VOL. XXXV FEBRUARY 1 No. 3
A. D. 1914--A. M. 6042
The Anointed--The Messiah--The Christ............. 35
The Mystery of Christ......................... 36
Gifts Vs. Fruits of the Spirit................ 36
Hindrances to Fulness of the Spirit........... 37
Anointing and Begetting....................... 37
Two Classes of First-Borns.................... 38
Godliness Attracts Persecution.................... 39
Specially Godly Are Specially Persecuted...... 39
Professed Christians Persecuted............... 40
The Solitary Way (Poem)........................... 40
1913--Reports from Foreign Branches--1913......... 41
"Where Your Treasure Is".......................... 44
Seek First the Kingdom........................ 45
The Faithful Are Watchful......................... 45
Re the Lord's Second Presence................. 45
Some Interesting Letters.......................... 47
Heard Him Lecture 70 Times.................... 47
Experience of Two Colporteurs................. 47
Sword of Truth Flashing Right and Left........ 47
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PILGRIM BROTHER HAYDEN SAMSON--DECEASED
Many of our readers knew and dearly loved Brother Hayden Samson, who has served the Lord and the Brethren under the auspices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society for the past fourteen years. For several years past he has been in feeble health--yet persevered to lay down his life in the service of the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren. Returning home he experienced a severe attack of indigestion January Twenty-Fourth. He got relief, however, and went to bed as usual. The next morning, Sunday, his body was found in bed apparently asleep. He had passed beyond "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," with evidently no struggle, no pain. We rejoice with the dear Brother, believing that he has gone before to the heavenly condition--where so many of us are hoping ere long to join the Savior and him and all the members of the Body of Christ.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR MARCH
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for March follow: (1) 266; (2) 47; (3) 12; (4) 325; (5) Vow; (6) 313; (7) 60; (8) 310; (9) 130; (10) 110; (11) 7; (12) 27; (13) 191; (14) 87; (15) 145; (16) 129; (17) 78; (18) 4; (19) 105; (20) 16; (21) 155; (22) 160; (23) 240; (24) 260; (25) 267; (26) 40; (27) 324; (28) 88; (29) 14; (30) 39; (31) 170.
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THE ANOINTED--THE MESSIAH--THE CHRIST
THE teaching of the Law, in type and testimony, is to the effect that God purposed to raise up a great Priest, who would also be a King; and that this priestly King and kingly Priest should cancel the sins of the people, and be invested with power to rule, and with authority as a Mediator to help them back to God. To the surprise of the typical people, Israel, instead of assuming the office of Priest and King in conjunction, He merely died!--`Luke 24:20,21`.
Then came the time for the Holy Spirit to reveal to the Church what had previously been a mystery; for when God had through the Prophets spoken of Messiah as a King upon His Throne, He had declared that which would be mysterious to the people--would not be easily understood. God had purposely kept His Plan a secret until the due time for revealing it should come. The secret was--"Christ in you, the hope of glory."-- `Colossians 1:26,27`.
In other words, our Lord Jesus is, primarily, the Anointed One and, according to the Scripture testimony, is very highly exalted. But He was not the completion of the Divine arrangement regarding the Anointed. The Heavenly Father purposed not to have Jesus alone, but that He should be the Head of the Anointed, and the Church the Body. (`Eph. 1:22,23`; `5:29-32`; `Col. 1:24`.) This was the Mystery. The great Messiah was to bless the world as the antitypical Prophet, Priest, and King. God appointed Jesus as the Head, and elected certain saintly ones to be the members of His Body. Until this Body of Christ was complete, the blessing promised to Abraham could not come upon the world.--`Gal. 3:16,29`.
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The terms upon which any may come into membership in Christ's Body--may be members of the anointed Priest and King--are that they walk in His steps. If we desire this privilege, we must present our bodies living sacrifices, as He presented His. Additionally, we must have Him as our Advocate, that we may be enabled to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. So, the Apostle says, we were called to suffer with Christ, that we might reign with Him.--`Col. 1:24`; `2 Tim. 2:12`.
Not until this work is completed can there be Restitution to the world. The blessing of the world cannot begin until this great Priest-King is complete and inducted into office. Then as the Mediator of the New Covenant, He will bring the promised blessings to mankind in general. The entire Scriptures seem to give this thought, and this alone. In no other way can we explain why, after God's promise to send a Redeemer, and after that Redeemer had come, and had died, "the Just for the unjust," the work of Restitution (`Acts 3:19-21`) should not have immediately proceeded. Throughout this Age there has been the work of selecting the Church. In the immediate future are the Times of Restitution, when the Lord, at His Second Coming, shall have received His members to Himself on the plane of glory.
The Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. Hence He would need no sin-offering on His own behalf. Yet the Scriptures say that He needed first to offer for Himself, and then for the people. (`Heb. 7:26,27`.) Here we see clearly shown the Church as a part of Himself--different from the world in general.
The entire work of the Church at the present time is the sacrifice of the human life. As Jesus will be the King of Glory, so we shall be the under-kings; as He will be the great Priest, so we shall be the under-priests. The parallel is found throughout the entire Scriptures. If our understanding of this were taken away, we should be practically in the same darkness as we were before we got the Truth. The Mystery is that we are to be associated in the sufferings of Christ now, and in His glory in the future. Whoever has not yet found this key has not yet found the Plan of God, in its simplicity and beauty.
God ordained that the kings of Israel should be anointed, and that the High Priest of Israel should be especially anointed. We are to remember that there is an antitypical King and an antitypical Priest--Christ, the great Prophet, Priest and King--who is to bring blessing to the human family as a whole. We perceive that in the type there was an under-priesthood, and the Apostle points out that there is an antitypical under-priesthood associated with Jesus and His work.
The word anointed is the English translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, and its equivalent in the Greek is Christos, Christ. So, then, our thoughts properly turn to Christ as the Anointed of God. He is to do the great work appointed by the Father. We look back and see when He received His anointing. It was not when He was in the Heavenly courts, nor when He became a human being. He was not yet the Anointed One, though He was in full harmony with the Holy Spirit of God.
But there came a certain experience to our Lord when He was thirty years of age. At that time He consecrated Himself to do the Father's will and work. Then
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it was that He received the special anointing. This constituted Him in an incipient sense the anointed King and Priest of God. Still He was not ready to take His great power and reign; but if He proved faithful in carrying out His covenant, He would in due time become in the fullest sense the great Anointed of God, would reign over the earth for a thousand years, and subsequently would have further great honors and privileges. We can see all this very clearly portrayed in respect to our Redeemer.
THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST
To whom, then, does the Apostle in `1 John 2:27` refer in the words ye and you? The Heavenly Father purposed, as previously stated, that more than our Lord Jesus should constitute this Anointed One. He purposed that the Lord Jesus should be the Head of an anointed company, who should constitute His Body. And this is implied in the type in the under-priesthood, who received a measure of the anointing oil. They prefigured the real Priesthood to come: "Ye are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."--`1 Peter 2:9`.
And as we further study, we find that this is the Mystery mentioned in the Scriptures: to wit, that the great Messiah so long promised should be composed of many individuals; and that these many individuals, with the exception of the Head, should be gathered out from the children of wrath, from fallen mankind, and should be justified through the merit of their Head--the merit of His human sacrifice.
All, then, who have joined the Lord are counted as members of that one Body, "the Church of the Living God," "the Church of the first-born," whose names are "written in Heaven." (`1 Tim. 3:15`; `Heb. 12:23`.) Looking back to the institution of the Church, we see that it could not be instituted until Jesus had presented Himself as a sacrifice, that the merit of His sacrifice might be made applicable to all those who would become members of His Body--those who would make the same consecration unto death that He had made, and who would then walk in His footsteps.
At that very time there were some of this class waiting. They had been Jesus' disciples, hearkening to His words. They believed His testimony that if they would take up their cross and follow Him they should partake of His glory. Under the influence of this promise they became His followers. But they could not receive the anointing until He had made satisfaction for their sins. Therefore our Lord instructed them to wait at Jerusalem until this blessing came upon them. The Scriptures tell us that the anointing came upon them at Pentecost. It came from the Father through Christ, after His ascension. Indeed, St. Paul tells us that all blessings come from the Father, who is the Fountain of blessings; and all come through the Son, who is the Channel.-- `1 Corinthians 8:6`.
Just what the anointing is, is difficult for us to comprehend or to explain. Only in proportion as we comprehend it can we make it plain to others. The Lord has endeavored to make it as plain as possible to us by the use of various terms and figures. He calls it a begetting, in the sense that a new life is started. The spiritual nature begins in us at the moment we receive this begetting. And whoever receives it cannot retain it unless he grows and has the Lord's Spirit perfected in him.
VARIOUS QUALITIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This Spirit is spoken of in the Scriptures from various standpoints--apparently with a view to giving us a conception of it, and with the thought that it is a difficult matter to grasp. It is called the Spirit of Truth. No one can have the Holy Spirit and be in ignorance of God; and his growth in spiritual things will be in proportion to his growth in knowledge. If he does not grow in knowledge, he cannot grow in the Spirit; therefore this Spirit is called the Spirit of the Truth.
