page 193
July 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.JULY 1, 1905.No. 13
CONTENTS.
Views from the Watch Tower 195
Rev. E. L. Eaton, D.D., on the Church of Today 195
The Westminster Confession – Will our Presbyterian Friends Repudiate It? 196
Berean Bible Study for July – "Patience" 196
Make Sure of Winning in God's Election 197
Ignorance Respecting God's Election 198
Other Scripture References to Election 199
A Good Man's Prayer Answered 200
Hezekiah's Fear of Death 202
Hezekiah's Praise for Deliverance 203
The World's Redeemer Pictured 204
"By His Stripes We are Healed" 205
The Chattanooga Convention 207

'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 194

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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GENERAL CONVENTION, NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. JULY 8-11

The RAILROADS of the New England, Trunk Lines, Central, Western and South-Western Associations, the C.P.R. and G.T.R. in Ontario, and the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. will sell tickets to this Convention at ONE FARE AND ONE-THIRD, plus 25 cents, on the "Certificate Plan." You purchase a regular single-fare ticket to Niagara Falls, N.Y., telling your ticket-agent at the time that you are going to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY'S CONVENTION, that you desire a Certificate, and which will entitle you to purchase a return ticket at ONE-THIRD a regular fare. Hold on to that certificate, as without it you would be charged full fare when buying your return ticket. The Certificates will need to be signed, but we will publicly announce at the Convention the name of the brother who will attend to the matter for you and save you all trouble.

ACCOMMODATIONS should be secured in advance to avoid confusion and trouble to yourself and the Entertainment Committee. Therefore, if you will attend, write at once, saying BRIEFLY (a) how many will be of your party; (b) how many of each sex; (c) if colored, so state; (d) married couples desirous of rooming together should so state. AS TO RATES. – Arrangements can be made for accommodations in boarding houses at $1 to $1.25 per day and at hotels at $1.50 per day up. These rates include meals.

Do not write on this subject AT LENGTH. Tell us about things at the Convention. Give the information briefly and to the point. A postal card will do. Address the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, 612 Arch St., Allegheny, Pa.

OTHER EXCURSIONS

From many points there are other Special Excursions run every summer to Niagara Falls. Some of these are at extremely low rates. It will be well for each to inquire of the railway ticket agents of his own city on this subject, and to select the excursion that will suit his convenience best. But take our own Excursion mentioned above unless you can do BETTER.

GET READY PROPERLY

Prepare your heart for a blessing. Come to the Convention in the proper spirit – as a disciple, a learner. Come intent also on doing good as well as getting good, of consoling and encouraging others, as well as to be yourself comforted. Above all, come realizing that the Lord himself is the fountain of blessings, and remembering his word – not by might, nor by power, but by the Lord's Spirit are we to expect the blessings we hope for. In making ready and en route do not forget this important item, for on it your share in the Convention's blessing greatly depends.

THE VOLUNTEER LITERATURE

This year's "ammunition," consisting of four short tracts folded together as one, seems to please all. We advise that it be not divided up, but given out as you receive it. On the other hand we find that some dear friends give out too many tracts, etc., at once. They get from us all the various kinds and make up packages of one each and give them thus to their friends. This is a mistake. We send freely what you request, but with the understanding that you will select for your friends the most suitable to their conditions. It is a mistake to send such bundles of tracts. The person who might read one tract is likely to discard all if he receives a bundle. Use plenty of tracts, but use them wisely. Ten tracts sent separately at intervals are apt to do a thousand times as much good as those sent all at once.

[R3583 : page 195]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
REV. E. L. EATON, D.D., ON THE CHURCH OF TODAY

WE feel a keen interest in Dr. Eaton, with whom, it will be remembered, we had a friendly debate about two years ago. We keep hoping to note some influence from our Scriptural arguments showing that not the reformation and conversion of the world is the Lord's program for this Gospel age, but rather the selection or election of a "little flock," the Church, the Royal Priesthood, through whom under Jesus their High Priest all the world shall be mentally, morally and physically assisted out of present degradation and death conditions to life-everlasting privileges.

We see little sign that Dr. Eaton has fully accepted our position, but in a recent sermon he seemed to have a clear view of the nominal church, as separate and distinct from the true Church composed only of "the few precious and godly men and women that can be found in all churches," so that we may not yet abandon hope for a further opening of the eyes of his understanding. He certainly cannot hope that the nominal mass of "Christendom" can ever "save the world" to any higher standard than its own. Yet here are his own words describing Churchianity, exactly reproduced: –

"What is the exact state of the Church? I do not mean North Avenue church. I do not mean the few precious and godly men and women that can be found in all churches. I mean the entire Christian establishment in these United States. What is its condition to-day? From what I have seen during the last dozen years, and from what I constantly read, I am persuaded that the Church, with all its wealth and culture and prestige, is not leading the procession. It is not advancing as fast as our population is advancing. It is in a state of moral dearth, a spiritual dry-rot prevails all too generally. It is not winning the unsaved in great numbers. It has not seen a sweeping revival in thirty years. Its ministry – probably more than half of them – are willing to admit that the days of revivals are past, and that our only hope now is to try to save the children; that there is not power enough in the Church, the preaching, nor in the Gospel to save a grown-up sinner any more. We are not looking for great and all-inundating revivals as of yore.

"The Church has generally become a social club, so nice and respectable and so fine that the poor do not feel at home in it, and the working men have turned their backs upon it almost from one end of the country to the other. And, next to the quarter of a million of America's licensed saloons, the saddest fact in America to-day is the alienation of the poor and the laboring classes from the Church! The climax of the catalogue of Gospel blessings which our Lord sent to John the Baptist in prison to comfort his sore heart was "To the poor the Gospel is preached!" But the Church is not reaching the poor, nor the rich in great numbers, not the submerged one-tenth, nor the criminals, nor the fast young men and women that swarm in saloons and club rooms, crowding them to suffocation these Sunday afternoons and nights. [R3584 : page 195]

"But this state of things does not greatly disturb the Church. The majority of it is satisfied, apathetic, indifferent. It has not moral earnestness nor spiritual vim enough to attend Church, if at all, but once a day on Sunday, and prayer-meetings never. It has no testimony except a daily life that is exactly on the plane of the world. It has not fervency. It is cold. Its sentiments upon every question of morals is exactly the sentiment of the world about it. Its Bible is the daily newspapers. Its Sunday reading is the Sunday press. It is not looking for a revival. It does not want one. It don't enjoy that kind of entertainment. It prefers generally to spend its long winter evenings in the theatre. It prefers to see the half-dressed ballet dancers than to witness the wrestling of a lost soul at the altar of the Church. It prefers opera music to the song of Moses and the Lamb, and wants it brought into the Church on Sundays to crowd out the old fervent soul-stirring melodies that used to take our fathers and mothers by the hand and lead them up to the very gates of glory. That is the mental and moral state of the Church as it is represented by more than half of its members to-day. Revivals! The last thing on earth that it is thinking of, looking for, or desiring.

"But this is not all. The Church has not seriously attacked a moral reform in forty years! The social evil is spreading beyond anything ever before known. The Lord's day is desecrated until in some parts of the country it is entirely wiped out. Civic crime and municipal corruption are engulfing our cities, until every great city in this country is a cess-pool of political rottenness and crime. And the increase of saloons, drink and drunkenness for the past thirty years is appalling and phenomenal. Yet with all this, the Church utterly disclaims any responsibility, and is either indifferent or utterly unwilling to raise a protesting voice, or even to vote against it. Probably not five per cent. of the voting church will register its protest on next Tuesday against the saloon, which is the center, source, inspiration and procuring cause of seven-eighths of all this moral devastation and retrogression. The Church of Jesus Christ must wake up and [R3584 : page 196] attack these problems and lift this country out of the stark heathenism toward which we are fast drifting, as the early Church lifted the old Roman civilization out of its social wickedness and its national sins, or we are gone without hope and without remedy."

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION – WILL OUR PRESBYTERIAN FRIENDS REPUDIATE IT?

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, which met a few weeks ago at Winona Lake, Ind., discussed the overtures made by the presbytery of Nassau, L.I., to drop the Westminster confession of faith and substitute therefor the brief statement of the reformed faith. Between the conservatives and radicals there occurred a very lively discussion.

This was recently adopted by the General Assembly as a brief statement, but not as a creed of the Church, the old confession, known as the Westminster confession, which contains many doctrines that have caused sharp controversies between clergymen, being retained.

PLEADS FOR REFORM

The Rev. Dr. Samuel T. Carter, New York City, last September sent an open letter to the presbytery at Nassau which attracted wide attention. He assailed certain doctrines "received by the Church, but not generally believed." The reading of the letter at the Presbyterian meeting at Oyster Bay precipitated a discussion over the statements it contained.

The controversy continued until the next meeting, held in December. It was believed that Dr. Carter might be tried for heresy, but after appearing before the presbytery at Nassau and making an eloquent appeal for the truth and the dropping of misstatements, however, time honored, he triumphed in that instead of trying him for heresy the presbytery voted to make overtures to the General Assembly to drop the Westminster confession.

DR. CARTER'S STATEMENT

A statement has been given out by Dr. Carter, in which he says:

"The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church meets in the month of May. The presbytery of Nassau asks it to take the necessary steps towards dropping the Westminster confession and adopting the brief statement of the reformed faith, the simple and kindlier creed which has already been indorsed by the Church.

"The General Assembly can reject the petition more or less courteously. But can it afford to do so? It is important to rid the Church of bad creed, but still more important to dispel from the minds of men the gloomy ideas of religion which go with the old creeds and most of all the dreadful dogma of endless torment which has caused such intense suffering.

CONDEMNS BEFORE BIRTH

"The secular press has thus far treated the matter so courteously and sympathetically that I feel it to be a privilege to present my appeal before the public through it. The Westminster confession presents for the worship and allegiance of man a God who, according to the good pleasure of his will, has assigned millions of the human race to endless torment before they were born or had done good or ill.

"Of this number a large proportion died in infancy and committed no personal transgression. The whole heathen world formed another large company. By the teachings of the confession Homer and Virgil, Plato and Socrates, Cato and Antonius, Confucius and Gautama are at this moment roasting in the literal flames of hell fire and shall so burn forever and ever.

"Has the Presbyterian Church the face to make this declaration to men in this generation? The Westminster confession, in fact, says that God is a monster; modern theology says he is not. In this sentence lies the whole gist of the confession.

REJECTS GOD OF CONFESSION

"Every fibre of my moral being rises up against this God who dishonors theology; with the utmost fervor in my soul I reject this God of the confession, and as fully as I reject this God, so gladly do I receive the God of the gospel, Jesus Christ.

"The father in the great parable, who runs forth to meet his wretched, but repenting son, falls upon his neck and kisses him. Sham theology is sure to make sham religion, and sham religion is sure to lead to the horrors of the Roman empire and the French revolution, to the eruption of the human volcano.

"It has been well said, 'Repelled light becomes lightning.' Of such a state of affairs as this, Martineau sadly says: 'Will not bad creed, then, be got rid of? Not a bit; and year after year thousands of clergymen will solemnly profess before tens of thousands of assenting people a creed which is false to the heart of them all.'

"This is what they are doing in the Presbyterian Church to-day. The General Assembly will do nothing so good as to make an end of it. It is more seriously important than sending missionaries to China. There is no use of sending truth abroad if we live a lie at home."

[R3584 : page 196]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR JULY.
– (SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES) –
PATIENCE

1. What is the importance of Patience as an element of Christian character? Jas. 1:4; Z.'02-308 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'02-247, (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'01-119 (2nd col. par. 2).

2. What is the common significance of this word? See Webster's Dictionary; also Z.'01-115 (1st col. par. 2).

3. What is the deeper significance of this word as used in Scripture, especially in Rev. 3:10 and Luke 8:15? Z.'01-115 (1st and 2nd cols.)

4. Why is "patient-endurance" so necessary? Z.'01-116 (2nd col. par. 1,2).

5. What is the relation between patient-endurance and self-control? 2 Pet. 1:6; Z.'96-222 (1st col. par. 1).

6. How should we endure our trials and thus "possess our souls"? Luke 21:19; Z.'01-116 (1st col. par. 2,3).

7. What is the relation between faith and patient-endurance? Jas. 1:3; Z.'01-117 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.'03-361 (1st col. par. 3) Z.'03-362 (2nd col. par. 2).

8. Why should we "glory in tribulation"? Rom. 5:3; Z.'00-364 (2nd col. par. 1,2); Z.'02-380 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'03-439 (2nd col. par. 1,2).

9. What particular thoughts constantly kept in mind will enable us to be "patient in tribulation"? Rom. 12:12; Z.'97-265 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.'98-41 (1st col. par. 1,2); F.632, (par. 2) to 634, (par. 2).

10. Does faithfulness to our covenant of self-sacrifice demand patience? Z.'03-408 (1st col. par. 3).

11. How should we meet persecution and opposition? 1 Pet. 2:20-23; Z.'03-164 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'96-83 (2nd col. par. 2).

12. How can we be "patient toward all"? 1 Thess. 5:14; Z.'03-24, (1st col. par. 2); F.306,307.

13. Why is there special need of patience in the Harvest of the Gospel age? Z.'97-148 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'01-119 (1st and 2nd cols.)

14. Is it possible to pervert the grace of patience? Eph. 5:11; Z.'97-148 (1st col. par. 1). [R3585 : page 197]

15. Why does the Apostle rank patient-endurance above even Love? Titus 2:2; 2 Tim. 3:10; Z.'00-332 (1st and 2nd cols.); Z.'01-116 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.'01-117 (1st col. par. 2,3).

16. What is the relation between patience and "enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ"? 1 Pet. 5:10; Z.'95-202 (2nd col. par. 1).

17. How are we to run the race for "the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus"? Heb. 12:1; 6:12; Z.'01-117 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.'03-54 (1st col. par. 4).

18. Why is patient-endurance the final test? Heb. 10:36; C212, par. 1; Z.'01-115 (2nd col. par. 1); 116 (1st col. par. 1); 117 (2nd col. par. 1).

19. How is God's promise to those who "keep the word of his patience" now fulfilled? Rev. 3:10; Z.'01-118 (1st and 2nd cols.)

20. What lessons do we learn from Jesus' example of patience? Heb. 12:3; Z.'98-160 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.'01-298 (1st col. par. 1,2); Z.'00-119 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'05-120 (1st col. par. 3).

21. What other notable examples of patience are recorded in Scripture? Jas. 5:10,11; 2 Cor. 6:4-10; 2 Cor. 12:12.

22. Is patience an essential quality in an Elder? 1 Tim. 3:3; F.251, par. 2; F.298, par. 1,2.

23. How can we cultivate patient-endurance?

a. By prayer, Z.'96-163 (1st and 2nd cols.)
b. By growing in knowledge, Z.'03-24 (1st col. par. 2).
c. By increasing our faith, Z.'03-361 (1st col. par. 3).
d. By recognizing the time-element in God's plans. Z.'97-147 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.'01-118 (2nd col. par. 2).

24. What additional thoughts are suggested by reference to the Topical Indexes of "Heavenly Manna" and the "Watch Tower Bible"?

[R3585 : page 197]

MAKE SURE OF WINNING IN GOD'S ELECTION.

"Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." – 2 Pet. 1:10.

I
NTEREST in the recent election of a President of the United States has been general throughout the whole world, and especially amongst English-speaking peoples: in fact, the exercise of the franchise by the public, whenever and wherever, is generally a matter of absorbing interest to "the children of this world" – whether the office be a high one, as that of President of the United States, or Member of Congress, or Member of Parliament, or whether it be a lower one, for some petty office of ward magistrate or constable. The candidates for these offices and their friends, in proportion to the dignity of the office, do not hesitate to spend money for printing, brass bands, banners, flags, banquets, traveling speakers, etc. And this is looked upon as thoroughly reasonable, and engaged in by the reputedly more intelligent and sane of all nations. But there is another election in progress – an election of a hundred and forty-four thousand to a higher position than that of any earthly magistrate or potentate; and for not a few years merely, for the elect are promised this highest of all honors for all eternity.

