page 353

December 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVI.DECEMBER 1, 1905.No. 23
CONTENTS.
Views from the Watch Tower 355
The Sea and the Waves Roaring 355
A Roman Archbishop's Boast 356
Inter-Church Federation 357
The Heavens Rolling Together 358
Buddhism is Advancing 358
Christian Fellowship 358
Berean Bible Study for December 359
"Who is Sufficient for These Things?" 359
Nehemiah's Faith and Works 360
The Feast of Tabernacles 363
One-Day Convention Reports 366
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers 367
Public Ministries of the Truth 368

'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.

page 354

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.
T
HIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

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.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.

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THIS JOURNAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE
FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN LANGUAGES.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.

[R3672 : page 354]

THE TRUTH IN FRENCH, ITALIAN AND GREEK.

Besides Vols. I. and II. of MILLENNIAL DAWN, we can supply the following in the French language: Booklets on "Hell," "Evolution," and "Parousia," at same rates as English booklets; tracts Nos. 52, 53, 57, 66; samples free for judicious circulation.

Besides Vol. I. of DAWN we can supply the following in Italian: Tracts Nos. 38, 52, 53, 58 and 59, 66; samples free for judicious circulation.

The DAWNS are supplied at same rates as English volumes. See next column for price list.

We have also tracts Nos. 38, 53 and 66 in Greek; samples for free distribution. page 354

ZION'S GLAD SONGS.

A collection of sixty hymns, with music, for social and testimony meetings, and semi-private gatherings. Price, 5c each, postpaid. English and German editions.

WATCH TOWER BINDERS.

These are substantially made of stiff cloth boards, and can hold two years' issues of the WATCH TOWER. They prevent soiling and loss. Price, postpaid, 50c.

German booklet on the Law and the Sabbath, 72 pages, postpaid 5 cents each.

[R3671 : page 355]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
THE SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING.

THE daily press has kept us all informed respecting the turmoils in Russia. What a pity that reasonable concessions could not be secured from the Government without such confusion and bloodshed. To those who view matters from the standpoint of the Bible the cause is plain: selfishness on the part of all concerned.

We do not expect the complete overthrow of the monarchy at present, however, but rather that matters will soon settle down on a higher basis, but still an unsatisfactory one. Indeed the poor world is too selfish to be satisfied with anything reasonable or possible under present conditions. Not until wearied by vain endeavors will men be in a proper condition even for the Millennial Kingdom – which will be an autocracy, and for a time quite unsatisfactory to some – until they learn of the great blessings therefrom because of the perfect rulers and their divine laws, backed by Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power.

Two effects of the Russian agitation may be expected: (1) The igniting of violence elsewhere, as in Austria and Finland. (2) Then a reaction, the subsidence of turmoil in Russia and a temporary opposition to lawlessness everywhere. The educated and comfortably well-to-do will soon realize that anarchy is of doubtful advantage to anybody, and especially to themselves. The weight of their influence, swinging to the side of government and law and order, will secure peace for a time.

Let us remember to expect various outbreaks at intervals, but that the general collapse of all governments in anarchy is not to be expected before the close of 1914 A.D. What has occurred in Russia is but a circumstance compared to what we expect at that time; but it gives us a picture, nevertheless.

THE POOR JEWS SUFFER

It is notable that the poor Jews suffered in the Russian massacres more than others. One public press dispatch from Odessa says: –

"Up to the present time no Christian shops or homes have been touched. The principal hotels are full of the better class of Jews seeking refuge. There was a veritable reign of terror on October 31. After the Emperor's manifesto granting a constitution to Russia had been published the Jews made the Russians furious with rage by making a prominent display of red flags, trampling on a portrait of the Emperor and tearing down the emblem of the crown. Late in the afternoon there was firing in the outskirts of the town and the massacre of Jews commenced and lasted during the night of November 1. All Jews found in the streets were severely beaten and many were killed in their shops, which were ruthlessly pillaged. A leading consul, in an interview, argued that the disturbances were the result of the behavior of the Jews, who shocked Russian patriotism by the manner in which they celebrated on Tuesday the publication of the imperial manifesto. The Liberals contend that the Governor had all the means to stop the outbreak in the first hour, and that his inactivity during the three days of massacre and his protection of the murderous rabble in the guise of patriots prove the real origin of the trouble."

"PROUD AND STIFF-NECKED."

True to the Bible's description the Jews are still a "stiff-necked generation." Bright, persevering, resourceful, economical, money-makers, they prosper where others except Orientals would starve. But this very success excites the envy and hatred of their less frugal neighbors. Keen money-lenders, and not always just, the money-borrowers of Russia would be pleased to see them killed or driven out of the country. Some of them, indiscreet as well as proud, are offensively boastful and arrogant and boisterous. We were witnesses of such things in this very city of Odessa in 1891 and wondered at their unwisdom.

All mankind are fallen, but not all in the same manner or degree. What the whole world needs is the [R3671 : page 356] restitution which God has promised, and the Jews will doubtless progress as well or better than others under the Millennial government and assistance. In the meantime only the spirit of Christ will properly offset the fallen disposition of any of us.

"THE WRATH OF MAN SHALL PRAISE HIM"

Socialism, the coming power in the world, when it later shall turn to anarchy, will be like dynamite to the whole civilized structure, political, social, financial and religious. Many of its theories are good, but wholly impracticable under present selfish conditions: because organized wealth will permit anarchy rather than allow Socialists to carry out all their schemes.

Meantime many well-meaning and fairly intelligent men are lending their voices and influence to Socialism, not seeing the outcome – not having the light of God's Word on the subject. It is not for us to oppose these, however, for two reasons: (1) We have a more important work – the proclaiming of the good tidings and assisting in the perfecting of the saints. (2) We incline to think that Socialists are "the Lord's great army," though not soldiers of the cross nor followers of the "Captain of our Salvation."

As the Lord has all along permitted the wrath of men and of devils to work out features of his plan, so we believe he will permit men now to delude themselves into the greatest calamity which ever befell humanity: "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." O, how glad we are that God will make man's extremity his opportunity for bringing in the Golden Age – the Kingdom of his dear Son!

SOCIALISM HERE AND IN BRITAIN

America and Great Britain are behind the other civilized nations as respects Socialism, because of more elastic and liberal laws. But discontent and aggressiveness are being cultivated in these lands by the wonderful prosperity which has heaped vast treasures in the hands of a comparatively small number; and by the fear that the end of this way will mean the eventual slavery of the masses to "plutocracy."

In consequence a socialistic propaganda is making rapid headway – as never before. The elections just held give a suggestion of the rapidity of the growth of Socialism. These voters have no thought of anarchy, but as they become enthused by the Socialist propaganda they will be led step by step to one and another extreme of word and deed to bring it about.

The Lord's people do well to remember that Socialism is not the hope set before us, and that time and thought and effort devoted to it are taken from the higher work given them as ambassadors for God and evangels of the Kingdom of Christ and its reign of righteousness and blessing which shall be unto all people.

GERMANY'S REACTIONARY ALLIANCE

Germany, the hotbed of Socialism, is experiencing just now a reaction. A National Alliance against Social Democracy has been started recently and already its effects are manifest. We give a resume of the objects of the Alliance, translated from one of its widely distributed circulars, as follows: –

"On May 9th, 1904, the National Alliance against Social Democracy was instituted in Berlin, having for its aim to unite for the impending struggle against the revolutionary aspirations of Social Democracy all those Germans who are loyal to their emperor and the empire, irrespective of their religious and political views. Although in existence for only a short time, no fewer than 55,000 members have joined the Alliance.

"Objects of the Alliance: – (1) To create compact organizations against Social Democracy at such places suitable for the purpose. (2) To combat by word and pen the activity of Social Democracy directed against the overthrow of the existing State and social order. (3) To bring about united action of all civil parties at elections in such districts as are endangered by Social Democracy. (4) To render all the assistance possible to the workmen and traders oppressed by Socialistic terrorism. (5) To establish a solid connection between all those unions and organizations pursuing like and similar aims."

*                         *                         *

This movement has put the Socialists on the defensive. Already they have lost heavily in some electoral districts. The effect will be to measurably check the movement for a little while, giving it a chance to grow in other quarters. We have every confidence that the end of the "times of the Gentiles" in Oct., 1914, will find Socialism not only fully developed but changed to Anarchism, as the Word implies.

A ROMAN ARCHBISHOP'S BOAST OF POWER TO FORGIVE SINS, TO CREATE CHRIST IN THE HOST AND SACRIFICE HIM IN THE MASS. DECLARES THESE GREATER THAN CREATIVE POWERS

The Albany Telegram publishes the following extract from the pastoral letter of Cardinal Klatschthaler, Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Austria. It is worthy of publication only as a curiosity and an illustration of how men can be deluded by false doctrines, especially after they have become hoary with age and weighty with many and influential adherents. This man, it will be seen, overestimated the stupidity of his countrymen, even in Catholic Austria. Thanks be unto God that, although priestcraft still flourishes in the Protestant clergy and though it still is often arrogant and self-assuming, yet it is a vast improvement over this example of the domineering arrogance of the "dark ages."

The extract follows: –

Salzburg, Austria, Sept. 16. – Your correspondent secured a copy of the Lenten pastoral letter by Cardinal Klatschthaler, Prince Archbishop of this diocese, in which his Eminence extols the power of the priest above that of the Son of God and his holy mother. The letter was read from all the pulpits on March 5th last, but was immediately withdrawn, at the instance of Emperor Francis Joseph, it is claimed, who telegraphed his disapproval to Pope Pius. [R3672 : page 357] Your correspondent has made a literal translation of the remarkable document, omitting only the mere formal parts for want of space.

THE PASTORAL LETTER

"The Catholic priest is the most venerable dignitary, for his powers are beyond words." He has the power to absolve man of sin. This priestly power to absolve man of sin is greater by far than the power to cure the blind, to give back to their eyes the light of day. It is greater by far than the power to make the lame and halt walk. It is greater than the power to recall the dead from lethargy, from the grave itself.

"The priest's power to absolve man of sin is greater than the fiat that created the world and scattered the darkness. It is greater than the word of command that formed the firmament. It is greater, in short, than the divine Being who created the world out of nothing.

GREATER THAN CREATOR OF THE WORLD

"The priest's power to absolve man of sin is greater than would be the power of creating as many new worlds as there are stars in the heavens. For in this act of God the Catholic priest is a cooperator, nay more than a cooperator. The very word, uttered by the priest's lips: 'I absolve thee of thy sins,' means absolution, means that a lost soul is once more entitled to the heavenly kingdom, for the word is not a mere announcement of God's grace, but in itself means the absolution of sin. As the Holy Council of Trent teaches us, the words quoted make the sinner a new man or woman, rehabilitate him or her in the divine grace.

"At the moment the priest says: 'I absolve thee,' he is imbued with the all-powerfulness of God; and at that moment God allows his representative on earth, the priest, to participate in the divine power.

"The patriarchs and prophets, the martyrs and sufferers for the faith, the millions of sainted virgins and the angels and archangels, and the thrones and principalities of heaven, the cherubim and seraphim, even Mary, the mother of God, the queen of heaven – none of them are equal in power to the Catholic priest. Mary, the bride of the holy Spirit, mistress of the world, may pray for the forgiveness of our sins, but the priest alone can actually forgive sins. He alone is entitled to say, 'I absolve thee.'

ABLE TO CREATE AND THEN TO SACRIFICE CHRIST

"Where in heaven is there such power as vested in the Catholic priest? With the angels? With the Mother of God? Upon Mary's word, 'The Lord's will be done,' the grand indescribable mysteries of the transformation of the Son of God into man took place. But, beloved Catholics, listen to me if you are able to understand the miraculous, the un-understandable: Mary's word was not the cause of Christ's appearance on earth; it was merely a declaration of her obedience to the divine will. But when the priest says: 'This is my body,' 'this is my blood,' then the all-highest transfiguration actually takes place.

"The priest sacrifices him, the Son of God, who became man; he sacrifices him for the benefit of the living and the dead, an unbloody sacrifice, as it were. And Christ, the only Son of God the Father, the creator of heaven and earth, the divine power upon whose shoulders rests the world, Christ performs the will of the Catholic priest.

JESUS OBEDIENT TO THE PRIEST

"We read with astonishment and admiration in the writings of the holy evangelists that Jesus, our Lord, was obedient to Mary and Joseph, was subject to their orders and criticisms. Hear ye, then, beloved Catholics: I repeat what I intimated in the foregoing. Christ gave the Catholic priest power over himself, his body, his flesh and blood, his divinity, his humanity; yes, and he is obedient to the priest. Oh, beloved Christians, reflect on the power and great dignity vested in the priest. Am I not right when I say that the power of transfiguration, the power to consecrate the holy waters, is even greater than the power to forgive sins, and we know how great that power is? The power to absolve man from sin gave the priest dominion over all human beings, but the power over the body and blood of Christ gives him power over Christ, over Christ's divinity.

"And with St. Dionysius I ask, 'Shall we call him a man who is the select of men, whom God has elevated over all men, namely, the priest? The priest, with whom God has united himself, whom God gave power over his own divinity?'

"CARDINAL KLATSCHTHALER,
"Prince Archbishop of Salzburg.

"Salzburg, March 4, 1905."

INTER-CHURCH FEDERATION.

The entire religious world is agog over the Church Federation gathering, whose sessions are to open on November 15th at Carnegie Hall, New York City. All the large Christian denominations are to participate through their chosen representatives. The object will be to find a basis of cooperation.

Those familiar with our views of the prophetic Word will know that this movement is one we have long expected, which will at some later session "give life to the image of the beast." – See Rev. 13:15; MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. III., chap. 4.

The following items are officially set forth by the Convention Committee: –

"We believe that the great Christian bodies in our country should stand together and lead in the discussion of, and give impulse to, all great movements that make for righteousness. We believe that questions like that of the saloon, marriage and divorce, Sabbath desecration, the social evil, child labor, relation of labor and capital, the bettering of the conditions of the laboring classes, the moral and religious training of the young, the problem created by foreign immigration and international arbitration – indeed, all great questions in which the voice of the Christian should be heard – concern Christians of every name and demand their united and concerted action if the Church is to lead effectively in the conquest of the world for Christ.

"The churches, representing 18,000,000 people, which have consented to send delegates are eager to see the conference result in some tangible organization or method of cooperation. Every Church with 500,000 [R3672 : page 358] adherents is entitled to fifty delegates; those having 100,000 communicants or more are entitled to ten delegates, while all of less than 100,000 membership will be permitted to seat five delegates."

THE HEAVENS ROLLING TOGETHER.

The prediction that the heavens shall roll together as a scroll in the day of the Lord is fulfilling before our eyes. The daily press keeps us posted on the various steps by which Protestants propose to federate: this is one side of the scroll rolling itself in concentration. The other side of the ecclesiastical scroll is Roman Catholicism, which is also concentrating, or in-rolling. Note the following on the subject: –

CATHOLICS PLAN POWERFUL UNION

"Cincinnati, O. – All the Catholic societies of the United States will be united by a plan being worked out at an important meeting in the Burnett House of the executive committee of the American Federation of Catholic Societies. Bishop McFaul of Trenton, N.J., and Anthony Matre of St. Louis are foremost in the work. There are 15,000,000 Catholics in the United States, all more or less represented in the new movement. The Catholic Women's organizations are also to be affiliated. Beyond this is also a movement to unite the Catholic societies of the world."

Fort Wayne News.
BUDDHISM IS ADVANCING.

"The advance of Buddhism and the decline of Christianity are engaging the most serious attention in Germany. The Vossische Zeitung sees an important sign of the times in the fact that the Grand Duke of Hesse is erecting a statue of the Buddha in the grounds of his private country residence at Wolfsgarten, in the neighborhood of Darmstadt."

Toronto Globe.

[R3673 : page 358]

CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP.
T
HERE is a tendency among God's people to cement fellowships as well as to make divisions upon various unscriptural lines.