It is called also the spirit of a sound mind; for our judgments are all imperfect and human and naturally, therefore, contrary in some respects to the mind of the Lord. And the transforming influence which gives us a new view of matters and enables us to see things from God's standpoint is the influence of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it is called the spirit, or disposition, of a sound mind.
It is called the spirit of love; for only in proportion as we cultivate this Godlike quality can we receive this spirit. Whoever has not the spirit of love cannot have the Holy Spirit. Love is necessary before we can receive this Spirit. God is Love. And so all must be of this disposition who would be His--they must be in sympathy, in harmony with Him.
It is also called the spirit of obedience in the sense that those who possess this Spirit desire to do the will of God. It is an anointing in the sense that it is the qualification by which God recognizes us as His children and as those who are heirs of His promises and who are to consider themselves His ambassadors. He recognizes only those who are thus designated by the Holy Spirit. These are to fill the office of kings and priests.
These various definitions and descriptions of the power and influence of the Spirit enable us to better understand the matter. The term Holy Spirit stands in a broad sense for any holy influence or power or disposition emanating from God. The phrase covers the thought of the spirit of Truth and the spirit of righteousness, because all that is true and right is of Divine arrangement and order. This is the Holy Spirit, or holy influence, or holy power, then, that works in any way that God may choose. It may be through the Word of Truth given out through the printed page, or it may be made manifest through the influence of the life and example of some of God's people--but in whatever way it operates, it always operates for good.
GIFTS VS. FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
Because the matter was so hard to understand, the Lord, in the first place, gave the early Church special signs, which were called gifts. Some received the gift of tongues, some the gift of performing miracles, and some the special gift of healing. Then there were other gifts that the Lord gave, such as Apostleship, etc. But these different gifts were merely manifestations of the Holy Spirit at that time. The gifts were not the Holy Spirit, but were manifestations of the Holy Spirit. After they had accomplished their work in the early Church, those gifts passed away. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit ceased to be the begetting power amongst the Lord's people; but unless there had been some such manifestation of the power of God in the beginning, we would not have been so well able to understand the facts. Jesus, before Pentecost, communicated His Spirit to His disciples and enabled them to work miracles.--`Luke 10:17-20`.
A measure of the Spirit is given to all the Lord's children to be profited by, to make use of. And so we see that when the gifts of the Holy Spirit passed away, the fruits of the Spirit remained, to be manifested and developed. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"
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(`Galatians 5:22,23`); and a person after receiving the Holy Spirit will begin to manifest this fruit of the Spirit. If one does not manifest this fruit, there is every reason to doubt if he has been begotten of the Spirit.
If a person has some of these qualities, we are to remember that some are naturally quite gentle, meek. We are not, therefore, to think it a proof of the possession of the Holy Spirit, if one has a little meekness and gentleness. He might have these qualities naturally. But we should expect that when a knowledge of the Truth comes, instead of being heady and puffed up, he would be all the more gentle and meek. Wherever we see a boastful, heady, haughty spirit, unloving, unkind, etc., we would have reason to think that the Holy Spirit had not been received, or was not making proper development in that heart.
This is a matter regarding which the Lord does not allow us to judge others; but He expects us to judge ourselves. Whoever has this Holy Spirit should develop it. Those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit had previously come into the proper attitude of mind to receive it, and the Lord is pleased to begin there the work which is so difficult for us to understand. This Spirit of God brings rest, peace, joy, because we have submitted ourselves to God. And this peace and joy should increase more and more, as we are more and more filled with the Holy Spirit.
HINDRANCES TO FULNESS OF THE SPIRIT
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus had the Spirit without measure. But we, in our imperfect state, are not able to receive the Holy Spirit in the same measure. If our hearts are entirely emptied, then they may be made the fuller. But if there be errors of doctrine in our mind and heart, these will prevent us from receiving the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Gradually the New Creature will cast out the earthly mind, and will get rid of the errors of doctrine, etc., that have been hindrances. And as we get rid of these we shall be made partakers of the Holy Spirit in an abounding measure.
The Holy Spirit that we receive of Him is our assurance that we belong to the Lord. And as long as this Spirit abides in us, it is a witness and a guarantee that we are still the Lord's. Both classes, the Little Flock and the Great Company, receive the anointing of the Lord, the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle says that "we are all called in the one hope of our calling." (`Eph. 4:4`.) We all have received this Anointing of the Holy Spirit, or we could not belong to the Body of Christ at all. It is now a matter of development.
Those who continue to develop in the Spirit of the Lord will attain a place on the Throne with Jesus. But there will be some who will not be accounted worthy to reign with Him; yet they have received of the Lord this anointing, this begetting. These will not be of the Body of Christ, because they failed to progress on account of lack of zeal in carrying out their covenant.
In the type of the high priest the anointing oil ran down over the garments. In the antitype the anointing of our Lord Jesus has flowed down over all the Body since Pentecost, giving us this special relationship with the Heavenly Father. The anointing which comes upon the Lord's people must sooner or later affect their outward conduct by manifestations of greater meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, affection and generosity of word and deed. All of this is illustrated in the anointing oil used upon the kings and priests of Israel, which typified the Spirit from which we have an anointing, or lubrication.
But this smoothing and softening of character must not be expected to take place suddenly, as was the case with the change in our minds; on the contrary, it will come gradually. Nevertheless, the renewed will is to take control of the earthly body and impart its spirit and disposition to it so far as possible, and should begin the work at once. If the spirit, or disposition, of love to God dwell in one richly, it will soon be manifest to some extent. Let us be constantly on the alert to grow in the spirit of love and obedience, and to let the Spirit of Christ dwell in us richly and abound.
CONSECRATION AND BEGETTING
No one can be a member of the New Creation before being anointed of the Holy Spirit, or begotten of the Holy Spirit. The purport of the Scriptures is that a double work is necessary, the one part applying to the flesh, the other to the New Creature. That which is sacrificed is not the New Creature, and that which is anointed is not the old creature. We repeat: It is the New Creature that is anointed, and it is the old creature that is sacrificed.
The anointing and the begetting of the Holy Spirit are practically the same thing and quickly follow justification. It is as justified men that we are baptized into death, and it is as members of the New Creation that we are constituted members of the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ. It is the Father's acceptance of us that is the basis of our begetting of the Holy Spirit, our anointing.
While the two terms, begetting and anointing, are used to represent what is to us practically the same thing, they are two different figures. The begetting thought is one that pertains to the state of the new life, the state of the new nature. The anointing thought pertains to the office. God is calling out a people to become joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. The anointing is the Divine recognition of them as kings and priests. So far as we are concerned, the matter is represented by both expressions.
The word Christ signifies anointed. God has declared that He will have an anointed King and High Priest to be His Agent in the blessing of the world. He has declared that that great King is, primarily, the Lord Jesus Christ. He also declares that instead of the Lord Jesus being the sum-total of the Anointed One, it is His good pleasure that there shall be members added to Him. And the adding of these members has been the completing of this Anointed One.
Our coming into the Body is our coming under the anointing. One is a member of the Anointed the instant he is begotten. In thinking of the begetting and the anointing, we are merely viewing the matter from two different angles. We of today were not anointed eighteen hundred years ago, although the anointing came at that time upon the Church. The anointed office may be forfeited, without the spirit-begotten life being forfeited, as in the case of the Great Company.
But the instant we are individually inducted into that Body, that instant we come under the anointing. "The anointing you have received of Him abideth in you." Our share of it is just as much a personal matter as was the begetting. Let us repeat the statement: Our begetting is individual--our baptism, or anointing, is collective, but the one is as personal as the other.
SAME ANOINTING FOR BOTH JESUS AND THE CHURCH
The anointing that came upon the Church at Pentecost and that ran down upon all added Jewish members subsequently, was the same anointing that Jesus received at Jordan, the same anointing that was later poured out
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upon the Gentiles, as manifested first in the case of Cornelius and his friends, when "the Holy Spirit fell upon all them which heard the Word" at the mouth of St. Peter. It is the same anointing that has come down throughout the Age upon all the members of the Body-- all the one anointing.
But while it is the same anointing, or baptism, yet Cornelius had no share in the anointing, or baptism, at Pentecost, nor had the disciples any share in the anointing at Jordan; for it did not become a personal matter to any member until he was individually begotten, and thus inducted into the Body. To our understanding the one thought appertains to both of these different features, as illustrating different parts of the process.
At the beginning, Jehovah God foreknew and foreordained that one hundred and forty-four thousand should constitute the Anointed One, of which Jesus is the Head. And He made the arrangement that all those begotten of the Spirit should thereby come into that Body, and be counted as its members. These have their names written as such in the Lamb's Book of Life. But He also made the arrangement with them that if any of them failed to keep the terms of their covenant, they would cease to be members of that Body class. And this class evidently will in glory consist of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, although many other thousands have been associated with them all through the Gospel Age; not all, however, have maintained their standing.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne." (`Rev. 3:21`.) The grand outcome of the matter, the fixity of the matter, is in the future. All those who come to the Lord, come through consecration, and are for the time being counted in as members of this anointed class. And the anointing will abide with them so long as they continue in this condition of obedience.
