|VOL. XXIII.||DECEMBER 1, 1902.||No. 23.|
|Views from the Watch Tower||355|
|The Church as the Maker of the World's Conscience||355|
|Sees Industrial War Ahead||357|
|The Mountain of the Lord's House||357|
|"Speak, Lord; for thy Servant Heareth."||359|
|Christmas Hopes and Joys||362|
|Review of the Year||365|
|"The Lord is My Shepherd."||365|
'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1
Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
It is our intention that the Volunteer matter shall always go to destination prepaid, and this is our contract with the printer who is shipping them for us. Should you at any time be charged for the transportation you will now know that it is a mistake, and will please advise us at once that we may have the error corrected.
We have been delayed in sending out the small prophetic charts suitable for insertion in the new Bibles, on account of our printers. We hope to have these before long, and will make further announcement later.
MANY of the truths of the Gospel were "preached beforehand" in the types and shadows of the Jewish economy. In the service of the tabernacle in the wilderness were embodied the principles of the entire plan of salvation, based upon the sacrifice of Christ, as represented in the bullock whose blood, sprinkled upon the mercy seat, made atonement.
The significance of each article in the tabernacle, as well as of the sacrifices made therein, is set forth in TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES, a pamphlet of 120 pages, neatly bound and illustrated. We have this booklet in good supply now. Price, 10 cents, postpaid; 50 cents per dozen.
"In church and college, in society and in the press, rich men are honored and flattered and held up as models to be adored and imitated. The influence of all this, as any one can see, is to degrade the common morals; it is to set up a false ideal of life; it is to fire the imagination of the young with unholy and unworthy ambitions; it is to cast discredit on the poorer and humbler workers in the kingdom of God. Every careful student of modern society declares that the reign of commercialism has come, and with the reign of this commercialism there has come a sad confusion of moral values. This commercialism places money above life, and things before men. 'Our whole society,' says Felix Adler, 'is infiltrated with the money-getting idea.' There is danger lest a commercialism utterly destitute of moral and spiritual conceptions shall usurp the place which should be held by truer and Christlier ideals....
"Closely akin to this is another false ideal which is set up before the people for honor and imitation. As every one knows, the military ideal has held sway for untold ages over the minds and hearts of men, and the great men of history are largely military leaders and conquerors. How far militarism is necessary in an imperfect and evolving society it does not concern us here to inquire. The military captain no doubt has had his work to do in the world, and let him have his wreath of laurel leaves. But the military ideal, it is needless to say, is not the Christian ideal, and the two can never be completely harmonized."
Mr. Batten considers it the Church's duty to quicken the political conscience of the world; and considers it a dangerous sign that people have ceased to expect unselfishness in politics. He continues: –
"As every one knows, a double standard of morality prevails, and men have one kind of right for their personal and family lives, and a different kind of right for their political and commercial lives. All such things as sentiment, conscience and love are ruled out of politics, and we are told that the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount have nothing to do with a political campaign....The chancellor of the German empire has lately declared: 'I can not conduct foreign policy from the point of view of pure moral philosophy. It is not ours to ask what is right and what is wrong. The politician is no judge of morals; he has solely to maintain the interests and rights of his country.' Another man, not himself a practical politician, but a political philosopher, Professor Willoughby, declares: 'It is, in fact, quite superfluous to show in this age that from their own inherent nature divine and moral sanctions can have no application to political matters.' So long as such sentiments prevail in high places, it is not surprising that they should appear in low places. And so long as such sentiments prevail, whether in high places or in low, that long the church of Jesus Christ will have a most fiery and relentless mission."
Inquiring into the church's attitude on social questions, he declares that "in our time the power of Christianity is to be proved by its ability to create a Christian type of human society," and adds: –
"It is intolerable to all right religion that numbers of people should be miserable and needy while there is plenty to spare in the Father's house. No one who believes in Jesus Christ can believe that it is the will of the heavenly Father that one part of the human family shall go hungry and destitute while another part is living in luxury and ease. The most tragic fact about this poverty and ignorance is not the hunger [R3112 : page 356] and suffering, though these are sad enough. The saddest feature about it all is the waste of human life, the fact that the wonderful possibilities in these human brothers are never unfolded and realized. A social and industrial system in which one man controls thousands of lives and is possessed of millions of money; in which able-bodied men willing to work walk the streets in desperation looking for a job; in which thousands of women, owing to oppressive labor and small remuneration, are under a continual temptation to barter womanhood for gain; in which are tenements not fit for pig-sties where women fight with fever, and infants pant for air and wail out their little lives; in which the sweater's den and the grog-shop thrive – such a society is very far, indeed, from that order which God wishes and ordains."
"That may be; but hazardous to whom? To the preacher? All the real hazard to him arises from the fact that he is faithless to his trust. To the hearers? Would to God it were more hazardous to those who are guilty of the monstrous wrongs which hurt their fellows and hinder the kingdom of God!...
"The mission of the church is evident; the church's credentials are clear; the need of the world is great. Nothing could be more weak and pitiful than for the churches to confess that whole provinces of life lie beyond their interest. Nothing could be more cruel and cowardly than for the churches to say that they have no word to offer on the problems which make the peril and the opportunity of our time. Nothing could be more calamitous and short-sighted than for the churches to leave to outsiders, to unbelievers often, the discussion of current wrongs and the leadership in moral reform."
We admire Mr. Batten's zeal and courage for the right, but discern that, like many more, he is in trouble by reason of a misconception of the divine plan of the ages and the Church's mission thereunder.
The Church should, indeed, "lift up a standard for the people," the world; – in her pulpits, in her press, and in the "living epistles" of her people. But she is not to blame that the world in general will not follow her precepts and example. Did our Lord himself or his apostles transform politics? or reconstruct society? or abolish wars and injustices in their day? Assuredly not. Unsatisfactory as is the condition of things at present it was much worse for the poor "groaning creation" then. (Rom. 8:22.) Were our Lord and the apostles at fault then? By no means. Neither is the Church to blame that present conditions are what they are.
But perhaps Rev. Batten would reply: The conditions now are different from what they were in the days of the apostles; – now we have what we call the "Christian World" of Europe and America and in these lands of "Christendom"; surely we should expect Christian methods in politics, finance and society.
What folly, dear brother! Is it possible for us to deceive ourselves into thinking that the world is Christianized? Is it possible for us even to consider that the professed church-membership is Christianized? Surely the term Christian world is as much a misnomer as the term Christian Scientist. Calling worldliness Christianity no more makes it so than calling black white would change it.
The Church "whose names are written in heaven" consists only of those who have the spirit, mind, will, disposition of their Lord and Master, their Redeemer. These, today as ever, are but a "little flock" as compared to even the nominal church, and are scattered here and there throughout the sects, whose Babylonish, worldly, fleshly spirit troubles them, but whose wine of false doctrine deceives them. (Rev. 14:8; 17:2; 18:3.) Wherever they are, they are striving after and more and more attaining to the high ideals of their Teacher, whose word they hear, reverence and follow. During the absence of the Chief Shepherd the flock has become greatly scattered by "wolves," and misled by "goats" into various [R3113 : page 356] sectarian pens, where the wolf and goat influences are very unfavorable and trying to them; but they still remain sheep and still listen for the Shepherd's voice.
We are living now in the day of the Shepherd's return; – he is calling his sheep not into a different pen and bondage, but to Christian freedom, with himself. And they are hearing his voice, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4.) As at his first advent he gathered the Israelites indeed out of the Fleshly House, so now he will gather the same class out of the nominal Spiritual House. Then will his Kingdom come and his faithful have a share in it with their Lord.
Then, the social and moral and religious and political and financial standards of the world will be in their hands (I Cor. 6:2); with full power and authority to execute justice and judgment, and to lift up the poor and the needy, and him that hath no helper under the present regime of selfishness. But now, the true Church does not rule the world, but is an insignificant minority, charged by their Master to learn lessons in meekness, patience, faith and character-likeness to himself and merely to let their "light" shine before men whom they are forewarned they will be unable to influence to any appreciable extent; – because the darkness hateth the light and will refuse to be scattered by their tiny lamps, and will flee only when the Lord and his glorious Kingdom shall shine forth as the Sun of Righteousness. [R3113 : page 357]
The Church indeed is to have as correct standards as possible now, and to display these before the world. They have already modified and do continually modify the world's conscience and standards; but they cannot transform them. The few who are transformed become soldiers of the cross; – "not of the world" even as their Master was not of the world.
As for the world, it is probably no worse at heart than it has ever been; but it has greater opportunities than ever for exercising its selfishness: moreover the world is probably more sincere, more candid, less hypocritical than of yore, and with a greater freedom each encourages the other to speak and act more nearly out of the abundance of the heart than formerly. This, however, it cannot be denied is dangerous under present conditions. Full liberty is sure to be more or less dangerous to all except saints, – the true Church – and even they must keep constant guard, and realize that they are not their own – that they have given up their liberty to the Lord and become his bond-servants, at liberty only to do what he approves.
The Lord's people are not to forget that while they should live up to the spirit of the world's best laws, they may go much farther than these in many respects. These laws represent the world's ideals as respects justice and generosity and kindness and unkindness; and frequently fall far short of the Lord's standards. It is not enough, therefore, that we keep within the laws of man: it is for the true members of Christ to "lift up a standard for the people" – God's standard, the Golden Rule.
In morals, too, the Lord's people are not to measure themselves by the world's standards; but to remember that it is their duty as exponents of the divine standards to discern sin and meanness and selfishness in the bright light of the spirit of the Truth and to measure up to that as nearly as their imperfect bodies and their environment, with the Lord's grace assisting, will permit.
Dr. E. G. Hirsch sees in the struggle between the rich and powerful of America and the dependent classes the same conditions that existed in France just prior to the French Revolution. In a sermon delivered last night at Temple Israel, treating on the situation in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, he sounded a note of warning to the "men who so audaciously declare that the treasures of the earth are by unquestionable right their own, to have and to hold against all mankind."
"Our religion teaches," he said, "that a man's property is not his own, but is merely held by him in trust for the benefit of all. The powerful of earth should realize that we are in the midst of the same conditions that existed in France and which brought on the Revolution.
"The rich and powerful classes in France refused to take warning from what was going on about them and relied upon the power which they fancied they had. The Revolution came like the eruption of a volcano, and we in America should take warning.
"The proper social condition is not one where men crush down the multitudes and disregard their claims upon their consideration, but where wealth is so distributed and organized that social well-being is within the reach of all honest and virtuous men.
"In times past the police and military forces of the country have been willing to protect them. They forget that these forces are drawn from the very ranks of the people they are oppressing, and that their sympathies are naturally with their own people. Therefore if they continue to disregard the wishes of the people and to fling insults at them the time will come when their calls for protection will fall upon unheeding ears.
"It is a saddening thought that a 'captain of industry' could become so inflated with his own arrogance as to lay God-given claim to his holdings upon the earth. Such a man is but fanning the smoldering embers of hate, discontent and unrest, so that the prosperity for which he hopes will pay the penalty. If they are temporarily successful in their oppression they must expect the discontent and hatred of the conquered to continue to rankle and to burst forth anew as soon as the oppressed have rested and recruited their strength.– Chicago American.
The earth, the world, the seas and the floods, the hills and the mountains are all used here, as in numerous other instances, in a symbolic, and not in a literal sense, which would be absurd in this connection. The earth and the world represent the present social order of things, or human society as at present organized. The seas and the floods represent an increasingly large class of mankind which restlessly recoils against the restraints of the present social order and at times grows turbulent and threatening. The hills and mountains represent governments.
When the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, it will not be because all the kingdoms of this world will have been converted to God and purified, and their kings permitted to reign by the grace of God, as they now claim to do, and because all the now restless masses of men will have become docile and submissive to the present governing powers; but it will be as the prophet declares, because God will have "founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods." That is, the present earth, or social organization, and the present heavens, or ruling powers, will have passed away, and the new earth will be established upon the ruins of the old. When the waves of the restless sea-element of society shall have arisen in their might and overwhelmed the whole present social order, so that the wild and stormy sea of anarchy shall prevail everywhere, then, amidst the wreck and ruin, the desolation and universal despondency and despair, the voice of Jehovah will be heard, saying, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the [R3114 : page 358] earth." (Psa. 46:10). And out of the wild commotion of that stormy sea God will bring order and peace.
Instead of this restless sea of humanity he will found the new earth, the new order of things; yea, and he will firmly establish it upon [in place of] the floods; there he will establish his Kingdom "which cannot be moved." (Heb. 12:28). And he will set his King upon his holy hill of Zion and give to him the nations for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. (Psa. 2:6,8). Then, indeed, shall the King, the Lord's anointed, reign in righteousness and princes shall decree justice (Isa. 32:1); and, in consequence, there shall be abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. – Psa. 72:7.
There will then be but one Kingdom (mountain or hill) in all the world – the Kingdom of God; and his Anointed will be King in all the earth in that day. (Zech. 14:9). This hill or kingdom of the Lord is that to which the Psalmist refers when he raised the question, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place?" To ascend into the hill of the Lord is to come into his Kingdom as loyal and obedient subjects, as true citizens, worthy of all its blessings and privileges; and not as aliens and foreigners, having no part nor lot in the common interests and inheritance of all the true and loyal people of God, viz., eternal life and all its blessings of righteousness, peace and everlasting joy. Who indeed shall be counted worthy thus to ascend into the mountain of the Lord? "And who shall stand in his holy place?" The reference here is to the antitype of the typical temple of God, which, standing upon the top of Mount Zion, prefigured the glorious true temple, the Church of the living God, in Kingdom power and glory. Who shall stand in that holy place in that age of glory and blessing now so near at hand? – who shall be counted worthy to reign with Christ in his Kingdom?
The answer to both inquiries is the same "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." These will be the required qualifications for citizenship in the Kingdom, when the Kingdom is established; and they are also the qualifications required now of all those who would be heirs of that coming Kingdom. It will be observed that the qualifications mentioned are not those of faith (for faith in the gospel of the Kingdom, which includes faith in Christ the King and Redeemer, is implied in the desire to be in the Kingdom in any capacity); but the qualifications mentioned here are those of character. The Scriptures elsewhere make more specific mention of the necessary faith, but always implying a character consistent with the faith. (Acts 16:31; John 3:16,36). The prophet does not ignore faith, but points to that character which is the legitimate consequence of a true faith exercised unto godliness. A faith which does not produce character is null and void. (Jas. 2:17). Therefore it is plain that both the heirs and the subjects of the Kingdom of God must have that character which is both begotten and developed by the faith of the gospel; for if the faith of the gospel be held in unrighteousness there is no place in the Kingdom for any such. (Rom. 1:18). Let us consider the character-requirements here mentioned.
