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November 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. XXXINOVEMBER 1No. 21
A.D. 1910 – A.M. 6038
CONTENTS
Blessing God and Cursing Men 339
No Evil to Which the Lord's People Are More Exposed 340
How the Depraved Taste Hedges Behind Conscience 341
Love Commands that We "Speak Evil of No Man 342
"Doth a Fountain Send Forth at the Same Opening Bitter Water and Sweet?" 343
"The Tongue Set on Fire of Gehenna" 345
Concordances and Other Bible Study Helps 346
"The Presence of the Son of Man" 347
"This Generation Shall Not Pass" 347
Satan's House to Be Broken Up 348
The Dark Gethsemane Hour 348
Judas the Ungrateful Apostate 349
Nearing the Goal (Poem) 350
Watch Tower Bibles 350
The Liberty Wherewith Christ Makes Free 351
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies 351

'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.

PUBLISHED BY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS

CLEVELAND, OHIO, NOV. 20

Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:00 o'clock. Discourse for the interested at 11:00 o'clock in Pythian Temple, Huron Road near East Ninth street. Discourse for the public by Brother Russell at the Hippodrome, Euclid avenue, near East Ninth street, at 3:00 P.M. Topic, "Hereafter." Visiting friends will be heartily welcomed.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA., NOV. 27

Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:00 o'clock and Discourse for the interested at 11:00 o'clock. Discourse for the public at 3:00 P.M. by Brother Russell. Topic, "Hereafter." All sessions will be held in the Auditorium, Cor. Walker and California Sts. Visiting friends will be warmly welcomed.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., DEC. 4

Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The evening meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the public at 3:00 P.M. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Ave. and St. Felix St. Topic, "The Messenger of the Covenant." Visiting friends warmly welcomed.

OMAHA, NEB., DEC. 11
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MOBILE, ALA., DEC. 26
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page 338

STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES

SERIES I., "The Plan of the Ages," gives an outline of the Divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal – at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.

SERIES II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES III., "Thy Kingdom Come," considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES IV., "The Day of Vengeance," shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of Matt. 24 and Zech. 14:1-9: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES V., "The Atonement Between God and Man," treats an all-important subject – the hub, the center around which all the features of Divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (Genesis 1 and 2), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

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BLESSING GOD AND CURSING MEN

"But the tongue can no man tame: it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." – James 3:8-10.
T
HESE words of the inspired Apostle are addressed to the "brethren" – not to the world. Indeed, the entire Epistle is addressed to the Church. The fact that in opening it James addresses "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," is not to the contrary of this. We are to remember that to the twelve tribes of Israel, the natural Seed of Abraham, pertained originally the great Covenant or promise of God made to Abraham. By natural heredity, then, God's offer or proposition to bless the world belonged to fleshly Israel, as the Divine instruments, if they would comply with the Divine conditions. But one of the Divine conditions was that they should have the faith of Abraham, and should not be considered the promised Seed of Abraham without that faith, since Abraham was to be the Father of the Faithful.

Our Lord and the Apostles, in the New Testament, set forth clearly how and why natural Israel, as a nation, was broken off from inheritance under that Covenant. The Apostle, representing the promise as an olive root, describes all Israelites as branches growing up out of that root, and tells us that many of the natural branches were broken off, the vast majority, and that only a remnant at the first advent were found possessed of the faith of Abraham, and accepted by our Lord as members of the house of sons. – John 1:12.

The Apostle further explains that the rejection of the unbelieving of natural Israel left the way open to engraft in the place of the broken-off branches some from amongst the Gentiles, possessed of the faith of Abraham. And this, we see, has been the work of this Gospel Age – grafting into the original root of promise believers from amongst the Gentiles, who were once without God and had no hope in the world, strangers from the commonwealth of Israel, but are now brought nigh, united with Christ, and through him united with the Abrahamic root of promise, and inheritors of all its richness and fatness. – Eph. 2:12,13; Rom. 11.

Thus we see that these Spiritual Israelites become the Israelites indeed, from the Divine standpoint, the actual inheritors of the Abrahamic Covenant or promise; although we see also, yet to be fulfilled, certain gracious earthly promises to the natural Seed of Abraham; nevertheless they have missed, have lost, as a nation, as a people, the great prize; as the Apostle declares, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." – Rom. 11:7.

So, then, the "twelve tribes" of Israel had promises made to them which apply not merely to themselves, but also and specially to Spiritual Israel, whom they typified; while the original election, or predestination, of God, respecting the Abrahamic Seed, that it should be 144,000 or 12,000 from each tribe, still stands; and consequently that each one accepted from among the Gentiles, and engrafted into this root of Abrahamic promise, is counted as taking the place of one of the broken-off branches of the various tribes.

By the time the Gospel Age shall have finished its work, a Spiritual Israel will have been found – "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" – showing forth the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his marvelous light – neither one more nor one less than the original, elect, predetermined number – a natural Israelite having been "broken off" for each one from the Gentiles "grafted in." The Church is thus referred to in Revelation 7:3-8. And the sealing of the Church is spoken of as being so many from each of the tribes, with the intimation that all of these will have been "sealed in their foreheads" before the great time of trouble shall come upon the world.

So, then, the Epistle of James is to be understood as addressed to these true Israelites, engrafted into the root of promise, and taking the place of the natural Israelites. And to this agree the words of the Apostle Paul, "They are not all Israel which are of Israel." (Rom. 9:6,7.) And again, "He is not a Jew which is a Jew outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart." (Rom. 2:28,29.) And again, the words of our Lord in addressing his Church: "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan." – Rev. 2:9; 3:9.

Our Lord recognized this same distinction between natural and true Israelites. When receiving Nathaniel he declared, "Behold, an Israelite indeed." These two Israels, of the flesh and of the spirit, were typified in Isaac and Ishmael, and again, as the Apostle declares, [R4705 : page 340] in Jacob and Esau. (Rom. 9:8-13,22-33.) In each case the inheritor of the promise was the younger brother, illustrating that Spiritual Israel would be developed after natural Israel, and take its place as heir of the chief blessings mentioned in the Abrahamic Covenant. However, we are to remember that a blessing was granted also in each case to the elder brother, in the types; and so it is in the antitypes. While God has appointed Christ to be the heir of all things, and has called the Church as his Bride, to be his joint-heir in all things, he has, nevertheless, provided that blessing shall flow from these to the earthly seed, and in turn through the latter to all the families of the earth. – Rom. 11:26-33.

Having thus definitely determined that the Apostle is addressing the Church, let us consider the astounding statement of our text, and seek to ascertain in what sense it should be understood; resolving that, should we find that in any sense or degree it applies to us individually, we will assuredly respond quickly to the spirit's teaching, and correct so evil a condition.

CHRISTIANS WHO CURSE MEN WITH THEIR TONGUES

We may readily see how the Apostle means that God's people bless or praise his name with their tongues. They do so in prayer; they do so in their hymns of praise; they do so in declaring his Truth, and in witnessing to his providences on their behalf. In a word, we bless God with our tongues by showing forth his praises, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

But in what sense does the Apostle mean that Spiritual Israelites curse men with their tongues, and that so commonly, so generally prevalent as to require public reproof? Surely no Christian curses his fellow-man by oaths and profane swearing! But are there not other ways in which our tongues may be a curse and an injury to fellow-men? We are to remember that the meaning of our English word "curse" has somewhat altered in common usage within the last century, having very generally lost the sense of injury and assumed wholly the sense of swearing, profanity. In the Greek language different words are used when referring to a cursing oath, viz., anathema, and anathematiso, used ten times in the New Testament; and when referring to a spoken condemnation as a blight or curse, viz., katara and kataraomai, which signify condemnation, to speak against, to speak evil of, to injure. The latter is the word used by the Apostle James; hence his language really is – With the same tongue wherewith we praise and honor God, we do injury to fellow-men, by evil-speaking, slandering, etc.

Thus our Lord, using the same word, said, "Bless them that curse [speak evil of] you." The Apostle Paul, using the same word, admonishes God's people to "Bless and curse not" – speak favorably of others, but do not speak injuriously of them. Again, we are told that our Lord cursed (the same Greek word) the fig tree, saying, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth" – he injured it, he made a declaration unfavorable to its future development. Thus also the Apostle declares that the Jews under the Law were under a curse – not that the Law was evil, but that, because of imperfections of the flesh, the Israelites came under the condemnation (curse) of the Law. He declares also that "Christ hath redeemed us [formerly Jews] from the curse [condemnation] of the Law, being made a curse for us" – having suffered for us the full condemnation of blight which the Law imposed upon the transgressor. (Gal. 3:10-13.) He illustrated the same thought in connection with the word "curse," when he declares that garden land which had been overgrown with thorns and briars is "nigh unto cursing" – not ready for profanity, but for condemnation, as unfit for tillage, until burned over and its weeds exterminated. – Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:14; Mark 11:21; Heb. 6:8.

Having thus before our minds the real word, and its signification as used by the Apostle, we see that while curse is a proper enough translation of the original, the whole difficulty is that present-day common usage and common education have largely hidden from sight this signification of the word. Similarly the word evil has lost its original breadth of meaning, and is almost invariably considered to signify immorality, badness, wickedness; whereas in its breadth of meaning it may be used to refer to anything that is undesirable, not good, such as calamities, etc.

NO EVIL TO WHICH THE LORD'S PEOPLE ARE MORE EXPOSED

Looking at the Apostle's statement from this standpoint, we see clearly that his charge is applicable to Christian people of today to an alarming extent. How many there are who do injury with their tongues to their fellow-creatures, who use the same tongue in offering praise to God. We know of no evil to which God's consecrated people are more exposed than to this one. With many it is as natural to gossip as to breathe. They do it unconsciously. We have even known people who took cognizance of the Scriptural injunction against slander and evil-speaking, who were so utterly confused on the subject, and so unaware of their own conduct, that they would declare their horror of speaking a slander in the very same breath in which they utter slanders. We mention this in proof that this evil is so ingrained in fallen human nature as to elude the notice of the new nature sometimes for years – and thus escapes the correction in righteousness which the Lord's Word directs, and which all who are truly the Lord's people desire.

Many are the peculiar subterfuges which the fallen nature will use, in its attempt to stifle the voice of conscience and yet maintain the use of this channel of evil – long after it has been driven from evil practices which are less common, less popular, more generally recognized as sinful.

(1) It will say, I mean no harm to anybody; but I must have something to talk about, and nothing would be so interesting to friends and neighbors as something which has more or less of a gossipy flavor (scandal) connected with it. But is evil-speaking, slander, any the more proper on this account for the children of the light? By no means. Hence it is that the Scriptures instruct us, "Let your conversation be such as becometh saints"; "Let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man"; "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." – Phil. 1:27; Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29.

But the scandal-monger, however refined his methods and words, well knows that so far from the scandal ministering grace to the hearer, it ministers evil; that the hearer is impelled by the forces of his fallen human nature to go quickly and tell the scandal further; true or false, he knows not and heeds not. It has kindled in his heart a flame of carnal sentiment which issues from his lips to "set on fire the course of nature" in others, similarly weak through the fall. The fallen nature feasts and revels in just such things, feeling the more liberty to do so because they delude themselves that thus they are moralizing – preaching against sin, and that in thus discussing [R4705 : page 341] and impliedly denouncing the said-to-be transgressions of another, they are mentioning matters abhorrent to their righteous souls. Alas! poor, weak, fallen humanity's reasonings are seriously defective when the Lord's counsels in righteousness are ignored.

MUCH FOR DISCUSSION ON THE SUBJECT OF THE RICHES OF GOD'S GRACE

As for the point that there would be little else to talk about if scandals were thoroughly eliminated from Christian conversation, and all were to abide strictly by the Apostle's injunction, "Speak evil of no man," we answer: Is there not a wide scope for conversation amongst Christian people on the subject of the riches of God's grace in Christ Jesus our Lord, expressed in the exceeding great and precious promises of the Divine Word? In these things we have indeed that which not only ministers grace to the hearer, but which adds also to the grace of the speaker. It showers blessing on every hand, so far as the "new creature" is concerned, and assists in deadening the old nature with its evil desires, tastes, appetites.

This is what the Apostle had in mind, evidently, when he said that the Lord's people should "show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." And a heart filled with the spirit of love, the spirit of God, the spirit of Truth, the spirit of the Master, will be sure to overflow that which is within, for, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." An evil mouth, therefore, a mouth which does injury to others, either to fellow-members of "the Body of Christ," or to those who are without, indicates an evil heart, implies that the heart is not pure. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." – I Pet. 2:9; Matt. 12:34; 5:8.

(2) Another excuse for gossip about other men's matters is offered by others who say: I can talk about religious matters to those who are religiously inclined, but when I am with worldly people, or with professors of religion who take no interest in religious themes, I must be agreeable and accommodating, and must at least hear their gossip and news; and if I do not share in such conversation I would be considered very peculiar, and my company would not be desired. Yes, we answer; but this is to be one of the peculiarities of the "saints." They are not only to be different from the world, but different also from the nominal professors of religion. Their religion is not to be merely on the surface, and on one day of the week, and under a certain suit of clothes; but is to be of the heart, related to all the affairs of life, for every day and every moment. To follow strictly the Divine injunction will indeed separate these from some who are now their friends and who love such evil things – forbidden us who have become sons of God and who have received of his spirit of sonship, the spirit of Love.

THE WAY TO GLORY, HONOR AND IMMORTALITY A NARROW WAY

That our Lord understood and taught that the way to glory, honor and immortality is a narrow one is evident. "If any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." And again – "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be who find it." If, therefore, your failure to be an entertaining visitor, neighbor, friend, is because of your fidelity as a "new creature" to the law of Christ, Love – which "worketh no ill to his neighbor," either in word or deed – then indeed you have cause for rejoicing, because you are suffering a little, experiencing a loss, for Christ's sake, for righteousness' sake. The loss may at first seem heavy, but if you endure it for Christ's sake, in obedience to his righteous law of Love, you will soon be able to say with the Apostle that such losses are "light afflictions," not worthy to be compared with the offsetting blessings. – Phil. 3:7,8; 2 Cor. 4:17.

Your cause for rejoicing is that you have the Lord's promise that such suffering shall work out for your good. Companionship with those who are not seeking to walk according to the mind of the spirit, but according to the common "course of this world," is injurious to the saints, to those who are seeking to walk in harmony with the new mind. They are far better off without such worldly companions and friends, and in proportion as they are separated from these they will find closer fellowship with the Lord himself and with his Word, and with all who are true members of his Body, and under the direction of his Spirit.

It is in harmony with this that the Scriptures declare, in so many words, that the friendship of this world signifies enmity against God. (Jas. 4:4.) God has purposely placed the matter in such a position that his people must take their choice, and lose either the Divine friendship and fellowship, or the worldly friendship and fellowship; because those things which the Lord loves are distasteful to the worldly, and those things which the worldly love, evil deeds and evil thoughts, evil-speaking, are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, and those who love and practice such things lose his fellowship – they are not of his Spirit. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." – Rom. 8:9.

(3) Another way by which some otherwise good Christian people avoid this question, and justify themselves in this common fault of humanity, is by confining themselves (as they think) to the truth. But they never know how frequently their gossip-loving natures pervert their judgment and lead them to accept as truth, things respecting which they have little or no knowledge. Nor are such anxious to know more, after they have circulated a slander with their stamp of verity on it. To find it untrue would prove them "false witnesses" and put them to trouble to correct the lie. The pride of the natural mind objects and refuses to believe the truth under such circumstances. Thus one evil leads to another.

HOW THE DEPRAVED TASTE HEDGES BEHIND CONSCIENCE

Such will say, "Oh, I never tell anything for truth until I positively know it to be true – of my own observation, my own personal knowledge. Anything that I do not know of myself to be true I am always careful to so state, and say, I have heard thus and so, or, I am told thus and so; I do not vouch for the truth of it myself. Thus I am sure that I always avoid speaking evil of anyone." Perhaps there is no more common delusion on this subject than is thus expressed. The depraved taste hedges itself behind conscience, and declares that it is always right to speak the truth, and hence God cannot have meant that speaking the truth would be slander, but that in condemning evil-speaking and slander, as works of the flesh and the Devil, he must have meant the speaking of that which is false, untrue.

This is a great mistake. A slander is equally a slander, whether it is true or whether it is false, and is so regarded, not only in the law of God, but also in the laws of civilized men. True, in human law, if a suit were brought for slander, if it were proven that the charges made by the slanderer had some basis of fact, that would probably be considered by the Court and jury an extenuating [R4705 : page 342] circumstance, and would probably very much reduce the amount of the verdict for damages. A slander is anything which is uttered with the intention of injury to another, whether true or false, and the laws of men agree with the law of God, that such injury to another is wrong.

