page 301
October 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

VOL. XXXIIIOCTOBER 1No. 19
A.D. 1912 – A.M. 6041
CONTENTS
Brother Russell's Itinerary 302
Views From The Watch Tower 303
Zionism Favored by Turkey 303
"Thy Kingdom Come" 303
"Fight the Good Fight" 304
St. Peter a Noble Soldier 304
Other Valiant Warriors 305
The Decisive Battle Now at Hand 305
New Creature's Responsibility to Divine Law – Part 3 308
"The Spirit Returns to God" 308
"God Giveth It a Body" 309
The Two Resurrections 309
The London and Glasgow Conventions 310
Our European Conventions 310
A Sign From Heaven 312
No Sign But That of Jonah 312
"Come and Let Us Return" 313
The White Stone Given the Overcomers 315
"The Good Fight of Faith" 315

'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 302

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 AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
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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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BROTHER RUSSELL'S ITINERARY

Lv. Halifax.......I.C. Ry.   8:00 a.m. (A.T.) Mon. Sept. 30
Ar. Hamilton......G.T. Ry.   5:43 p.m. (E.T.) Tue. Oct.   1
Lv.    "    ......   "       3:45 p.m.    "   Wed.  "     2
Ar. London........   "       6:30 p.m.    "    "    "     2
Lv.    "  ........   "      11:35 a.m.    "   Thu.  "     3
Ar. Flint.........   "       2:10 p.m. (C.T.)  "    "     3
Lv.    " .........P.M. Ry.   3:35 p.m.    "    "    "     3
Ar. Saginaw.......   "       4:20 p.m.    "    "    "     3
Lv.    "   .......   "      12:30 noon    "   Fri.  "     4
Ar. Grand Rapids..   "       4:20 p.m.    "    "    "     4
Lv.    "        ..   "      11:30 p.m.    "    "    "     4
Ar. Chicago.......   "       6:55 a.m.    "   Sat.  "     5
Lv.    "   .......C.& A. Ry. 9:00 a.m.    "    "    "     5
Ar. Springfield...   "       2:25 p.m.    "    "    "     5
Lv.    "       ...Wabash Ry. 9:40 p.m.    "   Sun.  "     6
Ar. Fort Wayne....   "       5:35 a.m.    "   Mon.  "     7
Lv.    "      ....Penn.R.R. 11:50 p.m.    "    "    "     7

"SCRIPTURE STUDIES" IN KARATOL BINDING

The thin Bible paper edition of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, bound in limp Karatol, red burnished edges, is again in stock, all volumes. Orders for this edition will now be filled promptly. The price has been made uniform for all Karatol volumes – 25c. each postpaid. Any one of these volumes can be carried in a coat pocket without inconvenience.

INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER RUSSELL WILL BE THE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER

[FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.]

HAMILTON, ONT., OCTOBER 1

Public discourse in the Auditorium, I.O.O.F. Temple, Gore St., near Hughson, at 8 p.m.

LONDON, ONT., OCTOBER 2

Public discourse in the Grand Opera House, Richmond St., at 8 p.m.

SAGINAW, MICH., OCTOBER 3

Public discourse in the Auditorium, corner South Washington Ave. and Janes St., at 8 p.m.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., OCTOBER 4

Public discourse in Powers Opera House at 7:45 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., OCTOBER 6

The public lecture will be delivered in the Coliseum, Fair Grounds, at 3 o'clock. A discourse specially for the interested is being arranged for Sunday evening; time and place to be announced later.

FORT WAYNE, IND., OCTOBER 7

Public discourse in Princess Rink, corner Fulton and West Main Sts., at 7:30 p.m.

LYNN, MASS., OCTOBER 13-15

A three-day Convention has been arranged for Lynn. Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock Brother Russell will deliver a public discourse in the Lynn Theatre, corner Summer and Market Sts. All other sessions will be held in Exchange Hall, 14 Market St.

ST. LOUIS, MO., OCTOBER 20

Morning rally at 10:30, and discourse for the interested at 7:30, in Recital Hall, Odeon Bldg. An opportunity for symbolic immersion will be afforded. Public address at 3 o'clock in the Odeon, Grand Ave.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND., OCTOBER 27

Morning rally at 10:30 and afternoon discourse for the interested in the Metropolitan School of Music, Pennsylvania and North Sts. Public session in The Murat, Massachusetts Ave. and North St., at 7:45 p.m.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., NOVEMBER 3

Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In conjunction with this meeting an opportunity will be given for symbolic baptism in water. Robes, etc., will be provided. Any desiring to make use of this opportunity will please give us timely notice. The evening Question Meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Ave. and St. Felix St. Topic, "ARMAGEDDON."

[R5107 : page 303]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ZIONISM FAVORED BY TURKEY

PALESTINE LIFTS up its head with hope. The new Governor of Jerusalem has recently made a most sympathetic pronouncement. It is believed that he voices the sentiment of the Turkish Government. Everywhere the Pacha, Muhdi Bey, is enthusiastically received by the Jewish colonists. The principal of these, Richon-le-Zion, gave a gala dinner in the Pacha's honor. At it the colonists expressed unswerving fidelity of the Jews to the Ottoman Constitutional Government.