"Clean hands." – That means clean actions, clean conduct. If bad habits of any kind have been cultivated, they must be promptly forsaken. The hands must not be defiled with the holding of bribes, nor with the gain of oppression, and every evil thing must be resolutely put away. (Isa. 33:15). It is in vain that any profess loyalty to God and to his anointed King and Kingdom while they continue in a sinful course of action. Loyalty to the Kingdom signifies determined opposition to sin in all its forms and a firm resistance of it.
"A pure heart." – That signifies purity of will, intention or purpose, which, like the needle to the pole, always turns toward righteousness. Though some sudden or strong temptation may for an instant, through the weakness of the flesh, draw it to the right or to the left, yet quickly it recovers its normal position which is true to righteousness and truth. A pure heart loves righteousness and truth, and hates iniquity. It loves purity, and despises all that is impure and unholy. It loves cleanliness of person, of clothing, of language and of habits. It delights only in the society of the pure, and shuns all others, knowing [R3114 : page 359] that "evil communications corrupt good manners."
"Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity." – Pride is an abomination to the Lord and to all those who partake of his spirit. It is a weed which, if once permitted to take root in the heart, will soon crowd out every grace. The Psalmist says, "I hate vain thoughts"; and such should be our sentiments. The grace of humility, meekness, is one of the most beautiful that can adorn the character. It takes a sober estimate of personal qualifications, is not puffed up, does not behave unbecomingly, and seeks to exercise its talents, not for pride and vain glory, but for the joy of doing good. It is modest, candid and sincere, both in consideration of its own qualifications and those of others. What comfort and pleasure are found in the society of those possessed of such a spirit!
"Nor sworn deceitfully." – Those who make a solemn covenant with the Lord, and who thereafter wilfully despise or ignore it, have sworn deceitfully; and surely no such disloyal subjects can be admitted either to citizenship or heirship in the Kingdom of God. But those who, in this age, have made a solemn covenant with God and who are true to their covenant, even unto death, they shall ascend into the holy place, the temple of God – they shall be the heirs of the Kingdom, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; while all such, in the age to come, shall be recognized and privileged citizens of the Kingdom. These shall receive the blessings of the Lord promised in his Word. After first receiving the imputed righteousness of Christ through faith, they may, under divine grace, be made perfect in righteousness and worthy of eternal life.
This is the generation of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Men do not obtain these blessings without seeking them, nor without seeking them in God's way – through Christ, by humble reliance upon his finished work of redemption, and by the full consecration of all their ransomed powers of mind and body to his holy will, which is only our reasonable service.
Beloved, ye who are called by his grace to stand in his holy place, let us ponder these things. Are our hands clean and our hearts pure? are we humble and faithful to our covenant? Let us see that we meet these conditions, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus.
While the Lord has directed his children not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, nevertheless, where the yoking or marriage has occurred prior to their covenant with the Lord, he has arranged that the fruit of their marriage, their children, shall be accounted as the Lord's through the consecrated parent; and his blessing will accordingly be with the consecrated [R3114 : page 360] child regardless of the fact that one of its parents was an unbeliever. The Apostle clearly states this in I Cor. 7:14.
It is a serious error – and one into which some Christians have fallen – to suppose parentage to be dishonorable or sinful – some even claiming that "original sin" was of this sort. The Scriptures teach quite to the contrary, declaring that "marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled." We are to remember, too, that the divine plan for the propagation of the race was arranged and the command to multiply and fill the earth was given before sin entered the world – before the disobedience in Eden. The Apostle severely reprimands those "forbidding to marry," and distinctly says, in his letter to Timothy, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." – I Tim. 5:14.
Neither is this in conflict with his declarations in I Cor. 7, that "he that marrieth doeth well but he that marrieth not doeth better." In his letter to Timothy he is speaking of the younger persons of the congregation; whereas in his advice in Corinthians he is addressing such members of the Church as had made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and were seeking to run in the race course toward the mark for the prize. And our advice to others on this subject should be strictly along these inspired lines. The advice not to marry will usually be found helpful to those who have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, who will find that they can accomplish more in the Lord's service free, as far as possible, from earthly obligations and division of heart. But for others who are not "new creatures," though moral and well disposed, marriage is the reasonable and proper expectation of life according to divine arrangement; it should not be hindered, but should be counselled as wisely as possible.
We are to recognize a difference between the consecrated parents of Samuel and their prayers for a son, and the proper prayers of consecrated people of the present time. Only since Pentecost have the Lord's people been privileged to be "new creatures in Christ Jesus," begotten of the holy spirit; and such seek and pray for spiritual rather than natural children; – by spending their lives as did their Master seeking to transform children of the first Adam into spiritual children of God. It is in view of this, and when addressing spirit-begotten ones, that the Apostle declares that "he that marrieth not doeth better," – because he will, generally speaking, find the unmarried condition most favorable to his new ambitions.
Born in response to prayer and consecration, Samuel was, doubtless, a remarkable boy; and his parents showed the sincerity of their prayer in the fact that he was early brought to the high priest at Shiloh and formally presented to the Lord's service. We read that this was when he was "weaned," but are not to suppose that it was when as an infant he was weaned from the breast; but, rather, interpreting the word on a larger scale we should understand it was when he was weaned from his mother, in the sense of being able to get along without her care: this was probably when he was from ten to twelve years of age.
We are often surprised that Christian parents, begotten of the holy spirit, do not manifest more of this spirit which actuated the parents of Samuel. Many seemingly consecrated people hold back their most precious possessions, their children, from the Lord, and incline to devote them to some worldly calling in life – medicine, law, industry. Whether their course is prompted by too great humility or by too great selfishness, it is not our province to determine; but seemingly they either have not the faith to believe that the Lord would accept their offering, or they cherish, perhaps but half consciously, a desire to see their children prosper after the manner of the world, and fear that their consecration to the Lord might in some manner blight their earthly prospects. What a great mistake! Do not such parents know that it is their privilege to present themselves to the Lord and all they have, including their children? and do they not know, too, that "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it"? (Prov. 10:22.) Can they not realize that it is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness? and that greater happiness would accompany a devoted life, even though spent in poverty, than could come through any other course, even though surrounded by every luxury? Have they not learned these lessons from their own experiences? and can they not apply them likewise to their own children?
Samuel ministered to Eli in the temple; that is, he served the high priest – who was specially the Lord's servant and representative – in his dwelling apartments which were close by the tabernacle, – for the temple was not yet built. Samuel's parents, in thus subjecting him early in life to the duties of a servant, were really putting him in a most excellent school. In our opinion it is a mistake to suppose that the early years of life – from ten to eighteen – should be largely spent in play; not only is the wisdom of bringing children early into positions of responsibility, and, more or less, of routine and drudgery exemplified in the case of Samuel, but it is also exemplified in the cases of many of the prominent people of this land today. Mr. Carnegie, whose fame is world-wide, entered early upon the drudgery of life as a telegraph messenger. Mr. [R3114 : page 361] Edison, whose fame as an electrician is also world-wide, began life's drudgery as a newsboy. And thus it is in perfect accord with the experiences of today in worldly things that we perceive that the consecration of Samuel as a servant of Eli at an early age had probably much to do with the firmness and grandeur of his character when, subsequently, he became the Lord's prophet, and the last and the greatest of Israel's Judges.
Our observation is that there is no more common mistake made by parents than that of supposing their children could not understand or appreciate religious things properly at an early age – say twelve years. The experience of Samuel and our own experience and that of many others assure us that some of the deepest religious sentiments may be experienced as early as twelve years of age. This should be watched for by the parent and should be cultivated with much more care than they cultivate the tenderest flowers in their gardens. The flowers of veneration, spirituality, hope, faith, trust, in the child-mind need and should have tenderest care and watering and weeding and assistance. The parent by nature and by divine direction occupying a responsible position as gardener to these, must appreciate flowers in the hearts of his own family; and if he neglect his responsibilities he is culpable and will surely suffer, not only disappointment in respect to his children in the future, but suffer also in that he will be the loser of certain blessings in his own heart; because it is a part of the divine arrangement that he that watereth others shall himself be watered.
Public responsibilities and duties, and trying to save other people's children, can never excuse any Christian parent from his responsibilities toward his own children; nor can he shift his responsibilities upon Sunday School teachers. His neglect of duty will surely work to his own disadvantage as well as to the disadvantage of his offspring; and if in the past he has been negligent in this matter he cannot too soon rectify matters, though he will need to pray for and to seek to exercise greater wisdom necessary to overcome his past neglect.
The story of the Lord's first message to Samuel is beautiful in its simplicity. The boy evidently was accustomed to obeying the calls of Eli for various services at various times, and to this end had his sleeping apartments near by – Eli was advanced in life, about seventy-eight years of age. Three times the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, "Here am I," and went to Eli. It was after the third call that Eli instructed him to say, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."
The record is that for a long time such a message from the Lord had been "precious," that is, scarce: Eli, although a good man, and sincere and faithful and kind in his dealings with Samuel, had been too lax in his dealings with his own sons, who were priests and had much to do with the services of the tabernacle, and who, therefore, in every sense of the word should have been pious and exemplary men. The Lord had already sent Eli a warning message respecting his sons who were profligate and open transgressors, not only in financial affairs, but also in morals. Eli should have realized his responsibilities and should have checked their wrong course and, if necessary, should have dismissed them from the service of the tabernacle even though they were his own sons; but in proportion as he had grown weak in mind and body, they had grown strong, self-willed and impious, and the old man seems not to have had the necessary strength of character to deal with them. The Lord's message delivered to Samuel was in respect to Eli's family and the punishment that should come upon them for their sins, which were much more grievous in view of the fact that they were the exemplars and instructors of the people.
Eli's experience with his wayward sons calls for our sympathy; yet doubtless in some respects, at least, he brought his difficulties upon himself by reason of his neglect of the early training of them in the ways of the Lord, in the ways of his righteousness. Doubtless he often looked at the faithful lad who ministered to him so patiently and industriously, and wished that his sons had been of similar disposition; but the time so to wish advantageously and profitably was long gone by; they should have been begotten in the spirit of consecration, and trained in conformity therewith, and the Lord's Word for it is that when they were old they would not have departed from it. There is a lesson for parents here, too; the fact that the Lord's service is to be considered of primary importance and is to be defended even at the expense of their own flesh and blood.
In the morning Samuel hesitated to tell his kind master, Eli, the unfavorable message he had received of the Lord in the night; but Eli was anxious to know whatever the Lord had to say, and importuned until Samuel told him all. There is a good lesson here for the Lord's people – a lesson of humility and kindness; the lad might have felt puffed up to think that the Lord, who so seldom spoke to any, had now spoken to him; he might have felt himself honored and above Eli, in that the message spoke of the discomfiture of the latter; pride might have made him boastful and inconsiderate of the feelings of his master so that he would have taken delight in telling him of the calamities that would come, and how greatly he had been honored of the Lord. Samuel, on the contrary, exhibited the spirit of meekness, apparently not even considering the honor that had come to him; but, rather, sympathizing [R3114 : page 362] with his master he would have preferred not to burden his heart with the message of calamity.
The Lord is speaking now to some of his faithful ones through his Word, through his "knock" (Rev. 3:20), which tells us of his presence, through the signs which mark the incoming of the new dispensation: are any disposed now to be haughty and proud and boastful because the Lord has permitted them to hear his voice and to know something of his plan and of the calamities coming upon Babylon? Should they not rather be filled with humility so that self would be lost sight of entirely? Should not all favored of the Lord speak of the trouble coming upon Babylon sympathetically, with a disposition to assist to an escape, rather than a disposition to gloat over and rejoice in coming troubles in which present systems will be completely overthrown?
The Lord speaks in our day in a different manner from that in which he spoke in olden times: as the Scriptures declare, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." (Heb. 1:1,2.) The Word of the Lord is still precious and scarce in that it is not, at the present time, given to all, but only to a certain class; as it is written, "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear." The majority of mankind have no ear to hear at the present time, no eye to see the glorious beauty of God's plan. As the Apostle explains, "The god of this world hath blinded their minds" – earthly things, earthly ambitions, earthly hopes, earthly calls and voices, distract their attention, fill their capacity; but blessed are our eyes for they see, and our ears for they hear, and blessed shall we be if, like Samuel, when we hear the Lord's message we respond promptly, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." Such as thus respond shall be taught of God – by the Word of his grace, – the words of the Lord Jesus, and the words of his inspired apostles – instructed and guided in the understanding of these through the holy spirit, through the various helps and channels and agents which the Lord is pleased to use – perhaps a tract, perhaps a book, perhaps a letter, perhaps a conversation, perhaps a sermon.
He who would continue to be taught of the Lord, must continue to listen for his voice, continue to be in the hearing and obeying attitude of heart. The difficulty with some apparently is that their own wills are not fully extinct, dead – that their consecration is not complete; hence while consecrated enough to wish not to disobey the Lord's voice, they have certain ideas of their own respecting what his voice should say, and they prefer to interpret his message in conformity to their own preferences: they will to do more or less their own wills, and will to hear the Lord's voice directing them in accordance with their own wills. This is a most dangerous situation and is generally accompanied by self-conceit and self-assertion and will ultimately lead far from the Christian's goal. Let each of us resolve by the Lord's grace that we will out of honest heart continually seek to hear the pure Word of God, and that with a desire to obey it as far as we are able.
Our confidence in Jesus that he was the sent of God, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Deliverer of his people, rests not merely upon the testimony of the apostles in the New Testament records, wonderful and convincing as these testimonies are: they gain nine-tenths of their weight and importance from the fact that they evidence the fulfilment of promises, types and prophecies given by the Lord with more or less explicitness from time to time throughout the preceding 4,000 years. He who does not discern something, at least, of the divine plan of the ages in connection with our Savior, his birth, his three and one-half years' ministry, his sacrificial death, his resurrection, his ascension, etc., fails to get the real strength of the divine revelation, designed by the Lord to be the firm foundation for his people's confidence in him and in all the glorious things which he has promised he would yet accomplish through this great Savior.
Note the original promise of the Savior shortly after sin had wounded our first parents and brought them under divine sentence. (Gen. 3:15.) Note the promise made to Abraham respecting Messiah that he should be of his posterity. (Gen. 22:18.) Notice the same to Jacob. (Gen. 28:14.) To David. (2 Sam. 7:12-16.) [R3115 : page 363] Through Isaiah the prophet, his coming and his greatness are foretold. (9:6,7; 11:1-9.) Daniel, the prophet, also refers to the importance of his work of making an end of sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness, and thus sealing the visions and prophecies which the Lord had just given respecting him and the favor to come through him. (Dan. 9:24.) We recall also how he was typified in Isaac who was not only the heir of the promises made to Abraham, but who was also in a figure put to death and received again from the dead. We remember also the types and figures of the Mosaic arrangement, and how Moses himself was declared to be like unto the greater one to come after him.