In other words, Divine and human laws agree that a first wrong does not justify a second wrong. Human law says, If a wrong has been committed, the Courts are open to the injured one to seek redress or the punishment of the evil doer; but the injured one shall not be permitted to take the remedy into his own hands, either by making an assault with physical force or by the use of the more subtle weapon, the tongue, to assassinate his reputation with the poisoned stiletto of envy and malice. True, many slanderers are never prosecuted; true also, the newspapers of the United States many times escape heavy damages for libelous slander by the plea that they do not publish the defamations as of malice, but simply as news, which, they claim, properly belong to the public, as in the cases of politicians who are seeking the franchises of the people for positions of public trust. Then again, public men, knowing that much of the false statements by the opposition press will be properly credited as falsehoods, consider it good policy to let any ordinary slanders go unchallenged in the Courts. The effect is a gradual growth of slander among the people, sure to work evil to themselves and to their institutions; for government officers and courts and everybody of influence coming under such slanders (generally, we believe, untrue) lose their influence for good over the lower classes, who are thus being helped along to greater lawlessness day by day, and preparing for the period of anarchy which the Scriptures tell us is near at hand.

THE LAW OF LOVE COMMANDS THAT WE "SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN"

But the Law of God, the Law of Christ, goes much further and deeper into such matters, naturally, than do the laws of men; for it deals not with men, but with the "new creatures in Christ Jesus" – transformed by the renewing of their minds, and under special Covenant relationship, and bound by the law of Love, which "worketh no ill to his neighbor," under any circumstances, under any provocation, but, on the contrary, returns "good for evil," "blessing for cursing."

The Law of Love commands silence to all who acknowledge that law and the Law-Giver, saying, "Speak evil of no man." (Titus 3:2.) It goes further than this and declares against evil thoughts, evil suspicions, evil surmisings against neighbors. It declares that love filling our hearts will not only hinder evil conduct and injurious words, but will even prevent evil thoughts – "Love thinketh no evil." The new creature possessing it can be convinced of evil only by indisputable proofs. Indeed, to impress this subject and its importance in his sight, the Great Teacher declares to the pupils in his school – With what judgment ye judge others, I will judge you. (Matt. 7:1.) And again he tells them to pray to the Father – "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." (Matt. 6:12.) Again he declares. If at heart ye treasure up resentment against others, the Heavenly Father will not forgive you. – Matt. 18:35.

Ah! indeed, a Christian after the Lord's pattern, a graduate of the school of Christ and prepared to teach others, is one who not only outwardly, but inwardly also, is clean – separated, washed by the water of Divine instruction, from the meanness, the filthiness of the flesh. He is no longer the slave of sin, controlled by the desires and weaknesses of his fallen flesh and its spirit of the world, bearing fruits unto unrighteousness – anger, malice, hatred, strife, slander, evil-speaking. (Col. 3:8; I Pet. 2:1,2.) From his high standpoint of appreciation of the Divine law, the advanced Christian sees that in the Lord's sight hatred is murder, slander is assassination, and the destruction of a neighbor's good name is robbery and rapine. And any of these things done in the Church, among the professed people of God, is doubly evil – the assassination and robbery of a brother. – Compare I John 3:15 and Matt. 5:21,22.

THE NATURAL HEART IS DECEITFUL AND DESPERATELY WICKED

To utter a defamatory or injurious remark against another, and then to add, "I do not know whether it is true or not," is to show that the speaker is exercised by an evil spirit and not by the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of love – he wishes to injure or curse his fellow-creature, is anxious to do so. He would feel restrained to some extent from telling what he knew to be absolutely untrue, but delights to speak evil, and is glad to know that he may roll it as a sweet morsel over his tongue, and hence speaks of even those scandals which he does not know to be true, and attempts to excuse himself with such an apology as the above.

Verily, it is with force that the Scriptures declare that the natural heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Those who thus speak, and thus attempt to justify their misconduct, have either never entered the school of Christ, or are as yet only in the infant class, and do not know that theirs is the spirit of murder, and not the spirit of brotherly love. Oh! that all true Christians might learn the scope of this law of Love, in its relationship not only to God, but also to fellowmen; what a bridling of tongues it would mean, what a carefulness of speech! As David said, "I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue." And he who watches his tongue is putting a detective upon his deceitful heart and can the better know it and master it, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." – Jer. 17:9; Psa. 39:1; Matt. 12:34.

The only exception to this rule, "Speak evil of no man," would come in where we might know of an absolute necessity for making known an evil – where the relating of the evil would be contrary to our heart's wishes, and only mentioned because of necessity – because of love for others who, if not informed, might be injured. For instance, the law of the land demands that, if we know of murder having been committed, it shall not be considered slander, but on the contrary be considered duty, to make known to the proper officers of the law the facts (not suspicions) which have come under our observation. Likewise, if we knew of some weakness in a brother or sister, and realized that another brother or sister was about to be placed in a dangerous position by reason of that weakness, it might become our duty to make known, either to the individual or congregation liable to be injured, so much of our knowledge of facts (not suspicions) as might be necessary to guard against injury through the weakness mentioned. But this would not be speaking evil, but, on the contrary, would be speaking with a good motive, with the intention of preserving the one party from extraordinary temptation, and of preserving the other party from injury. And before anything should be said on the subject we should most positively satisfy our own consciences that [R4705 : page 343] our motive in speaking is a good one, and not an evil one; that we are about to use our tongue to bless, and not to injure. And even then, prompted by the spirit of love and kindness toward the weak brother, as well as toward the others, we should avoid mentioning one solitary item that would not be necessary to the object in view.

"DOTH A FOUNTAIN SEND FORTH AT THE SAME OPENING BITTER WATER AND SWEET?"

But some will object to limiting this liberty to cases of positive knowledge, and urge that absolute knowledge generally being small little could be said. We answer that this is in line with the Divine law – "Love thy neighbor as thyself." You would not want your neighbor to use brain and tongue in evil surmises and slander against you; and you should not do so to him. The law of the land does not demand that you should tell one word more than you know (of personal knowledge) against your neighbor; it does not ask your suspicions and evil surmisings. And on the contrary, the law of the Lord commands that all under the law of love shall not utter one solitary suspicion against a neighbor; and that if suspicion beyond knowledge is forced upon the mind by associated circumstances, the new mind shall promptly, with its native benevolence, counterbalance the suspicions by suggestions of the possibility of misinformation or misinterpretation and always give the apparently guilty the benefit of the doubt.

Another will object – "Oh! I could never waste so much time in getting at facts. Life is too short! Why, I would have no time at all left for my own business, if I carefully hunted up the facts so as always to speak from knowledge and never from hearsay!"

Just so! and the lesson to you should be to follow the Scriptural rule – "Speak evil of no man!"

(1) Because you have not the time to get at the facts, and quite probably also lack the ability to judge impartially, if you had all the facts before you.

(2) Because, if you have the Spirit of Christ, love, dwelling in you richly, you will prefer to tell no one the facts, even if you have the chain of evidence complete. You will loathe the matter the more in proportion as the known facts are unfavorable. What, then, must be the condition of those who have itching ears for scandal and of those whose tongues delight in scandal as a sweet morsel, and are anxious to scatter an evil report of which they have no knowledge – only prejudiced hearsay? The most generous view possible of such is that they have little of the Spirit of Christ; that they are deficient in brotherly love and have never truly learned "the golden rule."

The Apostle inquires, "Doth a fountain send forth at the same opening bitter water and sweet?" The form of his question implies the answer, No; it is either good water only, or brackish water only. He evidently wishes to suggest that we apply the same rule to our hearts and mouths: How is it possible if our hearts have been renewed that our mouths utter loving sweetness to God and bitter acrimony, envy, hatred, strife, towards or respecting our fellowmen?

THE TREASURE OF THE NEW MIND IN AN EARTHEN VESSEL

There is but one way of understanding the foregoing question Scripturally. It is expressed by the Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 4:7), "We have this treasure [the new heart, the new mind, the new nature] in an earthen vessel." Not that Christians are of two natures, for that thought is contrary to the science of the Bible. No mixture of natures can be recognized; hence it was that our human natures were justified through faith in Jesus' blood and a renouncement of sin and a consecration to death, that instead we might have spiritual natures and become "new creatures in Christ Jesus." The new creature, however, is as yet only in embryo, possessing only the new mind which dwells in and proposes to regulate and govern the mortal bodies, which are considered dead so far as the will of the flesh is concerned.

When, therefore, our mouths are speaking forth heartfelt praise to God, who hath blessed us, lifted our feet from the horrible pit, and the miry clay, and placed us upon the Rock Christ Jesus, and has put a new song into our mouth, our praise implies that the new mind is controlling at such a time, that the new heart is overflowing in the mortal body, and going forth through the lips to the blessing and edification, the comfort and encouragement of those who hear. Thus the fountain in our heart is sending forth sweet waters, carrying with them life, blessing, refreshment. But when our tongues speak evil of any, whether it be true or false, it implies that the new nature is, temporarily at least, overcome by the old nature; it implies that another fountain is now operating and using the tongue, the mouth, in issuing forth the words of malice or hatred or envy or strife or reproach or evil speaking of any kind – cursing or injuring others in any degree, great or small.

This implies that the flesh is not being kept under, kept dead, kept buried, kept out of sight. Such a condition, therefore, implies slow spiritual development or retrogression – falling away on the part of the "new creature." All such should remember, as the Apostle Paul declares, "The time past of our lives sufficeth us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles." Again, he says, "Yield not your members as instruments of unrighteousness; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." – I Pet. 4:3; Rom. 6:13.

"PURGE OUT THE OLD LEAVEN"

From this point of view we may console ourselves if, in looking backward, we perceive that in our own cases from the same mouth has proceeded praise to God and injury and defamation and slander and evil-speaking, or any of these evil propensities, toward our fellow-creatures. It does not, therefore, prove that our hearts were not truly justified, and sanctified by the holy Spirit of adoption; it does not prove that we are not sons of God and partakers of his Spirit. It does prove, however, that we are in a sadly improper condition – spiritually sick and in need of taking a purgative; as the Apostle expresses it, "Purge out, therefore, the old leaven [malice, etc.], that ye may be a new [unadulterated, pure] lump" or loaf – proper representatives of the Body of Christ. – I Cor. 5:7.

We may know assuredly that, until the "new creature" gains a thorough victory over the flesh, we will not be winners of the great prize which is promised only "to him that overcometh." The overcoming, however, will be not in the perfecting of the flesh, but in the perfecting of the heart – the will, the intentions. As for the blemishes of the flesh, some of them, undoubtedly, despite every effort on our part to eradicate them, will continue with us so long as we are in the flesh. The perfection which is to be hoped for, therefore, and aimed at and expected and gained by the overcomers, is the perfection of the will, heart, intentions – "Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God." [R4705 : page 344]

Moreover, our physical weaknesses and defects not only vary in kind but in intensity. Some are by nature more inclined to gentleness, kindness, etc.; others, until accepted of Christ, may have very uncouth, coarse, rude, rough earthen vessels. And while the influence of the treasure within, the "new mind," will be sure in any case to exercise a modifying and transforming effect upon the earthen vessel, we cannot expect as much of a change in some as in others. We cannot expect as complete a correction in righteousness in the outward man, where coarseness, rudeness, unkindness are, so to speak, bred in the bone and fibre, as we might expect in one born to fine sensibilities.

While recognizing this difference of "earthen vessels," we, of course, must use our best endeavors each to correct his own. We are to remember that our relationship to one another in the Body of Christ is not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; hence, as the Apostle declares, we know one another no longer according to the flesh, with its weaknesses, imperfections and ungainly and ungraceful natural tendencies. We know each other only according to the Spirit, according to the intentions, according to the heart – as "new creatures," not as old creatures. – 2 Cor. 5:16.

This will lead us to be very pitiful of one another's imperfections of the flesh, so long as we have the assurance that the flesh does not represent our brother's real self, his mind, his will. We are, therefore, to be gentle toward all, "kindly affectioned one toward another," so that so far from desiring to wound one another, or to injure one another, or to devour one another with our tongues, we shall sympathize with each other, do each other good, and, by words of grace and comfort, or by admonition and reproof spoken in love, may "build one another up in the most holy faith" – in the likeness of our Lord and Master.

Proceeding with this subject, the Apostle points out that there are two kinds of wisdom, a heavenly and an earthly, and that all of the Lord's people should discern these, and should see to it that theirs is the heavenly. The Apostle's intimation is that there may be some with the Church, who may have counted themselves in the Church, who may have associated themselves with the Church from worldly-wise motives – some who have caught sight of the fact that there is a reasonableness and a wisdom in the teachings of the Scriptures which they admire and which they can turn, perhaps, to their own advantage. These, he implies, will be inclined to be heady and to make a show of their wisdom, and to be "puffed up" by it, and while outwardly acknowledging the propriety of the Christian graces, brotherly-kindness, gentleness, meekness, patience, love, they have in their hearts bitter envyings and strife – strife to have name and fame – envying those who may seem to them to have more of these.

These, the Apostle intimates, will find it difficult, yea, impossible, to avoid cursing (speaking evil of, injuring) the brethren. It will be so natural to them to do so that they cannot avoid it, because they have not pure hearts – they have not regenerated hearts. If their hearts ever were regenerated, they have returned like the sow to wallowing in the mire – like the dog to his vomit. The Apostle's advice to such as find that they have in their hearts envious and bitter feelings, is that they have no cause to glory or to boast, but on the contrary should acknowledge that, having these evil conditions in the heart, they are not Christians at all, and they should cease to lie against the truth – cease to act fraudulently, hypocritically – cease to continue to claim to have renewed hearts, sanctified in Christ Jesus.

He tells such plainly that their wisdom, their knowledge, is not of God, is not of the holy Spirit – "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish; for, where envy and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work [to be anticipated]." – Jas. 3:15,16.

It seems evident that although the Apostle James' denunciation applies to any professing to be Israelites indeed, he nevertheless is specially aiming his remarks at those who profess to be teachers in the Church, to have wisdom to a considerable degree. And his words remind us of the words of the Apostle Paul; when speaking of the various gifts distributed to the Church, he seemingly points out the dangers of those of large knowledge, and, as an illustration of this principle which James presents, he says: –

"THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS AND HAVE NOT LOVE"

Though I could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, it would imply that I had become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, making a noise indeed, but having no feeling respecting the matter myself – I have neither part nor lot with those who possess the Spirit of Christ. Although I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, and have not Love, I am nothing; and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing. – I Cor. 13:1-8.

Thus the Apostle points out distinctly that knowledge and oratory are not the most vital tests, but that Love, permeating the heart and extending out through all the course of life, and actuating and operating our mortal bodies, is the real test – the real proof of our Divine relationship. He points out that those who had received gifts of God before they had come into a proper relationship to God might become sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, and thus become "nothing," if they lose the love, if they lose the Spirit of Christ; for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

It is well for the Lord's people to take particular note of these Divine instructions from two of the chiefest of the Apostles, and to remember that, valuable though they be, neither oratory nor knowledge is to be considered amongst the "brethren" as sure proofs of their being in the right way, nor that their influence might not be injurious instead of helpful. The leading characteristic to be looked for in everyone accepted as a servant of the Church, to minister in holy things, should be first of all the spirit of Love. We do not mean to say that knowledge and ability should be entirely ignored, but we do mean to say that these should be considered of secondary and not of primary importance, as is always the tendency.

Select from among yourselves, holy men, full of the holy Spirit, that they may have the charge of the spiritual interests of the different companies of the Lord's people. And for a Divine explanation of how this holy Spirit will manifest itself, of the qualities, therefore, that are to be looked for in the servants of the Church, see I Cor. 13:4-8; also I Pet. 1:22,23; 2 Pet. 1:1-13. For their own good, as well as for the good of the Church, all who, having other qualifications, give evidence of being puffed up and of desiring to lord it over God's heritage (the Church), or who manifest envy, strife, bitterness, evil-speaking – these should be passed by, as giving evidence of having the wrong spirit, that cometh [R4705 : page 345] not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. They are unsafe teachers, and are likely to do more harm than good, with whatever knowledge they may possess.

"THE WISDOM THAT COMETH FROM ABOVE," ETC.

Continuing, the Apostle leaves no doubt respecting his meaning, for he distinctly outlines the course and fruitage of heavenly wisdom, saying, "The wisdom that is from above is first pure" – truthful, honest, sincere, not put on, not used as a garment of light to deceive and to cover up selfishness, malice, hatred, strife; it makes no compromises with sin, impurity, in any shape or form.

It is "peaceable." – So far from being a quarrelsome, bickering disposition, the "new mind" desires peace; it will "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints," but it will not contend simply from a love of contention, a love of strife; on the contrary, the new mind is peaceably inclined, would prefer, so far as possible, to yield a non-essential point in a controversy; it loves its opponents and sympathizes with their difficulties.

It is "gentle" – not rude or coarse, not rough in action or word or tone; and if the earthen vessel through which it speaks have these rudenesses ingrained by nature, the "new nature" regrets them, strives against them, and seeks to conquer them; and where they do injury to others is ready, willing, glad to apologize, and to remove the smart.

It is "easy to be entreated" – easy of approach, not haughty, not disdainful, not hard or cruel; yet it is firm on matters of principle; principles cannot be bended or modified; they belong to God. But while affirming the principles, this spirit of wisdom points out its own willingness to moderation, by acknowledging any good features in its opponent, and by pointing out the reason why no modification is possible in relation to Divine laws and principles.