Does the world know about this election? We answer, No. True, many have heard something about an election – that God is "taking out of the nations a people for his name," a "little flock," who, as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, will be given the Kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him, – the Kingdom for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." But though they have heard of this Kingdom and the election now in progress, to make up the foreordained number of its kings and priests, they do not really believe it, but regard it as a fantasy, "as a tale that is told," a fairy story, which none but the simple-minded and children would take seriously. Ah, yes! and so the Redeemer-King informed us it would be; and so he prayed to the Father, saying, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." – Matt. 11:25,26.

If the wise and prudent, the keen and the shrewd, the learned and the great, really comprehended the situation, – if they really believed in this election which is in progress under divine direction, according to the divine Word, what haste there would be amongst them to "make their calling and election sure," as the Apostle exhorts. It is not that people are not appreciative of such honors and dignities of power and influence as this Kingdom offers, that they pass by God's election and treat it with indifference; for their love of power, their love of influence, their love of position and prestige, is abundantly in evidence in connection, not only with the governments of this world, but also in connection with even the trifling offices in the nominal churches. The spirit of "Which shall be greatest?" has apparently not died out.

But while those who seek for earthly offices of a brief tenure and comparatively small dignity are willing to sacrifice time, energy, money, etc., to attain these petty offices and honors, and while they can arouse enthusiasm among their friends and neighbors, leading to the expenditure of time, money and energy to an astounding degree, and though they think it strange that we "run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of us" (1 Pet. 4:4), nevertheless, they affect to think it remarkable that we who are candidates for the superlatively high office for which God has nominated us should spend time, influence and means in making our calling and election sure, and in assisting "brethren" in their election work; they consider our time wasted. Although they spend millions of dollars in speeches, brass bands, editorials, parades, etc., to determine which of two men should hold the most honorable office of this nation for four years, they consider it remarkably strange that we should spend a fragment of the amount or make the one-thousandth part of the commotion to secure for ourselves and to all of the "elect" the great "prize of our high calling."

DIFFERENT STANDPOINT – DIFFERENT VIEW

All this only illustrates the two very different standpoints from which matters may be viewed. From the world's standpoint the Lord's consecrated people who seek to make their calling and election sure to the heavenly Kingdom are counted fools, because to [R3585 : page 198] attain that they are willing to sacrifice present temporal interests; and this sentiment of the public is the same today that it was in the Apostle's time, when he wrote, "If any man among you seemeth to be wise, in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise." (1 Cor. 3:18; 4:10.) From our standpoint, seeing the eternal things and the glories attaching to them, we cannot avoid the feeling that it is "the children of this world" who are foolish, in that they expend so much breath and energy upon things which, if attained, last but a short time, and bring with them large measures of perplexity and trouble and criticism of opponents to their election: and sometimes untellable injury to themselves, the ruled.

But why this difference of opinion? Which party is sane, and which is lacking in sanity? We answer, that the difference is that the one class sees what the other class does not see, and that because God has specially revealed it unto the one. As it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man [the natural man, unilluminated by the holy Spirit] the things which God hath in reservation for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit,...which searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." – 1 Cor. 2:9,10.

The fact, then, is that the Lord's consecrated people, through faith and by God's holy Spirit, have inside information respecting "the things not seen as yet." Hence we see that the two parties – the one seeking earthly honors and advantages, for themselves and each other, the other seeking the heavenly advantages, or election, for themselves and each other – are both laboring for what they see, for what they consider to be the most valuable thing they see and may attain. O, how precious, then, is the eye of faith, which the Lord's consecrated people have! No wonder our Lord said to some of his disciples, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear." Other eyes do not see and other ears do not hear these heavenly things. And in that sense of the word comparatively few even in civilized lands have been called or nominated of the Lord for his election – comparatively few know anything about it or the terms which must be understood and obeyed in order to make the calling and election sure.

IGNORANCE RESPECTING GOD'S ELECTION

Even amongst professing Protestant Christians the majority do not know that there is an election. The leading denomination, Methodists, positively deny that there is an election; and even the large denominations which hold that an election is in progress (Presbyterians and Baptists, etc.) have totally false conceptions of its character. They regard God's call or nomination as being the election itself, and hence the words of the Apostle in our text confuse rather than help them. They think of the matter from the standpoint of divine foreknowledge and predestination; they consider the election as something done by the Almighty wholly regardless of the character and works of the elect, saying in their Confessions of Faith that it takes place without consideration of any worthiness or merit on the part of the elect, but solely of divine grace. They thus make void the Word of God [R3586 : page 198] and the election inducements which it holds out – confusing their own minds, and in the end traducing the character of the divine ruler and his law.

Would that they could see what is so plainly set forth in the divine Word, viz.: (1) That the predestination on God's part was that he would choose a Church, – from amongst those whom his grace would redeem from the curse of death through the precious blood of Christ. (2) That he predestinated that this Church should be of a fixed, positive, limited number; – we believe literally 144,000 – of whom the nucleus was found in the remnant of Israel which accepted of Christ at and after Pentecost – the number being constantly added to throughout the Gospel age, and to be fully completed with the end of this age. (3) That he predestinated what must be the fixed character of each one whom he would recognize as a member of this elect Church, the body of Christ – as the Apostle says, he "predestinated that we should be conformed to the likeness of his Son." (Rom. 8:29.) Consequently the predestination meant that none could be of the elect Kingdom class (however plainly they heard the call or nomination) unless they made their calling and election sure by cultivating the graces of the Spirit and thus coming into heart-likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ – copies of him who set us an example, that we should walk in his steps. – 1 Pet. 2:21.

Here we have an election which accords with every definition of the Scriptures and the Scriptural facts relating to the divine plan of the ages. It is this election which we feel justified in securing at any cost, at any self-denial, at any self-sacrifice; and these self-denials and self-sacrifices are works which must be performed if we would be of the elect; as the Apostle says, we must "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12; Jas. 2:22.) Yet these works are not ours (as men) but as "new creatures," members of the body of Christ. And they are God's works, in the sense that they are incited by his Word and Spirit, for "it is God that worketh in you to will and to do." – Phil. 2:13; Eph. 3:20.

Let us not be misunderstood, however. Our justification, the basis of our call or nomination to this high position in the Kingdom was secured, not by works, but by simple faith without works. We were justified by faith, and had peace with God, before it was possible for us to do any works which would be acceptable in his sight. But when we were accepted in the Beloved, having made full consecration of our mortal bodies, and every interest pertaining thereto, then the works began, the sacrificing began, the self-denials began, the overcoming of the world began, the battle with the world, the flesh and the devil began. This battle must be won in our hearts (even though we will not attain perfection in the flesh) else we will not make our election sure and receive the crown of glory, the symbol of our joint-heirship with him who bought us with his own precious blood.

So, then, we see (a) that only those who have heard something at least of the grace of God in Christ have been in the remotest sense in contact with the privileges of this election – because "faith cometh by hearing." And (b) faith, the result of hearing, rightly received, brings justification from the sins that are past, and peace with God. And (c) only those who are at peace with God (being justified by faith) are [R3586 : page 199] called to joint-heirship with Christ in his sacrifice, walking in his footsteps and thus attaining to joint-heirship with him in his Kingdom. And (d) only those thus called or nominated by God have the remotest opportunity of becoming the elect. And then mark, (e) the Lord's own declaration, "Many are called; few are chosen [elected – from the same Greek word]." – Matt. 22:14.

Let us not only assure ourselves of the fact that there is an elect class being selected during the Gospel age, to a special position of honor and service with the Lord, but let us at the same time note the lessons enjoined upon this class of called or nominated ones – the instructions given them of the Lord whereby they may make their calling and election sure.

OTHER SCRIPTURE REFERENCES TO THE ELECT

"I endure all things for the elect's sake," writes the Apostle Paul. (2 Tim. 2:10.) The Apostle's sufferings whereby, as he said, he sought to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ [were] for his body's sake, which is the Church" (Col. 1:24) – not for the world. The reason for this is evident: The Apostle knew the Lord's plan to be to call and to elect during this Gospel age a little flock of overcomers of the world, faithful even unto death, as a Royal Priesthood, to share with the Lord Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom. He knew, therefore, that labor on behalf of the world before the world's day of trial or judgment would come, would be to a large extent at least love's labor lost; and hence he was not of those who would "beat the air" in the service of the Lord, accomplishing nothing; he would work according to the divine direction and thus be a co-worker together with God, that in due time as a member of the elect company, faithful to the Lord's call, he would be granted a share in the Kingdom which is to bless all the families of the earth.

ELECTION ACCORDING TO GRACE

"Even so, at this present time there is an election according to grace....Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded." (Rom. 11:5,7.) Here the Apostle is speaking of this same elect Church, and is referring to the Jewish remnant out of all the tribes with which this elect Church was started, and to which, after Israel's national rejection of the Lord, the special invitation went forth to the Gentiles, to "take out of them a people for his name [to bear the name of Christ]" to complete the predestinated number of the elect 144,000 (twelve thousand accredited to each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Thus we who are being called from amongst the Gentiles are invited to fill up the deficiency in the elect number of Israel, and will be, so to speak, divided amongst the twelve tribes, tho according to what rule of distinction the Scriptures do not show.

GOD'S ELECT, HOLY AND BELOVED

"Put on, therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another." (Col. 3:12,13.) Here we have an intimation of the character-likeness to God's dear Son which the same writer tells us God has predestinated respecting everyone who will make his calling and election sure. – Rom. 8:29.

God has called us with his high calling, and from the time we accept the call and make requisite full consecration of ourselves to him he gives us the earnest of our inheritance, viz., the spirit of adoption, the spirit of sonship: it remains, however, for us to be tested, – to prove the depth of our consecration, the sincerity of our professed love. If we love the Lord with all our hearts we will seek to do these things which are pleasing to him, and these the Apostle is specifying in this Scripture, showing us that God's requirements are all in harmony with his holy spirit of love; that "Love is the fulfilling of the Law," and that we must attain to this condition of perfect love in our hearts if we desire to finish our course with joy, and make our calling and election sure – making sure a share in the inheritance to the spiritual body and the Kingdom glories of which our spirit of begetting is but the earnest or foretaste.

THE FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT

"Paul, a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect." (Titus 1:1.) Here the Apostle not only reiterates that there is an elect class, but he specifically points out that this class has a special faith, a peculiar faith, that is not shared by others, neither can others know it, for "it is spiritually discerned." – 1 Cor. 2:14.

AVENGE HIS OWN ELECT

Shall not God avenge his own elect, tho they cry day and night unto him?" (Luke 18:7.) Here our Lord himself testifies respecting this elect class. He gave a parable of an unjust judge, who, tho careless respecting the doing of justice to a poor widow, nevertheless was so careful of his own convenience that he would give her justice, lest by her continual coming she would annoy him. And our Lord's inquiry is, if an unjust judge would thus render justice from a selfish motive, could we expect less from the all-wise, all-loving and all-just Heavenly Father? Verily, God shall avenge the cause of his elect, altho he has permitted them to be maligned, slandered, misrepresented, for over eighteen centuries; the time will come when he will give them justice, when he will exalt them; and when those who have wilfully and maliciously injured them shall certainly be punished – in the great time of retribution in which every such evil deed of mankind shall be rendered a recompense, and every good deed receive its reward – in the Millennial day.

GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT

"He shall send forth his angels [messengers] and shall gather together his elect from the four winds of heaven." (Matt. 24:31.) Here our Lord not only testifies to the fact that there is an elect class, but he assures us that he himself will gather this elect class in due time; in the end of this age when he is ready to establish his Kingdom, in which, as the overcomers, the elect of God, they will be joint heirs and sharers, as in the present life they have been sharers in the sufferings of Christ. – Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; Matt. 13:43.

FOR THE ELECT'S SAKE
Those days shall be shortened." (Matt. 24:22.) Our Lord here refers to the great time of trouble [R3587 : page 200] with which this age shall end, "the day of vengeance," the time of retribution, the day of avenging his elect; and he assures us that the trouble then coming upon the world, and which will largely, we see, be brought about by the world's own course, would, if not interrupted by the Kingdom and its intervention with power from on high, mean the utter obliteration of the race at the hand of its own selfishness. But for the elect's sake those days should be shortened, and the time of trouble will not be permitted to run the length which otherwise it would run. As at first, "He shall speak to them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure," so afterward he shall not permit their utter destruction: his Kingdom will stay the trouble, for "He shall speak peace to the heathen [peoples];" he shall say unto them, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth." – Psa. 46:10.
THE ELECT ARE UNCONDEMNED

"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" (Rom. 8:33.) The Apostle is here pointing out that altho this called class accepted of God to be his elect, and to run with patience the race set before them, and make their calling and election sure, have weaknesses of the flesh, in the overcoming of which they, as new creatures, are not always wholly successful, nevertheless, God looks upon the heart, and their judgment is not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit, the will. Lest such should fear failure after all, he points out that in the great heavenly court there would be none to condemn them; – because God the judge who once condemned us in Adam has himself justified us in Christ, – accepting on behalf of the Adamic sin and the resultant weaknesses the sacrifice of Christ. He then points out that Satan, our Adversary, will have no hearing before the heavenly Court, and that there will be none to appear against us, and that on the contrary our Lord and Master, who redeemed us with his precious blood, will be our Advocate. Who then could lay anything to the charge of God's elect? – those whom God has justified, whom God has called, whom God has accepted, and who, according to the divine arrangement, make their calling and election sure. Who would they be who could find fault with these whom God accepts on his own terms? Surely none! "Yea, we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood!"

THE ELECT FOREKNOWN

"Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father...through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 1:2.) The Apostle here marks out the terms of our election; none can remain in this elect company, nor make his calling and election sure, without being under the sprinkling of the blood – justification through faith in the great sacrifice; nor can any attain it without sanctification, a setting apart to God; and such a sanctification as will lead to obedience to God – to the full submission of his will to the will of the Father in heaven.

Such must be the character of those who will be of the elect, and this class of which we are seeking to become members was predetermined, foreordained by God; it was not a new thing, but the carrying out of the original divine purpose, in which also our Lord Jesus shared. This the same Apostle shows (1 Pet. 2:4-6), declaring that our Lord Jesus himself was the elect of God, and that we who are now being chosen from amongst men to be "members of the body of Christ," members of the elect class, are chosen in him, chosen as members of his body, and as such must be conformed to the likeness of his character. He says: "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen [elect] of God and precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices* acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

*The word spiritual is omitted in this verse as spurious by old MSS. The flesh is sacrificed, not the new creature.

"Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious, and he that believeth in him shall not be confounded." (1 Pet. 2:6.) Thus the Church of Christ, the elect little flock, are now being shaped, fitted and prepared for positions in the Temple of God, of which the dear Redeemer himself is the chief cornerstone, the foundation.

"They that are with him are called and chosen [elect – the same word in the Greek] and faithful." (Rev. 17:14.) Here in symbol our Lord Jesus tells John, and us through him, of the glorious exaltation of the elect in the Kingdom, when they shall be with him and share his glory as the Apostle declares, and with him judge the world; – granting trial, with gracious opportunities to every member of Adam's race to return to full harmony with God through the merit and by the assistance of him who redeemed the race.

GOD DELIGHTS IN HIS ELECT

"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him. He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." "I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob and out of Judah, an inheritor of my mountain: and mine elect shall inherit it." "They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall make them continue long." – Isa. 42:1; 65:9,22, margin.

Here our Lord Jesus, the Head, and the Church, "members in particular of the body of Christ," are unitedly declared to be God's elect, in whom he is well pleased. The Father was well pleased in the Son, who came not to do his own will but the will of him that sent him, and by his obedience won all the gracious things promised under the Law Covenant, and redeemed Adam and his race; and the Father is well pleased also in us, whom, tho "we were children of wrath even as others," he has accepted in Christ, justified and sanctified by his Word and spirit, and who, if we abide in Christ, faithful unto death, will be fitted and prepared for his promised Kingdom.