Had the hopes of Israel been merely concoctions to deceive the people, we may be sure that the deceiver would have been careful to have marked out some remarkable line of parentage for the coming Messiah; – free from blights, scandals, etc.; but this was not done; instead, the weaknesses of the flesh amongst our Lord's progenitors are fearlessly noted. Judah, the son of Jacob, and head of the tribe from which our Lord sprang, was not above reproach and his general character was faithfully portrayed; his son, Phares, through whom our Lord's lineage runs, was born of an unlawful union. Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, a foreigner who became an Israelite indeed, was amongst our Lord's progenitors; so was Ruth, the Moabitess, another foreigner adopted as an Israelite. The line even through David is compromised by coming through Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah, the Hittite. The New Testament writers are similarly candid and make no hesitation in recording the genealogy. All of this is in full accord with the scriptural presentation of the matter; namely, that our Lord's virtue, his sinlessness, his separateness from sinners, was not through the flesh, not through his mother, but through his Father, God.*
According to the flesh, Jesus Christ took hold of the seed of Abraham, as the Apostle explains; but as we have already seen, through various circumstances he was indirectly related also to the outside world. All of this is interesting to us, but nothing to be compared to our still greater interest in the fact that our Lord Jesus, although born a Jew under the Law, and redeeming those who were under the Law, did more than this, in that his death as planned by the Father and accepted by himself was a propitiation "for the sins of the whole world." He died as the ransom price for Adam and his sin, and thus purchased from condemnation not only Adam, but his entire posterity involved through his transgression; hence, as the Apostle points out, "He is able to save [deliver] unto the uttermost all who come unto God through him." (Heb. 7:25.) Not only so, but our Lord's circumstances of birth and early experiences in comparative poverty as a working man, impress us with the thought that he is indeed able to sympathize with mankind in every station of life; having passed from the glory of the Father to the lowest condition of humanity and back again, he is surely able to appreciate and to sympathize with all conditions and classes.
The narrative of our lesson is so simple as to require few comments; our chief interest centers in the message which our heavenly Father sent us through the angels at the time they announced the birth of Jesus: "Fear not" – the angel understood well that through sin and degradation a fearful apprehension comes over man when he finds himself in contact with spirit beings; he is apprehensive of certain further condemnation or punishment; his acquaintance with man in influence, authority and power, leads him to dread the still greater authority and power of the Almighty, lest it should be injurious to him. Only the true Christian, having the eyes of his understanding opened to appreciate the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God, can have that perfect love toward the heavenly Father which is built upon an intimate knowledge of his Word, and which casteth out all fear. We are reminded of the prophet's words respecting the Lord's people of today, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men." (Isa. 29:13.) The Lord would have his people free from this fear, though not free from a proper reverence toward him.
The message continues, "I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." How slow the Lord's people have been to believe this message and to accept the Savior at his full worth! How prone they seem to be to suppose first of all that he was to be a Savior merely for the Jews; or secondly, a Savior merely for a special elect class; or thirdly, a Savior only for those who under present darkness, ignorance, prejudice, superstition and devilish influences, manifest a special love for righteousness! But how broad is the statement – great joy – for all people! Our faith is not broader than the positive declaration of the Scriptures, when we hold firmly that our God graciously has arranged that every member of our poor fallen race shall yet be blessed with a clear understanding not only of his own weaknesses and imperfections through the fall, but also by a clear understanding of the great redemption price paid by the Savior, and a share in the glorious opportunities thus secured to return, if he will, back to full harmony with God and to full blessings and everlasting life.
The angels did not declare that our Lord came to [R3115 : page 364] bring universal and everlasting salvation to all people; but they do declare that the good message of joy, of privilege, love, hope, shall extend to all people. The explanation of this is that a Savior had been born – a deliverer of the weak, the helpless, the dying, able to succor to the utmost all who would come to the Father through him; able to open the blind eyes and to unstop the deaf ears that all may come to an appreciation of the goodness of God shining toward them in the face of the Lord Jesus.
The word Savior, otherwise rendered Deliverer, signifies in the Syriac language, literally Life-giver. What a wonderful thought is conveyed by that word! What is it that our poor, dying race needs? It needs deliverance from the sentence of death, and then it needs deliverance from death itself, into life complete and abundant and everlasting. Our Lord has already become our deliverer in the sense that he has bought us with his precious blood, that he has settled our account with Justice. As a result of this work already done (since the church which is the body of Christ has followed in the footsteps of our Lord and has about "filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," (Col. 1:24), very shortly now, under the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished, – completed, – and atonement for the sins of the world shall be proclaimed with a full emancipation proclamation to all people. Good tidings of great joy it will surely be! full of gracious opportunities for enlightenment, restitution and obedience, and for a full return to all that was lost by father Adam, including life in perfect degree – lasting life!
No wonder after this message had been delivered, the Lord permitted an angel host to serenade the proclamation, and incidentally to prophesy also of the grand results yet to flow from the great work of redemption, which was then only beginning in the birth of the Redeemer! Properly the anthem begins with praise to him that sitteth upon the throne, to him who devised the great and wonderful plan of redemption and who sent his Son, our willing Redeemer; glory to him in the highest – in the highest strain of heart and voice, with fullest appreciation of him as a Savior! Next came the consequences on earth; namely, peace; – not such a peace as men might patch up between themselves and between nations and parties, and that under present conditions would be sure very soon to be scattered to the winds; but a peace with God, a peace which comes from a restoration to the race of the divine good will. It was because divine justice could not spare the guilty, that the sentence of death, the "curse," has borne down upon our race for now six thousand years. Under that divine sentence of death the dying race has become impoverished, not only physically but mentally and morally, and selfishness has become the rule, and in its wake have come all our selfish ambitions and pride and strife and vain-glory and money love which have caused so much of the trouble that mankind has experienced.
But now, glory to God in the highest! because peace has been established upon a firm foundation – the lifting of the curse through the payment of our penalty by the Lord's own arrangement! As soon as the body of Christ has suffered with the Head, the great antitypical day of atonement will be complete, and peace between God and man will be established, will be renewed, and as a consequence the Redeemer shall take to himself his great power and reign for the purpose of blessing and uplifting those whom he purchased with his own precious blood. In their interest it will be necessary that the great peace shall be introduced by the breaking in pieces of present institutions with the iron rod of the new Kingdom, as the vessel of a potter they shall be crushed as henceforth useless; that in their stead may come the grander and perfect institutions of the Lord's Kingdom. He will wound to heal, to bless, to bring in peace on the basis of everlasting righteousness; for ultimately he will destroy all those who, after being brought to a knowledge of the truth, will still love unrighteousness and tend to the corruption of the earth. He will destroy them, not in anger but in justice, in love, that an everlasting peace in full accord with that which is in heaven may prevail upon earth.
Wherever the story of God's redeeming love has gone, even though confused by various falsities, it has carried more or less of blessing with it; – even to neglectful hearers and not doers of the Word, it has brought blessing; and still more blessing to others who hear partly and obey partly; but its greatest blessing has been to the little flock, the royal priesthood who, entering into the spirit of the divine arrangement, have realized themselves justified through faith in the precious blood, and in harmony with the invitation of the Lord have gone forward, presenting themselves living sacrifices that they might have fellowship with Christ [R3116 : page 364] in the sufferings of this present time, and also, by and by, in the Kingdom glories that shall follow. It is this class chiefly that is now rejoicing in a still fuller opening up of the divine Word so long beclouded by the falsities coming down from the dark ages; it is this class that is chiefly now rejoicing in the discernment of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine love and of the divine plan which has purchased the whole world and will eventually recover from present degradation all who under the favorable conditions of the Millennial Kingdom will develop the character which God demands of all who shall have eternal life – a love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity.
We need to make fresh resolutions continually along the way, and now at the close of the year is a favorable time for this. Not that we liberate ourselves in any degree from the everlasting covenant into which we entered with our Lord, but that recognizing its permanence, we strengthen ourselves by re-asserting it to the Lord, telling him of our good desires and intentions in respect to faith for the future, and improving so notable an occasion as the beginning of another year for this reiteration of our loyalty and of our confidence in his faithfulness.
What a lesson is here for the Lord's "little flock," over whom he is the good Shepherd. The weakest lamb in the flock knows his voice and hears him say, "This is the way: walk ye in it." And while there are thousands of voices calling, now in this direction and now in that, the Lord's sheep, acquainted with his Spirit and his Word, turn away from all save the well known voice of the Shepherd. In various ways our Shepherd speaks to his flock of sheep and lambs. His written words treasured up in the heart mark the way of truth continually; his special providences further shape the peculiar course of each individual; and the abiding presence of his holy Spirit makes manifest every intrusion of any other spirit which seeks to beguile and to lead astray. The true sheep will carefully listen for the faintest accents of the voice of the Shepherd – i.e., he will treasure up his words in his heart; he will study his providences; and he will cultivate that communion and personal fellowship with the Lord which are his privilege. Those who thus abide in him can never go astray.
"They can never, never lose their way."
They may not have much learning, and, humanly speaking, would not be able to grapple with all the sophistries of error. But, being so well acquainted with the Master's voice, they quickly perceive that such voices are the voices of strangers, and they will not follow them; for they are loyal and obedient to the Shepherd only.
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down [to rest – the rest of faith] in green pastures [with abundance of satisfying food]; he leadeth me beside the still waters [deep, refreshing truths]. He restoreth my soul [reclaims it from death]; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake [because I am his child and bear his honored name]. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death [The entire journey of life since the fall has been through a vale of tears, upon which rests the shadow of death], I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. [Thy word and providences discipline and guide me in the way]." Our Shepherd's providence not only disciplines the true sheep, but protects them from the "wolves" and other foes. [R3116 : page 366]
With the Prophet, we can also say, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies [for even while beset by Satan and Sin, we are sustained by the Lord's abundant provision for every necessity]; thou anointest my head with [the] oil [of joy], my cup [pleasure] runneth over [even while, as a pilgrim, I am beset with life's difficulties]." And, in view of the Lord's present and past leading, all, who continue to be truly his sheep, can certainly trust that – "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord [will be recognized as a member of his household, as his child] forever."
Let us seek to cultivate more and more the meek, docile and loyal character of the sheep, that so we may be abundantly blessed by the care of the good Shepherd. Such a disposition does not commend itself to the world – the wayward goat, the bold lion, or the stealthy bear, the subtle serpent and vicious vampire are more fitting emblems of their ideals, and are usually the emblems selected for their escutcheons. But let the world love its own, while we remember that we are not of the world, but are sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, and that our safety and spiritual prosperity depend, not upon our own wisdom and sagacity, but entirely upon our diligent hearkening to, and patient following of, the voice of the good Shepherd, who will very soon highly exalt his little flock and crown them with an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Gratitude and love to a gracious God and to you, his servant, constrain me to write this note. I resigned the Southern Methodist pulpit in the town of __________, this state. I resigned supposedly on account of my health, but really on account of my faith. I had not yet "added" courage to my faith (2 Pet. 1:5); was not yet really in the truth, but feeling for it. Keeping my "heretical" doubts to myself, I continued searching. Meanwhile, until last week, I have sustained supernumerary relations to the Conference which met last week, and, if they granted my request, which I suppose they did, John 8:32 is fulfilled in my experience. For the first time in my life "I stand erect and free."
I was searching earnestly for the light in the city library in Denver, Colo., reading everything that promised to throw light on the hard problems of life and death, when my eye fell on your God-directed work, MILLENNIAL DAWN. I had heard of it and knew that it was much despised; nevertheless, I resolved to read it earnestly and with an open mind, for in my distress I had reached that point where I was willing to receive truth even from "Nazareth." I read all [R3117 : page 366] five volumes with my Bible always open and with ever-increasing delight.
Enclosed find one dollar for the WATCH TOWER. I am working at my old trade, stone-cutting, and shall continue at it (D.V.). I should like to distribute some more tracts.
DEAR BROTHER: – I have been reading your book, "THE PLAN OF THE AGES;" it is indeed a wonderful book, and I thank God it ever came to me. My birthday was the second day of August and my niece, a worldly woman, sent me as a present five of your books. She little knew what she was giving me. Oh, the joy and gladness it has brought into my life! I have been a believer and been looking for the return of my Lord for many years, longing and hoping to live until he came; but for some time it seemed to me our people (Second Adventist) presented no new light, and we seemed to be standing still. Now this great restitution hope has come to us, bringing such a feeling as lifts us (so it seems) nearer our God and makes so many dark sayings in his blessed Word clear and beautiful. I never loved him so much as now when I see how great is his plan of salvation.
My husband and myself have read the first book three times, and also read the second, and now in the third. Sometimes it has seemed so strange for us to believe some of the things you write, for we have been taught so differently; yet by prayer we have thus far been able to accept the blessed light and feel we have entered into the joy of our Lord, believing he has come and raised the dead, or those of them who are to be his bride.
We feel such gratitude to you, our brother, for the light we now have that we greatly desire to know you personally. Again thanking you for the good received from your writings, and praying God to bless and keep you, I am,
I enclose you $__________; please send me one of those new reference Bibles, and the remainder please apply to the "Good Hopes" of myself and wife. I am sorry we cannot at this time send a larger expression of our "Good Hopes" for "the glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." We hope to supplement this offering shortly.
And now I want to express to you and all those of the Bible House at Allegheny how we enjoyed the convention at Washington. It was the greatest privilege of our lives to meet with so many dear friends of like precious faith. It was truly a "time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." Especially was I delighted to witness on this occasion the symbolic baptism of my wife into the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are now not only one in the flesh, but one in the spirit and body of Christ, and probationary members of the Church triumphant. We pray that we may pass our trial successfully and "rejoice in our sufferings and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh for his body's [R3117 : page 367] sake," and in so doing may finish our course with joy.
For your benefit and encouragement I want to say, dear Bro. Russell, the literature you are sending forth as "meat in due season," is making the household of faith strong, yea, brave in the Lord, by truth. This morning I was hailed on the street by my former pastor, a D.D. (in whose presence two years ago I would have quailed). He introduced me to another D.D., and asked if I had any news. I said, "Yes, good news!" and drew from my pocket one of the discourses as I had taken it down at Washington. I said, "Look here, – in Acts 3:21 God has promised restitution of all things, and that all the holy prophets had spoken of it," and I showed him in their respective order from I Samuel to Malachi they all had spoken of it copiously, and that further God himself had made a covenant with Abraham as to this restitution and affirmed the same to Isaac and Jacob; and now that these patriarchs were dead, together with countless millions who had not received those blessings, said I, "the Lord has shown us in Jno. 5:28,29 when and where to look for the solution of this matter." In repeating the last clause of the 29th verse he broke in and said "damnation." I said, "No, sir! 'by judgment,' and you know as well as I do that 'by judgment' is the correct rendering. Now, gentlemen, why don't you preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?" By this time Bro. H__________ had Bro. C__________ by the arm, pulling him down the street, and said to me, "Well, I reckon you will have to make the ministers preach it right." May God have mercy on the preachers who are promulgating false doctrine!