It is "full of mercy and good fruits." – It delights in all things prompted by love and kindness; it takes pleasure in doing for others; it takes pleasure, not only in showing mercy to dumb animals under its care, but it especially delights in mercy in dealing with brethren in respect to their faults. It is merciful also in the family – not over-exacting, but generous, kind, benevolent. It is generous also with opponents, and those who are contentious – not wishing to push a victory, even for the truth, to such a point as would be injurious, hurtful, unmerciful to the antagonist.

It is "without partiality." – It loves the good, the true, where these are found; and opposes the untrue, the impure and the unholy, whether found amongst friends or enemies. Its justice is of the strictest kind, tempered with mercy; it will not approve a fault in a brother, because he is a brother, but would reprove the same with gentleness and meekness, remembering the liability of all to the assaults of the world, the flesh and the Devil. It will not fail to see a virtue in an enemy, nor hesitate to acknowledge it. Truth is its standard, not prejudice, not partyism, not sectarianism.

It is "without hypocrisy." – It is thoroughly candid; it needs not to feign love, because it is love; it needs not to put on a kindly exterior and to smother feelings of wrath and envy and strife, for it is without envy, without strife. Such works of the flesh and of the Devil have, by the grace of God, been seen to be earthly, sensual, devilish, and have been repudiated, and the heart has been justified, cleansed, sanctified to God, renewed in thought, intention, will, and is now full of the treasure of the holy Spirit.

With these thoughts before our minds, let us all, dear readers, more earnestly than ever, guard against the old nature, and its insidious attempts to gain control over our tongues. Let us, more and more, seek to appreciate, in ourselves and in others, this heavenly wisdom, whose operation is so forcefully presented by the Apostle. The more important our members, the more influential, the more earnestly ought we to strive to keep them in full subjection to the Lord, as his servants. Our feet are useful members, consecrated to the Lord; we may use them in many errands of mercy, to the glory of his name and to the profit of his people. Our hands are likewise useful, if thoroughly consecrated to the Lord's service. Our ears are also useful in his service, to hear for him, to refuse to hear the evil, and thus to approve evil, and to set a good example to others. Our eyes are a great blessing from the Lord, and they also are to be kept from evil, from the lust of the eye and the pride of life, and are to be instruments or servants of righteousness, in seeing the good, in appreciating the good, and in assisting the good, and in helping us to know the will of our God.

"THE TONGUE SET ON FIRE OF GEHENNA"

But of all our members the most influential is the tongue. The tongue's influence exceeds that of all our other members combined. To control it, therefore, in the Lord's service, is the most important work of the Lord's people in respect to their mortal bodies and the service of these rendered to the Lord. A few words of love, kindness, helpfulness – how often have such changed the entire course of a human life! Yea! How much they have had to do with moulding the destiny of nations! And how often have evil words, unkind words, slanderous words, done gross injustice, assassinated reputations, etc.! As the Apostle declares, the tongue is capable of setting on fire the whole course of nature – awakening passions, strifes, enmities, at first unthought of. No wonder he declares such tongues "set on fire of Gehenna" – the Second Death!

The public servants of the Church are to some extent specially its "tongues," and what an influence they wield for good or for evil, in the blessing and upbuilding of the Lord's people, or for their injury – cursing. How necessary that all the tongue-servants of the Lord's Body be such, and such only, as are of his spirit. Their influence not only extends to those who are in the Church, but in considerable measure they are mouthpieces heard outside. And the same principle applies to every individual member of the Church, in his use of his member, his tongue. He may use it wisely or unwisely, with heavenly wisdom or with earthly wisdom. He may use it for strife, and tearing down the faith and character of the brethren, in overthrowing love and confidence, or he may use it in building up these graces of the Spirit.

How many have proved the truth of the Apostle's words – that the tongue has great possibilities for defiling the whole Body, the Church, and setting on fire the course of nature, by stirring up the evil passions and propensities of the fallen nature! How few amongst the Lord's people have conquered the tongue to the extent of bringing it into subjection to the will of God, that they may minister good, and only good, to all with whom they come in contact! Let us, dearly beloved, be fully resolved that by Divine grace (promised to assist us) we shall witness great progress in our control of this most important member of our bodies, bringing the same into full subjection and obedience and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords – to him "who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light."

page 346

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This very valuable work, published under the author's copyright by Fowler & Wells Co., New York City, has been sold by them at $4 in cloth and $5 in half leather binding. For several years a friend, an earnest Bible student, desirous of assisting the readers of our Society's publications, has supplied them through us at a greatly reduced price; now he has purchased the copyright and plates from the Fowler & Wells Co., and presented the same to our Society as a gift, under our assurance that the gift, will be used for the furthering of the Truth to the extent of our ability, by such a reduction of price as will permit the poor of the Lord's flock to have this help in the study of the Word.

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THE TISCHENDORF NEW TESTAMENT

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ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES

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SMITH'S BIBLE DICTIONARY

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"BIBLE TALKS IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE"

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BIBLE CATALOGUES

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However, should any desire other Bibles, please write us, and we will be pleased to supply a full catalogue of any of the Bible publishing houses.

[R4705 : page 347]

"THE PRESENCE OF THE SON OF MAN"
MATTHEW 24:32-44. – NOVEMBER 13. –

"Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." – Matthew 26:41.
F
OR various reasons many Bible students understand that our Lord referred to the Jewish nation under the symbolism of a fig-tree. He had been telling his disciples what he expected in the end of this age, when he would come again to receive his faithful to himself and to give them a place as his Bride upon his Throne and to establish his Kingdom under the whole heavens for the blessing of Israel and all the world through Israel. In this study he tells us that amongst the prominent signs of the closing of this age and the opening of the new will be the budding of the fig tree – the springing forth of new life and new hope in the Jewish nation. And is not this condition of things manifesting itself today? Behold the Jews awakening and listening to the voice of Moses and the Prophets calling them to Palestine and to fresh hope in God and in the glorious promises to which they still are heirs as the natural [R4706 : page 347] seed of Abraham! "For the gifts and calling of God are things he does not repent of." – Rom. 11:11-39.
"THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS"

The generation which witnesses the signs promised in the verses preceding our lesson and which witnesses this putting forth of the green leaves of hope by Israel will see to the full the accomplishment of the glorious change of Dispensation so long foretold. They will witness the passing of the reign of the Prince of Darkness and the inauguration of the glorious reign of the Prince of Light – Messiah with his glorious Bride class; not, however, that mankind will see Messiah with the natural eye, nor see even his glorious Bride, except with the eyes of their understanding. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" in this highest sense. Flesh and blood, however, will see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the Kingdom, and will have full testimony and practical demonstration of the Kingdom power in the great transformation that will be wrought and the restitution blessings which will be showered upon Israel and upon all who will come into harmony with God through Israel's New Covenant. – Jer. 31:31.

The present ecclesiastical heavens and the present social earth will, indeed, both pass away in the great time of trouble with which this age will end; but following these, supplanting them, will come the new heavens and the new earth – the new religious institutions of the Lord – the Church in glory, and the new social order amongst mankind under the regulations for which we still pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth." Then the words of the great Teacher will surely have fulfillment.

THE DAY AND HOUR HAD NOT BEEN FORETOLD

The day and hour of the great change no one knew, not even the angels in heaven. The Master himself declared that he did not know – but the Father alone. This should not, however, be understood to mean that the Son of God would not know about the matter later on, in due time, before he would begin his work of establishing the Kingdom. Neither would it prove that the angels of heaven would be in ignorance up to the last moment. Neither would it prove that God's people, living at the time for the establishment of the Kingdom, would not know. In fact, the Master declares that all living in proper harmony with him would be kept informed respecting the Father's Plans as they became due. He declared that if they would partake of the things of God and follow after them, then they should have meat in due season.

In this very study the Great Teacher illustrates this principle, referring to Noah and Lot. Noah was informed respecting the coming change of Dispensation when he was instructed to build the ark one hundred and twenty years before the flood. Lot was instructed respecting the disaster coming upon the city in which he lived long enough in advance to escape from it; likewise the Church of Christ is forewarned by this illustration and reminded that when they flee they shall not, like Lot's wife, covetously look back to the things which, under Divine condemnation, are to pass away, but shall escape to the mountain – flee to the Kingdom of God, which will at that time be in process of establishment.

Doubtless much of the immorality and sensuality which marked the days of Noah and the days of Lot will prevail in the world in the closing days of the present age. Other Scriptures so inform us, even though this study intimates nothing of the kind. This lesson brings to our attention another feature connected with our Lord's Second Advent – a feature which hitherto has been little noticed by Bible students. It informs us that his Second Coming will be unobserved, unknown to the world; that he will be present in the world, and have to do with the gathering together of his saints and with the great time of trouble which will follow, yet be entirely invisible to men, recognizable only by outward signs of his presence and known only to the saintly few of humanity.

This feature of the lesson is veiled from the eyes of the average Bible student by a mistranslated word. The Greek for the word coming in verses 37 and 39 is parousia, which does not mean coming, but should be rendered presence, as of one who has already come.

"IN THE PRESENCE OF THE SON OF MAN"

This gives us a stupendous thought! The great King of kings will for a time be present amongst men, invisible, unknown, except by a very few of his saints, to whom his presence will be revealed through the knock of prophecy and the opening of the eyes of their understanding to appreciate fulfillments. Everything will continue as ordinarily – the eating, drinking, planting, building and marrying, "as it was in the days of Noah." Had the world known in Noah's day the climax of trouble impending, many of the ordinary affairs of life would have been discontinued – and likewise here. The lesson is that as the world did not know in Noah's day, so the world will not know "in the days of the Son of Man" – in the presence of the Son of Man.

The field is the world, said our Lord, in explaining one of his parables. And so we should interpret it here. The Lord will gather some of his jewels from the field; all not his jewels will be left. Two will be grinding at the mill preparing food for the household; one will be taken and another left. The Lord's household is the Church, and the mills which prepare the food for the Church are theological. The intimation is that some theologians will be taken and some will be left, in the selective processes of the presence of the Son of Man – in the making up of his jewels.

St. Luke mentions another feature of this discourse. There shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken and the other left. A bed is a place for rest. All churches profess to be resting places, where the weary and heavy-laden rest through faith in God and in his promises. The [R4706 : page 348] teaching, then, would be that not all who are resting in the churches of Christendom, in the creeds, will be amongst the elect, the gathered jewels. Some will be taken away from these beds. Others will be left in them. A vivid description of these creed-beds and their unsatisfactory character is given us by the Prophet. – Isaiah 28:20.

WATCH THAT YE MAY KNOW

Following these illustrations of his presence and his work in the harvest time of this Gospel Age the Master exhorts all of his followers to watch, to be ready, to be on the alert, to be on the lookout, that they may be ready for his presence, that they may, in due time, discern his presence, and that they may be gathered or separated from the world and theological relationship, and from earthly church relationship, to the Master himself. Some very earnest Bible students believe that we are in this harvest period now; that the Son of Man, the glorified Messiah, invisible to men, is even now present doing a searching and separating work in his Church, gathering his saints unto himself preparatory to their change from earthly to heavenly conditions and preparatory to the inauguration of the great time of trouble, by which present institutions will be blotted out to make way for the Kingdom of righteousness, for which we have so long prayed. Many Bible students believe that the present unrest and sifting and shaking amongst Christians and the creeds of all denominations and the colleges and seminaries are but incidental to this work which the Son of Man, present amongst us, is accomplishing for the purpose of fully separating to himself his very elect. Whether this proposition be agreed to or not, the fact still remains that thus matters will be whenever the time shall come, whenever the end of this age and the inauguration of the new shall take place.

SATAN'S HOUSE TO BE BROKEN UP

All of the foregoing suggestions are confirmed by the symbolism of the 43d verse. Here the Master likens the institutions of the present time to a house or household. Elsewhere he informs us that Satan is the Prince of this world, the over-lord who tyrannizes the world, operating through the weaknesses and passions and depraved appetites and impaired reasoning faculties of humanity. Had the time of the Lord's Second Advent been clearly made known that knowledge would have so altered matters and affairs that the world would not have been taken by surprise in connection with the gathering of the Lord's jewels and the establishment of his Kingdom, and thus there would not be such a breaking-up in earth's affairs as is now impending; the Kingdom would be established, but not in the way in which God designed.

In this verse our Lord likens his second presence, unknown to the world, to the presence of a thief in a house, unknown to its master. The Lord's saints in the world are his jewels. These he will take away and the loss to the world will be great. As the saintly ones will be gathered from the field, from the mill and from the bed into closer heart-union with the Lord, those left in the world, the mill and the bed, will be greatly disadvantaged – not because the jewel class are wealthy or have worldly greatness, for of these chosen saints it is distinctly stated that there are amongst them "not many great, not many rich, not many wise, not many noble." But these saintly ones are, nevertheless, the "salt" of the earth and the salt of the churches, and the salt of the theological seminaries. After the taking away of the salt class, putrefaction and disintegration will speedily follow.

In view of all this, all who profess to be the Lord's people should earnestly watch, as well as pray; they should watch their words and thoughts and doings and see to it that they worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, and that they do not idolize either dead or living men or creeds. Thus walking circumspectly in the footsteps of Jesus the saintly ones will be kept in the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the whole world to prove them. – Rev. 3:10.

[R4707 : page 348]

THE DARK GETHSEMANE HOUR
MATTHEW 26:36-46. – NOVEMBER 20. –

"The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." – V. 45.
A
FTER the Master and his disciples, as Jews, had celebrated the Passover Supper and after he had subsequently instituted the Memorial of his death, with the bread and the cup, and after Judas had gone out to betray him, Jesus and the remaining eleven left the upper room in Jerusalem, crossed the city to the gate, and thence crossed the Valley Kedron and ascended the sloping side of Mt. Olivet toward the Garden of Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane signifies oil-press. Tradition has it that this Garden belonged to the family of which the Apostles John and James were members, and that for this reason the Lord and his disciples were privileged to feel themselves at home there. St. Mark, the writer of one of the Gospels, but not one of the Apostles, is credited with having been a member of the same family. One of the accounts of the arrest of the Master tells that amongst those who followed after him was a young man wrapped with a sheet, and who fled naked when some members of the band attempted to lay hold of him. That young man, tradition says, years afterwards was known as St. Mark.

This was the most memorable night of the Master's experience. He knew perfectly the meaning of every feature of the Passover. He knew that he was the Lamb of God, antitypically, whose death was to be accomplished on the following day by crucifixion. Yet his thoughts were for his dear disciples. He must give them final words of encouragement and instruction. And so he did. Three chapters of St. John's Gospel record the incidents of the intervening time between the leaving of the upper room and the arriving at Gethsemane, the place of the oil-press. "And Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place, for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples." (John 18:2.) In St. John 14 the Master told his disciples about the place he would go to prepare for them, but that he would send the Spirit of Truth to be their Comforter, and it would show them things to come. In the fifteenth chapter he gave them the parable of the Vine and the Branches, and assured them that no longer should they be servants, but friends, "For all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." In the sixteenth chapter he explained to them that persecutions must be expected, if they would share his sufferings and be prepared to share his glory.

A little while and they would not see him; then again a little while and they would see him. The entire period [R4707 : page 349] of his absence from the Divine standpoint, as compared to eternity, would be but a little while. Then, by virtue of the resurrection "change," they would see him, because made like him. "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." "These things I have given unto you that in me ye might have peace." In the seventeenth chapter is recorded his wonderful prayer to the Father on behalf of his followers – not for the Apostles only, but for all those also who would believe on him through their word.

IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE

Thus discoursing, they reached the Garden, or olive-yard, where the press for extracting the oil from the olives was located. Somewhere near the entrance eight of the disciples were bidden to remain watching while Jesus, with the specially beloved Peter, James and John, went a little farther. And then, realizing the impossibility of even his dearest friends appreciating his sorrowful condition, he went still farther alone to speak to the Father. The disciples, perplexed, astounded, by the things that they had heard from his lips, did not comprehend the true situation. They evidently thought that there must still be something parabolic in his utterances. They would indeed watch with him, but they were weary and sank into slumber. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.

If some have queried why the Master preferred to be alone in prayer so frequently, the answer is, "I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me." (Isa. 63:3.) His disciples and followers loved him dearly. Still he was alone, because he alone had been begotten of the holy Spirit. His followers could not feel so blessed nor be Spirit-begotten until after his sacrifice had been finished nor until he would appear in the presence of God for them to apply his merit imputedly to them; to permit them to join with him sacrificially in the sufferings of this present time, that they might share with him also in the glories to follow.

St. Peter, referring to the foregoing experience of our Lord, declares that he offered up strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in respect to that which he feared. Why did he fear? Do not all humanity face death, and some of them with great courage and some with bravado? Ah, there is a vast difference between the Master's standpoint and ours as respects death. We were born dying. We never knew perfect life. We have always known that there is no escape from death. It was different with him. His experiences on the spirit plane before coming into the world were all in association with life, perfection of life. "In him was life" uncontaminated, because he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners; his life came not from Adam.

