Babylon.
The brief epitome of the giving of his proclamation of liberty to the Jews is, "Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia: All the kingdoms of earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given unto me; and He has charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah, the God of Israel (He is the God), which is at Jerusalem;
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and whosoever is left, in any place where he sojourneth [unprepared for the journey], let the men of his place help him with silver and with gold and with goods, and with beasts, beside the free-will offering for the house of God, which is at Jerusalem." The King himself gave liberally toward the work and, through the treasurer, numbered to the Israelites vessels and utensils of the temple, great and small, fifty-four hundred.
Tradition says that the Israelites set out on their journey accompanied by an escort of a thousand cavalry for their protection from the desert Arabs, and that they went forth to the sound of joyous music, in harmony with `Isaiah 48:20,21`--"Go ye out of Babylon; flee from the Chaldeans, with the voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even unto the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob."
GOD'S PURIFYING WORD
If we have been astonished from time to time at the readiness of the Israelites to go into idolatry, we may also feel astonished that from the time of their return from the Babylonian captivity, idolatry, in its grosser form, was never even known amongst them. In Babylon they sat down by the banks of the rivers and "wept as they remembered Zion" in its desolate condition; and then their thoughts traveled back to the gracious promises of God to which their nation was still heir. Then hope for deliverance brought prayer to the Deliverer. The effect of the captivity was excellent. Those who availed themselves promptly of King Cyrus' offer were such as reverenced the Lord and trusted in His promises.
The total number to return was about the same number that now occupy the city of Jerusalem (returning after a still greater scattering than at the time of the destruction of their city by Nebuchadnezzar), about fifty thousand.
Professor Addeney has well remarked of that time, "The Jews now constituted themselves into a church. The chief concern of their leaders was to develop their religious life and character. The policy of exclusiveness saved Judaism. This is an application--though a very harsh and formal application--of the principles of separation from the world, which Christ and His Apostles enjoined upon the Church, the neglect of which has at times nearly resulted in the disappearance of any trace of truth and life, like the disappearance of a river that, breaking through its banks, spreads itself out in lagoons and morasses and ends by being swallowed up in the sands of the desert."
Dr. Peloubet says of this time, "The exiles brought together the representatives of the divided kingdom and made one nation where there had been two, welding the twelve tribes together like iron in a furnace." God represented this union through `Ezekiel (37:15-28`) by two sticks. On one was written "Judah" and on the other "The House of Israel." These sticks were joined together, "And they shall become one in thine hand." This was done in the presence of the people to show that the exiles of Israel, carried to Babylon, B.C. 722, when Samaria was destroyed, were to unite with the captives of Judah. "And I will make them one nation, and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." Thus we see that there were no "ten lost tribes," for whom there has been so much seeking.
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THE SECOND TEMPLE'S FOUNDATION
--`EZRA 3:1-4`; `5`.--OCTOBER 22.--
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and
into His courts with praise."--`Psa. 100:4`.
THE JOURNEY from Babylon to Jerusalem required about five months. Ezra, with his smaller company, subsequently made the journey in four months. We can well imagine the enthusiasm of this company of captives, of all the tribes, people of all ages. A few of the very aged remembered having seen the land and the city in their childhood.
Arrived at their destination they found terrible dilapidation. The crumbling hand of time had co-operated with the destructive fires of Nebuchadnezzar's army, seventy years previous. To live in the city was scarcely practicable. The people scattered in the country round about for a distance of twenty miles. First, attention was properly paid to making themselves comfortable, preparing dwellings, training olive trees and vines. But shortly after, the religious sentiment stirred them to prepare for offering formal worship to the God whose favored people they were delighted again to be.
First, the altar was built on the height of Mount Moriah, supposedly the very spot where Abraham offered his son Isaac--the very spot which was the site of the altar in Solomon's temple. Divine worship began, and the Feast of Tabernacles was observed in the seventh month. By the next spring they felt ready to begin the reconstruction of the temple, and a start was made by laying its foundations. The enthusiasm of the people for the worship of the true God is noted in connection with this service; namely, a foundation celebration was held, and the people shouted and wept by turns as they thought of God's goodness and sought again to apply to themselves the Divine promises.
In this connection we read that some of the very aged of the company who had knowledge of the original temple of Solomon, wept, perhaps in appreciation of the fact that the one they were founding would be much less glorious than Solomon's.