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –
I want, in a few words, to express my appreciation of the good things which we all received at the Washington convention. It was the grandest feast it has ever been my privilege to attend, and the memory of it will remain with me as long as I remain in this tabernacle. I wish to express my thanks both to the Washington brethren, who contributed so much to the welfare and enjoyment of visiting brethren, and also to yourself and coworkers for the part which you contributed unto edifying the "body of Christ;" but above all I wish to thank our dear Lord for his manifest presence and blessing. I believe it is impossible to estimate the good resulting from these conventions, in the way of spiritual blessings. Each person gets some new light on different features of the plan and purpose, and these are taken home and given to the Lord's truth-hungry people who could not attend; and the "unity of the spirit" is so manifest at these gatherings, that the "body" is more and more "knit together in love," while all realize the significance of Paul's statement, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together," as they otherwise would not. In my own case, I can truly say that I received such an uplift and blessing as it has never been my lot to experience before. Praise God for his goodness, blessing and love, as it is now manifested to his chosen people. May his favor and his spirit be continued to you, dear Bro. Russell, and to all the brothers and sisters everywhere, and may we all be kept by the power of God until we shall receive the "change" promised, – is my daily prayer.
Sincerely, your brother and servant in the Lord,
DEAR BROTHER: – Although I could not go to either one of the general conventions this year (and oh, how hard it was to receive as from the Lord that I could not go!), it is with rejoicing that I write to tell you how true we find it to be, that it is hard to estimate the value of the knowledge and spiritual uplift received at these conventions, carried to other hundreds – in every direction. Our little company here has received so much of the convention drippings that we almost feel as though we had, all of us, been on hand at those love feasts. It brings to mind what Isaiah says, "As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth." So also the convention blessing cometh down from heaven, and does not return void, but bringeth increase to the recipient, a rich store to him that passeth it on, and joy and strength to all who take it in.
Praise be to our God and glory to our Lord, who so abundantly blesses us! Remember Sister K., our children and myself at the throne of grace, as we do you always. With much love, your brother,
MY DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: –
Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the day when in Dallas you stood beside the pool in which I was buried in baptism with my Lord. At each recurring anniversary sweetest and most precious memories fill my heart to overflowing, and impel me to send to the WATCH TOWER missionary fund a thanksgiving offering for the same – as a tiny proof of my remembrance of the date. I enclose a money order. I would also like a few tracts for distribution.
That God may forever have you in his tender care is the prayer of
I am an old man 78 years of age, with a very limited education, but a subscriber to WATCH TOWER for two years and have MILLENNIAL DAWN. Pardon me for intruding on your precious time in telling you how I enjoy reading the DAWNS and TOWERS; and now after being a member of the M.E. church for 35 years I have withdrawn from that church as I could not endorse its doctrines; am no member now, but trying to serve the Master as best I can. Pray for me.
|VOL. XXIV.||DECEMBER 15, 1902.||No. 24.|
|Views from the Watch Tower||371|
|The Reapers Not Yet Crying Out||371|
|The Agrarians of Germany||372|
|A Presbyterian Preacher Looking in the Right Direction||372|
|What Rev. Hillis Sees||373|
|Church Union in Canada||373|
|Social Unrest in Russia||374|
|Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's Annual Report||374|
|Rejoicing in Tribulation||379|
|Requests for Pilgrim Visits in 1903||383|
|Extent of Judas' Knowledge||383|
'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1
Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
THE WATCH TOWER BIBLES.
The friends have thus named the wide-margin Bibles with DAWN and TOWER references recently gotten out by Holman & Co. for us: and since the book needs a special and distinguishing name, we may as well let this one stand.
Some of these Bibles, reserved for friends who hoped to send the money before the end of the year, are now released, and can go to whoever sends the payment; 124 bound in French Seal, divinity circuit, red under gold edges, express prepaid, for $2.00.
We got out a special edition for foreign shipment, with the photo-illustrations of Palestine, etc., separate (so as to keep within the foreign-postal limits): these we have held until now for our friends in foreign lands, but henceforth they are open to general orders from any quarter. Price, same as above (in British currency, 9s.); 99 remain.
No other Bible ever published contains such advantages as this one; and the above are all that remain of an edition of 5,000. There will be no more; and, though open to all, we are anxious that these go to friends of the cause, who will value them on account of the special features, and make use of the same. No Bibles at the price – nor at any price – will compare with these.
Remember, that we have these in good supply at 50c each – delivery free. Each Binder will hold two years' issues, and they are very convenient for easy reference and preserving the papers from injury and soiling.
IN VIEW of our interpretation of James 5:1-9* and in view, further, of the present prosperous times amongst farmers and others in the United States and Canada, some are inquiring when and how we should now expect the fulfilment of James' prophecy. We answer that we are not sorry the American farmers are not pinched, but prosperous. No one of noble heart could take delight at the distress of others. We account for the delay of the pinch and the cries, here, as follows: –
(1) The Spanish war, the Boer war, the Philippine war, the China war and several small wars and preparations for war, in Abyssinia, Hayti, Colombia, Argentine, Peru, and Chili, and the immense naval expenditures of Japan, Great Britain, Germany and the United States, have put thousands of millions of dollars into circulation during the past five years; and the effect could not be other than to bring great prosperity in manufacturing lines.
(2) The famines in India and Russia and China, and crop shortages in Europe and South America, and the drouth in Australia, have all conspired to make a great demand for all the cattle and crops of this country, and at good prices.
(3) The deficiency of money (decreased by the demonetization of silver) would surely have hindered this wave of prosperity from rising as it has risen, were it not for the shrewdness of the American bankers who have much more than made up for the loss of silver by organizing immense corporations and trusts whose stocks, like railway shares, are given a money value in all banks. The bankers thus make interest on loans represented by those shares, and at the same time have a firmer inside hold upon all the industries of the world. It is to their interest to have just as little money afloat as possible – they can the more easily control the financial keys of the world's business. If there were no money, the bankers' credits would be the substitute. The manufacturer would then deposit deeds or mortgages or stocks with his banker and secure credit and be permitted to issue bank checks against that credit; and those bank checks, or representations of credit, would pass current instead of money, and the bankers would have the entire control of the credit and charge interest, or toll, on all the business of the earth. Conditions are approximating this at present in that probably nine-tenths of the world's business is done on interest-bearing credits, while actual money suffices merely for small retail transactions.
But what is the difference so long as we have prosperity? The difference is that the treating of stock shares as money is bringing fabulous wealth to a numerous class; but since many of these stocks are over-valued, over-capitalized, it follows that as war-expenditures decrease a panic will occur the like of which the world has never known. "The mighty man shall weep then bitterly" – the rich shall "weep and howl." That will be a time of general loss of confidence when bankers' credits will be at their ebb. Under the new conditions, and with the money and the money-making property in the hands of the bankers, it would be unwise to attempt to outline or to particularize the character of events that will ultimately lead the reapers to cry out; but we have confidence in the correctness of the prediction and believe that the demonetizing of silver and the consequent decrease of the world's money will be seen to be at the bottom of that trouble, directly or indirectly precipitating it. [R3118 : page 372]
Even at present prices of agricultural products, the farmers of Germany, contending with poorer soil and smaller farms, are "crying out" that they can no longer compete with American products, and demanding tariff protection. The Government (the Emperor) is not averse to the tariff, but fears that even a small rise in the price of food necessities would pinch the mechanics and laborers of the cities, and necessitate a raise of wages which, in turn, would further hinder the industries of Germany, which have been much depressed for over a year. The Agrarian party in the German Parliament has hitherto been the Government's standby; but now the Agrarians freely hint that if they do not get tariff protection they will oppose voting public moneys for the building of new warships, and otherwise endeavor to thwart the Emperor's will until the tariff is granted.
The Emperor, who is thus without his regular supporters, sees the Socialist party increasing in numbers and influence yearly; and now notes the threats of the Agrarians, and that many of them favor affiliation with their former opponents (the Socialists). The Emperor is thus forced to conciliate more and more the third party, the Centrists (the Roman Catholic party), who are apparently ready and willing to trade every other measure in the interest of their church. Thus the Pope, through this party, is likely to dominate the Emperor very thoroughly: indeed under the circumstances it is no wonder the Emperor is reputed to have a leaning toward Catholicism. His first conviction is that he reigns by "divine right," "by the grace of God." His second conviction is that those who favor him must be right.
Present conditions favor Catholicism in Germany more than at any time since the days of the Reformation; but we are not to look for a religious war; rather we may expect a greater equality of all systems, with Romanism taking a leading part. Let it not be forgotten that this religious fraternization, or federation, is to come before the worst of the trouble comes: and this evidently is several years future even in these days of rapid transformations and aggregations.
"Rev. Hemenway preached an eloquent and able sermon. The address was a plea for the appreciation of spiritual truth, a call to Christians to live more deeply in the heart of religious truth. The text was taken from Luke 18:8: 'Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?'
"The speaker said in beginning his address: At no time during the present generation has it been so easy to be a pessimist, so difficult to be an optimist. Whether the interests be political or industrial, sociological or spiritual, the same general conditions everywhere prevail, – a state of doubt and unrest and fear. For such a time assuredly was asked the ambiguous question of our Lord of his disciples: Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on earth?
"I do not profess to be able to interpret with confidence this searching question of Jesus. I can not feel sure of his mind in this conversation. Was it a warning to his believers not be lacking in faith as a guard against worldly influences, the power of which we now perhaps can realize more fully than those to whom Jesus was speaking? Was it a declaration that the time would come when faith would become weak and small in the hearts and lives of men? Or was it the pleading voice of a loving Master who would win our loyalty by suggesting the possibility of our failing in devotion, – as once he said when men were deserting him, Will ye also go away? Disclaiming any dogmatic zeal in the interpretation of this difficult conclusion to a not less difficult parable I feel confident that the underlying thought of every possible interpretation of this sentence is peculiarly applicable to the times in which we now live. Whether it be a plea for faith, or a warning not to be wanting in faith, or an announcement of a loss of faith, in every case there are significant and responsive aspects and characteristics of the meaning to be found in the religious world today. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? If the Son of Man should come to the world of this twentieth century would he find faith on the earth? If he were to visit the church universal, which bears his name throughout our land and the world, would he find faith on the earth? Answering neither for the optimist nor the pessimist, and turning from the theoretical to the practical, I ask your serious consideration of some of the aspects of modern social and religious life most seriously significant of this inquiry of Jesus.
"Perhaps I can express my fundamental thought this evening most clearly by quoting from a report of a sermon by President Charles Cuthbert Hall in Highgate Congregational Church, London. He was speaking on 'The Appreciation of Spiritual Truth as a Primary Duty of the Church,' and was reported as saying, that the conventionalism of life today creates a strong temptation to be more interested in what we do than in what we believe, and to get away from the responsibility of thinking for ourselves. 'We need, he says, to live more deeply in the heart of religious truth, and to have a growing appreciation of the beauty and nobleness of the fundamental ideas of our religion.'
"Is there not here a clear and profound statement of the religious condition of our time? Are we not more interested in what we do than what we believe; and have we a worthy appreciation of the beauty and nobleness of the fundamental ideas of our religion?
"With all our zeal and all our activity, – building [R3118 : page 373] churches in beauty, like this in which we gather tonight, – pushing on the agencies of the church with treasuries unburdened with debt; revising and improving our creed statements, – with all our zeal and activity, are we searching deep into the nature of the things of the kingdom of God for a better understanding of the fundamental verities of our faith? While in science, in biology and chemistry and physics and electricity, – men are studying deep into the nature of material things, is not the church of God, in the main, dealing with superficials and satisfied to live on the surface of spiritual things? The call to the revision of our creed (a voice which I am not to condemn tonight), is a voice to which we may all, perhaps, respond Amen; but is the call to revision sounding through our great church, out of a new and profounder research into the eternal verities of our faith than the studies of an Edwards or a Calvin? or is the call rather out of a desire to adjust our creed to the times in which we live?
"Far more important than the mere question of revision may be the inquiry as to its cause. Far more significant to you and to me may be the real spiritual condition of the church seeking a revision of its creed statements, than the mere question of a verbal statement to be desired. We shall never grow strong by mere excision or even by addition; but only by securing deeper and surer foundations.
"Rev. Hemenway showed how and why the question of Jesus which formed his text, was addressed to our day and generation, and showed different reasons. First: Within the church: Instead of the wonders of creation, the consequence of the fall of man, or the mysteries of redemption exciting the interest or inquiry, the question of the inspiration, accuracy and authority of the Bible – in a word, the higher criticism – holds the attention.
"Third: The ways of the church; Rev. Hemenway made an earnest plea for the old hymns, such as 'My faith looks up to thee,' 'All hail the power of Jesus' name,' and others, as better than the popular gospel hymn. He said that much of the modern religious poetry is set to music that stirs the feet more than the soul.
"Fourth: The neglect of parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. One of the best evidences, Rev. Hemenway thinks, that parents do not teach their children religion as once they did, is that the candidates for the ministry in 1899 were 1433; in 1902 only 810.
"For reasons without the church: The speaker did not attempt a sharp and close discrimination between the church and the world, but looked for the general evidences of the decadence of faith which, he said, appear almost as frequently in the lives of Christians as those not professing Christ. He gave as first among the causes of this: the character of the present strife for wealth. He said, While unscrupulous means for acquiring riches have been employed for ages, the power of passion for wealth over all is new and of our time. We need to turn from the subject of the saloon on the Sunday to that of the office on the Sunday. The second commandment means no more to the community in its struggle for wealth than the excise laws to the man of appetite. He said the motive for obtaining wealth has changed, and quoted:'Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!Bright and yellow, hard and cold;Molten, carven, hammered, rolled;Heavy to get and light to hold;Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold;Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled;Spurned by the young, but hugged by the oldTo the very verge of the churchyard mold;Price of many a crime untold;Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!'[R3119 : page 373]
Rev. Hillis, successor to Henry Ward Beecher now sees some of the things pointed out in the WATCH TOWER for the past twenty-three years. The public press reports the following from his discourse of October 19th: –
"Just now our country is entering upon a crisis that is to strain its institutions to the last point before breaking. For a generation the tide of illiteracy, intellectual and moral, has been slowly rising, until the better social element is being submerged by the worse. This social deterioration has been progressive. A century ago the great figures in the community were the magistrate and the minister. In the middle of the last century the statesman and the politician were the contrasting figures, representing weight of intellect. Those were the days of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Then came an era, about five years ago, when the statesman was submerged by the multi-millionaire.