He knew that in his perfection he had a right to life, if he would live in perfect accordance with the Divine requirements. But he knew also that by special Covenant with God, "a Covenant by sacrifice," he had agreed to the surrender of all his earthly rights and to allow his life to be taken from him. The Father had promised him a great reward of glory, honor and immortality through resurrection from the dead, but this was dependent upon his absolute obedience in every particular – in word, in thought, in deed. The question was, Had he been absolutely loyal to God in every particular? If not, death would mean to him an eternal extinction of being; not only the loss of heavenly glory promised as a reward, but the loss of everything. Can we wonder that he did not understand? The hour seemed so dark, and he said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful." He knew that he was to die. He knew that death was necessary. But here, now, looming up before him on the morrow was a shameful execution as a blasphemer, as a criminal, as a violator of Divine law. Could it be possible that in anything, even slightly, he had taken to himself the honor due to the Father? Could it be possible that in any degree he had held back, even in his mind, from full obedience to the Father's will? Did this crucifixion as a criminal possibly mean the loss of Divine favor? Was it necessary that he should die thus? Might not this cup of ignominy pass? So he prayed in a great agony. And although the older Greek manuscripts do not contain the statement that he sweat great drops of blood, medical science tells us that [R4708 : page 349] such an experience would not have been at all impossible in a nervous, strained, mental agony. But we note the beautiful simplicity of the statement with which his prayer concluded – "Nevertheless, my Father, not my will, but thy will, be done."

How childlike and beautiful the faith and trust, even amidst strenuous agitation! St. Paul says that he was heard in the thing which he feared. How? God's answer came by angelic hands. An angel appeared and ministered to him – ministered to his necessity. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14.) We are not informed in what words this heavenly ministry was expressed to the Master in his lowliness and sorrow, but we do know that it must have been with full assurance of the Heavenly Father's favor and sympathy and love. He was heard in respect to the things which he feared. He received the assurance that he was well-pleasing to the Father; that he had been faithful to his Covenant, and that he would have the resurrection promised.

From that moment onward the Master was the calmest of all who had any association with the great events of that night and the following day. Officers, servants, Sanhedrin, priests, Herod and his men of war, Pilate and his soldiers, and the shouting rabble – all were excited, all were distressed. Jesus only was calm. This was because he had the Father's assurance that all was well between them. As this blessed assurance gave the Master courage, so his followers since have found that, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" If we have the peace of God ruling in our hearts, it is beyond all human comprehension.

JUDAS THE UNGRATEFUL APOSTATE

The world is full of sadly disappointing characters. In many things we all fail. Selfishness, meanness, perversity, pride, etc., mark the human family most woefully. But withal, can anyone find anything more reprehensible than the ingrate who would betray his best friend?

The world is of one opinion respecting such characters as that of Judas. And although he is a noted example he is by no means an exception; there are many. Some of them live today. But whoever can see the meanness of such a disposition with a reasonably good focus will surely be saved from manifesting such a character, however mean might be his disposition. The man who could sell his Master for thirty pieces of silver is justly in contempt with all humanity. Nor was it merely the thirty pieces that influenced the ingrate. Rather it was pride. He had thought to be associated with the Master in an earthly throne. He had set his faith upon this expectation. Now that same Master explained more fully that the throne was not yet in sight; that it belongs to an age to follow this, and is to be given only to those who prove themselves loyal and faithful unto death. In the mind of Judas the matter took not the wisest and [R4708 : page 350] best way. Holding the Great Teacher in contempt, the deceived one probably intended that the delivery should be merely a temporary one – a lesson to the Master not to talk that way, not to carry matters too far – an incentive to him, compelling him to exert his power for the resistance of those who sought his life and thus, in exalting himself, make good to his disciples the share in the Kingdom which he had promised, or, failing of this, to wreck the entire project. Alas, the love of money, the love of power puff up and make delirious some who become intoxicated with ambition. How necessary that all the Lord's followers remember the message, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted, and he that exalteth himself shall be abased!" "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." – Matt. 23:12; I Pet. 5:6.

NEARING THE GOAL
With eyes aflame, with panting breath, they come –
The runners – every nerve and muscle tense;
Urged forward by a thousand deafening cries.
On, on, they rush! When one, close to the goal,
For but one moment glances back in pride
To note how far he hath outrun the rest.
Alas! tripped by a pebble on the course,
He stumbles, falls, arises, but too late!
Another sweeps ahead with blood-flecked lips
And bursting heart! One final, awful strain,
With superhuman effort, grand, supreme,
He leaps into the air – and falls in death
Across the line – a victor, but at what
A fearful cost he gave his life, his all!

I ponder o'er this tragedy of days
When Greece was mistress of the world, and say,
Hast not thou, also, entered on a race,
My soul, in contest for "a Crown of Life" –
A prize thou canst not win except thine all
Thou givest! Then, be wise, and watch and pray,
Turn not thine eyes one instant from "the mark,"
For fear thou dash thy foot against some small,
Well-rounded truth, which in thy pride thou hast
O'erlooked, and thus thou stumble, fall; and though
Thou shouldst arise, 'twould be too late to win!

Ah, then, consider thy "forerunner," Christ;
Yea, call to mind the "cloud of witnesses"
Around – those noble, faithful ones of old –
And strip thyself, my soul, of every weight;
Gird up thy loins; make straight paths for thy feet;
Breathe deeply of the Spirit's conquering power;
And run with patient, meek, enduring zeal!
Almost thou hast attained, my soul! My soul –
Shall angels, principalities, or powers,
Or height, or depth, or other creature, draw
Thee from the goal so near? Ah, yes, so near,
The glory-light streams through the parting "vail"!
Have faith, press on! One effort, grand, supreme –
And thou hast won in death Love's blood-bought crown!

G. W. SEIBERT.

page 350

WATCH TOWER BIBLES

We cannot commend these too highly. Many of the friends are finding these Bibles more and more useful. We have them in two different styles and five different grades – the cheapest as low as $1.65, the very best and most complete at $3.50. Following is a description of each of the numbers and the size and style of type used:

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 fills 542 pages. Size, 5 x 7 x 1 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. [Illustration of the scripture print appears here.]

THIS SIZE TYPE USED IN BIBLE NOS. 1918 AND 1928.

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 (5½ x 7½ x 1¼), 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 band and marker. These are bound only in the better leather, Levant Morocco, and are very durable. Sample of type below:

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 5½ x 7½ x 1½.

BIBLE NO. 1958, PRICE $3.50 POSTPAID

This Bible is exactly the same as 1948, except that it is bound in a still better leather, and is calf-lined to edge: [Illustration of the scripture print appears here.]

THIS SIZE TYPE USED IN BIBLE NOS. 1938, 1948 AND 1958.

WATCH TOWER HELPS SEPARATE

About 570 pages, on India paper, French Morocco binding, $1.25 each postpaid; in cloth-binding, silver title imprint, 50 cents 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 of the cheaper kind to such.

[R4707 : page 351]

THE LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST MAKES FREE
L
IBERTY is a grand word, yet it does not always spell true blessing and happiness. In the Second Psalm we read of some who say, "Let us break their bands asunder" – let us be free. In Genesis we read of how Satan broke loose from the restraining hand of righteousness and made shipwreck of his eternal interests. We learn also of how he seduced Mother Eve and she persuaded Adam to break loose from the Divine restraints to eat of the forbidden fruit. The entire history of the Jewish nation is a narrative of rebellions against Divine regulations – temporary feelings of release and liberty and subsequent experiences of sorrow and repentance. Judas cut loose from bondage to his Master and the Divine providences represented in him. The thirty pieces of silver, the wage of his treachery, brought joy to his craven heart for but a little time. At last it ate as doth a canker and he wished it back and himself rid of the liberty into which he sold himself. St. Peter was unwillingly entrapped into denying his Master and asserting his liberty with oaths. But his loyal heart could find no rest in such liberty.

Should it surprise us that the Adversary still holds up the bait of liberty and leads the world into all kinds of excesses in the name of liberty? Should it surprise us that amongst God's people, too, he uses the same tactics – telling them that they are enslaved when they are obedient to the voice of God's Word and to the leadings of his providence? Is it surprising that he urges them to break the bands of the consecration and reassert their freedom? It is not strange! Nor is it peculiar that some, in leaving the Truth, are beginning a warfare against it – opposing the very harvest work which once they endorsed and co-operated with, betraying it, seeking to injure it, etc. When such boast of their new-found liberty we ask them, What liberty have you? The only answer can be that they feel relieved in being rid of their bonds of consecration to the Lord. Alas! they glory in their shame. What need we wonder if anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, bitterness, back-biting, assassination, slander and murderous hatred take the place in their hearts and conduct, once filled by the spirit of brotherly kindness, meekness, gentleness, long-suffering?

Let all the children of the light, begotten of the holy Spirit, rejoice in the only liberty that is really a blessing, the liberty wherewith Christ makes free those who become his bond-servants. These are set free from the bondage of sin – envy, malice, strife, hatred and the murderous spirit. These are bound with cords of love to their Master and to the letter and spirit of his teachings – bound to do good unto all men as they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith – bound to the altar of sacrifice with cords of devotion, strengthening as the days go by, even unto death; for such is the crown of life prepared.

page 351

BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study III. – The Call of The New Creation.
DECEMBER 4

(56) What kind of faith justified the Ancient Worthies? P. 110.

(57) Explain the difference between the justification of the Ancient Worthies and the justification during the Gospel Age. P. 111, par. 1.

(58) What is the significance of justification to life (Rom. 5:18), and how does it affect the New Creation? P. 111, par. 2.

(59) What relation do the Ancient Worthies bear toward this justification to life? P. 111, par. 3. W.T.'10-132.

(60) Explain the principle underlying God's acceptance of our imperfect works. P. 112, par. 1.

(61) Explain the difference between the test of faith and the test of works, showing to what ages they respectively apply. P. 113, par. 1.

(62) Before whom is it necessary for the sinner to be justified? Explain why it is thus. P. 114, par. 1.

(63) Explain the different position of the Mediator with respect to sin and sinners. P. 114, par. 2.

(64) If all of our Redeemer's merit was involved in imputing to believers what their sacrifices lacked to make them holy and acceptable, what can he do for the world? And will he similarly impute his merit to the world? Or will he actually surrender it forever on the world's account? Will the Millennial Kingdom or Mediatorial Kingdom or Emergency Kingdom for man's uplift be the result of the imputation of Christ's merit or on account of the actual satisfaction of justice? P. 115, par. 1.

DECEMBER 11

(65) Briefly explain the relation of the New Creation to the Abrahamic Covenant. P. 115, par. 2.

(66) What is evidently the sole object of the Gospel Age? P. 116, par. 1.

(67) What blessing is enjoyed by those who are simply "justified by faith," and refuse to consecrate? P. 116, par. 2.

(68) Explain how this class receive the grace of God in vain. P. 117, par. 1.

(69) What is evidently the condition of the whole nominal "Christian World" in this respect? P. 117, par. 2,3.

(70) Explain why the merely justified are unable to appreciate "the deep things of God." P. 118, par. 1.

(71) Would it be reasonable to expect that these should receive special favor in the Millennial Age? P. 118, par. 2.

(72) What three classes alone seem to be profited beyond the present life through this justification by faith? P. 119, par. 1.

(73) To whom will the Kingdom arrangements appeal most strongly at first? P. 119, par. 2.

DECEMBER 18

(74) How is Christ made unto us Sanctification, and can any man sanctify himself aside from the merit of Christ? If not, explain why. P. 119, par. 3.

(75) Why is it necessary to "abide in Christ," and what is the significance of the text, "Our God is a consuming fire," in this connection? Pp. 120, 121.

(76) What does sanctification signify, and upon what class alone is it enjoined? P. 121, par. 1.

(77) Explain God's order with respect to sanctification. P. 122, top.

(78) Will sanctification be required of the world in the Millennial Age? P. 122, par. 1.

(79) While sanctification is a general principle for all God's creatures, to what class do the Scriptures especially apply this admonition? P. 123, par. 1,2.

(80) Explain the difference between the consecration of the Levites and that of the Priests, in the type, and give the antitypical application. P. 124, par. 1,2.

(81) Explain how a perfect compliance with the terms of our justification must lead us in the end to sanctification. P. 124, par. 3; P. 125, par. 1.

DECEMBER 25

(82) What is the position of those believers who refuse the call to sacrifice? P. 125, par. 2.

(83) Describe the two classes of antitypical Levites. P. 126, par. 1,2,3.

(84) What is the test that will confirm the Great Company as worthy of the Levites' portion under the Kingdom? P. 127, par. 1,2.

(85) Who were Levi's three sons, and what were their positions with respect to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness? P. 128, par. 1.

(86) What four classes of justified humanity did these represent? P. 128, par. 2.

(87) State the respective order and rank of these antitypical Levites in the Kingdom. P. 129, par. 1.

(88) Explain why the refusal of any to go on to consecration could not justly merit punishment. P. 129, par. 2.

(89) Explain the antitypical significance of the Levites having no inheritance in the land of Canaan. P. 130, par. 2. W.T.'10-245.

(90) How did the types illustrate the fact that only the fully consecrated, spirit-begotten believers are counted members of the Great High Priest? P. 131, par. 1.

page 353
November 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. XXXINOVEMBER 15No. 22
A.D. 1910 – A.M. 6038
CONTENTS
The Purification of the Sons of Levi 355
He Will Thoroughly Purge His People 355
He Shall Gird Himself and Serve Them 356
Respecting "Things New and Old" 357
Arraigned as a Blasphemer 357
Self-Confidence Is Weakness 359
"Before the Cock Crow" 360
The Prince of Life Crucified 360
Jesus Before King Herod 361
Thou Art Not Caesar's Friend 361
"Now is Christ Risen" 362
His Death and Resurrection Needful 363
"Glory to God in the Highest" 363
"The Desire of All Nations" 363
"A Savior and a Great One" 364
This Is My Will for Thee (Poem) 364
Questions and Answers 365
How to Gain the Great Prize 365
Some Interesting Letters 366

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 354

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS 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.

PUBLISHED BY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.

Foreign Agencies: – British Branch: 24 Eversholt St., London, N.W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE.
SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.

Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows: – 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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ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS

MEMPHIS, TENN., NOV. 25
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA., NOV. 27

Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10.00 o'clock, and Discourse for the Interested at 11.00 o'clock. Discourse for the Public at 3.00 p.m., by Brother Russell. Topic, "Hereafter." All sessions will be held in the Auditorium, Cor. Walker and California Sts.

SAN ANTONIO, TEX., NOV. 29
HOUSTON, TEX., NOV. 30
BROOKLYN, N.Y., DEC. 4

Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10.30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The evening meeting, at 7.30 o'clock, will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3.00 p.m., in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Av. and St. Felix St. Topic, "The Messenger of the Covenant."

OMAHA, NEB., DEC. 11

Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10.00 o'clock. Discourse for the Public at 3.00 o'clock. Discourse for the Interested at 7.00 o'clock in the evening. All services in the Omaha Auditorium, Cor. 15th and Howard Sts.

HARTFORD, CONN., DEC. 18
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., DEC. 25
MOBILE, ALA., DEC. 26
BROOKLYN, N.Y., JAN. 1
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., JAN. 8
PHILADELPHIA, PA., JAN. 15

1911 – NEW MOTTO CARDS – 1911

We have imported an extremely choice line of Motto Cards of entirely new design. We also have some of the good old standbys, which are difficult to improve upon. We again adopt the $1 packet (postage included) plan as every way the best and cheapest. Remember that our prices are about one-half the usual charge, and the very choicest.

Packet M.A. – Nearly all old, but choice, medium sizes.
Packet M.B. – Old and new designs, about equally assorted.
Packet M.C. – All new, specially recommended to those who have already had our old standbys.
Packet M.D. – Old and new, but all large.
Packet M.E. – All new, all large.

page 354

STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES

SERIES I., The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the Divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. ½d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.).

This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal – at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.

SERIES II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. ½d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. ½d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1½d.)

SERIES IV., The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of Matt. 24 and Zech. 14:1-9: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES V., The Atonement Between God and Man, treats an all-important subject – the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

SERIES VI., The New Creation, deals with the Creative Week (Genesis 1 and 2), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6½d.)

The above prices include postage.

[R4708 : page 355]

THE PURIFICATION OF THE SONS OF LEVI

"Who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." – Malachi 3:2,3.
W
E understand this statement to apply to our Lord's manifestation at the first advent and throughout the Gospel Age. He has been appearing, in the sense of making himself known to those in the right condition of heart, that he might assist them in walking in his steps. But he is particularly manifesting himself to them now. The Jews, at his first advent, had been expecting the greater Mediator than Moses, who was the Mediator of the old Law Covenant. Moses said to them, "A Prophet [a great Messiah] shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:22,23.) So they were expecting this great Messiah, the greater Mediator of the New Covenant.