In these statements of the Prophet reference evidently is made to the work of the Lord's anointed (Head and Body) in conferring restitution blessings upon the world of mankind during the Millennial age; and this in full accord with all the New Testament declarations respecting the work of the elect. [R3587 : page 201]

STRIVE FOR YOUR ELECTION

"Brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure." This our text is one of the most forceful of the many references to God's elect, and is particularly clear in marking out the conditions upon which election may be surely attained by each one whom the Lord our God shall call or nominate to this grand office – the Royal Priesthood. The Apostle has been mentioning the various graces of the Lord's spirit which those who are seeking to be of his royal and priestly class must develop in their characters. He shows us that there is more or less of an addition in the matter: we put on one grace and add to it another, and to that another, and so on; and do this repeatedly in respect to all the graces, which keep growing, developing in us and rounding out and deepening and broadening us as spiritual new creatures. And he shows that those who do not have such experiences of growth in grace and in knowledge are deficient, and cannot hope to make their calling and election sure.

But seeming to understand that some would question the possibility of their gaining so great a prize, the holy Spirit, through the Apostle, gives to this called and chosen class a word of special encouragement, saying, "For if ye do these things ye shall never fall." There may be more or less stumbling on the part of the elect, not through weakness of the spirit, the heart, the new mind, but "through manifold temptations" of the flesh, the earthen vessel, in which temporarily resides the new creature, begotten of the spirit, the elect.

The Apostle proceeds to give further assurances, saying, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The elect will not be received of the Lord with chidings and upbraidings for the imperfections of the flesh, which were unwillingly theirs, but on the contrary all the weaknesses of the flesh will be ignored, and the intents of the heart alone will be judged, and the heart-character formed will alone be tested and approved; and this will determine whether or not we shall stand the Lord's approval and be granted the glorious things which he has promised to them that love him – "glory, honor and immortality" and a share in the Kingdom and its work of blessing.

THE ELECTION HOPE PURIFYING

"He that hath this [election] hope in him purifieth himself even as he [the Lord] is pure." But how is it with those who have not this hope, and who are totally ignorant of this election, – even though they be Christians, in the sense of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Redeemer? Surely they are at a great disadvantage, lacking as they do the proper conception of the exceeding great and precious promises which are the channel of the power of God working in the elect both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

If we have seen that there is an elect class, it follows that there must be a non-elect class – those who are not making their calling and election sure, and it is proper in this connection that we see something respecting this class, and what provision God has made for them. This phase of the subject is treated elsewhere.*

*See pamphlet, Hope for the Innumerable Non-elect, sample free, this office.

[R3588 : page 201]

A GOOD MAN'S PRAYER ANSWERED.
ISAIAH 38:1-8. – JULY 9. –

Golden Text: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." – Psa. 46:1.

H
EZEKIAH, known as the good king amongst King David's successors, took sick. A carbuncle or other malignant ulcer threatened his life, and the prophet Isaiah was sent to him by the Lord with the message, "Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die." There are some who are inclined to claim that all sickness is of the devil, that no good person could be sick, etc., but we find nothing in the Scriptures to this effect. We do indeed find that all sickness and all death are indirectly the results of Satan's work. It was his deception of our first parents in Eden that brought upon them the death penalty, with its adjuncts of sorrow and pain, all of which is continued in us their children. We are not to forget that some of the Lord's most earnest saints have been sick, and that thus it is written, "He whom thou lovest is sick," and again, "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."

Regarding the whole race as under the divine sentence of death, we realize that as a result of our sharing in this penalty some of us are debilitated in one particular and some in another. All are imperfect mentally, morally and physically, but these imperfections take different forms according to different circumstances, heredities, etc. We are, therefore, to consider sickness in general as operating along the lines of cause and effect rather than as direct inflictions either of God or of Satan. It is well, however, to keep in mind the fact that the Jews under their covenant were subjects of special divine protection to the extent that they lived in harmony with the Lord, just as the Spiritual Israelites of this Gospel age are under special divine protection and guidance, only that the promises and blessings to the natural Israelites were of the earthly, temporal kind, while the blessings and care promised to the Spiritual Israelites are in respect to their spiritual welfare, their heavenly interests, their spiritual health, etc.

"SET THINE HOUSE IN ORDER."

Assuming then that Hezekiah's sickness was neither of divine nor satanic inflictions (as in the case of Job), and assuming that it was the natural effect from some natural cause, we see Hezekiah sick unto death but not without hope of recovery up to the time he received the message from the Lord at the mouth of Isaiah, "Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die." By this evidently was meant, Make such preparations in respect to the interests of the kingdom, the disposition of your property, arrangements for your funeral and for your successor in the throne as would be proper. We may each stop here to draw a practical lesson in respect to our affairs. We are not kings, as Hezekiah was, but we have, nevertheless, stewardships great or small received [R3588 : page 202] from the Lord in respect to which we should be faithful. The message has come to every one of us that we shall die – every member of the body of Christ is consecrated to death – "Be ye faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." "Ye shall all die like men."

Realizing this, it is incumbent upon us as a part of our stewardship to order the affairs of our lives, our homes, our business or whatever we may have as a stewardship in such a manner as will redound to the Lord's praise and for the good of his cause. This is setting the house in order, straightening out all the affairs of life, so that those who take up the lines where we drop them will be able to do so properly, intelligently – so that whatever we have of the Lord's goods may be disposed of as we believe would be his will, so that our stewardship faithfully carried out through life may faithfully end in death. A great many of the Lord's dear people need counsel on this subject. Many die without having set their houses in order, without having arranged their affairs financially and otherwise as stewards of the Lord's goods.

HEZEKIAH'S FEAR OF DEATH.

Nothing in Hezekiah's conduct indicated that he had any fear that in dying he would pass into an eternity of torment. He had not so learned respecting the divine plan – neither the Law nor the prophets had given such an intimation. But, on the other hand, he did not exultingly cry, "O, now I shall soon be with God and the holy angels and know ten thousand times as much as I now know." He did not rejoice in the thought of death. On the contrary, he was sad and dejected, fearful, and pleaded with the Lord that he might continue to live. In all this he conducted himself in much the same way as other people do whose minds are not warped and twisted and tangled with false theologies – with the thought that if they were dead they would be more alive than they ever were when they were alive, etc.

Hezekiah on his sick bed turned his face to the wall, as though he would seek the more private communion with the Lord, and prayed, "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, that I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight." This is a brief summary or digest of his prayer, which was accompanied with sore weeping. It was not a boastful prayer, for he freely acknowledged his sins (v. 17.) He did claim, however, as all should be able to claim, that he walked before the Lord with a perfect heart, with a perfect will, with thoroughly good intentions; that there was no desire in his heart to go contrary to the divine will. The history of his times bears out all that King Hezekiah claimed for himself respecting his good reign as the Lord's representative in the throne. See 2 Kings 18:3-6; 2 Chron. 29:2; 31:20,21.

The Lord was merciful to Hezekiah, hearing and answering his prayer. Isaiah had not gotten out of the king's house on his homeward way until a message from the Lord came to him directing him to return to Hezekiah's sick chamber to tell him that the Lord had heard his prayer and seen his tears and had added to his life fifteen years, directing him through the prophet to the medicine, the poultice which would bring relief – a poultice of figs. There is a lesson here: not that we should never use remedial agencies in connection with our troubles and ailments, but that we should recognize as behind the remedial agents the will of the Lord. The fig poultice would not have brought relief in this case aside from the divine interposition of divine power, but on the other hand the divine power preferred to operate through the poultice of figs rather than without it. It is not for us to dictate to the Lord how our blessings should come, but to seek to learn from these and other illustrations he has given us what would probably be his will respecting us and our afflictions.

The question arises, Did God change his plan and arrangements because of Hezekiah's prayer, and does he do so whenever a prayer is answered? We reply that in certain matters it evidently is as easy for the Lord to arrange them one way as another without any interference with his general plans. To our understanding the Lord would have allowed Hezekiah to die if he had not prayed. In other words, the Lord merely informed the king of what would have been the natural consequence of his case, and informed him for the very purpose of giving him an opportunity to ask in faith for his recovery. Thus the Lord waited to be gracious to him.

ALL CASES NOT ALIKE.

We are not in this wishing to imply that Hezekiah's conduct and prayers should be a sample and a lesson to all of the Lord's people under similar circumstances, that when ourselves or our dear ones are ill we should make specific request for the prolongation of their lives and recovery from their illness. There is a difference between our condition and our relationship to the Lord and that of Hezekiah. Although the king was a good man he lived before the Gospel call began. He was, therefore, not one of the spirit-begotten ones, for the holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had not yet suffered and had not yet been glorified. (John 7:39; 1 Pet. 1:11.) Those who are the Lord's consecrated people now, the "saints," should realize that they have entered into a new special relationship to the Lord, different from that of other men; that the Lord has agreed with them that their surrender of earthly life and all their earthly interests shall bring to them instead special spiritual favors, privileges, safe guardings, etc.

From this standpoint it would be unwise to ask the Lord for earthly privileges and advantages of any kind, since this might work to their disadvantage as New Creatures. Rather they are to remember the words of our Lord, that all mankind are seeking after the earthly things, but that the Father knoweth the things we have need of before we ask him, without our asking him. The preferable attitude of heart for the Lord's consecrated people therefore is – O, Lord, thou knowest far better than I what would be for my highest welfare, my highest spiritual interest. Thou hast promised that all things shall work together for good to me because I am thine, because I have been called according to thy purpose. I entreat of thee give what is best in all of life's affairs and withhold whatever seems unto thee best – "Thy will be done." For the Lord's consecrated people to undertake to move Jehovah's arm in respect to their affairs would seem to be the taking of the rudder out of his hands – would seem to be more or less of self-will, which we have pledged to the Lord shall be dead that his will may be done in us.

The Lord granted Hezekiah a sign that he would recover and that he would live fifteen years. Elsewhere [R3589 : page 203] we learn (2 Kings 20:8) that Hezekiah requested the sign. This brings up the general question of the propriety of asking the Lord for signs. We find that the Lord gave Gideon a sign in answer to prayer – a choice of signs; and similarly in this case the Lord gave Hezekiah a choice of two signs, either that the shadow on the dial should advance ten degrees or that it should recede ten degrees. Hezekiah chose the latter as being the more difficult to be accounted for and therefore the surer test. On the other hand the Lord spoke disrespectfully of the Jews of his day saying, "This faithless generation seeketh after a sign," etc. The thought would seem to be that a sign may be desired for one of two reasons. Disbelief may ask a sign, thoroughly doubting the possibility of one; on the other hand true belief may ask one for confirmation of faith. The latter seems to have been the case with Gideon and also with Hezekiah. We recommend that the Lord's people of the New Creation avoid putting the Lord to tests and signs, for we remember that the Lord has called us to a special high calling, the test for which is faith, and that this is one reason why throughout this Gospel age he gives few if any outward signs, desiring his people to walk by faith and not by sight.

THE DIAL OF AHAZ.

Hezekiah's father, King Ahaz, had erected a stone dial, the latest design up to that time for measuring the hours of the day. It was formed of a succession of steps on two sides and a crest in the center, and was so oriented that the rising sun would so strike the top as to cast its shadow on the lowest step on the western side of the dial. As the sun rose higher and higher the shadow crept up and up, step by step, until at noonday there was no shadow, for the sun was directly overhead. In the afternoon, the sun having passed to the westward, the shadows would begin to lengthen out upon the eastward side of the monument or dial, covering gradually one side at a time until the last, each step representing approximately half an hour.

The turning back of the shadow ten degrees or ten steps on the dial would be a very noticeable matter, not only to the king, who looked for it, but to his entire household and to the people of Israel in general, who would be informed of the event, the king's business being very generally public property in such matters. It was a miracle probably very similar to that wrought in Joshua's day, when the sunlight was made to linger in the valley of Ajalon. We have no thought that God either stopped the earth on its axis or that he moved the sun backward in its course. In either of these cases the miracles as we may call them could be much easier performed, and we think that undoubtedly the Lord would take the easier way in any such matter. Prof. Garbett declares that he had a practical illustration of this miracle, and describes the modus operandi to the astronomer Richard A. Proctor, as follows: –

THE MIRACLE'S POSSIBLE PROCESS.

"The shiftings of the shadows on the dial that Isaiah predicted to sick Hezekiah are liable to occur at any time when these two circumstances concur: (1) that the upper atmosphere is in that condition which causes two bright parhelia or mock suns to appear on opposite sides of the sun; and (2) that the air contains drifting clouds, massive enough to hide often two of the three. When the real sun and the eastern mock sun are hidden, there is only the western to cast shadows, which then coincides with that the sun will cast an hour and a half later; but if the clouds shift so as to hide the west parhelion, and disclose the eastern, the shadows instantly become such as the sun casts an hour and a half earlier. The parhelia being always caused by rays refracted through two faces of equilateral triangular prisms or fibers of ice, their angular distance from the sun is always the minimum deviation that such a prism of ice produces on the brightest or yellow rays, which is very nearly a fourth of a right angle; so that if Hezekiah's dialers divided the quadrant into forty, than which no number is more likely, considering how constantly it recurs in the Hebrew laws and history (oftener, indeed, than any number above ten), the advance or recession of the shadow would have to be ten of these parts. On March 28, 1848, these effects occurred, had any one been looking, on every dial in the Isle of Portsea, and very probably of much of Hampshire besides. The parhelia were present and bright enough at about 11 a.m. and still better at 1 p.m."

The fact that the method of God's operations might be learned by us would not disprove them. For instance, some day we shall know just what process turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, but our knowledge of the process thus used by our Lord will not in any measure detract from the miracle which was certainly beyond human power – just as in the miracle now under consideration, all the laws of nature are subject to the God of all creation, and this is sufficient for the eye and ear and heart of faith.

HEZEKIAH'S PRAISE FOR DELIVERANCE.

On his recovery from his illness Hezekiah wrote a poem of thanksgiving, praising the Lord for his deliverance from the jaw of death – from the grave. In it he describes his feelings as he thought of death and his rejoicing at his recovery. He said, "In the cutting off of my days I shall go into the gates of the grave [sheol, hades, the tomb]. I am deprived of the residue of my years....Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: my eyes fail with looking upward: O, Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. What shall I say? He hath spoken unto me and himself hath done it." [I freely acknowledge that it was not the lump of figs, but the Lord who had produced the recovery.] Then, speaking of the effect this should have upon him for the remaining years, he added, "I shall go softly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.... Behold it was for my peace that I had great bitterness, but thou hast in love for my soul delivered it from the body of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave [sheol, hades] cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee, they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day." – Verses 9-19.

Hezekiah's proper desires were to live and serve and praise the Lord. He well knew that these things would be impossible in death, that the only hope in death is in the resurrection. The case of the Lord's people even during this Gospel age, even since redeemed with the precious blood, has been very similar. They have properly no desire to be unclothed but rather to be clothed upon with the heavenly conditions. But now in the close of the age matters are different from what they ever were before. Living as we are in the presence of the Son of man, we realize that although all must die, [R3589 : page 204] yet the overcomers will not sleep, but will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – in the moment of dying – changed to the glorious spirit condition which the Lord has promised to them that love him. From our standpoint, then, not only has death lost its terrors, because Christ has redeemed us from the power of the tomb and will by and by bring forth all from it that are in it, that they may have an opportunity for coming into harmony with him and attainment to eternal life, but to us death has lost its dread in another sense, namely, that we shall not need to sleep – ours is the blessed time of the change. Let us wait for our change and seek by the Lord's grace to be so prepared for it in heart and character development that we shall welcome it with joy.

"Unanswered yet! – the prayers your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years; –
Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing?
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer:
He'll answer yet your right desire – sometime, somewhere."

[R3589 : page 204]

THE WORLD'S REDEEMER PICTURED.
ISAIAH 52:13-53:12. – JULY 16. –

Golden Text: – "The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all."

T
HIS little section of Isaiah's great prophecy is a very striking one. The original prophecy, as is well known, was without division into chapters and verses.

The preceding context points us clearly and distinctly to the second advent of our Lord and his gathering of his people to himself. It describes the present time, therefore, the harvest of this Gospel age, telling how the Lord's people would now know his name – understand and appreciate his true character, announce the presence of the King and the beginning of his reign. (Vs. 6-8.) It also tells of the beginning of favor upon natural Israel, and, looking into the future, points to the Lord's glorification through that people. (Vs. 9-10.) It also shows the separating work of this harvest time, the gathering of the good fish into the vessels, the gathering of the wheat into the barn.

