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October 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. XXIX.OCTOBER 1No. 19
A.D. 1908 – A.M. 6036
CONTENTS
Views from the Watch Tower 291
More Miracle Wheat 291
Seven-Headed Wheat Discovered 291
Is Surgery a Cure for Crime? 291
Churches Plunging Into Hypnotism 292
Vow Letters Not a Few 293
What Constitutes a Church? 293
"The Evil One Toucheth Him Not" 294
Parables of the Kingdom 297
Saul and David in Review 298
Hell Hath Enlarged Herself 300
Watch Tower Bibles – New Edition 302
New Edition of the Debates 302
Berean Studies on the Atonement 303

"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.

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
T
HIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly 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." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I 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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All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each MAY stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.

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HALIFAX THREE DAYS' CONVENTION
OCTOBER 15, 16, 17, 18

In compliance with the request of the Newfoundland and Nova Scotia friends, a General Convention will be held at Halifax, N.S., October 15-18.

Sessions will convene at 10 a.m. and 2.30 and 7 p.m. each day. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday in St. Paul's Hall, Argyle Street. On Sunday the meetings will be held in Orpheus Hall. All Believers in the Atonement by the precious blood will be welcomed. Boat excursions from Boston. Excursion rates on New England and Provincial railroads on "Certificate Plan" are hoped for.

BROTHER RUSSELL'S SERMONS

The cheapest way in which Brother Russell's sermons can be had regularly every week by the year in foreign lands is through the ENQUIRER, price $1.00 (4 shillings, or 4 marks, or 5 francs); this includes postage. Order through any of our Branches.

Nine journals are now publishing Brother Russell's discourses weekly, and through these Present Truth reaches probably 800,000 people regularly. If only one in a hundred reads it means a wide influence for the honor of the Lord.

VOLUNTEER MATTER, 1908

We still have plenty and it is excellent; all who have the time and strength may use this opportunity to serve in the "Harvest" field.

[R4250 : page 291]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
MORE MIRACLE WHEAT

O
UR notice of the "Miracle Wheat" grown in Virginia, the grower reports, has caused him lots of trouble answering letters and returning money sent for small samples. He has shown us representative stalks of the wheat and photos of its growing in the field, fully corroborating all that we have published respecting the same. But he refuses to sell any of it until he has secured a fair stock, which will be in a few years hence.

Meantime the matter has brought out the fact that others are also propagating "Miracle Wheat," as witnessed by the subjoined reports. We advise farmers to begin at once to inspect their wheat before cutting and cull out for seed the choicest, fullest heads or most "stooled." Our thought is that in this natural way God is preparing for the Millennium, when "the earth shall yield her increase."

SEVEN-HEADED WHEAT DISCOVERED

W. W. Ward, of Dayton, Washington, has discovered a new variety of wheat that has seven distinct heads united to a common base. And each head is larger than the ordinary wheat. Ward figures that the new variety will yield as high as 280 bushels to the acre, with an average of 200 bushels.

Hundreds of farmers have visited the Ward ranch and are intensely interested in the new wheat. All have asked for a few pounds of the seed, but Ward is figuring upon further experiments and plans to plant all of this year's crop next season, enlarging his present area to about three acres.

Ward has been experimenting for five years to get a wheat that will yield bigger crops, but never expected anything like the seven-headed variety.

Sioux City Tribune.

*                         *                         *

Neither of the above notes relate to what is termed "Alaska" wheat grown in Idaho, which we understand had been repudiated by Government experts.

IS SURGERY A CURE FOR CRIME?

Is the modern criminal to be reformed by means of the surgeon's knife? Is our whole penal system – reformatories, jails, and asylums for criminal lunatics – to be abolished, while society depends for protection, and looks for the elevation to a higher moral standard of the thief and the murderer to a few inches of steel wielded by the hand of a strong-nerved genius of science?

Recent miracles of surgery, such as those performed by Dr. Bernard Hollander, who has recently claimed that criminals should be judged according to a medical standard, suggest that we are on the eve of a revolution in our treatment of the criminal and insane, and that in a few years a dozen cuts of the lancet will effect a greater change in the moral equipment of the Ishmaelites of society than years of confinement in a jail.

Look at the case of Holzay, otherwise known as "Black Bart," the terror of half-a-dozen states in America. No treasure on board a train was secure against his evil designs; no plans of the detectives were sufficient safeguard against his desperate courses. "Black Bart" stole and murdered with impunity; but in a slack moment he fell into the hands of the police and his criminal career was closed by a sentence of imprisonment for life. In a few weeks he was removed to the criminal lunatic asylum, and the prison surgeons, deliberating long and anxiously over his case, came to the conclusion that "Black Bart's" crimes were not so much the result of "cussedness" as a sheer inability to run in the straight and narrow path. His brain was affected by a tumor; remove the growth, they said, and it's a thousand chances to one that "Black Bart" will become a fairly decent member of society. The operation was performed, and in six weeks the nature of the once desperate criminal had completely changed. The knife, while removing the tumor, would seem to have removed his evil passions as well; his old blood-thirstiness had disappeared, and prison-wardens, who formerly hesitated to approach him unless in couples, found him as harmless as, and more tractable than, a child.

Not long since a Welsh railway porter fractured his skull by falling off a truck. He was trephined, and apparently got well, but always suffered from epileptic fits. His usual alertness deserted him, and instead of being a bright, intelligent man, he became drowsy and listless, indifferent to all that was going on around him. In this condition he was taken to the Liverpool infirmary, where it was found that the old hole in the skull was an inch long, and that a flap of skin, including the old scar, was directly attached to the brain. What did the surgeons do? They scraped the folds of the brain clear of this skin, and placed between the brain and the bone a thin plate of gold in order to prevent them sticking together again. Over this the skin was neatly [R4250 : page 292] drawn and securely sewn. A week later the patient was sitting up in bed; in a month or less he was reading the newspapers, and taking a keen and intelligent interest in the busy world around him. The instruments of the surgeon had saved him from becoming a human log; they had brightened his brain, and sharpened his faculties as no treatment in an asylum could have done.

A somewhat similar case was that of Jay Lentz, employed as a foreman at the Great Western mines at Harmon, in Virginia. He was caught under a fall of slate, his skull was broken, and a piece of his brain was torn from the main structure. Of course, his mental condition immediately changed for the worse. The doctors, faced by a terrible problem, resolved on heroic measures. The shattered brain was neatly dressed. A healthy yearling calf was tied down, her skull cut away, and a lobe of the brain removed and fitted into the cavity of Lentz' head. Slow, but sure, was the miner's progress towards recovery. As his physical health improved his old-time intellectual brightness came back, until he was able to resume his ordinary occupation in life.

More marvelous still, however, is a case in which the surgeon's knife has been used to restore the moral faculties, with a boy as the subject. The boy is Carl Fredericks of Hoboken, whose brain is so peculiarly formed, say the doctors, that if left alone he would never do right. The growth of the brain matter has installed in him a tendency toward perpetual evil. Let us rid his skull of the excess, said the surgeons, and see if any moral improvement is visible. Certain parts of the brain, which were considered to cause the trouble, were cut away, and the effect was surprising. Carl is growing good; his wicked tendencies are gradually disappearing, and it is expected that in a few years he will have his full quota of moral faculties.

London Exchange.
CHURCHES PLUNGING INTO HYPNOTISM

About a year ago, two ministers of New England decided to try methods analogous to those used by Spiritists, Eddyists, Mormons and Hypnotists for the cure of diseases. They met with a measure of success, as do the others. The news of their methods is spreading, and a prominent publishing firm, with a Methodist D.D. at its head, is now sending circular letters to ministers everywhere, advertising two new books which they publish, explaining how the work can be carried on by any preacher along hypnotic lines.

We print below extracts from a long article in the Kansas City Star, detailing the fact that Rev. A. T. Osbron of its city, is endeavoring to use hypnotism to regain his hold upon his dwindling congregation of Methodists. We quote:

"It has been said of life insurance that 'You have to die to win.' Similarly the policy of the church has been to hold out promises of a happy reward to the faithful, but they had to die to get it.

"The reason Christian Science numbers its converts by the thousands while the orthodox church complains of a falling off in membership is this: Christian Science holds out the offer of help to the afflicted, rest to the weary and health, wealth and prosperity for all. Its helping hand is extended now. Its promise of happiness is in this life.

"The old church with its policy of 'suffer all manner of evil for great is your reward in heaven,' cannot compete with a creed which holds out such promises of immediate well-being.

"The Rev. Mr. Osbron believes that all Methodist ministers not only should preach the gospel, but should "heal the sick" and comfort by the divine power in them. In his little church at 925 Newton avenue, Dr. Osbron has undertaken a movement portentous for the church and to humanity. It is a movement which its founder hopes will grow and encompass the earth. It is interesting to listen to the opinion of this prophet of the church that is to be.

[R4251 : page 292]

"'The fact that men care little about theory or doctrine,' said Mr. Osbron, 'explains why very sensible men become adherents to such unscientific and non-Christian organizations as the Spiritualist or Christian Science church. The truth is a large part of their membership is totally unfamiliar with the doctrines to which they have subscribed. Visible facts attracted them. They wanted results and that was all they cared for. Their interest was aroused by what the church did, not what it taught.

"No one can deny that in practice the Christian Scientists do a great deal of good – that they relieve pain and cure some diseases! These are indubitable facts.

"Many thousands there are who would gladly testify to the efficacy of their manner of treatment, and in the face of such a multitude of witnesses we can but hold our peace. True, it is urged that many of their patients die without medical aid. Just so do the patients of the doctors die in spite of their medicines.

"The orthodox church must utilize the marvelous healing powers of suggestive or psychic therapeutics. This power has been possessed by individuals from the earliest times. By its means the early church-men performed miracles of healing by touch. Of late it has been disregarded by the church and the attention of followers called only to the miracles of other days. Quacks and charlatans have seized upon the psychic power and used it for their personal aggrandizement. It is time for the church again to take up this, their allotted task, and obey the Scriptural injunction, 'heal the sick,' as a part of the church's ministrations to its followers.

"My method is in no sense that of the Christian Scientist. The Scientists deny the reality of pain, disease and sin. I believe they are very real. But I also know that much suffering can be relieved and many physical ills cured by suggestion and prayer.

"There are thousands wandering in the shadow of insanity who might be saved by proper suggestion. It is astonishing to discover the number there are who are constantly harassed by fear in various forms. They screen these fears and fixed ideas from their friends, and suffer in silence until nervous breakdown, suicide or crime is the certain end. All these could be cured, criminal tendencies removed and the reform schools all but emptied by the proper use of hypnotic suggestion."

"The minister's meeting of the Methodist church in Kansas City, after a discussion of a favorable character, appointed a commission consisting of the Rev. Ernest Claypool, the Rev. Daniel McGurk and the Rev. Arthur Barton, to keep in close touch with the movement, and to make an official report to the body on the first Monday of September next as to the class of work done."

*                         *                         *

Let us not be misunderstood. We fully agree that the human mind can either greatly assist or hinder a disease or its cure. We advise all to mentally resist everything undesirable, mental and physical; and that God's children obey their Lord's advice and "cast all their care upon him," realizing that fear is a most dangerous thing, except the fear of displeasing God. But how sad it is to see professed ministers and professed people of God, rushing into Satan's trap, wholly negligent of and as above scoffing at the essence of the Master's teaching. He that saveth his life shall lose it [R4251 : page 293] and he that loseth his life for my sake and the Gospel's shall find it – preserve it unto life eternal. How remarkably few understand that the call of this Gospel Age is "to suffer with Christ," and to "be dead with him" that we may by and by live and reign with him.

Let us, who are awake to the true situation act accordingly – avoiding Hypnotism, Spiritism and Occultism (demonism) in their every form of deception, and let us do all we reasonably can to spread a knowledge of the Truth to all people, especially to Christians.

[R4251 : page 293]

VOW LETTERS NOT A FEW
V
OW letters from individuals and classes continue to pour in upon the Editor. He is glad to have them and requests that you excuse the impossible pleasure of answering every one of these by letter. He thinks none the less of some who have "sat down and counted the cost" before taking the Vow.

Some of the letters wish that the matter had been presented sooner, as it might have saved them some painful experiences. Others find it "just in time" to forewarn and forearm them. One Colporteur reports that the first three parties canvassed one morning were Spiritualists. The thoughts presented in connection with the Vow held him back, and that night he made the Vow his own before the Lord.

So many as recognize it as the Standard lifted up by the Lord (Isa. 59:19) for our help and for the assistance of others with whom we have influence – such of course will be prompt to take it and sure to keep it. Time will tell. Meantime those who have taken it relate that they experience fresh blessings and we rejoice with them.

"Offer unto God thy thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth!" Psa. 50:14-16 and see 19-21. We can spare room for only one letter at this time:

BELOVED PASTOR: –

I can only add multiplied emphasis to the many expressions of joy and gratitude already given by the friends respecting the Vow and all the articles pertaining thereto, every word of which I have eagerly read and weighed and applied to myself.

Very humbly I registered my Vow to the Lord, dear brother, not as one of those who had no special need of its protection, but as one who was in sore need. Reared in an exceedingly affectionate home and accustomed to excessive demonstration of love and affection, the breaking of the home ties when I entered the Colporteur work brought me much loneliness which the Adversary no doubt saw much sooner than I myself did and cunningly acted upon. My confidence in the Lord's people was unlimited – and not until recently have I seen the great danger confronting us all in this direction. The mistakes that I have been led into are painful memories, but I thank God have prepared me for his blessing. I am glad for the Vow – I am desirous of all the blessing it can bring. I remember at his throne every day all who have taken it. May his grace be richly with us all.

With much love for you and deep appreciation of your faithful devotion to the Lord and careful attention to his flock, I am,

Yours in the hope of perfect love, __________

[R4251 : page 293]

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CHURCH
S
INCE the appearance of the article, "The One True Church," we have received several communications inquiring as to the right or privilege of a portion of the congregation to split off and hold meetings by itself as a separate and distinct Church. As already pointed out in the article referred to, our Lord's words inform us of his willingness to recognize any two or three of the faithful, consecrated ones when they meet together in his name, and that the presence of the Head with such members constitutes a Church, in the Scriptural sense.

But while this is true it is also true that the teachings of our Lord and of his apostles and the practices of the early Church all agree with the thought that the New Commandment, "that ye love one another as I have loved you," implies such a close fellowship of spirit amongst all of the Lord's dear people as will lead them to desire to come together rather than to disintegrate into smaller groups. We should notice carefully the words, "As I have loved you"; that they signify a very deep, earnest love and not a mere tolerance. The Lord loved us to the extent of giving his life for us, and the Apostle points to him as our example and declares, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." This is the love wherewith he loved us. We are to remember, too, that this is not a sectional or sectarian love for class or party in the Church, but is for all, because they are his. True, it is not possible to love all to the same degree of appreciation, but all are to be loved to the degree of a willingness to lay down our lives for them; because even the humblest of the Lord's little ones has a claim on the noblest of them, for does he not belong to the same great army of the redeemed, enlisted under the captaincy of Immanuel in the fight against sin and with a covenant agreement with his Master to lay down his life in his service? How could we help but love those who have devoted their all to the same Master whom we serve – and the fact that the Master accepts of such and is not ashamed to call them brethren is the best of reasons [R4252 : page 293] why we also should accept them and not be ashamed of them, but on the contrary love them and be glad to serve them, even to the extent of laying down hours or days of life itself in their assistance.

Everything connected with the Spirit of the Lord and the instructions of his Word seem to antagonize the thought of division amongst the members of his Body. A beautiful illustration of this is found in the fact that the dear friends everywhere, as they grow in grace and knowledge, seem to become more and more imbued with the desire to come together – in the one-day conventions and still more so in the general conventions; and in these the thought is often expressed that our longings and fellowship for one another will not find complete satisfaction until we gather with our Lord and all his faithful in the General Assembly of the First-born, "whose names are written in heaven."