Jehovah had said, "I will send my Messenger,... even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in." You are expecting a greater than Moses; but it will mean a severer trial and testing when the greater shall come. The text above does not signify that he will refine literal silver and literal gold, but that he will refine God's people. These will be relieved of the dross, that they may offer unto the Lord an acceptable sacrifice. These sons of Levi, in the antitypical sense, are the household of faith. And they have proposed that they will offer sacrifice to the Lord – will "present their bodies living sacrifices." Such as do thus fully present themselves will be the Priests, and the great Messiah will be the High Priest. They will offer unto the Lord an acceptable sacrifice in righteousness. This work has been in progress throughout this Age. And because we are now in the end of the Age, tests more crucial are being applied, and will continue to be applied until the Lord shall have completed the development of this spiritual house of Levi, the antitypical Priests and the antitypical Great Company.

The text having reference to the entire appearance of Messiah, beginning at Jordan, his appearance will culminate in his glorious revelation at his second Advent. Messiah, the Head of this greater prophet than Moses, was raised up first. It requires the entire Gospel Age to raise up the Body of this greater Mediator and antitype of Moses. [R4709 : page 355]

HE WILL THOROUGHLY PURGE HIS PEOPLE

The statement, "Who shall stand when he appeareth?" should not be understood to imply that all would be standing at the time of his appearing. There would be some who would think that they were standing, but who would really not be in the Lord's favor at all. But the meaning of this text, to our mind, is, Who shall stand the test at the time of his appearing? As, for instance, at the first advent he came unto his own, the Jewish people; but they rejected him and crucified him. There were only a few who stood the test. John the Baptist said, "He will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner." (Matt. 3:12.) We understand this text to be a reference to this work of purification; similarly, today, in this harvest time, more fully than throughout the Age, there is a testing and trying and proving of the Lord's people. Who will stand the test to prove who are the people of God? The Lord is now determining who are the consecrated class.

We see that at the first Advent only a remnant of the Jewish nation accepted Jesus as the antitypical Mediator of the New Covenant, when he began to test the Levite class – to prove them. Similarly, today, we find the nominal Church falling away, proving unworthy in many respects – not falling into everlasting torment, not into the Second Death, but rather manifesting that all are not worthy to be classed among either the Priests or the Levites. We are not to forget that the Gospel Age is for the purpose of finding the Priests and the Levites, to make them ready as ministers of the New Covenant, which is to be for all the people through them.

We understand that in this picture the Lord quite probably used the two metals (both precious, but one more precious than the other) to represent the Priests and the Levites – the "Little Flock" and the "Great Company." We understand also that the New Covenant has been in process of inauguration all through this Gospel Age, but that this Covenant will not benefit Israel and the world until the Millennial Age. First, they must have a Mediator. This Mediator was, to begin with, the Lord Jesus Christ, the High Priest. Then, in God's arrangement, he [R4709 : page 356] was to add an under-priesthood, all these to be the antitypical Levites, ministers, servants of the New Covenant. The justified humanity of all these constitute the "better sacrifices" that are being offered, at the completion of which, in the end of this Gospel Age, everything will be ready – the Priesthood and the Levites, and the blood of the New Covenant – to apply to Justice, forthwith to bring the blessings of the Mediatorial Kingdom to Israel, and, through Israel, to all people.

It may be asked, What is the "offering in righteousness" here mentioned? The offering now being made to God is the offering of the Church – "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." (Rom. 12:1.) The High Priest purifies these members of his Body by giving them the necessary experiences day by day, that they may more and more learn the will of God – may more fully lay down earthly things and attain to the character-likeness of our Lord Jesus. This purging does not come all at once and complete the offering; but, in our daily experiences the chastisements of the Lord are to the end that his will may be accomplished in us more perfectly. He is giving us these experiences day by day, so that, as we receive them, we may learn what is his will, that we may complete the offering in righteousness which has begun.

If it be asked how we could be members of the great Refiner and, at the same time, be of this Levite Company whom he is refining, we answer that this is the picture uniformly set before us in the Scriptures – that Christ is the Head of the Body, in the official sense; and we are counted in as members of his Body, even before we have been fully and completely and finally accepted as such in the "First Resurrection." The Head has passed into glory and we are to be with him. From the time of our acceptance and begetting of the holy Spirit we are counted in as members of his Body in a prospective manner, on the supposition that we shall make our calling and election sure. Then again, in another sense of the word, the Lord uses these very ones whom he is refining as co-laborers with him and gives to them a part of the ministry of reconciliation; some of the refining work – amongst them being some who are instructors of the brethren – until, as the Apostle says, they all come to the full stature of a Man in Christ. (Eph. 4:13.) So now the refining work, the increasing of the Body of Christ, goes on – the use of the different members of the Body proceeds, all by reason of the fact that our Lord is the Head of the Body.

[R4709 : page 356]

HE SHALL GIRD HIMSELF AND SERVE THEM
A
LAS! how few realize what a dangerous thing is liberty; how carefully it must be used for our benefit, and how easily it might be misused to our eternal danger. Because God created us free agents; because this is part of his likeness, and because, additionally, ambition must be a part of every progressive individual, therefore this free agency and ambition in conjunction bring us all under tests of character. And the greater our abilities, the more our talents and the wider our influence, the stronger the power of ambition may become. Then comes the test. Will this laudable ambition be subject to the Divine Will – thoroughly consecrated to do the Lord's will even unto death?

If our devotion to the Lord be absolute, fully in control of our thoughts and words and doings, our liberty and largest ambition will be rightly directed and eventuate in blessings to ourselves and to others. But if the Divine will be not first and absolutely in control of our wills, the more ambition and the more liberty we have the greater will be our danger. Where the Lord is not reverenced – obeyed with heart, mind, soul and strength – some one else has an influence in our hearts – husband or wife, parents or children, or, more than probably, self. We cannot be overcomers except as our hearts are absolutely loyal to the Lord, with self-will and every other will thoroughly subjected to the Divine Will. This is the lesson of life to those who would come off conquerors. How we rejoice, in every struggle, when finally, by God's grace, we recover balance!

It is not to be wondered at that the more prominent brethren have the more severe trials along this line. Of this condition of things the Apostle forewarns us, saying, Be not many of you teachers, knowing that he who is a teacher will experience the more severe trials. The deflection of some recognized as teachers will cause special trials to others not teachers, and will prove to what extent they have a personal relationship to the Lord through his Word and through an individual consecration to him and through his instructions by his Word and the prophecies – in the School of Christ. We fear that too many are in an attitude of leaning upon others whose fall might bring them disaster. It is because we have long recognized this principle that, in our writings, we have presented the Lord's message as his message, and not as our own, giving the chapter and verse for every doctrine.

PUTTING ON THE WHOLE ARMOR

If any are leaning on anything but the Lord's Word for guidance, to these we say that we have striven to bring all of the members of the Body into direct personal contact with the Head, and, while not ignoring the value of books and sermons, we have, nevertheless, urged upon all the necessity of proving, to the extent of their ability, every item of truth which they receive. Notwithstanding this we fear that many lean upon us and upon others. We fully know that we are in the evil day, and that the armor that the Lord provides is to be put on by each one of his faithful soldiers of the cross. We will use our shield, breastplate, helmet, and sword in the defence, as much as possible, of all the Lord's people; but each must see to it that he put on this armament for himself. The great King of the Universe has provided it, the great Captain of our salvation, Jesus, has invited us to put it on, and we, as corporal, merely call attention to the Captain's order. Whoever is negligent will surely rue it.

The time for adjusting this armor is very short. The battle is on. Many are falling at our side. What we do should be done energetically, systematically, thoroughly – at once. It is important that we help others to the extent of our ability, but still more important, according to the Divine Will, that we should take heed to ourselves and make our own calling and election sure. It has been our observation that some who have come into the Truth quite recently are much more clear in it, and have the armor better adjusted, and are able to use the Sword of the Spirit better, than some who have been in the Truth for five, ten, and even twenty years. Indeed, it is our observation that some who have been long in the Truth are less skillful today in the use of the armor than they were years ago. Why is this? And what is the remedy? The answer is a simple one, manifest to all.

Divine Providence has furnished the people of God at [R4709 : page 357] this time an outline of the Divine Plan and a detail of Bible doctrines such as God's people never before had in their possession. Without claiming any inspiration for these STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, we surely may claim a Divine supervision in respect to the matter which they contain and the time of their presentation. Whoever admits that we are in the harvest time at all – that we have been in it since 1875 – must acknowledge this also, that the Lord promised that at that time he would cause [R4710 : page 357] his people to sit down to a bountiful repast of spiritual food and that he would be their servant and bring forth to them "things new and old." (Luke 12:37.) All who recognize these things must recognize these STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES as being identified with the fulfillment of that promise.

RESPECTING "THINGS NEW AND OLD"

It would be giving too much honor to any man to suppose that the general elucidation of Divine Truth through these volumes should be merely one man's opinion. No one who understands these things can possibly believe that one man in our day could fabricate a theory which puts all other theories of this and every other day completely into the shadow, as a tallow dip in comparison to the most wonderful arc lights of our day. Neither is there reason or sense in the attempt of some to claim that these SCRIPTURE STUDIES are merely a rehash of what has been believed for centuries. True, they present the doctrines of Election, Free Grace, etc., but not as these subjects were presented nor as they are now presented by many. These books discuss the Bible texts and set them in order, as showing their relationship to each other. But while these presentations are harmonious, they are not accepted by Calvinism and Arminianism. Although they cannot refute them, they secretly oppose them – oppose the only presentation which shows the true significance of the Bible texts which they use in a private and isolated manner. We repeat, then, that STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES are either of the Lord's providence or else they are one of the greatest miracles.

The secret of the clearness and power of some who have come recently into the Truth can be traced to the fact that they have been diligently using these Divinely provided helps for Bible study. On the contrary, many of those who today are less clear in the Truth than they were years ago owe their loss of spiritual vigor and clear perception of the Truth to the fact that they have neglected this Divine provision for their needs. They have followed the worldly thought – that, having digested what some other man has thought, believed and taught, they should break fresh ground for themselves, in hope of bringing forth still brighter jewels from the Divine Word. Some of these diggers have searched long and carefully, but have found nothing, brought forth nothing, that has specially sparkled as a gem of Truth for the eyes of the Lord's people. Some of them have sought far and near for other fruits and viands for the table of the Lord's family, but have added little, if anything, to that which the great Provider has set before us of "things new and old." Some of these would-be new dishes, new viands, set before the Church have proven to be unhealthful, indigestible, visionary, and calculated to give a fever, rather than real spiritual strength. Others, failing of their ambitions in these directions, have become destructive and have uttered what some of the friends have outlined a "Midnight Howl" against the food that the Lord has prepared, against his service of his people, etc.

All these things are tests. The sooner we realize this fact, the better for us. We have no fear but that the great Shepherd, now present with his sheep and gathering out of all the various pens of Christendom those who know his voice, will not suffer the wolves to stampede his flock, nor to devour them. Has he not said, "The Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and none can pluck them out of my Fathers hand."

The lesson to us all is, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Be not heady, high-minded and worldly-wise, but humble, teachable and full of faith in the Divine promises, which are so rapidly fulfilling and culminating in this day of his preparation.

[R4710 : page 357]

ARRAIGNED AS A BLASPHEMER
MATTHEW 26:57-68. – NOVEMBER 27. –

"Who when he was reviled, reviled not again." – I Pet. 2:23.
W
E cannot do better at the opening of this study than quote the words of Mr. Chandler. He said: "Many remarkable trials have characterized the judicial history of mankind. The trial of Socrates, before the dikastery of Athens, charged with corrupting the Athenian youth, with blaspheming the Olympic gods and seeking to destroy the constitution of the Athenian Republic, is still a sublime and thrilling chapter in the history of a wonderful people.

"The trial of Alfred Dreyfus is still fresh in the memories of men. The French Republic is still rent by contending factions. His friends say that Dreyfus was a Prometheus who was chained to an ocean-girt rock while the vulture of exile preyed upon his heart. His enemies still assert that he was a Judas who betrayed, not God nor Christ, but France and the Fatherland. But these trials, one and all, were tame and commonplace compared with the trial and crucifixion of the Galilean peasant, Jesus of Nazareth."

It is not for us to say that the Jews were wholly excusable in their course of injuries toward Jesus, in causing his crucifixion by the Romans. On the other hand, it is proper for us to consider everything that could be thought of calculated to mitigate the severity of our judgment regarding the injustices there practised. And it is proper also that we should consider what, from their standpoint, would seem to be extenuating circumstances. This is everywhere recognized as just treatment. The attorney, defending a criminal who has pleaded guilty to the charges against him, is considered to do only his duty by his criminal client when he presents whatever in the circumstances of the case would tend to prove that the culprit had cause, or thought that he had reason, for his misdemeanor.

Viewing the Jewish people of nearly nineteen centuries ago from this standpoint, we get a more reasonable view of the situation than is otherwise possible. We hearken first to St. Peter's words respecting the transaction. He said, "I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." Had they known, they would not have killed the Prince of life. – Acts 3:15-17.

The Jews did not for one moment suppose that the great Messiah, foretold to be their Prophet, Priest and King – like unto Moses, but greater; like unto David and Solomon, but greater; like unto Melchisedec, but greater [R4710 : page 358] – would appear as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Although those very words were written of him by the Prophet, they were hidden from their eyes of understanding by the glorious things related of him in other prophecies. They saw the glories. They saw not, understandingly, the sufferings. To this day they interpret the sufferings of their nation as being those which will ultimately inure to their advantage. The prophetic descriptions are not concentrated nor collected, but scattered, "here a little and there a little," so written that they could not be understood at the time; nor were they understood even by the Lord's disciples until after his resurrection from the dead, when he explained them, and, subsequently, by the holy Spirit, enabled them still more fully to understand that thus it was written in the prophets, and thus it behooved the Son of Man to suffer before entering into his glory – before he began to bless Israel and all the world.

Yea, today many Christians are as deeply confused on this matter as are the Jews. Many have rejected entirely the thought of Messiah's glorious Kingdom reign for the general blessing and uplifting of Israel and all humanity. From their standpoint, if "the sufferings of Christ" were intended to prepare the way and usher in his Kingdom of glory, then the programme must have failed, or else his Kingdom of glory is to be a heavenly Kingdom and completely in accord with the prayer taught by our Lord, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth." The trouble is that they will not realize that where the sufferings of Christ, the Head, ended, the sufferings of the "Body of Christ" began – the sufferings of "the Church, which is his Body" – filling up the measure of the afflictions of Christ, which are behind. (Col. 1:24.) As soon as the "Church, the Body of Christ," shall have finished the bearing of the cross, after him, following in his steps to the end of the journey, then the Kingdom glories will be ushered in. Israel's blindness will be turned away, and the blessing of the Lord will begin to fill the whole earth.

The Jews, who caused the crucifixion of Jesus, certainly did so in much of the same spirit which led St. Paul – then Saul of Tarsus – to cause the stoning of St. Stephen. As Saul was forgiven, so Israel is to be forgiven; as the Scriptures declare, "The Lord will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and supplication," and then they will see, with the eyes of their understanding, "him whom they pierced, and they will mourn for him" (Zech. 12:10), and their mourning will be turned into joy; for, as Joseph forgave his brethren, so will this great antitypical Joseph of the throne of earth freely forgive those who caused his crucifixion.

POLITICS AND SELFISHNESS AS RELIGION

The Jews are not so different from other people now, nor were they then. History indicates that some of their highest offices were held by irreligionists for their political influence; thus the chief-priest, at the first advent of our Lord, was a Sadducee, who wholly disbelieved in the promises of God to Israel, including a disbelief in the resurrection of the dead. Similarly today there are high-priests, both amongst Jews and Christians, who disbelieve, and yet hold high positions. Amongst Christians there [R4711 : page 358] are D.D.'s who are unbelievers; and many of the most notable rabbis amongst the Jews also declare themselves thorough unbelievers. We are not claiming that such unbelieving Christian and Jewish ministers would lightly espouse and support an unjust procedure against an innocent man. We do not know about this. It has yet to be tested, perhaps. We do know, however, that when faith in a Divine Revelation and in a Divine supervision of human affairs is lost the natural effect is that the losers of the faith become more and more policy-men and consider policy the extreme of human wisdom, particularly in the guidance of affairs of Church and State.

Taking history for it, that the leaders of Judaism at the time of our Lord were Higher Critical unbelievers (Sadducees), we can readily see that their policy was to curry favor with the Roman Emperor and to seek to hold the common people in subjection to themselves. To these, then, it must have seemed almost a calamity that a poor man, although of noble birth, of the family of David and the Tribe of Judah, should gather about him a handful of nondescript fishermen, tax-gatherers, etc.; that he should pronounce himself a king and declare the setting up of his Kingdom to be near, and that by the exercise of some supernatural power for the healing of their diseases he should attract the "common people" to his standard, but not the learned. We can well imagine their reasoning that, if this thing, the popularity of Jesus, continued to increase, it would shortly reach the ears of the Roman Emperor, and then all their claims for imperial favors would be discounted, and they would be rated as a nation of rebels.