Then, pointing to the Millennial reign of Christ, the first three verses of our lesson (13-15) picture the high exaltation and honor of Jehovah's servant Son, our Lord Jesus, saying, "He shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and honored and shall be very high." The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, which will then shine forth through the blessed and wise government of Immanuel, as has been declared, "The Desire of all Nations shall come:" they shall see that the way of righteousness is the desirable way, the blessed way, the way of true wisdom and happiness, [R3590 : page 204] and all who will refuse to come into this attitude shall be cut off from amongst the people in the second death. – Acts 3:23.

Next a contrast is instituted between how our Lord was humiliated and how by and by he shall be exalted. The prophet, so to speak, takes his seat at the cross, and beholds the Lord sadly distorted in his crucifixion, torn in an inhuman manner, his features drawn with pain. The picture of this, as given in Cheyne's translation, is written in poetic form, as was the original. It reads as follows: –

"Deeply marred was his appearance, out of all human likeness,
And his form out of all semblance to sons of men;
But as deep will be the obeisance of many.
Before him kings shall be awestruck in silence."

The thought evidently is that his glory and honor, influence and power, will be proportionate to the sufferings and ignominy which he experienced. And this is the thought everywhere held out in the Scriptures, not only as respects our Redeemer but also as respects his Church. "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." Present trials and sufferings work out for us a "far more and exceeding weight of glory." So in speaking of our Lord the Apostle declares that "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth." – Phil. 2:8.

We cannot claim that it is a divine law that glory and honor must be preceded by sufferings and humiliations. Our heavenly Father and the holy angels, highly honored, have never been humiliated. Nevertheless we are assured that so far as God's dealings with the Church of this present Gospel age are concerned, they are along these lines. The suffering is not compulsory but granted us as a privilege, and the exaltation is held out as a reward, marking the degree of divine approval. With this thought before us how it helps us to appreciate the sentiments of the Apostle, "Gladly, therefore, will I glory in tribulation." We glory not in the tribulations themselves, for sometimes they seem to the flesh to be grievous; but our hearts can glory in tribulations, since we know that under the divine arrangement governing our call as the Church of Christ these tribulations are working in us those elements of character pleasing and acceptable in the Father's sight, which eventually he will reward with a share in the exaltation of our Redeemer, our Bridegroom.

So grand, so glorious will be the demonstration of divine power and blessing in the Messiah that no word of dissent will be heard – unto him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. This will be true not only of the common people, the world in general, but true also of the greatest, the princes, the kings of earth, intellectual kings, financial kings, political kings. All eyes shall be opened, all ears shall be unstopped, to the knowledge of divine goodness and mercy, justice and truth, as it will then be revealed in the Messiah.

"WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR TEACHING?"

In the fifty-third chapter the Prophet looks backward from our day and the coming glory, and intimates that until the glory of the Lord shall be revealed his cause will make comparatively little headway in the world. The true teaching respecting him and his mission will not be generally received – various false teachings, false gospels will have the preference. The inquiry, "Who hath believed our report?" our teaching, our presentations, implies the answer, Few. And so it has been. There were few who had the hearing ears and understanding hearts at the time of our Lord's first [R3590 : page 205] advent, and only a few all down throughout the Gospel age have really and truly appreciated the message.

True, there are large numbers to-day who are nominally Christians, who with their lips draw nigh to the Lord occasionally one day in the seven for an hour, but who are at heart far from him. The vast majority, even in the pulpits of Christendom, seem not to have given heed to the report, the doctrines, the teaching of the Lord's Word in respect to Messiah, his sufferings of this present time and his glories to follow, but rather to have hearkened to false doctrines misrepresenting the divine plan of the ages, substituting therefor many "doctrines of devils," in which a little truth is mixed with much error, to the discomfiture and spiritual sickness and weakness of many of the Lord's truly begotten ones, and to the total confusion of the world, "Christendom."

"To whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" cried the prophet. Alas, it is so that few, very few, see in our Lord Jesus the powerful arm, the omnipotence of Jehovah, stretched down for the aid of our fallen race. Few realize that the work finished at Calvary is the foundation, the basis, upon which the great Jehovah will ultimately establish the Millennial Kingdom for the blessing and uplifting of all the families of the earth. The majority see Jesus as merely the finger of the Lord, doing a comparatively small work for a comparatively small class. As our eyes open we behold to our joy that Messiah, Head and body, will yet constitute the arm of Jehovah, that all-powerful force which shall overthrow evil and establish righteousness and bless all the families of the earth through the seed of Abraham. "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." – Gal. 3:29.

GOD'S WAYS NOT MAN'S WAYS.

The prophet proceeds to point out why the report, the teaching, of God's Word and the power of his omnipotent arm for man's salvation have not been discerned by mankind. It is largely because the Lord's way of accomplishing matters is the very reverse of what mankind would have naturally expected. With our mental tendencies, our natural expectations would have been that the Son of the Highest at his first advent would have been manifested in glory and not in humiliation – that the heavenly Father would have sent him in glory and not in humiliation. Even in his taking of the human form and nature we would have expected it to be under such conditions and with such environments as would have shown forth strikingly and forcefully amongst the members of the human race.

It was a disappointment, especially to the Jews, who were expecting a glorious and powerful king, that our Lord came as the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. To them he appeared too tender a plant to ever prosper. They acknowledged him to be of the Davidic line, but esteemed him to be from one of the roots of David which had lost its virility, its life. They thought him a root out of dry ground, from which they could never hope for a sprout of power and glory and dignity and honor such as they had anticipated Messiah would have. In him they saw not the form of the soldier, the general, which to their conception was the grand, the comely form that Messiah would have, boasting of his power, his strength, his divine support, etc.

No wonder the poor Jews were disappointed, no wonder they considered him undesirable as material for a king, no wonder that they had no hope that he would ever be the great Messiah, the great deliverer. We sympathize with them deeply in their disappointments and in their failure to recognize him as Immanuel. He was despised and rejected of men, even of the men of his own nation, who for sixteen centuries had hoped and waited for his coming. They were ashamed of him, hid their faces from him. He was despised of the Romans and counted unworthy of particular notice, whether he claimed to be king of the Jews or what not, and the Jews esteemed him not – except the few who, because they were Israelites indeed, were guided to an appreciation of him with a wisdom from on high.

What meant all this? Why should the King of glory, the Sent of God, the heir of all the promises, be thus the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Ah! says the prophet, I perceive surely that it was our griefs that he bore, our sorrows that he carried, not his own. We thought that he was stricken of God, that he was afflicted by the Almighty, and that this was an evidence that he was not in divine favor. We misunderstood the entire matter. Now we see that his wounds were for our transgressions, that his bruises were for our iniquities, that our peace with God was secured by the stripes, the chastisements, the penalties of the divine law inflicted upon him. We perceive that by his stripes we are healed, – that the punishment or stripes due to us were laid upon him, that the death sentence that was against us he bore, dying the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.

"BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED"

Yes, yes, continues the prophet, we all went astray like sheep, following one another into wrong paths. We, even of the seed of Abraham, brought nigh to God's favor through the Law Covenant under Moses, have failed to retain our position as proper sheep of his fold, and the penalty of divine justice has been borne by the Shepherd for his sheep, Jehovah hath laid on him – charged up to him, accepted of him – the iniquity of us all. How gracious is this message! Those who received it first from Isaiah, having the guidance and enlightenment of the holy Spirit, could not appreciate his words to the full, but, nevertheless, must have to some extent appreciated them – must have drawn some blessing and hope from them. But now, we of this Gospel age, living since the redemption price was paid, and since it was accepted by the Father on our behalf when our Master ascended on high, and since the Pentecostal blessing evidencing our forgiveness has reached every member of the consecrated class to enlighten the eyes of our understanding, to enable us to see the deep things of God and his gracious promises, we may now rejoice in these things so hard for the Jew to understand, and equally impossible for the natural man of the Gentiles to comprehend. Truly our Lord's words are refreshing and explanatory – "To you it is given to know of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God;" to all others these things are "spoken in parables and dark sayings." – Luke 8:10; Mat. 13:10-15,35.

"HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH"

He was oppressed, as a lamb he was led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yet he opened not his mouth. The fulfilment of this we see in the case of our Lord. Had he chosen to open his mouth, to argue his case, to defend himself, we may well suppose that the Scribes and Pharisees, high [R3591 : page 206] priests and doctors of the Law, Pilate and his soldiers and the Jewish rabble, would have succumbed to the eloquence of him who spoke as never man spoke. Thus he might merely have defended himself with his tongue, and righteously, too, without ever moving a finger in his own defence or exercising any of the divine powers deposited in him, or calling for any of the legions of angels who would have responded to his prayer. He did indeed reply to a question of the High Priest and also to a question by Pilate, but he was dumb so far as making any plea or endeavoring in any manner to deliver himself from the death which he perceived was upon him and which he knew was permitted of the Father. As he himself expressed it – "The cup which the Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"

We must not lose sight of the fact that our dear Redeemer is also our pattern and that we are to walk in his steps. The lesson to us, then, is full submission to divine providence in respect to all of our affairs – those which we see clearly and understand and those also which are obscure to us, some of which at times may seem unnecessary. Our faith must triumph; we must learn that our Father is too wise to err, and that he loves us too much to cause a needless tear, a needless pang. But if he permitted severe afflictions to come upon his Son, his well beloved and only one, that he might be tested and proven in respect to his loyalty to the last degree, shall we wonder that in calling us to be associates of that Son in glory, he should require of us also that we should learn obedience by the things we suffer? Gladly then, says the Apostle, will we suffer; gladly will we take this as an evidence that we are in the hands of the Lord and that he is shaping and fashioning us according to the glorious pattern, that we may ultimately be participants also of the heavenly glories and joys and immortality promised to his faithful.

"By oppression and judgment he was taken away," cut off from life – oppression or injustice so far as those who condemned him were concerned, by divine justice and judgment so far as God was concerned, because he had consecrated himself unto death as man's Redeemer, and the Father had accepted him as such.

"WITH THE WICKED AND THE RICH"

"And who shall declare his generation, for he was cut off out of the land of the living." Who could suppose that he would have offspring, children – that he would be ultimately the Everlasting Father to the world of mankind? Who could have seen any prospect, any hope, for the race through his death? Who could have foreseen that as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive? To have discerned these things would have been impossible, and the poor Jews and the world in general are not to be blamed for not discerning them. Rather those who have come into relationship to the Lord through faith and through obedience unto consecration, and who have been begotten of the Spirit to newness of nature, and through the Spirit's enlightenment are able to comprehend these wonderful things of the divine plan – these highly favored of God may rejoice in their blessings without condemning those who do not enjoy to the full the same blessings and opportunities in this present time. Yes, the entire secret of the matter lies in our perception that Jesus was the Redeemer, the one who bought the world with his own precious blood, the one who was stricken by the Father, not for his own sins but for our transgressions – for the transgressions of the people, "for the sins of the whole world."

Although he had done no violence he was numbered with the transgressors, with the wicked, in his death, being crucified between two thieves, although there was no deceit in his mouth and he had gained no riches by deceiving or overreaching his neighbor; yet he was buried in the tomb of the rich Joseph of Arimathaea. Thus does the prophet mark certain incidents connected with our Lord's death, that our Redeemer's identity might be the more clearly established.

"IT PLEASED JEHOVAH"

All these things, apparently so unjust and so unreasonable and so contrary to anything mankind could have expected, Jehovah was pleased to permit. To have exacted such sufferings from Jesus as our penalty would have been an injustice, and this would have been an impossibility to God; but it did please him to allow his only-begotten one to demonstrate his loyalty and faith even unto death, even the death of the cross. It pleased him that the Son should thus be temporarily injured and put to grief because he foresaw the glorious results both to Jesus and to mankind. To his Son he would give more than compensating honor and glory and dignity and power, yea, eternal life, when to his hands would be committed all the remaining features of the divine plan.

Well did the Father know that his Son's faith and obedience would be abundantly rewarded. Well did he know that the soul of Jesus, his being, would constitute the sin offering for Adam and his race, and well he knew that ultimately the Son should see a reward from this travail of his soul which would satisfy him, which would more than compensate every trial, every tear, every pain. And is it not wonderful that in God's providence the called ones of this Gospel age may apply these same consolations and assurances each to his own heart, and know that all things are working together for good to them that love God – to the called ones according to his purpose? Is it not wonderful that we also have the assurance that if we suffer with him we shall also reign with him, that if we experience travail of soul in following in the footsteps of our Redeemer we shall have more than compensating satisfaction, and that the Word of the Lord so guarantees it? To all who accept the Lord's promises in faith, the matter becomes a certainty – "Faith can firmly trust him, come what may."

Although when he was cut off from the land of the living none could have declared his generation, his seed, his posterity, yet he shall see his seed – the redeemed and restored of mankind, who at the close of the Millennial age shall be privileged to inherit all the earthly things lost by father Adam, redeemed by Jesus, restored by the Second Adam.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE

The declaration that it was by his knowledge that our Lord Jesus, as the righteous servant of Jehovah, justified many and bore their iniquities, is an important item in this lesson. We see that it was from lack of knowledge of God that the first Adam in his perfection was weak. Not knowing the power of God, not realizing his gracious and merciful character, father Adam considered that all hope of comfort, joy and pleasure in life had gone from him when mother Eve transgressed the divine regulation respecting the forbidden fruit and [R3591 : page 207] came under the divine sentence of death. Being unacquainted with the divine character he was without hope respecting her recovery and his own future happiness, and therefore deliberately shared the death penalty with his wife – suicided, so to speak. On the contrary our Lord Jesus, knowing the Father, remembering the glory he had with him before the world was, trusting the Father implicitly, was able to be obedient to the Father's requirements, even unto death, even the death of the cross.

Thus did knowledge serve him in good stead and enable him to pass through the most trying experiences victoriously. It was his knowledge, then, in conjunction with his mental and moral and physical perfection, that enabled our Lord Jesus to fully meet all the requirements of his consecration and thus enabled him to justify many, to redeem Adam and his race – enabled him to bear their iniquities cheerfully, joyfully, delighting to do the Father's will, and for the joy that was set before him enduring the cross, despising the shame.

No wonder, then, that the Scriptures everywhere set forth the thought that knowledge is important to the followers of Jesus; no wonder that they urge upon us that we grow in grace and in knowledge, assuring us that to know God is eternal life. To attain to that relationship to God which will permit us to fully know him and appreciate his just and reasonable and loving commands would signify that we were in the condition which he would be pleased to bless everlastingly, and signify also that, possessing this knowledge, we should be able to fulfil all the reasonable requirements imposed upon us. Let none of us, then, despise knowledge.

Nevertheless, while heartily appreciating it, let us not forget that it is not merely knowledge about his plan, nor knowledge of the various so-called earthly sciences, but the knowledge or acquaintanceship of God himself. Thus the Apostle also declares of our Lord Jesus, "that we may know him," be acquainted with him, be intimate with him. Whoever has this intimate relationship with the Father and the Son has therein the power of God, which will work in him to will and to do the Lord's good pleasure, and ultimately bring him to a glorious inheritance under the divine arrangement. But, as the Apostle points out, to have knowledge of earthly things or of the divine plan without having the heart obedience and the heart acquaintanceship with the Lord, might leave us still poor and wretched and miserable, sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

THE "GREAT" AND THE "STRONG"

Therefore, because of his faithfulness as God's righteous servant, because guided by his knowledge in his obedience to the Father, because faithful in bearing [R3592 : page 207] the iniquities of the many, therefore "God will divide him a portion with the great." How great a portion is not here stated. Other Scriptures inform us that the Father has given him a portion with himself – he overcame and sat down with the Father in his throne. He has indeed been granted a portion with the great – the great Jehovah. In turn he shall divide the spoil with the strong, the spoil of his great conquest over sin and death at the cost of his own life, the spoil of victory, the reward of his own high exaltation far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named – the reward of his high relationship with the Father, the reward of his Millennial Kingdom and its opportunities and privileges of blessing the whole groaning creation, the reward of the Father's smile and favor eternally.