The news of the return of the people and of their start to rebuild the temple of the Lord spread amongst the people of the land, who, in some respects at least, had been recognized as Israel's enemies. Now, however, they desired to join hands and become participators in the building of the new temple. They made overtures to this effect, saying, "Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do; and we do sacrifice to Him since the days of Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, which brought us up hither."
However, this kind offer was refused, with the answer, "Ye have nothing to do with us, to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves will build it unto the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, hath commanded us." Then these people, repulsed, sought to delay the work and to hinder its building. They even hired attorneys to frustrate the matter at the court of King Cyrus in Persia, and through the days of his son, Cambyses, until King Darius came to the throne. The latter followed out the original policy of Cyrus and
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gave full authority to proceed with the work at Jerusalem.
WAS THE PROPER COURSE TAKEN?
Many have said that the Jews in this matter showed themselves narrow-minded and bigoted; that they should have been glad to have the assistance and the co-operation of their neighbors in the building of the temple, and in all the arrangements for God's worship; they should have had the missionary spirit.
Not so, we reply. Their course was the only proper one when we understand the terms and conditions under which God was dealing with Israel. It was not their commission to make Israelites out of all nations; they, as one nation, had been elected or selected by God to establish and to offer the sacrifices and worship which God had ordained through Moses. They were not at liberty to change or amend the Divine proposition and to bring others into the "elect" nation. There was indeed a method by which outsiders, non-Israelites, might become Israelites--by becoming "proselytes of the gate"; but in no other than in such an open, public renouncement of their wills and by devotion to Jehovah could any one become a participator in the Divine promises made only to the Seed of Abraham.
The Jews are still following the Divine arrangement for them in keeping aloof from other religions and by refraining from inter-marriage with other peoples. God has thus preserved this nation separate from all others; and He tells us why. For them He has a great place in the Divine programme. They are again to become God's people, God's representatives in the earth, after the Elect Church shall have been completed and shall have been glorified on the heavenly plane. The latter will constitute the Spiritual Seed of Abraham and the Spiritual Kingdom of God, while the former will constitute the earthly seed of Abraham, and be the earthly representatives of God's Kingdom to the world. These two Seeds are referred to in God's promise to Abraham, saying, "Thy Seed shall be as the stars of heaven and as the sands of the seashore." And through these two Seeds, the spiritual and the natural, God's blessing of restitution is shortly to be showered upon mankind in general, under the reign of Messiah for a thousand years.
SPIRITUAL ISRAEL'S POLICY
The same policy should be observed by Spiritual Israel --"The Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are." No outside, unconsecrated stones are wanted in this Temple. Let the world build its own. God Himself is the Builder of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit. God permits his consecrated ones to be associated with Himself in the building of this Temple; as St. Paul declares, the saints, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are to "build one another up in the most holy faith." (`Jude 20`.) There is absolutely no place for worldly workers in conjunction with this great work of God now in progress.
Incalculable harm has resulted from the failure to note this matter properly. The children of this world and the children of the Kingdom of God too frequently join, after the manner suggested in our study. The effect always is to bring in worldliness and to give the worldly mind a measure of control in respect to spiritual things, of which they have no real knowledge--"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." --`I Cor. 2:14`.
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"SONGS IN THE NIGHT"
--`PSALM 85`.--OCTOBER 29.--
"The Lord hath done great things for
us whereof we are glad."--`Psa. 126:3`.
WE ARE STILL in the night of weeping. Sickness, sorrow, sighing and dying continue, and will continue until the glorious morning of Messiah's Kingdom. How glad we are that we have learned that then the glorious change will come to earth! The Prophet David expresses this thought, saying, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning." (`Psa. 30:5`.) St. Paul breathed the same sentiment when he declared, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." (`Romans 8:22`.) The sons of God in glory will, with their Lord, constitute Emmanuel's Kingdom.
At present these sons of God are comparatively little known or recognized amongst men; frequently they are considered "peculiar people," because of their zeal for righteousness and truth and for God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is"; and we shall share His glory, honor and immortality and with Him scatter Divine blessings to all the families of the earth.
"A SONG OF DELIVERANCE"
Our lesson, the `85th Psalm`, may properly have several applications. The first of these would be to Israel's deliverance from the Babylonian captivity, when Cyrus gave permission that all who desired might return to Palestine. About fifty-three thousand availed themselves of this privilege and of his assistance. The people rejoiced in this manifestation of the turning away of Divine disfavor and the return to them of Divine favor and blessing. The pardon of their transgressions as a nation was here evidenced in this privilege of returning to God's favor.