The riding of Jesus into Jerusalem, just before the Passover, on an ass, after the manner of the kings of Israel and surrounded by a multitude shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David who cometh in the name of the Lord," capped the climax, so to speak, and convinced these unbelieving Jews, politicians, occupying religious offices, that it would be far better that one innocent man should die than that the whole nation should be turned into turmoil and wrecked by the Romans in consequence. How many American preachers, judges, officials, etc., would, in this enlightened day, be inclined similarly to decide such a matter! And is not this the policy which always prevails in monarchies? Fancy such a commotion in the capital of Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Russia, Great Britain, the United States. Fancy that after such a parade, mimic though it might appear, the adored one should go to the temple and execute a long-neglected law, and, in thus exercising his religious rights, suppose that he should drive out the money-changers and merchants from the outer precincts of their chief religious Cathedral! What would be done to such a person today? Do we not know that in the most civilized lands he would be arrested and imprisoned, and in the more savage lands he would be beaten or executed? When, therefore, we view the situation from this standpoint we lose any spirit of antagonism which might have been ours; it turns to sympathy – that a religious nation should allow itself to get into the hands of politicians to such an extent.

BROUGHT BEFORE CAIAPHAS

It was very courageous on the part of St. Peter that, after having smitten off the ear of the High Priest's servant (though the wound was healed by Jesus), he followed his Master into the Court of that high-priest to see what would be done. The arraignment was at night, although it was contrary to Jewish Law to try a prisoner at night for any serious offense. But there was an excuse. This was a special case; haste was necessary, because whatever should be done must be done quickly; the very next day the unbelieving officials perceived that Jesus had great influence with the common people. They believed him to be a brilliant but harmless fraud. He had committed no crime, but he was a disturber of the peace, and they felt fully justified in taking his life. The Feast of Passover was at hand and would last a week, and it [R4711 : page 359] would be contrary to their Law that any execution should take place during that week. Besides, they feared the amount of influence which Jesus might exercise during the week, when there would be from one to two millions of people in and around Jerusalem from all over Palestine. They had already determined that their action must be short, sharp and decisive. This was decided before the arrest was made. They were ready and waiting at that midnight hour to carry out their murderous designs, for the good of their nation, as they thought.

The examination was merely a preliminary one to get together such evidence as could be rushed through rapidly at a prearranged session the following morning.

HE WAS CHARGED WITH BLASPHEMY

They had difficulty in finding a charge; for what had Jesus ever done except acts of kindness and the uttering of words of wisdom and correction and hope? Blasphemy was a serious charge under the Jewish code. They would charge him with that as being the easiest to prove. He had said, when near the temple, "Destroy this Temple, and I will rear it up in three days." "But he spake of the Temple of his Body." Some of those who heard him understood him to speak of the literal temple. This they charged was blasphemy, because it took years to build the temple, and for Jesus to rebuild it in three days would mean a claim on his part of Divine power. But the charge did not seem sufficiently strong, even for those who had premeditated his murder. They wanted something to give a color of justice, at least, to their findings. So the chief-priest thought to get Jesus to commit himself in their presence and said, I adjure thee by the Living God to tell us whether thou be The Christ, the Son of God. Jesus replied that this was true, and that they would yet see him in heavenly glory and power at the right hand of Divine favor. This, the high priest declared, was sufficient proof of blasphemy. "Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy, What reply ye?" And the council answered that he was worthy of death. The rabble in the Court, hearing the commotion, felt at liberty to abuse the prisoner, as they had done others. They showed their contempt of him by spitting upon him. They derided him by smiting him and saying, Prophesy, tell who smote thee. "He was reviled, yet reviled not again."

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SELF-CONFIDENCE IS WEAKNESS
MATTHEW 26:31-35,69-75. – DECEMBER 4. –

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed least he fall." – I Cor. 10:12.
S
T. PETER has proven to be one of the most helpful of Christ's twelve Apostles, and the secret of his assistance lies in the Scriptural revelation of his human nature, its strength and its weaknesses. He was the first of the twelve Apostles to acknowledge the Master as the Messiah, the Sent of God; he was the first of the twelve to deny him. He was the only one of the twelve who drew his sword in the Master's defense and the only one who, later, swore that he never knew him. By Divine arrangement, to him were given the keys with which to open the door to the High Calling – to the Kingdom. At Pentecost he used one of the keys of power and boldly proclaimed to the Jews the opening of the way to glory, honor and immortality. A little later, at the appointed time, he opened the door to the same High Calling for the Gentiles when, by his preaching, Cornelius, the first Gentile acceptable to God, was received and begotten of the holy Spirit, this fact giving evidence that the middle-wall of partition, previously separating Jew and Gentile, had been broken down. Yet, after all this knowledge and special opportunity, this great man subsequently dissembled to the extent of ignoring God's grace to the Gentiles as being sufficient, discriminating between Jews and Gentiles and their equality before the Lord.

But in all these experiences St. Peter displayed the fact that his heart, at its core, was loyal to God, to truth, to righteousness, and that the weaknesses, the faults, the blemishes of his character were of his flesh and not of his real heart intention. For his denial of the Master he wept bitterly. And for his failure to recognize the Gentiles he made full reparation most humbly. The same exhibition of human nature which makes St. Peter attractive is that which made David, the Prophet and king of Israel, attractive. He was not so saintly that he could not make a mistake. He was not so far above the remainder of humanity that they could not realize in him a fellow-creature. Yet withal he was not so debased as to make him abhorrent. His weaknesses were fully offset by the abundant evidence of his heart-loyalty to God and to righteousness. His very experiences in stumbling and recovery have so saturated his Psalms that they touch a responsive chord in nearly every heart which is loyal to God and which has had any degree of experience with sin and weakness – its own and those of others.

HOW OTHERS SAW ST. PETER

Peter remains even today the most fascinating of that band of men who surrounded our Lord in the days of his earthly pilgrimage. G. C. Morgan said of Peter: "Now I am convinced that in Peter we have the greatest human revealed in the New Testament. I do not say the greatest man in his achievement or in one particular capacity of his being, but the most wonderful revelation [R4712 : page 359] of human nature. This man of intelligence was perpetually making blunders. This man of emotions was guilty of such impulse that he worked harm in the very cause he desired to help."

Of St. Peter Southouse says: "Peter was an average man, and for this reason he comes nearer to us than some of his colleagues do. But average men have their splendid moments, such as when St. Peter tried to walk on the water, for in this action he tried to do a thing for which he seemed to have no abilities. He set out to do some thing of which he had no experience. A swift glance amongst the men and women whom we know will be enough to prove that it is never safe to prophesy the achievements of which they are capable, for extraordinary things have been done by the last man in the world."

Dr. Davis said about St. Peter: "Peter was intellectual. He asked Jesus more questions than any other of the Apostles. The capacity for asking questions is a revelation of the intellectual. It may also be a revelation of ignorance; but the man who never asks a question is certainly deficient in his intellectuality....Peter was a man of heart, sobbing and impetuous. His virtues and his faults had their common root in his enthusiastic disposition. It is to his praise that, along with the weed of rash haste, there grew more strongly into his life the [R4712 : page 360] fair plant of burning love and ready reception of Truth.

"TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES"

One of the great lessons which the Master taught his followers, and which all in the School of Christ must learn, is that, with burning love and zeal for God and for righteousness, we should also have moderation – exercising the spirit of a sound mind. Christ's followers are exhorted to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Their wisdom is not to be merely the selfish kind, which would look out for its own interests, but of the generous kind which looks out for the interests of all, and particularly for the interests of the Lord's cause and for any share therein which he may entrust to us.

In the course of his instructions, Jesus had said to his disciples, in advance of the trying hour of his betrayal – "All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written (in the Prophets), I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again I will go before you into Galilee." – Matt. 26:31,32.

Then spoke the impulsive Peter, "Though all shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." (V. 33) Alas! how little did this courageous man understand the nature of the trials and difficulties immediately before him, or realize the weak points of his own impulsive nature. Yet if we are grieved with his denial of the Master, we must rejoice to note his faith and love and zeal, as manifested in his acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah and his later declaration that nothing should ever shake his loyalty.

However, it is the specially loyal and ardent that the Adversary seeks most persistently to entrap. Thus Jesus, on this very occasion, explained to St. Peter, "Satan hath desired to have thee that he might sift thee" (Luke 22:31); that he might separate you from your loyalty to Christ and discourage you from discipleship, overwhelming you with fear and with your own weaknesses. The Master added, "But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." We may well understand that the same loving Master still assists all of his true, warmhearted followers, whatever their weaknesses of heredity. We may well understand, too, that he is able to develop all such into strong characters, if they abide in his love, continuing in their zeal. He is able to make all things work together for their good – even the weaknesses of heredity may work out for the faithful that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" which the Lord has promised.

"BEFORE THE COCK CROW"

The Master discerned the danger of his loving but impetuous follower, and uttered a warning word, that before cock-crowing he would deny his Master. How improbable this seemed to St. Peter! How he courageously declared, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." And so said all of the eleven. Their hearts were good. And the Lord looketh upon the heart. Our study now passes to verse 69. The Master had been arrested. The scattered disciples had fled. St. John, because of an acquaintance with the high priest's family, penetrated further into the palace than St. Peter, who stood in the court-yard. A maid of the palace recognized St. Peter as one of Jesus' disciples and so declared publicly. Fearful that he might share the fate of the Master, St. Peter denied his identity, declaring that he knew nothing about the matter. A little later another declared the same. St. Peter emphasized his denial with an oath, declaring that he knew not Jesus. Later the word spread throughout the court-yard and many took it up, declaring that they believed what the maid said and that St. Peter had the Galilean dialect, anyway. To emphasize the denial St. Peter began to curse, and to swear that he knew not the man. Directly after, cock-crowing began. Then St. Peter remembered the words of his Master, "Before cock-crowing thou shalt deny me thrice."

Alas! he had been too sure of his own stability, too confident of his loyalty. He was entrapped by the Adversary along the very line of his boasting. Another account says that Jesus turned and looked at Peter! That look was sufficient. It spoke volumes to St. Peter's loyal heart. It was not a look of disdain, nor one of anger, we may be sure. It was a look of loving sympathy. It melted St. Peter's heart. He went out and wept bitterly. The followers of the Master today, beset by weaknesses and frailties and temptations of the Adversary, have the lesson of St. Peter's experience as a warning to be confident in the Lord and to look to him for assistance, rather than to be self-confident. And those who fail today have St. Peter's experience as a lesson of the Lord's sympathy and pity. They, too, should weep bitterly for transgressions and repent and profit by their experiences.

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THE PRINCE OF LIFE CRUCIFIED
MATTHEW 27:33-50. – DECEMBER 11. –

"He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities." – Isa. 53:5.
T
HE trial of Jesus really took place shortly after his arrest, but, on account of the Law requiring a death sentence to be passed in daylight, a morning meeting of the Sanhedrin was appointed, which, in a perfunctory manner, confirmed the high priest's decision of the night before, that Jesus had blasphemed the Creator when he claimed that he had come into the world in accord with the Creator's long-promised plan that he should redeem Israel and the world from the death sentence, that in God's due time he might establish the Messianic Kingdom for the blessing of Israel and all the families of the earth. The matter was rushed through lest the gathered multitudes, who had shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David," when Jesus rode upon the ass five days before, should undertake again to proclaim him king. No execution could take place during the Passover week. And if Jesus were held a prisoner they knew not what might happen to him or to them. They had, therefore, but a few hours in which to carry out the plan which they believed would rid their country of a man whom they considered a deceiver and one likely to get them into trouble with the Government at Rome.

The Sanhedrin had authority to judge the people along the lines of their religion, but was prohibited from executing the death penalty. Hence it was necessary, after the condemnation of the Sanhedrin, to take the case before Pilate, the Roman Governor. Realizing that Pilate would not recognize blasphemy as a cause for death, the charge against Jesus, before Pilate, was a totally different one, namely, that Jesus was a seditionist and raiser of disturbance; that he claimed to be a king and that his freedom was inimical to the interests of the Roman Empire. [R4712 : page 361] The foolishness and the hypocrisy of such a charge were too transparent to need assertion. Pilate perceived that for envy they were delivering him – because he and his teachings were having more influence with the common people than could be exercised by the chief priests and scribes. Pilate relieved himself of responsibility by declaring that since the home of Jesus was in Galilee, King Herod, the Governor of Galilee, should have the jurisdiction of the case, which he was glad to get rid of.

JESUS BEFORE KING HEROD

This was an unexpected difficulty, but Herod's palace was not far distant. He was glad of the opportunity to see Jesus, of whose miracles he had heard much. As he looked at the Master's noble features and beheld in him purity and gentle dignity, it must have seemed ridiculous that such a person should be arraigned as a seditionist and a man dangerous to the interests of the peace of the country. After a few taunting words and jests, the palace guards took a hand with the one whom their master treated flippantly. They put upon him a purple robe and a crown of thorns and mocked at his unkingly appearance. Then Herod declined to act in the case and sent the prisoner back to Pilate, perhaps feeling that he had had a sufficiency of trouble in connection with the beheading [R4713 : page 361] of John the Baptist a year or so before. The matter was a joke between Herod and Pilate – dealing with the case of a man claimed to be so dangerous that he must die thus, when he manifestly was so pure and innocent that the weakest would be safe with him.

PILATE'S PERPLEXITY INCREASED

Pilate was disappointed when Jesus was brought back to his court. The case was an unpleasant one to settle. The prisoner manifestly was innocent of any crime, yet his accusers were the most prominent men in the nation and city over which he had charge. Their good will must be preserved, if possible, and they were evidently bent on the murder of their innocent captive under the form of legality. What a pity it is that religion has been so often misrepresented by her votaries in every age of the world! A lesson which we all should learn is to search the motives and intentions of our own hearts, that we be not led into the error of the wicked – into violating the rights of others and thus fighting against God.

Pilate heard the accusations, realized that there was no truth in them, and then gave his decision: I find no fault in Jesus, but, seeing that such a commotion has been created, I consider it necessary in the interests of peace to satisfy the unrighteous demands of the clamoring multitude. I will therefore have the prisoner whipped, although I acknowledge he is not deserving of punishment. The whipping will be in his own interest, as well as in the interests of the peace of the city, for by satisfying the clamor of the multitude the life of Jesus will be spared. As political decisions go, this was a very fair decree. Magistrates recognize that absolute justice is not always possible in dealing with imperfect conditions.

But the rulers would not be satisfied with anything short of Jesus' death. The rabble was exhorted to shout, Crucify him! Crucify him! It seemed impossible for Pilate to appreciate that such a frenzy could be aroused against so innocent a person. So he inquired, What evil hath he done? But the answer was, Crucify him! Alas, how human passion can ignore every principle of righteousness! To add to Pilate's perplexity, his wife now sent him word, Have nothing to do with this just person, for I have had a horrible dream which connects itself with him.

As a last resort Pilate caused Jesus to be brought to a prominent place where the multitude could all see him and then he cried out to them, "Behold the Man!" See the character of the man you are willing to crucify. Note that he has most kingly features, such as none of your race possess – nor others. Would you crucify the very best sample of your race? Consider; be reasonable. Behold the Man! It has for years been a custom with you that the Government at this season release a prisoner. So, then, consider that Jesus has been condemned and that your conception of justice has been satisfied and that now I release him to you. But the multitude cried out so much the more, Crucify him! Release unto us Barabbas (a robber and dangerous character).

Who will explain this strange perversity of fallen human nature – that a villain should be preferred to a saint? Thus, a few years ago, in the City of Vienna, a man who had just been released from serving a term in prison made a speech in which he declared that all Jews should be put to death. A frenzy seemed to seize the people. The bad man became the leader of sentiment. He was applauded and, as a mayoralty was impending, he was elected mayor of the city on the strength of his bravado. Oh, shame! How can we claim that the world is ready for liberty while such conditions stare us in the face and mark the pages of history? They prove, on the contrary, that the world needs just such a strong, imperial government as God purposes to give it – the Kingdom of God's dear Son, strong for the suppression of every wrong and strong for the uplifting of every right.

THOU ART NOT CAESAR'S FRIEND

The Jewish leaders were shrewd. They knew that treason to Rome was one of the most serious offenses and in the fact that Jesus had spoken of himself as a king they had the lever wherewith to compel his crucifixion. They used it, assuring Pilate that if he let the prisoner go they would report him to the Emperor. Pilate knew that he would have difficulty in explaining such a case and that the Roman Government would agree with the decision of Caiaphas that one man should die rather than have any commotion in their dominion. Thus compelled, Pilate finally acceded and wrote the papers of execution, but before doing so he took a pitcher of water and in the sight of the people washed his hands, saying, "I am guiltless of the blood of this just person."