We all remember the Apostle's arraignment of sectarianism; and it is well that we take note of the fact that he attributes it to a partisan spirit with which he had no sympathy and to which he refers as an evidence of carnality, fleshly-mindedness, indicating an immature development along spiritual lines. He says, "While one says I am of Paul, and another I am of [R4252 : page 294] Apollos, and another I am of Cephas (Peter), are ye not carnal? Is Christ divided?" (I Cor. 3:3,4.) He goes on to say that none of these redeemed us, but Christ alone, and that we are all baptized into his Body and therefore are related to each other, because we are related to him our Head; and he proceeds to say that there should be no schism in the Body; that is to say, no split, no division.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, dear friends, it is doubtless true that a spirit that favors a division of the class, where such a division would not be due to distance hindering a proper gathering at one place, must be a spirit of sectarianism or partisanship. Sometimes this is a result of a brother desiring to be leader and wishing for a fuller opportunity for the exercise of his talents as a servant of the Church. At other times, as in the case the Apostle mentions, it is due to partisanship on the part of a portion of the Church who are desirous of following leaders, even when the leaders themselves do not desire it, as in St. Paul's case cited. In any event it would do us good in this connection to scrutinize our own hearts individually rather than to judge one another in this matter. Quite possibly in some places where there is a disposition on the part of some to split off and hold separate meetings there may be some real cause or reason; but the better way would be to correct that difficulty and remain united. Unconsciously sometimes the Lord's people become too narrow and control Church arrangements too much along the lines of the will of the majority, rather than endeavor to arrange such a programme as would as nearly as possible please, profit and happify all.

The Apostle's exhortation is that we "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works." This signifies not merely that we should consider the tastes and preferences of the better educated or the naturally more noble or rich or refined, but that we should seek to consider all the dear members of the Body. It is easy comparatively to love the refined, the educated and the well-developed spiritually, and to love these is in harmony with what our Lord suggests that even the Gentiles do, "If ye love them that love you what thank have ye? do not even the publicans and sinners the same?" The brotherly love to which the Apostle refers, saying, "Hereby we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" – this love is not merely the love of the refined and elegant and accomplished and noble-minded. Many people love those who have not passed from death unto life. But it becomes an evidence of our having passed from death unto life if we love the brethren, of whom the Apostle intimates that many are ignoble; yea, even saying that "God hath chosen the mean things of the world." It is when we come to the place of loving those of the brethren who are naturally mean that we may consider it an evidence of the new nature being in control of the mind. We love them not for their meanness, nor for their ignorance, nor for their stupidity, nor for their poverty, but because they are his and because all his are ours, because they are enlisted under the same banner in the same fight with ourselves; because the Father hath acknowledged them as his children in the begetting of his Spirit. These reasons call for our love, for our sympathy and our help one for another in climbing Zion's Hill.

Our Lord intimates that our love for him will be gauged by our love for the brethren, and the Apostle points out to us that as the Lord's compassion and grace are given to each of us in proportion to our needs, so our sympathy and love should be manifested to others according to their needs. To seek chiefly the company of those who are of our own plane of development, mental or spiritual, is to please ourselves, and the Apostle points out that we should love one another or serve one another and not please ourselves, pointing out further that even Christ pleased not himself. Furthermore he points out that as in our physical bodies we sometimes bestow more care upon a deformed hand or foot to cover the deformity than we do upon one that is natural, so we are to do in the Body of Christ; those who are most in need of our sympathy and assistance and fellowship should receive it, that the whole Body of Christ may be edified, built up and knit together in the bonds of love as the members of Christ under him who is the Head.

We need each member of the Body, as the Apostle intimates, and as the trying times before us become more strenuous we all more and more need the actual cooperation and assistance and sympathy and love of each other. Let us, therefore, avoid schism as well as "ism" and let us have that spirit of oneness appropriate to the Body, for we are all one in Christ Jesus and members one of another. Let us seek more and more to see eye to eye in all these matters.

*                         *                         *

Question. – Is it proper to choose as an Elder one who has not participated in symbolic water baptism?

Answer. – While we urge that all of the consecrated and all who profess faith in the ransom and a full consecration to the Lord be accounted and dealt with as brethren and members of the Church, irrespective of their obedience to the water symbol, we would not think it either wise or in harmony with the Lord's teaching to select such a one to the eldership of the Church. We could not consider such a one sound in "the faith once delivered to the saints." We could not consider him as well developed in the Truth, even though we accept him as a brother. We could not, therefore, consider him a proper person to be specially chosen to instruct others respecting the divine plan, etc.

[R4252 : page 294]

"THE EVIL ONE TOUCHETH HIM NOT"

"We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the Evil One toucheth him not." – 1 John 5:18.

T
HIS text is not a guarantee of eternal salvation to those begotten of the holy Spirit. It is not a guarantee of their salvation from trials, temptations, difficulties, etc., as some have seemed to suppose. It does signify, however, that those consecrated believers whom God has accepted and who have been begotten again to a newness of life, to a new nature, are under special divine supervision. They will not sin (wilfully) because their seed remaineth in them, the begetting power of the holy Spirit. This seed being in them, they cannot sin wilfully. If they should sin wilfully, it would imply that the holy seed, the begetting [R4252 : page 295] of the Lord's Spirit in them, had perished; that they were no longer New Creatures in Christ Jesus, for whom old things had passed away and all things had become new. It would mean that they had turned again, as the dog to his vomit and as the sow to wallowing in the mire – to sympathy with sin and things contrary to the divine Word and its spirit.

The Apostle declared that our Lord Jesus, the first begotten of the Spirit, will keep all these younger brethren begotten of the Spirit; keep them from the touch of the Evil One, from the injury which Satan would otherwise do them. As we have already suggested, this does not mean that they will be kept from trials, from temptations of the Adversary, for even our Lord was exposed to temptations from him; and these temptations, trials, oppositions, persecutions, we see to be necessary for our Christian character and for our development in our Redeemer's likeness of heart. The promise, therefore, signifies that in the midst of these temptations of the Adversary the Lord provides his faithful with such protection, such defense, such assistance, as is not only necessary for them to come off victors but to keep them from yielding to temptation. It is in harmony with this that we are taught to pray, "Abandon us not in temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One" – suffer him not to touch, to injure us, to overthrow us, to destroy us.

"God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform."

While the Lord is abundantly able to work miracles for the protection of his faithful followers and for their deliverance from the Evil One, and while we feel sure [R4253 : page 295] that if every other means failed, a miracle would be wrought in our interest, nevertheless we are not to anticipate that the Lord will use miracles, but are to expect that generally he will use means, and oftenest human instrumentalities, for the protection and deliverance of the members of his Body, who abide in his love and are seeking to do those things pleasing to him.

"IF POSSIBLE THE VERY ELECT"

From the day of Pentecost until the present time the Lord's dear sheep have been beset by the same great Adversary, and have had fiery trials, and have also had the protection of him that was begotten of God, the Lord Jesus, who is keeping the faithful from the power of the Adversary. But the Scriptures unanimously point us to the end of this age as a time for special trial and testing, not only upon the world but also upon the Church, for "judgment must begin at the house of God." It is respecting this coming time that the Apostle forewarns the Church, saying, "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day." He implies that the evil day with which this age shall end will have the severest trials ever known to God's people, and that they will have the greatest need ever known for the armor of truth and righteousness. The same fact is referred to by our Lord in addressing the sixth phase of the Church, the Church of Philadelphia. He says, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation which is coming upon the whole world to try them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth." (Rev. 3:10.) The seventh stage of the Church, the Laodicean, will come into that hour of temptation; and we believe that it is already in part upon us. What we would have all see is that the time ahead of us must be very peculiarly a time of trial and testing, else it would not be so strikingly referred to in the Word of God. Nor do we wish to arouse the fears of the Lord's people, to terrify. Our thought is rather to offer the consolation which will keep them in perfect peace; as it is written, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." The Lord's promises, exceeding great and precious, are enlarged before our minds at the same time, really in advance of the coming of the hour of temptation and trial, so that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished, thoroughly prepared.

Our Lord's words respecting the temptations and trials of the Church assure us that this class shall have nothing to fear, that they will be kept, that it will not be possible for them to be tempted, for with every temptation the Lord will provide a way of escape. Let us remember in this connection the Apostle Paul's words respecting our day and its trials, "God will send them strong delusions that they may believe a lie, because they did not have pleasure in the truth." (2 Thess. 2:11.) What we do desire is that each consecrated child of God may see the way of escape which God has provided and may use the same, and thus be in line with the Lord's provision and amongst those shielded ones, the very elect – "called, chosen, faithful." – Rev. 17:14.

THE WAY OF ESCAPE

If it be conceded that we are down very close to the hour of temptation, when the Evil One will be permitted to bring extraordinary delusions and trials to bear upon the world and the nominal Church, then we are in the time when we ought to be looking about us to see what way of escape the Lord has provided for us. We believe that many of our readers will agree with us that the Lord's special provision for keeping us from the power of the Evil One is the Present Truth, which he has supplied largely through the WATCH TOWER publications. If any one is disposed to controvert this point, we shall not dispute it, but be glad if he has received more efficient assistance from other quarters, glad if by any means the Lord is upholding him, strengthening and arming him for the trials and besetments just before us.

But whatever the channel of divine blessing by which the Lord would keep his own secure and restful in the coming time of stress, we may be assured that our personal cooperation is necessary to our deliverance. "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21) was never a more necessary command to the followers of Jesus than at present; and we may expect that the temptation of this hour will be considerably along that line of abiding in God's love. This in turn will imply a love for the brethren; as the Apostle has suggested, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (I John 4:20.) Indeed, the intimation clearly is that "The love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. 24:12.) A cooling of our love toward God will mean a loss of our desire to please him in our own thoughts and words and doings, which will include a cooling of our love for his service in the dissemination of the Gospel message and the gathering and feeding of the household of faith. Various things will conspire to this end – the love of money, the love of pleasure, the love of self, the love of earthly things in general, all of which were consecrated, devoted, before we received the spirit of adoption. If our love grows cold it will determine that we are not such as would be worthy to associate with our Redeemer in his Kingdom glory. [R4253 : page 296]

In no way will this loss of the "love divine, all love excelling," be more manifest than in respect to our sentiments and conduct toward the fellow-members of the Body of Christ. The Apostle tells us of what our attitude of mind toward these should be, namely, that as Christ loved the Church and laid down his life on our behalf, we ought also to love the brethren so that we would be willing to lay down our lives on their behalf, in their interest. The love that would give up life itself for the brethren may certainly be expected to sacrifice smaller things in their interest. And indeed such are the tests which the Lord permits, declaring that he who is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much. It is therefore for us to see, to note, to criticise whether or not we have this love for the brethren which the Lord declares he will accept as love for himself, and without which we cannot be his disciples; for this was the new commandment which he gave to us, saying, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you."John 15:12.

LOVING THE MEAN THINGS

It would indeed be easy to love the brethren and to lay down our lives for them if they were all like our dear Master and exemplar; but they are not. The inspired Apostle tells us that amongst the brethren are not many noble, not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many rich. Again he says that God hath chosen the mean things of the world. Are we astonished at this? Does it seem like a reflection on the Church of Christ? Do we ask why divine grace has passed by some of the noblest of our race and accepted some of the meanest to discipleship? The answer of our Lord is, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." The explanation is that many of the great, rich, learned, noble, have not sufficient humility to receive the divine message in the proper manner. They realize themselves to be superior to the majority and think it but just to have this acknowledgment; and, failing to see the divine arrangement, they assure themselves that if anybody will be saved it will be themselves, for they are the finer and nobler specimens of the race. They see not that God looketh upon the heart instead of upon the outward man, and that however weak and ignoble and fallen a person, his heart, his will may be thoroughly turned into harmony with God and to the service of righteousness. They fail to see that in God's sight such a meek and quiet spirit, such a humble dependence upon the Redeemer for salvation, such a faithful looking to the Lord for grace to help in every time of need, is much more pleasing in the divine sight than is the more proud attitude of the nobler ones; and that such humble, trustful, appreciative, faithful ones the Lord has designed shall be participants with Christ in his excellent glory, not because of the perfection of their flesh, but because of the perfection of their hearts, their wills, which continually strive to bring every thought and word and deed into harmony with the divine will.

Now then, we may see why the Lord enjoined upon us that we should love one another, and rather implied that it would be a difficult matter to do so at all times, to make allowances for the weaknesses of the flesh and the imperfections of judgment in one another. And this is exactly what the Apostle John declares, saying, "We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren." (I John 3:14.) Thus he intimates that a love of the brethren will be so difficult a matter as to constitute an absolute proof to us that we have passed from death unto life, from the death state in Adam, and have become New Creatures in Christ.

It is easy enough to love some of the brethren. We are apt to love those who are about on our own plane and of our own style and liking; but the Lord anticipated this and said, "If ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? [What proof have you that you have passed from death unto life?] Do not the publicans and sinners the same?" (Luke 6:32.) It is easy enough to love some of the refined or wealthy or naturally noble or the educated, those who are on our own level or a little above, as respects earthly things. But this does not fill the Lord's requirement. We are to love one another as he has loved us. (John 13:34.) [R4254 : page 296] He commends his love to us in that it is to each according to his needs. The more noble, the less of the Lord's grace is sufficient for them; the more degraded, the more of the Lord's grace is necessary and will be supplied. Thus we are to love the brethren; for those who are less noble, yea, those whom the Apostle declares are amongst the mean things of this world from the world's view-point, will need our love the more because of a natural depravity and weakness and imperfection. And if we love as Christ loved, we shall be glad to give our lives to each and for each according to the needs of each, laying down our lives for the brethren in moments or hours or as each may need our help. Ah, what a new, what a different view is this of the love of the brethren! The practice of it would cut off some of our special fellowships with those who need our assistance little, and would transfer our fellowship and sacrifice of time to those of the brethren who need it more. And what a blessing, what an uplifting would come to some of the meaner ones, and what a blessing from the Lord would come more and more into our own hearts as we become more and more copies of him in thought and in deed!

We have already pointed out that the time of trouble coming upon the world will be a result of the loss of love and the outworking of selfishness – no peace to him that goes out nor to him that comes in, for every man's hand shall be against his neighbor – for himself. This signifies almost a complete loss of confidence throughout the world. Shall we not suppose reasonably that this trial is the one which will begin at the house of God? May we not reasonably conclude then that the trial which will come upon the Church will be the same kind; namely, a testing of our love for the brethren and of our applications of the principles which the Lord has laid down for our dealings with the brethren? We believe that this is so, and that the Lord will judge his people along this line of love, which is the law of the new nature and the fulfilling of all law. Whoever lacks the spirit of love will possess correspondingly the spirit of selfishness, the spirit of the Adversary, the spirit of ambition, of pride, of anger and malice, and hatred and strife against all those who oppose or even seem to oppose his interests. Let us remember that such sentiments even in the heart, though unexpressed, are most dangerous to the new nature. Those who have such sentiments in their hearts are surely very close to the point where the Adversary would be able to touch them, influence them, injure them, bring them under his power, and very close to the place where the Lord would be willing to reject them from discipleship and to allow the Adversary to [R4254 : page 297] have them; even as in Judas' case, to whom the Lord said, "What thou doest, do quickly."

But let us, on the other hand, make use of the various blessings and instructions which the Lord has given us; let us put on the whole armor of God; let us make our own the various truths which the Lord has put into our hands; let us apply them, put them on as an armor; let us be strong in the Lord, in the power, the armament which he supplies in his Word, and let us see to it that the spirit actuating us is that of love, which will be ready to sacrifice everything for the fellow-members and to count it all joy thus to lay down our lives for the brethren. Let us remember that not only is there a special blessing to those who shall assist the brethren, even the weakest of them, but that there is a special threat against those who shall harm or stumble or injure even the least of the Lord's little ones!

[R4254 : page 297]

PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
OUR DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

In a discourse on the "Parable of the Sower" (commonly so designated), as recorded in the 13th chapter of Matthew, a dear brother in the Truth, an Elder, by the way, of another local ecclesia, recently gave utterance to the following explanation or rather application, briefly summarized thus:

"This parable divides mankind into four different classes, the wayside soil representing the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2), the rocky ground representing all the incapables, including all heathens, idiots, etc., the thorny ground representing all the consecrated believers who fail to carry out their consecration vow, thus bringing no fruit to perfection, and go into the Second Death, and the fourth class representing all of the Lord's people."

The writer's mind may be somewhat unduly balanced and his vision considerably beclouded, hindering him from receiving the force of the above application; but it does appear to me with an irresistible force of persuasion that the brother mentioned has taken by far too wide a scope, not by any means intended by the Master. From previous studies along these lines I would not understand that it would be your presentation of the matter, nor that it would be in harmony with the plan in general, wherefore I place myself as an inquirer, earnestly desirous of understanding it correctly. The force of the lesson, it appears to my mind, is almost entirely lost if we venture to apply it to the world at large, so much the more as the Master in his explanation of it very plainly and most emphatically asserts and reasserts that it applies exclusively to those who hear the word of the Kingdom as presented by himself, the Master Sower, the same being carried on through the instrumentalities of his chosen servants, the twelve apostles. "When any one heareth the word of the Kingdom, etc., this is he that received seed by the wayside; he that received seed into stony places is he that heareth the word; he that received seed into thorny ground is he that heareth the word; he that received seed into good ground is he that heareth the word..." From this it appears evident that the fourfold division does not in any sense of the word apply to the world of mankind at large which collectively are called "children of disobedience" or "children of wrath," but only to a certain limited class of all people, nations and tongues, first Jews and then Gentiles. Surely this would exclude from the four-fold division of the parable all the heathens who have not even heard the name of the King; it would equally exclude all deprived of reasoning abilities, the idiots, infants, etc.; and furthermore it would exclude from the category the great majority of so-called Christendom, whose hearing faculties have been greatly neutralized by the Antichristian systems of error, strong delusions in every conceivable form. Thus the four-fold division merely applies to a limited number, viz., those who hear the Gospel in its purity and not a perverted so-called Gospel. In other words it would comprise those only who by the Apostle Paul are designated the "honored" class, honored to hear the Gospel, whoever or wherever they be, or however they receive it.