A secondary application of the Song is just before us. Israel has been in a far greater captivity to Christendom during the past eighteen centuries. She has the promise, nevertheless, of a mighty deliverance. The Cyrus who gave them liberty to return from literal Babylon was a type of the great Messiah who is about to give full liberty for the return of God's ancient people to Divine favor--to Palestine. St. Paul refers to this coming deliverance of Israel in `Romans 11:25-29`. The Deliverer will do more than merely regather them. He will do that which the `85th Psalm` has predicted; as the Apostle says, "This is My Covenant with them when I shall take away their sins." See also `Jer. 31:31-34`; `Heb. 8:8-11`.
Israel's sins have not yet been taken away, even as the world's sins have not yet been taken away. The great Redeemer indeed has died for sin, and He is the sinner's friend, but as yet he has only appeared in the presence of God for us--the Church--not for the world. He is the Church's Advocate only; He advocates for none except those who desire to approach to God, and these are the saintly only--such as love righteousness and hate iniquity.
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The world is enslaved by Sin and Death, the twin monarchs which are now reigning and causing mankind to groan. We were born in this enslaved condition; as the Scriptures declare, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, in sin did my mother conceive me." Our race, groaning under the weaknesses and imperfections we have thus inherited--mental, moral and physical--longs for the promised deliverance from the bondage of sin and death. The majority of mankind undoubtedly feel the gall of their slavery, and will be glad to be free.
The great Deliverer is the antitypical Cyrus. Soon He will be victorious and will establish His kingdom under the whole heaven. Soon the Church class, the saintly, "the elect," will be glorified, and then the time will come for the blessing of the non-elect--for their restitution to human perfection and to a world-wide Paradise, which Messiah's kingdom and power will produce. "He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Death will be destroyed; sheol, hades, the grave, will be destroyed, by the resurrection of the dead therefrom--"Every one in his own order."
"SONGS IN THE NIGHT HE GIVETH"
While the whole creation groans under its load of sin and sorrow, the saintly few may sing, may rejoice, even in the midst of all the sorrows of life, and even though they share the results of sin as fully or even more fully than do others. The secret of their joy is two-fold: (1) They have experienced reconciliation to God. (2) They have submitted their wills to His will. They obtained this new relationship by the way of faith in the Redeemer--faith in His blood of Atonement. They entered by the "strait gate" and "narrow way" of consecration to God--surrendering their own wills and covenanting to do the Divine will to the best of their ability.
This submission of the will to God and the realization that all their life's affairs are in God's keeping and under His supervision gives rest to the heart. They have a rest and peace in this surrendered condition which they never knew when they sought to gratify self-will and ignored the right of their Creator to the homage of their hearts and the obedience of their lives.
Similarly, these have joy and peace and songs of thankfulness to God because to them He grants a knowledge of His Divine purposes, and shows them things to come. These see beyond the trials and tribulations of the present time--they see the glories that will follow the present time of suffering. These see that the Church, the saintly few of all denominations and of all nationalities, are prospective heirs of God--heirs of glory, honor and immortality and association with the Redeemer in His glorious Kingdom. This encourages them. They see also the outlines of the Divine Programme for the blessing of all the families of the earth. When they thus perceive that God is interested in their dear ones who are not saints, and interested in the whole human family, very few of whom are saints, it causes them rejoicing. When they perceive that God has arranged that through Christ and the glorified Church all the families of the earth shall be blessed, it makes them "joyful in the house of their pilgrimage"--while waiting for their own change from human to divine nature.
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KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY TO GROWTH IN GRACE
"Ye have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him."--`Col. 3:9,10`.
IN OUR TEXT the expression "put off" suggests the additional thought of putting out. As an illustration, let us consider Congress. When by a vote the party in power is put out of power, we do not understand that they are put out of Congress. One party which has been in control is to be superseded by the other party. Such a transfer would, in some respects, mean a new line of policy altogether.
So it is in the change of becoming New Creatures in Christ, members of the Body of Messiah. In many things a radical change takes place. The new will must regulate what we shall eat, what we shall wear; in fact, it must be the ruling power over everything after we have become New Creatures, begotten of the Holy Spirit; for we have elected a new Head. The change of headship is an instantaneous work. There was a time when we were on the other side of the question. Finally we decided to come on the Lord's side, and accepted Him as our Head. At the moment we accepted the change the will of the flesh was put out of control and the new will installed in power. Then we became New Creatures. But we were undeveloped in character.