DOUBLE RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST
The expression, begetting of the Spirit, then, is used in the Scriptures to describe that personal experience by which God accepts the individual as a New Creature, and starts the new nature. This new nature subsequently prospers, develops, and if faithful will be born of the Spirit. The terms begetting and birth are used symbolically
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to represent the beginning and the completion of the New Creature.
The baptism, or anointing, of the Spirit, of course, relates to the same Holy Spirit, and in some measure to the same experiences as the begetting, but from a different angle. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a thing that comes to us individually, but collectively. The baptism of the Holy Spirit came upon the Church at Pentecost and was not repeated day by day, nor ever, except in the case of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, and "his kinsmen and near friends," whom he had called together in his house to hear the words from the lips of the Apostle Peter. At that time a similar baptism to that of Pentecost was granted--"the Holy Spirit fell upon all them which heard the Word" (`Acts 10:24,44`), indicating that the Gentiles also were to have an opportunity to become members of the Anointed.
The word baptism signifies immersion. St. Paul explains that we are all baptized, or immersed, or anointed, by the one Spirit into one Body. The anointing, or baptism, of the Spirit came first to our Lord Jesus, extended down to the Church at Pentecost, and has been with the Church as an anointing ever since. All of us who come to God, by Christ, confessing our sins and asking forgiveness through His merit, and who yield ourselves to be dead with Him, by baptism into His death, are immersed into membership in His Body, thus coming under the anointing.
The result of this action is two-fold; we become, first of all, members of Christ in the flesh, and He accepts us and treats us as such. We are first baptized, or immersed, into death--His death, His Baptism. Then the figure changes; and we are raised up out of this baptism into death, as New Creatures. Thereafter our flesh is counted as His flesh. So our relationship to Christ is two-fold: one appertaining to the flesh, the other to the spirit.
Very many have not noticed this double relationship to Christ--as New Creatures, and also in the flesh. The force of this is brought to us in the words of the glorified Christ to Saul of Tarsus: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?...I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." (`Acts 9:4,5`.) Thus our Lord declared that the persecution of the Church in the flesh was a persecution of Himself. What the Church suffers is a part of the sufferings of Christ. The sufferings of Christ will not be filled up until the last member of His Body shall have finished His course.
THE LORD'S DECISION STILL FUTURE
Our membership in the spiritual Body of Christ is also two-fold. First we have a tentative membership at the present time--though we are accepted of God as if it were complete. Thus the moment of the acceptance of our consecration is the moment when we receive the Holy Spirit. We are consecrated with Christ unto death --we are risen with Him as New Creatures, sharers with Him in His resurrection. And yet this number, begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus associated with Christ in membership in the spiritual Body, contains three classes: (1) The Little Flock, which will be the Body of Christ beyond the veil, the "more than conquerors"; (2) the Great Company, who will fail of being of that highest class, but who will be companions of the Bride class (`Psalm 45:14`); (3) some who will become reprobates and go into the Second Death.
It is not for us at the present time to pass judgment upon any one. It is not for us to say that this one or that one belongs to the Little Flock or to the Great Company. According to the Scriptural instructions, we know that the Lord will not make public His decision of this matter until the end of this Age. Then He will make a decision as to those who will receive the higher nature and those who will receive the subordinate nature.
We are all "called in the one hope of our calling" (`Eph. 4:4`), and it is for each of us to make our calling and election sure. Our trials, our difficulties, our weaknesses, are so different that only the Lord will know or can determine who are worthy. The Apostle declares that He would not even judge himself, let alone others. There is one that judgeth, even Christ.
TWO CLASSES OF FIRST-BORNS
The Church of the First-borns, that is to say, all who will attain to perfection of life, everlasting life, as the First-born company, are in comparison with the world a small number. The picture of humanity that our Lord gave in the Sermon on the Mount represented the world of mankind in general as going down the broad road to destruction. Then He depicted a narrow way leading to life, a way that He Himself opened up and made possible. He tells us that of those who find this narrow way only a few, comparatively, will enter it and walk in it.
In another Scripture we are told that all who go on the broad way will ultimately be brought to a knowledge
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of the Truth, and by Messiah's Kingdom will be enlightened and blessed with an opportunity for coming into harmony with God; and that in that time there will be a Highway for their return to human perfection. Here, then, we find three ways. In the present Age, however, there is only one way leading to life.
Examining what the Scriptures say as to who will gain life everlasting as a result of the present life, we find that merely the Church of the First-borns get this blessing. The life that will come to the world will be attained gradually during the thousand years, when step by step they will rise up, up, UP to perfection. But the life that is offered now must be striven for under adverse conditions. We are to receive it by (1) begetting, and (2) resurrection to perfection. This resurrection we shall receive at the close of this Gospel Age.
The Scriptures show us that of the two classes who will attain this great blessing, one class will come off conquerors and get spiritual life, but not the highest. The other class will come off "more than conquerors," and reach resurrection on the highest plane. These will be of the Divine nature. In this class we are striving to have a place--to share with Christ in the Chief Resurrection. Those who lag behind and are careless of their consecration vows will nevertheless be finally put to the test. Matters will so narrow down with them that they will be obliged to determine whether they will prove their loyalty to God or not. Those among them who wilfully sin will go into the Second Death. Those who strive for everlasting life will be brought to perfection in a great time of trouble, even though they will lose the great prize of joint-heirship with Christ.
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GODLINESS ATTRACTS PERSECUTION
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."--`2 Tim. 3:12`.
GODLINESS represents in general the condition of righteousness, opposition to sin, as God is opposed to sin--a condition in harmony with justice, as He is just; generosity and kindness and love, as He is generous and kind and loving. There are kind, generous and noble characters in the world who are not Christians. These may have more or less of opposition from others who are evilly disposed--as darkness always opposes light; yet these noble people exercise moderation in their righteousness--they are not righteous overmuch. They do not go to an extreme in their religion, as it is sometimes expressed. These fine characters might occasionally get some persecution, politically or otherwise; but even the enemies of such would have respect for them.
But the Apostle in our text limits persecution to "those who live godly in Christ Jesus." What is the difference between living godly and living godly in Christ Jesus? We answer that because of their special relationship to Christ Jesus, God's people have a special enlightenment. They see more clearly the principles of God's Justice. They have a more exacting rule by which their lives are governed. Others do not see these deeper things of the Divine Plan and the special arrangement God has made with the Church.
Those who are "in Christ Jesus" have an intelligent knowledge that they have entered into a Covenant of Sacrifice. They realize that they are not to compromise their religion in any way; they are not to compromise with sin, nor with the world. They must uphold the principles of righteousness, even to the detriment of their own earthly interests.
The godly not in Christ Jesus--those who have a measure of Godlikeness--may indulge in a great many things that would not be wrong for the world--not sinful, not immoral, not unkind. With the Christian, however, all of his time, talent, influence, money, are consecrated to the one service, according to what he understands to be the Lord's Word and the spirit of that Word. The worldly man who is righteous might feel perfectly free to give of his money for various causes and purposes, that would be reasonable and proper in themselves; while the Christian would ask himself, What is the Lord's will, the Lord's way?
THE CHRISTIAN STEWARD RESTRICTED
The Christian is restricted in his use of money; for he always considers as to how the Lord would have him use it. The Christian uses his money for the preaching of the Gospel and the publishing of it in various ways; while other people might use their money for large benefactions and endowment of colleges. The Christian would reason: There are many opportunities for people to get education along earthly lines, and I believe the Lord would have me as His child to use His money to help people get spiritual education.
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Likewise in the use of his time; the natural man might say, We will have a certain evening for attending a good opera. We will not go to any disreputable place, but we will spend a certain amount each season on the opera. Or, we will be patrons of art and music and literature. We must adopt a course that will win the approval of society. That will be the wise thing to do. But the Christian says, My time, my money are consecrated to the Lord. I am His steward, I can use these in a better way. A worldly man may be a patron of art and spend a thousand dollars--or ten thousand dollars--on a single painting, because he wants art to flourish. Or he might buy a fine piece of sculpture to adorn his home, but this is not the course for me. I must consider the Lord's will for me as His servant.
The Christian has limitations which the worldly do not have. But we are glad for all good men and good women, who can be good and noble even though not in Christ Jesus. We are glad to esteem them. There are noble people in the world. There are some godly ones outside the Church, godly to a certain degree; and they are likely to come to see something of the Truth, if they are really noble characters. The godly of this world will get a blessing in the Restitution time. Every godly thing that they have done, every act of generosity, will get its reward. And by cultivating their higher sentiments, they will have fewer steps to retrace.