To the mind of the inquirer, even the majority of those who read the Bible do not hear the word of the Kingdom, because their minds are warped, twisted, prejudiced and beclouded, as was the case with the majority of the nation to whom as a servant the King first came. Before coming into Present Truth the writer of these lines had never heard the Word of the Kingdom, though he had made the Bible his special life study. Without going into any details whatever as far as the parable is concerned, thus briefly I submit to you the two views, both of which cannot be correct or in full harmony with the plan.

In this same connection I shall take the liberty to trespass upon your valuable time, dear Pastor, in presenting to you another question, of less import perhaps, but of great interest, closely related to the one mentioned above. It refers more particularly to the "Parable of the Wheat and Tares," immediately following the other parable. These two obscure presentations of the Kingdom from different viewpoints being explained by the Master, conveys to the mind of the disciple, the learner, quite a few foundational truths, and consequently I have made the same a matter of profound and reverent study.

While recognizing that the true wheat wherever found is acceptable to the Lord, and that in this harvest he will so supervise the issues of the work so that all the wheat will be garnered, nevertheless it appears to me that the world at large does not constitute the wheat-field, but only a portion of it. By reading the Acts of the Apostles, which constitutes a history of the sowing time of the present age about to close, we are naturally forced to the conclusion that the Lord had a definite choice in the matter as a part in his election or selection of the little flock, and that he outlined for his wheat-field mainly the nations of Europe, original and transplanted. I understand that North America, Africa, Australia, etc., are mainly transplantations of the various nations of Europe, and of a comparatively recent date. St. Paul, who was one of the most prominent sowers under the directions of and in harmony with the Chief Sower, carrying on what Jesus began both to teach and to do (Acts 1:1), was very explicitly directed to take his course toward Europe, and the Macedonian cry was irresistible when he was in doubt in taking the last step and would have preferred to take another course. Pressing onward toward the northwest he reached the most influential cities and the best seaports, by means of which the Gospel was carried to all the civilized world of that time until finally the Lord directed him to the imperial city of Rome, though he was conducted thither in a different [R4255 : page 298] way than he might have preferred if he had had the choice in the matter. Indications are strongly in favor of the view that he reached as far as Spain. However that may be, we know that it was his intention, and we do know that at the end of his active career he says that the Gospel had been preached under the whole heavens, evidently meaning the whole civilized world, residing around the Mediterranean Sea, and though this would not exclude a number of Asiatic provinces and the upper coast of Africa, it is a matter of history that since then Europe has been the great centre of ecclesiastical activity – the wheat-field in which shortly after the enemy sowed the tares of error. Neither at that time nor since has the Gospel of the Kingdom been generally sent to the aborigines of Africa, South America or Asia. Fragments of Truth at most have reached these benighted but ransomed people, but it does not on that account seem correct to say that they are included in the Lord's wheat-field mentioned in the parable. As a farmer may not despise the wheat that is found fruitbearing outside the regular wheat-field, especially if the latter is almost entirely overgrown by tares, necessitating that the ears of wheat be picked out one by one; so the Lord's people, the saints, whether picked from amongst the tare-field of Christendom or from amongst benighted heathenism are just as precious in his sight. But in view of the facts as recorded on the pages of prophecy and history, would it not be perfectly correct to say that the wheat-field is somewhat limited in its dimensions, and certainly does not include the whole planet?

If the inquirer be incorrect he will be greatly indebted to you, Brother Russell, for putting him right, as you have done and are still doing in so many other perplexing questions.

Furthermore, I am also writing you on behalf of the little class in this place whom I have the sweet privilege of serving in my humble capacity, and if the above suggestions, presented to you by way of inquiry, appeal to you as sufficiently important for other classes kindly give it room in ZION'S WATCH TOWER.

Apologizing for the length of the questions, and anticipating your kind favors in this as in all other directions, I am,

Your fellow-servant in the Truth, very cordially and respectfully,

L. JOSEPH LARSEN, – Wis.

[R4255 : page 298]

SAUL AND DAVID IN REVIEW
2 SAMUEL 5:12. – SEPTEMBER 20. –

Golden Text: – "And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake."

O
F the two men in review Saul certainly had the more favorable opportunities at the beginning of his life. Nature seemed to have so specially fitted him for the office of king that when he was brought to the attention of the people, they, recognizing these natural traits, received him without hesitation. For a little while, he walked in humility, carefully seeking to do the Lord's will, but not having fully submitted himself, it was not long until there was a combination of his own will mixing with that of the Lord. The result was disobedience, failure, a troubled mind growingly perverse almost to the point of insanity, and finally an ignominious death. The flaw in Saul's character was his lack of a full consecration to the Lord, his maintaining a certain amount of self-will. This seemed to have been the difficulty. A similar difficulty affects all who fail to make their calling and election sure. Whether they go into the Second Death or the Great Company, the fault of the failure lies in neglect to surrender fully to the Lord every interest of life and to accept in faith his leadings, his providences in all the affairs of life, seeking to do his will and ignoring – mortifying – self.

David's character was in sharp contrast to that of Saul. Less favorably circumstanced at the beginning of his career, not so tall and commanding in appearance, probably of a less wealthy family, and possibly with no better mental endowment by birth, David's life and its results are in sharp contrast to those of Saul. Look wherever we will in his checkered career, we see courage and determination exercised along right lines, proper lines. He was not a wild animal hunter, but to protect the flock he slew the lion and the bear. He was not a pugilist nor a gladiator; yet at the proper moment he was ready to risk his life for the defence of his people. He appreciated highly the honor that had been conferred upon him in his anointing for the kingship, yet he held this with modesty – never boasted of it and never rashly attempted to hasten the divine programme. He endured patiently the opposition of the king, yet treated the members of the royal family with profoundest respect; and finally, instead of thrusting himself on the nation as king and demanding his acceptance, he still waited patiently the Lord's time. One of the results of studying the lives of great and good men is in seeing the way in which they were able to make the world better.

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time."

Many of those who have risen to prominence in the world have left no footprints that we can see; but when the Lord sets great examples before us, he shows us the footprints, and how some lead downward and others upward. Saul was of the former class, David of the latter. The important point to be noticed by us all is how much these footprints diverge, that we may avoid the one and profit by the other. The secret of David's success was not the mere fixity of his purpose, but additionally the fact that his purpose was kept fully in accord with the divine will. Even in telling to King Saul the story of his conflict with the lion and the bear, he gave glory to God as having delivered them into his hands. And so throughout his entire career. We notice this same desire, to give God the glory of his successes, and to realize that whatever failures there were in his life were either his own weaknesses or divine blessings in disguise. Thus we see David's whole existence exemplifying the words of holy writ – "In all thy ways acknowledge him," "and he shall give thee the desire of thine heart."

VALUE IN HIGH IDEALS

As we look about us in the world, and in the nominal church, we see vast numbers of mankind without any ideals, without any ambition. Alas, poor things! How can they ever have any pleasure or reach any noble [R4255 : page 299] goal when they see none? Looking again, we perceive some with only mean and groveling ambitions, worse than none. Poor creatures! Born in sin, shapen in iniquity, and perhaps reared in unfavorable environments, they are seriously handicapped in comparison with some others of the fallen race, less depraved and more favored. Looking again, we see a third class with noble worldly ambitions, seeking for wealth, influence, power, with a desire to use these honorably, nobly, not to the injury of their fellow-creatures, but to some extent the opposite. These are to be congratulated as having better motives in life than the first two classes. They were possibly better born and possibly had better environment.

We look again and find a fourth class, whose eyes have by the grace of God been lifted from earthly things to the heavenly. To these, "Old things have passed away and all things have become new." The vision of heavenly joy, heavenly fellowship, heavenly service, has so transformed their minds that, although their flesh may still be weak, nevertheless they overcome by the new mind. This is the class which the earth could never satisfy. A new standard of values has come to them; and they both feel and know that the things of this life are "not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." They find these things in comparison but loss and dross. This is the class which the Lord has under his special care and instruction. Because they have made their consecration to him, he is showing them something of the height and depth, the length and breadth of the "deep things" of God. Thus he is giving to them, through his knowledge and grace, a power divine, which is working in them both to will and to do his good pleasure. The secret of their attainment of this favored position is that, having heard of the grace of God, their hearts responded. They gave themselves to the Lord and the work of grace progressing in them is his work. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." – Eph. 2:10; Jas. 1:8.

A DOUBLE-MINDED MAN IS UNSTABLE

But now again we must recognize a division; for "they are not all Israelites who are of Israel." Some of this fourth class are more responsible and some less responsible as to the things which the Lord has shown [R4256 : page 299] them respecting his character and his plan. Some take a less positive stand and seek to gain the things of this world, its honor, as well as the honor of God and the world to come. In doing this, they are not heeding the words of the Master, who assures all his disciples that such a course would mean failure, that they would neither please the world nor would they succeed in pleasing the Lord. Such may eventually be brought to life eternal, but they are not the wise virgins. They will not reign in the Millennial Kingdom. The Lord is seeking those who worship him with all their hearts, with all their souls, with all their strength, and with all their minds. These whole-souled ones are the class the Lord is specially seeking as the Queen of the Millennial Kingdom, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, and joint-heirs with him. He has already foreordained that only such may be members of the royal family and partakers of the divine nature, saying, "Whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." To these he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them, because they walk uprightly. Their hearts are upright, and their intentions are loyal to God and to his laws of justice and love. Let us get fixed in our minds the peculiar quality of this overcoming class, which is to constitute the Kingdom as Christ's joint-heirs, that they must be loyal to God, consecrated, determined, and full of faith and trust.

These qualities cannot be expected to come to us instantaneously. Rather they are the gradual growth and development of the new mind, but the principle must be in the heart before development can be made along these lines – the principle of loyalty and determination. The little word "will" has its very important place, then, in the Christian's character. He must be a willer, and the will must be rightly directed into full harmony with that of God.

CARVING OUT THE IDEAL

We said a moment ago that a high and good ideal is proper, is necessary, in every successful life. But to have the ideal will amount to nothing unless we are patient in its development. It is said of the great sculptor, Michael Angelo, that looking upon a block of soiled marble he began work upon it with hammer and chisel, apparently recklessly knocking off great blocks and pieces here and there. When asked what he was doing, he said, "I see an angel here and must get him out." He had the ideal in his mind, then laboring strenuously for the attainment of it, sculptured the angel out of the block of marble. So it must be with every successful life. We must have the ideal. We must see the angel. Then we must labor for its attainment, carefully, patiently, and prayerfully. The ideal set before the Christian is not only angelic, it is more; it is divine. Nothing less can be made out of the Apostle's words, God hath "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature."

The same thought is elsewhere presented by St. John. Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear how great we shall be made, what glory and honor shall be ours, but the Apostle assures us, "We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." If then we are to be made like him by the "change" of the "First Resurrection," if we are to see him as he is, then we may apply to ourselves the glorious things of the Lord and his excellency, respecting which the Apostle says, "Him hath God highly exalted and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth;" and again, "He has ascended far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named." If we shall be like him and share his glory, then all this glory belongs to the glorious ideal which God himself has presented to our gaze. Who with such in view would not be willing indeed to submit himself to the blows of the Lord! Who would not be willing to endure the necessary chiselings and polishings! Who would not be willing to submit himself to tribulation, knowing that "Tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope"! These things shed abroad in our hearts make us neither barren nor unfruitful in respect to the knowledge of God, but obtain for us an abundant entrance into his everlasting Kingdom, in association with him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

THE LORD HAD ESTABLISHED HIM

Our Golden Text is quite in line with what we have just received, and shows us afresh the secret of David's [R4256 : page 300] successes and the line along which we also should be exercised in developing character which will be pleasing to the Lord. To some in David's place the thought would have been, "The Lord is very partial and has simply elected me to be the recipient of his favors. He cares more for me than for any other person in the nation." With this thought would have come a measure of vanity and pride which would have been very injurious to David (and to all others). These might also have said, "The Lord has seen that I am the fittest person in all this nation to be its ruler; and any person who does not fully agree with this sentiment is out of accord with the Lord and should have my frown and disapproval." Had David taken a position such as this it would have worked out a wrong character in him; and such a position taken by others would likewise work injuriously. It makes them boastful, arrogant, unloving, and unfits them for proper service to the Lord.

David's thought on the subject was the proper one. He perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel and that he had exalted him king for his people Israel's sake. So, too, we should remember that God has a purpose in the selection or election of the Church. As the Apostle says, "We are chosen for a purpose." God's purpose is a Kingdom which shall bless the world. And he has many others, angels and men, whom he could have chosen for this great purpose, and by his providence could have moulded and fashioned them for the accomplishment of his will. But by his mercy he has chosen "not many wise, not many noble, not many mighty," but "the weak things of this world" for the carrying out of his plans. Let this thought keep us very humble, very near to the Lord. Let us strive to learn the lessons necessary to fit and prepare us for the ruling, judging and uplifting "all the families of the earth."

[R4256 : page 300]

HELL HATH ENLARGED HERSELF
ISA. 5:11-23. – SEPTEMBER 27. –

Golden Text: – "Wine is a mocker." – Prov. 20:1.

T
HE Lesson Committee assigned this as a temperance lesson: and undoubtedly it has in it a warning against intoxication. Nevertheless in our judgment, the context being considered, other matters are more reprehended in the lesson than intemperance. Undoubtedly there would be "woe to them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink; that tarry late into the night, till wine inflame them." However, they would be only moderate drinkers evidently who would, beginning so early, only by night become inflamed or drunken. We certainly can heartily endorse the thought that any indulgence of alcoholic spirits is dangerous – that intemperance lies at the foundation of many woes of life, sapping the manhood, the vigor, and undermining the moral sense and general character. We rejoice that the eyes of men's understanding are opening to more proper appreciation of the importance of this evil and that great good is resulting, not only to individuals, but to communities. Since the exhilarating effects of alcohol evidently deceive many, we think it well here to introduce a clipping which bears directly upon the subject.
"ALCOHOL OUT OF THE RACE"

"The contestants in the Marathon Race, which is run on April 19 from Ashland to Boston, twenty-five miles, were notified this year in the following terms: 'Alcohol in any form is positively forbidden before, during and immediately after the race. It never does good, and usually does harm. Disregard of the foregoing shall be considered sufficient grounds for disqualification by the physician in charge.'

"In previous Marathon races some men who had become fagged had resorted to alcohol and other stimulants, and some of them fell unconscious soon after taking the stimulants. This year the six prominent Boston physicians who examined the one hundred and twenty-four men entered – one hundred and three of whom started and seventy-five finished – stated that the condition of the men was far superior to that of the previous year. So far as can be learned, no alcohol or drugs were used. No runner collapsed, and the record of physical endurance in this, the greatest race in America, if not in the world, is a wonderful one. The twenty-five consecutive miles, up hill and down, were run in an average of less than six minutes each, which is only a minute and a half slower than the majority of mile races on the best cindered tracks. Previous Marathon records were smashed, because the men depended on long and careful training rather than on stimulants. Alcohol was ruled out of the race, as it will be out of every contest of brawn or brains."

[R4257 : page 300]
SCOPE OF OUR LESSON

The chapter of which our lesson is a part commences with a parable in which our Lord represents Palestine as his vineyard and the Jews as the choice vine of his planting, from which he would look for much fruitage of a choice quality. Instead it brought forth worthless grapes. Hence through the Prophet and parable he declares that having done everything reasonable and proper for the fruit, he would now take away its hedging and allow it to be trodden down by the wild beasts and to lie waste. (Vs. 1-7.) This parable our Lord almost duplicated and we may understand therefore that while it may have had some application to Isaiah's time as the period of 70 years desolation, nevertheless really the fulfilment on a still larger scale took place at the time of our Lord's first advent, when, because of their wrong condition of heart and rejection of him, he declared their house left desolate, and, as the Apostle says, "Wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." Verses 24 to 30 continue this thought and show the mighty power which caused the fall of the Jewish polity.