As illustrations: The various branches of the Presbyterian family have each its own system of theology and its own methods of worship. They are one family and have a special sympathy or fellowship upon the doctrine of Calvin – that everything that comes to pass was foreordained. Among Baptists, although there are many subdivisions of them, there is a common bond of fellowship in water-immersion. No matter what else a man holds or does not hold, if he practice immersion there is at once a sympathetic fellowship. So also it is among Premillennialists: They feel that any other differences, almost, should be overlooked if their point of special interest is acknowledged.

We protest that none of these are true grounds for the fellowship taught in the Scriptures; and that the rejection of any or all of these is not the Scriptural ground for refusing fellowship in Christ.

The Scriptural basis of fellowship and disfellowship is both a much broader and a much more simple one. It is simply of two parts: (1) An acceptance of Christ as the Redeemer, and (2) A full consecration to him. Whoever complies with this scriptural formula is entitled to the love, respect, sympathy and care of every other such one; for such, and such only, constitute the Church which God recognizes – the Church "whose names are written in heaven."

And if the above proposition be true as indicating who are worthy of our fellowship, it must be true also that any one who cannot claim fellowship upon this basis has no claim to it at all.

All Christians should see that this rule is broad enough to unite all of God's people, and narrow enough to exclude all others, including those who would seek to "climb up some other way." (John 10:1.) And if this simple test – the only one recognized by the early Church – is sufficient, let us recognize it and none other.

But, says an objector, such a simple basis of faith would let in all sorts of false doctrines and would divide the Church of Christ. No, we answer; the Church is already divided. It would tend to re-unite the true ones and to separate the worldly and the false. Upon so broad a platform all true Christians could come together for the study of God's Word. Methodists would find themselves studying the principles of election, baptism, etc., while Presbyterians and Baptists would find themselves studying free grace and free agency. The result to all (after sectarian considerations were gone) would soon be harmony – Bible harmony.

But, says another, so broad a platform would compel us to fellowship Unitarians and Christian Scientists and Spiritualists. Not at all, we answer. None of these believe in Jesus as their Redeemer. It would exclude all such and all others who deny that man is a sinner under divine condemnation, and that "Christ died for OUR SINS," "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." It would and should exclude all who do not recognize this essential base of Christianity. (Possibly a few believers in the ransom may call themselves by the above names, ignorantly – not appreciating the doctrines upon which they are built. We refer to the views of the leaders and the masses of these denominations.)

A man may be honest and sober and in every way moral and be a Buddhist or a Mohammedan or an Infidel (an unbeliever as to the claims of Christ) of any other shade. Morality and general decency may be proper enough grounds for their recognition socially, as friends and acquaintances; but these constitute no claim whatever upon the sacred name of Christian, nor upon the close heart-sympathy which should make truly one all who are trusting in the precious blood of Christ – our ransom-price from sin and death – and who are fully consecrated to him.

We are living in the time when past and present combinations and doctrines of men will be breaking to pieces; when many are, and many more will be, seeking [R3673 : page 359] fresh grounds for fellowship; when it is important that all true Christians should stand fast, and shoulder to shoulder defend the foundation principles upon which we stand – the rock foundation; – for "other [proper] foundation can no man lay."

How our great Adversary would like to get the soldiers of the cross confused and separated, following different affinities, rallying around different standards, and hence leaving the true standard – "the cross of Christ," the "Ransom" – undefended. Let all who see the true standard assemble to it, and separate themselves in heart and Christian fellowship from all the unclean [those unjustified by faith in the redeeming blood, and clothed still, therefore, in the filthy garments of their own unrighteousness, instead of the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness]. Let their efforts be for and with each other; to present each other blameless and unreprovable, without spot or wrinkle, before the Heavenly Bridegroom. Hear the Word of the Lord: –

"Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people: cast up, cast up the highway, gather out the [stumbling] stones; LIFT UP A STANDARD for the people." Isa. 62:10.

Let us assure ourselves, from a study of God's Word, that it is as much a part of our duty to disfellowship (as Christians) those who, either directly or indirectly, deny that Christ gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all, and who, hence, are the worst enemies of the cross of Christ, as it is our duty to fellowship any who confess him thus as their Saviour; and who, hence, are our "Brethren" in him. We are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but should rather reprove them."

[R3674 : page 359]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR DECEMBER.

– FOR EXPLANATION SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES AND WATCH TOWER, MARCH 1, 1905. –
BROTHERLY KINDNESS (BROTHERLY LOVE)

41. What does the illustration of "the third-quarter mark" signify? F.188, par. 1; F.370, par. 3; Z.'01-9 (1st col. par. 3,4).

42. Why is it important that we manifest brotherly love now? Z.'05-106 (1st col. par. 3,4; 2nd col. par. 3 to 6).

43. How may we become members of "the Mary class"? Z.'05-105 (2nd col. par. 2, to 106, par. 1,2); Z.'97-242 (1st and 2nd cols.)

44. How did Jesus show us a grand example of brotherly love and sympathy? Z.'04-292 (1st col. par 2; 2nd col. par. 1); Z.'01-150 (1st col. par. 6).

45. How can we fulfill Jesus' command to "wash one another's feet"? Z.'05-120 (2nd col.); Z.'97-242 (2nd col. par. 3,4) and 243.

46. How jealously should we guard and increase this grace of brotherly kindness? 1 Thess. 4:9,10; Z.'97-230 (1st col. par. 1,2).

47. How may we cultivate brotherly love? Z.'02-308 (1st col. par. 5,6; 2nd col. par. 1); Z.'98-183 (1st col. par. 1,2); Z.'04-293 (2nd col.) Z.'01-183 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'98-8 (2nd col. par. 2).

48. What additional thoughts are found in Topical Index of "Heavenly Manna," under "Love One Another"?

[R3673 : page 359]

"WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS?"

"For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many who corrupt the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ." – 2 Cor. 2:15-17.

T
HIS MINISTRY, which all the consecrated, as ambassadors for Christ, have received, is one of tremendous import. It greatly influences the final destiny of those to whom we preach this gospel of the Kingdom, the tendency being either to life or to death. The Apostle's language here is another of the solemn warnings of the inspired Word against the danger of the Second Death, and should awaken to a sense of their danger any who have been deluded into the idea that there is no such possibility, and are permitting the great Adversary thus to deceive them. There is an equal responsibility on the part both of those who undertake to preach the Gospel and of those who hear it. The truth is God's truth, and the responsibility of speaking as well as of hearing it is very great.

The Apostle's words show that many in his day, as in ours, failed to realize this responsibility, and, to answer their own selfish ends, corrupted the Word of God. To willfully or recklessly corrupt the Word of God – to vitiate its pure and holy doctrines; to add to it the vain philosophies of ambitious men and seek to support their theories by perverting its truths; to under-rate its exceeding great and precious promises and mystify the conditions upon which they may be realized; or to minimize or make void the solemn warnings of the Word of God – is indeed dangerous business, in which the faithful saints will never engage, but in which those who fall away from the faith are usually most active – deceiving and being deceived.

To be faithful ambassadors for Christ – faithful representatives of the truth and faithful proclaimers of it – requires great humility and simplicity of heart. It necessitates the complete ignoring of all worldly ambitions and aims, and the cultivation of a brave spirit of endurance which will not shrink from any reproach which fidelity to the truth may bring. And such service, the Apostle here shows, is acceptable to God as sweet incense, no matter what may be the effect upon [R3673 : page 360] those to whom we minister, whether they accept or reject the message of divine grace. What God is looking for in us is loyalty to him and devotion to his cause; and this condition of heart he appreciates, regardless of our success or failure to secure large results. What a comfort it is amidst all discouragements to know that under all circumstances the spirit of Christ in us is as sweet incense to God. And the reward of his constant approval is richer than all the unwholesome sweets of ambition gained by corrupting the Word of God.

To the hearer of this Gospel, the message must prove either a savor of life unto (or tending to) life, or a savor of death unto (or tending to) death. His responsibility is great: there is no neutral ground; he either receives it or rejects it. But observe that the statement is not that the rejection of any item of truth inevitably dooms the rejector to death, and vice versa, but that the tendency of such a course is to death, and of the opposite course to life, unless interrupted – changed. [R3674 : page 360]

Thus, for instance, the Lord, in reproving the Scribes and Pharisees, who rejected the Gospel and yet claimed to be the children of God and leaders and examples of godliness to others, significantly inquired, "How can ye escape the condemnation of Gehenna" – the everlasting destruction, the Second Death? (Matt. 23:33.) In rejecting the truth so plainly brought to their attention, and in pursuing the hypocritical course of claiming to be faithful and devoted children of God, they were forming and establishing such characters that repentance would, ere long, be impossible to them. Few, perhaps, clearly realize how serious a thing it is to be making character, and that every act and every thought leaves its impress upon the soul. Every right thought and act tends to establish the character in righteousness, while every wrong thought and act, and every self-deception tends to confirm and establish an unrighteous character. And when a wrong course is adopted and persistently followed – when conscience is stifled, and when reason and Scripture are perverted to selfish ends, until the heart is deceived and the judgment is overcome – who can predict the repentance of such a one?

Such construct characters or wills so out of harmony with God and righteousness as to be fit only for destruction. (Heb. 6:4-6.) How can such "escape the condemnation of Gehenna"? for God will not permit any one to live whose will is confirmed in unrighteousness. How responsible then is the position of those who are building character in themselves and in others! Remember that our characters are manifested by our habits of life; and each act, even the smallest, tends to form some new habit, or to confirm one already established. How important, then, that our thoughts and actions should not be aimless, but with a purpose (1 Cor. 10:31); and, above all, that our lives should be "transformed [re-formed] by the renewing of our minds;" that, putting aside the evil, and all influences which tend toward evil, we should receive of the Lord, through his Word, the "spirit of a sound mind," the "mind of Christ." In this view of the case, it is indeed a solemn thing to live, a solemn thing to think, and to act; and it behooves us to guard well our words, our thoughts and our actions, and ever to bear in mind our responsibility to God, both for ourselves and for others as ambassadors for Christ.

"And who is sufficient for these things?" Surely none of us in our own strength. We need first of all to give ourselves to the Lord without reserve, and then daily to drink in more and more of his spirit by communion with him through his Word and in prayer; and constantly to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation.

Let all the consecrated endeavor more and more to realize their responsibility, both in the matter of their own character-building and also in that of building up others in the most holy faith and in the character which is the legitimate result of that faith. The issues of eternal life and eternal death are before us, and before those to whom we present this gospel; and therefore it behooves us carefully and prayerfully to present the pure truth of God in all sincerity and in the spirit of Christ before God, ever bearing in mind that it is a savor either of life unto life or of death unto death.

"Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue,
As when upon thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.

"Give strength, blest Savior, in thy might;
Illuminate our hearts, and we,
Transformed into thine image bright,
Shall teach and love and live, like thee."

[R3674 : page 360]

NEHEMIAH'S FAITH AND WORKS.
NEHEMIAH 4:7-20. – DECEMBER 3. –

Golden Text: – "Watch and pray." – Matthew 26:41.

I
N a previous lesson we noted the devotion of Nehemiah, and his prayers to the Lord that he might be used in connection with the establishment, the rebuilding at Jerusalem and the encouragement of the faithful who had returned to Palestine from the Babylonian captivity. To-day's lesson gives us a glimpse of this noble man working and encouraging others to work along the lines of his faith and the Lord's promises.

The Persian king, Artaxerxes, favored the proposition of his confidential servant, Nehemiah, and granted him an armed escort and royal authority in connection with the project close to his heart. Thus far the Lord had favored him, and a three months' journey brought him to the city where centered his hopes and the hopes of his nation, because in it centered the divine promise. In all this we see an exhibit of faith in active operation – faith with works, as the Apostle enjoins. It will be remembered [R3674 : page 361] that Ezra, when starting on his expedition, although he probably took much more treasure, had no armed escort from the king. In this case, Nehemiah, with no less faith in the Lord, had the armed escort.

The reason for the difference of procedure is stated: it was not wrong for Nehemiah to use available means for the protection of his life and the property under his care, which was to be used in the Lord's service, just as it is not wrong for the Lord's people of to-day, while fully trusting in him, to insure their property against loss by fire. It does not imply a lack of confidence in God to use every reasonable and proper means for the preservation of life and health and property. We remember how our Lord resisted the temptation of Satan, and would not leap from the Temple pinnacle into the valley below – he would not thus tempt God and the providential care in which he trusted. Had he been cast headlong by his enemies while in the dispatch of duty the matter would have been different, and undoubtedly his life would have been miraculously preserved, because his hour had not yet come. There is a lesson for us in all these matters: our faith in the Lord should not lead us to expect him to do for us those things which we are able to accomplish for ourselves.

"BE YE WISE AS SERPENTS."

On his arrival at Jerusalem Nehemiah did not reveal his plans. The people merely knew that a Jew high in favor with the King, an officer of his household, with a small retinue of servants, was in their midst. Had he told his plans the enemies of the city would soon have heard of them and have taken steps to interfere; besides, the course followed was a much better one for the awakening of the interest and co-operation of the people. Many of the Lord's people need to learn this lesson of secretiveness – not to tell everything that they know. Our Lord not only exhorted us to be as wise as serpents while harmless as doves, but through the Apostle also he exhorts that we should be swift to hear and slow to speak – not too ready to tell all of our plans and arrangements, etc. We even know of some of the Lord's consecrated people who have gotten the wrong impression that to secrete any matter, to avoid telling all that one knows, to avoid giving full answers that would reveal all that is asked, would be considered by some as sinful, deceptive. It is well for them to have their conscience, but conscience requires training, and [R3675 : page 361] the safest instruction comes from the words and example of our Lord and his apostles.

Our Lord used this very method of not telling all that he knew to those who were not ready for the information. He said on one occasion to his disciples, "I have many things to tell you but ye cannot bear them now." (John 16:12.) When asked questions by his enemies who sought to entrap him he avoided answering them or gave them evasive answers. In all this he was as wise as a serpent, yet harmless as a dove. He did not refrain from telling that which was really proper to be told, necessary to the comfort or advantage of his questioner. The Apostle Paul quotes his enemies as charging him with guile – "Being crafty I took you by guile." (2 Cor. 12:16.) An evil mind can indeed put an evil construction upon the noblest words and deeds. This was true in the Master's case also. The Apostle exercised wisdom in his method of dealing with those whom he desired to bless, hiding from them for a time truths which at first they were not prepared to receive or appreciate, but afterward, when necessary to them, he made plain, assuring us that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27.) Strong meat for men and milk for babes is the thought. Let us more and more seek to exercise heavenly wisdom in all our affairs, that we may accomplish as much good as possible and choke and stumble none.

"A MIND FOR THE WORK."

Nehemiah was a man of action: he had come to Jerusalem for a purpose and wasted no time. He arose by night, took with him some of his trusted servants, and made a thorough inspection of the wall all around the city, probably by moonlight, and then he promulgated his plan for doing a great work speedily. As a matter of fact, the entire wall was reared in fifty-two days. How could he have possibly accomplished so much in so short a time? The answer is that the people had a mind to work – their hearts were in the work, they labored not as eye-servants nor as men-pleasers merely, but labored as for the Lord and for his cause. The method employed by Nehemiah shows not only that he prayed and labored but that he planned. His project was to divide up the work of the wall amongst various parties: for instance, the priests and Levites and their families undertook a section, various of the notable families undertook sections, guilds and societies undertook sections, until the whole work was parceled out and each party was pledged for his share in the service. The people entered into the matter spiritedly, each anxious not only to see the whole wall built, but anxious that his own share in it should be substantially done, a credit to himself as well as to the city in general.