As when a new party comes into power in Congress that party cannot regulate things all at once, but by degrees effects the changes desired, so with the new mind. It gradually makes change after change, and thus the renewing work, the transforming work, goes on, the new mind gaining more control and bringing the thoughts, words and deeds under the supervision and direction of the Lord. As we come to know God better, we come to see His will better. More and more we come to see things from the Divine viewpoint and to regulate every word and every act of our life therefrom.
Through knowledge, as well as in knowledge, the New Creature is renewed or refreshed, built up, made strong. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. What the old mind had was the wisdom of this world. What the New Creature receives is the wisdom of God. The development of the different powers of the New Mind is a gradual work, dependent upon knowledge. With the new will the knowledge becomes the energizing and strengthening power, and finds opportunities by which the New Creature can accomplish its purpose. This knowledge is that which cometh from above. It is not merely the knowing how many chapters there are in the Bible, nor how many verses there are in the Bible and being able to quote them; but by the various providences
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of God in life, it is to come to such a knowledge of God that it is sufficient for His will to be made clear to us, to insure obedience. Our knowledge is increased in proportion as we give heed to the things which God has spoken; in proportion as we set our affections on things above and not on things on the earth.
THE TERMS UPON WHICH WE ARE CALLED
All Christians should know the terms and conditions upon which "God hath called" them, namely, (1) To suffer with Christ in the present time, and (2) To be glorified and reign with Him in the coming Age to bless the world. These should know both the reason for their suffering and the character which God would develop in them, without which they could not be "fit for the Kingdom." It is concerning these characteristics, "putting on the new man," necessary to those who would
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make their "calling and election sure," that our present lesson treats. Let us consider some of them.
"Let love be without dissimulation." St. Paul had already explained the necessity for love, but now he puts us on guard against a merely feigned love, which would only outwardly appear kind and polite. The true spirit of love, the holy spirit, will not be a dissimulating one, a hypocritical one; the love will be genuine, heart-felt, as well as mouth-expressed. This love is to be toward God and toward all, in proportion as they are God-like, or striving to be so. It is to be a love of that which is good, right, pure, true.
"Abhor that which is evil." We are not merely to avoid doing that which is evil, not merely to have no love or affinity for evil, but more than these, we are to hate, to abhor evil. As the love for God and for all things true and pure and making for righteousness is to be cultivated, so the abhorrence of sin and impurity of every kind is to be cultivated. Thus, the stronger we become in Christian character the more intense will become our love for the good, the pure and the true; and the more intense will be our opposition to the untrue, the impure, the sinful. The more we learn of the beautiful harmonies of this heavenly grace of love, and the more they become the melodies of our own hearts, the more distressing and repugnant and abhorrent will sin and selfishness, "the spirit of the world," be to us; just as discords in music grate upon our ears in proportion to our knowledge and appreciation of musical harmonies.
As holiness and sin are opposites, so our feeling toward these must be represented by the sentiments of love and hatred. To grow cool in love for righteousness is to lose some of the abhorrence for sin. Let us, therefore, cultivate in ourselves hatred for sin, selfishness, impurity and every evil way, that we may find it the easier to cultivate in our hearts the beautiful graces of the Spirit.
Only in our minds have the old things passed away and all things become new. Actually, this change will be accomplished when we become spirit beings. Meantime, if we shall be counted worthy of a place in the First Resurrection, it is required of us that we shall demonstrate our willingness of mind, our earnest desire, to be all that the Lord would have us be. In no way can this be better demonstrated to the Lord or prove more helpful to ourselves than in keeping a strict surveillance of our hearts and of our thoughts.
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SHOW ME THY FACE
Show me Thy face--one transient gleam
Of loveliness Divine,
And I shall never think or dream
Of other love than Thine;
All lesser lights will darken quite,
All lower glories wane,
The beautiful of earth will scarce
Seem beautiful again.
Show me Thy face--my faith and love
Shall henceforth fixed be,
And nothing here have power to move
My soul's serenity.
My life shall seem a trance, a dream,
And all I feel and see,
The one reality.
Show me Thy face--I shall forget
The weary days of yore;
The fretting ghosts of vain regret
Shall haunt my soul no more.
All doubts and fears for future years
In quiet trust subside;
And naught but blest content and calm
Within my breast abide.
Show me Thy face--the heaviest cross
Will then seem light to bear;
There will be gain in every loss,
And peace with every care.