"Wealth, riches, the love of gold and power, control our statesmen now. Individuals representing hundreds of millions cause the politician to pass under an eclipse. This Croesus who can own his private car, his private yacht, owns also his private Governor, his private Representative, and last summer his private Congress. These men, whose millions have enabled them to form the trusts, control our Congress and used this legislative body to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.
"Men who would solemnly pledge themselves to give certain rights to Cuba were forbidden by their political masters to fulfil their obligation. Men have the authority today who don't have any offices. Men rule as Governor who haven't been elected.THE DANGER OF THE MOB.
"The next stage is the multi-millionaire's submergence by the numbers of his workmen acting under the control of a single will. But the rule of the many because they have the votes needed by the Governor [R3119 : page 374] who seeks re-election, is a rule of peril that threatens every institution that we love. A mob is always controlled by the most ignorant and vicious element. Put a thousand men in a group; the one man who can control the thousand men in the mob is the man who can strike the chord to which all will respond. The man who has the last fact in the case is nature's uncrowned king, who alone has the right to rule.
"Fortunately, in a democracy, when the people make a mistake, it is the people who suffer, so that the follies and sins of the Republic cure themselves, as Wendell Phillips once said, and this fact makes and keeps up optimists."
A ripple of surprise went over his congregation when Dr. Hillis, discussing the percentage of great men in America who owe their splendid qualities to the clergymen in their ancestry, said: "Henry Clay, Wendell Phillips, Daniel Webster, Robert Ingersoll and Henry Ward Beecher, five great inspirational orators, got their early education and principles of life from the clergymen from whom they sprung."
That Dr. Hillis should mention the names of Robert Ingersoll and Henry Ward Beecher in the same breath, speaking in the church that was occupied by the latter, caused expressions of indignation among his hearers.
The Methodist General Conference recently held in Winnipeg, Man., near the close of its session passed resolutions looking toward a union of all the "evangelical" denominations of Canada. It appointed an influential committee to confer first and specially with Presbyterians and Congregationalists. The Methodists of Canada number 847,765; the Presbyterians 755,326; the Congregationalists 28,157. Commenting upon this the Outlook says: –
"This comprehensive and far-reaching proposition was adopted with practical unanimity by the Conference, only two or three delegates voting against it. This forward movement acquires additional significance from the fact that the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Canada are themselves the result of the integration of several minor divisions, which has been signally marked with the seal of the divine approval. It was further emphasized by the cordial greetings of representatives of the Presbyterian Church – the Rev. Dr. Bryce, moderator of its General Assembly, Prof. Kilpatrick, of Manitoba College, and the Rev. C. W. Gordon, better known as 'Ralph Connor,' author of 'The Sky Pilot,' and the 'The Man from Glengarry.' Union sentiment was strongly reciprocated also by the Rev. Messrs. Silcox and Hamilton, representatives of the Congregational Union."
"Were the leading denominational body of the Presbyterian, Congregational or Methodist Churches in this country to appoint a committee on organic union with the other two, the news of it would be put by the daily papers in the earthquake column. Yet the Methodist General Conference in Canada has done precisely that – named a commission of its most prominent men to invite the Presbyterians and Congregationalists to come in and talk union. We should not, indeed, like to believe that there is any more actual antagonism among denominations in the Republic than in the Dominion; we are certainly learning here in the United States to be mighty good friends and mighty neighborly neighbors across the old sectarian chasms; but of union, other than within the lines of our different 'families' of churches, we have scarcely thought at all – it hardly seemed possible. But certainly these advancing Canadian folks are going to make us think about it, and we shall all be watching intently from this country to see how they succeed."
The struggle between the Russian agriculturists and the bureaucracy still continues. The members of the Zemstvos or local Councils ask for greater liberty of speech, and sometimes when this is refused resign in a body. They demand also, as a first instalment of reform, a revision of the system of taxation, which, they say, presses unduly upon the agriculturists. The reactionaries are furiously angry at the demand for more freedom of speech, and we can understand their fear of publicity if the horrible story told to the correspondent of the Times is as well founded as he believes. In one district of Kharkov some peasants were being tried for resisting authority, when their counsel asked permission to give evidence as to the conduct of the soldiers, who had not only flogged the peasants but outraged a great number of their women. It was pleaded that they had therefore been punished enough; but permission to give evidence was refused, and the peasants were sentenced to fines or short terms of imprisonment. There had been, in fact, a Dragonnade of the locality, and there is no redress.– London Spectator.
(1) The general aspect of the work is favorable. The little gatherings for worship and study of the Word are more numerous and better attended than [R3119 : page 375] ever: and still better than this, the general spiritual condition of the flock is favorable; even the financial prosperity of the year – an insidious foe to spiritual development – has not prevented a great increase of love and zeal for the Lord and his Word and his brethren. We rejoice in this far more than in the items below, indicating the activity displayed by you all in the circulation of the harvest message: nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the two are intimately related; for as it is the zeal that leads to the service, so also does service inspire fresh zeal in ourselves as well as in others.
But while thus rejoicing, let us take heed: let us remember that our Adversary is still on the alert, and that so long as he is "the prince of this world" it will be an "evil world," an enemy's country to all true followers of the Lamb until we shall be "changed" or until Satan's rule shall be fully overthrown and our Immanuel shall have full sway. Our Lord, through his Word, forewarns us to expect that neither Satan nor the systems of men organized under his supervision, or more or less controlled by him, will yield peaceably to the new rule; but must be overthrown by Christ after a violent struggle; – during which Satan will be forced to appear "as an angel of light" in order to perpetuate the delusions wherewith he has so long deceived the whole world – putting light for darkness, and darkness for light. – Compare Rev. 20:3; [R3120 : page 375] 16:13,14 ; 13:15; I Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:9-12.
While we see good evidences pointing to continued prosperity for the Truth during the new year just opening, we note many evidences that it is likely to be a year of severe testing. These evidences are more general, as well as more particular, than heretofore; and it is our duty to give a note of warning to all the watchers – putting them on guard against our Adversary; for "we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. 2:11.) One of his old "devices" (new, however, to some) is his denial (through his agents – and he always secures and uses the best servants he can for his mouthpieces, – Rom. 6:16) of his own existence. He comes in a garment of "light;" saying, Your ideas of an old devil are all wrong – a part of the general delusion from which all the intelligent people of our day are getting free – Higher Critics, Evolutionists, Christian Scientists, and the educated world all now admit this, and you must not lag behind in the mire of error. Never mind the Bible's numerous references to a personal devil and a host of demons who occasionally were cast, by the Lord and his apostles, out of those "possessed." Take my word for it; and pay no attention to Jesus' declaration that I was "a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth;" nor to the Apostles' warning that I would deceive and palm myself off as a minister of the light, denying my former self and practices and, instead, working miracles to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.
Another device in line with the foregoing yet strictly new, is that Satan has become a worker of miracles. This is a token that his "house" is tottering to its fall – else it would not need support so opposed to the general policy of Satan – as our Lord declared, If Satan cast out Satan his house is divided against itself and cannot long stand. (Mark 3:23-26; Matt. 12:26.) He has long palmed himself off as a teacher – a light-bearer, clothed in light; but Satan in the role of faith-healer is a novelty belonging chiefly to our day – though, undoubtedly, he has had to do with the relic-miracles of Papacy for centuries. The worshiping of a relic-bone of St. Anne or of the "holy shroud" or of a "nail from the cross" served for less intelligent people in a less intelligent epoch; but now, and amongst more enlightened people, faith and prayer are more apt to deceive, and he is using and blessing these, and thus attracting the attention of people away from the Truth which is now dawning gradually upon nominal "Christendom."
Do we deny that "faith cures" are performed by "Christian Scientists" and "Mormons" and "Spiritualists" and "Mesmerists" and "Hypnotists" and "Magnetists" and "Comeouters" and "Christian Allianceists" and "Elijahites"? Surely no one can deny that some cures are performed by all these systems; and just as surely none can deny that earnest, well-meaning people are to be found in all of these systems. Perhaps some of the "very elect" are in them and deluded by Satan's substitution of darkness for light; if so, we may be sure that the Lord will use some means for their deliverance; – we should be glad if he would so use this very item of warning.
We cannot blame "the groaning creation" for desiring relief from pain and death; and we are glad that we can point them to the real relief which God has provided, so near at hand; – the Millennial Kingdom. We cannot wonder, however, if the poor world in gross darkness fails to see coming restitution clearly enough to trust in it and wait for it; but we should expect that the New Creation, begotten of the spirit, would see that the general blessing and removal of the curse is not due until the great Day of Atonement (the Gospel age) is fully ended and the Sons of God, the "very elect," are all glorified with their Lord and Head. These, the saints taught of God, should clearly see that now is not the time for restitution, but still the time for sacrificing; and accordingly should joyfully suffer with Christ as members of his body and not ask back the physical powers exchanged in consecration for spiritual hopes and promises. If [R3120 : page 376] our wily adversary could get us all to coveting and striving for physical healing and comfort, and to teaching such a gospel to others, it would please him and serve his purposes; for time and thought spent thus would be turned aside from spiritual interests and studies and efforts. Restitution hopes and efforts, which will be in order for the world very soon now, are surely not the hopes or ambitions of the Church called out of the world during this age to be "living sacrifices" – to lay down their lives and become "dead with him."
It will be noted that we are not condemning those who in the various systems "perform many wonderful works," but not by divine power. (Matt. 7:22,23.) Nor are we blaming those who have sought and found relief – they only followed a natural course. And if they gave God thanks for the healing, they have the same blessing as though God had performed the cure. If sincere, however, to learn better will mean that they will not accept healings from such sources again. What we now desire to do is to save some from being ensnared by these false doctrines by pointing out that none of these channels of healing give evidence that they are such as God would probably choose. To our understanding, Satan uses faith-healings as bait to catch the Lord's people and turn them away from the Truth.
"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" and "he that doeth truth cometh to the light," are our Lord's declarations. "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief;" is the Apostle Paul's prediction. (John 8:32; 3:21; I Thess. 5:4.) Excuse may well be made for those who lived and died before the dawning began; but for those now living and continually brought in contact with the light of present truth, what shall we conclude? We must conclude that if servants at all they are such as know not what their Lord doeth; such, therefore, as we should not regard either as favored sons or favored servants of God, as our Lord explains. – John 15:15.
Viewed thus, all of these doers of "many wonderful works in Christ's name" (Matt. 7:22) lack the proper credentials, in that they do not have the Truth, which they surely would have if they were in the Lord's favor and confidence. Worse than this, the vast majority of them are Christless – deniers of the ransom, its necessity and its results – as well as blind to the light of present truth. The Elijahites are deceived into an anti-Christ position similar to that of Papacy; for while the latter's pontiff poses as Christ's representative and substitute in ruling authority, and misapplies prophecies of Christ's kingly power and authority to the popes,* the Elijahites similarly misapply to their leader the prophecies which refer to our Lord and the glorified Church, as the great "Prophet like unto Moses" (Acts 3:22,23), and the "Messenger of the Covenant," whose mission, in the flesh, failing of turning the hearts of fathers and children will result in the "smiting of the earth with a curse" – "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."+ – Mal. 4:6; Dan. 12:1.
The Christian Allianceists are thick in the medieval darkness, teaching eternal torment and various other blasphemies and falsehoods. The "Christian Scientists" repudiate all sin, and, hence, all redemption from sin, and thus plainly show that they have neither part nor lot with Christ or his message or power. The Spiritualists similarly deny the foundations of Biblical faith.
The Mormons teach a transmigration of soul, and, hence, deny Adam as the head of the race; hence, deny the death sentence on all mankind through him; hence, cannot logically hold the Scriptural theory that all die in Adam's sentence and were redeemed by Christ's sacrifice.
What reason have we to expect that the power of healing manifested in these variously blinded peoples is of Christ? None whatever. Indeed, they each brand the other as deluded servants of Satan, and we see no reason to doubt that this is true of them all to a greater or less extent. The Lord instructs us to put this test, saying: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant." (Psa. 25:14.) Do any of these miracle-workers see the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan and covenant? Surely not, else they would be with us heart and voice, declaring the "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." – Luke 2:10.
The signs by which the Gospel age was introduced to fleshly Israel were such as would appeal to sincere natural men, – physical blessings typical of greater things in the Kingdom. The signs with which the new dispensation now appeals to spiritual Israelites are spiritual signs, or proofs – the opening of the eyes and ears of our hearts to discern in God's plan wonderful things which the natural man cannot appreciate. Let those whose chief desire is for physical blessings and healings take these; Satan will be pleased thus to turn them aside; – to turn their faces from the direction of the rising Sun of Righteousness and the great and perpetual blessings which God proposes, to transient expedients and creature consolations, encouraging the thoughts that such physical gains are evidences of godliness or evidences of divine favor. The New Creatures in Christ will follow the footsteps of self-sacrifice [R3121 : page 377] and rejoice in the evidences of God's favor which the Scriptures warrant. It is our understanding that these delusions will be so strong as to deceive all except the elect, who will be kept by their clearer knowledge of the divine plan. It is our duty to sound the alarm, the warning, the caution, even though we know that some will, nevertheless, be led away from their own steadfastness. Our warning is that the coming year means much of trial and testing along these lines and that zeal in studying and in serving the truth is the only position of safety for any of us. The question of the Apostle is apropos, "Who shall be able to stand?" Let all who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, – all to whom he has shown his covenant, stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and with the Lord, in defense of the Truth and in aid of one another. Thus standing, the opening year will surely result favorably to us.
This is an important branch of the service – our "Correspondence School." The BIBLE is our text book, the DAWNS and TOWERS are our comments, explanations, etc., and our mail department enables us to point out and emphasize misunderstood parts of the instruction. We believe, however, that the references and indexes in the new "Watch Tower Bibles" will decrease the written communications by enabling students to find answers to their queries in DAWNS and TOWERS. During the present year we received 42,375 letters and cards, and sent out 40,601.
We are always glad of your letters; many a time their kind, encouraging words have come like a cup of cold water in a dry and thirsty land. Some, indeed, are filled with acrimony, and would cause us pain and discouragement did not the Lord's grace and truth sustain us and show us that Satan and ignorance are the real assailants and that the vail of ignorance and power of Satan will soon be cast aside and trampled upon. – Rom. 16:20.
The postal ruling which seemed likely to greatly interrupt the work has really proved a blessing: it led us to renewed efforts to reduce the cost of the clothbound DAWNS, which efforts were very successful. And these, in turn, are so much more attractive that the general sales of DAWNS this year are above our highest previous standard – over 93,000 copies of Vol. I. alone, and of all volumes, over 128,000. The total sales of booklets for the year are nearly 56,000. The zeal for colporteuring is increasing, and we hear from many who are seeking to adjust their affairs so as to be ready to engage in this evangelistic service by spring. If these hopes are realized, it will increase the above large figures nearly one-half. Our printers are increasing their facilities to keep pace with the demand. We know of no field of service yielding better results than this one; besides, many of these books, little cared for now, will, doubtless, be a helping hand for many in the time of trouble.