There was tact in this: it was the endeavor to make use of the natural tendencies of the human mind. It would be well for all of the Lord's people, charged with the building of the wall of righteousness which surrounds the people of God, separates them from the world, to likewise encourage and stimulate one another in the work which all have at heart. To make a practical illustration of this to our own time and work in this harvest of the Gospel age, we see that there is an abundance of labor for all who have a mind to work. Some can engage in the colporteur service – many are so engaged, much to their own spiritual advantage as well as to the profit of those to whom they minister the Truth, and to the general upbuilding of the wall of righteousness and to the separation of the Lord's people from those who are without, the world. Others can labor as pilgrims and find plenty to do; still others as volunteers can serve the cause by word of mouth, by pen and by the printed page, distributing tracts and in general co-laboring with the Lord and with the brethren in the building of the wall of Zion. Those who are in any measure or degree successful have a mind for the work, otherwise the harvest work would not progress as it does – the Lord would find some other way of accomplishing results now due to be obtained.

"BE NOT WEARY IN WELLDOING."

The work started with great energy and zeal, but was not long in encountering the opposition described in our lesson. Sanballat was a governor of the Samaritans, [R3675 : page 362] a mixed people partly of Jewish and partly of heathen blood; Tobiah was the governor of the Ammonites, across the river Jordan; the Arabs of the desert as well as the people of Ashdod, a Philistine city in the South, heard of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and were opposed to it for several reasons: the fortification of that city meant an increase of Jewish power and a proportionate decrease of their own influence. They remembered how the city had once been great and influential, and selfishness prompted opposition to it. Besides, religion was the factor with all these peoples. Each had his own religious party and creed, and the success of the Jews in Jerusalem meant the triumph of the God of the Jews and a corresponding lessening of influence of those who differed. Furthermore, the Jews scattered amongst these various peoples and gradually becoming amalgamated with them would be more likely to be drawn back to Judaism if its capital were again a stronghold and the nation seeming to rise more completely from the dust.

As these enemies of the Jews were wroth without a proper reason, from selfish motives, so those who are engaged in the harvest work, in the rebuilding of the walls of Zion, in the replacing of the doctrines of righteousness and truth, overthrown by the Adversary during the dark ages, find opposition not only from the world, the flesh and the devil, but chiefly from the Sanballat followers of nominal Christianity – the "mixed peoples" who have a form of godliness without its power. All of these opposing influences are ready to combine to hinder the reestablishment of the truths and principles which properly separate the Lord's consecrated people from all others. Various are the schemes and hindrances devised.

In Nehemiah's time the opposition first took the form of sarcasm and ridicule, saying that the wall they were building was not scientifically done, would not stand the tests of "higher criticism;" and a fox even brushing against it would be liable to throw it down. Those who to-day are building upon the wall of Zion, each in his own place, according to his own opportunity, must be prepared for similar sarcasm. Who are you? What are you? What can you hope to accomplish? Look at Romanism, look at Methodism, look at Presbyterianism, look at all the wealth and learning represented by the various denominations of Christendom! What can you hope to accomplish by the rebuilding of the walls of Zion? Those who are easily put to shame and who give up the work of building evidence thereby that they have not the faith which would be pleasing to the Lord if they withdraw in spite of all we can do to encourage them. We must let them go, although by and by they will regret such a course.

"FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH."

When the enemies of the Jews found that sarcasm availed nothing, and that the building of the wall progressed with considerable speed, they secretly took counsel to make an attack on the city, to break down the walls and to discourage the builders. However, in the Lord's providence some of those who were building had come in from the surrounding country anxious to have a part in the work; and the secret messages for these to return home because of an attack about to be made reached the ears of Nehemiah, who forthwith armed the people so that they would be ready to repel an attack at any time. The hodcarriers were armed, and those who did the mason work had swords at their sides, while Nehemiah's special guard, divided into two parts, relieved each other at labor and at military service. Thus the work progressed under serious difficulties, which demonstrated all the more that love and zeal were behind the movement.

Thus it must be to-day with all who are laboring in the harvest work – each one needs to be armed: not, however, with carnal weapons. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds," (of error). (2 Cor. 10:4.) All of those laboring to-day upon the walls of Zion need to be equipped with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of patient endurance, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Whoever is not armed is in danger of being overcome by the Adversary. The sword of the Spirit as well as the shield of faith are necessary every moment. When we are opposed we must be able, as the Apostle Peter enjoins, to so use the sword of the Spirit as to be able to give to every man that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us, with meekness and reverence, from the Word of God. Our warfare has reached this stage at the present time, our enemies no longer ridicule as at first. Let each who is a servant of the Lord and has consecrated his life to his service be on the alert continually. Greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us.

Finding that the Jews could not be taken unawares, Sanballat and his associates tried another scheme; they invited Nehemiah to a conference, but that wise man refused to confer, and sent them word that his work was great and urgent, and that he must build the wall. Doubtless our opponents now would like to draw our attention away from the particular work we have to do; they would like to have us discuss with them other projects, other reforms, social, political, federations, etc. But we cannot join in any of these; we have a work to do, the Lord's work; there are few to do it and it requires all of our time and energy.

The next step of the Adversary was to threaten Nehemiah. This they did indirectly, not directly. They got a certain man to pose as a prophet of the Lord and to prophesy injury to Nehemiah, and to advise him to hide himself in the sacred precincts of the Temple. The thought evidently was that, if the leader of the [R3676 : page 362] movement could be affrighted and drawn from the work, the others would soon be discouraged and the whole matter would fizzle out; but Nehemiah was certainly a chosen vessel of the Lord for this very service, and could not be thus frightened. May it be so with us; may our confidence in the Lord be such that the fear of man will not be a snare to us.

"FIGHTING WITHOUT AND FOES WITHIN."

While the outer foes were thus seeking to hinder the work, other matters tended to discourage the workers: (1) The supply of stones for the wall began to be more difficult to secure; as the top and loose ones were used the others required to be more or less dug out; (2) as the wall grew higher it made slower progress and required greater effort to carry the materials onto it; (3) the burden and heat of the day sapped the strength of the laborers and they needed the encouragements which Nehemiah continually gave them, that the Lord was on their part, that their prayers were heard, [R3676 : page 363] and that they should not be afraid of their enemies, but remember the Lord which is great and terrible. It is so with us, the Lord's followers who are to-day building the walls of Zion. At first we felt so glad to be rid of the tormenting errors of the dark ages, so glad to be free, so glad to know something of the Divine Plan of the Ages, we built hard and fast. But with the outward opposition came also greater labors as we strove for mastery ourselves and to build one another up in the most holy faith.

How many spiritual Israelites of this "Harvest Time," who began with great courage and zeal, and shoutings of joy, have become more or less disheartened. But not all. By the Lord's grace there are encouragements and stimulations for the laborers on the walls of Zion still. The pilgrim visits, the one-day Conventions, the general Conventions, together with the regular visits of the WATCH TOWER and the growing numbers and volumes of DAWN, have served to encourage and stimulate the Lord's faithful, and we are still going on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, and still trusting in him who is the Captain of our Salvation.

"WE THAT ARE STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR WITH THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK."

Another difficulty arose: Nehemiah found that some of those who labored on the wall, full of zeal for the cause, were made to suffer for their faithfulness by the wealthy Jews. The poorer ones getting behind in their rents, taxes, etc., were scarcely able to provide for their families; and their richer brethren, taking advantage of their destitution, had made hard contracts with them, taking away their small possessions, etc., in payment for debts which they were unable to pay because of their engagement in the Lord's service. Nehemiah was righteously indignant with this condition, and called the offenders and stated the matter before them plainly and clearly, and shaking out the flowing folds of his outer garment he declared that thus the Lord would shake out from amongst his people any who had such a selfish spirit.

We are glad that this condition of things finds no parallel amongst us at the present time. On the contrary, we find that love of the brethren is one of the marked evidences of growth in grace and knowledge. Amongst the assemblies of the Lord's people we find a general tendency not only to avoid asking the poorer brethren and sisters to contribute to the expenses, but a willingness to do what each can for the assistance of the needy ones. At our conventions, where no collections are taken up, there is a forwardness to see that none of the entertaining Church are overburdened with expense, and also that any in attendance at a convention who are not well to do in this world's goods shall not suffer for necessities and some of the comforts of life. May these evidences of true brotherhood in the body of Christ and of the true building of the walls of Zion continue and abound with us until the work is finished, until our Master shall say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

ONE TRUMPET-VOICE DIRECTS US ALL.

The last verse of our lesson tells of the arrangement made whereby the various workers on the different parts of the great wall could be summoned by Nehemiah to one place if necessity required. The summons was the sound of the trumpet – "In whatsoever place ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us. Our God shall fight for us." Is it not the same with us to-day? It is not the voice of man that gathers us but the voice of the trumpet – the voice of the great trumpet, the seventh trumpet, announcing our Redeemer as the Captain of our Salvation, present, gathering together his saints unto him, making up his jewels, and shortly to establish them with himself in Kingdom glory, in the control of the whole world for its blessing and uplifting, for the destruction of all who wilfully and intelligently oppose him.

[R3676 : page 363]

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
NEHEMIAH 8:8-18. – DECEMBER 10. –

Golden Text: – "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it." – Luke 11:28.

N
EHEMIAH was governor at Jerusalem, and after the repair of the Temple walls, noted in our last lesson, he did not consider that great work the end of his mission but rather the beginning of it. The wall was necessary first for the security of the people, to arouse their national spirit, to revive their hopes in respect to the promised Kingdom of God, and afford them a practical demonstration of God's favor with them in the accomplishment of that work, and thus to lead on to trust in the accomplishment of other promises of the Word still future.

In the Lord's providence the work was accomplished just at the right time to permit of the rest of the week at their homes, and then to have a general gathering to celebrate the New Year. The Jewish civil year begins with the seventh month, this year September 30, but varying a few days either way from that date, as their calculations were made by lunar time. In God's providence the national interests were associated with the religious interests of the Jews. They were God's people, and all their political and national hopes were associated with the divine promises, and hence a revival of interest in their city and nation and national hopes meant a revival also in their reverence for God, in their religious sentiments, in their desire to honor the Lord and obey him, to observe the festivals which he had commanded.

Nehemiah was evidently a prudent man in such matters to begin with. Indeed we know that this is the Lord's general way of choosing those whom he may use in his service. He chooses suitable persons, and then adds his blessing to promote the outcome which he desires – as, for instance, when instructing Moses respecting the intricate devices for the Tabernacle structure, the Lord said, "Choose out from the children of Israel cunning workmen and I will put my spirit upon them." The thought is that the Lord employs as little of the miraculous as is necessary – he takes advantage of conditions as they are so far as possible, and uses them. While, therefore, the Scriptures [R3676 : page 364] declare, and all the facts of the case correspond to show, that not many great, not many learned, not many wise, not many noble according to the course of this world are chosen by the Lord for his special servants, we are to assume that the Lord chooses as noble, as great, and as learned as he can find who are of the right condition of heart.

LOVE AND DEVOTION FIRST.

We are not to consider that qualifications are despised of the Lord, but rather to note that the Lord puts first and foremost the qualities of honesty, humility, obedience and love, and that these things being present in a number, those possessing the greatest number of other qualifications would have the preference. For instance, we may assume that the twelve apostles chosen represented the best material for the Lord's purpose every way, yet subsequently when Saul of Tarsus, educated, talented and wealthy, consecrated himself, saying, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" the Lord was willing to use him, and his peculiar talents, combined with his deep consecration, humility and zeal, enabled him to take a foremost place amongst the apostles.

Nehemiah, the man of opportunity, brought to the governorship of the Jews at this important juncture, manifested his humility and his zeal in many various ways. When calling for the convocation for a general assembly of the Israelites for the New Year's celebration, called the Feast of Trumpets, he did not ignore the worthy ones of the Lord's people and seek to take all the honor to himself. On the contrary, he recognized Ezra the Scribe, a member of the priestly family, as more suitable than himself to take a prominent part in the work of educating the people in the knowledge of the Lord through his Law. Ezra's chief place of importance was the ceremony of reading the Law and introducing it to the attention of the people. On his right hand were seven of the prominent men, on his left hand six more, and the reading was done by course, and probably participated in by many if not all of these fourteen.

The place of the reading was on the plaza of the Temple. The people, sitting about over a considerable area, arose when the Law was read, and after the reading of a section they sat down. Meantime amongst [R3677 : page 364] them had been scattered various of the Levites, the teachers of the people, who explained to them the meaning of the words they had heard, giving them the sense of the language. This was necessary probably for two reasons: first, that the people who had been in Babylon had more or less of a corrupt tongue or ear, while undoubtedly the Law was written and read in classical Hebrew; secondly, even if they had understood all the words, a particular explanation of the sentiment or meaning is sometimes both convenient and necessary. This reading of the Law in sections, and expounding it both from the higher platform occupied by the fourteen officiating and also its further expounding to the people by the Levites who were in their midst, occupied all of one afternoon and a good portion of the next forenoon. The result was that the people had an understanding of God's own message.

"PREACH THE WORD."

Here we see the real essence of preaching, as the Apostle wrote to Timothy, "Preach the Word." The difficulty of much of the preaching of our day is that it is not the Word of God that is preached, but the traditions of the ancients, or more frequently perhaps something that has very little to do with religion at all. Higher criticism and evolution theories and general agnosticism prevail to so large an extent both in pulpit and pew that the Word of God is losing its place of importance in the minds of those who are nominally God's people. Why should they study the book which they no longer accept as divinely inspired. Ignorance of the Scriptures is greatly on the increase amongst those who profess godliness. Undoubtedly there was great advantage in the Scripture studies of olden times, even though ignorance and superstition and the false theology of the dark ages gave a distorted view to much that was studied; nevertheless, fifty years ago the Scriptures were very much better known to the masses of those professing godliness. The loss is a keen one. On the other hand we know how those who have come into the light of present Truth, and whose eyes of understanding are opened wide to a greater appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine character and plan, are becoming more and more deeply interested in the study of the Word. This is sure to be the case. No religion, no theory, can be either true or helpful that does not bring us to God's book and deepen our interest in his message. Canon Farrar pays a splendid tribute to the value of the Bible as a civilizing influence, in the following words: –

"It was the Bible that gave fire and nobleness to her (England's) language; it was the Bible that turned a dead oppression into a living Church; it was the Bible which put to flight the nightmare of ignorance before the rosy dawn of progress....It was the Bible which saved England from sinking into a tenth-rate power as a vassal of cruel, ignorant, superstitious Spain, whose Dominicans and tyrants would have turned her fields into slaughterhouses, as they turned those of the Netherlands, and would have made her cities reek as she made Seville reek with the bale-fires of her Inquisition." "Let England cling to her open Bible."

"And what the Bible did for England, it did for the United States of America. It was the Bible that made America what she is."

"EAT THE FAT AND DRINK THE SWEET AND SEND PORTIONS."

Evidently this was the first presentation of the Law to the people since their return from captivity. Evidently Ezra had given his attention to the rearranging of the Law and the instruction of the priests and Levites therein, but had not up to this time caused it to be promulgated amongst the people. Quite possibly it was a part of Nehemiah's wise insight as a governor to see that the explaining to the people of God's own message would be helpful to them; that it was not sufficient that the priests and the Levites should be learned in the Law and that they should tell the people, but that the people themselves should be made to understand the divine message. The same is true to-day. It will not do that others shall attempt to tell the Lord's plan, but ignore the Lord's Word, in order to have weight and influence. Those who receive the message must know that it is more than man's message, must have the evidence that it is from the Lord. [R3677 : page 365]

When the Law was read and expounded to the people they saw at once that they had been under chastisement and in difficulties because of their neglect of the divine institutions, and they wept; but Nehemiah and those conducting the services under his direction sent word to the people not to weep, not to mourn, but on the contrary to rejoice and give thanks to God that they now were at last awake to the true state of affairs, that their troubles had come as a result of their disobedience, and that they had started in to reform and to have God's blessing in their endeavor, their effort, to obey his statutes. There is a time to mourn, but it is when sin and opposition are prevailing; when repentance has come, when contrition for sin has led to reformation, it is time to cease mourning lest utter discouragement should result. They had met to thank God for returning favor, to realize that they had received chastisement at his hands, to thank him for the same, to take good courage, to start afresh to walk in his way, and now were hearing his Law with a view to observing the same and thereafter having his blessing and favor. The message was, "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, neither weep. Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye sorry, –

"FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH."