With such light feet the years will fleet,
Life will seem brief as blest,
'Till I have laid my burden down
And entered into rest. Selected.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
FURTHER WORD FROM INDIA
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I praise the Lord for granting me another opportunity to inform you, our Pastor and beloved Brother in the Lord, of the glorious harvest work that is going on in Travancore.
Sectarian missionaries and their agents are very active, yet the glad tidings appeal to the hearts and minds of the poor, and they gladly hear the message and accept it heartily, and soon they themselves become preachers of the message to the aristocratic clergy.
You will be glad to know, dear Brother, that the Present Truth which the Lord has given to longing hearts everywhere through your instrumentality (though it seems "devilish" and "anti-Christian" to nominal Christians), is making great impression in the hearts of even orthodox Hindoos and Mohammedans.
I wish you could have heard the preaching by one of the latter who is interested in the Truth. He spoke of the coming Kingdom of Christ in such a way that I could hardly believe my own ears and eyes. There were some Orthodox Hindoos also present in the meeting.
Many of the Mohammedans ask me why they are not mentioned by you in your writings. They claim that they are the descendents of Abraham through Ishmael. They want to know particularly whether they, as a nation, will have any special message from you on a Scriptural basis. I don't wish to say anything until I hear from you about the same.
I am very sorry to say that the $200 you mentioned in your last letter has not reached me yet. This has put me into much difficulty, as all our Pilgrims and Elders are to be helped. I admire their loyalty to God and the Master; though they starved, they went and preached the Gospel without murmuring. I borrowed 200 rupees in order to help me carry on the Lord's work. I am very anxious to hear from you, dear Brother, in regard to this.
[In original Tower there is a photograph inserted here entitled:] TWENTY WORKERS OF THE "I.B.S.A." IN TRAVANCORE DIST., INDIA.
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Every week we have new congregations added. People from far and near beg me to go and present the Truth to them. Already they are well informed that our society does not pay any salary to anybody, yet they do want to hear the Message. What shall I do? Truly the Harvest is great!
Again, the difficulty re tracts: I placed the order and paid 75 rupees in advance and now I am unable to go and get the printed tracts. We submit everything to the Lord's will.
Enclosed please find the statements for June and July, and the list of payments made to the brethren. Statement of the local fund and the work summary for July will follow.
The Friends all send their love to you, dear Brother, and they all pray that if it be the will of God they may be permitted to see you in person in due time. With my love and prayers, Your brother and servant in the Lord,
S. P. DEVASAHAYAM.
THE VIEW FROM IRELAND
MY DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
I am sure you will be pleased to learn that there are good results in evidence from the last meeting you held here. Two persons have become deeply interested and others are investigating. The class here numbers from 25 to 30, with bright prospects of an immediate increase.
The public meeting held last night was attended by about 100 earnest hearers, several of whom seemed deeply interested.
The attendance was good for a week night, particularly when taking into consideration that the meeting was not very extensively advertised. The hall was not large enough to warrant very extensive advertising. We used the hall in which the class now meets regularly; which is, indeed, a very suitable room for the purpose.
Our opinion is that the Lord's work will advance considerably in northern Ireland during the next two or three years. The Irish people, like the Welsh, are naturally religious. Prejudice against the Truth has been, and still is, very strong in Ireland, but it has begun to give way. We strongly believe that many religious people in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales will be prepared to accept the Truth as a result of the labor troubles, which are prevailing so generally in these countries. There are three Colporteur sisters canvassing here and they informed me that the situation above mentioned has already been beneficial to their work.
The unrest and dissatisfaction in Great Britain are terrific, and the people seem on the verge of general anarchy. But we are sure the Lord will continue to "hold the four winds of heaven" until the harvest work shall be consummated. Apparently three years will be quite sufficient to bring on the awful climax of trouble in Europe. The more severe the "spasms" of trouble grow, the more favorable seem to be the opportunities for prosecuting harvest work.
Prior to my visit to Britain it was my opinion that the climax of trouble might first be reached in America, but my opinion has undergone a radical change since traveling in Britain. In America the working people are paid "living wages," and many of them own their own homes, and have money in the banks, while over here the working people are nearly all wofully underpaid and own no property.
In America many of the working people would be heavy losers should anarchy prevail; while over here they have practically nothing to lose. Think of men performing hard dock work for 17 shillings ($4.08) a week, and people working in factories for from 8 to 15 shillings ($2 to $4) a week! These poor people have no real incentive to preserve the present order of things. The distress resulting from poverty over here is appalling. Praise God for the blessed Restitution work soon to begin.