This "spoil," which all came to the dear Redeemer as the one who kept the Law and redeemed the world with his own precious blood, this spoil he proposes to share with the faithful of his followers, the overcomers, here called "the strong." O, what a thought! In all our weaknesses and imperfections we are by the Lord's grace enabled to come off conquerors and more than conquerors through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

With the Apostle we can say, "When I am weak, then am I strong;" when I realize my own imperfections and shortcomings then, by faith realizing the strength and perfection of my dear Redeemer and his provision for all who are his, I can be strong in faith and trust and love, and realize that the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word are yea and amen to me. In the present life, then, by faith we have a portion with the Lord, and may reckon ourselves as having passed from death unto life, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. But the attainment of all these things, their fulness and completeness, lies beyond the grave, beyond the resurrection, when all the faithful shall be with him and, like him, share his glory, for "he will divide the spoil with the strong."

THE CAUSE OF THE MATTER

Our lesson closes with a reiteration of the general facts stated. All of this greatness given to our Lord and shared with his faithful followers is because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. How emphatically the Scriptures point out to us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, that without the ransom price being paid there could have been no release of Adam and his race from the sentence of death, no hope of any of them attaining life everlasting. As we appreciate this great central thought of the divine plan, let us reverence our dear Master the more as the author of our faith, who, by and by, will be the finisher of it, and let us seek more and more to be faithful to him and to walk in his steps and to lay down our lives for the brethren.

[R3592 : page 207]

THE CHATTANOOGA CONVENTION.

Although we were unfortunate in the selection of the date of this Convention, June being a very busy time for the Southern farmer, nevertheless we had a delightful season of fellowship. The gathering numbered about 150 from every quarter of the South land, with a fair representation from more northerly States. The Sunday afternoon session was for the public and had an attendance of between 500 and 600. We have reason to hope that some true Israelites profited by the discourse on The Oath-bound Covenant, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The dear friends of the Chattanooga Church managed the arrangements so well that we heard not a single murmur. Everybody looked happy with a holy joy that lit all faces. The testimonies, too, corroborated this. Nearly all told of a share of the opposition promised to all who seek to closely follow the Savior, and of joys from the Truth which made oppositions seem light afflictions in view of the hopes of future glory with our Lord. Two Baptist ministers were in attendance at nearly all of the sessions, and one of these at the close of the Love Feast, told the writer of his proposed methods for extending the knowledge of the "good tidings of great joy for all people" to many whom he has been serving hitherto as a Baptist. Eleven brethren and ten sisters symbolized their consecration by water immersion. It is our hope that all present were richly repaid for their expenditure of time and money and that the blessing of the Lord poured upon their hearts will extend to their friends and brethren at their various homes.

page 209
July 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.JULY 15, 1905.No. 14
CONTENTS.
Views from the Watch Tower 211
Lutheran View of Baptism 211
Rising of Russian Peasantry 211
Crazed by City Life 212
A Form and "Yell" of Godliness 212
"Because the Days are Evil" 212
Love the Law of the Spirit 213
Follow the Lord's Way 214
Slanderers are Thieves 215
Fight the Good Fight 216
God's Ways Higher than Man's Ways 217
A Dishonor to His Father 219
The Temple God is Building 221
Some Interesting Questions Answered 221

'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 210

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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[R3593 : page 210]

DO NOT URGE THE UNREADY TO COME OUT OF BABYLON

Preach the Word, tell the good tidings, loan, sell or give the literature, and by word and example commend it to your friends. Let it take effect before urging your friends to quit Babylon, etc. Remember that it is the Truth that makes us free, and that it took time in your own case to grow strong and free and obedient to the Truth. If you urge the matter too strongly and too soon it may result in one or other of two bad effects: (1) It may deter your friend before the nutriment of the Truth has given the necessary grace and strength, or (2) It may bring "out" one too weak to stand the oppositions sure to follow, and by defeat may make him timid everyway for the remainder of life. page 210

MISSIONARY ENVELOPES

These are now in stock in large quantity. Every letter you send through the mail may be a more or less potent messenger of the Truth, even on its outside, by the use of these envelopes. They catch the attention not only of those to whom they are addressed, but postmen and others have an opportunity, and sometimes the curiosity, to read their message of peace – the gospel in condensed form. Price, 25c per 100, postpaid.

[R3592 : page 211]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
LUTHERAN VIEW OF BAPTISM

THE clipping below from The Young Lutheran is not, as some might suppose, from a couple of centuries back, but from the January, 1905, issue:

"Often we are asked questions concerning Baptism, the proper time and place for it, who should be the sponsors, etc. It may be well to explain at this place:

"Baptism is that act, commanded by God and promised his blessing, by which we are forgiven our sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) and are made children of God. A person who wilfully neglects baptism is surely lost, as we read John 3:5: 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'

"This may seem hard, but God simply says: 'If you wish to enter my kingdom you must enter the way I want you to by being baptized,' just as any society can say: 'If you wish to belong to this society you must go through the order adopted by us to become a full member.' Surely all would say they have a right to do that; just so God has a right to say how he wants us to enter his kingdom.

"So we see that it is very important for every one to be baptized. Neglecting to have our children baptized as early as possible is taking a risk which none of us can afford."

*                         *                         *

Some have thought that in treating the subject of Baptism in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. VI., chapter 10, we were rather severe in our strictures upon the views of "Christendom" which make a child liable to eternal torment because its parents neglected to have some drops of water put on its head with a formula of words. The above shows that we were quite within the truth, however strange it may seem that seemingly safe and sane people can so believe and teach. Would that all might see the true meaning of this important ordinance! How much it would assist them to an understanding of the divine character and plan. Get your friends in all denominations to read that one chapter.

RISING OF RUSSIAN PEASANTRY

The Russian landowners are alarmed at last. All over the great middle belt the peasants are murdering the landlords, pillaging and burning houses and refineries. The inhabitants of the country towns who belong to the reactionary little bourgeoisie are frightened for their own safety and that of their property. Even in Moscow and Nijni Novgorod there is great uneasiness. One result has been the demand of the nobles who met at the old capital that some small concessions in the way of popular representation should be made in order that the rising flood of disorder may be stemmed in time.

As long as the outbreaks were confined to the big cities there was not much to fear. There the trouble was as much industrial as political. But many of the workmen have gone back to their villages as political propagandists. These persons act as agents for the revolutionists. They are successful, however, because they found the conditions favorable....

This dangerous Jacquerie, or peasant uprising, is called pugachevshchina in Russia, after the eighteenth century rebel leader, Pugachey, who championed the autocracy against the officials and the landlords. In the same way the peasants of today have no grievance against the Emperor. To the mujiks he is still the "Little Father." It is the Tchvnorniks who, in the opinion of the peasants brought on the war, who precipitated the strikes, who attacked the people. The official class is blamed for supporting the landlords against the cultivators and the manufacturers against the workpeople.

When the decree of the Holy Synod called on the loyal population to combat the enemies of the Czar and the government the ignorant peasants were told that it was directed against the nobles and the landed proprietors. Mysterious leaflets were circulated, stating that Nicholas was in danger and had been deposed and thrown into prison by the nobles. The appeal continued: "Hasten to help him, plunder the landlords, slay the enemies of the Czar and the Fatherland."...

The situation in certain details suggests the early stages of the French Revolution. The Paris mob that went to Versailles, when it started back with the King, Queen and Dauphin, said: "We are bringing the baker [R3593 : page 212] the baker's wife and the baker's little boy." In the provinces popular hatred was vented on the good-for-nothing nobility. It was only later in the uprising that the popular leaders determined to get rid of the sovereign in the most radical way.

The most conservative Russian newspapers say that the growing domestic disorders are as serious as the repeated defeats of the army in Manchuria. So the empire now fairly stands between two fires.

New York Evening Sun.
*                         *                         *

Poor Russia! All things seem to be working together for evil to her of late. Nevertheless the retribution seems to be well deserved. For long centuries human rights have been trampled upon by those in power. Practical slavery has long held the place of brotherhood, and now those so long kept in ignorance and superstition can be expected to do nothing less than take vengeance to the extent of their ability. By and by all will discern the wisdom as well as the justice of the divine law – "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, being and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself."

CRAZED BY CITY LIFE.

Chicago, Ill. – Dr. H. N. Moyer, one of the most noted experts in mental diseases in the city, has made an answer to the charge that "Chicago is going crazy." He shows that the other big cities are going crazy as fast as Chicago. He says:

"The fact is that the insanity ratio in both New York and Boston is increasing faster than in Chicago. New York's proportion is 1 out of every 340; Boston and New England 1 out of every 320, while Chicago has only one out of every 400."

*                         *                         *

The above, brought out by a desire to free Chicago from the charge of being the most crazy city is a sad commentary on the so-called Evolution that has lifted man to almost the plane of gods. Alas! How much the poor world needs the times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Restitution would not land then in monkeyhood either, but in the safe and sane condition of father Adam, who lived 930 years without doctors, pills and plasters, and had no need of an asylum. Let God be true and let men know of it, even though it requires that our race pass through terrible experiences to learn of its own unwisdom and of God's grace in Christ.

A FORM AND "YELL" OF GODLINESS.

Before his regular meeting last night, Evangelist Tilman Hobson at Olivet Congregational Church, spoke to the "Sunbeam Society," composed of boys and girls of the Sunday School of Olivet Church.

"You know, boys and girls," said the speaker, "that it is quite the thing nowadays for the schools to have a 'yell.' I have a 'yell' for you to learn to-night. It is this:

"'Rah, 'rah, 'rah, have you seen Second Timothy, two fifteen'?

"The words of that particular verse are these: 'Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

*                         *                         *

How peculiar it does seem to teach the little ones such formalistic piety of which they can know really nothing, and at the same time to send their older brothers and sisters to schools where they will be systematically taught by higher critics that the Bible is not the Word of Truth.

Alas! how little studying of the Word there is today. The possession of a Bible and the committing to memory of a few texts is all that is thought necessary. What wonder that it has no "power" to keep in the present time of falling.

PREPARING FOR THE "TARE" HARVEST.

"Did Adam and Eve ever live? If so, how did they originate?"

With these and similar questions University of Chicago medical students are in a perplexing frenzy. A hundred prospective physicians gathered in the physiological lecturing room yesterday and heard Dr. A. P. Mathews, professor of physiological chemistry, declare that there was no such thing as divine creation.

Des Moines Capitol.

[R3593 : page 212]

"BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL."
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Eph. 5:15,16. –

T
HE WORD "circumspect" is from circum, signifying around, and spectus, signifying to look, to watch. The true Christian pathway is so narrow, so beset with tests and pitfalls and wiles of the evil one, that, if we walk carelessly even (not to say wickedly), we will be in great danger of mishap. It requires not only that we look all around at every step, but, more than this, it requires that we be wise, – wiser than our fellow creatures of earth, – wise with the wisdom that cometh from above, which is pure, peaceable, loving; yet first of all loyal to the Lord and his Word.

At a centre to which flow by mail the records of the trials and difficulties through which many of the Lord's people are called to pass, we are in position to know that their trials are now more numerous and more severe than for a long time at least. Appeals for prayer on their behalf and for counsel respecting the way of the Lord come by nearly every mail from tried ones who are anxious to "walk circumspectly." These are gladly answered, to the best of our ability, – pointing out the Scriptural lines that must guide all who would walk with the Lord.

We now wish to call attention to some general principles, applicable to every member of the body of Christ, at every time; and especially necessary to be remembered and practiced at the present time, because [R3593 : page 213] of the special activity of our Adversary; – "because the days are evil." For it would appear that, as in the "harvest" of the Jewish age, so in the present "harvest" of the Gospel age, opposition prevails not only in the synagogues, from the Scribes and Pharisees, but in the home circle – between parents and children, and husbands and wives – and among the Lord's people. And in proportion as the Adversary seeks to stir up strife, let each of the consecrated be the more on guard to give no avoidable offense either in word or deed. "Walk circumspectly,...because the days are evil," – days of special trial and testing.

HELPFUL RULES FOR DAILY LIFE.

The rules we have to suggest are as follows: –

I. Let each resolve to mind his own business.

The Scriptural injunctions along this line caution us not to be busy-bodies in other people's affairs. Everyone of experience in life has learned that this is a good rule; yet few walk by this rule, circumspectly. If we have not sufficient of our own business and of the Lord's service to fill our hands and moments and mouths, there is something wrong with us that needs careful prayer and study of the divine Word to set right.

This does not mean that we should be indifferent to the welfare of others under our care, or for whom we are in any degree responsible; but, even in doing for these we should be careful to recognize their rights and the rights of others, and specially careful not to exceed our own rights. Let us never forget that justice must govern in our interferences with the affairs of others, though we may not require full justice in respect to our own interests, but exercise mercy.

II. We should exercise great patience with others and their faults – more than in dealing with ourselves and our own short-comings.

When we remember that the whole world is mentally as well as physically and morally unsound through the fall, it should make us very considerate for their failings. Since the Lord is graciously willing to cover our blemishes with the merit of the precious blood, we [R3594 : page 213] cannot do less than be "very pitiful" and of tender compassion towards others; – even though their failings be greater or different from our own. This general rule is specially applicable to your own children. Their defects to some extent came from you or through you; hence, in dealing with their faults, you should do just as in correcting your own faults, – earnestly, rigorously, for their correction in righteousness, but sympathetically, mercifully, lovingly.

III. Do not be touchy and easily offended. Take a kindly, charitable view of the words and acts of others. A trifling slight or rebuff could well be passed unnoticed – covered with the mantle of generosity and love. A serious offense should be assumed to be unintentional, and inquiry should be kindly made in words that would not stir up anger, but in "speech seasoned with grace." In a majority of cases it will prove that no offense was meant.

This rule in the Scriptures comes under the instructions not to indulge in "evil surmisings," – imagining evil intentions and motives behind the words and acts of others. "Evil surmisings" is ranked by the Apostle as contrary to the words of our Lord Jesus, opposed to godliness, and of the same spirit as envy and strife – of a corrupt mind, works of the flesh and the devil. – 1 Tim. 6:3-5; Gal. 5:19-21.

LOVE THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT.

The other side of this subject is brought out by the Apostle's injunction respecting the elements of the spirit of love, of which God's people are begotten and which they are to cultivate daily, – the development of which is one of the chief proofs of their being "overcomers." He says, "Love suffereth long and is kind, ...is not easily offended, thinketh no evil,...beareth all things, believeth all things [favorably], hopeth all things, endureth all things."

It may be urged that such a disposition would be imposed upon frequently, by the evilly disposed. We reply that those who possess this spirit of love are not necessarily obtuse nor soft: their experiences in cultivating this degree of love have served to develop them and make them of "quick understanding in the fear of the Lord." They will be cautious where there is even the appearance of evil, even while avoiding the imputation of evil intentions until forced to concede them by indisputable evidence. Besides, it would be better far to take some trifling risks and suffer some slight losses, many times, than to accuse even one innocent person. And the Lord who has directed this course is abundantly able to compensate us for any losses experienced in following his counsel. He is both able and willing to make all such experiences work together for good to those who love him. He places obedience to his arrangements first (even before sacrifice) saying, "Ye are my disciples, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

Whoever neglects the Lord's commands along this line of "evil surmisings" weaves a web for his own ensnarement, however "circumspectly" he may walk as respects other matters; for a heart impregnated with doubt and suspicion toward fellow creatures is more than half prepared to doubt God; the spirit of sourness and bitterness implied is at war with the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love. Either the one or the other will conquer. The wrong spirit must be gotten rid of, or it will defile the new creature and make of him a "castaway." On the contrary, if the new nature conquer, as an "overcomer," it will be along this line: if evil surmisings are overcome, half the battle against present difficulties and besetments is won. The surmisings are from the heart, and lead us either to good words and acts, or to evil words and acts.

IV. If you have been slandered, you may explain, to set yourself right, either publicly or privately; but surely avoid doing more than this. If you slander in return you make two wrongs out of one. Let no man render evil for evil to any one; – no, not even if what you should tell be the truth, while what your neighbor told was falsehood. And in contradicting and explaining false charges, remember not to go beyond this to make counter-charges against your defamer; for thus you also would become a slanderer.

THE GOLDEN RULE.