The showing here is equally good; – evidencing great zeal for the Master and his Word amongst TOWER readers, some of whom circulate the message at depots, some on trains and ferryboats and street cars; some privately and some by mail. The blessings are surely as great to those who give as to those who receive them. Total distributed during the year, 1,895,435.
The Volunteer work with the WATCH TOWER is a part of the same tract work and it alone amounted to 1,512,538, or a total of both of nearly three and a half million pieces. This would represent 122,432,732 tract pages. This is a grand showing, in which we may all rejoice.
Is it any wonder that those who attest their loyalty to the Lord and his message thus publicly should have a special blessing at his hand in return? No; it is in full accord with the Lord's general dealings. Them who honor him he will honor; them who confess him he will own and confess; they who water others shall themselves be watered. Not only are those congregations which have done volunteering most persistently, in the most robust condition, but those brethren and sisters who have courageously shown their colors are amongst the most clear and most staunch in the truth. How glad all will be when in the future they look back and note the little services and sacrifices they were privileged to make, as an expression to their Lord of their love for him and for his brethren!
The Lord willing, we will have some fresh Volunteer matter for next year – ready in the spring. We suggest that the various "Captains" send in reports for the year, to January 1, as soon as possible; and that enlistments for next year be recorded and a new election of Captains take place as soon as possible.
This work is still growing, and we are continually seeing new evidences that the Lord is owning and blessing it to the spiritual welfare of his dear flock. The announcements of routes, etc., in each issue of the TOWER tends to quicken the general interest, too: the solitary ones can now not only think of and mentally fellowship with the Allegheny Church and at the One Day Conventions, but also in spirit, travel with each of the dear Pilgrims and gather with the [R3121 : page 378] various bands of hope and love in sundry quarters.
During the past year the "Pilgrim" service of the Society has been administered through twenty-one brethren, who have visited 1208 places, held 1335 public meetings and 2057 parlor meetings, covering a total of 117,746 miles. This record includes the Editor's One Day Conventions and General Conventions. The interest in the "Pilgrim" meetings is steadily increasing, and many of the friends are learning to cooperate with us by appointing some one of their number to send us their request for visits, with particulars, which we now request, for 1903, on page 383 of this issue. In a couple of instances the local leader has seemed a little jealous of the "Pilgrims," and fearful that their superior knowledge or ability or influence would discount his own and undermine it. This is wrong every way: vainglory has no proper place in the hearts of the Lord's true people; and it should be mortified. The "Pilgrims" are humble and earnest, and clear in the truth – on the fundamentals, at least – otherwise they could not represent this Society or travel under its auspices. They will never be found trespassing on the rights of the congregations visited; but, on the contrary, conservators of the peace and liberty of all. Welcome them as Ambassadors of the Great King.
Remember that these services are entirely free, traveling expenses and all; and that no collections are ever taken up by them. The Society meets every expense – except food and lodging, which the friends at each place are always glad to provide. Your donations to the fund, and ours, are the Lord's provision, by which, in this manner, much good is, we believe, being accomplished. We again repeat, as last year, our suggestion that one half or more of the sessions be Parlor Meetings, – specially for the interested.
The Conventions – Annual and One-Day – are evidently entrenching themselves in the esteem of those who love the truth, and who love to "speak often one to another." The Lord still hearkens, too, and still pours out blessings as of yore – abundant and spiritual blessings. (Mal. 3:16,17.) These gatherings are expensive, both as to time and traveling expense, and, therefore, all cannot enjoy their privileges: however, all do share their blessings; for we have good evidence that those attending carry back blessings to those at home. We will D.V. continue these during the year 1903. Locations have not yet been decided upon: these will be announced in due season in the TOWER.
After reviewing the figures foregoing, and rendering thanks to God for the privilege enjoyed in the service by so many of us – including all who have shared in any degree in this wide circulation of the good tidings – we naturally ask, What has all this cost, in money, additional to the free labor bestowed by so many? You will be surprised that it could be done for so modest a sum. You would be astounded if you could compare these figures and results with those of other Tract Societies.
Receipts. From Good Hopes and all other sources.......$28,284.80 Expenditures. For Pilgrim expenses..........$ 4,621.08 " Publishing matter, circulated free........... 13,983.51 " Expense, Insurance, etc., acct...................... 5,742.10 ---------- $24,346.69 ---------- Surplus.....................................$ 3,938.11
We request that all who in any manner have co-labored with us to the attainment of these results – either by contributing money or by circulating the literature, or both – will, after reading and digesting this Report, join with us in a prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord, the giver of every good, for the privileges enjoyed in his service.
We give Bro. Hemery's very interesting and satisfactory report below, merely remarking that its items are all included in the foregoing.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –
I have much pleasure in sending you the enclosed report of the British Branch operations, and I am sure it will give pleasure to you also. From a perusal of the statement of Tracts circulated you will find that there is quite an increase on the figures of last year; and the same will be noticed from the figures relating to the DAWNS, nearly 2,000 more of these having been sold than were sold last year. I am sure you will be glad to note this increased activity on the part of the brethren here. The circulation of the DAWNS has increased despite the fact that the Colporteurs are less in number than last year. Much has been done through the year by those who have been able to devote only a little time to the work; sometimes this has meant that part of a holiday has been given to it; sometimes that the home work or home life has been arranged that time might be obtained. Much still remains to [R3122 : page 378] be done, and the time is short. Many of the large towns of England are practically untouched, either with Volunteer literature or DAWNS. We continually pray the Lord of the Harvest that he will send more labourers into the vineyard.
The Volunteer work, and the general distribution of tracts, has been eagerly pushed forward by the brethren, and, for their encouragement, we would say that the work is having an effect in gathering the Lord's "Jewels." You will see, too, that the donations to the Tract Fund show a considerable increase on the previous year, nearly £100 more being received than last year. I have already reported concerning some of these donations.
Besides the above increases, there is, as you will have noticed, a marked increase in the number of TOWER subscribers. As may be expected all this increase has not come from the immediate neighborhood of meeting places; the Truth is asserting itself here [R3122 : page 379] and there, gathering to it those whose hearts are so disposed. In Ireland, too, much literature has been scattered, chiefly in Dublin and Belfast. In the latter place a considerable amount of Colporteur work has been done. Our hearts are glad because of all the favor of God, and because the knowledge of him is increasing. For all the goodness that has been shown we are deeply thankful.
The Pilgrim visit of Bro. Hope Hay was very much enjoyed by all the friends. I am sure I speak for all when I say we should much appreciate a sight of yourself amongst us. We remember your promise to come on the first opportunity.
I am, dear brother,
Tract Fund receipts and expenditures of the British Branch of the Society from Nov. 1, 1901, to Nov. 1, 1902: –
Expenditures. L s d Deficit from last year.....................537 4 11 Paper, printing, postage, etc., on matter circulated free...........................222 14 6 "Pilgrim" expenses......................... 50 15 0 ----------- Total......................................810 14 5 Receipts from Great Britain................268 15 9 ----------- Deficit....................................541 18 8 Letters received............................... 3,448 " sent out............................... 4,329 ------ Total DAWNS sold............................... 17,668 " Booklets sold............................ 2,516 ------ Tracts and Towers circulated free..............670,200 Representing tract pages....................23,131,440
At Philippi the Apostle and his companions, in seeking for those who reverenced the Lord, and hence most likely to have hearing ears for the Gospel, found a little group who met by the riverside for worship. Lydia, one of the number, became prominent for her thorough acceptance of the Gospel message, and her zeal in entertaining the Apostle and his company, and in forwarding, as best she could, the interests of the cause. The meetings were held outside the city, doubtless, on a similar pretext to that which, until recent years, excluded the worship of Protestants in the city of Rome, compelling them to go outside the city if they would hold any gatherings for worship. Philippi had its approved religious system, and would grant liberty for meetings to no other.
It was while the apostles were day by day passing from Lydia's home to the place of worship outside the city gate that they were met repeatedly by a young woman known in that city as a Pythoness, or Sybil (a sooth-sayer or truth-teller or fortune-teller; a foreteller of future events, or prophetess). She was evidently well known to all the people, and the exercise of her profession brought large income to a joint-stock company which owned her as its slave. As the evangelists passed daily she called out after them, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation." These words, though true enough, coming from such a source, and possibly in a jesting voice, might be understood by those who heard them to be sarcasm, ridicule, and, therefore, a hindrance to the Lord's work; or even if uttered in serious tones their coming from such an unsanctified quarter would probably preclude their having any favorable influence with those of such cast of mind and heart as might otherwise have a hearing ear for the Gospel of Christ. This continued many days, the Apostle gradually becoming more and more grieved by it – probably because it was hindering his mission, and perhaps, also, because he was grieved to see a fellow-creature thus made a tool of by the fallen angels, the wicked spirits which controlled her. Similarly our Lord refused to recognize the testimony of the evil spirit who acknowledged him, saying, "I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God," and had compassion upon the one who had the evil spirit, and delivered him. – Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34.
Present-day higher critics and lower critics are disposed to dispute that there are evil spirits, and that human beings ever are or ever were possessed by demons. Such incline to suppose that either deception or insanity was mistaken by the Lord and the apostles in these cases of obsession. However, to those who have learned to respect the Word of God there is no room for questioning the accounts. Our Lord commanded evil spirits to come out of possessed ones, and they obeyed him; and in this case the Apostle Paul invoked the same divine power for the healing of this young woman – for her deliverance from the evil spirit being which [R3122 : page 380] had obtained possession of her and made her its slave, speaking through her, and otherwise using her mouth, ears, etc., as channels of communication. These fallen angels adapt themselves to the varying conditions of humanity in all parts of the world, and in connection with all the various systems of religion, all of which we may properly accredit, more or less directly, to the great Adversary of the truth, who worketh by and through those who will submit themselves.*
As this young woman was a money-winner for the people who owned her, we can imagine what consternation was aroused amongst them when they found that not only was their source of gain for the future gone, but also that the large amount of money invested in this slave was lost (for such spirit-possessed ones had a high market value): they became desperately angry. Nothing will so greatly move men as love or selfishness; and under present conditions selfishness moves the vast majority, and with intense power. They had no hope of getting the evil spirit back into the woman; they must have revenge upon those who had financially ruined them. There is much of this spirit abroad in the world today: so long as the truth and the Lord's servants quietly go their way the world will generally be too busy with its affairs to molest them; but so soon as they perceive that truth and righteousness are inimical to their earthly interests and prospects their opposition becomes intense. Nor should we consider it to be the chief business of the Lord's people to stir up the animosity of the world and to bring persecution upon themselves. As a rule it is best that we leave the world to watch its own affairs, while we preach the Gospel, not using it as a sledge-hammer, to break men's hearts, but as the message of peace and love and blessing and joy to those whose hearts under divine providence have been already broken; and who have ears to hear the message of the grace of God. Very generally the apostles pursued as smooth a course as principle would permit, and in this instance very evidently Paul acted under special guidance of the Lord. The Apostle's general instruction is, "So far as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" – do not go out of your way to stir up trouble, but if the Lord in his providence allows it to arise, be courageous and full of faith in him [R3123 : page 380] who has permitted it, that he will overrule it for good.
The owners of the Pythoness evidently had influence, and succeeded quickly in arousing a mob determined to have revenge against Paul and Silas. Of course they did not attempt this by telling the truth. They did not say, We were using a poor slave girl, possessed of an evil spirit, for our financial profit, and these men have restored her mind, her will – released her from mental enslavement to saneness of mind. No; like all who are engaged in a bad cause, they ignored the truth of the matter, and raised spurious charges – that the prisoners were teaching a religion contrary to the laws of Rome, and likely thus to raise sedition. We see that this was contrary to the truth, for the Lord's servants went, according to law, outside the city gates for their worship. However, under the circumstances the false charge, without proofs, was sufficient to bring down upon the Lord's representatives the severest penalties their judges could inflict: their clothing was torn from them, and the command was given that they should be beaten with rods and imprisoned. The customary sentence of the time was, "Go, victors! Tear off their garments! Scourge them!" This was one of the three times Paul was thus beaten. (2 Cor. 11:25.) He referred to it in his letter to the Thessalonians, declaring that he was "shamefully" treated at Philippi. – I Thess. 2:2.
The prison was constructed with outer cells, which were more or less accessible to the light and air, and with an inner or central dungeon for the most vicious criminals. It was into the latter that Paul and Silas were thrust, and their feet made fast in the stocks, which often were so constructed as to separate the limbs widely and to make any movement very painful. It was under these unfavorable circumstances, with their backs bleeding and raw from the scourging, that reflecting upon the wonders of the divine plan, and their own association with that plan, these faithful brethren were so filled with the spirit of rejoicing that they gave vent to their feelings in hymn-prayers of thankfulness for their privilege of suffering in connection with the Lord's service, of enduring tribulation for righteousness' sake.
How remarkable it must seem to the worldly, who have never tasted of the joys of the Lord, that these men could thus rejoice in tribulation – rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer afflictions for the cause of Christ! How little the world knows of the peace of God which passeth all understanding, that rules in the hearts of the Lord's people who have grown in his grace and heart-likeness! How little can they appreciate the fact expressed by our Lord when he said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." And again, through the Apostle, "We glory in tribulation, also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts." (John 14:27; Rom. 5:3-5.) And as these faithful servants of the Lord could rejoice in whatever experiences God permitted to come to them in the discharge of duty, so may we remember that ours is the same God, that he changes not; that he is equally able and equally willing today to grant the sunshine of his favor to those who trust him and seek to walk in his ways. It is the reverse condition that the followers of Christ need to dread, need to fear, as expressed by the poet,
In a general sense, the entire Gospel age is represented as being a night, in which sin and distress prevail, and, as the Prophet has declared, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" – when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams, to scatter all the miasm of sin and death! But even in this night-time the Lord's people do not need to sorrow as others, who have no hope. On the contrary, to his people, "He giveth songs in the night." (Job 35:10.) While they are watching, hoping, praying, for the glorious morning of deliverance, their trust in the Lord is as an anchor to their souls within the vail. How could such children of the great King go mourning all their days? Surely especially now, as [R3123 : page 381] the Millennial morning is dawning, we can say, "He hath put a new song into our mouths, even the loving kindness of our God!" He has given his people the blessed privilege of singing the new song of Moses and the Lamb, that others cannot sing – at least not yet. These who sing and make melody in their hearts unto the Lord will surely also show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light – theirs will be the psalm of life, manifesting in looks and words and tones and sentiments the love of God received into good and honest hearts.