Spiritual Israel can take an excellent lesson here: "Why should the children of the King go mourning all their days?" It was proper that we should mourn for sin, that we should realize the need for a Savior, that we should lay hold upon him by faith; but once we have accepted the Lord and realized the forgiveness of our sins, the time for mourning is past, the time for joy and rejoicing is commenced. To so great an extent is this true that the Apostle exhorts that we should rejoice in everything, even in tribulation, realizing that since we have given ourselves to the Lord and he has accepted us as his children and given us the anointing of his spirit, adopting us into his family and made us heirs with Christ in the glorious promises to be fulfilled, our hearts should be so full of rejoicing that all the trials and difficulties of the way should seem as nothing.

Whoever can exercise the proper faith in the Lord and in his Word can rejoice; those who cannot exercise the faith cannot have the joy and rejoicing in this present time, but must wait for their portion by and by. The Lord is now seeking those who may firmly trust him, come what may; he is seeking those who will walk by faith, not by sight. Those who cannot walk by faith now will have the opportunity of walking by sight very shortly, when the Kingdom shall be established. They indeed shall have a goodly portion, but the portion which God has specially provided for the faithful is joint-heirship with his Son in the Kingdom. Let us, then, who have accepted the Lord and his Word, cast away everything of doubt and of fear, and live rejoicingly day by day while seeking to walk in the footsteps of him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood. The joy of the Lord is our strength, the joy which God gives, the joy which comes from realizing that the Lord is our fortress, and that no ill can betide us without his knowledge, and that he has promised that all things shall work together for good to them that love him – with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.

This message that the leaders set forth, uttered from the main stand, was repeated to the people by the Levites in their midst. The tears were dry and the company dismissed to rejoice in the opening of a new year, which symbolized to them a fresh start in the ways of the Lord and in his favor. The reading of the Law on the second day (v. 13) would seem to have been principally to the priests and Levites and heads of the various families – probably some of the special selections of the Law, appropriate to them as persons charged with certain responsibilities amongst the Lord's people. It was during this reading that it was discovered that for some time this feature of the Law had been entirely overlooked, namely, –

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

They found that in the Law it was commanded that at this season of the year, namely, from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the seventh month, the Israelites should dwell for a week in booths constructed of branches of trees, and keep that week as a special festival of thanksgiving to the Lord. It was a feast of ingathering or harvest home. Our American Thanksgiving day to some extent resembles this. They were to live for a week in these booths to remind them of how once they had been a people without a home, when God delivered them out of Egypt and brought them on the way to Canaan. The yearly remembrance of this experience would tend to produce in their hearts thankfulness to God as the one who had given them the land of promise, the one upon whom they were dependent for their national existence and freedom from slavery, and the one who had promised to bring them to a full inheritance of all the glorious things contained in the great promise, the Oath-Bound Covenant made to Abraham, that ultimately through his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed.

Our general three-day Conventions are somewhat after this Feast of Tabernacles pattern, only on a higher plane, adapted to us as Spiritual Israelites. This year we had such Holy Convocations in June in Chattanooga, Tenn.; in July another at Niagara Falls, N.Y.; in September one in Denver, Colo., and another in Portland, Oregon, besides one in Germany at Elberfeld; one in London, England; one in Glasgow, Scotland, and one in Stockholm, Sweden. These various [R3678 : page 366] gatherings of the Lord's people now in different places are made necessary by reason of the larger scope of country in which Spiritual Israel resides. We do not live in tents and booths, yet our absence from our regular homes for a few days implies temporary dwelling-places or tabernacles. We are absent for a time from some of the conveniences and comforts of our homes, yet these conditions may be very favorable to us as reminders that here we have no continuing city, that we are not to set our hearts upon houses or lands or any earthly thing, but to remember that our citizenship is in heaven and that our present sojourn is toward the heavenly Jerusalem, the Kingdom, and that everything in the present time should be considered by us as a temporal or tabernacle condition, waiting for the eternal conditions which God has promised us. [R3678 : page 366]

OUR FEASTING IS SPIRITUAL.

For the entire seven days the Jews rejoiced and had a feast of good fellowship one with another, dwelling in these booths. The whole people, for a time at least, were on a common level. The booths were erected inside the city or outside the walls as might be convenient, and many of them were on the roofs of the houses, which there are usually flat. It was not a feast of sensuality nor an occasion for moral abandon, but, quite to the contrary, was a time for Bible study. The reading of the book of the Law and the expounding of it were the main centers of interest, and the people no longer wept and repined at the reading of it, but on the contrary, rejoicing that the Lord's favor was with them, they studied the Word with a view to practising it to the extent of their ability.

This also corresponds well with our Conventions, in which Bible study has the chief place and chief interest. Surely we do have spiritual refreshing, feasting; surely these gatherings, these spiritual feasts in temporary tabernacles away from our usual homes, are proving very helpful to the Lord's people. For this reason they grow more and more to be appreciated amongst those who put spiritual matters first. We live in a very busy day, when business, money-getting, is placed in the first rank by all civilized peoples. If worldly people can take vacations to engage in hunting and fishing and other so-called "sports," why cannot the Lord's people take their spiritual refreshment and recreation, and cultivate in their children more and more of the desire for the spiritual things? for these gatherings so far as possible should be family gatherings, and the pleasure of an outing and change of surroundings and rest from ordinary work should be combined with the highest pleasure of which we have knowledge, the pleasure of meeting with the Lord and with those who are his, the pleasure of studying the divine Word and helping one another onward and upward in the heavenly way.

We exhort that so far as possible all the friends of Present Truth shall have in mind the spending of one week in each year separate and apart from ordinary business and work, in something resembling the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, only on the higher, spiritual plane. It is our thought that hereafter the General Conventions may best be held under circumstances that will permit those of the friends who desire to stay longer than the three days, engaging in quiet study and reflection upon the things discussed during the three days, a rest time aside from the world and its hurry, giving special attention to spiritual nourishment after the example of our Lord and his disciples.

HEARING AND OBEYING.

Our Golden Text should not be forgotten. It is important that we should hear the Word of the Lord, that we search the Scriptures, that we have them well at our command, that we be able to give an answer to him that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us, and we need more than all this. We need to obey the Word, to practise it to the extent of our ability. True, we cannot come up to the demands of perfection, for God's law is perfect, but we can have the perfect attitude of heart, and nothing less than this will be acceptable to the Lord. We can show him and to some extent show to others the endeavor of our lives in the direction of righteousness and all the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit. If we had all knowledge and zeal and had not the spirit of obedience it would evidence a lack of the spirit of love, and prove us unworthy of the divine favor and blessings promised to those who are rightly exercised by the message from above.

[R3678 : page 366]

ONE-DAY CONVENTION REPORTS.
AT KENTON, O., OCT. 29

We had a grand time at Kenton. Friends from nearby towns and cities came in goodly numbers and full of the Spirit, and greatly cheered the little company of friends of the Truth at this point. Brother Russell arrived just at the close of the morning rally and gave a few words of cheer respecting the general prosperity of the "harvest" work and the evidence that "due time" will accomplish all that God has promised.

The afternoon meeting for the public was held in the Opera House. Its large attendance, filling the house reputed to hold over a thousand, is said to have been the largest religious gathering ever held in the little city. Our friends certainly advertised that meeting thoroughly, Brother Russell did his best to make plain the great divine plan and the report is that the entire city and countryside are thinking and talking about the teachings of the Bible as never before.

The evening discourse was specially for the interested, but as many of you got the stenographer's report in the Pittsburg Dispatch we need go into no details here.

AT FORT WAYNE, IND., NOV. 12

Our train arrived early and we had great pleasure in the Rally and Testimony Meeting in the forenoon. Surely it was good to be there. Many tongues testified to the Lord's grace and truth and to responding devotion and love.

The afternoon session for the public must have been well advertised. It had a splendid turnout of very intelligent people from all the walks of life. The sermon topic was, "To Hell and Back. Who are there? Hope for the return of many of them." The Majestic Theatre, seating 1,400, was packed, about 100 standing, and several hundred were turned away. The closest of attention was given, and we will hope for some good results. We may surely hope that a considerable number will hereafter have saner and more loving views of our Heavenly Father than before. And if only a few grains of ripe "wheat" were found we shall rejoice.

The evening session was for the interested, on "Man's Elections and God's Elections," as reported in the Dispatch. Here also we were escorted to the depot by quite a number of the beloved friends. A night ride returned us to the Bible House Monday morning.

[R3678 : page 367]

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.

The letter below is from one now a colporteur representing our Society in the spreading of the Truth. The writer has learned to listen to the Voice of God in his appointed way – through His Word and not through spirit "voices." We rejoice that the Lord is pleased to use the WATCH TOWER to call attention to the precepts of His Word.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

All day and nearly all last night I have been rejoicing over the article on the "Increasing Influence of Spiritism." I do thank the Lord for it from first to last and you also. It is to me another wonderful deliverance, as when I first read the Spiritism pamphlet. I praise God for His goodness, and for his mighty Arm protectingly thrown around his people in this article. What a safeguard! I am most deeply grateful. It seems to put away so much of fears and worries from me – it is one of the answers long delayed in wisdom. It meets my prayers for 15 months past. How thankful I am that I burned my "Message Book" about three years ago. It was an idol, and a truly Satanic snare.

This TOWER explains several circumstances in my life that have greatly puzzled me, and seems to add clearness to the exposition of the Spiritism pamphlet, or makes the impress deeper. I certainly have been tormented with the "voices" not a little.

I certainly will keep as far away as possible from all such "voices." Their words were as distinct as possible, and as beautifully expressed oftentimes as those spoken of in the clipping. Praise God for the precious blood shed on Calvary, and the glorious liberty wherewith it hath made us free.

And now even Telepathy, which has generally been a great delight to me, I am willing to put aside as evil, unless it be that good angels do carry messages within the Church. But I would rather deny myself this pleasure also, in such measure as I have practised it, than to meddle for one instant longer with any of these Satanic snares and deceptions.

"Tho from my life He seems to take

What I thought wholly blest," –

There is no question but I will to love the Truth. It is [R3679 : page 367] worth all it costs. And "tribulation worketh patience," one of the necessities in the Christian character spectrum. I see more and more how the Adversary's deceptions cater to human impatience as well as self-esteem, love of ease, avarice, etc. It requires patience to think of our buried relatives and friends as "sleeping" till the Millennial morning: that is why Spiritism has such a mighty hold on the world, even unconsciously.

I pray the Lord for patience, and for self-possession in Christ. And I will have them (D.V.). I praise his name for this WATCH TOWER and enclose a list of 15 names and addresses to which I would like copies sent. Would that these could see with me the Almighty Arm beating back the hosts of the foe from Christ's little flock. "Thus far and no farther!" I praise God for his salvation.

Resp'y, A. L. D.

DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: –

I believe that you will rejoice with us to know that the truth is doing its work over the head of all opposition. While we know that the truth will prevail, yet it gladdens our hearts to see some outward manifestations. So I write to tell you about two Lutheran ministers that I have met recently in this city, who are very much interested in the truth. They are both still preaching in Babylon. One of them I have talked with but little. The other has told his people that if they did not want him to preach the truth he would give up his position. So we know it will only be a short time until he will have to look for other opportunities; but he is rejoicing. He said before he got the truth he was like a man with a pocket full of nuts and nothing to crack them with; but Brother Russell furnished the nutcracker and he was now feasting. So we praise the Lord for the assurance that they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.

Yours in the Redeemer,

H. W. DICKERSON, – Colporteur.

GENTLEMEN: –

Some little time ago, on opening my mail, I came across a curious looking envelope, advertising MILLENNIAL DAWN, or "The Plan of the Ages," a beautiful and remarkable book, explaining the Bible, and especially interesting to Bible students. I would not have noticed this envelope, had it not been for the unusual amount of reading matter on it.

I enclose 50 cents herewith, in payment of this wonderful book, bound in cloth. If this is not sufficient, please advise at your earliest convenience.

I am a Bible student, and will be glad to get such a book as this, as it will explain many things which I have read in the Bible and did not understand.

Please reply as soon as possible, and oblige,

Very truly yours,
C. B. – Mich.

page 367 DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Two sisters from W__________, Pa., who spent most of last winter here at this boarding house, went home some weeks ago. In a letter just received by my landlady from one of them she sends me this message: "We are lending the books on 'Hell' to our friends. We discuss the matter and already there are four of us convinced that Mr. Russell is right on that question and some others. I shall have to send for some more books. We have great discussions on religious questions. Father calls us heretics, but we believe we are escaping from heresies."

Your brother in Christ,

J. H. MOFFATT, – Florida.

[R3679 : page 367] EDITOR OF ZION'S WATCH TOWER: –

On page 85 of March 15th you speak of Noah's Ark and its dimensions. So far as the proportions go the Danish naval architect is correct, 300 x 50 x 30, but these are not feet, as would appear from the reading, but cubits. The cubit was the measure from the point of a man's elbow to the point of his middle finger. This was never less than eighteen inches, while the Jewish sacred cubit was an handbreadth more, amounting to 21.88 inches. Thus reckoning the smaller cubit in Noah's Ark, we have a vessel of the following dimensions: 547.3 feet long, 91.2 feet wide, 54.72 feet high, and of a cubic capacity of 2,730,782 feet, tonnage 81.052.

A shipbuilder in Holland built a large model of the ark in 1670 or 1760, and found its proportions eminently fitted for carrying an enormous load with great safety through rough waters. What else should we expect when we know that its plan came direct to Noah from God?

ROBERT RANSON, – Florida.

DEAR FRIENDS: –

I would like to express my feeling of deep gratitude for what food I have received in reading the DAWN and TOWER. Four years ago I commenced to read these publications and have read them over at least twice during that time, but my eyesight failing me I have not been able to read at all for the last eighteen months. I am so thankful to my dear heavenly Father that my sight was spared to me long enough to learn of the great plan of salvation. It has been such a comfort and blessing to me that words fail to express my deep sense of gratitude to my heavenly Father for opening the eyes of my understanding to some of the deep things as revealed in his Word. May God's blessing rest upon you in your efforts to spread the Truth among his people.

Yours in Christ,

C. C. STRONG. – Cal.

A dear brother less than two years old in the Truth writes: –

"Paul tells us plainly in Galatians 5:20-22 that those who practice, among other things, 'enmities, quarrels, jealousies, resentments, altercations, factions, sects, envyings,' cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. This brings us one and all face to face with a most serious question, Are we – am I – practicing any of these things?"

Evidently the dear brother's mind is being "exercised by use." Would that we all might keep his question well in mind and see that we learn to answer it correctly, as the Lord would approve: Yes.

page 369
December 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVI.DECEMBER 15, 1905.No. 24
CONTENTS.
Tampa Convention and En Route 371
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society's Annual Report 372
The Messenger of Jehovah 376
The Christ in the Flesh – the Elijah 377
The Day of His Coming 378
"I the Lord Change Not" 379
"Prove Me Now Herewith" 380
Immanuel and His Dominion 380
Multiplication by Resurrection 381
How It will be Brought About 382
Upon the Throne of David 383
Public Ministries of the Truth 370

'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.

page 370

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.
T
HIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

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.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.

LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
– ADDRESS TO –
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
– OR TO –
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GERMAN BRANCH – MIRKER STR., 45, ELBERFELD.
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PRICE, $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE, 5c (2½d.) A COPY.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL
TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS: –

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.

ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.

THIS JOURNAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE
FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, DANISH AND ITALIAN LANGUAGES.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.

YOUNG'S AND STRONG'S CONCORDANCES.