This is the Scriptural rule. We are to do unto others as we would that they should do unto us, and not as they do unto us. The wrongs done toward us will never justify wrong doing on our part. God's true children are to have no sympathy with Satan's delusion – "Do evil that good may result." But while no Scripture forbids our explaining away the errors and false statements of slanderers, experience proves that, if we followed Satan and his deluded servants of unrighteousness around, to contradict every adverse criticism [R3594 : page 214] and evil report, we should be kept more than busy. And if Satan found us willing to do so, he would no doubt lead us such a chase as would prevent our having any time to tell forth the good tidings of great joy; thus he would gain a victory, and we should lose one.

Rather let us commit our reputation to the Lord, as a part of the sacrifice we laid at his feet when we surrendered all in obedience to the "call" to run the race for the great prize of our high calling. If thus we suffer some loss of reputation, by reason of our resolution not to neglect the King's business to fight for our own tinsel, we may be sure that it will count with him as so much endured for Christ's sake; and so much the more will be our reward in heaven, when the battle is over and the victors are crowned.

Meantime, however, it behooves each of the Lord's people to be as circumspect as possible at every step of the way. Remember that in proportion to faithfulness and zeal in letting the light shine we will have the malignant opposition of our great Adversary, who seeks to turn and twist and maliciously distort and discolor our every word and act; – because the accuser of the brethren can find no real charges; and because he is exceeding mad against the humble servants of the truth, as he was against the Chief Servant – our Lord. He, let us remember, was crucified as a law-breaker, at the instance of the prominent ones of the church, and betrayed to them by one of his own disciples.

"Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds" when attacked by the Adversary, – whoever may be his agents and whatever their missiles. He cannot harm but will only increase our reputation in the Lord's sight, if we endure faithfully; and he can do no outward harm that God cannot overrule for the good of his cause – though that good may sometimes mean "siftings" of chaff and tares from the wheat.

V. Evil speaking, backbiting and slandering are strictly forbidden to God's people, as wholly contrary to his spirit of love – even if the evil thing be true. As a preventive of anything of the nature of slander, the Scriptures very carefully mark out one only way of redress of grievances, in Matt. 18:15-17.

Even advanced Christians seem to be utterly in ignorance of this divine ruling, and hence professed Christians are often the most pronounced scandal-mongers. Yet this is one of the few special, specific commandments given by our Lord; and considered in connection with the statement, Ye are my disciples if ye do whatever I command you, its constant violation proves that many are not far advanced in discipleship.

FOLLOW THE LORD'S WAY.

Let us look carefully at this rule, which, if followed, would prevent gossip, "evil-speaking," "backbiting."

Its first provision, for a conference between the principals alone, implies candor on the part of the accuser who thinks that he has suffered; and whom here we will call A. It implies his thinking no evil of the accused, whom we will style B. They meet as "brethren," each thinking his own course the right one, to discuss the matter; to see whether they can come to the same view. If they agree, all is well; the matter is settled; peace prevails; the threatened break has been averted, and no one is the wiser.

If they cannot agree, A may not start a scandal by relating his version; – not even to confidential friends may he disclose the matter, saying, "Don't mention it; and especially don't say I told you." No; the matter is still "between thee and him [A and B] alone." If A considers the matter important, so as to wish to prosecute the subject further, he has but one way open to him, namely, to ask two or three others to go with him to B and hear the case from both sides and give their judgment respecting its right and wrong sides. These should be chosen (1) as persons in whose Christian character and good sense and spirit of a sound mind A himself would have confidence, peradventure they should favor B's view of the matter. (2) They should be chosen as with a view to B's appreciation of their advice, if they should give their judgment of the matter in A's favor.

It would, however, be wholly contrary to the spirit of justice as well as contrary to the spirit of the Master's instructions here, for A to "talk it over" with several friends from whom he desired to select these "two or three witnesses," to make sure that they favored his story (without hearing the other side) and would go to the conference prejudiced, – with their minds already determined against B. No; the matter is between A and B alone, until the two or three friends are brought in to hear both sides of the dispute in the presence of both parties.

TO ASSIST, NOT TO INJURE.

If the judgment of the "brethren" is against B, he should hear them, should accept their view of the matter as the just, reasonable one; – unless it involves [R3595 : page 214] some principle in which he cannot conscientiously acquiesce. If the "brethren" see the matter from B's standpoint, A should conclude that in all probability he had erred; and, unless conscience hindered, should accept the position and apologize to B and the brethren for the annoyance caused by his poor judgment. But none of the parties are at liberty to turn scandal-mongers and tell the matter, "confidentially," to others.

If the decision went against A, and he still felt that he was injured and had failed to get justice through a poor choice of advisers, he might (without violence to the principles laid down by our Lord) call other advisers and proceed as before. If their decision were against him, or if he felt that he could not trust to the judgment of any, fearing that all would favor B, he should realize that part at least of his trouble is self-conceit, and would do well to fast and pray and study lines and principles of justice more carefully. But A has gained no right to tell anything to the Church nor to anyone, either publicly or privately. If he does so, it marks him at once as disobedient to the Lord and exercised by a bad spirit, a carnal spirit, – contrary to the spirit of the truth, the spirit of love.

If the committee decide partly against B, and only partly in favor of A, the brethren (A and B) should endeavor to see the matter thus, and to arrange matters amicably. In this case there would be nothing respecting the matter to tell; – nothing that is anybody's business.

If the committee decide wholly against B and wholly in favor of A, and if B will not heed them and make reparation for the wrong or cease from injuring A, the latter is still not at liberty to become a scandal-monger; nor are the brethren of the committee. If [R3595 : page 215] A considers the matter of sufficient importance to justify further action, there is just one course open to him: he with the committee may lay the matter before the Church. Then the Church shall hear the matter, both sides, and whichever (A or B) shall refuse to recognize the advice of the Church shall be thereafter considered and treated by all as an outsider – as not of the Church, not to be fellowshipped; as dead, until such time as he may repent and reform.

The duties of one member cannot be undertaken by another, – each must act for himself according to the Lord's rule. But if in violation of the Lord's command a matter become a scandal and be troubling the Church and disgracing it as a whole, then the properly chosen representatives of the company should take the matter up. They should not only investigate the principals in the difficulty, but with equal diligence they should investigate the real troublers who had circulated the scandal and should reprove them.

But all reproofs should be in love, remembering that all are imperfect in some particulars. The object in every case should be to correct not to punish. The Lord alone has the authority to punish. At very most the Church may for a time withdraw fellowship with the unrepentant, and must as publicly restore it when repentance is manifest. Our love, joy, peace are the ends sought by the Lord, and these we must follow as his disciples. Any other course will surely work injury.

Thus did the Lord guard his true disciples from the insidious sin of slander, which leads onward to other and grosser works of the flesh and the devil, and stops growth in the truth and its spirit of love. And let us note, too, that those who hear slanders and thus encourage slanderers in their wrong course, are partakers of their evil deeds; guilty partners in the violation of the Master's commands. God's true people should refuse to listen to slanders and should point the offender to the Lord's Word and the only method therein authorized. "Are we wiser than God?" Experience teaches us that we cannot trust to our own judgments and are on safe ground only when following the voice of the Shepherd implicitly.

RATHER REPROVE THEM IN LOVE.

If any Brother or Sister begins to you an evil report of others, stop him at once, kindly, but firmly. "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them." Refuse to have any share in this violation of our Master's commands, which does great mischief in the Church. Supposing the Brother or Sister to be only a "babe" in spiritual matters, call attention to the Lord's ruling on the subject, Matt. 18:15, and 1 Tim. 5:19. If the conversation is not directed to you but merely in your hearing, promptly show your disapproval by withdrawing.

If, after having his attention called to the Lord's command on this subject, the slanderer still persists in "evil-speaking," "back-biting" and telling you his "evil surmisings," reprove him more sharply, saying as you go, – I cannot, must not hear you; for if I did, I would be as criminal in the matter as you are – violating the Lord's command. And even if I were to hear your story, I could not believe it; for the Christian who does not respect the Lord's Word and follow his plan of redress for grievances, shows so little of the Lord's spirit that his word can not be trusted. He who twists and dodges the Lord's words would not hesitate to twist and misrepresent the words and deeds of fellow-disciples. If to any extent you listen to such conversation or express "sympathy" with it or with the gossiper or slanderer, you are a partner in the sin and in all its consequences; and if a "root of bitterness" is thus developed, you are more than likely to be one of those "defiled" by it. – Heb. 12:15.

SLANDERERS ARE THIEVES.

A slanderer is a thief according to worldly standard: as Shakespeare wrote:

He who steals my purse steals trash;
But he who filches from me my good name
Takes that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

According to the Christian standard, still higher, as voiced by the Great Teacher, slanderers are murderers. (See Matt. 5:22; 1 John 3:15, Revised Version.) Thus seen, the very suggestion to slander is to be shunned, as of the spirit of Satan. – Jno. 8:44.

VI. God's people should beware of pride as they would avoid the most deadly plague.

This rule, always good, and well backed by Scripture, seems doubly needful to those who are blessed with the light of present truth. This may seem strange: it may be reasoned that the receiving of so much grander views of God's character and plan would make his people feel the more insignificant and humble, the more dependent on divine goodness, the more trustful of God and the less trustful of themselves. And this should be the effect, always and ever: but alas, with very many it is not so.

Many get to feel that the knowledge of the plan of the ages proves them specially wise or great or good: they seem to forget that God hides the truth from the wise and great – that no flesh should glory in his sight. They love the truth selfishly, as dealers love their merchandise, for the sake of what they can get for it. If they cannot hope for wealth in exchange for the truth they can hope for small notoriety – to appear wiser than others, that they may dole it out in fragments and thus perpetuate their notoriety for wisdom, and gratify their pride or vanity. Such people do little to help circulate the present truth. If they cannot avoid it, they may mention MILLENNIAL DAWN or ZION'S WATCH TOWER or Tabernacle Shadows or Food for Thinking Christians or About Hell or About Spiritism; but when they do so it is usually with some disparaging remark; as for instance, that they "disagree in a good many things;" or that "they pin their faith to no man's coat sleeve, but go to the Word of God direct."

GRACE FOR THE HUMBLE.

Beware of all such people; sooner or later, unless they reform, they will fly the track entirely, and injure more than they ever helped. God does not wish such people to serve his cause, and will surely permit their vanity to stumble them, – however much their natural ability – and it is generally people of real or fancied ability who are thus afflicted with the spirit of pride and vanity. God opposeth the proud, but showeth his favor to the humble. We call every reader of our publications to witness that the author has never boasted of his wisdom or originality, either publicly or privately. We have boasted in the truth, and shall continue to boast of it – that no human philosophies can hold a candle to its brilliant electric ray; but we have never boasted of being its originator. On the contrary, it is [R3595 : page 216] because we did not manufacture it, but because God has revealed it "in due time" as "meat in due season," and because it is so much more wonderful than we or any other human being could originate or concoct, that we have confidence that none other than God is its Author and its Revealer.

If by the grace of God we have in any degree been used by him in serving present harvest truths to others, we rejoice in the service, and will continue to strive to be faithful to our stewardship: but as for vanity on this account, we see no room or reason for it. We are well aware that our Master could readily have found many others as fit and worthy of the service, and many more capable naturally: we can only suppose, therefore, that herein as previously – "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty,...and the things that are despised...to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence." – 1 Cor. 1:27-29. [R3596 : page 216]

We therefore caution all who by the grace of God have been translated out of darkness into God's marvelous light, that they walk proportionately the more humbly before the Lord: because, if the light received should become darkness, how great would be the darkness, and how hopeless the condition! It would, as the Apostle declares, be better for such never to have known the way of life. If salt lose its flavor it is good for nothing more than sand.

"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART."

VII. Be pure: maintain a conscience void of offense toward God and men. Begin with the heart – the thoughts: harbor no thoughts that in any sense of the word would be evil. To make sure of this, have Christ Jesus as your pattern, well and much before your mind. When evil is obtruded upon you, either from without or from within, lift your heart to him in prayer for the grace promised to help in every time of need. Keep constantly near you the thought and prayer, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."

VIII. While treasuring and seeking to follow the various specific commands of Scripture, let us seek more and more to understand and come into sympathy with the principles which underlie the divine law: this will enable us to judge of the right and the wrong of such of our words, thoughts and acts as may not be particularly specified in the Lord's Word. Indeed, as we get to understand and sympathize with the principles of divine law, to that extent we are getting at the spirit of the divine Word. – See Psa. 119:97-105.

IX. Shun a contentious and fault-finding disposition as contrary to the spirit or disposition of Christ – contrary to love.

A certain amount of combative courage is demanded in overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil and their various snares, and this fighting disposition may become a valuable aid to ourselves and the Master's cause if rightly and wisely directed; – against sin, first in ourselves and secondly in others; if used for the Lord and his people, and against Satan and all his powers of darkness and superstition. This in the Scriptures is called fighting the good fight: and we all should be gallant soldiers in this battle for right and truth, lovingly defending our Captain's honor and his people's liberties.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT.

But such a good use of combativeness is not pleasing to the Prince of this world, and he will seek to pervert what he cannot directly use. Consequently he attempts with some to make combativeness appear a chief virtue: he encourages them to fight everything and everybody; – the brethren more than the powers of darkness; – nominal churchmen more than the errors and ignorance which blind them and make them such. Indeed his desire is to get us to "fight against God."

Let us be on guard on this point. Let us first of all judge ourselves lest we cast a stumbling block before others: let us fight down in our own hearts the wrong spirit which seeks to make mountains out of trifles and disposes us to be captious and contentious over littles and nonessentials. "Greater is he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a city." Let us guard ourselves that our defense of the truth be not from motives of self glorification; but from love for the truth, love for the Lord and love for his people, the brethren. If love be the impelling spirit or motive, it will show itself accordingly, in loving, gentle, patient, humble efforts toward the fellow-servants; and let us be "gentle toward all." Let "the sword of the spirit, the Word of God," which is quick and powerful, do all the cutting.

X. Beware of all thoughts, feelings and conditions directly or remotely connected with malice, envy, strife, hatred. Give these no place in your heart even for a moment; for they will surely do you great injury, aside from leading to the injury of others. Keep your heart, your will, your intentions and desires full of love toward God and all his creatures, – the most fervent toward God, and proportionately toward all who have his spirit and walk in his directed way.

XI. Do not trust your conscience. If it were a sufficient guide you would have no need of the Scriptures. The majority of people have as good as no conscience; for they are blind to the principles and laws of God given to guide conscience. And still worse off than these are those mentioned in 1 Tim. 4:2. Hence the imperative necessity for carefully heeding the Lord's Word, and walking circumspectly according to its light.

XII. Do not be bold, except for the right, the truth. So far as yourself is concerned preserve a reverential fear – of sin, and of displeasing the Master, and of losing the great reward – "the prize of our high calling." Nearly all who "fall away" first lose all fear and become self-confident. They forget that it is only "If ye do these things ye shall never fall." (2 Pet. 1:5-10.) "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it." (Heb. 4:1.) Partly because of the loss of this proper fear, "It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance."

[R3596 : page 217]

GOD'S WAYS HIGHER THAN MAN'S WAYS.
ISAIAH 55:1-13. – JULY 23. –

Golden Text: – "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found."

T
ODAY'S lesson is often seriously misapplied. It is supposed to be a picture of the blessings of the Lord upon the Israelites returning from the Babylonian captivity. But whoever will examine the whole matter in the context will clearly discern that if it were a prophecy of that event it signally failed of fulfilment. So far from Israel's return from Babylon being accompanied by the running of nations to them and the Lord's glorification in them, the very reverse was true – they had a very struggling existence for years under very adverse conditions, and never secured their national independence, let alone authority over other nations. Verses 12,13, representing the hills and trees and the pouring forth of blessings do not fit the return of Israel nor their experiences at that time. – See the accounts given in Nehemiah and Ezra.