Since as Christians we have learned that it is our privilege to be always rejoicing – to rejoice evermore and in everything give thanks – we need not, like the world, wait for special manifestations of divine favor to call forth our praise, our homage of heart and our grateful obedience to the Lord. Rather, learning that divine providence is in all of our affairs, ready to shape them for our good, we may rejoice "whatever lot we see, since 'tis God's hand that leadeth us." Some one has well said: –
"If we are not ready to praise God where we are, and with our conditions and circumstances as they are, we should not be likely to praise him if we were differently circumstanced and our conditions just that which now seems to us most desirable. Daniel could sleep better in the den of lions than Darius in the royal palace; he who could not find rest in a lion's den, when that was the place for him, could not gain rest by a mere removal to a palace. It is the man's self which must be changed, not his circumstances or his possessions, in order to his having a heart overflowing with joy and praise."
When, in 1695, Madame Guyon was imprisoned in the Castle of Vincennes, she sang praises to the Lord, composing one of her own hymns, as follows:
The shaking of the prison, the loosing of the chains, the opening of the doors, the waking of the jailer, his dismay and intended suicide, fearing the ignominy which would attach to him from the escape of the prisoners, Paul's call to him to do himself no harm, assuring him that the prisoners were all safe, constitute together a thrilling episode, more remarkable to the jailer than to anyone else. Doubtless he had heard something respecting these men, so different from the ordinary criminals with which he had to do. Doubtless, he had been impressed with their unresisting attitude; their Christlike demeanor even under severe provocation; their moderate submission even to their severe treatment at his hands. In any event he seems to have felt a heart-hunger for fellowship with his Creator such as these discredited men under his care enjoyed. Quite probably he had already been reading the Gospel of Christ in the features and conduct of his prisoners, whose living epistles were always open to be known and read by those about them. Had there not been some such preliminary instruction of his heart, we can scarcely suppose that he would so quickly have resolved to walk in the footsteps of the prisoners – that their God should be his God, and their salvation which was able to make them joyful in tribulation, should, if possible, be his salvation. And this was his inquiry: "What must I do to be saved?" – saved from sin, saved from its penalty, – death, saved from its degrading influence, saved from its unrest of heart and mind, saved to the same peace and joy and comfort and consolation which his prisoners exemplified.
We are not surprised at the reply given by the Lord's servants; we are not surprised that they did not say, Go to the confessional, get the priest to sprinkle holy water upon you, pay him to say masses for your sins, and join the Catholic Church. Neither are we surprised that the message was not that he must feel his guilt a long while, and pray to the Lord a good while, and seek forgiveness at a mourner's bench night after night, and join a Methodist or Presbyterian or other human system. How evident it is that these servants of the true Gospel and builders of the true Church were not Catholics, nor Presbyterians, nor Methodists; and that they neither founded these sects nor taught along their lines; and that they would no more affiliate with or encourage their methods today than they would then have done.
The answer to the jailer is one which commends itself to the Christian mind as being the proper one – no more, no less: he should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as his Redeemer, as the one who had died on his behalf, through whose stripes he might be healed, saved and through whose sacrifice he might rejoice in at-one-ment with God; and having thus believed with all his heart, whether it required a moment or an hour to explain and to understand these simple first principles of the Gospel, his next step was to consecrate himself, to be baptized into death with his Redeemer, and to symbolize this consecration into death by a baptism in water. And he was encouraged to hope, not only for his personal salvation, but that his family might be sharers with him. We may reasonably suppose that this conversation about his salvation progressed while he was ministering to the evangelists – washing [R3124 : page 381] their wounds, seeking to make them comfortable and providing them food. We may also reasonably suppose that with many more words than are here presented the Apostle set before the jailer and his assembled family the simple story of the love of God manifested in the gift of his Son; and of the love of Christ manifested in his sacrifice on our behalf; and the evidence of the acceptableness of that sacrifice, as testified to by our Lord's resurrection and by his sending of the holy spirit upon the infant Church; and the subsequent message now going forth to whomsoever had an ear to hear, that there is salvation in him and in no other.
There is a lesson here for us in regard to the promulgation of God's message. We are not to use words of man's wisdom; not to attempt to philosophize and to show our learning; nor are we to say, Now, do not be in too much haste; there is plenty of time, and after we are comfortably fixed we will have all day tomorrow to talk this matter over. We are to remember the declaration of the wise man, "A word in season, how good it is!" We are to remember, when talking [R3124 : page 382] with those who have an ear to hear and are inquiring the way to the Lord, that there are great crises in the lives of men, momentous occasions, in which one word may be more valuable, more potent, than would be a hundred words or a thousand words at another time, under different circumstances; and we are to be instant in the Lord's service, whether seasonable or unseasonable to ourselves, – gladly ready to lay down our lives for the brethren. The disposition of Paul and Silas to preach Christ to the jailer regardless of their own convenience and comfort and need of rest was in perfect accord with the joy of the Lord which filled their hearts and led them to sing. Dissatisfied Christians, disposed to grumble, would be inclined neither to sing praises under such circumstances, nor to preach the Gospel to a poor inquiring fellow on so out-of-season an occasion. We are to distinguish, however, between out-of-season to ourselves and out-of-season to others; and to be willing to serve others at any time, however out-of-season to ourselves, if it be in season and opportune for them. We are not to intrude even the Gospel itself at inopportune times, however convenient the occasion may be to ourselves.
Let us learn from this brief statement of the Gospel discourse by the Apostle the wisdom of simplicity and directness. The Apostle might have preached a great deal about the Jewish Law, and about the Jewish failure to keep the Law. He might have discussed the various philosophies of the false religions; and all of these might be proper at the right time, but now was not the time suited for these, and hence he confined his remarks particularly to the general statement that Christ was the Messiah, that he had redeemed the world, that he must be laid hold on by faith, and that to all who thus took hold on him he became the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The next morning the rulers, learning something of the circumstances of the night, ordered the release of Paul and Silas; but the Apostle sought to forward the interests of the cause he served by returning word that he was a Roman citizen, and that Roman law had been violated in three particulars in his case: (1) That they had "beaten" him; (2) that this had been done "publicly;" (3) that it was specially reprehensible in that he had not been legally "condemned."
These charges against the rulers might have gone hard with them; hence, it is not to be wondered at that they came to the prison, as the Apostle requested, and brought their prisoners forth publicly, thus giving evidence to the people that they conceded that an injustice had been done them on the previous night. It was agreed that the Lord's representatives should leave the place, and evidently this was as wise a thing as could have been done, at the time, for the publicity given to the Apostles and their teaching would now have opportunity to work, and the new disciples might have a better chance for presenting the truth quietly, in the absence of their leaders, against whom strong enmity had been aroused on account of the healing of the woman. From here the servants of the Lord went to Thessalonica, and undaunted by their experiences (indeed, rejoicing in them) they boldly spoke the word of grace to such as would hear them there.
"Many men of many minds," writes the poet; hence it is not surprising that some with too little reverence and too much self-consciousness are disposed to criticize the Apostle's course in claiming Roman citizenship here and on another occasion. We should approach such criticism from the standpoint of reverence, recognizing the apostles as specially chosen and specially inspired of the Lord and specially guided of him and fit to be our exemplars in all matters (Matt. 18:18) unless (as in Gal. 2:11) the criticism of their conduct or words is found in the Scriptures themselves. Unquestionably it was proper for the Apostle to appeal to his Roman citizenship as a means to secure justice, not injustice.
Similarly we may properly appeal to every item of the human laws under which we may be living that would protect us in our just rights; but we may not go beyond this and denounce the laws or violate them. Our Lord's admonition was in line with such submission to the ordinances or laws of men, in respect to our earthly affairs; and he explains, – If any man sue thee at the law and take away thy coat resist not, but even let him take thy cloak also. If, however, any man attempts to rob us of our coat without due process of law we are not bound to yield except it seem to be the better policy. In all civilized lands we would have the right to call on the law to protect us from violence.
Such a course would not mean an acknowledgment that we are citizens of this world and renouncers of our heavenly citizenship – even as the Apostle's course did not mean this. It would mean merely that as strangers and pilgrims, we are required to pay taxes for the support of law and order, and that worldly people recognize our rights to certain protection in the laws which they framed.
Similarly the Apostle at times referred to himself as a Jew – not as denying his Christianity, but as one now might say, – I am a German, or an American, thus to appeal not to a religious prejudice, but to a national sympathy, which, if men's hearts were right, would not need to be appealed to, because it would be quite sufficient to say, – I am a fellow man. The Apostle on one occasion, perceiving that his enemies were chiefly Pharisees, cried out, "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee! For the hope of the resurrection I am called in question!" To imagine a similar case now, suppose that Christians were practically of two parties, one professing faith in the resurrection of the dead, and the other denying a resurrection and future life; suppose the latter were called "Evolutionists," and the former "the Faithful," and that some of us were misunderstood and caught by a mob, and that we perceived that a goodly number of our assailants were of "the Faithfuls," and that we were to cry out, "I am one of the 'Faithful' and the son of a 'Faithful!' It is because I believe in the resurrection of the dead that I am now being molested!" Surely there would be nothing amiss in such a position. And this was exactly Paul's case; – the name Pharisee stood for faith in God and in a future life by a resurrection and for obedience to the Law and, in general, full loyalty to God. The word Pharisee signifies – wholly separated to God; and only that the word has since come to be proverbial for hypocrite any of the Lord's people could still say, I am a Pharisee – I am one of those wholly separated to God.
Such as neglect answering these questions, or so many of them as they can answer, must not be surprised if no meetings are arranged for them, or at most for one day. The information aids us greatly in arranging the "Pilgrim" routes.
(1) Are regular meetings now held in your vicinity?
(2) How frequently?
(3) Give addresses of meeting places and hours.
(4) What is the present average attendance?
(5) At what date are leaders or elders chosen?
(6) Give full name and address of regularly elected elders, – that arrangements for Pilgrim visits may be committed to them.
(7) Is request for a Pilgrim visit the publicly expressed wish of those who usually attend meetings?
(8) To whom should the Pilgrim be referred for entertainment?
(9) Will suitable places be secured for parlor meetings?
(10) Can suitable room for a public meeting be secured?
(11) If no regularly chosen elders, give at least one address in full, besides your own.
(12) Give your own name and address in full (state if colored) and any other information likely to be useful.
(13) If not on the railroad give name of proper station and your distance from it, and the direction. State also if a conveyance would meet the Pilgrim at station and return him to it.
Question. – The Psalms, quoted from in the New Testament, seem to show clearly that destruction is Judas' end, – but can we decide that the scribes and Pharisees of our Lord's time came under the two Scriptures that specially bear on the case, I Tim. 2:3-6, with the will of God that all should come to an "Epignosin" of the truth, and Heb. 6:4-6 that the ones it is impossible to renew, are those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift – become partakers of holy spirit – tasted the good word of God, and powers of the coming age? Did they reach those conditions? I think not.
Answer. – All will agree that no matter how positive a word may be used respecting the bringing of mankind to knowledge before judgment, general knowledge is not meant. To assume that general knowledge of the sciences, or even of the science of religion is necessary to a trial for eternal life, would be to assume that God had not given to father Adam a full, proper or just trial for eternal life; – and from such a proposition we would all dissent, for we know that he was justly tried and justly condemned. His knowledge will help us to understand what degree or kind of knowledge his children must have, before they can come under the responsibility of the second trial secured by the ransom for all. Father Adam's knowledge consisted in a discernment of the right and the wrong of the question before him – and no more knowledge than this was necessary. It was immaterial whether he thought of God as Trinity or Unity; whether he believed in heaven and hell, etc., or not; whether he knew about the sun, moon and stars, and the laws governing their motions, or not. He knew what was necessary for him to know; namely, (1) that God had a right to command his obedience, and (2) that God had commanded him not to eat of that fruit, and had attached thereto some penalty. It did not matter whether he knew exactly all that the penalty implied or not. He knew that to eat would be transgression – sin.
So, we take it, is the responsibility of all mankind, as soon as they come mentally in contact with "the light of the world." We cannot conceive how Judas could be ignorant of the wrong which he committed, after his three years of experience with the Master, and in the use of the power of the holy spirit communicated to him. It seems to us unnecessary that he should know either about the planetary movements, or about all the particulars of the divine plan: he knew of the holy and pure character of our Redeemer; and of his self-sacrificing service of Jehovah and the people; and it seems to us he must have known beyond question that his conduct was treason to God and to righteousness; and to every principle of goodness reprobate. We reason that if Adam's knowledge and transgression were justly punished with death, Judas' knowledge and sin could bring nothing short of the Second Death. However, we leave the matter; any who see it differently are entitled to hold their opinions.
Respecting the scribes and Pharisees: Their conduct seems indeed flagrant; we would find it impossible to imagine that they felt within themselves that they were doing the right thing in crucifying the spotless Lamb of God. Nevertheless, our Lord did not say of them that it had been better for them not to have been born; he merely said, "How can ye escape the condemnation of Gehenna?" – the Second Death. This leaves us abundant room to suppose that they may yet have opportunity to escape that condemnation; but it also suggests to us the probability that some of them will not escape the Second Death – that some of them had so perverted and seared their consciences with pride and wilfulness and love of evil that even the blessings of the Millennial Age would fail to dissolve the callousness of their hearts.
Our Society does not supply Bibles free, but it justifies the Bible feature of its name by supplying Bibles, Testaments and Bible Study Helps at wholesale rates. Additionally we give our readers the benefit of our experience and judgment respecting which Bibles are the best value at the wholesale rate. When ordering large-size Bibles always name your express office and company, as well as post office. Letters containing money or stamps accompanying order should always be registered.
CONTAINING ALL THE IMPROVEMENTS – LARGE TYPE (LONG PRIMER). – SIZE, 5⅝ X 8⅝ INCHES. No. 8701 French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold..........$1.15 No. 8709 Egyptian Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold, Leather Lined........................................ 1.65 No. 8721 Norse Morocco, Silk Sewed, ditto....................... 2.75 Postage, 25c each extra; Thumb Index, if desired .25 THE CHEAPEST TEACHERS' BIBLE IN THE WORLD. MINION TYPE EDITION. No. 8301 French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold.......... .75 Postage, 25c each extra; Thumb Index, if desired, .25
COMBINES ALL THE "HELPS" FEATURES, ALSO EIGHTY SPLENDID FULL-PAGE PHOTO-VIEWS OF BIBLE LANDS. BOURGEOIS TYPE – 5¼ x 7¾ INCHES. No. 4810 French Seal, Red under Gold............................$1.35 No. 8816 ditto, ditto, Linen Lined.............................. 1.85 No. 8838 Alaska Seal, Calfskin Lined to Edge, Silk Sewed, Red under Gold Edges, Divinity Circuit............... 2.45 Postage, 25c each extra; Thumb Index, if desired .25
No. N.A. French Seal, Divinity Circuit..........................$1.10 No. N.B. do do Linen Lined............. 1.25 No. N.C. do do Leather Lined........... 1.55 All Red under Gold Edges. Postage, 25c each extra; Thumb Index, if desired .25
The merits of these wonderful productions of the bookmaker's skilful art are so well known as to render detailed comment unnecessary. By special arrangement we can save our friends one-third of the list price on these Bibles, and have selected the styles which in our opinion, are most desirable. All but No. 01157x contain References, and are Silk Sewed. No. 03554 is Self-Pronouncing. All are bound with Divinity Circuit, are Leather Lined, have Red under Gold Edges and Round Corners. The type increases in size as follows: Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, Minion, Bourgeois and Long Primer. Nos. 03464x and 03581x contain Concordance and Maps, and Nos. 0863x and 0865½x contain full Teachers' Helps. Thumb Index on any of these, 25c extra.