There is a little "war" of prices at present, and so long as it lasts we can sell these valuable works at specially low prices, viz.: Young's, in cloth binding, at $4.00, plus postage, 55c. Strong's at $3.00, plus 65c postage. The latter is a wonderful bargain. We scarcely expect the prices to go lower.

THE PITTSBURGH DISPATCH.

Most of the subscriptions to the Pittsburgh Dispatch expired with November. Please note the date tag and let us know if you wish us to renew for you. We have a special clubbing arrangement by which we can supply this cosmopolitan newspaper for $3.00 per year, or just half price. This supersedes previous notices. The Dispatch proposes more space for Brother Russell's discourses every Monday hereafter.

APPLICATIONS FOR PILGRIM VISITS.

These visits are without charge. Those desiring them, however small the company are requested to answer as many as possible of the questions propounded in our issue of May 1 last. Pilgrims frequently pass right through places where, we afterwards learn, meetings would have been very much enjoyed. The service might have been rendered at practically no cost to the Society, and the friends were merely a little too timid about writing, thinking their request would have no attention because of the smallness of their numbers. Do not allow this to hinder you. Write at once, if you desire such meetings.

ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.

Preaching and divine worship every Sunday afternoon in Bible House Chapel, No. 610 Arch St., at 3 p.m. At 7.30 p.m. Bible Study, preceded by Praise Service. The pastor, Brother Russell, is usually at home and the speaker on the first and third Sundays of each month, except as Convention Notices of next column may modify. On other dates brethren of ability will address the Church.

Cottage meetings for prayer and testimony on Wednesday evenings; and Dawn Circles for Bible study on Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings – various localities. These meetings are interesting, and spiritually profitable.

MEETINGS IN LONDON, ENGLAND.

Every Sunday at 3 p.m. a Bible Study, and at 6.30 p.m. preaching service, under the auspices of the Society, at 24 Eversholt St., N.W.

[R3679 : page 371]

TAMPA CONVENTION AND EN ROUTE.
W
E had a most auspicious start: About twenty-five of the Allegheny friends surprised us by appearing at the station and, as our train departed, singing "God be with you till we meet again." Their zeal cheered us greatly.

En route to Richmond, Va., we accepted an invitation to speak at the funeral of a dear brother in the Truth at Lonaconing, Md., where the Methodist chapel was placed at our disposal. An audience of about 250 gave closest attention to our review of Death and its cause, and our hope of a resurrection of the dead by virtue of our Lord's great sacrifice, "the Just for the unjust" – "a ransom for all."

Richmond, Va., was reached on time, Washington brethren joining us en route. The One Day Convention was pronounced quite a success. It drew friends of the Truth to the number of about sixty for the afternoon session, and afforded us sweet privileges in public and private communion with these in things concerning the Kingdom and its ransom-founded hopes.

The evening session for the public had been well advertised by the dear friends, with the result that the large Masonic Temple was crowded, about 900 being present. Our discourse on "To Hell and Back" was listened to with deep attention, and we hope some day to learn of good impressions and some fruitage to our Master's praise.

Columbia, S.C., was our next stop. We had a prolonged visit and private talk of several hours with interested friends of Columbia and vicinity – mainly a question meeting; and in the evening a public session with about 225 present – excellent for the size of the city and the fact that it was on a week night.

Jacksonville, Florida, was our fourth stop. The "Christian Church" edifice was placed at our disposal and we had an enjoyable time with a good attendance for a week-day afternoon, about 200 being present. The evening session was informal and brief at the home of one of the brethren. A goodly number saw us to the depot – some of them likewise bound for

THE TAMPA CONVENTION.

At Tampa, Florida, the city officials secured for us free the principal auditorium of the city – The Casino. The dear friends had put forth every effort and the Convention was a great success – although, as we had anticipated the attendance of friends was much smaller than we usually have at our General Conventions. That district is but sparsely settled, and thus far has comparatively few of "this way." In the sessions of the three days Brothers Owens, Moffatt, Bundy and the Editor were the speakers.

Our largest meeting, the one publicly advertised, was held on Sunday afternoon when about 500 to 600 were present. Some good was done, we feel sure, especially to the household of faith – the lack of numbers being made up for by the zeal of those in attendance. The wind-up was a Love-Feast.

St. Petersburg, the health resort, lies just across the Tampa Bay, and although it was not on our list we yielded to the requests of friends from there and spent Monday with them – a conference of the interested, from the time of the boat's arrival until its departure – from 10.30 to 4.30, with a half-hour's intermission for a luncheon served in the G.A.R. Hall, in which our session was held. We pray that love and zeal and fruits of the Spirit in us all may result.

Atlanta, Ga., was our next appointment, but unfortunately our train was nearly two hours late at Jacksonville and missed connections there. We greatly regretted the misfortune, and trust that in some manner, as yet unknown to us, the disappointment of our dear friends at Atlanta may be overruled of the Lord to their profit.

Birmingham, Ala., was reached in due season. Friends met us at the depot and conducted us to a [R3680 : page 371] splendid dinner, after which we repaired to the place of meeting. About 300 were present, crowding the hall. We addressed them on the announced topic, "To Hell and Back." Excellent attention was given by the audience, which was a very intelligent one. The Lord alone knows the results. We trust that some now see the divine Word more clearly than before, and that in some hearts and minds the knowledge of the glory of God's character shines more brightly than previously.

The evening meeting was for the interested only and lasted until train time, almost all going with us to the train, where they joined in singing "God be with you till we meet again." Our visit to Birmingham will long be remembered with pleasure.

Nashville, Tenn., was reached the next morning. The Convention met in the principal hall of the city, [R3680 : page 372] Watkins' Hall. It was Thanksgiving Day, and that was the key-note of the opening session, which at first was a testimony meeting. Its closing hour was turned over to Bro. Russell, who rehearsed some of our special causes for thanksgiving.

The afternoon session was for the public and was well attended. The hall, seating nearly or quite 1000, was full, some standing, while some were unable to gain admittance. The friends surely labored hard for the gathering, and we know that they got part of their reward in seeing so many of their neighbors and friends present to hear the "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people" in God's due time. The remainder of the reward waits for our Master's word – "Well done, good and faithful servants; enter into the joys of your Lord."

The evening meeting was for the interested only, the topic being, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear [reverence] him, and he will shew them his covenant." About a dozen of the dear friends accompanied us to the depot to exchange greetings, "Goodbye" and "God bless you."

Knoxville, Tenn., was our next stop. Our train arrived two hours later than schedule, but this did not prevent about a dozen dear brethren being at the depot to grasp our hand and bid us "Welcome to Knoxville!"

Soon we were at the Public Hall. About half an hour was spent as a testimony meeting; then we spoke for an hour or more on the freemasonry of the Bible, etc.

The afternoon session for the public drew an audience of about 300, some of whom expressed themselves as seeing more clearly than ever the goodness and justice of God – his severity in the weight of the curse and his mercy in providing through Jesus for its ultimate removal.

The evening meeting was held in the Park Street Christian Church: about 200 were present. Half an hour was devoted to the answering of questions, and then at 7.30 came the evening discourse on "The Oath-Bound Covenant." The service closed at nine o'clock, leaving time for us to reach our train bound for Allegheny. Ten brethren accompanied us to the depot, where we repeated our "goodbyes" and hopes for another meeting – soon or in the Kingdom. The attendance from suburban towns was good.

[R3680 : page 372]

WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY.
– DEC. 1, 1904, TO DEC. 1, 1905. –

S
TRICTLY speaking, according to the terms of our Society's charter, its membership consists only of those who have subscribed ten dollars or more at one time to its funds, each ten-dollar subscription representing one voting share. Such voting shares are regularly credited in the names of the donors. And the arrangements of "Good Hopes" for a year are such that those donations during the year amounting to ten dollars or more, though paid at different times, would be credited as though paid at once. In fact, therefore, our annual reports are for these regular members of the Society. However, we recognize all WATCH TOWER subscribers as being members of the Society in a general sense – in the sense that they are interested in the work that is being carried on, and that they participate in it to the extent of the opportunities at their hand.

In the Lord's providences our talents vary, some having more, some less, of the money talent; others, who have comparatively little of this talent, possessing talents of time and opportunity for the circulation of the Truth. We are sure, therefore, that from the Lord's standpoint we may properly consider all who are truly his and walking in the light of Present Truth as being members of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY – associated and co-laboring financially and otherwise for the promulgation of the glorious message, with its light upon all the features of the divine plan – past, present and future. We are glad then to suppose that all of this class are deeply interested in every effort that is being put forth in the name of the Lord to serve his cause, and that all such at the closing of each year feel a deep interest in what our reports will show as respects the results of our cooperation.

These reports are not presented with a view to boast before the world or each other of what we are doing. The world really knows little about us and cares less, because, as the Master suggested, we are not of the world, even as he was not of the world. These annual reports are stimulating to ourselves, encouraging and helpful. Just so every business man likes to take an account of stock at the close of each year, and to ascertain just how much his business has increased or decreased, just what profits he has made or what losses he has sustained. He does not do this for the benefit of the public, but for his own satisfaction and for the guidance of his affairs during the new year.

YOUR INTEREST APPRECIATED

We make up our accounts to December first instead of January first, because it makes no real difference where the year begins and ends, and because this will give you all the desired information at the time that it will be most interesting and acceptable to you – at the customary time for all to make their good resolutions for the new year. Amongst the good resolutions and plans for every year we want to put first those which affect our own spiritual interests, and, secondly, those which have an influence upon the spiritual interests of others. And indeed these interests unite, because whoever would grow spiritually must not only feed but also exercise the strength and grace already received in the interests of others.

As the years roll by, and we realize that those engaged in the service have done practically all that they have been able to do, we incline to wonder if the succeeding year would show as good results. Yet each year, all the way back, seems to have shown constant increase of work in every direction. And from one standpoint this is certainly what we ought to expect; for even though the interested ones in previous years may have done all in their [R3680 : page 373] power to forward the cause, to serve the Truth, to glorify our Father and Savior, yet each either finds others freshly interested or becoming more deeply interested who should be and continually are seeking for opportunities whereby they also may serve the Truth. These rightly say to themselves, "It is the eleventh hour, and I must strive by all means to use my talents in whatever opportunities the Lord will permit me to find." These are coming nobly to the front in their departments of the service, and we frequently remark that some of the newly interested seem to grasp the Truth and to enter into its service with greater zeal than some who have possessed it for a longer time.

The explanation of this no doubt is in part that we are drawing nearer to the end of the harvest time, and that those whom the Lord is now admitting to a knowledge of Present Truth were already in training for it to some extent. Furthermore, they have a fresh blessing because of their recent reading of the DAWNS. In our experience some of the dear friends forget a great deal of what they have already read, and thus lose proportionately the zeal, the inspiration which they enjoyed at first, while the various features of Truth were more freshly in their memories. Our general advice to those who give evidence of becoming slack in their zeal, or weary in well doing, or faint by the way through manifold trials and discouragements, is that they read afresh the entire six volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series.

ZION'S WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTIONS

We estimate that the WATCH TOWER subscription list stands first as a barometer showing the general interests of the cause. Last year showed an increase of our list of about two thousand, our present list being about 22,000. We are glad that there is this increase, but it by no means satisfies us. We feel sure that if our list contained the names of all the interested ones the number would run up to 30,000 or more. We have done all we know how to do to secure the interest of the dear friends whom we have every reason to believe would be blessed by regular visits of the TOWER. Seemingly we must leave the matter in your hands. If you receive a benefit from the reading of the TOWER, you surely will feel interested in helping others to a share in the same blessings and comforts and assistances.

Of the 22,000 subscribers $12,128.00 were received last year. The other 10,000 represent some who advise us that they are of the Lord's poor, who cannot afford to pay for the paper; others who ask for it on credit, saying that they prefer to have it so rather than free, with the understanding that they will pay at some time in the future if ever their circumstances permit. Still others have said nothing about the matter, and as they are old-time subscribers we hold their names on our list for at least a year [R3681 : page 373] after the time paid for, fearing lest a discontinuance of the TOWER should result in an utter quenching of the evidently glimmering flame of their love and zeal for the cause. We could wish that they would at least write us yearly of their desire to have the paper continued.

The amount of money received on the WATCH TOWER account was sufficient to meet all of its expenses, and we are particularly satisfied with this, and reiterate here what we have previously said, namely, that we would like to have on our list the names of all interested in the harvest message, whether they are able to pay $1.00 a year for it or not. It is sent with the best of good will, not only to those who request it on credit, but also to those who ask for it free without hope of ever paying. We wish that every TOWER reader would consider himself a special agent for the paper, and assure all the interested of the facts here set forth, and urge upon them that they make request for the paper, either for the money or on credit or as the Lord's poor, that our list may be as nearly representative as possible of all who are in the Truth. These requests, remember, should be made yearly, and are necessary as a compliance with the United States postal laws.

DISTRIBUTION OF TRACTS

We place the tract distribution second amongst the evidences of the prosperity of the harvest work, not only because it represents a work that is being done amongst Christian people for the finding and garnering of the wheat of this Gospel age, but particularly because it represents the deep interest of those already enjoying the Truth, which leads to their activity in this branch of the service. We may be sure that those who contribute time and influence, as well as those who contribute money in the tract work, possess considerable of the evangel spirit – the missionary spirit – the spirit of love for God and for our fellows, who have not yet been blessed to the same degree as we in respect to the true light on the divine Word – the plan of the ages and the harvest work.

It means something that without fairs, suppers, or prizes, or the publication of names, money is sent us for this work. It means something, too, that voluntarily men and women, active in the affairs of life, set apart a portion of the week for tract distribution. That while endeavoring to be faithful in all the duties and obligations of the home and family, and while opposed by the spirit of the world in every sense of the word, these are willing to give up their time and influence to minister the Truth, in the hope of reaching the eyes and hearts of some who are the Lord's true followers – in the hope of communicating to them such a blessing as has already come to their own hearts by a clearer appreciation of the divine plan.

We are pleased that this year's reports show a marked increase in the number of tract pages circulated by you all. The figures are so large as to be beyond the comprehension of the majority of people – for this is so of all calculations running into millions. From the itemized statement you will see that the total distribution of tracts during the year amounted to 183,992,588 tract pages. Comparison shows that this is more than 56,000,000 in excess of last year's enormous output. It evidently means, either that a larger number of the dear friends have participated in this work, in which the Lord has seemed so greatly to bless the laborers, or else it means that those who have [R3681 : page 374] been laboring have been doing accomplishing greater work than hitherto.

We advise the dear friends in every quarter to engage in this "volunteer work" of distributing tracts systematically from house to house in every city in which there are lovers of the Present Truth. And we advise the extending of your efforts to adjacent cities and towns where there are none in the Present Truth to serve them. Our experience is that those who sacrifice something in this way to raise up the standard for the people, and let the light of Truth shine out to the glory of the Father, receive a great blessing in their own hearts, a strengthening and deepening of their own faith and love. There is no compensation except that which the Lord has promised. The Society merely provides the sample tracts free to all who will promise to faithfully circulate them, the only stipulation being that the person be a subscriber to ZION'S WATCH TOWER either for pay or on the free list. All WATCH TOWER subscribers are also subscribers to the Old Theology Quarterly, for the two club together for the price of $1.00 per year, and all subscribers are welcome to extra copies for use as samples in any quantity.

We are pleased to be able to inform you that for some reason we have had a much larger number of responses from the tract distribution than in any previous year. We are not certain how this should be accounted for. Possibly it is because the topics presented in the last distribution were more attractive, or possibly because the work of previous years has helped to awaken the minds of the people, and that now they are more ready to inquire for other reading matter. Or it may be the general trend of events in Christendom today – toward Higher Criticism, Infidelity, etc. – is awakening larger numbers of the Lord's people to think for themselves, and to be ready and hungry for the spiritual food which through these tracts we endeavor to supply to them to excite their appetites for more. In any event you will rejoice with us that there have been much larger returns in inquiries for reading matter than have resulted from the tract distribution of any previous year.