The Governor made quite a lengthy speech, the substance of which is reported as follows:

"Gentlemen, allow me first of all to thank you for the hearty reception you have accorded me.

"You have undoubtedly heard from both people and press abroad that our Government objects to Zionism. This is incorrect. We, Ottomans, know the Jews too well to suspect them of disloyalty.

"We know that the Jews do not come to Palestine for mere political reasons. It is the holy associations connected with this land that act magnetically upon them; therefore our Ottoman Government has no reason to oppose Zionism.

"History proves that Turkey has always welcomed the Jews in times of persecution and distress, and we have embraced with open arms the exiles from Judae-phobian countries.

"We rejoice to see the wonderful progress you have made in Palestine during the few years of your indefatigable labors, and you are this day a model for the Arab villagers around you. You are an object lesson to your native neighbors, who can neither read nor write, that they may see the great possibilities of the land. I therefore lay before you the following proposition:

THE GOVERNMENTAL PROPOSAL

"In order that your life and property may be placed beyond jeopardy, it is your bounden duty to establish yourselves on a firm basis, and this is what you should do.

"Choose from among yourselves a municipal head, whose appointment will be ratified by the Government, to administer justice and execute judgment according to the rules and regulations of the Ottoman provinces.

"You will have to appoint guards and gendarmes, whose names will be registered by the local government, which will provide them with uniforms and all necessary accoutrements and invest them with authority.

"You must also install telephonic communication between colony and colony, village and village, so that any attack or outrage may at once be notified at headquarters and the marauders be apprehended and punished.

"I know there are unlimited possibilities in this land, but we are unfortunately still handicapped. I trust, however, that little by little the goal will be reached, to the great benefit of the country.

"For my part, I will try to put you in possession of the sandhills bordering on the seashore and give you legal title-deeds for the same.

"A part of it I will allot you for a capacious Government Building which will serve as your central administrative premises. "Brethren and kinsmen, give your helping hands to the Government, and the Government, on her part, will aid you on to further progress."

"THY KINGDOM COME"!

The following from a worldly standpoint sticks closely to the predictions of the Bible, hence we reproduce them from Woman's World: –

J
UST A FEW GROWING PAINS.

"Coal strikes in England and America – revolution in Mexico – anarchy in China – Italy at the throat of Turkey – woman clamoring for the vote!

"What of it? There's no cause to be pessimistic – nothing's really the matter with the world – just growing pains!

"Progress has set for herself a sudden and terrific pace. The earth has been spinning faster in the last twenty years than it ever before whirled. Naturally, there's a bit of displacement in spots, but nothing to hurt.

"We can't very well apply electricity to a thousand uses, go snooping among the clouds, universalize education, introduce penny journalism, and give science a free rein without some trivial consequences.

"Old viewpoints are sure to shift, old creeds must give way to new ideals, society is bound to readjust its divisions.

"The ancient molds of thought and economics, religion and government, are splitting. Our eyes see truths which our ancestors could not behold and by their light we perceive their errors and their inadequacies.

"The greatest revolutions that have ever swept the universe will break within the coming hundred years.

"Before this century is closed, the last king shall have lost his throne, the last battleship shall be scrapped, the last army shall have junked its guns. East and West shall [R5107 : page 304] meet in a thousand common causes and the Five Races join hands in brotherhood.

"Perfected wireless telephony and telephotography, mile-a-second trains and airships will condense the seas and continents into ponds and back lots.

"Africa will become a week-end resort for the New Yorker, and the Canadian farmer will press a button, lift his receiver and exchange crop gossip with his son in Siberia.

"Pain will be banished. Surgery will have accomplished the relief of insanity and blindness. Cancer, tuberculosis, paralysis, will be as easily cured as sprains and lumbago.

"There will be no waste in food nor in land. The air will yield its wealth of nitrates to the condensers and every arable acre will luxuriate with vegetation.

"The stored heat of the sun will furnish power and warmth for all humanity. Plagues and pests will disappear.

"Eugenics will regulate society; men and women will mate by definite laws; efficient organization will check economic spendthriftry and eradicate poverty; engineering will solve the problems of competent housing, ventilation and sunlight; the standardization of health and of welfare will extirpate prostitution and crime.

"A dream? Not a bit of it!

"A far-fetched vision? You are wrong!

"No imagination can pierce the horizons that cloak the tomorrow from our sight.

"The farthest-flung optimism can only estimate a fragment of man's coming glories. How can you sneer!

"Turn back and view the fifty years behind you. What prophet in your father's youth would have dared proclaim the many magics of today?

"Strikes, revolts and wars are but chips that fly beneath the chisel of progress.

"There will be many wars, mobs will rage, battles will wage, tyranny will clutch with strangling fingers, bigotry will plot, avarice will scheme – but to what will these avail?"