SPECIALLY GODLY ARE SPECIALLY PERSECUTED
The persecutions which come to the godly in Christ Jesus are special persecutions. We are not to expect much of this from the Body of Christ. A man is not expected to use his fist to strike his own eye, nor is it to be expected that one hand will injure the other hand. It may be that the skin on one hand is rough, and will sometimes scratch the other one. But we cannot be members of the same Body and persecute each other. Persecution is something that is intended and pursued, or followed up. Persecution is not merely one act or one word--it is a succession of unkind words and acts with a view to punishing some one for adhering to an opinion or course of conduct.
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So persecution comes from a certain class called by Jesus the world. But the class that Jesus called the world are those who had a form of godliness, but did not have the power thereof. Christianity has its counterfeits, as has money. So the Apostle speaks of a class who would take the name of the Lord upon them and misuse that name. And there are people in the world today who do not know the difference between the genuine and the counterfeit--between Truth and error--and who do not want to know, and who keep out of the way of being told. They somehow know that there would come a certain measure of condemnation to themselves if they recognized the real facts and did not act in accordance with them.
They are not all bad people by any means. There are very many good people among the tares; but there is no real wheat among the tares--no real nutriment. But these tares pose as the Church of Christ; the tare systems pose as Christianity. And from this class usually come the persecutions. They try to crowd out the wheat, or to choke it and make it unfruitful. It was so in our Lord's day. Those to whom the Lord referred as persecutors were not the Gentile world of His day, but the worldly ones of the Jews--those who were not fully consecrated to the Lord, but who thought they were.
Nicodemus was a fine character, and Gamaliel was a fine character--and so were a great many who did not become Christ's disciples at all. Evidently many were seeking after righteousness; as, for instance, the young man who came to the Lord and asked Him, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" The Lord answered, "Thou knowest the commandments." The young man said, "Master, all these have I observed from my youth up." He was a noble character, and Jesus looking on him loved him, even though he was not a disciple. And Jesus said to him. "One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come, take up thy cross, and follow Me." But he went away sorrowful. He did not want to become a member in Christ Jesus. He did not want to give everything to the Lord. He was very rich--"had great possessions," and he preferred to hold on to his wealth.-- `Mark 10:17-22`.
There were others who went through many of the forms and ceremonies, and who kept the various admonitions of the Law, and its feasts and fasts; but they were not the "Israelites indeed in whom was no guile." And later they became the persecutors of Christ and those who walk in His steps of sacrifice.
PROFESSED CHRISTIANS PERSECUTORS
And so those who live godly in Christ Jesus have their persecutions, not so much from the worldly class as from professing Christians. There is a class in Churchianity today that has a great deal of pride and self-satisfaction. They are upholding a large institution. If anything seems to be inimical to that institution, they are wrathful and wish to persecute. Some say respecting those who proclaim Present Truth and who live saintly lives as followers of Jesus Christ: If we let these people alone and let them teach these things, all that we have been upholding for centuries will crumble. Did not Luther hand down Truth to us? Did not Calvin give the Church Truth? Have we not the teachings of Wesley? No, no; we will not have these "new doctrines"!
But we see that these people are persecuting the Truth and its representatives because of misunderstanding. We should have a great deal of sympathy and not feel specially angry with them. This does not mean that we should be glad of persecution--no persecution "for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous." (`Heb. 12:11`.) But if we know that we are suffering for righteousness' sake, then we know the Spirit of God rests upon us. It is those who know that they suffer for Christ's sake, and who take it gladly because it is the will of God, that may rejoice, because the persecution is working out in them blessed effects. Let us then
"Be still beneath His tender care,
For He will make the tempest cease;
And bring from out the anguish here,
The afterward of peace."
"THE LORD YOUR GOD DOTH PROVE YOU"
Why does God permit His people to suffer? Why does He not shield those who are His from suffering, just as a loving parent would shield a child? The Scriptures reply that it is because God is working out a great Plan that will eventually bring blessings to all who will do righteously; for God wishes to show the evil effects of sin, its deteriorating effects. God's purpose is that after the Six Days of Sin and Death are ended, in the Seventh Day there shall be a blessing for the whole groaning creation. "Jehovah God will wipe away tears from off all faces."--`Isa. 25:8`.
And there is a particular reason why God should permit persecution to come upon His consecrated ones. "The Lord your God doth prove you," test you. Why? What is He proving? We profess to be His loyal children. We profess to be laying down all that we have. And now "the Lord your God doth prove you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."--`Deut. 8:2`; `13:3`.
How much will you endure? How patiently will you endure? To what extent will you endure? Those who will endure most, and endure most patiently, will give evidence of the best character. And those who demonstrate the best character will have the highest positions in the Kingdom. Each will get a position according to his faithfulness. But as star differeth from star in glory, so it will be in the Kingdom. He who fights the greatest fight against his own nature and demonstrates most the love and zeal of his heart, such is the one who will have a high place.
"How goes the fight with thee?
The lifelong battle with all evil things?
Thine no low strife, and thine no selfish aim;
It is the war of giants and of kings.
Heed not the throng of foes!
To fight 'gainst foes is still the Church's lot.
Side thou with God, and thou must win the day;
Woe to the man whom Satan fighteth not!"
THE SOLITARY WAY
Alas! How few may know the grace it takes
To tread the solitary way. Alone!
Ah, yes, alone! No other human heart
Can understand the nameless sorrows there--
The nights in weeping spent, and yet, when dawns
The day, to greet the world with radiant smile,
And scatter sunshine while you whisper low
To your poor heart, "Canst bear a little more?"
Alone! Poor heart, and dost thou question, Why?
Dost think it strange that thou must walk this way?
Ah, no! Thou dost but follow in His steps
Who went before, and of the people there
Was none with Him! Alone? Yet not alone--
Hath not thy blessed Lord and Master said,
"My presence shall go with thee"? Ah, my soul,
No longer, then a solitary way!
December 24, 1913 G. W. SEIBERT.
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1913--REPORTS FROM FOREIGN MISSIONS--1913
BRITISH BRANCH REPORT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Enclosed is a summarized report of the work of the British Branch for the year ending October 31, 1913. We are very glad to be able to report continued increase in almost every branch of the work--in the output of SCRIPTURE STUDIES and in the Volunteer matter, but specially in the distribution of literature to advertise public meetings in connection with Class Extension and other special work. The total output of STUDIES from London is 138,717 volumes, the local (British) sales being 111,630 volumes, an increase for the year of 27,418 volumes. The Volunteer matter has been well distributed during the whole of the year, and the demand still continues.
Altogether during the year we have dispatched 11,627,000 copies of the BIBLE STUDENTS' MONTHLY and EVERYBODY'S PAPER, a circulation approaching a million copies per month. This shows an increase over last year's figures of 4,250,000 copies. The Colporteurs have on the whole done better, and all have done very well. With improved methods of canvassing better results are gained; indeed, some of the latest additions to the Colporteur force are doing best of all. Two young brothers recently sold in one of the towns in the north of Scotland 330 books in one week. Certainly the work is easier in some places than in others, and Scotland has always been easier than England; but the growing interest aroused by the sermons, by the special meetings and the general unrest of our times has created a demand which makes the work of colporteuring less difficult. Even the opposition lends a hand to some extent; it helps to advertise the work.
Book-loaning has made considerable increase during the year; good work is reported both from the larger and the smaller centres. The visits of the Pilgrim brethren are still greatly appreciated by the classes, and opportunity for public witness is usually taken advantage of. Class Extension work has greatly extended during the past year and the results are very encouraging indeed.
In this small country, so thickly populated comparatively, it has been found advantageous to link the classes within prescribed areas, for the furtherance of the Harvest Work. Results so far are satisfactory and prospects good. Considerable encouragement has attended Evangelical work in certain centres where the population is particularly dense. Nearly three hundred meetings have been held, and quite a few study classes have been formed. In the scattered parts of Wales the Truth has been witnessed to, sometimes in the open air, in accordance with the custom of the country. There is no difficulty in securing a good audience amongst the Welsh people, but it seems that there are but few of the "wheat" class amongst them.
The loyalty of the brethren has been demonstrated, and their strength greatly taxed by the distribution of no less than 6,000,000 tracts to advertise public meetings during the year. The difference of late in the attitude of the masses in this country towards the Truth was clearly shown at the successful meetings held lately by yourself and Brother Rutherford. Naturally our enemies feel disturbed and, being impotent, wreak their spleen upon the Lord's messengers, especially yourself. However, no weapon formed against us has been allowed to prosper, and we are encouraged by the many evidences of the appreciation of the Message. We are looking forward to a strenuous campaign until the work given into our hands is finished, when we hope to share with our Lord, yourself, and all the saints in the privileged work of healing the nations. With much love in the Lord,
We are your servants in Him, BRITISH BRANCH.