The intervening verses, namely, from the 8th to the 23rd, treat of the reasons why the Lord was displeased with them and rejected them.

(1) Their selfishness was foremost amongst their sins – the desire to join house to house, farm to farm – to become rich was put as the most prominent sin because that desire leads to other sin. As the Apostle suggests, "The love of money [wealth] is the root of all evil." The result of this was shown to be a land scarcity as respects the poor, and the Lord's resolution that he would punish such selfishness so that the homes would become desolate, empty, and the mansions uninhabited and the fields unfruitful, so that the practice of iniquity, injustice, lovelessness, spell "failure" in the end.

(2) Next comes the verse 11 of our lesson, in which the Lord reprehends strong drink, the inflaming influence [R4257 : page 301] of wine, and the music and feasting indulged in by the wealthy who added house to house and field to field. It is evident that the wealthy consume considerable liquor and often without becoming seriously intoxicated, but no doubt the liquor has its influence in helping them promote selfish propositions, which disregard the interests of others, so that sometimes iniquities are hatched into activity which in sober sense would not have been countenanced. This is the essence of the Lord's complaint – "They regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands." Money-making, feasting, music absorb the attention of the great and influential, which means the disregard of the more important things of the divine plan – the things to which typical Israel, as well as the things to which Spiritual Israel during this Gospel Age, have been called.

(3) The result of all this was that the masses, lacking the proper influence from their more talented leaders, became expatriated – separated from the hopes and ambitions which were Israel's as a nation – the poor lost the ideals necessary to their progress in a good way and instead got wrong ideals along the line of selfishness, pride, worldliness – ideals which they would have longed to follow had they possessed the talents and ability. Thus the wrong influence of those intoxicated with the love of money and of pleasure not only affected themselves, but the whole people of Israel. Correspondingly in Spiritual Israel we find similar conditions.

Verse 13 points out the effects of the wrong course upon the people, as seen from the divine standpoint. The Israelites had practically become the slaves of their brethren, the rich. They were in practical captivity through a lack of knowledge. The most honorable of them were famished from lack of proper ideals and nourishment from the prophecies of the Lord in instructions of his Word, and the whole multitude was parched with thirst, lacking vigor, vitality and energy as respects the Lord's great purposes, to which he had called them to be his special people. Similar conditions apply now to Spiritual Israel – Christendom. The greatest minds of the world have become absorbed in wealth and pleasure-getting, and direful have been the results upon the masses of Christendom. The people find themselves really starving, hungry and thirsty. They have not satisfied their cravings from an earthly standpoint, because under present conditions this is impossible, and as for spiritual food and drink these have been taken away by the evolutions of the higher critics, who plainly tell the people that the Word of God is not the bread of Truth, but poisonous food – error. As a result the masses of Christendom today, while prosperous outwardly as never before, are not really contented, but hungry for wealth and pleasure, and especially for happiness, which they will never find in the direction in which they are seeking it.

HELL HAS OPENED HER MOUTH

The word "hell" in verse 14 is sheol in the Hebrew and signifies the grave, the tomb, the abyss – oblivion. To the Israelites this may have meant that because of the wretched condition of the poor classes and the accumulation of lands, etc., in the hands of the wealthy, there was a great increase of mortality, of the death rate. But the application to Spiritual Israel may be a spiritual one, a reference to the fact that the spiritual hopes and ambitions of many are going down into oblivion – that faith is perishing among the people. How true this is! The Prophet says that thousands shall fall to one who stands. Oblivion is rapidly swallowing up the multitude, including also those who have once rejoiced in faith. The mean man is brought down and the great is humbled, and also the lofty – the proud. The full scope of this judgment of the Lord on Christendom is not yet manifest, but in the end the Lord of hosts shall be exalted and honored in respect to the judgment he will bring upon the people and the righteousness he will manifest. Then the gentle lambs will feed in the pastures which he will provide and the wastes which the profligate had taken possession of as their own shall be turned over to others whom they would not recognize.

DRAW INIQUITY WITH FALSEHOOD

Another statement of the evils which caused the overthrow of typical Israel is shown in verse 18. A special wound had come upon the influential ones who had been disposed to use falsehood as cords in carrying forward their inequitable schemes. It may be safely said that falsehood is the outgrowth of selfishness and that nearly all the lying that is done in the world is in its interest to accomplish iniquity. The Prophet's words are, "Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity." These are represented as scoffing at the second coming of Messiah. Inflamed with the wine of Babylon and with their love of money and pleasure they disbelieve the glorious promises of Messiah and his Kingdom and say, "Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come that we may know it." In other words they claim to be in full accord with the Lord, to be perfectly ready for his Kingdom if he had one and if it ever will come. They claim to be wise and call those who trust in the Word of the Lord fools and tell them that if they had the knowledge of the Higher Critics they would no longer trust to the Bible.

CALL EVIL GOOD AND GOOD EVIL

Continuing the picture the Lord declares that there will come woe to them because they have called the evil things which they practice good, and because the good things, truth and equity, they have treated lightly and spoken of as evil – nonsensical. They, Higher Critics, call darkness light, and the light of truth they call darkness. They put the bitter of error instead of the sweet of truth. This will mean to them very shortly trouble. The Lord continuing says that "woe will come unto them because they are so wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight." They have a wisdom and prudence which is of the earth earthy – sensual, devilish. They neglect the wisdom which comes from above, which is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits." They are mighty to drink the wine of Babylon, intoxicating from the dark ages – they can swallow these doctrines and not be intoxicated by them as are the masses. They are men of strength and can drink mingled strong drink – strong doctrines.

These strong doctrines may perplex the masses of Spiritual Israel, but these strong men have a way of taking all the creeds, all the doctrines, and mingling them together, declaring their full harmony and that separately and as a whole they are splendid. Thus at this present time they are making a union of all the different creeds and saying that any strong-minded person should be able to drink all these creeds without [R4257 : page 302] injury. The Prophet says that these are they "which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him." If, for instance, a professed servant of God shall declare that he disbelieves practically all the teaching of God's Word, they stand ready to justify him in his wickedness, if he claims the right still to continue to pose as a servant of God. Why? For a reward. That they may in so doing justify their own belief and that they may maintain their standing and honor of men in silence and pose as strong-minded men, able to drink much strong drink. They are ready, also, to take away the righteousness of the righteous, to subdue those who speak the Truth, to slander them, to say all manner of evil against them falsely. Why? They do this also for a reward. Because they desire to be on the popular side and to retain the rewards which are accorded such. [R4258 : page 302]

The lesson to all who seek to be in harmony with the Lord is that they are not to follow the course of the great and the influential of Christendom, but to follow the Lord, to hearken to his Word, and to humbly follow in the footsteps of our dear Redeemer.

page 302

WATCH TOWER BIBLES – NEW EDITION
W
E have concluded to get out two editions of the WATCH TOWER BIBLES. We expect to be ready to begin filling orders for them between October 1st and 15th. Your orders may be placed at once, in harmony with the following descriptions:

It will be noticed that none of these Bibles is quite so cheap as the cheapest of last year. There are two causes for this: (1) To our special helps of last year we have added about 300 pages of new matter, so that the comment represents the TOWERS of the past 30 years, as well as the DAWN-STUDIES and tracts and sermons, etc., published in newspapers. (2) Our cheapest book this year has linen instead of paper lining and thus corresponds in binding to the next to cheapest of last year.

BIBLE NO. 1918, PRICE $1.65, POSTPAID

Minion type, India paper, references, French seal (best sheep) binding, red under gold edges, silk head-band and marker, linen lined, maps, TOWER and DAWN Comments, Instructor's Guide, Berean Topical Index, Difficult Texts Explained, Spurious passages noted. This additional matter will fill about 500 pages. Size, 5x7x1 inch.

BIBLE NO. 1928, PRICE $2.50 POSTPAID

This Bible is exactly the same as No. 1918, except that the leather is genuine Levant Morocco leather and leather lined. This should be a very durable binding – fine-grained leather.

BIBLE NO. 1938, PRICE $3.00 POSTPAID

This Bible is of a larger size and of a bolder, blacker type. It is rather large for a pocket (5½x7½x1¼), but is light and convenient for handling. The helps are the same as in those described above. India paper, red under gold edges, silk head binding and marker. We are binding these only in the better leather, Levant Morocco, recommended as very durable. See representation below of bold-faced type. Calf lined.

BIBLE NO. 1948, PRICE $3.25 POSTPAID

This Bible is exactly the same as No. 1938, except that it contains additionally the Bagster Bible Concordance, Index of Proper Names, Alphabetical Bible Index, etc. Size 5½x7½x1½. Sample of type below.

WATCH TOWER HELPS SEPARATE

About 500 pages, on India paper, in paper covers, 50 cents; in plain cloth binding, 75 cents each; in cheap leather binding, $1.25 each. Our advice is that as the Bibles cost so little more all who can should procure them. Besides it is very convenient to have the Scriptures and the helps under the same cover. Any regular TOWER reader who cannot purchase these helps, even in their cheapest form, may state his case to us, as a brother in Christ has kindly offered to supply a few paper-bound copies to such.

[R4249 : page 302]

NEW EDITION OF THE DEBATES
A
NEW edition of the White-Russell Debates has been prepared for us by the Cincinnati ENQUIRER. The previous edition was of 200,000, this edition 300,000. These are revised, the stenographers' and printers' blunders being remedied. The type used is larger and the several topics are made very conspicuous.

Already we have orders for one-half of the new edition and we invite further orders, to be filled after the Convention, September 15th. The price is 5 cents per copy, 10 for 30 cents, 40 for $1.00.

We know of nothing better than this for awakening an interest in the Truth. The Truth shines the more brightly in contrast with the error. And then some will read both sides who would not read our side alone. When the Eaton-Russell Debates were published one brother said to another, "John, here, Brothers Russell and Eaton are to debate their [R4250 : page 303] differences and these are to be published. I will get these and then you can see the two sides in contrast." "No," said the brother, "I do not care to read them." Later, when the reports were received and read by the brother in the Truth, he said to the other, "John, here, read what Dr. Eaton says; never mind what Bro. Russell says, since you are so opposed: just read Dr. Eaton's side." The brother read as requested and then could not restrain his curiosity respecting the other side. He read, and, being an honest man, was convinced and is now active like his brother in scattering the good tidings.

page 303

BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE
IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)*
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the New Bible helps refer to its pages.
Questions on Study V. – The Author of the Atonement.
NOVEMBER 1

(12) Name one of the chief battles of the Christian seeking to be a good soldier, loyal to the Captain of his salvation. P.112, par. 1.

(13) Why is fixity of will essential to our victory? P.112, par. 2.

(14) What was our Lord's third temptation in the wilderness? Explain the intimations and suggestions of the Adversary's words as they would apply to our Lord. P.112, par. 2.

(15) What was there in Satan's past career that probably led up to this request? What ambitions of his were not fully satisfied? Why would he evidently have preferred to have our Lord as a partner in the dominion of earth and under better conditions than those of the reign of sin and death? P.113, par. 1.

(16) Did Satan's temptation imply a new remedy for sin and his willingness to cooperate in its application? What may we reasonably surmise as respects Satan's motives, etc.? P.114, par. 1.

(17) What was our Lord's decision and was it hard to reach? P.114, par. 2.

(18) Are the Lord's brethren subject to temptations along this same line? P.114, par. 3.

NOVEMBER 8

(19) Cite illustrations of Satan's temptation of the Church to seek for other means of saving the world than that which God has outlined in the Scriptures and tell why other plans than the Lord's seemed to many preferable. P.114, par. 3,4.

(20) Do these temptations to the brethren come in various forms? If so, state some of these – especially some prevalent in our Lord's day. P.115, par. 1; P.116, par. 1.

(21) Since our Lord was not fallen, depraved, but holy, harmless, separate from sinners, how could he be "tempted in all points like as we are"? P.117, par. 1.

(22) Mention some of humanity's weaknesses and besetments and explain the difference between these and the temptations of our Lord and his "brethren." P.117, par. 1.

(23) Since the temptations of the New Creatures are thus different from the temptations of those of the world, explain the relationship between the weaknesses of the flesh and temptations of the spirit or new nature. P.117, par. 2.

(24) Quote and cite the Scripture which declared that the Captain of our salvation was made "perfect through suffering," and state whether or not this signifies that he was imperfect as a man and attained human perfection, or what does it signify? P.118, par. 1,2.

NOVEMBER 15

(25) What motive is Scripturally assigned to our Lord as influencing him in his consecration and sacrifice? Quote and cite the Scripture. P.118, par. 3.

(26) What four different features of joy actuated our Lord? Let us discuss these one at a time. P.118, par. 4; P.119, par. 1,2,3.

(27) Was this joy set before our Lord as a certainty or as a contingent reward for faithfulness? and if the latter to whom was he to be faithful and to what degree? P.119, par. 4.

NOVEMBER 22

(28) Did our Lord learn obedience through the things which he suffered in order that he might become a Son of God? If not, for what did he suffer? Quote and cite the Scriptures demonstrating this. P.120, par. 1,2,3.

(29) To whom did our Lord Jesus demonstrate or prove his fidelity and what results followed? P.120, par. 4.

(30) Apply this same principle to the Church, the Body of Christ, and explain what we should expect in ourselves and in each other, and in God's dealings with us. P.120, par. 5. Discuss this matter thoroughly.

NOVEMBER 29

(31) When we read in the Scriptures that our Lord was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" just what does this signify – that he was a sinner? – that he was just like a sinner? – or what? Cite the Scripture and paraphrase it so as to bring out its proper thought. P.121, par. 1.

(32) What bearing would the doctrine of the ransom have in respect to the above questions? If Jesus had been born of a human father and thus partaken of a blemished, fallen, human nature, like sinful flesh in general, could he have been our Redeemer, our ransom? If not, why not? P.122, par. 4.

(33) We read, "Himself took our infirmities." Does this signify that the man Christ Jesus was born with human infirmities? Cite the occurrences of the statement in the Old and New Testaments and explain their proper signification. P.122, par. 2.

(34) Our Lord, according to the Scriptural accounts, was in some respects less vigorous than some of his disciples and some other men at the time of his death. How could this be, if they were born imperfect and he was a perfect being, unblemished? Explain the philosophy. P.122, par. 3; P.123, par. 1.

(35) Does Matthew's Gospel offer an explanation of the Prophet's words under consideration, "Himself bare our sicknesses"? What is the inferable explanation? P.124, par. 1,2.

(36) Did our Lord Jesus use his own physical strength in the healing of sickness or was it done by special outside strength supplied? P.124, par. 3.

page 305
October 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. XXIX.OCTOBER 15No. 20
A.D. 1908 – A.M. 6037
CONTENTS
Views from the Watch Tower 307
England Face to Face with Socialism 307
Revulsion Against Hell Torment 308
Homing the Ark at Jerusalem 308
"Obedience Better Than Sacrifice" 309
Other Lessons for Spiritual Israel 310
Sweet Day of Rest (Poem) 311
There Has Not Failed One Promise 311
"The Lord Will Build Thee An House" 311
His Throne for Evermore 312
"As by One Man's Disobedience" 313
What the Word Vow Signifies 314
"What Spirit Ye Are Of" 318
Is the Vow Extreme? 319

"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 306

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
T
HIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly 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." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I 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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In our issue of October 1st, the friends have fullest particulars respecting our New Bibles with DAWN and TOWER helps. We now suggest that wherever convenient the friends would do well to order together – several copies to the same address. There will be no saving in this (except if twenty or more go by freight), but there will be some convenience and saving in the getting of Money Orders; and those in bunches will be shipped by the publishers and go out earlier. Be sure to give the number of the Bible desired, not the description.

PATENT THUMB-INDEX

We advise against this, but some prefer it. If you wish it on your Bible say so and add 25 cents to price.

HALIFAX CONVENTION ASSISTANCE

A dear Sister has handed us some money to be used in assisting any of the Lord's poor who may attend the Convention. Let such get their ticket with a Certificate that they are to attend the WATCH TOWER CONVENTION OF BIBLE STUDENTS. On arrival see the Convention Secretary who will provide for entertainment and return transportation free.

LOST ARTICLES FOUND

Quite a number of articles lost at the Put-in-Bay Convention were found, but never called for. These include Spectacles, Breast-pins, Stick-pins, Pocket-books, Watch-charms, Coat, Satchel and contents.

Send us a description of the articles you lost, and if they are amongst these we will be glad to send them to you. Address – Convention Department.