The proper application of this prophecy is in line with the interpretation already given in chapters 52 and 53. Chapter 52 describes our time, the awakening of Zion and the putting on of the beautiful garments in the resurrection morning. It describes the harvest time, when the watchmen lift up the voice together and the feet of the Church are seen to be beautiful upon the mountains, bringing the message, "Thy king reigneth," and the further message that the Lord's people should depart out of Babylon. (Vs. 11,12. Compare Revelation 18:2-5.) Then follows a description of how highly exalted Messiah will be during his Millennial reign. Chapter 53 calls attention to the fact that the report, the teachings of the Lord through various mouthpieces, has not been regarded, has not been "heard," not been "believed," and the arm of Jehovah has not been appreciated during this Gospel age, and an account of why this was – because of the ignominy and suffering under which it pleased the Father to develop the New Creation, Head and body. Chapter 54 continues the thought saying, "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear," etc. This the Apostle applies to the Gospel Church, or rather to the original Abrahamic Covenant. (Gal. 4:27.) The prosperity of this original covenant as superior to the Law Covenant which temporarily succeeded it is shown, and the result is pictured, namely, that ultimately the fruitage of this Covenant shall be great. The Church is pictured as the glorious New Jerusalem built of precious stones, and the declaration is made that "no weapon formed against it shall prosper."

"WHOSOEVER WILL MAY COME"

Then Chapter 55 describes the condition that shall obtain after the Gospel Church shall have been selected from the world and glorified. Hence the lesson before us pictures the Millennial age and its blessing upon the world of mankind through the glorified Church. "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price." This verse is in close agreement with the picture of the Millennial blessings given us in Revelation 22:1,17.

We have already pointed out that according to the Scriptures there is no river of life flowing at the present time – nor will there be until the Church is glorified, the Kingdom established, and that then the river of life will flow from the throne, from the Millennial Kingdom power and authority established in the earth, and then it will be the glorified Bride with the Spirit that will give the invitation to the world of mankind in general. We have already pointed out the Lord's words to the effect that now whoever has the water of life receives it not from a fountain or river or pool but from the Lord, "a well of water springing up in you." Since there is no water to which to invite any at the present time, the invitation of this lesson must belong to the time when there will be such a flow of living waters.

There is a certain sense in which now any who thirst may come to Christ and find him a fountain of life, and all of the Lord's people are thus refreshed in the present [R3597 : page 217] time by partaking of Christ and thus having formed in them the well of water that will spring up into everlasting life. The statement of our lesson, however, seems to be a more general one, an invitation to every one such as the Millennial invitation will be, for the invitation of the present time has limitations.

The water of life which our dear Redeemer offers us now is not without price, for he himself stipulates that none can be his disciple except he take up his cross and follow him – he who loves father or mother or lands, etc., more than me cannot be my disciple. The cost of the water of life in this present time is self-denial, self-sacrifice, a walk in the narrow way and baptism into Christ's death. Who shall say, then, that the present offer is without price, without conditions, without cost? The Master said that those desirous of being his disciples should sit down first and count the cost. The meaning of all this is that the Lord is selecting during this Gospel age a peculiar people, a special class, those who would be copies of the Son of God and count it all joy to lay down their little all in the divine service because of their appreciation of the wonderful words of life, the exceeding great and precious promises coming to us through our relationship with Jesus.

"A WELL OF WATER IN YOU"

On the contrary, with the end of this Gospel age there will be no more suffering for righteousness' sake, the narrow way will no longer be. It will give place to the highway of holiness upon which all the redeemed of the Lord, during the Millennial age, may go up to life, restitution, perfection. We are glad for the world and for the favorable opportunity which will then come to all mankind through the merit of the precious blood. We are glad that the way shall then be so clear that a wayfaring man may not err therein; we are glad that then the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. But, on the other hand, we are glad also for the narrow way and for the high calling which is ours, preferring it with all its difficulties because of the exceeding great and precious promises connected therewith – promises of association with our dear Redeemer in his Kingdom and its glorious work for the world of mankind – promises of glory, honor and immortality, if so be that we suffer with him that we may also be glorified together.

HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOREVER

Many seem confused to think that the opportunities of the future will be so much greater than those of the present time. The reason for this distinction can only [R3597 : page 218] be seen by those who recognize the Scriptural teaching that the Bride of Christ now being God selected is a very peculiar class in the Lord's estimation, and that it is a special favor toward them that they are now counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake, to be sharers in his death and sharers also "in his resurrection" – the first resurrection. Once the difference is seen between the reward of the Church and that of the world it will be easy to account for the difference between the fiery trials which shall try you and the more favorable environments of the world in the next age. The world will indeed be called to come to the waters of the river of life and to partake thereof freely, without money and without price, without our walking in the narrow way or taking up a cross of self-denial and suffering for righteousness' sake. All that will be required of the world at that time will be that they shall be thirsty, shall be desirous of the life offered, that they shall be hungry for the Bread of Life. All such may indeed delight themselves in the fatness, the fulness, the glorious provision which the Lord has made for them and which will then be opened before them.

In the third verse we have the representation of the Master's gracious invitation as it will soon reach the world of mankind through the glorified Church, "Incline your ear unto me: Hear and your soul shall live." This testimony is in full harmony with Peter's statement of the conditions of the Millennial age. (Acts 3:22,23.) "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me [Moses]; him ye shall hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it will come to pass that every soul that will not hear [obey] that Prophet, shall be destroyed from amongst the people." "Hear [obey] and your soul shall live," shall be the watch-word of the Millennial Kingdom.

The New Covenant, the everlasting Covenant, the sure mercies of David [the beloved], is to be proffered to all. That New Covenant, as the Apostle points out, is the divine agreement to be merciful – to forgive, to cancel sins that are past – "I will put my law in their minds and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people.... I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." (Heb. 8:8-13; Jer. 31:29-34.) "The sure mercies of David" are the mercies guaranteed to Israel and the world through his greater Son, our Lord. The real David (the real Beloved) shall be the divine channel for the outpouring of the blessings and mercies of the Abrahamic Covenant.

DAVID, "BELOVED OF THE LORD"

Of this antitypical David it is written, "Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people." This is the great Prophet, the great Priest, the great King, typified by Moses and Melchizedek and the kings of the line of David. Behold he shall call a nation not previously known – the new nation called during this Gospel age, a holy nation, a peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood, to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9.) And ultimately as a result of this calling of spiritual Israel as a holy nation and as a result of the establishment of the Kingdom and the glorification of this holy nation with himself at its head, because the Lord, the holy one of Israel, will glorify these, therefore many nations that previously knew him not shall run unto him because of his being glorified.

Throughout the Millennial age there will be a grand opportunity for every member of Adam's race to seek the Lord while he may be found, to call upon him while he is near. The opportunity will last for a thousand years and all will be invited to drink of the water of life freely. All appreciating the situation fully may attain to all that was lost in Adam – attain it through the processes of restitution.

Verse seven shows how the Lord may then be sought and found, namely, the wicked must forsake his ways of unrighteousness, the unjust must abandon unrighteousness even in thought. Under such conditions during that thousand years all may return unto Jehovah and find mercy and abundant pardon through the great antitypical David. But it will require all of that thousand years of Christ's reign to restore and make fit for presentation to Jehovah those who will hear the voice and apply for the water of life, forsake unrighteousness and seek the Lord. How glorious the prospect!

Verses 12,13 set forth the blessings and peace and favor of God which will then be upon the whole world of mankind. It will no longer be true that whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, for then whosoever will live godly shall go out with joy and be led forth in peace by the great Shepherd of the flock, who, after telling us that we, his flock of this present age, are like sheep amongst wolves, assures us that "other sheep I have which are not of this fold." (John 10:16.) It is these other sheep of the Millennial age which are referred to and whose leading out and in in peace and joy is assured. There will be no wolves there, no "lions or any ravenous beast," is the assurance.

In grandly poetic language mountains and hills and trees and fields are represented as all rejoicing in that glorious day when Satan shall be bound, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth, when the darkness of sin shall have fled away before the glorious beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Instead of the thorns of the present time, the wicked who lurkingly seek to injure the unwary foot, there shall then be the fir tree, an evergreen – symbolical of a man possessed of life everlasting. Instead of the briar with its thorns reaching forth to attack and ensnare those attracted by its sweet odor, shall come up the myrtle tree, beautiful and harmless. Thus does the Lord contrast the condition of the world to-day, full of men and women who are really thorns and briars in word and deed, injuring others, and the peaceable, strong, stalwart ones full of life and vigor in the next age.

THE LORD SHALL BE GLORIFIED

The conclusion of the chapter is that by that time, when the Lord's work of salvation for our race shall have been fully accomplished, the results will be to the name or honor of Jehovah, and this sign of his greatness and goodness will be perpetual – it will never be cut off. Evil doers, we are assured, shall be cut off – it would not be to the glory of the Lord that they should be permitted to continue. It will be to the Lord's glory that he should save from amongst mankind all who have a love for righteousness, all who under favorable conditions would prefer harmony with God and with righteousness, with truth and with goodness and purity.

Verses 8-11 point out that such wonderful blessings as these will be beyond the thinking of mankind – they [R3598 : page 219] will be unready to believe that God's plan as it shall ultimately be developed will be so grand, so broad, so high, so deep. The Lord, therefore, explains in conjunction with these promises, "My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord." Many have thought it strange that earthly parents and generous and benevolent members of the human family should conceive grand and noble beneficences for each other, and especially for the more degraded of mankind, and have wondered how it could be that men's ways would be so much higher and grander than God's ways. The difficulty has been that they have not known the mind of the Lord; they have supposed that God had predestinated a little handful to eventually attain glory – saints favored by his grace and possessing much advantage every way over the majority of mankind. They have supposed, and in all the creeds of Christendom still teach, that all the remainder of mankind are according to the divine purpose to be eternally tormented. They have thus imagined that a good man's ways and a good man's plans are much higher than the ways and plans of the Almighty. Alas! How the Lord's holy name and character have been traduced and blasphemed by those who really sought to serve him and honor him. Alas, how shortsighted we have all been!

Not until the Millennial Kingdom and its work are seen – not until the eyes of our understanding discern something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of God's wonderful provision for every member of the human family – not until then can we realize the meaning of this assurance before us, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans than your plans."

SHOWERS OF REFRESHING

The Lord gives us a word picture respecting his dealings with us as a race – respecting his word of promise which has been with us for 3,500 years, assuring us of the ultimate blessing of all the families of the earth but whose fulfilment is not yet apparent except to the eye of faith. The illustration offered is that as the rain cometh down from heaven and returneth not thither until it have watered the earth, causing it to bring forth and bud and to give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall it be with the Word of the Lord which has gone out of his mouth: it shall not return unto him void, empty, without fruit, but it shall accomplish that which he pleased and shall prosper in the thing whereunto he sent it.

Isaiah evidently realized, as did Solomon (Eccl. 1:7), that the rain coming down from the clouds returned thither again, and it therefore furnishes us a faithful picture of the Lord's Word, promise, which, as his messenger, comes into the world charged with a certain duty, obligation and purpose, which will ultimately return to the Lord to make report. The report, the result of the promise, shall not be other than that which the heavenly Father in his greatness and mercy and love designed; the report of the results of the divine plan shall not be such as would be a discredit to the Creator, a shame or blot upon his work, his character, his plan. The results shall be worthy of the one who conceived the plan: they shall show not only to restored humanity in the Millennial age, especially at its close, but they shall show also to all the holy angels, the wisdom, justice, love and power of God, and how grand and noble and loving are his thoughts and plans toward his creatures.

[R3598 : page 219]

A DISHONOR TO HIS FATHER.
2 CHRONICLES 33:1-13. – JULY 30. –

Golden Text: – "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." – Prov. 14:34.

A
PREVIOUS lesson showed Hezekiah to have been in many respects a model king – obedient to God and faithful. This lesson evidences the fact that good men and loyal to the Lord may be poor fathers, careless of their responsibilities to their children. Alas, that it is so to this day, and that even amongst the children of God, begotten of the holy Spirit, there are some who still fail to acquire the spirit of a sound mind in this particular.

The Scriptural declaration is, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6.) The thought seems to be that if the plastic mind of a child be properly cared for, properly impressed with the principles of righteousness, that impress cannot be wholly effaced even though the child might temporarily try forbidden paths of sin. Would that this important matter could be clearly discerned by all of the Lord's people, and that all could realize that in bringing children into the world a serious responsibility is undertaken, a responsibility which cannot be shirked, a responsibility which no right-minded person would desire to shirk.

If this thought could be impressed upon all readers of ZION'S WATCH TOWER it surely would profit them and their children greatly. Indeed we are glad to know in various ways that the Truth is having great influence in the lives of WATCH TOWER readers and also upon their families. This is the practical outworking of the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of love and truth and righteousness. May it abound more and more, telling not only in the present life in the welfare of the children, but witnessing also to friends and neighbors a good testimony to the wisdom that cometh from above, first pure, then peaceable, easy of entreatment, full of mercy and good fruits.

HEZEKIAH'S WICKED SON

The story of Manasseh's reign is briefly told and is abominable. A boy of twelve years of age, properly reared, should have possessed considerable reason and sound sense and should have been considerably established in the ways of righteousness, in appreciation of the Lord and of the responsible position he occupied as his representative in Judah. It is a mistake that many parents make when they suppose that reasonable and sensible thoughts cannot be entertained by their children until they are twenty to thirty years of age. On the contrary, the most lasting impressions of life are frequently received before ten years of age, and the lessons should begin when the child is a month old – lessons of loving obedience to law and order, to the [R3598 : page 220] parental authority as representing the still higher power of the Creator. The child that does not learn to respect his parents and the proper laws and regulations of his home will be disadvantaged as respects his appreciations of his responsibilities to the Lord and his covenant laws, etc.

It is all a mistake to suppose that childhood years must be spent in sowing wild oats or even in frivolity and play. From early infancy the thought should be instilled that life is a great privilege, a great blessing, and that every day and every hour should be used wisely and should bring some returns – to the glory of God or to our own advantage or to the advantage of others. From earliest infancy each should be taught that it is a shame and a sin to kill time, to waste time, to allow hours and days to slip by without improvement, without use in some worthy manner. The child who learns to waste time or to fritter it away in a useless and unprofitable manner is being permanently injured, and if ever he becomes useful in the world must do so by counteracting, by fighting against the wrong lessons learned in childhood.

Parents owe it to their children to lay for them the proper foundation, to see that their minds are not filled with vanities, foolishness, nonsense, and that their hours and days are not wasted, but that the child shall be sympathetically made to understand that every moment is precious as a fitting and preparation for the great work of life upon which it is about to enter. Every parent owes it to his child also to impress upon the plastic mind noble thoughts, noble ambitions and not merely selfish ones. The child should be taught in a kindly manner by word and by example that any waste is reprehensible, and that hoarding in a miserly manner is likewise censurable; that those people who have merely as the chief end of life the accumulation of money are monomaniacs on the subject, and that the only reasonable and proper course is to use all the blessings and privileges, advantages and opportunities coming to us in God's providence for our own mental, moral and physical uplift and for rendering assistances to all within our reach, in harmony with the Golden Rule and with the law of love, first for God and secondly for our neighbor.

The evils which Manasseh fostered and developed are set forth in the words of our lesson as succinctly as it would seem possible to state them and need no particular comment from us. One sentence covers the matter. "So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err so that they did evil more than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel." (R.V.) Thus in few words we are given the picture of the depth of degradation attained in a very short period – the heirs of the promises sinned more grievously than the Amalekites, the Perizzites, the Hittites and all those nations whom the Lord drove out of Canaan to make room for them, and whose iniquities, we are told, had come to the full. One lesson we might draw from this plunge into unrighteousness is that sin is constitutional derangement, that through the fall the whole human family is prone to sin as the sparks fly upward, that it requires continual effort under the guidance of the Lord to maintain even a reasonable standing and not to go backward into sin. With such a plunge into sin in such a short time, we can readily see how some of the heathen, not helped by the Lord as Israel was, reached still lower depths of degradation, as [R3599 : page 220] is evidenced in the various heathen nations of today.

A parallel lesson might be drawn for the benefit of spiritual Israel. The New Creatures in Christ should realize that there is a continual warfare between the flesh and the spirit, and if the new nature yield the old nature triumphing will run a short course into sin, as the Apostle describes, saying of some that they were turned like a dog to his vomit and like a sow to her wallowing in the mire. The lesson in this connection would be that as New Creatures we must be continually on guard. We note the words of the Apostle as valuable instruction along this line, "I keep my body under, lest having preached to others I myself should be a castaway."