SUMMARY OF OUTPUT OF SCRIPTURE STUDIES--YEAR ENDING OCTOBER 31, 1913:
all kinds.......... 138,717 106,097 32,620
(To Australia, out of above 27,087 21,885)
Total British local sales 111,630 84,212 27,418
Total increase................................ 32,620
Local " ................................ 27,418
OUTPUT BIBLE STUDENTS' MONTHLY AND OTHER TRACTS:
11,627,215, or tract pages...185,365,600
Books (Manual, Manna, Poems, etc.)............. 3,248
Booklets (h, s, t, p, etc.).................... 19,817
SWEDISH BRANCH REPORT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is once more my highly appreciated privilege to send you the usual Annual Report of this Branch of the wonderful Harvest work, and I hope that you, as the Great Chief Reaper's special representative, will be pleased with the results it shows--the results of our humble efforts to uphold the banner of our Redeemer and King--the results of our efforts to proclaim that joyful Message, now "meat in due season" for the "household of faith," and to "lay down our lives for the brethren," even as He laid down His life for us. Our constant prayer has been, and continually is, that we, by the Lord's grace, may be enabled to please Him in all our doings, so that at the end of our race-course (which we now believe to be very near), we may hear His blessed "Well done."
Although we most heartily wish (in order to prove our love to the Lord and our appreciation of the Truth given us) that we were in a position to report ten times as much work accomplished, and that all of that work had been much more perfectly executed, yet we cannot but give praise to God for the rich blessings granted us in so many ways.
Since Present Truth (as a result of your faithfulness and zeal) reached our shores, between fifteen and twenty years ago, the true Spiritual Israelites in this country have not experienced a more interesting and successful year than the one just closed. This is surely due in great measure to the fact that the Lord's people here have been appreciating more than ever the "fat things" spread upon His table by receiving the Swedish WATCH TOWER twice every month, the two encouraging and helpful sermons published in different Swedish newspapers every week, and the regular Swedish PEOPLE'S PULPIT, to say nothing of the six volumes of the STUDIES, the different pamphlets, etc. Notwithstanding the fact that during this year we have experienced some severe testings and trials in the work, in that some of our co-laborers seem to have grown faint and weary, it has in many respects considerably exceeded other years, as the appended figures show.
The spiritual condition of the Swedish brethren in general, as far as we are able to judge, is better than ever. The development of the fruits of the Spirit amongst the brethren everywhere in this land is very gratifying. We have had the pleasure of seeing the Harvest Message accepted with great joy by many humble and truth-hungry souls, some of whom are already engaged in the various branches of the work.
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Forty dear brethren and sisters are giving either all or part of their time to the Colporteur work, and the prospects are encouraging for an increase in numbers.
The number of books sold is about equal to that of the preceding year. The free distribution of Volunteer matter has also been comparatively good. Of the nearly 700,000 "Eko fran talarstolen" (PEOPLE'S PULPIT) the largest part have been used in connection with the advertising of public meetings held in practically all parts of the country.
The list of subscribers to the Swedish WATCH TOWER has grown from 1,881 to 2,174, who have paid kronor 5,244 (one kronor equals about 27c) in subscriptions against kronor 2,995 the foregoing year. Yearly subscriptions to the Swedish newspapers which publish your sermons have been received through this office to the number of 1,919, and half-yearly subscriptions to the number of over 1,500.
The regular Pilgrim service, in which five Swedish brethren have taken part during the year, has been extended greatly. The friends appreciate these visits very much, and write us frequently to this effect. Besides this, more than 100 extra public meetings were held all over the land, many in places where we had never held meetings before.
About 3,500 copies of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES were sold at these meetings, which had a total attendance of nearly 50,000 very attentive listeners. We also had two good General Conventions (the first in Orebro and the second in Stockholm), and a large number of well-attended and spiritually profitable local Conventions in different parts of Sweden.
The voluntary donations to the Tract Fund have increased by several thousand kronor. Seeing that all of the many donors have little of earthly possessions, this
::R5398 : page 42::
sum (kronor 32,887) represents a great deal of self-denial and sacrifice for the Truth's sake. As the different branches of the work have grown from year to year, the office-work has increased correspondingly. Twelve noble brethren and sisters in Christ have given very faithful and unselfish service in the office during the year (and several of these for many years). I am often tempted to feel proud of their record.
The prospects for the New Year are brighter than ever in different lines, and we are firmly resolved to use every opportunity as faithfully and wisely as possible, realizing that the great Storm of Trouble is near at hand. Louder and louder peals the thunder, and darker grow the clouds.
As the harvesters in the fields of the land often find it necessary to withdraw, as the clouds become threatening and the winds blow, so the reapers in the Lord's Harvest field may by and by be compelled to cease active service. But as every tiller of the soil knows that just before a storm is an excellent time to sow certain kinds of seed, so those engaged in the service of the Truth are determined, by the Lord's grace, to use every opportunity to sow the precious grains of Truth during the remaining months, realizing that the crop of the future will be of enormous proportions.
Please find enclosed herewith a list containing thirty-one new names of those who have taken the Vow. We daily remember you, our beloved Pastor and brother, and "all saints," in our petitions to the Heavenly Throne, and are glad to know that you continue to remember us.
With much Christian love from the Bible House family of Orebro, and, indeed, from all the Swedish brethren, I am
Your co-laborer in the Harvest, AUG. LUNDBORG.
SUMMARY OF THE WORK.
Copies of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES circulated
at cost...................................... 25,357
Vol. I., Magazine edition, sold at cost....... 15,104
Various other books and booklets--MANNA,
TABERNACLE SHADOWS, etc...................... 18,465
Eko fran talarstolen (PEOPLE'S PULPIT),
issued free.................................. 696,895
Other free tracts and copies of the Swedish
WATCH TOWER.................................. 86,704
Amounting in tract pages to................... 14,591,320
Number of subscribers to the Swedish
WATCH TOWER.................................. 2,174
Number of sermons in newspapers............... 312,500
Bibles sold................................... 124
Number of meetings held under the auspices
of the Society............................... 1,576
Number of miles traveled in preaching tours... 102,903
Letters and cards sent out.................... 6,470
Letters and cards received.................... 5,485
Total shipments by mail and by railroad....... 59,637
Pilgrims, Conventions and
other meetings.................... kr.20,965.37 = $5,666.32
Translations, printing, binding,
paper, etc........................ " 30,283.78 = 8,184.81
Freight and postage................ " 3,712.56 = 1,003.39
Special services................... " 6,094.86 = 1,647.26
Office expenses, rent, light,
heat, etc......................... " 6,839.69 = 1,848.56
Total.............................. kr.67,896.26 =$18,350.34
Voluntary donations to the
Tract Fund, 1,928................. kr.32,887.01 = $8,888.38
Swedish TOWER subscriptions........ " 5,244.92 = 1,417.54
Receipts from publications......... " 28,383.43 = 7,671.20
Total.............................. kr.66,515.36 =$17,977.12
Deficit received from
Brooklyn.......................... " 1,380.90 = 373.22
DANISH BRANCH REPORT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have the pleasure to submit to you a report of some of the work done in connection with our efforts to spread the Harvest Message in Denmark. Ours is a small country, the laborers are not many, and the prejudice is great, yet the testimony has somewhat influenced quite a number, and a few honest souls, more awake to the signs of the times than the majority, have been reached, and are being garnered. We believe that the friends are growing in grace and knowledge, and we find that the public is now more willing to attend the public meetings.
Public lectures have been delivered in 45 different places--in some of these places several lectures, in a few regular lectures every month. The cards sent in, and the books sold at the meetings, show that some, at least, became somewhat interested through the lectures. Some of the work in connection with the public lectures has been done by brethren sent out by the Copenhagen class. Class meetings have been held by brethren doing Pilgrim work in all the places where the friends meet to study Present Truth. Now we have several brethren with good qualifications for Pilgrim work, and we hope to accomplish more during the remainder of the time before the Night comes.
More free literature has been distributed than formerly. We count it a great privilege to know the precious
::R5398 : page 43::
Message, and to be able to do our little part in proclaiming it.
Your brother and fellow-servant in Christ,
SUMMARY OF THE WORK.
Output of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.......... 3,122
Output of various booklets................... 3,343
Tracts free.................................. 365,000
Letters and cards received................... 1,250
Letters, cards and parcels sent out.......... 2,148
Copies of the Danish WATCH TOWER sent out
AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH REPORT
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is with great thankfulness to the Lord of the Harvest that we present herewith the annual report of Harvest work done in these lands. The report is far beyond what we had dared to hope for. If you will compare the figures with those of last year, you will see that they speak of a great increase of zeal and willingness to sacrifice both self and substance in the interest of bringing others to the same joy and peace and consolation which have come to our hearts. The friends have co-operated splendidly in the work and those who could not engage in much activity have helped some, and thus made it easier for others to do so.
There are about twenty-one Colporteurs in the field, and others are doing a little as they are able. All the ground has been gone over. Indeed, it seems to be getting near the time when the "man with the ink-horn" can report, "It is done." Yet the volumes have gone out this year as never before in Australia, notwithstanding the virulent opposition. It has seemed that just as soon as a spark of interest was aroused, the great Adversary had his messengers here ready to oppose and slander. Nevertheless, the number of interested ones keeps increasing. We have about 980 WATCH TOWER subscribers and, comparing the population of Australia and New Zealand with that of America, it is possible that the proportion of subscribers is not much, if any, below that of the United States.