VOLUNTEER MATTER IN MANY LANGUAGES

We have a good supply. If you have time and a willing heart you can have plenty to do. Advise what quantities you can use wisely and promptly. We will supply you free of all charges.

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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ENGLAND FACE TO FACE WITH SOCIALISM

O
NE hundred and fifty archbishops and bishops, a multitude of minor clergy, and an assemblage of laymen and laywomen outnumbered any hitherto gathered in Albert hall.

The bishop of Birmingham, who was scheduled to preside, was absent owing to illness. He sent a paper, which was read by his substitute, the bishop of Manchester, the keynote of which was the injustice of the existing division of the profits of industry. After contrasting the grinding poverty of the workers with the extravagant luxury of the idle rich, he demanded from the church "a tremendous act of penitence for having failed so long and so greatly to champion the oppressed and weak."

RISING TIDE OF SOCIALISM

The Rev. J. G. Simpson, principal of the clergy school at Leeds, assured the vast audience that all over the north of England they were face to face with the rising tide of Socialism, which they were powerless to stem even if they wished to do so. Countless workers in the forges, furnaces, and mills of the north had adopted the Socialistic idea and held to it like a religion and loved it like a bride. He demanded that the church give free field to Socialism. He appealed to it to try to understand it and not hasten to discount it.

More significant than the speeches themselves was the keen interest shown in the Socialistic pleas and earnest enthusiasm with which such points as those given were greeted from all parts of the hall. – Chicago Daily Socialist.

"MEN'S HEARTS FAILING THEM"

"Daily it becomes more manifest that political America is separating into two camps – the Individualists and the Socialists...A new party has been created, and it is not extravagant to intimate that it will poll two million votes next November. It threatens to destroy the Democratic party (though that is a job the Democratic Party has already accomplished to all intents and purposes), and will then strive for the mastery against the Republican Party. That would fetch the new alignment of conservative vs. liberal, of Individualism vs. Socialism. That is what is coming."

Washington Post.

THE JEWISH OUTLOOK

The recent quiet Turkish revolution, which has brought to the front the "Young Turk" party, is said to be favorable to the hopes of the Jews in respect to their securing some kind of a footing in Palestine with a subordinate self-government. The new government is credited with being quite liberal toward Jews and Christians.

Rabbi Judah Leon Mages says:

"Since Titus razed Jerusalem thousands of years ago, Israel has been a wanderer among foreign nations, an alien among strangers; at first bitterly persecuted, then barely tolerated, and latterly beginning to be respected and honored, but still an outcast, with no home toward which to turn his wandering footsteps. And yet, remarkable as is the fact, he has preserved his individuality through it all. Whether he is a professor in a German university, or a banker in France, or a statesman in England, the Jew is a Jew still, and under the veneer of environing social life lies the tearful yearning for his native land.

"When we turn our footsteps toward Zion," continued the doctor, his eyes kindling with enthusiasm, "we shall number among the citizens of the renewed Jewish commonwealth some of the most famous men of modern times, men who are engaged in creating the world history of today. Our government will serve as a model for the whole world. And in the arts and crafts Jerusalem will be a standard. I have no small faith in Israel. What he is doing now, scattered throughout the world, he will be able to do tenfold when he is united, safe from the fear of hate or prejudice.

PURCHASING PALESTINE HOLDINGS

"This is not all purely visionary. The work is already going on rapidly in Palestine. We have acquired extensive tracts of land from the Sultan of Turkey, and we are constantly increasing our holdings. Very soon we will be in a position to ask for a release from the authority of the Sultan. England favors the project, and we are sure of the assistance of the United States. Large areas of land are already under cultivation, and we are planting an immense grove of olive trees, to be called the Theodore Herzl Memorial Grove, in memory of the revered founder of Zionism.

"Israel was originally a farmer. It was only upon his expulsion from his native land, forbidden to hold territory in any of the countries he sought to make his home, that he became a trader, and by his native wit became so apt at it that it has almost become a characteristic of the race. Now, however, in his own home, at peace with all nations, and with the latest inventions of science at his command, he will make the beautiful valley of the Jordan to 'blossom as the rose.' And there under the serene eastern sun, he can let his soul drift back softly into the meditations of his beloved religion and live out his days 'a blessing and a comfort to the nations.'"

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REVULSION AGAINST HELL TORMENT TOWARD FAITHS WITHOUT FOUNDATION

The Rev. J. R. Hutton, D.D., of Glasgow, preaching in New York City, said: –

"We hear much in these days of the fascination which Roman Catholic or High Church views are having for many minds. Now, the claim that these churches really put forward is that the Church, through its sacraments and the prayers of the saints, will take the responsibility for the souls of its members and so relieve them of a certain 'intolerable strain.' We hear that the claim is proving the attraction. I think the significance is just this, that these systems put the accent and emphasis not on what the worshiper does for himself but on what God has done for him and is prepared to do.

"Take another movement which I think has a very close resemblance to this drift toward the Roman Catholic attitude in England. I mean the movement originating in America, but which has its agents in all cultured lands, which goes variously by the name of Christian Science, Mind Culture and the rest. It has succeeded because with a certain passion and unfairness it rejects from the entire life of the soul such words as 'striving,' 'wrestling' and 'fighting.' The movement has won a success just because it promises to take the strain off our minds, because it bids men to stop thinking about themselves and begin thinking out of themselves toward the infinite peace of God. All that is true in both these movements is not new, and all that is new is not true. There are signs that the human soul is tired of the ethical whip, tired of the summons to strenuousness, and is determined now to try the life of faith."

*                         *                         *

What man really needs is the Bible faith, the faith once delivered to the saints, but now, alas! obscured to almost all.

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HOMING THE ARK AT JERUSALEM
2 SAMUEL 6:1-12. – OCTOBER 4. –

Golden Text: – "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." – Psa. 100:4.

T
HE Ark of the Covenant, wherein was deposited the tables of the Law, the basis of God's covenant with Israel, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the golden pot of manna, was the most sacred article of typical Israel's religious emblems. Its lid, consisting of a golden plate surmounted with two cherubs, constituted the mercy-seat – the meeting place between God and the officiating priest, who acted as mediator++ between God and the nation of Israel. When in the Tabernacle, the divine presence was manifested upon the mercy-seat between the cherubim by a miraculous light called the shekinah glory. For seventy years prior to our lesson the Ark had been neglected and in considerable degree the religion of the nation had likewise been neglected, though it is presumed that their devotions as individuals were not entirely forgotten, even as in David's case, we note his continued reliance upon the Lord and appeals to him.
++ Please see January 1909 Issue where the author says the word "advocate" should have been used instead of "mediator."

It will be remembered that the Ark was in the Tabernacle of the Lord at Shiloh when Samuel was a boy and Eli was high priest, and that later, when the latter was aged and Samuel was grown, in a battle with the Philistines the sons of Eli, who were disreputable, self-seeking, grasping characters, took the Ark into battle as a talisman or mascot, believing that the Lord would [R4259 : page 308] protect the Ark and that thus the army of Israel with it would have success. But the iniquity of Eli's sons had reached its full and God willed that they should fall in the battle and that the Ark should be captured by the Philistines and that Eli himself should die of heart failure upon hearing the news of the disaster, and that Samuel should occupy the place of judge, prophet and priest to the Lord.

It will also be remembered that while the Ark was with the Philistines it brought them no blessing, but on the contrary sickness, trouble, etc., or "bad luck," as some would say. It was thus sent from one Philistine city to another, each being glad to get rid of it until finally they put it upon a cart and started it eastward to the land of Israel. There it was received by the priest Abinadab and lodged in his own house. There it had remained for several years up to the time of this lesson, when David had become King of Israel.

FERVENT IN SPIRIT

As we have already seen King David possessed a very deep religious nature, whose center or will had been early turned in full consecration to the Lord. Realizing that God was the real King of Israel and that he himself was merely God's vice-gerent or representative, David sought to fulfil the divine will and arrangement by inaugurating the Tabernacle and its religious services, as God had appointed through Moses. Accordingly a royal decree went forth summoning the priests, Levites and tribal princes and religious people of the various parts of the dominion for the reinauguration of the public worship of Jehovah God. The scope of the decree may be judged from the assembled multitude – 30,000. It matters not to us that some are inclined to impugn the motives of the king and to claim that this was merely a policy stroke of the king for the binding of the people to himself through his religious instincts and a revival of ancient customs. If it were merely policy on David's part, it was good policy, wise policy, helpful policy as respects the people, as well as in respect to unifying and solidifying his Kingdom. To be religious did not necessitate the avoidance of such things as would be good for the people, even though some might impugn the motive. But the love which thinketh no evil should be experienced and the king should be given credit for the best of motives in calling for the fulfilment of divine commands given through Moses.

Indeed, those who have learned to look for the Lord's leading, amongst the Lord's people, in all the affairs of life should be convinced that God did not leave the affairs of his people Israel in the hands of David – that the Lord himself was King and Director of all of the interests of that chosen and covenanted people. In our estimate, therefore, it matters not what motive David may have had in calling this convocation, because God was behind it and David, wittingly or unwittingly was being used as the divine agent in accomplishing the divine purposes. And it will surely do us good to call to mind that similarly the Lord has a special interest in all the matters which pertain to Spiritual Israel and that no great or important matters that [R4259 : page 309] pertain to Spiritual Zion take place without his notice, without his permission. Only those who thus recognize the divine supervision of the Church's interest can rest their hearts in faith and confidence or feel assured that God is working all things according to the counsel of his own will.

We feel specially impressed with the special evidences which show that God's supervision was particularly with Israel in their harvest time, at the end of the age, in all of the affairs pertaining to our Lord's first advent: his birth in the "fulness of time," his death "in due time," the number of his disciples, the one that should betray him, his crucifixion as a malefactor, the rejection of Israel because of the rejection of Messiah, the anointing of the "most holy" at Pentecost, the final overthrow of the nation, A.D. 70. And if we note such particular care by the Lord over natural Israel, may we not experience as much faith in his care for Spiritual Israel in the present harvest time? Surely the lessons we have learned in the Scriptures respecting the harmonious parallels between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age, between the harvest of that age and the harvest of this age, justify fully our expectation that the Lord will be equally careful in overruling even the smallest affairs in the harvest of this age.

Whoever can by faith reach and maintain this position will surely have a confidence in the Lord which will be very helpful to him. The trials and difficulties of the Jewish harvest seemed like calamities at the moment of their permission, and it is only by hind-sight directed by the holy Spirit and prophetic Word that we are able to discern God's providences there. Similarly calamities, adversities, peculiar conditions, etc., are to be expected in this harvest, which at the time of occurrence will not be understood by any except those of large faith and intimate acquaintance with the prophecies, and even they will be obliged to walk by faith and not by sight. It will be afterward that the divine supervision in every detail will be discernible. Meantime the Lord wills evidently that the Spiritual Israelite, instructed in the school of Christ, shall have learned the lessons of faith and obedience from the harvest time of typical Israel.

"OBEDIENCE BETTER THAN SACRIFICE"

The occasion of bringing the Ark of God to the capital city of the nation was to be a gala day of rejoicing, long to be remembered from one end of Israel's land to the other. King David rejoiced at the unanimity of religious sentiment everywhere prevalent with the people who accepted his instructions. The players of musical instruments of every kind had been engaged so as to accompany the procession. An ox-cart, specially prepared, was provided and the Ark was put upon the cart and the two sons of the high-priest accompanied it, the one preceding and the other driving. The good intentions of all concerned are not to be misjudged, but a serious error was made in that the divine order in connection with the matter was neglected.

(1) God had made no such arrangement of transferring the Ark on a cart, however honorable that may have seemed to David and to the priests.

(2) It was not the business of the priests at all to transfer the Ark, for, although they ranked high in the Lord's services, it was the Levites who were commissioned to bear the Ark by its staves on their shoulders. In neglecting these divine provisions an opening was made for all kinds of irregularity in connection with the services of the Tabernacle, which the Lord designed should not be reinaugurated. It was proper that the king, the priests, the nobles of all the tribes and the religious people of the nation should have a lesson that would not soon be forgotten respecting the importance of carrying out every detail of the divine law in respect to the worship and services of the Tabernacle. The lesson which the Lord gave on this occasion not only was profitable to the king and the nation, but has been profitable in a large degree to Spiritual Israel during this Gospel Age.

When the time came for the manifestation of the Lord's disapproval of the neglect of the Law on the part of those who desired to honor him, the oxen stumbled and, to steady the Ark, Uzzah, an under-priest, put forth his hand, when immediately God's displeasure was manifested in his falling down dead. The gala day was suddenly spoiled. The joy of the king and of the people vanished. Instead came distress and fear – if because of some blunder even one of the priests should be thus smitten down of the Lord, what would be the dangers as respects others! King David promptly concluded that he dare not have the Ark with him and near his own house at Jerusalem, as previously intended. The procession stopped and, turning aside, the Ark was deposited in the home of Obed-edom.

"THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM"

One of the first lessons necessary for every Israelite, natural and spiritual, is reverence. Without this quality we shall be sure to err. There is an old and true adage, "Familiarity breeds contempt," and this applies to religious things and to God, as well as to earthly things and to men. The worship of God, which King David was to inaugurate in the typical temple built by Solomon, must be founded upon a proper base of respect and reverence. It must be recognized as fundamental, that obedience is a pre-requisite to the offering of acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.

The fact that this lesson was taught at the expense of human life has seemed to us terrible, because of our delusion in respect to eternal torment, which led us to suppose that poor Uzzah not only ceased from human activities and pleasures but that he was immediately dropped into a seething abyss of hell-flames and torture. Now, by the grace of God, we see that this is not the teaching of the Scriptures, and this relieves the narrative of its distressing features. We perceive that Uzzah lost his life a year or so earlier, as the case might have been, than he otherwise would have lost it, and that it was for the Lord's glory and for the good of the people that he died as he did and not by disease or accident. We are to remember that he was already, like the rest of the race, under condemnation of death and that God had a perfect right to require his life at any moment. We are to remember that all that he lost was of God's purpose and in God's time will be made good to him, in his awakening in the resurrection of judgment, when he shall come forth from the tomb to more favorable conditions than those under which he was living – to the antitypical jubilee of restitution to all who will receive it.

Spiritual Israelites must learn this lesson – that in handling the holy things of the divine Word, the divine plan, the services of the Truth, the ministry of the Church of Christ, they are not at liberty to do as they please, merely assuring themselves that their motives are good. It is their duty to note carefully the divine [R4260 : page 310] will and to follow out the program in the order of the directions of the divine Word. Furthermore it is for us to learn, too, that God designs that not all the services are to be performed by one or two persons, but that there is a part in the service of God for all of the consecrated and that each is to be granted the opportunity for such service, as the Lord has planned. Some may occupy the priestly service, which others may not enjoy, and some may occupy the Levites' service, and their opportunities are not to be taken from them. Again another important lesson to be learned by Spiritual Israelites is that God is guiding his own affairs; that he is as much interested in them as we are and more, too, and that he is fully capable of their management. Some of the Lord's people carry great burdens which do not belong to them and which hinder them from the rest and joy which otherwise might be theirs. Others are so active, so zealous, that they fancy that the work of God would not be accomplished at all unless they did it. The Lord wishes us to learn the important lesson, "In all thy ways acknowledge him," "and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart." Only by recognizing the Lord as first in every feature of his work and by recognizing ourselves as honored by him in every opportunity of service shall we be able to bring blessing to ourselves and to others.

PROFITING BY EXPERIENCE

If we think of David's course in refusing to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, as at first intended, as a mark of petulance and anger against the Lord for spoiling the gala day, we shall make a great mistake. David's character was too reverential for anything of this kind. He was the man who could fight Goliath, but not the man who could fight against God. Every act of his life was marked by reverence and humility and a recognition of God's justice and power and love and of David's own humility in the Lord's sight. Meantime the Lord was teaching a great lesson to the whole nation, which heard of the sad disappointment of the people with reference to the great gala day and that God's displeasure was shown in such a striking way that even a priest was stricken down for neglect of the divine supervision, and that the Ark was now in the house of Obed-edom.

King David was watching, and noted these results, and again his heart went out longingly with the wish that the chief emblem of divine worship should rest under the shadow of the Lord, near to the Lord and to the shekinah glory. Evidently he made investigation as to the handling of the Ark and concluded that the mistake was that of himself and of the priests and that God's blessing and not a curse would go with the Ark. So at the end of three months he made arrangements afresh for the bringing of it to his capital. Again the visitors came, the bands of music in order, and the procession accompanied the Ark again towards Jerusalem. We read that David brought the Ark from the house of Obed-edom unto the City of David with gladness and with joy.