The execution proceeded. The soldiers already had two thieves to crucify and merely added another cross and the procession started for Golgotha, a hillside near where the face of the rock much resembles a skull – Golgotha signifying the place of a skull. It is just to the north of the city, outside the wall. New buildings and a wall recently erected hinder visitors at the present time from getting the skull effect as formerly. The crime of each culprit was, by Law, inscribed over his head. Above the Master's head was his crime – "Jesus, King of the Jews."

Satan and his deluded dupes evidently thought that they had finally disposed of Jesus. The priests and elders mocked his declaration that he was the Son of God and demanded that, if he were such, he should demonstrate it by leaving the cross. They realized not the truth, that it was necessary for him to die for man's sin, in order that, by and by, he might have rightful authority, in his glorious Kingdom, to restore all mankind to full perfection [R4713 : page 362] and life under the terms of the New Covenant, of which he will be the Mediator. (Jer. 31:31.) At the sixth hour, noon, darkness settled down for three hours and then Jesus died, saying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In order that he might fully experience the weight of Divine Justice which belonged to the sinner, it was necessary that the Father should hide himself from him, as though he had been the sinner. This temporary separation from the Father was evidently the severest blow in all of the Master's experience.

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"NOW IS CHRIST RISEN"
MATTHEW 28:1-20. – DECEMBER 18. –

"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age)." – Matt. 28:20.
T
HE Scriptures give very particular details respecting the death of Jesus and his burial in Joseph's new tomb, wherein none had previously been buried and respecting the sealing of the tomb and the setting of a guard lest the body should be stolen at night. But while these matters are interesting to us, they probably do not now have the same importance that they had when they were written. From this distance we feel inclined to ask about the general character of Jesus' disciples who declared his resurrection, rather than to inquire particularly respecting all the details which they enumerated. In broad terms we say, If the characters of the Apostles prove themselves satisfactory to us, we are ready to take their word respecting the resurrection of Jesus and his subsequent appearances to them. On the other hand, if they were bad men or otherwise unworthy to be believed, no amount of details respecting the tomb, the watch, the seals, etc., would be satisfactory to us, because cunning and designing men could make up the story to suit their desires.

But it was not so at the time of our Lord's death and resurrection. It was then very necessary that every little detail should be explicitly specified. The parts of three days and nights, for instance, were unimportant to them because of Jesus' words, which they remembered. He likened his period in death to the period in which Jonah was in the whale's belly. There are some today disposed to quibble over the matter and to claim that Jesus died on Thursday and not on Friday. Surely, however, all can concede that it matters nothing to us on which day of the week he died, nor the number of hours he was in the tomb, whether seventy-two hours to the minute or a less exact time. With us the important question is, Did he die? Did he arise from the dead? Was there a value in his sacrificial death, from the Divine standpoint, and how is that value or merit made applicable to mankind, and have we obtained our interest therein according to the Divine terms.

"HE ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY"

With the majority of Christians for these many centuries we agree that Jesus was in the tomb parts of three days and nights; that he died on Friday afternoon, and that he arose from the dead early on Sunday morning. But we are not contentious. Let who likes believe that he died on Thursday or Wednesday or Tuesday or another day; this is a matter of no importance. The all-important matter is, "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." (Rom. 8:34.) The stone at the mouth of the sepulchre was not a large boulder, as many suppose, but was shaped like a wheel – like a large grindstone. It rolled in a groove, but, being heavy, would be cumbersome and difficult for the women, as suggested.

The sorrowing friends of Jesus did not realize at the time what he had taught them respecting his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Hence they were surprised with every incident of their experience on that eventful [R4714 : page 362] Sunday morning. The angel appeared in dazzling brightness, that he might not be mistaken for a man. He told the women who brought spices for the embalming of the Lord's body that their Master was risen from the dead – that he was no longer dead; that they would see him in Galilee; and to so tell his disciples. On the way Jesus met them and revealed himself to them. Another account tells us that Mary, separated from the others, met Jesus alone and, mistaking him for the gardener, asked whither the corpse had been removed. Then Jesus revealed himself to her. Recognizing her Master she clasped him by the feet as though afraid that he would leave her; but, different from his previous course, he declared, "Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God." Instead of delaying to commune with me, hasten at once to tell Peter and the others of my resurrection. How careful was the Master that Peter should be mentioned by name, lest he should feel that he was forever rejected because of having denied him!

For forty days Jesus was with his disciples and during that time he appeared some seven or eight times, according to all the different accounts. Once he appeared as a gardener. Once he appeared as a traveler to two of the disciples going to Emmaus. Again he appeared on the shore of the Sea of Galilee to some of the disciples who were returning to the fishing business. They knew it was Jesus, yet he was different from formerly. But we read that they did not dare ask him respecting the matter. He appeared again to above five hundred believers in the mountains of Galilee, and finally, by appointment, he met the eleven at the top of the Mount of Olives and ascended out of their sight – a cloud receiving him. Only on two occasions are we informed that he appeared with nail-prints in his hands and the spear wound in his side. And on these two occasions we are distinctly told that he appeared in their midst, the doors being shut, and that he vanished again from their sight.

Thus did Jesus demonstrate to his disciples the fact that he was no longer dead, but alive, and additionally, the other fact equally important, namely, that he was no longer alive as a man, but as a spirit being. As St. Paul declares, "He was put to death in flesh, but made alive in spirit." But every precaution was taken to permit their natural powers of observation to comprehend the spiritual truths revealed to them respecting Jesus' resurrection and ascension. It was ten days after his ascension, on the fiftieth day from his resurrection, that the holy Spirit came, and thus demonstrated at once that the Redeemer lived and that he had appeared in the presence of God on the spirit plane and that his sacrifice had been presented and was acceptable to God; and, on the basis of his sacrifice and the imputation of his merit to the disciples, [R4714 : page 363] the sacrifices which they had presented in his name were accepted, and they were begotten of the holy Spirit, that they might also become New Creatures and share in his Kingdom and glory.

HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION NEEDFUL

It is needless that we seek to dispute as to which was the more important event – the death of Jesus or his resurrection from the dead. Both were equally important. Had he not died there would be no basis for a reconciliation of Adam and his race condemned to death. Had he not risen there would have been no one to apply the merit of his sacrifice. Had he not risen there would have been no call of the Church during this Gospel Age to be the Bride of Christ. Neither would there have been use for the promised Mediatorial Kingdom to be established at his Second Coming for the blessing of Israel and the world.

Thus Jesus explained to the two with whom he walked to Emmaus on the day of his resurrection, saying, O slow of heart to believe all that God hath spoken in the Law and in the Prophets! Was it not necessary that Messiah should die and should rise from the dead, that in his name repentance and remission of sins might be proclaimed? How could any be invited to come to God until a way had been opened, until the redemption price had been provided? Whoever can hear this message and accept it may properly be invited to repent of sin and to reform and to live contrary to the tendencies of his fallen nature, because, in so doing, through the Redeemer, he may attain unto eternal life. And if he ask, How about the things that are past, the answer would be the same. God's provision is for the remission of sins through the merit of the sacrifice of his only begotten Son.

The eleven Apostles were commissioned, "Go ye, disciple all nations." (V. 19.) This did not signify, as some suppose, a command to convert the world. It meant that they should make disciples out of people of all nationalities – and not any longer, as formerly, of the Jews only. And the Master's injunction has been fulfilled. Disciples, followers of him, have been found in all nations. But, as Jesus did not say, Convert all nations, neither has the Gospel message done this. Those accepting discipleship were to be baptized with Christ's baptism in the name or authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In all, these have been but "a little flock." (Luke 12:32.) But theirs is the "high calling" to joint-heirship in his Kingdom, which is soon to bless the world.

But even this permission to disciple people of all nations could not, and did not, begin at once. For three and a half years after the cross, in fulfillment of Divine prophecy, the Gospel message was kept from the Gentiles, until the door for them into this High Calling was opened by St. Peter – Cornelius being the first to enter it.

All disciples of Jesus were instructed to follow him, to take him as their pattern and example. Any instructions contrary to these are contrary to the words of the Great Teacher. And the Master said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the Age." He has been with his faithful followers to bless them, to comfort them, to strengthen them, to fellowship them, to safeguard their highest interests, though often at the expense of their temporal interests. And this promise of his Word, of providential guidance, was to continue until the end of the Age – then he would come again in a personal and official sense to exalt his Church, to establish his Kingdom, to bless Israel with the New Covenant arrangements, and thus to bless the world of mankind.

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"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST"
– DECEMBER 25. –

"For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." – Luke 2:11.
G
OD'S promise that the Seed of Abraham should ultimately bless all nations has influenced thought the world over, but particularly amongst those nations living contiguous to Abraham's home and northward and westward from there, in the directions in which the message of Divine favor has gone. At first the Jews thought of this promise as being fulfilled in them as a nation – that, without assistance from on High, they could approve themselves to God through obedience to the Law Covenant, and that then, as instructors of the world, they would teach all nations to keep that Divine Law, and thus bring the world to the blessed state of perfection, Divine favor and life everlasting. This hope was crushed out as they found themselves unable to keep the Law, going down into death, instead of attaining to perfection of life. Even Moses, the special servant of God, could not, and did not, attain the blessing of the Law.

Then God made them the promise of some better thing – of a greater Mediator and of a more successful Covenant through that Mediator. The Mediator of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34) was to be greater than Moses; as he himself declared, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren like unto me (but greater) – him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall come to pass that the soul that will not obey that Prophet shall be destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:22,23.) Thenceforth their hearts and hopes looked down through the stream of time to when the glorious things hoped for through this great Prophet should be accomplished.

"THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS"

As surrounding nations and those afar off heard of Israel's hopes – that to them would come a great Savior, Deliverer, who would bless them and exalt them in the world and through them bless all peoples, the beauty of the thought took root in every direction. Messiah was more or less looked for under various names, and the glories of his Kingdom were pictured by heathen poets as the Golden Age.

Thus it happened that when our Lord was born, when he was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, "All men were in expectation of him" – not of Jesus, but of the promised Messiah, whom Jesus was. Thus it was that wise men in the East were attracted to see and to worship him that was born King of the Jews. Thus it was also that during Jesus' ministry certain Greeks came to the disciples saying, "Sirs, we would see Jesus." They had heard of him and recognized that in some respects his magic power implied a relationship with the long-expected Messiah. [R4715 : page 364] And so it was with the multitudes of Palestine. They heard; they listened. They said, Is this he? The rulers said, No, this is not the Messiah. Then the people asked, When Messiah cometh can he do greater works than this man? Never man spake like this man!

Nevertheless, there were few ready to receive him, even amongst his own – only "Israelites indeed," to whom, because of worthiness of heart, God specially revealed his Son. This was in harmony with the prophecy of old, "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him and he will show them his Covenant." (Psa. 25:14.) As again it is written, "I will give him for a Covenant of the people." (Isa. 49:8.) Neither Jews nor Greeks nor Persian wise men knew to expect that Messiah would first appear to offer himself, through obedience to the Truth, a living sacrifice for sinners. None of them knew that a long period must elapse from the time when Messiah would be the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, of whom the people would be ashamed, until he would appear in power and great glory to establish his Empire under the whole heavens, in fulfillment of the prophetic picture of Daniel 2:34; 7:13,14-27.

Few understand God's great secret or "mystery" hidden during past ages and dispensations (Col. 1:26), that, during this long period of the Gospel Age a saintly "little flock" would be selected from amongst men to be Messiah's Bride, and joint-heir with him in his Messianic reign. Few see that this "little flock" has been selected during these nineteen centuries from every nation, people, kindred and tongue, and that they are all saints, in the spirit of their minds, at least, and follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Few understand that, as soon as these joint-sacrificers with the Master shall have filled up the measure of afflictions appointed, then the Kingdom of glory will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together and all shall be blessed by it, the Jew, Abraham's natural seed, first, and also the Gentile – all the families of the earth.

A SAVIOR – CHRIST THE LORD

It was prophetically, of course, that the Babe of Bethlehem was called a Savior – he was to be a Savior, The Christ, the Lord. But as the Babe he was none of these. He became The Christ before becoming the Savior and Lord. The word Christ signifies anointed. In the Divine purpose it was arranged that Messiah should be anointed High Priest of Israel on a higher plane than Aaron – after the order of Melchisedec. (Psalm 110:4.) And every priest must be anointed to his office before he could fill it. Similarly, it was prophesied that Christ would be the great King, greater than David and Solomon, who were his types and foreshadows.

The anointing of Jesus was not with literal oil, but with that which the oil upon the head of the kings and priests of Israel typified – the holy Spirit. He received this holy Spirit at the time of his baptism, the Spirit falling upon him and abiding with him, anointing him for his great work of antitypical Priest and antitypical King of Israel, who, as the Messiah long-promised, would bless them, and through them, the world. But every priest was ordained to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, and in this also they typified Jesus, who, under the Divine arrangement, must first offer up himself as a sacrifice acceptable to God for the sin of mankind – in order that he might be the Savior or Deliverer of men from the curse of sin and death – that he might restore them and their earthly home to the glorious condition of perfection represented in Adam and his Eden home. Hence it was necessary that Jesus should not only consecrate his life to the Divine service and be anointed with the holy Spirit, but that, sacrificially, he should lay down his life, even unto death – even the death of the cross. As a part of his reward he was raised to glory, honor and immortality, on the third day thereafter.

As the glorified One he was now fully commissioned and empowered to establish the long-promised, Messianic Kingdom, but has been waiting while a "little flock" have walked in his footsteps – until the elect number shall be completed and shall share his glory. Then his Kingdom will take the control of earth. Satan shall be bound for a thousand years and all the wonderful blessings promised in the Law and the Prophets and Gospels and Epistles shall be fulfilled.

"A SAVIOR AND A GREAT ONE"

We have seen how the Son of God attained his Priestly Office, for the sacrifice of himself; how he was anointed thereto, and also anointed to be the great King, and how he has been merely waiting for the due time for his Kingdom to begin. Now we inquire as to the force and significance of the word Savior, and how he saves his people from their sins!

In the Arabic, Savior signifies life-giver. The Redeemer, glorified as the antitypical Melchisedec, "a priest upon his throne," is to be the Savior or life-giver of the race, for whose sin and because of whose condemnation he died – "the Just for the unjust, to bring us back to God," some during this Age and some during the period of his Messianic reign. Gradually he, with his saintly Bride class, will uplift humanity from sin and death to righteousness and life eternal and will destroy all who refuse the blessing in the Second Death, from which there will be no hope of recovery.

But the Christ, the Savior of Glory, Bride and Bridegroom, will, unitedly, be the world's Savior. The glorified Redeemer saves his Church first – by a special salvation and High Calling. These are the "elect," called to suffer with him and, if faithful, to reign with him on the Heavenly plane. These are dealt with now on the basis of faith: they pass from death unto life by the exercise of faith and their entering into a Covenant with God, of sacrifice, through the merit of the Redeemer. Their salvation will be made actual when they shall share in his resurrection, the "First Resurrection," and become kings and priests unto God, to reign with Christ a thousand years. – Rev. 20:6.

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THIS IS MY WILL FOR THEE
Just to hear my dear Master say,
"This is My will for thee;"
Then to whisper the dark night through,
"This is His will for me."

Just to keep in the narrow way,
Painful howe'er it be;
Just to follow Him day by day –
All shall be well with me.

Just to joyfully bear the pain,
All that He sendeth me;
Just to suffer the scorn and shame –
Trust where I cannot see.

Just to hear, when the day is long,
"This is My will for thee;"
Then shall my faith and love grow strong –
Knowing His will for me.

Oh, to hear, when the work is done,
"This is My will for thee –
Faith and Patience and Love have won –
Sit in my throne with Me!"

G. W. S.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
CONCERNING MESSIAH'S KINGDOM

QUESTION. – Please give briefly your understanding of the expression, Messiah's Kingdom, and the work of that Kingdom.

Answer. – Our understanding is that Messiah's Kingdom will be a spiritual one, invisible to mortals, yet all-powerful, for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and in the Prophets. The Empire which he will establish, invisible to men, will take the place of the Empire of Satan, likewise invisible. The King of glory will replace the Prince of Darkness. Principal amongst Messiah's earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the Prophets, resurrected in full human perfection. Instead of their being, as heretofore, the fathers, they shall be the children of Messiah, whom he will make princes in all the earth. (Psalm 45:16.) With this Kingdom the nation of Israel will speedily unite, and eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah, and all people will be privileged to come in under Israel's New Covenant, then established by the great "Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in." – Jeremiah 31:31-34; Malachi 3:1-3.

The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with "Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for the children of thy people" (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect and identify with Mahomet of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, identify him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master-Mason. This same great Messiah, Michael, the archangel, the antitypical Melchisedec, Priest as well as King, we identify as "the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (I Tim. 2:5,6.) But when the great King shall appear in his glory and establish his Kingdom with Israel he will be, as promised by the Prophets, "the desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7.) Then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped. Then who he is and how he should be identified with – Abraham's Seed and David's line – will be clearly known to all, in heaven and in earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness, all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah's prophecy (12:7-10) and Psalm 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in his day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians, all, to the glorious Messiah and the great work of blessing for all the nations which he will accomplish through the Seed of Abraham, according to God's Covenant and his Oath.