For the first time in the history of this Branch we have gone through the year without increasing our indebtedness to Brooklyn, and we are sure that in the amount contributed to the Tract Fund, etc., there is represented much noble sacrifice and methodical planning.
The friends in the various States have again undertaken to write wrappers for the posting of the PEOPLE'S PULPIT to each house in the country, and in N.S.W., W.A., S.A., Queensland and Tasmania they have also undertaken to pay the postage. This might have been added to the Tract Fund contribution if we had particulars.
We believe that the Classes are growing in numbers as well as in interest and grace. We are realizing more and more that the day of our deliverance is not far distant, and this inspires us the more earnestly to seek to be ready for the great consummation of our hopes.
No doubt a visit here by you would do us all a great deal of good. We hope it may be the Lord's will for you to come.
We are glad that Brother Hollister is on his way, and will arrive in time to spend Christmas with us. Our Christmas Convention promises to outdo anything that we have previously held. These Conventions have been a source of great encouragement, and have given an impetus to the work.
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There has been a steady flow of inquiries from the output of the PEOPLE'S PULPIT, and we now have about 1,300 names on the subscription list, many of whom take a number of copies each month for distribution. We believe that one copy of the social number has been delivered, either by mail or by hand, to every house in Australia and New Zealand. While the expense is great the result is splendid.
We are looking forward with hope to the opportunities of the New Year. We know not what may be in store for us, but we are resolved to endeavor to trace the Lord's will, and to trust in His grace for help in every time of need. It seems that the coming year is bound to be full of testings, and one feels how much he needs to guard his heart in all humble loyalty and faithfulness if he is to come off an overcomer and share in the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We are yours in the service of Christ,
Australasian Branch W. T. B. & T. Soc'y.
R. B. NICHOLSON, Sec'y.
SOUTH AFRICAN BRANCH REPORT
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Once again it is my privilege to submit the Annual Report re the progress of the Harvest Work in Africa. While there has not been an increase in the number of volumes put out from this office, still I am convinced that the influence of the Truth in South Africa is greater than it was twelve months ago.
Since that time we have added eight newspapers to the list of those publishing the Sermons in this sub-continent. The sermons are now in circulation in eleven papers and in four different languages. We frequently hear from readers who, having received blessing through the Sermons, are anxious to inquire further into the Truth.
During the year the work among the natives has advanced considerably. A class of about fifty Zulus has been gathered out by Brother Tshange. This work is receiving our special attention and, with the aid of the recent issue of the Zulu tract, "Where Are the Dead?" we hope to see the class grow still further.
The work among the white population continues to enjoy the Lord's blessing. Class meetings are now held at Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Balfour and Pt. Elizabeth.
There is one brother colporteuring in the Cape Province and he is meeting with fair success. A dear brother from Durban is, at my suggestion, spending his holiday with the brethren at Johannesburg, to help build them up in the knowledge of the Truth. His services are much appreciated by the brethren there.
During the year I have made two Pilgrim tours, one in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and one in the Eastern Province of Cape Colony. Reports of both of these are already in your hands.
We are duly impressed by the thought that we have entered what may be the last year of the Harvest Work, and earnestly desire grace and strength to embrace every opportunity for service ere the Night close down. The financial and statistical report for 1913 is enclosed. Asking for a continued remembrance in your prayers, I am with much love to yourself and to all the dear brethren,
Your brother and co-laborer, WM. W. JOHNSTON.
1913 SUMMARY FOR SOUTH AFRICA.
Bibles sold at cost.......................... 45
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.................... 1,264
DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA......................... 204
Other Bible-help booklets.................... 1,053
Free papers.................................. 47,632
Letters despatched........................... 1,197
Meetings held................................ 325
::R5396 : page 44::
"WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS"
--MARCH 1.--`LUKE 12:13-34`.--
"Where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also."--`V.34`.
JESUS was surrounded by a multitude of Jews, one of whom, recognizing Him as influential, requested that He admonish his brother to give him a share of the family inheritance. Jesus declined, saying that He was not a judge or a divider. It would be well if the followers of Jesus would follow their Master in this, as well as in other matters. Too many are disposed to be busybodies in other men's matters, and overlook the fact that their commission of the Lord is to preach the Gospel.
Society has provided certain rules, laws and regulations --"the powers that be are ordained of God." Whatever these laws will not accord us we should let drop. We should be content with such things as we have and such things as Divine providence insures us. As Jesus had another work to do, so have His followers. That other work is the preparation for the glorious Messianic Kingdom. The riches which it promises us so far transcend all earthly riches as to make them appear, as St. Paul declared, loss and dross, not worthy to be compared with the blessed things our Lord promises.
Jesus backed up His refusal to intervene with a caution against covetousness. This implies that the estate properly belonged to the brother, and that the one who addressed Jesus desired more than his legal rights. He was coveting that which legally belonged to another. Jesus would have him, and us all, see that the abundance of earthly possessions, wealth, is not the sum of life. A man may be miserable while rolling in wealth, or he may be happy in comparative poverty. The basis of happiness is measured by the soul's relationship to God and hope in Him.
The Jews were a typical people--Natural Israel, in comparison to Spiritual Israel of this Gospel Age. God's promise to Natural Israel was that if they would keep the Law, they would inherit the Promise made to Abraham, and be used by God as His Kingdom to bless the world. Their difficulty was that, being sinners like the remainder of men, they were unable to keep the Divine requirements, hence were not qualified to be used of God as His Kingdom for scattering His blessings to the nations. Nevertheless, the hope of the Kingdom was the thing ever uppermost in their minds, sought for by all of them.
Jesus came into the world to give Himself a "Ransom for all" (`1 Timothy 2:6`), and to begin the work of calling and drawing "Israelites indeed," to constitute His associates in the Messianic Kingdom. He could, and did, keep the Law perfectly, and additionally, laid down His life sacrificially for Adam and his race. This sacrifice permitted Him to make good for the unintentional shortcomings of all "Israelites indeed," in whom was no hypocrisy. While they could not keep the Law and thus obtain the Kingdom, they could by accepting Christ have the righteousness of the Law imputed to them, and thus be acceptable with God. Hence Jesus' preaching was wholly along the lines of the Kingdom to the people who had for centuries been striving to approve themselves to God as worthy to constitute that Kingdom. The first opportunity for membership in the Kingdom class was granted to the Jewish people; and only in proportion as they rejected the favor did it pass beyond them to the Gentiles. As St. Paul said to some, "It was necessary that the Gospel should first be preached to you; but seeing ye reject the grace of God,...lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (`Acts 13:46`.) In view of these facts, we see that the teachings of Jesus were not addressed to the world, but to people who claimed to have separated themselves from the world, and to be seeking or desiring to attain a joint-heirship in the Messianic Kingdom.
Indeed, the entire teaching of the New Testament is to such persons. These alone have the hearing ear; and we are instructed that "He that hath an ear, let him hear." Again, we are instructed that the Gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to the meek, the humble, the broken-hearted; for only these are in any sense of the word prepared to receive the Message. All others are blind and deaf to the Gospel of the Kingdom. All who do not now hear or see will have their eyes and ears opened by and by, during Messiah's Reign, because He tasted death for every man. But such will fail entirely as respects the glorious High Calling of this Gospel Age--the Kingdom.
"SOUL, TAKE THINE EASE"
Our Lord gave a parable illustrating the comparative foolishness of all earthly ambitions. This does not mean that earthly ambitions are the worst things; but rather that they are poor in comparison to the one great possibility, the Kingdom. It is a pearl of great value, to obtain which all other pearls--all other valuables, all other ambitions, and all other hopes--are to be set aside, and counted as dross.
The parable tells of a rich farmer who, instead of using his riches in doing good, was miserly--taking pleasure in accumulations. He built greater barns and storehouses, and consoled himself with the thought that he had plenty and more than enough, and could thenceforth take his ease. The parable points out that ere long he died. We query, What advantage did the man really have through his accumulation of great wealth, which he failed to use? He left it for others to quarrel over, and possibly to be more or less injured by. He was a foolish rich man. Instead of leaving his wealth thus, he should have enjoyed himself in spending it wisely for the good of others and to the glory of God. Thus he would have been rich toward God. But on the other hand, he was an illustration of those who are not rich toward God; for he laid up his treasure for self.
Many read into this parable things that it does not contain. They infer that the rich man went to eternal torment, but nothing in the Lord's words so intimates. The expression, "this night shall thy soul be required of thee," signifies this night you lose your life--you die in poverty. Earthly riches will be of no account to you in the future if you have not laid up spiritual riches in the heart, in the mind and in good works, which would make you rich in the future.
That rich man, instead of being benefited by the riches which he accumulated, will in the future life be disadvantaged. He might have used his riches sacrificially, or he might have consecrated his entire life to God through Christ and then faithfully laid down time, talent, opportunities, wealth. Thus he would in the same proportion have been laying up treasures in Heaven, so that in the resurrection he would have been received of the Lord as a faithful follower, to share His glory, honor and immortality --to be a member of His Kingdom class, whose commission it will be for a thousand years to scatter the Divine blessings secured by the death of Jesus to all of Adam's race.