A description of the festival procession may be found in I Chron. 15 and 16. It was decidedly the greatest day in David's career. But this time, in harmony with the lesson taught, there were no innovations, no cart driven by priests after the manner of the heathen, but instead a strict adherence to the divine direction. The Ark was borne on the shoulders of the Levites. The lesson was learned that obedience to the letter is better than sacrifice. In the joyous procession the king apparently led, playing upon the harp, while with him the singers and the musicians were divided into several companies which sang parts in alternation. See Psalms 105, 96 and 106. The 24th Psalm is supposed to have been sung as a marching accompaniment as the procession was entering Jerusalem, where a tent or tabernacle had already been placed for the reception of the Ark. Seven choirs formed part of the procession, according to Josephus.

OTHER LESSONS FOR SPIRITUAL ISRAEL

Members of antitypical David – the Christ – are to learn lessons from all the experiences of life; that with them it may be as it was with David in this case, when the proposed gala day was turned into a day of mourning and fear. Similarly our mistakes are to be received rightly and the reasons for them rightly appreciated that, instead of stumbling-stones, they may be stepping-stones which shall draw us "Nearer, my God, to thee." Another lesson is that we should desire to be nearer to the Lord.

The Ark in the Tabernacle near to David's home represented not its glorious resting place, but its present dwelling. The condition of the Church in glory is represented by the Temple of Solomon. We, of course, long to be there and to enter into all those glorious things of the future, but that is impossible until the Lord's time, even as David was not permitted to build the Temple. Thus his life shows a picture not of the Beloved in glory, but of the flesh in the trial state below. As David desired to be near to the Tabernacle, close to the Lord, so we, members of the Beloved, should find ourselves longing for a closer walk with God, a nearness to his arrangement of the mercy-seat – Christ Jesus. This will signify a desire to be near to the members of his Body, the Church, to have fellowship with them, because the condition of things is represented as being the "holy" of the Tabernacle, with only a vail between this and that glorious condition beyond the vail. And is it not so that whoever desires to be near to the Lord and to those in fellowship with him, along the lines of the new nature, will give heed to the privileges of showing forth his praise by manifesting their love for the brethren and their confidence and faith in the Lord and in his light and wisdom and love?

"ENTER INTO HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING"

In some respects the City of God is the Church – not the nominal system, but the true Church, whose "names are written in heaven." According to the Apostle the justified believers can enter into this City only by consecration. The Apostle exhorts, "I beseech you, brethren, present your bodies a living sacrifice." There are some who seem to enter this gateway of sacrifice in sorrow and with a measure of regret – with a feeling that they are sacrificing too much. They either overestimate the things sacrificed or they underestimate the things which they are securing. It would have been better for such if they had sat down and counted the cost before taking the step of consecration. The proper attitude of all is to take a right view of that which now is and that which is to come and what we have contracted to do as priests, doing it, then, joyfully. And thus this lesson is learned, that we "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." The appreciative child of God will be able to "count it all joy" when he falls into various difficulties, [R4260 : page 311] because it will be a trial of his faith that "Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope," which maketh not ashamed and is a preparation for the glories of the Kingdom.

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SWEET DAY OF REST
(Tune: Saved By Grace)
I know some day my Lord will come,
And stand within my humble home;
His glorious presence in the room
Will make it like a rose in bloom.

CHO. – Then haste, Oh! hasten, day of rest,
When I shall be forever blest!

His voice, like music on my ear,
Will banish every thought of fear;
He'll fold me closely to his breast,
And there in peace I'll sweetly rest.

And oh, my Lord, on that sweet day,
I know the words that thou wilt say:
"It is enough, my child, come home,
Thy work is done, beloved, come."

Then I'll arise and go with thee,
Across the shining, crystal sea,
Until we reach that blissful shore,
Where we shall dwell for evermore.

G. W. Seibert.

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THERE HAS NOT FAILED ONE PROMISE
I CHRON. 17:1-14. – OCTOBER 11. –

Golden Text: – "There hath not failed one word of all his good promise." – 1 Kings 8:56.

K
ING DAVID prospered under the Lord's blessing, and he established Israel's kingdom upon a good footing, which assured peace and respect from the surrounding nations. Living now in a palace in Jerusalem, with the tabernacle of divine service near by, the king bethought him of the incongruity of his living in a grander house than that of his God, and of the fact that the heathen built temples for their idols. The Prophet Nathan was a friend and close counselor of the king, and to him David made known his thought of building a temple. Possibly he had the suspicion that such an innovation might not be proper and that he would do well to have counsel on the subject. Doubtless the lesson of Uzzah made him more careful respecting everything purposed or done in connection with the tabernacle and its services. To the prophet the suggestion seemed a good one, reverential, proper. He endorsed it, saying, "God is with thee," therefore doubtless he will prosper you in this good thought in respect to this generous impulse of your heart.

God was doubtless pleased also with David's reverent devotion. Nevertheless he disapproved the scheme and sent to the king a message by the mouth of the prophet, "Thou shalt not build me an house." Here again we are to notice that "obedience is better than sacrifice" in God's sight. God is not dependent upon the thoughtfulness nor the negligence of mankind in respect to his arrangements, but takes an oversight. It was not the part of the divine programme that David should build the tabernacle, but that his son Solomon should do so. David and Solomon and their surroundings were to constitute types of glorious things to come later pertaining to the antitypical David and his Kingdom. In I Chron. 22:8 and 28:3 a reason is given why David should not be the builder of the temple. He was a man of experience in fighting enemies of the Lord, [R4261 : page 311] and his people should serve to typify the battling of Christ and the Church while in the flesh. Solomon's kingdom of glory and riches and honor and peace would serve to illustrate better the Millennial Kingdom of the Christ in glory.

"THE LORD WILL BUILD THEE AN HOUSE"

The Lord explained through the prophet that he had never wished a temple – had never given a command to that effect – that this was a matter of his own choice and not neglect upon the part of the Israelites during the centuries since the Lord had established his presence with them at Mount Sinai. Then, as though to console David and to assure him that God appreciated his good intentions, the prophet was directed to recite the evidences of divine care and supervision of the king's affairs – that God had taken him from the shepherd's position and made him a prince and leader of his people, conquering his enemies before him. He assured him that such a blessing would continue with him until his name should be known amongst the great of earth. Prophetically the Lord declared also a blessing for Israel, when they should be no more oppressed nor scattered by their enemies. That prophecy had a temporary fulfilment under David and Solomon, but is to have its real accomplishment under the Kingdom of God's dear Son.

Proceeding (I Chron. 17:10) the Lord assures David that he would build a house for him – that is to say, that he would not cut his family off from the throne, as in the case of Saul. The house of David was indeed perpetuated through Solomon and continued its dominance in Judah for several centuries, but this would not completely fulfil the Lord's promise, which, although not understood by David, was evidently meant to refer expressly to Messiah and his Kingdom.

One of the familiar titles of our Lord was, "The son of David," and this was in harmony with the expectation of all Israel – that ultimately Messiah, the Seed of Abraham, would come through the seed of David and would be the everlasting King. This promise is referred to as "The sure mercies of David." It was in accord with this expectation of the Jews that our Lord said to them, "If Messiah is the son of David, why is he also called David's Lord?" where he says, "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool."

Our Lord shows that David thus prophetically declared that David's son would be David's Lord or superior. "He is the root and offspring of David," through whom David and Israel and all the families of the earth shall yet be blessed.

"HE SHALL BUILD ME AN HOUSE AND I WILL ESTABLISH HIS THRONE FOREVER. I WILL BE HIS FATHER AND HE SHALL BE MY SON" – V. 12

It will be noticed that these words were primarily applicable to Solomon, who did build the typical temple; but the weight of the promise belongs to the antitype, Christ, the Messiah. He it is who will build the real [R4261 : page 312] temple of God in and through which a blessing shall proceed to all the families of the earth. It will in the highest sense of the word be "an house of prayer unto all people." During the Millennial Age, when the glorious temple of God, the Church of the living God, shall be in the glory of the Kingdom, all prayers to God and all blessings from God will pass through that glorified temple which, under another figure, Head and Body, is referred to as the Mediator between God and men. It will be remembered that while King David was not permitted to construct the temple he was privileged to prepare for it vast treasures of gold, silver, brass, precious stones, marbles of various colors, iron and wood.

As it was in David's heart to build the temple, so naturally the desire comes to the Lord's people in the present time to establish the things of the Lord and his Kingdom. Some, anxious to do this, have not taken counsel of the prophets of God to know his will, but have presumed to build up earthly institutions quite contrary to the divine intention as respects this present age. Catholicism has built wonderful institutions, which it invites the whole world to join. Various denominations have erected temples or systems, each of which claims to be God's Kingdom, God's temple, but the Lord disowns all of these and declares that he is now with his people, under temporary conditions tabernacling with those who are his wherever they may be and not wishing at the present for any such organizations as men have supposed. The Apostle expresses this when he says, "We who are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." Our conditions are not fully satisfactory, but they are all that the Lord sees best for us to have at the present time.

The Apostle calls the present condition of the Body of Christ, "Our Body of humiliation," but he assures us that at the second coming of our Lord he will "change our vile body" (our ignominious condition) so that it may be fashioned properly, as his glorious Body, as the glorious temple of the living God. Now is the time for gathering the various elements, gold, silver, precious stones, etc., which by and by shall constitute the Lord's temple. Now is the time, not only for the quarrying of the stones, but also for the shaping of them for their various positions in the temple of God. Now, as the Apostle Peter suggests, "We are living stones, to be built together for a habitation of God through the spirit." The preparation of the stones will continue until eventually all shall be properly fitted into the building. We are now under the process of shaping, being "made meet (made fit) for the inheritance of the saints." All this is being done under the present condition of wars and strife and confusion. By and by, "Without the sound of a hammer," every stone of that glorious structure shall be fitted together, all being perfected in heart reckonedly will in the resurrection "change" be actually perfected and "changed"; as the Apostle says, "Sown in weakness, it is raised in power; sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."

HIS THRONE FOREVERMORE

The throne of David and of Solomon was not perpetually established. Indeed, as heretofore shown, our Lord, according to the flesh, sprung not from Solomon's line, but descended from another of David's sons. This makes it the more evident that Christ was meant by the divine prophecies as the heir of David's throne who should establish it forever to a consummation – reigning, ruling, blessing, uplifting, bringing it into perfect accord with God. This gives us a good opportunity of noting how God hides and reveals the Truth at the same time and why it is that the "line upon line, precept upon precept," is to one flock food, refreshing, strength, and to another stumbling-blocks, etc., which, according to Higher Criticism, overthrows all confidence in the Bible as divine revelation. Thus is illustrated the saying that "one man's meat is another man's poison."

How much depends upon the attitude of our hearts! We are to "become as little children." Our Lord said, "I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." God's people are to learn the lesson of trust and patience.

"God's plans, like lilies pure and white unfold;
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart;
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold."
"THERE HATH NOT FAILED ONE WORD"

Our Golden Text is a precious one and fully corroborated by every faithful follower of the Lord who has had experience in the good way. The difficulty with those who have not had this experience is that they have not been particular to note the difference between God's promises recorded in his Word and the traditions of men, which misrepresent the Lord's promises. All about us today we see great disputations amongst the nominal Church and the impression that God's purpose is meeting with disappointment. The thought has been prevalent that God designed the various sects to build for themselves temples and to bless and convert the world. The fact that after eighteen centuries the world is far from God and his will far from being done on earth as it is done in heaven is most evident; and when it is recollected that the number of the heathen, according to public statistics, has doubled in the last century, it is no wonder that our friends, who think that they have been laboring under a divine commission to use all their efforts in converting the world, should feel disappointed.

Let us note carefully the promise as it is outlined in this lesson, namely, that the Temple of God is not to be built in this age and the world is not to be blessed now; and the construction of the Temple is not to take place until all the stones shall be prepared. So the work of blessing all the families of the earth through that Temple and its great Head, Priest and Prophet, King, Judge and Messiah cannot be accomplished until all the stones are prepared and the Temple of the Lord, the Church, has been glorified. Let us not blame God with a non-fulfilment of our expectations, but on the contrary, let us examine the Word and assure ourselves that we are not building wood, hay and stubble, which will surely be destroyed, but that we are building upon the precious promises of the Word. From this standpoint all the trials and difficulties, all the battling with the world and the Adversary, all the adversities coming to ourselves and to others of the Lord's consecrated, are but encouraging evidences that we are the Lord's and that he is working out for [R4262 : page 312] us, as well as in us, his good pleasure. With this view before our mental vision the Spirit of God witnesses with our spirit that we are having exactly the experiences which his faithful should expect and that all things will work in us for our welfare – because we are his – and for the glory of his Kingdom.

"His love in times past forbids me to think
He'll leave me at last in trouble to sink."

[R4262 : page 313]

"AS BY ONE MAN'S DISOBEDIENCE"
O
NE of our readers inquires how Christ could "appear for us," the Church, without appearing for Adam or having atoned for him, when Adam was the real transgressor and we merely sharers in transgression through our relationship to him.

We reply that the questioner really answers his own argument: Adam alone was perfect – Adam alone was placed on trial and he alone by disobedience came under a direct sentence of death. Of his posterity it was written that we were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity." In this imperfect condition we were unfit for another trial, as was demonstrated by the Jews, who, as a special favor, were put under the Law Covenant, which they thought they could keep, and under which they expected to gain eternal life. But the Apostle explains that under its terms they were condemned to death. The same would have been true of all the remainder of mankind under similar conditions, but no such conditions were either thrust upon or offered to mankind in general. Israel alone was put under that Law and is guaranteed a certain blessing as a result of the experiences then unsatisfactorily endured. Be it noted here that the fact that they were put under that special trial, and thus specially condemned, made it necessary that they should be redeemed as a nation. Thus we read that our Lord was "born under the Law (Covenant) that he might redeem them who were under the Law (Covenant)." (Gal. 4:5.) Had he been born outside of the Jewish nation the redemption of the world in general would have been the same as now, but the Jewish nation would not have shared it because by their Law Covenant sealed at Sinai they were, so to speak, lifted out from the remainder of mankind and given a separate trial – as a nation – as the adopted family of Moses, their recognized mediator.

As the Lord could make a conditional covenant with natural Israel through Moses, their mediator, so likewise he could make a conditional arrangement with Spiritual Israel through Christ our Head and Representative. God's arrangement with believers during this Gospel Age is by a faith-justification of all those who turn from sin and accept Jesus as their Redeemer. He "appeared for us" who are of this class; he now represents us to the Father, appropriating to us the merit of his sacrifice, thereby making it possible for those of this "household of faith" who make a full consecration of themselves to the Father to be acceptable through Christ Jesus, who accepts these consecrated ones as his "members in particular" – his Ecclesia, his Church. Their acceptance is based upon their covenant to walk in the steps of their Redeemer as living sacrifices. Only those who maintain this relationship faithfully will attain the heart-likeness of their Redeemer and become worthy to be of the "little flock," which the Father has predestinated must be individually heart-copies of his Son.

ADAM ONLY WAS CONDEMNED

So far as the divine program is concerned only the one man sinned, only the one man was sentenced to death and only the one man Christ Jesus needed to die for the redemption and the complete deliverance from death of the whole human family. Nevertheless the one sacrifice of Christ would be necessary for the delivery of any one man of the whole world, because all are imperfect and under the demands of Justice none can claim release from death. It follows then that our Lord, when he had ascended up on high, had in his hand a price sufficient to pay the penalty for any one member of the race or for all of them or for as many as he chose to apply it for. He did choose, according to the Scriptures, to make application of that merit only in behalf of those who should believe during this Age – the antitypical Atonement Day. As a consequence of that application in "our behalf" we who believe have been privileged to return to God's favor and to enjoy the opportunity of becoming joint-heirs with our Redeemer.

The divine purpose in the redemption provided was to bring a blessing to all the families of the earth – a release from sin and death conditions and a return to divine favor to all who would be obedient; hence our Lord's work did not end with the application of his merit to those who were accepted of the Father as members of his Body. Rather the sacrifice was allowed to continue on a larger scale – a sacrificing of the Church, the members of his Body being counted as a continuation and a completion of our Lord's own personal sacrifice. When all the members of this great mystical Body shall have "suffered with him" – when he as the great antitypical High Priest shall have offered up not only himself but us, his adopted members, then justice will have all that it ever demanded and much more. It will have the one great valuable sacrifice of Jesus and additionally the sacrifice of his members – 144,000 justified through faith in his blood, whose sacrifice the Apostle declares to be in God's sight "holy and acceptable." – Rom. 12:1.