THE VOLUMES OF DAWN CIRCULATED

All cannot be colporteurs, but amongst those who are continually becoming newly interested in the Present Truth a certain proportion are able and glad to engage in the colporteur service – in the circulating of the MILLENNIAL DAWN BIBLE STUDY series. And the increasing numbers of the colporteurs means an increasing number of books circulated. We should expect that the sales of DAWNS would be larger year by year, and this expectation has been fully verified, this year being no exception to the rule. The output last year exceeded all previous records, being over 254,000; but from the figures shown in the summary of this report you will see that we have exceeded last year's numbers considerably. We find that there is practically no limit to the number of books which we can publish, nor apparently any limit to the number that can be sold when the books are properly introduced to the public.

The question before us respecting next year's output is therefore narrowed down to the number of colporteurs willing to engage in the work and their efficiency in it. We do not recommend any to engage in it who have family obligations and responsibilities, but all who are of reasonably good address and who have only themselves to care for may certainly succeed in this work, and co-labor with the Lord in the gathering of the wheat of the present harvest as well as in the development of their own hearts and characters along spiritual lines. More depends upon the method of approaching people and presenting the works than is generally supposed. We have gotten out some new suggestions for colporteurs which are proving very helpful, not only to new beginners but also to many who have been long in the work. This is in line with the Master's suggestion that we should be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

THE CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT

This department alone seems to show unfavorably as compared with last year. Notwithstanding the larger number of letters from the disinterested our total receipts of letters were fewer than in 1904. This means that our friends have written to us less frequently. We trust that it does not signify coldness or loss of interest in the Truth and in the work. Indeed the foregoing reports all indicate that your interest in the Truth was never greater than now. We must, assume, therefore, that the fewer letters received imply either that you are becoming more settled, more established in the Truth, and have therefore less occasion for making inquiries respecting it, or that, seeing the general pressure of the work, you fear to encroach upon our time, or that you are learning better each year how to answer your own questions through the use of the DAWNS, TOWER references in the Wide Margin Bibles, and through the index at its back and the index in the back of each volume of the DAWN series.

Whatever be the cause for the decline in the number of letters received from you we are glad to bear testimony to the fact that the general tenor of the thousands of letters received indicates clearly, unmistakably, that a good work of grace is going on amongst the TOWER readers. The letters we received are not merely those indicating that curiosity in the Truth has been aroused or is growing or is being satisfied by the reading matter, but they indicate that the fruits and graces of the Spirit are being developed in your hearts, and that efforts are daily being put forth to these ends. Along this line are the majority of the requests that we remember them in prayer – not so much for temporal interests as for spiritual welfare and all the experiences and testings and developments which the wisdom and love of God sees necessary. We rejoice that this is so.

We can account more easily for the decreased number of the letters sent out: First, we were for a part of the year short of help in that department, and, second, we discontinued the sending of individual postal cards announcing the visits of the pilgrim brethren, and instead, [R3682 : page 375] during the past year and more, have been sending letters of advice to the elders of the churches or to those through whom the requests for pilgrim visits were made. Let us assure you afresh that we are always glad to have your letters, and glad to answer them as explicitly as possible. If sometimes the reply seems to be brief, merely references to DAWNS and TOWERS where you can find your questions answered at greater length, this is so not merely for the saving of time and our convenience but largely because it will be to your interest to find the full dissertations on the topic already in print, and also to your advantage to learn that nearly every question that may arise in your mind has an answer already provided, which may be found through the indexes in the back of the DAWN volumes and in the more general index in the back of the special Bibles published a few years ago.

In this connection we remark that we have abandoned the thought of getting out a new edition of the Wide Margin Bible with special references, and instead we hope to be able to announce sometime during the year a topical index with references to the Scriptures, DAWNS and TOWERS, and a Scriptural index showing where the various passages are treated or referred to in the DAWN volumes and in the WATCH TOWERS of the past ten years.

THE PILGRIM DEPARTMENT

The evidences multiply which prove that the Lord's guidance was with us in the establishment of the pilgrim department of the harvest work. The dear brethren engaged in this branch of the service are such as we believe have special fitness and qualifications for the work. Their visits to the little gatherings of the Lord's people in various parts are not only interesting and refreshing to both, but we believe very profitable. The meetings held by these pilgrims in no sense of the word interfere with the Bible studies and other meetings by which the little gatherings are locally progressing and developing, but coming not too frequently they are in the nature of special boons, special blessings, special refreshment and assistances to all. The dear friends often write us of how much they enjoy such visits, and of their desire that the stay of the pilgrim be increased, but as a rule we think it better that each little company of the Lord's people should learn how to help themselves, using the Bible studies, DAWN studies, etc., thus drawing out all the local talent possessed and using it generally.

They also tell us how much they appreciate the ministries of the pilgrims, and uniformly the testimony is that the last one is the best, the most helpful. The secret of the matter probably lies in the fact that month by month and year by year we are growing more and more in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and thus growing also in the ability to appreciate the Truth by whomsoever presented. It is the Truth that grows richer and better, and gradually we come to appreciate this fact, so that we can rejoice in and be refreshed by the water of life, whether it be sent to us by the Lord in a tin, earthen or silver vessel.

This pilgrim service is not in any sense of the word intended to be a bar or hindrance to individual efforts to serve the Truth on the part of any of the Lord's people anywhere who have a knowledge of the divine plan and are blessed with some talent in the clear presentation of it to others. We bid all such God speed, and wish them success in doing with their might what their hands find to do. We pray for them divine guidance. Since we cannot know particularly all of the dear friends in various quarters who are thus seeking to stir up their talents and to serve the Lord and his cause, it would not be appropriate for us to style them all pilgrims and to thus directly even give them the Society's endorsement. Whoever is announced as a preacher of the Truth by the Society must always be some one whose professions and character and doctrines are reasonably well known to us as thoroughly worthy of our recommendation. This does not imply that none others would be worthy, but does mean that the dear friends in various places where they meet with such will need to exercise a still greater degree of discrimination as respects their presentation of the divine plan. Not infrequently it is today as it was in olden times, when Aquila and Priscilla were able to instruct a public preacher, Apollos more particularly, in the way of the Lord. – Acts 18:25,26.

For the foregoing reason, and because of the increasing numbers of the dear brethren in various parts who are seeking to use their talents and to serve the Lord in the giving of Chart lectures, etc., it is deemed best by the Society that henceforth none shall be announced as pilgrims under the Society's auspices except such as are giving their entire time to the pilgrim work, either as traveling pilgrims or in the office work at Allegheny, engaging in the pilgrim work on Sundays.

Pilgrim Work Summary
Total number "Pilgrims"...........................        25
  "   visits made.................................     1,639
  "   miles traveled in preaching tours...........   154,110
  "   public meetings held........................     1,580
  "   parlor meetings held with the interested....     3,159
NEWSPAPER HARVEST WORK

Three newspapers of considerable circulation have been publishing "Brother Russell's" sermons weekly during the past year, besides which the friends in convention cities have secured special insertions in their local dailies. These combined represent over 3,000,000 sermons sent broadcast; and under divine Providence some results are apparent: more we shall hope to learn of on the other side the vail.

We purpose a continuance of this and all the other departments of service as the Lord of the harvest may indicate to be his will by the opening or closing of the various doors of opportunity – financial and others. In our day the measure of opportunity for scattering the Truth is very nearly a question of the dollars at our disposal. We shall continue our course of making no appeals for money. The Lord can and will keep the throttle in his own hands and let on or diminish the financial steam as he wills, and as the interests of his "harvest work" demand. It is for him to stir the heart and loose purse strings and ours to [R3682 : page 376] serve faithfully as stewards in respect of whatever he entrusts to our care.

HARVESTING IN FOREIGN LANDS

This report includes practically all of the colporteur work and tract work in Great Britain and Australia, but it does not include the circulation of free tract matter in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Italy. Some further statement of the work done in foreign countries may appear in a later issue.

While much encouraged with the work done on the continent of Europe, we are still inclined to believe that in the Lord's providence the vast majority of those who would be most susceptible to the influence of Present Truth have been gathered out of those parts to America, where they are receiving the message in many respects under more favorable conditions. Thus, for instance, although the work in Germany is comparatively slow and uphill, the numbers who are upon the WATCH TOWER list who are of German descent, as indicated by their names, would probably be one-third of the entire number. The same is apparently true of Ireland, where a comparatively small number are interested, while the representatives of this nationality on the TOWER list is very considerable.

SUMMARY OF THE YEAR'S OUTPUT
Total number of DAWNS sold at or below cost.......   254,083

   (These were in various languages and all in cloth or leather
bindings.  DAWN I. in magazine form is included in the statement
of TOWERS sent out.)

Booklets sold at cost.............................    28,606
Total number of tracts of various kinds sent out.. 5,324,000
Copies of English TOWERS sent out free,...........   318,492
These tracts and TOWERS represent (in the usual form of stating
 such matters) tract pages.......................183,992,588

These figures are far beyond the comprehension of the masses, but they signify an immense quantity. Under the Lord's blessing we trust seed has been planted which will bear much fruit to our Master's praise and to the profit of his true people.

The "Volunteer" work has been carefully done over a wide territory, and we are receiving more responses by mail than from any previous effort.

FINANCIAL SHOWING FOR 1905

The financial showing seems small when compared with the work accomplished. That the work we are doing is very economically managed even our bitterest enemies will admit. They are continually wondering "where all the money comes from." They know something about the large sums donated and legacies left to other tract societies, supported by Christendom's millions, yet know also that our tracts and publications are seen everywhere, while those of other societies are rarely met with. The Lord's blessing and guidance and your faithful cooperation are all we boast.

We are glad to be able to report that while the work as a whole has progressed, we have been enabled to reduce the deficit of last year by nearly one-half. We endeavored to cut the expenses more closely and to have a balance to the credit of the Fund, but always find it difficult to refrain from using the opportunities of serving the Truth which seem to offer. We hope to wipe out the deficit next year.

In this connection it is proper to remember that the dear friends during the past year have been putting forth more energy than ever before in connection with One-Day Conventions: the securing of choice auditoriums and the liberal advertising of these conventions means a considerable expenditure of time and money – of money which otherwise doubtless would appear in the Tract Fund receipts. This implies, therefore, that really the amount contributed to the propaganda of Present Truth during the past year was much in excess of donations of previous years. [R3683 : page 376]

              Expenditures 1905.

Deficit of 1904................................  $  6,760.15
Pilgrim Expenses...............................     7,450.87
Publishing of matter circulated free – including
 freights, postage, office expenses, etc.......    28,148.33
Foreign Mission expenditures...................    10,843.08
                                                  ----------
                                                  $53,202.43

                Receipts 1905.

"Good Hopes"........................ $27,609.22
From Other Sources..................  21,640.48
                                     ----------   $49,249.70
                                                  ----------
Deficit for 1905...............................   $ 3,952.73
                                                  ==========

*                         *                         *

All things considered, dearly beloved colaborers in the spread of the "good tidings of great joy," we have great cause for rejoicing in the results of our united labors as reapers under the guidance of the great Chief Reaper. Ere long he will say, we trust to many of us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joys of your Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."

Let patient endurance work faithfully in us. A few more days or weeks or years and our trials and testings will be over and we shall see his face. Be sober, be vigilant, be zealous. The Lord and his mighty angels look on to see us finish our race with joy and to encourage and assist us, and to cause that all things shall work out for our preparation for the Kingdom.

"How light our trials then will seem,
How short our pilgrim way,
The life of earth a fitful dream,
Dispelled by dawning day."

[R3683 : page 376]

THE MESSENGER OF JEHOVAH.
MALACHI 3:1-12. – DECEMBER 17. –

Golden Text: – "I will send my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me."

M
ALACHI the prophet spoke for and represented Jehovah to the returned Israelites. His prophecy is supposed to have been written during the time of the absence of Nehemiah, the governor, at the court of the king of Persia. The interim of his absence is thought to have been one of religious declension, as the record shows a considerable stirring up and setting in order again after his return. Malachi's prophecy, therefore, may have served a double purpose – first to reprove and stimulate the people of that time, and secondly, and much more important, to give a general lesson applicable all the way down through the more than twenty centuries since. His prophecy is the last one of the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures, and closes with exhortations and promises respecting the coming of Messiah, for whom the Jewish people had at that time waited for more than fifteen centuries.

The Golden Text is the key to this lesson. The Messenger whom Jehovah would send is the Christ – not alone the man Christ Jesus, who was pre-eminently the divine Messenger, but inclusively the whole Christ, the Church, the body, the under-associates, with Jesus [R3683 : page 377] the Head. As we have already pointed out, this Messenger appears in the two following capacities: First as the suffering one, the sacrificing one, and secondly as the anointed, glorified one, the King, the restorer. The work of suffering belongs to this Gospel age, the reign of glory belongs to the Millennial age. The suffering began with the consecration of our Lord and Master at the time of his baptism into death. The three and one-half years of his ministry were so much of his delivering himself into death or baptism into death, and that personal sacrifice was finished at Calvary. During this Gospel age, in harmony with the divine plan, our Redeemer has accepted a little flock from the world upon their renouncement of sin, their acceptance of him as their justification, and their consecration of their little all to his service, "to be dead with him that they might also live with him, to suffer with him that they might also reign with him."

Throughout this Gospel age this overcoming class, the Church, has been faithfully laying down, sacrificing, life and earthly prospects and interests because of their love for the Lord and for the principles of righteousness which he represents. Thus this entire Gospel age has been one of suffering. As stated by the Apostle, the prophets foretold the "sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow." (1 Pet. 1:11.) The glory of this great Christ, Head and body, cannot be ushered in until all of its sufferings are at an end. Hence, as the Apostle urges, it is for us to appreciate the situation and understand our privilege to "suffer with him," or "to be dead with him," "to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," to "present our bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service." – 2 Tim. 2:11,12; Col. 1:24; Rom. 12:1.

THE CHRIST IN THE FLESH, THE ELIJAH.

As we have already pointed out,* Christ in the flesh, Head and body, is the antitypical Elijah, which does a work in the world preparing for and introductory to the reign of glory, of the same class, on the spirit plane as the Christ of glory, Head and body. The Messenger of Jehovah is the same, though under two different conditions: first in the flesh, in weakness, in ignominy, in sorrow and pain and dying, despised and rejected of men; second, in glory, crowned with all power in heaven and in earth, establishing righteousness and forcefully subduing and bringing into subjection to the divine will every creature and every thing, and triumphing so that finally, by the end of the Millennial age, this great Messenger – by the two parts of his service, first in suffering and second in glory – will accomplish all that the great Jehovah purposed respecting the race of mankind. By these two parts of his service this great and glorious Messenger will have prepared the way of Jehovah, will have made straight all the paths, all the arrangements, all the affairs for the establishment of the everlasting reign of the Kingdom of heaven.

*See Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., Chap. viii.

This brings us down to the period mentioned by the Apostle respecting Christ: he must reign until he shall have put all things under his [Jehovah's] feet. Then the Son, the Christ, having put all things into subjection, will himself be subject to the Father, that the Father may be the all in all of the universe (1 Cor. 15:28), though the Father graciously and generously provides that his Messenger – whose loyalty will have been so thoroughly demonstrated both by the sufferings of the present time and the glories of the age to come – that this glorious anointed One shall forever be associated with him in the everlasting Kingdom, as it is written, "Let all the angels of God reverence him." – Heb. 1:6.

"THE MASTER WHOM YE SEEK."