HOW TO GAIN THE GREAT PRIZE

Question. – Is it the spirit of obedience to the Lord's commands that will gain the great prize?

Answer. – What the Lord is looking for at the present time is the spirit of sacrifice or self-denial – not merely the spirit of obedience to commands. Few, of course, would resist a Divine command, if thundered from heaven. Our test is more crucial than that. It is a test of obedience to what we understand to be the will of God or the privilege of service in his cause. Those who delight to do his will, those who delight to serve his cause, even at the cost of sacrifice to earthly interests, are the very ones he is now seeking. "He seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in Truth"! "Now is the acceptable time"; now is the time for those to come forward who desire to offer themselves unreservedly, and who desire that [R4716 : page 365] the Lord shall accept their offering, which they know is not of great value. The more the sacrifice costs you, the more we may be sure it will be appreciated of the Lord. For any to give the Lord a thing which has no value in their own estimation would be in the nature of an insult, instead of sacrifice.

Our experiences in life should draw us closer to the Lord, not only in the form of prayer; but moment by moment, in every little emergency of life, we should learn to expect heavenly guidance.

Every accepted sacrificer who fails to carry out his sacrifice will surely miss the "high calling," and, if our expectations are correct, will share with the "great company" in the "destruction of the flesh," which, after consecration, they were unwilling to devote day by day.

RE PHILOSOPHY OF COVENANTS AND RANSOM

Question. – Is it possible to be both justified and sanctified without knowing the philosophy respecting the Covenants and the Ransom?

Answer. – It is true that one might be both justified and sanctified through faith in the blood before learning anything about the Covenants or the philosophy of the Ransom. And one might retain equally justification and sanctification through faith in that blood, irrespective of philosophies respecting the Divine methods of the applications of Christ's merit. This was true in our own case. Subsequently, having obtained grace from the Lord and some knowledge of his Plan – the philosophies of the Atonement, etc. – we served it out to others in his name. He advised us through his Word that these things were "meat in due season," and that the path of the just would shine more and more. In harmony with these promises, we have clearer light, increasingly, which is ours to dispense to whomsoever has "an ear to hear."

The Old Law Covenant was to the natural seed of Abraham, and similarly the New Law Covenant will be instituted with them, as taking the place of the old one and bringing them a blessing, which they failed to get under the one of which Moses was the mediator. Ours is the faith Covenant, the original Covenant, to which the old one was added, and to which the new one will be added in due time."

SHOULD WE SELL ALL THAT WE HAVE?

Question. – Please explain the following text: "Go and sell all that thou hast, and come and take up thy cross and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." Should we go and do as the Master advised?

Answer. – If that young man had assented to our Lord's proposition, and had made further inquiry as to the particulars, it is our opinion that the Lord would have modified his statement to the extent of suggesting that the selling and giving to the poor be not done all at once, but gradually, as the necessities might seem to open up. In the language of the Apostle, "Let your moderation be manifest to all." We are to use earthly things and earthly opportunities and temporalities with great moderation, self-denial, as the case may seem to make necessary.

We are to have bowels of mercy, compassion, sympathy, love. Did not our Lord allow Mary to anoint his head and also his feet and were not these caresses and manifestations of love of an earthly sort? There are various items to intimate the Lord's special love for Lazarus, Martha and Mary, James and John, and for his mother. And this would seem to give us ground for a similar course. But as Jesus did not allow those earthly loves to hinder him from the Father's service, so we, also, must be on the alert about the Father's business.

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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
page 366
DEAR BROTHER: –

Please accept my apology for asking you for a little of your time; but I feel that I have been so greatly blessed by reading your sermons and Bible Studies that I have been quite a while wanting to write and tell you about it.

I do not know whether it was just by chance, or accident, or whether by the hand of Providence, that a paper was handed to me that I might read a report of a surgical operation. In that paper I also read a sermon by C. T. Russell. I had never read anything of you or of your great work.

I want to say that that happened last February; and I don't believe that a day has passed since then that I have not thought of the great work you are doing. I subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER, and have read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES and quite a number of the tracts and pamphlets.

THE DIVINE PLAN opened my eyes. I had for a long time been looking for light in God's Word; and with the series of Bible studies I have taken my Bible and studied God's Word every day. I want to say that I have been enabled to appreciate God's Word and see his plans as I never had before. It is so grand, so sublime, so just! I would rather give up every volume in my library – except the Bible – than the SCRIPTURE STUDIES.

I am distributing tracts and the DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES and doing what I can to get people to read them. These helps induce me to read and study God's Word, and, thank God, they make it so plain to me. Of course, I do not understand it all; but it is so different from the plan I had been taught. The truth is, I am now reading and studying God's plan; before I had been taught man's plan. I am trying to see God's plan; and, O how beautiful, how sublime!

J. D. COLE, M.D. – TENN.

[R4716 : page 366]

MY BELOVED BROTHER AND PASTOR: –

Herein please find my check to be used in the Lord's service. We regret that we are not in a position to send more. Any and all service we could render is in nowise commensurate with the rich blessings we have been enjoying for the past ten years. Present Truth has done more for my wife and myself than I can ever tell you. It is wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, how God's Word (which our parents, Sunday-school teachers and preachers so frequently told us was never meant to be understood) is now so plain, and has been opened up so clearly to our heads and hearts by the only key – THE WATCH TOWER publications and STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.

These books, dear Brother, are the real Keys to Holy Writ. What could we do without them in the present blinding mist and maze of human sophistries? If no others could be had, a million dollars could not buy mine. Thank God! we have been delivered from the nightmare of Satanic teachings, such as were inculcated in our minds by the creeds of Christendom, and the labyrinth of mere conjectures concerning God's Word; and by his grace, through your publications, we now stand in the blazing sunlight of a clarified understanding of his Word and his loving character, which we now see to be the embodiment of love and mercy.

And as we rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory because of the one hope of our high calling, we also rejoice to know that in "The Times of Restitution of all things" there will be a universal opportunity for salvation for the whole world of mankind – Nero included.

May God continue to bless you and to use you as an instrument in his hands.

W. B. SUTTON.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Just one year ago I came into the Truth. I was exceedingly rejoiced with the many wonderful truths entirely new to me, though I had been educated for the ministry, and preached for three years; and had passed normal school examinations and taught school for several years.

My temporal surroundings, as well as my newly acquired desire to penetrate the new and unknown fields of the now unsealed Book, led me to long for a further unfolding of these new and surprising truths. I could wish that there were one hundred volumes of such studies, instead of six; and instead of contenting myself with a careful assimilation and application of that already learned, I sought rather for new conquests.

I began with the help of Strong's concordance to delve into the meanings of words. I sought to make pictures and draw types from nearly every chapter in the Bible. I tried to fit the meaning of every proper name to some one, and usually concluded that it referred to Brother Russell. My faculty for seeing pictures and types became so developed that my eye would skim over a chapter, jumping at a chance picture here and there, and missing nearly all the original meaning and proper application of the text.

The Bible I loved was thus becoming quite barren to me in respect to its intended use. Instead of using it to supply my much-needed armor, I was enjoying it more as one would enjoy a picture book or "Grimm's Fairy Tales."

Since my speculations were unwarranted, they naturally contradicted each other. One picture would bring me to one conclusion, and another would seem to contradict it. It became quite confusing.

Finally I came to the point where it became quite difficult for me to distinguish between Truth and error; and I was in danger of losing my appreciation of the Truth and devoting myself to the fanciful. Nor did I realize the great danger I was in until, a short time ago, the Lord used our dear Brother Saphore to point out to me my mistake. I cannot express to you what a blow it was to me to see that most of my Bible study for a whole year was not only of no account, but of a negative influence not only to myself, but to those I may have thus influenced.

I deeply regret my mistake, and have vowed to my Lord that henceforth, trusting in his grace to help, I will to the best of my ability more zealously appreciate and pursue the study of the TRUTH, and cease all speculation and typemaking.

I am endeavoring, dear Brother, to retrace my steps; to learn again to discern between fact and theory, and to make no positive statement except that which I know, and can prove by the Bible to be Truth – fully warranted and established. – Isaiah 8:20.

The article in the Sept. 15 TOWER, page 297, entitled, "Is the reading of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES Bible Study?" has been of great help to me; and I am now reading at least twelve pages every day and seeking to keep all my Bible study within the bounds of that which is known, and given to us by the Lord as meat in due season.

Now, brother, I fear that many are making a similar mistake of rash speculation to the end that perhaps many will stumble. I pray for such that they may see their mistake and the great danger thus impending over those who thus build upon speculation, and are sure to see their speculations fall. Oh! that our faith may be built upon nothing unstable as a part of its foundation, for "This is the victory that overcometh the world – even your faith."

R. G. JOLLY.

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TO OUR BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Greetings in the name of our blessed Savior! We are writing to tell you of some of the joys and strength received from "the Vow" and from the glorious light on the Covenants and the Sin-Offering.

Before "the Vow" came out I had an intense hunger for knowledge and was just beginning to realize that the world's literature is full of the wisdom of "the god of this world" – Satan. When "the Vow" came, I realized my need of it. Now I can remain in a room full of books and not read one, but read only the Bible and the Keys which our present Lord and Master has provided.

Sometimes I think of Ezekiel 3:21 as a fitting description of how the Lord has used the Vow "to warn the righteous." Certainly it was a warning to me.

When thirteen years ago I came to a knowledge of "Present Truth," the fact that The Christ is composed of many members was the key to many mysteries; for instance, the delay of restitution blessings, etc. Daily the doctrines grow more precious to me. My heart is inspired to greater zeal and faithfulness, now when I need this very inspiration; and I feel more than ever willing to yield to the three burnings, just as our Master set the example. Oh, how thankful we are to our blessed Master for this wonderful truth on the Sin-Offering! The truth on the Covenants has been such a help also. How I enjoy saying to the Jews whom I meet, "Have you ever thought of the blessings of the New Covenant? These are for your people."

Now, dear Brother, I come to the object of this letter, which is to let you know of our Christian love and how glad we are that, like our Master, you have humility enough to do the Father's will by proclaiming these truths even though you know that you will be misunderstood by many. Would that, like John and Mary, we could be a comfort to you in the hour of trial.

At present I am enjoying the Colporteur work more than [R4717 : page 367] ever before, due principally to the strength gained from "Present Truth." I voice the sentiment of every member of our class here when I say, God bless you, Brother Russell; for those who keep their consecration vow grow more precious to each other.

Your sister in the "one Body,"

MRS. A. D. MILLER. – IND.

MY DEAR BROTHER AND PASTOR: –

With the sincere hope of encouraging you and holding up your hands in this severe hour of trial and determined effort of the enemy to hinder the Lord's Harvest Work I have been, I trust, directed by our Heavenly Master to write you a few lines. I may tell you that I am utterly overwhelmed with admiration and thanks to our Heavenly Father for favoring me – one, as I feel, so utterly undeserving of being favored with an insight into his great scheme for the uplifting of the human race and, above all, for calling me to run in the good race of the high calling.

Dear Brother, how especially honored you must be to be made God's instrument in presenting these wonderful truths to the Church! How I bless God for opening my eyes to see them and my heart to receive them, and how I bless him for his great love in preserving me from falling back, as some have done. Surely there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth with those who try to obstruct and hinder the Master's work. I am satisfied that they might as well try to keep back the waters of the Amazon. I rejoice exceedingly also in being favored so highly as to be permitted to do something in the way of presenting the message to others. I am happily in a position to do a lot of colporteuring and tract distributing, and I trust the Lord of the Harvest will give me grace sufficient to make the most of the few short remaining years of the harvest.

Again assuring you, beloved Brother, of my loyalty to the glorious cause of Christ and to the blessed harvest truths as presented to us through THE TOWER, the STUDIES, etc., and which I would not exchange or give up for all else besides, believe me, my dear Brother, to remain

Faithfully your co-worker and Brother,

S. D. COLEMAN. – Australia.

"MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE IN ALL"

OUR BELOVED PASTOR IN THE LORD: –

At this late date what do you think about marriage by those who claim to be fully consecrated? I think a timely piece in THE WATCH TOWER treating the propriety of marriage would do much good. It seems that many do not understand their privilege in sacrificing their little all.

I have certainly enjoyed THE WATCH TOWER, especially of late. The expositions on the Great Company and what is meant by a full consecration have caused me to make some careful self-examinations and more earnest prayers, inquiring of the Lord whether or not I have made a full consecration of my little all, and am I being faithful in my stewardship.

Yours in the Lord,

__________

IN REPLY

We quite agree with your sentiments, dear Brother, that the time is short; that all the consecrated need every talent and every moment for the service of the King, to demonstrate to him their love and loyalty. We quite agree that many marriages have proved disadvantageous spiritually. We do not know that all have done so.

Anyway, we have no option in the matter. The Lord's Word clearly declares that marriage is honorable in all. It is not, therefore, the province of anybody to forbid marriage, directly or indirectly. The most we are privileged to do is to call attention to the words of St. Paul, a Divinely inspired instructor for the Church, whose admonitions have brought blessing to us all many times. He says, "He that marrieth doeth well. He that marrieth not doeth better."

For our part, therefore, we leave the matter in the hands of the dear friends, content to point out the Apostle's advice, not forgetting that there might be instances in which this general rule might not apply. It is for each of the Lord's people to decide this matter in harmony with his or her own judgment and convictions. "Let us not judge one another, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way." – Rom. 14:13.

VALUE OF BEREAN SCRIPTURE STUDIES

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

You might be interested in the result of some observations made concerning the relative development of members of Bible classes that I have been privileged to visit. The degree of progress seems to be largely influenced by the character of meetings and the method of study adopted.

Some of the classes closely adhere to the Berean Studies, as set forth in THE WATCH TOWER. Other meetings are devoted to DAWN Studies, each member of the class taking part therein; and at least one meeting per week to prayer, praise and testimonies, with an occasional discourse. All such appear to be making progress in the development of knowledge and the graces of the Spirit.

Other classes do not have Berean studies; do not use the DAWNS at the class meetings, seldom have a prayer, praise and testimony meeting, but instead largely depend upon the leader of the class, who prepares a lesson on some chapter in the Bible and at the meeting states his conclusions, and then calls upon the class for expressions of opinion. Such classes, it is quite evident, make little progress.

Since all who have come to a knowledge of "present truth" concerning God's Plan, obtained it by the use of the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and other WATCH TOWER publications, it would appear to be a serious mistake, in the class studies, to ignore these God-given helps. No member of the class can grow without an individual exercise of his faculties, and where the leader is depended upon to prepare a lesson and recite it at the meeting of the class, the benefit resulting to the class is reduced to the minimum.

The Society now publishes, in pamphlet form, the Berean questions on TABERNACLE SHADOWS and on Vol. V., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, besides the current Berean questions on Vol. VI. appearing in THE TOWER. No better material can be had for three meetings each week. The majority of the friends are so situated that they can have four meetings per week. Some of the classes thus situated, and which have not used the Berean studies from their inception, are now having for one meeting the Berean questions on TABERNACLE SHADOWS, for another, Berean questions on Vol. V., and for another, the current Berean study on Vol. VI. In this manner the new members, as well as others of the class, get the benefit of all back lessons, at the same time keeping abreast with THE TOWER lessons. The fourth meeting of the week is devoted to praise, prayer and testimonies recounting the experiences and blessings of the week. The result shows it would be profitable for others to pursue a similar course.

If you are in harmony with the thoughts herein expressed, you may be pleased to find some way of calling the attention of the friends thereto.

In the love and service of our King,

J. F. RUTHERFORD.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

I know that you will rejoice with me when I tell you that after about two years waiting, the dear, loving heavenly [R4718 : page 367] Father has opened my eyes concerning the Vow.

Sister Frances Thompson has written you in her letter about our experiences, so it will not be necessary for me to repeat them. I have made the Vow my own, and have been rejoicing in the blessings and help derived therefrom.

It seemed such a foolish thing to think of taking a Vow like that. Why did I want to pledge myself, or tie myself up to a Vow? But thanks to the dear Father for his loving kindness and favor towards me. He has shown me that I was the foolish child, and that the Vow was just what I needed.

To me it is just a line of suggestion of how to carry out our consecration. This is what I have needed for so long, but did not know it. It has made me more watchful of my words and thoughts and actions. It has been the means of pulling me back into line when this mean old self would come to the front and demand its rights. It has caused me to rely on the assistance of the promised grace to help in every time of need.

SISTER SCHEIDLER.

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BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR DECEMBER

After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for December follow:

(1) 30; (2) 37; (3) 6; (4) 152; (5) 230; (6) 32; (7) 226; (8) 95; (9) 235; (10) 273; (11) 73; (12) 208; (13) 123; (14) 60; (15) 145; (16) 15; (17) 47; (18) 127; (19) 283; (20) 279; (21) 4; (22) 112; (23) 258; (24) 327; (25) 222; (26) 7; (27) 5; (28) 178; (29) 62; (30) 264; (31) 113.