Would it be right for justice to accept 144,001 sacrifices when only the one was really demanded? We answer, Yes. Justice is not hindered – divine justice would not be stopped from receiving all of those sacrifices in the manner arranged. Justice could not have demanded more, however, nor accepted less, than the one perfect life. We are to remember that none of these sacrifices was demanded nor compelled by justice – merely a high reward for faithfulness was held out for the time. Our Lord was attracted thereby and "For the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame." As a matter of fact the divine plan through him opened the door of opportunity to others who have his spirit (disposition) during this Age, to a limited fore-ordained number, which we believe to be 144,000. Their sacrifice was not demanded. It was voluntary and because they saw riches of grace and divine rewards which they esteemed to be their privilege to attain. Thus in the divine plan the world has been redeemed much less directly than we may have imagined, but much to our advantage, in that it has permitted us to become members of the Bride Class, members of the Body of the Great Mediator, whose work throughout the Millennial Age will be that of Intercessor and Go-between and Mediator between God and men – the world in general. We, who now come in under this arrangement as members of the Body, members of the "Seed of Abraham," members of the Great Antitypical Mediator, Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, are as his members under his supervision yielding up our lives in sacrifice during this Age, and these sacrificed lives counted in with his constitute the blood of The Christ, which seals the New Covenant between God and the world. That New Covenant will not be sealed until all the blood of the Great Mediator has been shed. Then Head and Body, Bridegroom and Bride, we shall be presented before the Father and the blood of the Great Christ, as shown in the types of Leviticus, will then avail for the cancellation of the world's sin, even as the blood of Jesus now avails for our sins. [R4263 : page 314]

Meantime in advance of the sealing of that New Covenant Jesus and all the members of his Body are "able ministers of the New Covenant" – qualified ministers or servants – qualified to offer the necessary sacrifice – qualified to represent God and to tell to those who have the ear to hear the terms and conditions of that New Covenant of the future and the terms and conditions by which we become its ministers or servants and ambassadors for God and of his righteousness, which the New Covenant will introduce to mankind in general.

THE LAST FIRST – THE FIRST LAST

Coming back then to the original question we remind all that the Apostle shows that "We are all sinners" – that "the whole world is guilty before God," not in the sense that each has been tried and sentenced, but in the sense that all have inherited weaknesses and imperfections which would prove them guilty and bring upon them condemnation if they were put upon trial at the present time. Hence, instead of putting mankind on trial, as Adam was on trial before the bar of divine justice, God has arranged the Millennial Age as the period in which the whole world shall be instructed, enlightened, corrected in righteousness and helped out of their sins and death conditions back to perfection, if they will. During the Millennium none will be on trial before the bar of divine justice. Indeed, as the Apostle suggests, it would be "a fearful thing" for any to drop out of the hands of Christ into the hands of the living God, because the divine provision for mercy and forgiveness is all in Christ. Hence there is no salvation through any other name nor in any other way than by faith in and obedience to the Great Mediator.

But it is in no sense necessary that this work of reclaiming the race should begin in Adam – quite to the contrary, the last will be first and the first last, so far as the divine arrangement is revealed. Adam, who enjoyed 930 years of experience, will be amongst the last if not the very last to be awakened from the tomb and to be tested as respects his willingness hereafter to be in harmony with the divine program in every detail. Not until the close of the Millennial Age will Adam and his race be turned over to the Father. They will then "fall into the hands of the living God" without injury because the Mediator will have previously brought them to full perfection of mind and body – all the unwilling and disobedient and refractory being destroyed in the Second Death throughout the Millennial years. But naturally and properly at the close of the Millennium the Kingdom shall be delivered up to God, even the Father. (1 Cor. 15:23-27.) Then the first work of the Father with these will be to test their loyalty as he tested father Adam in the beginning. Whichever of these shall sin after having had the experiences of the fall and the recovery will not only be condemned to death, but that death will be a finality. "Christ dieth no more." No provision has been made but by the one Redemption and one Restitution.

[R4263 : page 314]

WHAT THE WORD VOW SIGNIFIES
I
T seems evident that a few ordinarily bright brethren have missed their education as respects the meaning of the word "Vow"; or else, that our great Adversary, opposed to the Vow recently suggested in these columns, is using every means to confuse their minds, to disorder their judgment in respect to it. The said few appear to be awfully distressed by the Vow and protest vociferously against it, against those who take it, and against the Editor for advising it. Their arguments are amusing, ridiculous and self-contradictory; but with all their brightness these brethren fail to see this. We pray for them a still wider opening of the eyes of their understanding, and in harmony with our prayers we proceed to discuss this subject, condescending to details which should be quite unnecessary; our excuse is, love for the brethren, and a clear realization that they are taking a wrong stand, supporting a wrong standard, and overlooking the fact that there are but two Princes or Leaders – the Prince of Light and the Prince of Darkness.

The Vow suggested had a small beginning, but the Lord's providence led up to its general presentation to the Church and our advice that all of the consecrated of the Lord's people take the Vow – not as a new consecration but as bringing their original consecration up-to-date – as drawing tighter the girdle of consecration which holds to us our bridal garment and "girds up the loins of our minds," making us the more ready and the more strong from day to day in the fight of this "evil day." It may be helpful to some to be informed regarding the leadings of the Lord in respect to this Vow. Hence we will state the matter briefly:

Some of the dear friends naturally and properly are very jealous of the Truth and of the influence and reputation of those who represent it – especially the "PILGRIMS," all of whom should be noble characters, and, we believe, are such – of far higher than average standing amongst Christians and ministers. We may add here that we exercise a great deal of care in the selection of these representatives of the Society serving the Lord's work – that they shall be moral men, consecrated saints, humble, clear in the Truth, and of some ability in its presentation.

The Pilgrim service during the last year has been represented by some twenty-five men of this stamp, and our confidence in them is represented by our endorsement and appointment of them to the service of the Truth. However, we received from dear Christian friends criticisms applying to several of these dear Pilgrims, not criminal, not sinful, but suggestions that they should be warned to be still more discreet toward the opposite sex, more careful than other ministers, since the Truth and its servants are looked upon most critically, often maliciously. These letters, received with appreciation, we acknowledged, assuring the dear friends that it is our desire that all who bear the vessels of the Lord's House in connection with the service of the Present Truth, should not only speak and think along the highest planes but in conduct also should be "blameless"; and that we were sure that no evil was in any way intended, and that our bringing the matter to the attention of the Pilgrims would be all that was necessary.

The fact is that those who receive the Truth in the spirit of it feel a warmer affection for each other than could result from any earthly relationship. It is not our thought that this spiritual oneness is wrong or that it should be set aside or quenched. It is indeed the spirit of Christ in the members of his Body. We do think, however, that outsiders cannot understand this, [R4263 : page 315] and hence that the deportment and language and letters between the friends should be so seasoned with grace and wisdom that our most critical opponents would pronounce them "blameless." Furthermore we do not forget that the Lord's people, "new creatures in Christ Jesus," have "this treasure in earthen vessels," all of which are more or less imperfect through the fall. We have learned that some are weaker in one respect and others in another and hence, as the Apostle says, "We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves." (Rom. 15:1.) Hence our true love for others of the Lord's people ought to produce in us great self-restraint and uprightness lest we injure the weaker, of whose weakness we properly may not know. These undisputed facts should appeal to all of the Lord's saints in favor of self-restraint to the last degree.

As an illustration of the unwisdom complained of we cite one instance which may be as instructive to others as it was to ourself. A noble brother in the Truth came to us saying, "Brother Russell, do you approve of the Pilgrims kissing the sisters? I was much shocked to see one kiss a sister." We replied, No, Brother! While we find no mention in the Scriptures that kissing would be a sin, we do feel that for the Pilgrims to practice such familiarity would be to lower their influence and endanger the interests of the Truth. Did you speak to the Pilgrim on the subject according to Matt. 18:15? He answered, "I did do so, but thought that as the Pilgrim represented the Society it was my duty also to mention the matter to you as its representative" – relating the circumstance. We replied, I assure you, dear Brother, that the Pilgrim you name is a very honorable man, and the kiss was surely not thought of by him as anything either sinful or impure. But I am glad that you are so particular, and I am sure that when I call the matter to the Pilgrim's attention he will fully agree to the unwisdom of the course, however pure his motives. The Brother replied, "Yes, the Pilgrim told me that the Sister was one with whom he had been very intimately acquainted for a long time, and that his kiss was merely a greeting. I accepted his statement of the matter, Brother Russell, though I cannot understand it, for I assure you that I could not have given the kiss without improper feeling."

That statement was a revelation. Our mental cogitation was, How differently people are constituted. One might kiss a thousand without an impure thought or sentiment; another would be injured by a single kiss. We realized, as never before, how careful the Lord's people should be to lift all of our standards high enough to protect the very weakest, and to avoid everything that might have even the appearance of evil. We saw at once how a kiss that to one person would be as innocent as the shaking of hands might to another be a very different matter. This thought helped us to appreciate why some regard kissing as representing an impurity, whereas others, differently constituted, would [R4264 : page 315] never think of such a thing except by such a lesson as this. Another lesson we drew was on the danger of misjudging one another. "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged."

Not long after this, meditating on all these facts, and calling to mind as well that our own conduct had been evil-spoken of, we thought up the Vow for ourself and for one Pilgrim specially needing it, and later thought of its value for all of the dear Pilgrims. Another matter which influenced us in the preparation of the Vow was the general view the Lord seemed lately to have been giving us respecting the peculiar trials, difficulties, besetments of the last seven years of the Harvest period and the accumulating evidences that during this time Satan and all of the fallen angels will be permitted of the Lord in various ways to assault the whole world along the lines of Spiritism, Hypnotism, Occultism, etc., the general tendency of all which will be to lead to gross immoralities. We said to ourself, Surely we are in the special time foretold by the Word of God as the "Hour of temptation," "That evil day," etc., in which, "if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived"; and in which surely "Every man's work shall be tried so as by fire." (I Cor. 3:13.) The Spirit of the Lord said to us through these Scriptures, and this mental picture of things at the time before us, It will surely behoove every child of God, and especially every public minister of the Truth, to look well to the straightness of his paths and to walk in extreme circumspection. It was under these influences that we prepared the Vow, as representing a very high standard of Christian living.

We had it written out in duplicate, and sent copies to all the Pilgrims just before our journey to Britain, at the time having no thought of publishing anything respecting it. Later on we reflected that if the dear friends who had written us in criticism of some of the brethren could know of the Vow and perceive how the slightest indiscretion, either real or apparent, would be guarded against by it, they would have an increased confidence in every member of the Pilgrim force. We concluded for this reason to publish the Vow and to give the names of those who had made it their Vow to the Lord.

Just at this time we received Brother Hollister's letter referring to a carelessness between brothers and sisters in their greeting, which was sometimes so genuine and hearty as to be liable to be misunderstood by others of the Church and by the world. Believing that the time is ripe for such a stand and the exhibition of a high standard, we published that letter with our approval and comments as introductory to the submitting of the Vow and the names of the Pilgrims taking it. After the matter was in type, but before it went to press, we got a letter from a Colporteur brother and Church Elder, who said he had seen a copy of the Vow in possession of a Pilgrim, told of his appreciation of it, and that he at once made it his own before the Lord. We took this as a hint from the Lord, for it appealed to our judgment as representing his Will – then, on the proof-sheet we added the suggestion that all Colporteurs take the Vow and all Elders and Deacons of Churches. A little later came the thought, "Are not all of the Lord's people representatives of God, who are offering sacrifices – his ambassadors and ministers of the Truth? And would not this Vow prove a blessing and assistance to all, male and female?" Our judgment of the Lord's Will confirmed the thought, and thus the matter reached you in the June 15th TOWER.

The suggestion was not that you take this Vow to us or to each other, but that you make the Vow to the Lord, and that we would be glad to know of the step having been taken and to have a word to that effect from any pleased to inform us. The promptness of the responses and the assurances from many of increased blessing in their hearts and nearness to the Lord have convinced us that the Lord guided in respect to the preparation and circulation of that Vow. Likewise a small but vigorous opposition to the Vow, and a [R4264 : page 316] desire to fight it and to hinder some from taking it, suggests to our minds that the Adversary is displeased with the course we have taken and that he is more or less blinding and, we fear, stumbling a few and, to some extent, suggesting and putting before their minds light as darkness and darkness as light. Indications are that the Adversary will make this a case of sifting amongst the consecrated. Of course none but the consecrated can take the Vow, hence a considerable number in sympathy with it but not consecrated may be disinclined to take it; but we warn them that while it is entirely proper for them to count the cost and decide on their own course of action, they will, by opposing it, get under the wrong banner and in support of the wrong Prince and be thereby injured.

THE STANDARD DICTIONARY'S DEFINITION

To vow is (1) to promise solemnly; especially to promise to God. (2) To declare with assurance or solemnity; to aver; to avow.

The noun vow is thus defined: (1) A solemn promise to God. (2) A solemn engagement to adopt a certain course in life, pursue some aim, observe some moral precept or surrender one's self to a higher life of holiness; (3) also a pledge of faithfulness as marriage vows; (4) a solemn and emphatic affirmation.

As showing the confusion of thought on the subject we remark that some have endeavored to set forth that a vow is an oath and hence that our Lord Jesus prohibited making of vows when he said, "Swear not at all." Nothing can be farther from the truth. In that very connection our Lord was saying, "Let your Yea be Yea; and your Nay, Nay; for whatever is more than these cometh of evil." A vow is merely a Yea or a positive affirmation. A vow is not to be sworn to, for that the Lord prohibits. The vows of his people are to be as sure and truthful as though backed by an oath.

Another brother writes us, "If the Vow were published as a resolution I would have no objection to it whatever in any way, and would be most happy to be enrolled in the list of resolution-takers." The Vow is a resolution, not to one's self, but to the Lord. Note in the above definitions the Synonyms – promise, declare, engagement, affirmation. A vow is a covenant. But the term covenant is not as favorable and does not express the matter as thoroughly as the word vow; because the term covenant is generally used as respects a matter having two parts, a giving and a receiving, dependent one upon the other; as for instance, in business a firm covenants or contracts to ship goods of such a quality and kind at such a time, in consideration of such a price to be paid for them.

Thus, also, the New Covenant between God and men has requirements on both sides, and The Christ, the Mediator, stands good as the intermediate to guarantee both sides of that covenant. There is one covenant, however, which corresponds exactly to a vow, namely, the Abrahamic Covenant, because it is a one-sided covenant. In it God made all the promises and made no condition, and hence no mediator was needed for it. In a word God vowed that, in Abraham and through Abraham's seed all the families of the earth would ultimately receive a blessing. No conditions are mentioned. It is a definite agreement. In addition to the vow God bound it with an oath, which definitely shows that a vow and an oath are two separate and distinct things.

The Vow which many of us have taken and which we earnestly recommend to all, is a statement to the Lord of our willingness and determination by his assisting grace to follow a certain course of conduct, which, we believe, will be pleasing to him and advantageous to ourselves and to others. Surely the eyes of misunderstanding which see everything amiss in such a course are crossed by prejudice or ignorance or some element of darkness.

THE WATCH TOWER IN OPPOSITION

Here we are met with the astounding proposition that ZION'S WATCH TOWER has always opposed vows. One dear Brother has sent us six pages of quotations, but his quotations are all wrong because misapplied. The WATCH TOWER never had a word to say against the making of vows to the Lord. On the contrary, it has urged that they be made, and has declared that none could expect to receive the holy Spirit and be begotten thereby to a new nature unless he first vowed to the Lord a full surrender and full submission of himself, "Even unto death." Similarly the Apostle Paul urged the same vow, saying, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." The Apostle did not mean that we were to go to heaven and there give our bodies to the Lord, but he did mean that by some vows we should consecrate our earthly talents, powers, privileges, opportunities to the service of the Lord. Does not the Apostle urge the Baptismal Vow and show its necessity, saying, "So many of you as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Rom. 6:3.) What is this but the urging of the Vow, the consecration vow? When the Apostle wrote, "If we be dead with him we shall also live with him," and again, that we should "bring into captivity every thought of our minds in obedience to Christ," was he not in these and in all his various public writings urging the fulfilment of our consecration vows, our baptismal vows?

What we have opposed in the nature of vows are those which are the most common amongst men and amongst professing Christians – namely vows to one another. In these, we believe, there lurks a great danger to Christian liberty. Presbyterians vow to each other to support and uphold their profession of faith and church organization. Methodists do similarly and [R4265 : page 316] so do all denominations and secret orders of all kinds. These vows are injurious because they are not on the proper basis. All our covenants or vows should be made with the Lord. Our responsibility should be realized to him and not to men. "Pay thy vows unto the Most High." – Psa. 50:14.