The word Lord in this second sentence is not in the Hebrew Jehovah, but signifies master, superior, teacher. Jehovah is represented as the speaker, who evidently refers to the Lord Jesus, assuring those who have the ear to hear and understand that the Messiah whom they seek shall suddenly come to his Temple. There is a difference between the significations of "quickly" and "suddenly." The Messiah did not quickly come to his Temple, for over two thousand years have elapsed since this prophecy was written, and the Temple itself ("which Temple ye are") is not yet complete, though the living stones for it have nearly all been chiseled and polished with the adversities of this Gospel age, and we are now living in the time when these living stones are being brought together on the other side of the veil. When the whole work shall have been completed, and the glory of the Lord shall fill the Temple, the prediction of this Scripture before us shall have its fulfilment. It will be a sudden matter in that the Jews, and others outside the Temple class, will be in such complete ignorance respecting the whole procedure that the results will be wholly unexpected, a time to them most sudden.

In a certain sense or degree, in a shadowy sense, Jesus at his first advent offered himself to the Jewish people – "he came to his own and his own received him not," – and he said to them, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38.) That entrance into Jerusalem, riding on an ass, hailed by the people with palm branches as the King, the Messiah, the Son of David, and his entering into the Temple and scourging therefrom the money-changers and merchants, was indeed a sudden matter, wholly unexpected by the people of that time, and to a certain extent it fulfilled this prophecy, because that people on that occasion were typical of the great presentation of himself as the King, due now to be accomplished on a higher plane, on a plane of glory, Jesus the Head now presenting himself, not merely as the King of Israel, but as the King of the world – not merely as the man Christ Jesus, but as the glorified Christ with his glorified body, which is the Church.

THE OATH-BOUND COVENANT.

Our Lord Jesus was indeed the Messenger or Servant of the Covenant, the one through whom the Covenant would have its fulfilment. The Abrahamic Covenant, the Oath-Bound Covenant, is referred to. It is the hope of natural Israel and the hope of spiritual Israel, "which hope we have as an anchor to our souls, sure and steadfast, within the veil." (Heb. 6:19.)

The Messenger or Servant of that Covenant is the one through whom its provisions will be accomplished, namely, the seed of Abraham – "which seed is Christ." (Gal. 3:16.) Again, we see that this seed has its two developments, one in the flesh, in suffering ignominy, the other in the spirit, in power and great glory – the one to mediate the Covenant by offering the sacrifice of atonement, the other to execute the gracious provisions of that Covenant, made possible by the atoning sacrifice. The sufferings of Christ sealed or ratified this Covenant, and made it possible for him to be the Mediator of it, and to extend through that Covenant blessings to the [R3684 : page 378] entire human family, who were under the curse and who are mentioned in the Covenant, "all the families of the earth."

Again we note that in the divine plan the "Church," the "saints," the "very elect," the "little flock," the "Bride," is associated by the Lord with both phases of this work, "in the sufferings of this present time and in the glories that shall follow." It requires the work of this entire Gospel age to seal the New Covenant. The New Covenant is to benefit and bless Israel after the flesh and all the families of the earth; its provisions are the forgiveness of sins, the renewing of a right heart in all those who desire to come into harmony with the Lord and a restitution to them of all that were lost through the original transgression and its curse. As a result of this operation of this New Covenant there shall be no more curse, and tears shall be wiped from off all faces, and there shall be no more sighing and no more dying and no more pain, for the former things shall have passed away. – Rev. 21:4.

JOINT-HEIRS WITH HIM.

The Church, the Bride of Christ, is made partaker reckonedly, by faith, of the benefits and blessings of that New Covenant; justification is reckoned as restitution, although not actually restored or perfected. The sins of the believer are covered and the consecrated ones are reckoned as new creatures, even though they still tabernacle in imperfect flesh. The acceptance of the Bride of Christ is not under the New Covenant but under the original Abrahamic Covenant, not to be part of those who will be blessed by the seed but to be associates and joint-heirs with Christ as members of the seed. This the Apostle distinctly points out, saying, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) If we are heirs according to that Abrahamic promise it means that we are members of the seed class, and that our great mission is the blessing of all the families of the earth. A certain amount of this blessing comes to the families of the earth during the time of our sacrificing, namely, the reflected or refracted light of the glory of God enjoyed by us through his Spirit; but the great bulk of the blessing for Israel after the flesh, and for all the families of the earth, waits until the seed shall have been completed, until the change from a body of humiliation to a body of glory, until divested of the imperfections of the present and clothed upon with the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature, to which we are heirs through our Lord Jesus. – 2 Pet. 1:4.

"WHOM YE DELIGHT IN."

The Jews had exulted and delighted in the promise of the coming Messiah for centuries. They were delighting in this great promise and the hopes attached to it at the very time the Redeemer was in their midst and they knew him not and crucified him. They are still delighting in this promise of the Messiah – yea, the whole world has caught to a large extent the infection, and is hoping and waiting for "the Desire of all Nations" (Haggai 2:7) that then shall come, although they associate with the gracious hope and promise many misconceptions and gross error.

When Messiah's Kingdom shall be established, invisible to men – when its reign shall begin, after it shall have reached the point of putting down sin, after the great time of trouble shall have humbled mankind, after the reign of righteousness shall have been thoroughly established – it will prove to be the desire of all nations, the delight of all nations. The Lord knows just what the world wants, but the poor world at the present time is blind through sin, ignorance and superstition, misconceptions, etc., and must learn its lesson and thus be prepared for the blessing which the Lord is preparing for it.

"THE DAY OF HIS COMING."

"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, and they shall offer unto the Lord offerings of righteousness."

Ah! there it is. The world is anxious for the blessing, but realizes not to what extent the inbred sin is incompatible with the reign of righteousness which it desires, and in which is the great blessing God has promised. Before the blessings come, the day of wrath, the "fire of God's jealousy," must pass upon the world. It is not to be a fire merely to destroy but specially to purify; it is not to be a literal fire but a symbolical fire, following which the Lord will turn to the people a pure language, a pure message, a clear declaration of the divine will and plan of salvation. (Zeph. 3:8,9.)

While this Messenger will serve the world as an instructor, as the antitype of Elijah, reproving sin and seeking to bring the world into harmony with God, and succeeding in finding only the Israelites indeed, there will come an end to this work when the little flock all have been found and when their purifying and chastisement will be over. The first work of the Messenger of the Covenant on the plane of glory will be a work of judgment – indeed the entire work of the Millennial age is to be a judging of the world in righteousness – punishing each sin promptly on its committal and rewarding every effort for righteousness promptly with blessings and favors. Under that reign of righteousness the whole world will have fullest opportunity for reconciliation with God, and those who will not accept the reconciliation will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. – Acts 3:23.

"AS A REFINING FIRE."

The beginning of the judgment will be especially upon the sons of Levi. The Levites represented the household of faith, who have made a consecration of themselves to the Lord. A certain class of these Levites, termed in the Scriptures "more than conquerors," will constitute the Royal Priesthood, the body of Christ, while the remainder of it, called in the Scriptures "the great company, who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," will be dealt with first by the great Messenger of the Covenant, not with a view to their destruction or injury, but with a view to the destruction of the flesh, "that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor. 5:5.)

We may even go further than this and understand that the living members of the Royal Priesthood will be subjected to fiery trials, as the Apostle points out. The fire of this day, he says, shall try each man's work of what sort it is, and shall prove which have built their faith with gold, silver and precious stones, and which have built with the wood, hay, stubble of profession and outward show and theories of men. (1 Cor. 3:12.) All of the gold class will be purified, the little flock; all of [R3684 : page 379] the silver class will be purified, the great company, to the intent that the offerings that they made to the Lord may be fully accepted of him, even as the Apostle exhorts us, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service." If it is our privilege to have some share in the fiery trials at the close of this age, and at the inauguration of the new dispensation, let us rejoice in whatever will bring us nearer to our Lord, in whatever will bring us closer into harmony with him and his service, purifying our hearts and arousing our faith and making us all that would be acceptable and pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

"AS IN THE DAYS OF OLD."

"Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old and in the former years." The fiery trials of the great time of trouble will thoroughly purge and purify all who are truly the Lord's people, all antitypical Israelites, and thenceforth they shall be fully in the Lord's favor and have his rich blessing, and only by wilful sins will they ever take themselves out of that blessed condition; but they may go on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, from opportunity to opportunity, from restitution to restitution, until at the end of the Millennial age they shall have attained to all the good things of the divine provision through this great Messenger of the Covenant.

In that time the Lord will come near in his judgments, they will be prompt, the people will learn distinctly and in a practical form what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord; he will be a swift witness against every evil thing and rebuke it, and thus all shall be taught of the Lord, and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth.

"I, THE LORD, CHANGE NOT."

The basis for all these hopes of Israel and others is in the fact that God is unchangeable; he has promised and he will not fail – yea, he has sworn to this Covenant and it is therefore an Oath-Bound Covenant, and as a result all the families of the earth shall be blessed. There can be no failure, no miscarriage of this plan, for God has pledged himself in word and in oath to its certainty. What a confidence this gives us! This was the Apostle's assurance as he thought of Israel after [R3685 : page 379] the flesh and how they were rejecting Jesus, and he wrote to us, "I would not, brethren, that ye be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part [temporarily] is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in [until the full number of the elect from the Gentiles shall have been completed, the divine predestination respecting the Church, the body of Christ]. Then all Israel shall be saved [recovered from the blindness into which they are now going – the blindness in which they have been for nearly nineteen centuries]." Rom. 11:25.

The Apostle quotes in proof of this the divine promise, assuring us that the gifts and callings of God are things that he will not repent of. (Rom. 11:29.) It is on this unchangeableness of the divine character that the Apostle predicates all of his hopes respecting the restoration of Israel to divine favor and blessing through the glorified Church, and in turn the blessing of all the families of the earth through natural Israel under the glorified Church. As the Apostle again says, Thus the fall of Israel becomes a channel for the enlightenment and blessing of the world. – Rom. 11:12.

A LOCAL APPLICATION.

Then follows a part of the prophecy which seemingly was applicable to fleshly Israel: the Lord reproves them, showing them that his course toward them as a people fully conformed to the engagements of their Covenant at Sinai. Had they remained faithful to him according to their agreement they might have had the great blessing even in Malachi's time. There is in this passage an exhortation for Israel to return to proper accord with the Lord, and to prove him that he would be as prompt and faithful in giving them blessings as he was prompt and faithful in giving them chastisements for their unfaithfulness. The Lord represents Israel as not being aware of their true condition, of not being aware of how they were failing to keep their Covenant. Their hearts had become so selfish, had been so stunted in development along all spiritual lines, that they apparently did not realize that they were merely praying to the Lord with their lips while their hearts were far from him. He points out to them that while keeping his ordinances in a certain outward and formalistic manner, they were not fulfilling the requirements of the Law as they should reasonably have understood them.

From the statement here made it would appear that, instead of coming to the Lord with the very best that they had as offerings to him and his cause, they were inclined to seek to perform the letter of the Law and to avoid its spirit; apparently they were ready to bring sacrifices and offerings, but the selfishness of their hearts and their lack of true appreciation of the Lord led them to proffer him the weak and the lame and the poor while they kept the better for their own use. The Lord urges upon them that they test him, prove him, and see whether or not he would grant them great blessings if they would but enter into the spirit of their consecration and offer unto the Lord the best of what they possessed.

A LESSON HERE FOR SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES.

Spiritual Israel, the Elijah class, the Lord's consecrated people still in the flesh and seeking to make their calling and election sure to the Kingdom glories, may gain a profitable lesson from these sharp criticisms of natural Israel. How is it with us? We as spiritual Israelites have vowed unto the Lord the first fruits, the very best, the very chiefest, the most valuable of all that we have and all that we are – of time, influence, talents, money, all. To what extent are we rendering unto the Lord our offerings and sacrifices in harmony with this our Covenant?

Is it not true respecting many spiritual Israelites that, instead of bringing the very best that they have to the Lord and to his service, they bring him merely the tail-ends, the imperfect things, offerings with which he is not well pleased. This is so in respect to all who use the best they have in self-gratification, in providing chiefly and best for their own natural conditions and appetites, honors, dignities, leaving for the Lord the remnants, the fag-ends of time, influence, reputation and money. Alas, we fear this is true of many Israelites to-day: they fail to grasp the thought that they have given their all to the Lord, and that what they have, therefore, is his, and that they are merely his stewards, [R3685 : page 380] pledged to him to use time, money, influence, all that he has committed to their care, as his and to his glory to the best of their knowledge and ability.

The argument which the Lord used to natural Israel was that, if they properly loved and respected him as their God, they would feel that they had nothing too good to offer to him and his service, and that it was a privilege on their part to be permitted to lay their little all at his feet, the very best that they had or could present. How much more true is this in respect to spiritual Israel, whose eyes of understanding have to some extent been opened, who are enabled to see the Lord from the new standpoint, to realize what great things he has done for us and what wonderful things he has proposed to give us if we show ourselves worthy of them by faithfulness to our Covenant obligations.

As our Lord pointed out to the Jews, he requires these things not because he is needy, for all the gold and silver and the cattle upon a thousand hills are his, but that he seeks in us evidences of our sincerity, our faithfulness in respect to our Covenant engagement when we pledged all that we possessed, houses, lands, father, mother, sisters, brothers, yea, life itself, to be all subjected to and laid at the feet of our Redeemer and Master, that we might at any cost, at any sacrifice, be permitted to render such service as he would accept, realizing the while that all that he would accept would be a reasonable service, and on our part it would be an offering far too small to be worthy of our King and our Creator.

"PROVE ME NOW HEREWITH."

The Lord's words to natural Israel should come to spiritual Israel with still greater force, "Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord." If any feel themselves poor, if any feel that spiritually they are lean, that they are not enjoying such fellowship with the Lord as they would desire, that they are unable to draw as closely to him as they would like, to all such the Lord says the fault is, You have neglected your covenant: here are my words, "Prove me," fulfil the terms of your Covenant, and see if I will not be faithful, and do for you exceedingly and abundantly more than you could have asked or thought.

It behooves us, dear friends, to look about us to note to what extent we have been faithful to our Covenant of sacrifice and to remember that it is not a sacrifice for a day or a year but, "even unto death." "Be ye faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10.) A little while the trials will be over, but until that little while is past we are in the trial time, and it is proving us either worthy or unworthy of the glorious favors which we seek, the chief blessing, joint-heirship. If we appreciate it let us seek it in the Lord's way, let us see to what extent there are other things in our lives that we might render unto the Lord and which he will accept, not through the worthiness of the deeds or the sacrifices but through the merit of Christ. Let us see if the days and hours as they pass are spent in a consecrated manner; let us note to what extent moments and days are spent in some selfish manner, or wasted upon others beyond the reasonable requirements of duty as marked out in the divine Word. Let us see to what extent we perform our vows unto the Lord; let us take note of what of time or influence or money we are using in the divine service and what proportion this bears to the whole.

Of the Jews the Lord required a tenth, a "tithe." Of the spiritual Israelites he makes no positive requirements but leaves it for us, that by the degree of our sacrifices, according to our abilities, we may demonstrate the measure of our love. But who would say that one-tenth of time, influence and talent would be enough for the spiritual Israelite to render to the Lord for all his benefits? Surely all would agree that a fourth would be a very small measure indeed as compared with our true obligation. All should feel that the sacrifice is a whole burnt offering, a complete sacrifice of every item and element of our talents and powers and privileges; all should feel that he may keep for use upon himself and for use upon those dependent upon him only such measure as would seem to be necessary to decency and reasonable comfort and not for what might be termed luxury or waste. Those who accept the Lord's proposition heartily, and render to him their all to the extent of their ability, will find their leanness departing and their joy of heart increasing more and more.

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IMMANUEL AND HIS DOMINION.
ISAIAH 9:1-7. – DECEMBER 24. –

Golden Text: – "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." – Matt. 1:21.

A
PPROPRIATELY the quarter's lessons culminate in a prophetic picture of "Israel's Hope," and the "Desire of all Nations," a picture of Messiah and his Millennial Kingdom. This lesson is especially appropriate also because of its date immediately preceding Christmas day, usually celebrated as the Memorial of Jesus' death. The story of Jesus' birth and whole life and death, and resurrection even, [R3686 : page 380] would be of comparatively slight importance if disconnected from the prophecies of his glorious Kingdom power and reign, under which all the families of the earth shall be blessed. It was in view of this grand consummation to be accomplished by the Kingdom that the angels sang at our Lord's birth of peace on earth and good will toward men, and proclaimed "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people" – "in due time."