CHASTISEMENT AND FORGIVENESS

The Israelites under God's covenant were subject to disciplines for their deflection from the divine law, and these chastisements repeated frequently not only teach us of the perversity of the stiff-necked nation but also teach us of God's faithfulness, and illustrate to us how the judgments of the Lord bring forth a good fruitage. The judgment of the Lord as punishment for sin which came upon Manasseh eventuated in a blessing for the evildoer. When in prison in Babylon in sore distress he besought Jehovah his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers and prayed unto him.

In this we have an illustration of the principle that will go into effect in the Millennial age, only that the retributions of that time will be more prompt than they were in the days of Israel. When Christ shall be King over all the earth and shall lay righteousness to the line and justice to the plummet and sweep away every refuge of lies, his rewards for every good endeavor and intention and punishments for every evil intention and effort will be the establishment of judgment in the world. And the record is that "when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."

Mercy is one of the grandest and most impressive features of the divine character, as the Apostle has declared, "There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared." (Psa. 130:4.) If God were not forgiving and merciful we might indeed be in terror before him; but we could not love him, neither would we have the same incentives to righteousness, because if he were not willing to forgive where would be the advantage or wisdom of repentance. Manasseh's petition to the Lord and his sincere repentance secured his release from Babylon and his return to the throne of Judah. On his return to power he apparently did everything he could do to efface the results of his previous wrong course. He endeavored to root out idolatry, cleansed the Temple of abominations, restored the divinely appointed services and issued positive commands that the people should follow his example in the worship and service of the Lord. But a good tree may be more easily and quickly cut down than a new one can be grown, and so it was that the evil effects of Manasseh's reign were never thoroughly effaced before his death, and the son born during the period of his wrong course and tainted with the adverse conditions was an enemy of righteousness, who, after two years' reign, was assassinated by officers of his own household. [R3599 : page 221]

One of the important lessons for us to draw from this narrative is respecting the mercy of God to the truly repentant here illustrated. Many who are now spiritual Israelites were once wicked, vicious, idolators of money or of houses or of lands or of other things and alienated from God. His gracious character and readiness to forgive needs to be continually emphasized as we present the message of salvation to the members of our fallen race. Yea, sometimes this element of God's character needs to be emphasized to those who have already become his people, but who through weaknesses of the flesh have erred or strayed into forbidden paths – "There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared."

No right-minded person will conclude that because God is very merciful and of tender compassion, therefore he may be sinned against repeatedly and forgiveness be relied upon. Rather let us get the thought that even though we should be forgiven and even though God should be merciful to us to the very last extreme, nevertheless every transgression and disobedience shall receive a just recompense of reward in some way or other. He who sins suffers, even though he subsequently repent and be forgiven. The dregs and degradation effected by the transgressions of divine law persist. And this principle applies to us who now have divine forgiveness in this present time, so that many of the Lord's jewels are to-day suffering mentally and physically for sins that are past and covered by God's mercy. And the same will be true in the next age in God's dealing with the world through the glorified Christ. Sins that are past will be forgiven them as they are forgiven us, but the degradations coming to the world through sin will survive the forgiveness of sins as they do with us and they will have proportionately the more to get rid of, the more to be restored from; they will be obliged to climb from the greater depth to the glorious heights of life and perfection in the image and likeness of God.

[R3601 : page 221]

THE TEMPLE GOD IS BUILDING.
"Of all the beautiful lessons
With which God's book is filled,
This one, of wonderful sweetness,
Hath most my being thrilled.
Oh, wonderful care of the Father!
Oh, wonderful love so free!
To know that the Maker of all things
Careth so much for me!

"'Tis said that the temple, so stately,
That crowned Moriah's hill,
Was built without sound of hammer,
The toilers working so still.
Far off from the grand foundation
Was all the noise and strain
Of fitting one stone to another,
From base to turret's fane.

"And when all were brought together,
The stones of every size,
The columns, so strong and graceful,
Each in its place to rise –
They formed so grand a temple
As never before was seen;
So true in its great proportions,
So bright in its glittering sheen.

"Yet there is a greater temple,
And God is he who plans;
Now gath'ring his stones together
For his 'house not made with hands,'
And each 'living stone' will be there,
Which evermore, day by day,
He's fitting for this great temple,
Which will last for ever and aye.

"Our pains, temptations and perils,
Our sufferings, sighs and tears,
Are God's chisels, tools and hammers,
Until the Master appears.
Let no one shrink from the process,
Let none of the Lord's complain;
But wait with a meek submission,
'Twill not be long nor in vain."

[R3599 : page 221]

SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
IS A PLACE IN THE "LITTLE FLOCK" TOO GREAT AN ASPIRATION?

Question. – Who will be found worthy to be of the "little flock"? Is not this aspiring too high? Should we not, rather, hope to be of the great company, who will go through the fire of tribulation?

Answer. – Were it not that God has graciously, in the New Covenant, made provision for the covering of our unintentional blemishes and weaknesses, under the garment of Christ's righteousness, none of us could hope to be worthy of such a high calling as has been extended to us – a call to the divine nature and to joint-heirship with our Lord and Redeemer. As the Apostle expresses it, "Our sufficiency is of Christ."

This does not mean, however, that we have nothing to do with making our calling and election sure. On the contrary, God having made provision for our justification from the sins that are past, thus fitted us to receive this high calling and prepared us to respond to it in a manner acceptable to himself. But our response must be hearty, as unto the Lord – a full consecration of ourselves even unto death in his service. We cannot claim that our Lord's death secures for us the prize of the high calling. His death secures for us the right to run the race; but the running of the race is our own affair, and only those who run that race will win that prize. Our Lord's sacrifice, in addition to opening for us the race-course, helps us over the infirmities of the flesh, because under the terms of the New Covenant God accepts our will, our heart-intentions, in respect to this race, and not the achievements of our flesh merely. God's grace in Christ making up for our natural imperfections, we are accredited as running the race with all the zeal and fervor of our minds, our wills, our endeavors. God thus judges us according to the spirit of our minds, and not according to the attempts of the flesh.

It is thus, with Christ's righteousness supplementing our fully consecrated wills and best efforts, that the Lord reckons us "worthy" of joint-heirship with his son, our Lord. And if God counts such "worthy" why should not we count such worthy, including ourselves, if with our hearts we are serving the Lord to the best of our several abilities?

No; it will be easier to get into the little flock than into the great company, so far as experiences are concerned. The difference between the two classes will [R3599 : page 222] consist not so much in the experiences as in the willingness to endure those experiences. As justified and consecrated children who endure whatever divine providence may permit, joyfully, and who go about the Father's business, doing with their might what their hands find to do, counting it a joy to suffer persecution in his service, these will constitute the "little flock," the "overcomers," the "worthy." Those who hold back from such suffering, and who endure persecution unwillingly, and merely rather than deny the Lord, are the ones whom we may expect to find will pass through the great time of trouble, and be of the great company, who will wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb.

WERE ALL THE MARTYRS OF THE SAINT CLASS?

Question. – Will not first of all the martyrs of the past be of the little flock, and are not they more than 144,000?

Answer. – We have no reason to question that there were faithful saints amongst the martyrs of the past. We may therefore expect such to be classed by our Lord as amongst the overcomers, the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation, the little flock, the elect Church. But we are of the opinion that there were fewer of the saints in olden times amongst the "martyrs" than the majority of people are inclined to think. Our reasons for this opinion are: The vast majority of those martyrdoms, so far as we are able to read between the lines of history, were in large part at least the results of political and social animosity – comparatively few of them for what might strictly be termed saintship – full consecration and faithfulness to the Lord. So far as the records show, many were executed very unwillingly; few willingly, joyfully, laid down their lives as living sacrifices to the Lord and his cause. Some, from the records, [R3600 : page 222] would appear to have gone to martyrdom spurred on by more or less of bravado, others by family or personal pride. Nor need it surprise us if we should ultimately find that a considerable number who were martyrs in the "dark ages" will be of the great company class who laid down their lives unwillingly, unjoyfully – impelled by their unwillingness to deny the Lord.

WHO ARE THEY WHO ARE "DEFILED" BY BABYLON?

Question. – You have already suggested that the expression, "These are they which were not defiled by women" (Rev. 14:4) symbolically refers to earthly church organizations, represented as women – Babylon, mother and daughters. Now, I want to enquire, Have not all or nearly all of us who now enjoy the light of Present Truth been at one time or another in Babylon, connected with some of these church systems or "women"? If so, have we not all been thus defiled? If not, what is signified by the defilement?

Answer. – To our understanding, the point where defilement begins is after the light of truth has reached the Lord's people, and opened the eyes of their understanding to see the difference between the Church whose names are written in heaven and the human organizations whose memberships are written on earth. After we have come to see something at least of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine character and plan, and to appreciate something at least of how the Lord and his plan have been misrepresented by these women (systems) and his character traduced, and after we have heard thus the voice of conscience and of the Lord's Word, saying to us, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues;" – then it is that our defilement of conscience begins, if we refuse to obey the light that God has granted us, and the voice of his Truth. Whoever, for social or financial or other mercenary reasons, holds to that which he sees is built upon a wrong principle, and upholding wrong theories, in defamation of the divine character, is defiling his conscience, will be unworthy to be counted an overcomer, and will fail to have a part in the first resurrection.

That this is so – that God does not reckon us defiled by our contact with Babylon up to the point of our enlightenment and our intelligent acquiescence in Babylon's wrong condition and course – is evidenced by the Scripture which says, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen [rejected]. Come out of her, my people [this shows that the Lord's people have mainly been in Babylon], that ye be not partakers of her sins [they are not reckoned to this point as being 'defiled'], and that ye receive not of her plagues [all who thus defile themselves with Babylon after seeing her true character prove themselves unworthy of being classed amongst the overcomers, and at very most could only hope to be of those who would come up through great tribulation, and wash their robes (of defilements) and make them white in the blood of the Lamb]."

PRAYERS FOR EARTHLY RULERS.

Question. – How should we understand the Apostle's expression (1 Tim. 2:1-4), respecting the propriety of making prayer and supplication on behalf of "kings and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty"?

Answer. – We are to feel a keen interest in the whole world, its great and its poor. We are interested in them because they are our brethren and neighbors according to the flesh and because God loved them, had mercy upon them, and redeemed them with his blood, and has made a gracious provision for their reclamation by and by. In proportion as we are in accord with our Lord we must be in accord with all these features of his gracious plan, and this means a love for mankind and a desire to "do good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith." – Gal. 6:10.

Having such a kind feeling for the world it is appropriate that we should have their interests in mind when we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven;" indeed, any and everything which bears upon the interests of humanity must of necessity come close to the hearts of those who have the holy spirit of love. It is appropriate, therefore, that on proper occasions prayer and supplication be made on behalf of rulers, indicating our good wishes for their welfare and leading in ways of righteousness – even though we see them hastening in a wrong course toward evil conditions, sure to react to their injury.

The Apostle implies that these prayers for rulers should be to the intent that we may live a peaceable and quiet life – that God's people may have the peace of God at all times ruling in their hearts, and never fearing the anarchistic or hateful spirit of the world, and of the blind leaders of the blind. So that if we cannot speak well of them nor cooperate with them for conscience' sake we can at least bear them no grudge, but can pray for them, and make sure that we speak evil of no man. [R3600 : page 223]

Our Lord's prayer, recorded in John 17, "I pray not for the world," should not be understood in contradiction of the Apostle's declarations in this text, but rather be interpreted to mean, I am not now praying for the world, "but for those whom thou hast given me."

Neither are we to understand the Apostle to mean that we are to pray for something contrary to what the Lord has instructed us; we are not to pray for and to expect the conversion of kings and rulers and nations, so that the time of trouble will not be necessary and will not come. On the contrary, we are to understand that the trouble will come, because the world is not in the proper attitude of heart for the change of dispensation which is now due to take place. It must pass through the baptism of "blood," "fire," "wrath," in order to be ready for the new order of things, and these, therefore, will be so many blessings for the time disguised. Our prayers are to be in full accord with what is written, but this will not hinder us from good wishes for all, and from a sympathetic realization that many are perverse because they are blinded by the god of this world.

Question. – Please throw some light on Psa. 51:12-16. We do not see sinners converted, as therein stated. Why?

Answer. – You evidently recognize the Psalms as prophetic, and this is right. The words of the Prophet relate to the body of Christ in the Gospel age, rather than to himself in the Jewish age. Our desires are to be that we may be filled with the Lord's spirit, transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we recognize as a fact that only those who have experienced such a transformation can properly represent the Lord as rebukers of sin and examples of righteousness and assistants for the recovery of the sinners to harmony with God. This is true now as respects the sinners of the present time, who chiefly are those whose eyes have been once enlightened with some measure of the light of truth, and who are not walking worthy of the Lord. The members of the body of Christ are all to be living epistles, known and read of all men – their influence in the world is to be a reproof to sin in every state and condition. This Scripture will have a particular fulfilment in the next age, when the Church now under instruction "taught of God," "made perfect through suffering," "filled with the spirit," shall by and by be glorified and become, as members of the body of Christ, the teachers of mankind – kings and priests unto God. In the present some sinners are reclaimed through good example; in the future we hope that many will be turned to the Lord under clearer light and more favorable conditions of the Millennial Kingdom.

"BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT."

Question.In DAWN, Vol. I., p. 277, and again in the WATCH TOWER, January 1, 1905, considerable has been said respecting the new birth, discussed by our Lord with Nicodemus, but we do not find a particular comment upon our Lord's statement, "Except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." Will you kindly give us a word on this statement – what it imports?

Answer. – The Lord seems to have had in mind the natural birth as a figure or illustration of the new birth. Our thought is that water is here used, as frequently elsewhere, as a symbol of the truth, and that these words signify that unless one be first begotten "by the word of truth" he cannot be born of the spirit to the new nature. (Eph. 5:26.) We believe that the Word does teach a water immersion too, and that all of the Lord's people who discern this teaching would and should be glad to obey it, but we fail to see that the Lord has laid such a stress upon water immersion. One of the best evidences that he has not done so is the fact that so many Christian confessors of the past have given evidence of having been begotten of the holy Spirit and of having participated in the real baptism into Christ's death through a full consecration, and yet being ignorant of the Scripture teaching respecting water immersion they were never thus symbolically baptized. To apply the word "water" in this text to water immersion would, therefore, be to exclude from the Kingdom many of the Lord's loyal and faithful ones who have laid down their lives in his service. This fact corroborates our view, above stated, that the Lord did not mean to refer to water baptism, but to the truth which, in the quotation already referred to is mentioned as the begetting power – as primarily related, therefore, to our birth of the Spirit. [R3601 : page 223]

THE DIVINE STANDPOINT.

Question. – Please explain Rom. 4:17 – "God... calleth those things which be not as though they were."

Answer. – The Apostle is discussing Abraham and God's promises to him, one of which is, "I have made thee a father of many nations." The Apostle calls attention to the fact that Abraham, in this matter, was a type of God, and that these words, therefore, imply that many nations would become children of God. The thought is somewhat beclouded by the translation, "before him whom he believed." If this were rendered, "foreshadowing him whom he believed," or "typifying him whom he believed," the thought would be clearer to many.

The words concerning which you particularly enquire signify that God here, as frequently in other places, speaks of things not yet accomplished as though they were accomplished. Abraham was not a father of many nations at the time, and God did not even refer to his natural seed, through Ishmael and Isaac, and the sons of Keturah, but referred to the seed, the antitypical son of Abraham, which is Christ, the antitypical Isaac, and the Church, the antitypical Rebecca, through whom during the Millennial age all the families of the earth will be blessed, and be granted opportunity for regeneration, as children of God.

HOW ARE WE UNDER GOD'S PROTECTION?

Question. – How are we under divine care? How does the Lord's protection come to us, his followers?

Answer. – It is as new creatures and not as old creatures, according to the flesh, that we are reckoned members of the body of Christ, and under control and supervision of our Head. It follows, then, that the interests of the new creature are those which will have the Lord's special care and protection – even though this be at the expense of his earthly, temporal, physical interests. The flesh is consecrated to death anyway, and our desire and the Lord's promise is that the faithful consummation of that earthly sacrifice shall work out the far more exceeding and abundant honor and blessing to the new creature. In a word, then, the Lord's special care toward us is in respect to our spiritual interests, as members of the Royal Priesthood.