That rich man, having missed his opportunities, will nevertheless come forth during Christ's Millennial Kingdom;
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for we read that all that are in their graves shall hear His voice and come forth. But instead of coming forth approved, to a share in the First Resurrection, he will come forth disapproved of God, and his resurrection opportunities will be those described as the Resurrection of Judgment. (`John 5:29`, R.V.) He will come forth to shame and contempt, which will continue until he shall, under the judgments of that time, learn his lesson and form a better character; or, refusing so to do, he will be cut off in the Second Death.
SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM
We are not to understand the good Teacher to mean that we are to look amongst the kingdoms of earth hoping to find one of them His Kingdom. On the contrary, He informs us that His Kingdom is future. "My Kingdom is not of this world"--this order of things. (`John 18:36`.) For His Kingdom, God's Kingdom, we pray, "Thy Kingdom come." We hope, we wait, we prepare, for that Kingdom. We are to seek it in the sense of seeking to do those things which will make us "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." We are to lay up treasures in Heaven. We are to use our pounds and our talents so wisely that at the Second Coming of the Savior, when He calls first for His servants and reckons with them, we may not only be amongst His servants, but hear His "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord"--the Kingdom joys--"Have thou dominion over two cities" or "five cities."
There is one definite procedure for those who would be heirs of the Kingdom. (1) They must recognize themselves as sinners, unworthy of Divine notice. (2) They must recognize Jesus as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (3) They should realize that while His sacrifice is the basis for the ultimate cleansing of the world, the reconciliation of all the willing and obedient to God, nevertheless that work has not yet begun. That work is to be accomplished by Him during the thousand years of His Kingdom Reign. (4) They are to hear the Lord's Message declaring that He is now seeking the members of the Kingdom class, and that the way to membership is a narrow way. "Whosoever will be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me, and where I am there shall My disciple be." They are to realize that the testing of this class is through much tribulation; that God is calling for not only saints, but those whose saintship will endure fiery trials, testings, in respect to their love for God and for the brethren, and in respect to their loyalty, even unto death.
From the time of making their full consecration to be the Lord's servants, faithful unto death in the service of righteousness, they will regard that Heavenly Kingdom as the great treasure beyond all comparison of value.
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They will seek it daily, hourly. Their hearts will be there --with the treasure. It will be the theme of their thoughts by day and of their meditations by night. Earthly occupations will still be necessary to them, in order to provide things needful and honest; but no earthly prize will have any value in comparison to the Heavenly prize, in their estimation. Such will be the successful heirs of the Kingdom which God hath promised to those that love Him more than they love houses or lands, parents or children or self.
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THE FAITHFUL ARE WATCHFUL
--MARCH 8.--`LUKE 12:35-48`.--
"Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching."--`V.37`.
TODAY'S lesson continues the Master's exhortations to His faithful ones--that they prepare themselves for His "Well done!" and the participation with Him in His Kingdom. He had said, "Fear not, Little Flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." (`V.32`.) The Lord purposely left His followers without definite information respecting the time for the establishment of His Kingdom. He had illustrated the interim of time between His going and returning in the Parable of the Talents. He as the Master had left His servants in charge of His goods while He went to a far country, even Heaven itself, to be invested with the Kingdom authority; and at an appropriate time He would return to receive His servants, and according to their faithfulness would make them sharers with Him in His Kingdom, and then would begin His rule over His subjects, for their blessing and uplift out of sin and death conditions--for their deliverance from the reign of Sin and Death.
REGARDING THE LORD'S SECOND PRESENCE
Today's lesson opens with a parable. If in a great house, the master were about to be married and to bring home his bride, the servants would on that particular night be especially active, wakeful, attentive, that they might receive their lord with proper attention. They would not know exactly the time of their master's coming; but they would be continually on the alert that they might hear his knock and open instantly. So Jesus declared all of His followers should be on the alert for His Second Coming. It was not that He would bring His Bride with Him, rather He comes that He may receive His Bride here. Indeed, the faithful servants are then to be made the Bride, according to the other picture.
The thought is that Jesus' followers should take their ideals of alertness from the extremest experience of earthly service. Jesus intimated that His followers might be looking for Him sooner than He would come, saying that if He shall come in the second watch or in the third watch or whenever, blessed are those servants if he finds them watching for Him, alert, ready to receive Him. He declared that He will grant such servants a special honor. He will gird Himself, make Himself their servant, and cause them to sit down to a sumptuous feast which He will provide.
This Bible students understand to signify that at the Parousia of Jesus, His Second Presence, He will first of all make Himself known to His faithful followers, while the world in general will be ignorant of the fact that He has come. His manifestation to the world will come later; as we read, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire"--judgments. When He shall appear [to the world], we [the Church] shall appear with Him in glory.--`Colossians 3:4`.
It is our Lord's Parousia that is described in today's lesson--His earliest manifestations of His Second Advent. The world will see Him not, and know not of His presence, and His Church will know of His presence only by His "knock"--by the intimations given in the Scriptures-- the fulfilment of prophecy. It will then be for the watchful ones to recognize this fulfilment, and by faith to open their hearts and minds promptly to acknowledge the Master's presence and all that Presence implies of the nearness of His Kingdom and of the proving of all who will be found faithful, worthy to share in that Kingdom as members of His Bride.
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For such as receive Him He will make a feast. Out of the Divine Word He will bring things new and old, for their refreshment and comfort. The Bible will become to them a new Book; they will feast upon the riches of God's grace, and the dark things will become clear, the hidden mysteries shall be revealed. The Master Himself will be the Servant, the Revealer, the Setter-forth of these viands of Truth. Many Bible students believe that we are now living in this very time; and that each faithful, watchful follower of Jesus will be granted a hearing of the knock and the privilege of participating in this feast, which many tell us they are now enjoying.
"But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken into." The great Teacher here intimates that Satan, the Prince of this world, is the master of the present order of things on earth; and that at His Second Coming He will bind this strong man, or master of the present order, and overturn present institutions and establish instead the long-promised Reign of Righteousness. It will be this thorough transition from the Reign of Sin and Death to the Reign of Righteousness and Life, which will cause the great Time of Trouble mentioned everywhere throughout the Bible as marking the closing of this Gospel Age--"a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation."--`Daniel 12:1`; `Mark 13:8`; `Matthew 24:21`.
Here and elsewhere Jesus speaks of His Second Coming as thief-like. The thought is that He will be present for a time, unobserved by the world, known only to the Bride class, the salt of the earth, whom He will remove-- changing them from earthly nature to Heavenly. `Verse 40` confirms this thought, and instructs all the Lord's faithful that they should be ready for His presence, to render up at any hour their accounts and experience the change.
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"TO GIVE THEM THEIR PORTION"
St. Peter was perplexed. Was this parable especially for the Apostles, that they should watch, etc., or was it for all the people? he inquired. But the Lord did not answer him directly. He merely assured St. Peter that at the appropriate time the Lord would appoint a steward over His household, to give them their portion of food in due season. This is not very different from what has been the Lord's usual method of dealing with His family. While a measure of the Spirit is given to each for his profit; and while the Holy Spirit thus given is to guide the recipient into a knowledge of the things of God, nevertheless the Lord has been pleased to use special instrumentalities at various times.
For instance, St. Peter apparently for a time was a leader amongst the Apostles, in opening the Pentecostal door, and later in opening the door to the Gentiles-- preaching to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. Later on, the Lord seems to have specially chosen St. Paul to be His particular messenger to the Gentiles; as we read, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name unto the Gentiles." (`Acts 9:15`.) Similarly Enoch, Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, and others during this Gospel Age, have seemed to be especially used of the Lord to draw the attention of His people to His Word. In the case of the Apostles, there was of course a plenary or special inspiration, which does not appertain to others of this Age since.
While the Lord has thus appointed special servants in handing to His household meat in due season at various times, it was required of each one who would partake that he should prove, test, determine whether or not the teaching was of God. He was to prove all things by the written Word of God, which the Apostle Paul declared is sufficient that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished. Any servant not found faithful, it is intimated, would be supplanted by another.
The servant at the end of the Age, at the time of the Master's coming, if found faithful, would be especially blessed, and be given a general charge respecting the spiritual food to the Lord's family, the "meat in due season." But if he should prove unfaithful and fail to recognize the Master's presence, and manifest an unkind spirit toward the household, ministering to his own earthly wants rather than to the spiritual needs of the family of God, he would be removed in that day--cut asunder, separated, allowed to go into outer darkness with the world in general, in utter ignorance of the times and seasons, etc., of his Lord. The assumption is that the displacement of the one servant would mean the recognition of another to supply the Household of Faith.