We agree with Leeser's translation that the first verse of the ninth chapter should properly be the last verse of chapter 8 – that the second verse of our lesson begins a new topic: with it, therefore, we begin our present subject.

"THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD IS JESUS."

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." After the Hebrew idiom this statement pertaining to the future reads as though it related to something only in the past, just as in verse 6 we read, "Unto us a child is born," whereas Jesus was not born at that time nor until several centuries later. The standpoint of the shining light is still future, the great light is not yet shining upon the people, they still dwell in the land of the shadow of death. The shadows of our demoralized, sinful, dying condition affect all of life's interests for [R3686 : page 381] the world of mankind. As the Apostle explains subsequently, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, waiting." (Rom. 8:22.) The world is still waiting for this great Light, which the Scriptures promise shall in due time shine forth, "The Sun of righteousness with healing in its beams." (Mal. 4:2.) Our Lord refers to the same great event, still future, and assures us that when that Sun of righteousness shall shine forth it shall include not only himself but all of his faithful disciples, the ripened wheat of this Gospel age. He distinctly portrays this in the parable of the wheat and the tares, telling us that at the close of the age he would gather the wheat crop of this age into the garner – the heavenly state – and he adds, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear let him hear." – Matt. 13:43.

We are still in the time when darkness covers the earth [civilized society] and gross darkness the people [the heathen]. True, there is a measure of light in the world: True, also, that light emanated from our dear Redeemer, his words and his works, and still shines forth from all those who are truly his and whose hearts are illuminated by his promises and his spirit. But this is not the light of the world scattering all of earth's darkness and causing all to appreciate the glory of God. It is merely "the light that is in you," in believers; it is a light of faith, a light of hope, a light of love ignited in the hearts of the little flock, who shine as lighted candles in the world. Our Lord's light shone into a little corner of the world called Palestine, and from his lamp many followers have lighted their lamps. The Master's instruction is, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven," "Put not your light under a bushel but on a lampstand, that it may give light to all in the house." But he adds, "The darkness hateth the light because its deeds are evil and are made manifest thereby," "Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you." – Matt. 5:15,16; John 3:20.

That the True Light is not now shining, that the Sun of righteousness has not yet arisen with healing in his beams, is fully evidenced by the gross darkness of heathendom and by the lesser darkness of Christendom. In proportion as the true followers of Jesus have kept their lamps trimmed and burning, in that proportion a measure of enlightenment has spread throughout the world. But all this is merely the shining of light in the midst of darkness, and a light at the present time and under present conditions is wholly inadequate to dispel the night and to bring in the glorious day for which the whole creation groans and still waits. That glorious day cannot come until the Lord shall first have found the members of his body who together with himself are to constitute the Sun of righteousness. Meantime, as the Apostle declares, the god of this world blinds the minds of them that believe not, lest the glorious light of the goodness of God should shine into their hearts. – 2 Cor. 4:4.

"A LANTERN TO MY FOOTSTEPS."

The prophet, speaking of the Church during this Gospel age appropriating the Word of God, the message of life eternal, the basis of our hopes and joys, declares, "Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, a lantern to my footsteps." (Psa. 119:105.) The need of this lamp is most evident. Those who have it not stumble on in the darkness: we who have the light of the divine Word are not in darkness even as others – "Ye are all the children of the light and of the day." (1 Thess. 5:5.) We belong to the new dispensation and our citizenship is in heaven. By faith we are dead to the world and live toward God, and are therefore counted as children of the light even in the present darkness; and the eyes of our understanding are enlightened by the hopes and gracious promises of the divine Word, while others rejecting this lamp are in corresponding darkness and ignorance.

The light, as the Apostle says, has shone into our hearts and that already through faith. If we look from the outward and natural standpoint of affairs, we would be as the remainder of the world. It is in proportion as we close our eyes to the things that are seen, and that we know by faith to be but temporary, and open the eyes of our understandings to the things unseen as yet and which are eternal, only in that proportion does the light by faith shine into our hearts. The glorious prospect is that soon the Church will be complete, soon the Sun of righteousness will shine and its rays will light to the uttermost parts of the earth, and that every child of Adam, sharer in his curse, shall ultimately be a sharer in Messiah's great work of blessing by being brought under the influence of that great Light which shall constitute the Millennial age a day of blessing and of glory and of knowledge of the Lord. "This is the True Light which [ultimately] lighteth every man that cometh into the world." – John 1:9.

The prophecy of this verse goes beyond the living of that time and assures us that the light will shine to those who are in the shadow of death – in the deadly shade, properly a title of hades – those who are in hades, in darkness. Upon every member of our race the light must shine, because Christ hath redeemed us once for all. As all of Adam's children were condemned before their birth, so all of them were redeemed, and the majority of them before their birth. They are as sure to get a blessing from Christ's redemptive work as they surely did share in the curse that came upon Father Adam. – Rom. 5:12.

MULTIPLICATION BY RESURRECTION.

"Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." This, the revised version rendering, is evidently the correct one. Leeser's translation also agrees. The picture before us represents the world of mankind during the Millennial age, brought forth from the bondage of death, released from the Adamic curse, rejoicing as those who are dividing a spoil, sharing in something which is not theirs, something which has fallen to them. It will be just so: the blessings of the Millennial age will be distributed as divine bounty, the curse will be rolled away, the Sun of righteousness will shine for all with healing in his beams, bringing restitution to all, and none will escape the blessings except they wilfully refuse them and do despite to God's favor. The same is true now to those who receive God's mercy. It is a gift; they can do nothing for it; they are merely assured that they are forgiven. The difference is that now a very few have the eye to see and the ear to hear and the heart to appreciate God's mercy as it [R3686 : page 382] is told to us in the good tidings which can be understood only by the hearing of faith. By and by, after the selection of the elect class, the Church, sight and knowledge will largely take the place of faith. The world, then realizing the grace of God in Christ Jesus, forgiving their sins and providing them with life eternal if they will accept it, will generally rejoice to divide the great spoil, the great gift of God.

Verse four delineates the cause for the rejoicing: it will be because the great oppressor, Satan, will no longer have control; his yoke of sin, pain, sorrow and death, his rod and staff of affliction and slavery, will be broken and that forever, as the Lord explains, "That old serpent the devil, Satan, shall be bound for a thousand years that he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years be finished." (Rev. 20:3.) The victory over the great Adversary is not to be a slow and gradual one, not to be by missions or any power of ours, but the Lord himself shall interpose his power.

"AS IN THE DAY OF MIDIAN."

The day of Midian was the day of Gideon and his little band, when suddenly at the breaking of the pitchers and the blowing of the rams' horns the Lord overwhelmed the powerful hosts of the enemies of his people and granted them a great and miraculous deliverance. Gideon evidently prefigured our Lord Jesus, as Gideon's little band prefigured the little flock of Christ, the saints, the very elect. It was after the testing, the sifting, of this little company that the Lord granted the great deliverance. And thus it will be in the end of this age: as soon as the Gideon band, the Royal Priesthood under the captaincy of the glorified Christ, shall have given their message and let their feeble lights shine out, that the Lord will grant the great victory for truth and righteousness through a time of trouble which shall come upon the world but which will eventuate in a great blessing upon all people, the binding of Satan and the release of all the oppressed. We read of the grand consummation of the matter, the end of [R3687 : page 382] sin and trouble, in the figure of the fifth verse, which in the Leeser translation reads, "For all the weapons of the fighters in the battle's tumult and the garments rolled in blood shall be burned, become fuel for the fire." The interpretation of this is that all the weapons of Satan, all the accessories of sin and death, everything that pertained to this great conflict which for centuries has prevailed in the world between righteousness on the one hand and sin on the other, all these shall be utterly destroyed. The picture shows us the world cleansed of every evidence of opposition to the divine government and law of righteousness, and accords well with the statement, "All voices in heaven and earth and under the earth and in the sea heard I saying, Blessing and glory and honor and dominion and right and power unto him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb." – Rev. 5:13.

HOW IT WILL BE BROUGHT ABOUT.

The word "for" with which the sixth verse opens signifies because: hence we read, "Because unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." The because is an explanation of the process by which the foregoing gracious prophecy of blessing and release from the oppressor shall be accomplished. The Lord would draw the attention of all who had the hearing ear of faith to the fact that no such Kingdom of righteousness, no such enlightenment and blessing of the world could be possible until first Messiah should come. He would show also that Messiah would be born after the manner of mankind, and would nevertheless be the Son of the Living God. How beautiful, how simple is the entire statement from the standpoint of faith, yet how possible it is for the wisdom of this world to stumble over even such simple statements as these and to claim, as higher critics do, that this prophecy was wholly to the Jews of Isaiah's day and that the one of promise was King Hezekiah. Blessed are our eyes if they see and our ears if they hear the true meaning of this prophecy, and thus permit us to recognize in it the Messiah, the Sent of God, Immanuel, God with us, to be the great deliverer and to accomplish for us all the wonderful things which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, confirming his promise made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Continuing, the prophecy pictures the child grown to manhood and the government placed upon his shoulders – the responsibility falling upon him as a royal mantle from the heavenly Emperor, Jehovah. The prophecy steps over the earthly trials and sufferings of our Redeemer, the Head, and of the Church, his body, throughout this Gospel age; it ignores the names Beelzebub, prince of devils, man of sorrows, etc., and points us to the complete and glorified Messiah at his second advent, as viewed from the standpoint of Jehovah and from the standpoint from which ultimately the whole world shall recognize him, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to him to the glory of the Father. "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God [or mighty Lord], Everlasting Father [or giver of everlasting life], the Prince of Peace."

HALLOWED BE THY NAME.

A name stands for or represents the character, disposition, or qualities or powers of an individual. Thus all these names, these titles given to our Lord, represent his majesty, dignity, power and glory of his work. Our Lord is already recognized by his true followers, who know him as the most wonderful Counsellor: no other counsel, no other teaching, is like his. The world in general has yet to learn this respecting him, but it will be generally known before the close of the Millennial age, for unto him every knee must bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10.) If after they have confessed him the wonderful, wise Counsellor, Teacher, Guide, they then shall wilfully and deliberately ignore and reject his teaching and assistance and sin wilfully and intentionally, they must die the second death, "Be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. (Acts 3:23.) He is recognized now by his true followers as the Mighty Lord, the Mighty God – not as the Father but as the Father's representative, voice, mouthpiece, the well-beloved Son whom he has clothed with glory, honor and immortality, and given all power in heaven and in earth necessary to the accomplishment of the great work entrusted to him, the fitness for which he demonstrated by his love and loyalty even unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus will be the Everlasting Father of the human race in the sense that Adam, their father, failed to give them life, and that our Lord Jesus redeemed Adam and [R3687 : page 383] all his possessions, and thus became the author of everlasting life to all who would obey him. This will include all of the human family, who will attain to everlasting life, except the Church class of this Gospel age, who are reckoned as specially adopted out of the world and begotten of the heavenly Father, as we read, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us." (1 Pet. 1:3.) These Spirit-begotten ones are separate and distinct, and are scripturally designated the New Creation, and are spoken of not as children of Christ but as brethren, in one figure, and as his Bride and joint-heirs in another. But to the world, Christ, the Head, and the Church, his body, will be the everlasting Father, the Father or Life-giver, through whom all who will may have everlasting life – life to all eternity by Jehovah's arrangement.

Another of his titles shall be the Prince of Peace. While his Kingdom will be introduced by the great time of trouble such as never was before, the trouble will not be of his producing. It will be the legitimate result of the wrong course of sin and selfishness fostered by the great oppressor, Satan. The Prince of Peace will put down, subdue, all enemies, all sin, all unrighteousness, all insubordination to the divine will. He will not fail nor be discouraged. Nothing shall hinder the accomplishment of this great mission entrusted to him by the Father. His love of peace shall not hinder him from dashing the nations to pieces as a potter's vessel, that righteousness may be established upon a firm and sure foundation.

"UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID."

The word David signifies beloved, and the kingdom entrusted to king David was God's Kingdom in a typical form, which was promised never to pass away. It was maintained by the Lord down to the time of Zedekiah, when we are told the crown and diadem of authority and power were removed to be overturned, overturned until he should come whose right it is. (Ezek. 21:27.) Our Lord in the flesh, as a descendant of David, was the legitimate heir to that crown of authority and dominion, that Kingdom of David which should have no end; but instead of establishing his Kingdom then, he declared, "My Kingdom is not of this world," not of this age, not of this present dispensation, and began the selection of the little flock who in the world to come or age to come will be his joint-heirs and associates in the Millennial Kingdom. This work of selecting the Church, the kings, rulers, princes, has since been in progress, and we have the assurance of the Lord's Word and character that it will reach a final and glorious consummation worthy of our God.

When Christ and the Church in glory shall reign over the earth, it will thus be the continuation or exaltation of the Kingdom of God which was begun in David and natural Israel. This greater David, this greater beloved one of the Father, full of grace and truth, will establish righteousness in the earth with judgment – with punishments for wrong-doing and rewards for right-doing. "The zeal of Jehovah of hosts shall perform this." Although the Millennial Kingdom will be under the direct supervision of our glorious Lord and his associated Church, yet behind will be the Father's power, communicated, delegated, granted. As the Apostle assures us, when it is said that all things will be put under subjection to Christ, it is manifest that Jehovah is excepted, for he it is that puts all things under him. Then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all. – 1 Cor. 15:27,28.

Immanuel's government, from the time of its beginning to the time it will be transferred to the Father, will be one continuous success; there will be no breaks or vicissitudes. "Of the increase of his government there will be no end." The discipline and order which he will establish will be on such a firm basis that day by day will see it more secure, until finally the consummation having been reached, the testings all being complete, the wilfully incorrigible having been destroyed, the dominion without ending will be passed to the Father. It was the Father's Kingdom from the time of David; it will be the Father's Kingdom under the control of Messiah during the period of subjugation and restitution, the Millennial age; and it will be the Father's Kingdom without end after it shall have been "delivered up to God, even the Father," and the assurance given is that the work of reconstruction will be so thoroughly carried out that never again will sin bring a curse upon the earth.

CALL HIS NAME JESUS.

Our Golden Text sums up the entire work of our Lord Jesus and indicates that it is all implied in the meaning of the name Jesus, Savior. We sometimes refer to our Lord as the Savior of sinners, and properly so, because we are all sinners through our share in the Adamic fall. We sometimes speak of him as the Savior of the world, and properly so, because the whole world was lost through Adam's disobedience, and the whole world was redeemed and is to have the glorious opportunity of reconciliation to the Father through their Redeemer. But it is also appropriate that we note the statement of this text, "He shall save his people from their sins." This statement, that only the Lord's people are to be saved from their sins, is in full agreement with the other statements that he is the Savior of sinners and the Savior of the world, because although his salvation must extend to and embrace every member of Adam's race, yet only those who when they know of the great salvation and of the opportunities accorded them accept the same and become his people – only they shall get the full salvation and be delivered completely from death, and attain to the life everlasting, which is the gift of God to all those who obey him, and to no others. page 383

Let us each, while rejoicing in the glorious prospects of the world in the Millennial Kingdom time, and while hoping for a share in the Kingdom itself as our Master's joint-heirs, remember that we are still in the flesh and must still fight a good fight, war a good warfare against sin in its every form and particularly against its reign in our own flesh. We will never conquer completely every weakness and every imperfection of the flesh, and hence our hope for which we wait is our change to the new bodies which shall be ours as inheritors of the Lord's resurrection blessing. But meantime, in order to be accepted of the Father, in order to be acceptable with our Master and Lord and Redeemer, our hearts at least must show full loyalty to the principles of his righteousness and corresponding opposition to sin in its every form.