No. 03009x Pearl Type, Persian Levant, postpaid.................$2.25 No. 01157x Ruby Type, French Morocco, postpaid.................. 1.45 No. 03114x do Persian Levant, Postpaid.................. 2.50 No. 03229x do do postpaid.................. 2.65 No. 03265x Emerald Type, Levant Morocco, postpaid............... 3.25 No. 03464x Minion Type, Persian Levant, postpaid................ 3.80 No. 03554x Bourgeois Type, Alaska Seal, postpaid................ 4.20 No. 03581x Long Primer Type, Persian Levant, postpaid........... 4.67 No. 0863x do do Alaska Seal, postpaid.............. 5.21 No. 0865½ do do Levant, postpaid................... 6.55
Hitherto this Bible has been sold by "Subscription Agents" only. Its special feature, differentiating it from other "Teachers' Bibles," is that it shows the readings of the Common and Revised Versions side by side in the same line.
(Those requesting it will be supplied a publishers' price list, showing the special feature.)
No. 350 French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold, Edges, list price $6, our price.......................$2.10 No. 355 French Morocco, Divinity Circuit, Red Leather Lined, list price $8, our price....................... 3.15 No. 360 Levant Morocco, Divinity Circuit, Red Kid Lined, list price $10, our price............................. 4.20 Thumb Index, if desired, 25c extra; Postage............. .25
The Students' Hand Bible. No. 04403 Minion type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Selected Helps, including Concordance.................$ .75 Post extra............................................ .20 Oxford Self-pronouncing Teachers' Bible. No. 0823 Bourgeois type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit Round corners, Red under Gold Edge.................... 1.25 Postage................................................. .25 This is a wonderful book for the price, and its self-pronouncing feature is on a new plan preferred by some. Lap Bibles for the Aged. – No References. These contain Family Registers. No. 01600 Small Pica Type, Cloth, Red Edges.....................$1.00 Post extra............................................ .25 No. 01603 Small Pica Type, French Seal, Limp.................... 1.35 Post extra............................................ .25 No. 01605 Small Pica Type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit........ 1.95 Post extra,........................................... .25 Ditto New Testaments for Aged. No. 212 Small Pica Type, Roan Square Corners.................... .35 Post extra............................................ .12 No. 283 Same as No. 212 with Psalms added....................... .45 Post extra,........................................... .15 Pocket Bible with References. No. 03008 Pearl Type, Fr. Seal, Divinity Circuit................ .60 Post extra,........................................... .07 Pocket Bibles Without References. No. 01103 Diamond Type, India Paper, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold Edges...........................$1.00 .03 No. 178 Pearl Type, Cloth, Red Edges..................... .18 .07 No. 010 Pearl Type, French Seal, Red under Gold.......... .55 .05 No. 013 Pearl Type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold Edges........................... .55 .05 No. 038 Pearl Type, Padded, Red under Gold............... .55 .05 No. 035 Pearl Type, Padded and Clasp, Red under Gold Edges..................................... .60 .05 No. 01150 Ruby Type, French Seal, Red under Gold......... .45 .07 No. 01153 Ruby Type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold Edges........................... .60 .07 No. 01327 Minion Type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit Red under Gold Edges........................... .75 .12 No. 01329 Minion Type, French Seal, Divinity Circuit, Leather lined.................................. 1.10 .12 No. 215 Nonpareil Type, French Morocco, Divinity Circuit, Red under Gold Edges........................... .80 .12 No. 602 Thin Vest Pocket Bible, Persian Morocco, Limp, Round Corners, Red under Gold Edges.......................................... 1.50 No. 2002 Ditto – Divinity Circuit, Leather Lined, Silk Sewed, References......................... 1.85 CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE.
Child's Bibles, Profusely Illustrated. No. 252 Ruby Type, Fr. Seal, Limp...............$ .80 post extra, .10 No. 145 Ruby Type, Fr. Divinity Circ............ 1.00 post extra, .10 Pocket New Testaments. No. 801 Ruby Type, Limp Cloth.................... .05 post extra, .02 No. 030 Ruby Type, French Seal................... .17 post extra, .02 No. 033 Ruby Type, Fr. Seal, Div. Circuit........ .25 post extra, .02 No. 0130 Same as No. 030 with Psalms added....... .25 post extra, .03 No. 0133 Same as No. 033 with Psalms added....... .35 post extra, .03 No. 287 Brevier Type, Roan, Gilt Edge, Psalms................................. .35 post extra, .05 No. 010 Diamond Type (very small), Limp Morocco, Red under Gold Edges.......... .35 post extra, .01 No. 014 Diamond Type (very small), Fr'ch Morocco, Divinity Circuit, Leather Lined, etc..................... .80 post extra, .01
This is the best book of its kind we have ever seen. It presents the Bible stories in simple, but not childish language, and seems remarkably free from the bad theology so common in this class of books. All Christian parents should have a Sunday Bible lesson with their children, and this book furnishes interesting topics, to which may be added as much concordant "present truth" as the age of the children will justify. Parents are responsible for their children's training in theology as well as morals. This will assist you in the discharge of this duty, and thus be a blessing to yourself as well as to your children.
Two texts and a verse for every day in the year. Have one on your breakfast table with the natural food. Appoint one of the family reader, and call for questions and comments. Feed the soul as well as the body. Small, neat, cloth bound, gilt edges. 15 cents, 2 for 25 cents, including postage.
REDUCED PRICES. – These will be sold with ZION'S WATCH TOWER only. In cloth binding $1.50 (6s. 3d.) – includes postage and one year's subscription, new or renewal, to Z.W.T. On thin paper, in full morocco leather, divinity circuit, red under gold edges, silk sewed leather lined, $2.50 (10s. 6d.) – includes postage and one year's subscription to Z.W.T. The morocco bound edition will not be ready for some time, but orders may be sent in now, for later delivery.
This is the ordinary Common Version in cloth binding. As footnotes it gives the reading of the three oldest Greek MSS., Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrine, wherever these differ from the Common Version. This is a very valuable little work, published in Europe, which we specially import for the benefit of our readers. Price 40c, including postage.
This, too, is a valuable work, and an aid in critical study. It is translated from the Syriac instead of from the Greek. It is claimed by some that it was the language in which our Lord and the apostles spoke and wrote, and that the Greek was translated from this. Our price, in half leather binding, postage included, $1.50.
This is the standard translation amongst English reading Hebrews, by one of their own rabbis. It is not perfect, but is a valuable aid in critical study of the Old Testament. Our special price, in leather binding, including postage, is $1.10.
REVISED VERSION TESTAMENTS. In cloth binding, pocket size, postage included.............. .20 REVISED VERSION BIBLES. No. 040 Pearl Type, Cloth binding..............45, postage extra, .10 No. 060 Minion Type, do ..............75, postage extra, .20 AMERICAN COMMITTEE'S REVISED (OXFORD) BIBLE. No. 03570 Bourgeois, Cloth, References............$1.00, postage, .25 No. 03752 Ditto, in Morocco, Div. Circuit......... 1.90, postage, .25 AMERICAN STANDARD REVISED BIBLE. No. 260 Long Primer, Cloth, References............ 1.35, postage, .30 No. 275 Long Primer, Fr. Seal, References......... 2.50, postage, .30 No. 160 Bourgeois, Cloth, References.............. .90, postage, .20 No. 172 Bourgeois, Fr. Seal, References........... 1.75, postage, .20
Many regard this as a valuable aid; but we do not specially recommend it as such, as some of its peculiarities are liable to mislead those who have no conception of the Hebrew idiom. In cloth binding, including postage, $4. This is the regular retail price, and the publishers do not permit us to make any reduction. We are at liberty, however, to prepay the postage free and to give as a premium two volumes of the DAWN series in cloth binding.
In English, Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Young (Presbyterian). A valuable work for all critical students. Price, in cloth binding, $5, including postage. We are not permitted by the publishers to cut this price; but may and do give postage free and give besides a premium of any three volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series in cloth binding with each Concordance.
In English Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Strong (Methodist). This is also an able work, and useful in critical study, but scarcely so good for the average student, we think, as Prof. Young's work. Price, in cloth binding, $6; half leather, $8; full leather, $10. We will pay mail or express charges on these, and in addition give as a premium any three volumes of the DAWN series in cloth binding, with each Concordance.
This is one of the most desirable editions of Prof. Smith's work. It is a large volume of 1020 pages. In cloth binding, $1.30, including postage.
[The plan here proposed we designate "GOOD HOPES," because nothing is actually promised – only your generous hopes expressed, based upon your future prospects as they now appear to you. The plan proved not only so beneficial to the cause of truth, but also so blessed to the hopers, for some years past, that we again commend it to all as Scriptural and good. Those who desire to make use of this plan can fill out both of these memoranda. One should be kept for the refreshment of your memory; the other mail to us.]
Dear Friends: – I have read with interest of the openings for the Dawn and Tract work in foreign lands and here at home. I need not tell you that I am deeply interested in the spread of the Glad Tidings of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of redeeming love expressed for us in God's great Plan of the Ages.
I am anxious to use myself – every power, every talent, voice, time, money, influence, all – to give to others this knowledge, which has so greatly blessed, cheered and comforted my own heart and placed my feet firmly upon the Rock of Ages.
I have been considering carefully, and praying to be instructed, how to use my various talents more to my Redeemer's glory and for the service of his people – those blinded by human tradition who are, nevertheless, hungering for "the good Word of God," and those also who are naked, not having on the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness, the unjustified, who stand at best in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. I have decided that so far as my "money talent" goes, I will follow the rule so clearly laid down for us by the great Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 16:2), and will lay aside on the first day of each week, according to my thankful appreciation of the Lord's blessings during the preceding week. Out of this fund I wish to contribute to the several parts of the Lord's work specified on the back of this letter. Of course, I cannot in advance judge or state particularly what the Lord's bounty may enable me to set apart weekly, and hence you will understand the sum indicated to be merely my conjecture or hope, based upon present prospects. I will endeavor to contribute more than I here specify; and should I not succeed in doing as well, the Lord will know my heart, and you, also, will know of my endeavors.
My only object in specifying in advance what I hope to be able to do in this cause is to enable those in charge of the work of publishing and circulating the Tracts, etc., to form estimates, lay plans, make contracts, etc., with some idea of what I will at least try to do in the exercise of this my highly appreciated privilege.
My present judgment is that during the coming year, by self-denial and cross-bearing, I shall be able to lay aside on the first day of each week for Home and Foreign Mission Work (to assist in circulating Millennial Dawn in foreign languages, and in publishing the "Old Theology Tracts" in various languages, and in supplying these gratuitously to brethren who have the heart and opportunity to circulate them widely, and in meeting the expenses of brethren sent out as "Pilgrims" to preach the divine plan of salvation, and in general to be expended as the officers of the Society may deem best), the amount of...............per week.
To comply with United States Postal Laws, all or any portion of my donation may be applied as subscription price for Watch Tower or O.T. Tracts sent to the Lord's poor or others, as the Society's officers may deem advisable.
That the work be not hindered, I will endeavor to send you what I shall have laid aside for this cause at the close of each quarter. I will secure a Bank Draft, Express Order or Postal Money Order as I may find most convenient, and will address the letter to
The friends who contribute to the "Good Hopes" (described on the reverse of this sheet) at times desire to send the Watch Tower to friends who are not yet interested enough to subscribe for themselves; or to deeply interested friends who are too poor to subscribe and backward about accepting our Lord's Poor offer. They are invited to give us such addresses below – the expense to be deducted from their donations. Give full addresses, and write very plainly please, mentioning the length of the subscriptions. __________
For several years we have been supplying our readers with handsome text and motto cards for the walls of their homes. Their influence is excellent; for they continually and cheerfully catch the eye and remind the heart of our great favors present and to come, based upon the exceeding great and precious promises of our Father's Word. We commend these as helps in the "narrow way," – helps in character-building.
We aim to have a good supply of these very choice cards constantly on hand, and for particular description of some (not all) of the styles would refer you to our illustrated list, which will be sent on request. We still recommend the dollar packages as the most satisfactory way, all things considered, of acquiring these texts. They are sent carriage paid for $1.16, by prepaid express whenever feasible.
These are published quarterly, copies being sent to all subscribers. Other copies, for distribution among friends, from house to house, for enclosure in letters, and in general for use in such ways as seem judicious, are supplied freely, the expense entailed by the great demand for them being borne by the Tract Fund of voluntary contributions. Write for the tracts as you feel able to use them, even if not so well able to contribute toward the expense; some who are not able, and do contribute, do not have opportunities personally to use all that their contributions pay for, so that the matter is equalized, and all may have a part in this service of disseminating the truth.
We are convinced that the Watch Tower lists do not contain the names of one-half of those deeply interested in its teachings. The total is small enough surely, and we are not content that the name of any should be missing. We believe that all such will be stimulated and encouraged on the "narrow way" by its semi-monthly appearance on their table, reminding them afresh of spiritual matters which the world, the flesh and the devil continually tend to crowd out of mind and heart.
Hitherto we have required that all desiring the Watch Tower on credit, or free, as "the Lord's Poor," should make personal application; but now we request every subscriber to inquire among those whom he knows to be interested in present truth, and to obtain the consent of all such to send in their subscriptions either on credit or free, as their circumstances may necessitate. Any getting it on credit may at any future time request that the debt be cancelled, and we will cheerfully comply. We desire that as nearly as possible the Watch Tower lists shall represent all those deeply interested in its message.
Our object is not the gain of "filthy lucre," but "the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry" – present and to come. (Eph. 4:12.) We offer no premiums, desiring the co-operation of such only as appreciate the privilege of being co-workers with us in this ministry. Our list is now about 17,000; but it should be at least 25,000, and we confidently expect the above program to bring it to that figure. Let as many as appreciate it as a privilege, join at once in this service.
Most of our subscriptions end with the year, so we take this opportunity to remark that we will be glad to hear promptly from such as desire the visits of the Watch Tower continued. This applies to all who get it on the Lord's Poor list as well as to those who pay. When names are dropped and afterward renewed it makes us unnecessary trouble.