There is one exception to these vows made to our fellow-creatures which we have never opposed, but upheld, namely, the marriage vow, by which each member of a married couple binds himself for life to the other.

Following the custom of our Lord and the apostles throughout the New Testament we quote from the Old Testament Scriptures on the subject of vows. As the Prophet David frequently represented The Christ, Head and Body, so his vows represented those of Christ and the Church. In one sense our vows may be considered from two different standpoints: (1) That we will put off the old man with his affections and desires, and (2) that we will put on the new man, which is renewed in righteousness. We may divide this vow or covenant or engagement into several more; as the Apostle says, "Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, strife; and put on all these: kindness, meekness, long-suffering, love." [R4265 : page 317]

Every spirit-begotten child of God has surely vowed all these vows and others, whether he thinks of them in this itemized form or not. We perhaps more frequently speak of the entire transaction as one – as our Consecration Vow, our Baptismal Vow; because this vow takes in and includes everything that we have and are or shall have or possess – even unto death. The vow of the Christian in response to the Apostle's appeal, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service," is all-comprehensive. In it he gives away every right, every liberty, every choice, and agrees with the Lord that his own will shall be dead and the divine will accepted in every affair of life and in respect to all his words and thoughts and doings. Thus we see that a Christian, as the Apostle has expressed it, is a bond-slave in the most absolute sense. No slave could have less rights, less freedom, since these are pledged to the extent of ability to bring even the very thoughts of their hearts into conformity to the will of their Master.

In view of the foregoing, it can readily be seen that the Vow we have suggested, if in line with this, is really a part of it and merely stated afresh for emphasis, to bring the matter up-to-date, and to impress it upon our minds. If it can be shown that the items recited are a "reasonable service," that the doing of them would glorify our Father and our Lord, that they would be helpful to others of the household of faith or to ourselves, then we are bound to take this Vow – all consecrated Christians would be bound to take it, so soon as they should perceive in it the qualities specified. For such to fail to take it would be for them to fail to keep their Baptismal Vow. And they would be bound to announce the Vow publicly if convinced that the announcement of it would be helpful to others or to themselves.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE VOW

Let us make no mistake. Let us not deceive ourselves nor others. If we have any objection to the Vow let us not deceive ourselves as to what it is and what it is not. It is a prime requisite of a Christian that he be honest, that he deceive not himself and that he understand that his Creator cannot be deceived. The Vow naturally divides itself into several parts, which, for convenience, we will number, and as we read these let us jot down which of them we object to – which of them is in opposition to the Scriptures – which of them would be dishonorable to God or injurious to ourselves or to others.

(1) Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. May thy rule come into my heart more and more, and thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.

(2) Daily will I remember at the throne of heavenly grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear co-laborers at the Bible House at Allegheny and everywhere.

(3) I vow to still more carefully, if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve thee, and thy dear flock.

(4) I vow to thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary.

(5) I further vow that, with the exceptions below, I will at all times and in all places, conduct myself towards those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public – in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people.

(6) And so far as reasonably possible I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.

(7) Exceptions in the case of Brethren: wife, children, mother and natural sisters. In the case of Sisters: husband, children, father and natural brothers.

OTHER OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED

One brother says, "I cannot take that vow. I am afraid that I cannot keep it." We ask which part of it could a consecrated child of God not keep, if he is keeping his Baptismal Vow and hopes to hear the Master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." "Another says, I do not need the Vow." The dear brother who has this opinion is mistaken. He is the very one who does need it. The Apostle carries this thought when he says of himself, "When I am weak, then I am strong"; for by antithesis when one feels strong and self-confident and needing no assistance he is then weak. Indeed, we have come to the conclusion that nearly as many fail on their strong points as on their weak ones, because, less on guard in respect to them, they are the more easily entrapped by the Adversary.

Another writes that we should not force the Vow upon the Church. We have not done so, nor shall we do so. We have neither authority nor wish to do so. A vow made under compulsion would not be of any advantage, but on the contrary, an injury. We have commended this Vow because it is part and parcel of our original Baptismal Vow – a re-statement of it, brought up-to-date with a view of stirring our pure minds by way of remembrance. The fact that there is any opposition engendered by it is an evidence that some had forgotten their comprehensive Baptismal Vow. We have the Apostle's word as our justification for urging this Vow, and in his language will say that "We beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." – Rom. 12:1.

If any Scripture can be quoted against the Vow in any one of its seven items, we will be glad to have it brought to our attention. One brother quotes a Scripture against the Vow and fails to see that it is in harmony with it and against him. It is Prov. 20:25. "It is a snare for a man to devour that which is holy, and after vows to make inquiry." The brother who offers this as an objection claims to have already made the all-comprehensive Baptismal Vow. He thus devoured that which is holy, and is only now making inquiry about it, and surprised to see that the portion we have suggested as bringing it up-to-date was not understood by him, not comprehended. He is at the present only making inquiry, only informing himself in respect to his original vow of twenty-five years ago. No wonder if this matter prove a snare to him, as the proverb says – not by setting him wrong and out of harmony with his original vow, but by showing that he is wrong and has been wrong and out of accord with it until now. It would be a blessing to that brother if he would make thorough inquiry now and register afresh this consecration vow. If he made the vow and now makes inquiry about it, and finds it greater and more comprehensive than he at first supposed, let him not break it, but thank God, and resolve in the language of the Psalmist, "I will pay my vows unto the Most High." – Psa. 50:14. Now a word to such, from the wise king. "When thou vowest a vow unto God defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools; pay that which thou hast vowed. Better it is that thou shouldst not vow than that thou shouldst vow and not pay." – Eccl. 5:4,5. [R4265 : page 318]

LIFT UP A STANDARD FOR THE PEOPLE

In Isaiah's prophecy we read, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord." – Isa. 59:19,20.

The context, for instance verses 17,18, distinctly describe the time in which we are living and the years of trouble before us; and in our judgment the Lord has guided, at this due time, to the lifting of this Vow amongst his people as a high standard for them, for their protection.

Our 1909 motto will be, "My Help Cometh from the Lord." This help comes to us now; primarily through the death of our Lord; secondarily through our becoming his disciples and sharing his death. And this Vow is emphasizing this covenant to death and drawing to our attention some of the snares of the Adversary. It will surely prove a valuable aid to all who are seeking to make their calling and election sure. [R4266 : page 318]

We notice that this text is variously rendered in the different translations, but the one furnished in our Common Version seems to fit all the conditions better than any of the others. The stress of difference affects the word "standard." The Hebrew word is defined by Young's lexicon – "To cause to flee, lift up an ensign." Strong's lexicon amongst other definitions gives, "To be displayed, make to flee, put to flight, lift up a standard."

The Revised Version renders it, "For he shall come as a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord driveth."

Leeser's translation reads, "For there shall come distress like a stream which the spirit of the Lord urges forward."

Young's translation renders it, "When come in as a flood doth an Adversary, the spirit of Jehovah hath raised an ensign against him."

On the whole we decidedly prefer the reading of our Common Version, and note its harmony with the statement of the Prophet a little further on, "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people." (Isa. 62:10.) Whether these Scriptures refer to the Vow now lifted up as a standard amongst the consecrated, or whether they refer to something else, none can dispute the fact that the Vow represents a very high standard of Christian living, which few would have the courage to attack as in any sense of the word injurious.

We decidedly urge the Lord's people on to victory as overcomers of the world, the flesh and the Adversary. Enrolled as soldiers of the cross we recognize this high standard as of the Lord's providence. Nevertheless, let not an unkind word or reflection be uttered against any who temporarily or permanently may be unable to see the standard or be fearful to accept it as a part of their vow to the Most High. It is not for us to judge one another in connection with the Vow or otherwise, but for us to seek to assist and encourage one another in every way possible. It is written, "The Lord will judge his people."

PUBLISHING THE NAMES OF VOWERS

A few have objected to the publication of the names of the vowers, but only one of these has notified us that he has taken the Vow. True, we very rarely publish any names, but this is not because there would be anything wrong in our keeping, for instance, a list of those declaring their Baptismal Vows. On the contrary, it might frequently be a very convenient list to have. It, however, would not claim to represent all of God's people nor that all on the list would come off victorious. So with those who take this Vow and whose names appear on our list. The name there will in no sense imply that the victory has been won, but merely that these persons have taken this solemn Vow; and that all their Church brethren and the world and their families may know just where they stand, and see this high standard they lift up, under the present conditions of distress, before themselves and each other and the people. The list, however, will not purport to be a list of the "little flock." Oh no! Far be it from us to draw the line or to judge our brethren.

Nothing in the Scriptures intimates that our vow to the Lord must be kept secret. Indeed our Baptismal Vow we are required to symbolize or profess publicly. To the contrary, also, David, in one of the Messianic Psalms in which he prophetically speaks for Christ, says, "I will declare thy name amongst my brethren. In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee," and adds, "My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him." (Psa. 22:25.) In Psalm 116 the prophet twice declares that his vows shall be made public, saying:

"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now, in the presence of all his people." And as though the vow referred to symbolized death to self and the world, as well as to sin, the Prophet continues, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" – his holy ones. (Psa. 116:14,15-18.) Again he says, "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praise unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling?" – Psa. 56:11-13.

However, dear friends, in the interest of these brethren whom it would offend let us forego the publishing of these names, at least until the necessity for so doing is more apparent. Take the Vow, solemnly, to the Lord, and live it every word and every day. It will surely draw you closer to the Lord to exercise such a scrutiny of every act and word and thought. It will help you to realize what it is to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and under the shadow of the Almighty. No harm can come nigh that dwelling place.

Continue to advise us, if you please, when you take the Vow. We will preserve an alphabetical list which may be of some use some time.

[R4266 : page 318]

"WHAT SPIRIT YE ARE OF"
T
HE number of the Brethren who have expressed opposition to the Vow as already stated is small, but they have ability and influence. The virulence of their opposition has amazed us. Never have we been more deeply stabbed and "wounded in the house of our friends" – by some whom we still esteem and love as dear brethren and who still declare their love for us.

One writes (A) that he perceives that the Editor has "a lying, evil spirit," because in the September 15th TOWER we said that the few brethren who had expressed to us their opposition to the Vow were all married men, while he thinks that one unmarried man wrote in opposition to the Vow. Our reply is, that we do not recall the letter; possibly it was couched in such terms that we did not consider it as OPPOSITION TO THE VOW, but merely a declaration of why the writer thought best not to make the Vow his own. But in any event, suppose this brother were wholly right and we wholly in error, suppose we thus demonstrated that our memory is not infallible, would that prove that the Editor is obsessed of a lying devil? Are all people of defective memory possessed by lying devils? We never so thought, nor do we now. This brother objects, too, that the same article urges "If in your judgment no 'evil day,' no 'hour of temptation,' no 'strange work,' no 'strong delusion' is impending, you should be wise enough and kind enough not to oppose those who do so believe and who are getting ready for the same." This statement, he insists, [R4266 : page 319] is a further evidence that we have "a lying, evil spirit." He intimates that he does believe that serious trouble is impending. Alas! that our poor brains should become so confused. Let us take an illustration. Suppose a crowd of people on and close to a railroad track, and that some realized and others did not, that an express train was almost due. Suppose that one hearing the whistle and realizing the danger urged all to clear the track, and to go no closer than five feet to be out of danger. Suppose another like (A) took offense at the announcement and claimed that it should not have been made. Surely the one giving the alarm would be justified in adopting our very words, "If in your judgment no train is approaching and there is no danger at hand justifying our warning and advice, you should be wise enough and kind enough not to hinder those who do so believe and who are striving to get out of danger."

Another dear brother (B), denouncing the Vow, tells us that he knows that it is of the devil, etc. He then tells us that he knows he is all right, is one of the elect soon to judge the world, and that he is conscious of the Lord's favor and blessing upon him now. Finally, he threatens us that if we do not recant and contradict what we have already set forth on the Vow subject, he will do terrible things and teach us a lesson we will never forget.

We thanked the dear brother and expressed confidence in his conscientiousness, but declined to allow him to control either our conscience or the columns of the WATCH TOWER. We pointed out to him his boastful spirit and that he was attempting to judge us before the time, and without showing us any authority from God why we should accept his view of matters as God's view, and set aside our own convictions. We reminded him that he was derogating to himself the fourfold office of accuser, judge, jury and executioner, and that he would best go slowly lest lack of humility and lack of brotherly love should ultimately bar him from any share with those to whom the Lord will say, "Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

We do not say that these brethren have ceased to believe with us, nor that they do not grasp the situation fully, though the latter seems the more generous explanation of their course. If this is not the true explanation of their opposition, pray what is? What feature of the Vow itself can they oppose?

Another (C) bitterly denounces not only the Vow but other things which do not please him in the conduct of the [R4267 : page 319] Harvest Work. He intimates that the vials of his wrath will be poured upon us speedily if we do not quickly move the reverse lever. Some of these dear friends appear to be perfectly willing that the nominal control of the WATCH TOWER and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society should remain in the hands to which the Lord entrusted it, provided, Brother Russell will hearken to and follow the voice of the Lord through them; others would evidently prefer that the Harvest Work be blown to atoms that they might become more prominent. As a sample of this critical, bombastic, self-righteous and domineering spirit, we quote the closing words of C's letter; (Italics are ours): – "Unless steps are taken to correct this evil I shall pray for the overthrow of the arrangement, that it may come into judgment; but at present I will pray that you may be able to see the matter in its true light, and I am assured that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, and the Apostle cites the prayer of Elias, to show how the Lord hears our petitions. With much Christian love, etc."

Thus our Lord's words are fulfilled in us over and over again from every quarter, "They shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." And as the Master was called Beelzebub we are said to have a "lying, evil spirit." We tremble not at the threat that we shall be prayed against as above, with its intimation that the Lord has been neglecting the Harvest Work, waiting for this dear brother to give the intimation as to what must be done. We fear none of these fears. We weep not for ourself; our sorrow is for these poor, deluded brethren. We perceive that they are being weighed by the Lord. We fear that they will be found wanting in brotherly love – the one important test of membership in the Body of Christ – the requirement of the one commandment which the Lord gave to his people. – John 13:34; 15:12.

Yes, we may well fear for these, and pray for them. We ask all who claim membership in the Anointed to join petitions with ours that these dear ones may be recovered from their present blindness.

The Apostles James and John, indignant at the refusal of the people of Samaria to sell food to our Lord and his disciples, asked our Master, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire from heaven to consume these men and their city?" Our Lord replied, "Ye know not what spirit ye are of."

So now we say to the few dear brethren so deeply exercised concerning the Vow, "Ye know not what spirit ye are of." You have been confused. At heart you surely do not mean all that you are hinting, saying, threatening and doing. We judge you not, condemn you not; but we do ask you to judge yourselves. Are you exercising the spirit of love which you assured us is your real heart sentiment? "By their fruits ye shall know them," said our Master. Let us each look after the fruitage of his own heart and life. "God is not mocked." Anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife, are works (fruits) of the flesh and of the devil.

IS THE VOW EXTREME?

We hold that the Vow is not extreme in view of the condition of things which our understanding of God's Word leads us to expect as "nigh, even at the door." We remind you of the Apostle Paul's declaration of his willingness to take a Vow, "to eat no meat while the world standeth," if such a course should seem to him expedient, in the interest of weaker brethren. The Vow which we advocate as now very expedient is far less exacting than the one the Apostle declared would be proper if expedient. But taking it, let us keep it in letter and in spirit. "Vow and pay unto the Lord your God." – Psa. 76:11.

Someone opposing the Vow suggests that those who take the Vow are so bound by it that should they through sickness or for other reasons forget or neglect to daily remember in prayer the Harvest Work, etc., it would be an unpardonable sin. We will not call in question the sincerity of those who thus pervert the truth in their attempt to hinder others; we will suppose that they spoke out of the abundance of their ignorance.

As above set forth the Vow is a solemn engagement which should not be broken. So is our Baptismal Vow, our Consecration Vow – to be dead to the world and self and sin. Suppose that having Vowed to the Lord to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in the narrow way, and that at some unguarded moment you side-stepped – what then? Were you doomed therefore to the Second Death?

Oh no! for just such errors we pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." "If any man [in Christ] sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." "Let us come boldly to the throne of the heavenly grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need."

As already elsewhere pointed out a wilful, deliberate violation of a Vow would bring the full sin penalty. A mixed sin, partially wilful, would be partly forgivable and partly subject to stripes or punishment. A wholly unintentional sin would be wholly forgiven upon request. We repeat, therefore, our exhortation, that the Vow be taken by all of God's consecrated children; but not without careful examination and in full determination.