On the basis of this parable the Lord explained a general principle of His dealings; viz., that any servant, knowing his Master's will and not doing in harmony therewith, would receive stripes, punishments, tribulations, of some sort, in proportion to the degree of his knowledge and opportunity. On the other hand, any servant, even if he did things worthy of stripes, yet did them ignorantly, would receive proportionately fewer stripes. In a word, the general principle is that "to whom much is given, of him much is required."
OUR GOLDEN TEXT
The heart of this lesson is found in `Verse 37`, which refers to all of the Lord's servants who will be living at the time of His Second Coming--who in the earliest stages of His Second Coming, in the time of His Parousia, His presence, will be faithfully watching, on the alert to serve every interest of the Lord's cause, seeking His will, doing His will, searching the Scriptures, obeying the Scriptures, to the best of their ability. These will be informed to a certain degree respecting the time in which they will be living, as the Apostle points out, saying: "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." "Ye are all children of the light, children of the Day." "For the Day of the Lord shall so come as a thief in the night, in the which they [the world] will say, Peace and safety; and they [the world] shall not escape [the tribulations of that day]." "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day shall overtake you as a thief." "Ye are all children of the light, children of the Day." (`1 Thessalonians 5:1-8`.) "Let us therefore walk, not in darkness, but in the light."
The secrecy observed respecting the time and the manner of the Second Coming of Jesus will prove to be a strong test. All of the Lord's consecrated ones who are overcharged with the cares of this life--business, pleasure, etc.--will be slow to hear the knock; and even when they hear, they will be too much engrossed to give heed.
However, there will be a great blessing on those servants whom the Lord at that time shall find watching-- not watching the sky, as though they would see Jesus, when He is now a spirit being, invisible to humanity, but watching the Bible testimonies, watching the trend of the times, watching their own hearts, watching also the interests of the Church of God, seeking to build one another up in the most holy faith, laying aside every weight and every besetting sin. Let all of us who claim to be virgins --pure ones--who claim to be the Lord's servants as well as His brethren--let us be found of Him in peace, seeking first the Kingdom of God and the righteousness which it inculcates; let us be found alert, watching for opportunities of usefulness in the proclamation of the Kingdom Message, and in helping the Bride to make herself ready. --`Revelation 21:9`; `19:7`.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
HEARD HIM LECTURE SEVENTY TIMES
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Just a little anniversary note: Twelve years ago today, in Marten's Hall, St. Louis, I met and heard you for the first time--having since listened to you seventy times.
You discoursed that day on THE RESURRECTION OF THE GOOD UNTO LIFE, AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE EVIL UNTO DAMNATION. One of my eyes was opened by the unreasonableness of a twenty-four hour Judgment Day, as exposed by you--a sort of a burlesque on my Methodist training. The other eye was opened by the reasonableness of the Scriptural Thousand-Year Day of Judgment, which you explained.
I had been reading THE WATCH TOWER about five months, and had "gathered in" a little of its Message, as indicated by the notations on their margins; but I think the impression made on me that day fixed upon me, somehow, a determination to know God--to study His revealed Word. What it would lead to, of course, I could not comprehend. But I thank our dear Heavenly Father for His merciful and patient leading. I thank Him for the great responsibilities which are now mine! I am happy to be in the Truth and to know the Spirit of the Lord; and my earnest prayer is for wisdom to properly manifest in my daily life the fruits and graces of that Spirit.
I wish to express to you my gratitude for your helpfulness all along the way. I love you for it. I pray daily for the all-sufficient grace to you-ward--for the Heavenly Father to sustain and cheer you, and to make you the happiest of men. Your confidence in, and loyalty to, Almighty God has borne much fruit for others as well as for yourself, and will certainly meet with a great reward--shortly.
Somehow--I don't know how--I thought I could see a climax to culminate in the Seventh Volume, and from the first I have prayed that God might prepare my heart for that Seventh Volume. This Harvest Message as a whole has included so much. I feel confident that this great anticipation for the consummation of the Divine Plan of the Ages, in narrowing down the rays of prophecy and Present Truth to the focal-point, "It is Done," has carried me over many bridges where rails, ties and pillars had been removed.
I am praising God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Father, for an appreciation of, and a participation in, the Precious Blood! With tenderest love to my Pastor, I remain,
Your fellow-servant in Christ, C. E. STEWART.
EXPERIENCE OF TWO COLPORTEURS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Having heard of an experience of two Colporteur sisters, I thought that I would acquaint you with the same; for a word from you in THE WATCH TOWER would prevent a recurrence in other places.
These two sisters, both of them full of zeal, had gone to canvass a town assigned to them. There is a small Class in the town; so they first sought to get acquainted with its members.
The town had been canvassed before, and bitter opposition had been aroused by the preachers and others. Instead of encouraging the sisters, the Class commenced to tell them that it would be no use to canvass there--"Why, you will not sell any books here," etc.
This discouraged them for a time; but realizing that they were in the Lord's work, and looking to Him for strength, they determined to go forth and colporteur in His name and strength.
The result was that in ten weeks they took orders for 1550 volumes and delivered the most of them, as well as assisting with a series of four meetings. If these sisters had followed the advice of the Class, this splendid opportunity for witnessing would have been lost.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you in all your ways and His presence be with you to the end!
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THE WATCH TOWER is getting better and better as we near the end; and how precious are its lessons to all! As we visit each place we hear many expressions of appreciation from the friends. I close with Christian love.
Your loving brother in Christ, THOS. P. YATES.
SWORD OF TRUTH FLASHING RIGHT AND LEFT
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Wherever I go, among college men or others, I find Present Truth permeating remarkably, able financial and business men even conceding that an unparalleled panic is coming. Great numbers advance some of Present Truth that must have come from the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, and do not know where it came from. This demonstrates to my mind that these fundamental truths which are to unify all the human race are making rapid advance beyond those of the ideas of federation that are now operating to some extent among the denominations. Ashamed of the spectacle of a house divided against itself, as nominal Christendom is, they are striving for an impossible unity, which at best can be but nominal.
The triumph of Truth is now beginning to show a glorious reality; thanks be to our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus, and to you, the faithful under-shepherd, and to all of the coworkers for the Kingdom of Heaven!
Standing on the "sea of glass" we are lost in wonder as we see clearly this mighty conflict--the Sword of Truth flashing right and left, forcing out the Adversary from his refuge of lies. The words of a poet, "Lean far out into silence and listen for the thunder of the voice of God," have now a literal application for those who have the hearing ear. Marvelous!
Surely Satan is being bound! Longing for that Day when Truth shall triumph, the whole groaning creation have cried in hope,
"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers." O glorious Day! At last it has come--literally in sight!
Your Brother trying to help in the Harvest work,
NEWTON T. HARTSHORN.--N.H.
FOUND "THE STUDIES" HER PANACEA
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
"My lines are fallen in pleasant places; my soul rejoices in the Lord."
But there was a time when I thought the Lord had forgotten me. In years past I was a diligent Bible student, and discovered many buried truths of the Bible and errors of the teachings of the system, such as the two phases of the Kingdom, the inconsistency of the Trinity doctrine, etc. But yet I believed in the immortality of the soul and a literal hell--not eternal though. You can better imagine my confusion than I can describe it.
I still clung to the Bible; would rather die than reject it, but being unable to divide the Word of God rightly, I felt that death was sure if I could not be delivered from confusion.
The precious volumes were the appointed helps. Five years ago the first volume came to my hands. I took to it for doctrinal help only; but how surprised, how joyful, how grateful I was when I discovered the spiritual food! As my cup up to that time had overflowed with consuming controversies, it now overflowed with heart-reviving blessings.
Your sister in the Grace of our Lord, HANNAH HEGGE.
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THINKS "WATCH TOWER" TIMED TO MINUTE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
A deep sense of appreciation to the Lord for the results of your labors in His name, particularly for the many blessings I am receiving from the reading of back TOWERS, and especially from the one just finished (June 1, 1900), urges me to express my thanks to you and to the Lord. I never received so much in such a short space as in this WATCH TOWER. It seemed as if almost every paragraph was written specially for me and timed right to the minute. I notice in so many of the letters written by the dear friends that questions which perplexed them were so often answered in the next TOWER, without suggestion. I have the same experience, both with the current TOWERS and the old ones; in fact, some of my experiences and the reading following them have startled me by their remarkable evidence of the Lord's leading and Providence.
Some of the letters are so inspiring, and it is so interesting to watch the Truth grow! I read a little faster than a year's WATCH TOWERS a month, so while I have lost many blessings in experiences, yet the Lord makes up to me in this way.
I have recently seen a little souvenir with your picture and some quotations, with comment. It touched me deeply, and I hope to get some when I place my next order.
My wife (Sister H.) continues to make beautiful progress along the narrow way, and is truly a great help and inspiration to me. In harmony with comment on the MANNA text for Sept. 1, we are very thankful to God for the leading He provides for us. It is our prayer that you may be kept faithful and strong till all the Divine pleasure may be fully accomplished in you. May we all meet soon in the General Assembly of the Church of the first-borns!
Your brother in hope, W. E. HULLINGER.