The cost of living is only about 25 per cent. less than in America. Rents, clothing, shoes and a few other things are cheaper here than in America, but luxuries and most necessities, in the line of groceries, are as high here as in America, and some are higher. Most meats, as well as butter and eggs, are higher than they are in the United States. Am pretty sure
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that on the whole the cost of living here is not more than 25 per cent. cheaper than in America. This is doubly offset by the great difference in wages, which are from two to three times greater in America than they are in Britain.
The striking spirit has become epidemic all over Britain. Even the rag-pickers of Belfast are striking. They want a penny more per stone (14 pounds) for their rags. The striking newsboys and "hoodlums" created a riot at Dublin recently. A large number of striking newsboys paraded the streets of Belfast. They resembled an army of "ragamuffins." Poor creatures!
I am informed that the operators can illy afford to advance wages--taxed to keep up an army, navy, etc.
Dear Brother, I am so glad that the dear Lord permitted me to visit Europe at this time, because it has greatly increased my appreciation of the Truth generally. You have warm, noble friends here in Belfast who dearly love you. And the writer loves you more than ever, and more than ever esteems the blessed privilege of association with you in the Lord's work. Much Christian love to all.
Your brother in Him, FRANK DRAPER.
LABOR TROUBLES IN GREAT BRITAIN
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Many thanks for your letters safely received and which have careful attention. I have been north for a short tour and stayed a little to rest my body through the kindness of Brother and Sister Tait, of the Glasgow Church. They have the use of a country house about 40 miles from Glasgow. We had some meetings in the neighborhood, one for the public in Rothesay, which seemed to arouse some interest. The work in the country goes on well, and the friends generally are quick to seize opportunities of service.
You will have heard of the sharp time we have had of late; the transport workers--railway men, dockers, carters throughout the country--"struck" work. Then there came a sort of fever in many different branches of labor, and a general desire to strike for better wages and lesser hours; and the recognition of unions was manifested. For a few short but very lively days the country seemed on the verge of an internal war which would have been far more disastrous than an invasion by the Germans. At present things are quieted down, but there is no telling how soon they may be again inflamed. All this is sharpening not only the brethren, but others who know something of our literature, and I believe the Lord will use this to the benefit of the work. The books continue to sell well, though just now the holiday season is on and sales are not quite so brisk as during the past few weeks.
The strike has delayed our work considerably, and the shipment of sewn sheets was held up quite a time. We hope soon to get quite up to date with the binding, for we have now succeeded in getting delivery to Aylesbury. The work in the office goes all right.
You probably have my letter about the financial position. I hope it demonstrated to you just how we have been short of money. I am glad you are soon to be with us. The Lord continue to bless you in all your ways to His praise and glory!
Ever yours in His grace and service, J. HEMERY.
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FOURTEEN YEARS AGO
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--In a WATCH TOWER of fourteen years ago, after giving the Syriac rendering of `Heb. 10:22`, you say:
"Here the Apostle mentions five conditions: (1) Honesty of heart; (2) an undoubting faith; (3) a blood-sprinkled heart (`Heb. 9:14`), a heart, or will, that has been justified, not merely through faith *[tentative justification], but also through the application of the blood *[vitalized justification], the virtue of the ransom given once for all by our Redeemer; (4) a clean conscience; (5) washed, or purified, bodies, i. e., with the outward man in the process of cleansing by the purifying Word of Truth and grace.
"The purifying, or cleansing, of the heart, through faith in the precious blood, seems to be much better understood by Christians than the purifying of their bodies, their flesh, through obedience in the application to themselves, in daily life, of the promises, precepts, warnings and illustrations of Scripture--as water, or cleansing truths, etc., etc."
Brother Russell, I thought until I read this that the two justifications were something that you had never seen until very recent years. Truly, as another said in regard to some similar discovery over which we were wondering and rejoicing, "Brother Russell has been years ahead of us all the time; and when he would tell us things, none of us ever saw but half, and when various things came up we considered them new, because we had not been able to assimilate them when they were first given to use," or words of similar import. I am so glad.
The first thing I ever read was old "Food for Thinking Christians." I had forgotten all about the Three Covenants; but when you began to write about them it seemed all right, and as if I had always had that idea; though I could not explain it, nor say where I got it until I re-read that old pamphlet. I. P. W.
*These bracketed words are not in the 1897 TOWER.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
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