[R1040 : page 304]

"FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT"

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called." – 1 Tim. 6:12.
I
F WE ARE naturally combative, we may see, or think we see, cause for a continual warfare from the cradle to the grave; and a little warping of sound judgment may give this disposition a seemingly religious turn and deceive such a one into the idea that he is fighting the "good fight," when in reality he is only cultivating a quarrelsome disposition, out of harmony with the spirit of meekness and temperance, which is a most essential feature of the Christian character. Again, many of an opposite disposition are inclined to ignore the fact that the Christian life is to be a warfare, and to regard only those Scriptures which counsel meekness, forbearance, patience, gentleness, etc.

Here are two extremes, both of which must be guarded against; and in order to help us to rightly judge and balance ourselves, the Apostle recommends us to mark, to observe closely those who walk circumspectly, according to the rules laid down in the Scriptures, and counsels us to beware of the influence of those who do not so walk. "For," he says, "many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things," which they covenanted to sacrifice. – Phil. 3:17-19.

Let us then mark some worthy examples that we may see how they ran for the prize and notice whether there is any indication that they ran successfully. First, we mark the perfect example of our Lord, our Leader and Forerunner, in whose footsteps we are invited to follow. We notice that His course in the "narrow way" of sacrifice began with an entire consecration of Himself to the will of God. His consecration was made with simplicity and sincerity, and included all that He had – "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God!" – Heb. 10:7.

He did not say, Father, I will give Thee a tithe of My time, My service, and My means, and retain the remainder for Myself and for the pursuit of My own ambitions and plans. He did not say, Father, I have chosen this or that special work, and I trust Thy blessing will attend it. He did not say, As far as I understand Thy will, Father, I am willing to do it – with the implication that if the Father should ever ask anything too severe, or seemingly unreasonable, He might change His mind. No. His consecration was simply to the doing of the Father's will, whatever that will might prove to be. And then He earnestly applied Himself to the study of the Law and the Prophets, that He might know the will of God concerning Him.

When tempted to change His course He replied, "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (Matt. 26:54; John 18:11.) He laid aside His own will and carried out the will of God, though it cost Him privation at every step and finally a death most painful and ignominious. From this course of sacrifice He never wavered, even for a moment.

Our Lord's was a grand character for our imitation. "Yes," says one, "but our Lord was perfect and therefore could do the Father's will perfectly." Very true; we are thankful and rejoice in this, for had He not been perfect He could never have redeemed us. Yet we needed also just such an example; for however imperfectly we, like school children, may succeed in imitating the copy, we need to have a perfect copy.

ST. PETER A NOBLE SOLDIER

But while Christ was much more to us than a perfect example for our imitation, which under our present infirmities we cannot fully duplicate, we have other examples furnished among brethren of similar infirmities with ourselves. Let us mark them and see how they followed the Master.

There was St. Peter, with his quick, impulsive nature, always loving, yet vacillating – now defending his Master at his own peril, and again disclaiming and denying Him; now boldly contending for the faith, and again compromising with Jewish prejudices, calling forth and justly meriting St. Paul's faithful reproof. Yet, rightly exercised by reproof and discipline and endeavoring to rule himself, his Christian character ripened and beautified from year to year, as evidenced by his grand and noble Epistles to the Church, written by inspiration and handed down from generation to generation for nineteen centuries; and he had many evident marks of the Lord's loving approval. [R5109 : page 305]

Before St. Peter had time to express in words his regret of his denial of the Lord, he was assured of forgiveness and of the continued favor of feeding our Lord's sheep; for the Lord knew the sincerity of his love and realized that through weakness and fear he had sinned. Mark, too, St. Peter's affection for his "beloved Brother Paul" (2 Pet. 3:15,16), who had so plainly reproved and rebuked him; and for the Lord, who had said, "Get thee behind Me, Satan [adversary]; thou art an offense unto Me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matt. 16:23.) Poor St. Peter! It was an uphill road for him, but he seemed to consider and appreciate his own weakness and to put his shoulder to the wheel in a more determined effort to overcome the propensities of his old nature, and to cultivate the graces of the Christian character.

But did he finally overcome? and was he accepted as one of that glorious company which shall constitute the Bride of Christ? Yes, truly; for the risen Lord Himself declared that his name is written with the others of the twelve Apostles in the very foundations of the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God. (Rev. 21:14.) See what poor, weak St. Peter gained by his meekness and patience under painful discipline!

OTHER VALIANT WARRIORS

St. Paul was a stronger character by nature. He had evidently made a life business of ruling himself, though he was naturally positive and firm. When the Truth reached him he had a great advantage at once, both in his natural disposition and in his early culture, so that he could walk more firmly and steadily; and using all his energy in this direction he furnishes for our imitation a noble example of steadfastness and endurance, of untiring zeal and sincerest devotion. See and ponder well, 2 Cor. 11:23-33; 12:10,15.

St. John was naturally loving, gentle and meek; and that very disposition would make it difficult for him to sever the many ties of human friendship which such dispositions always draw about them. Yet he was faithful to his Master, regardless of the human ties. He was a patient, faithful teacher of the doctrines of Christ, and willingly suffered banishment to the lonely Isle of Patmos for his faithful witnessing to the Truth.

Similar was the course of all the Apostles. They were bold, faithful advocates of the Truth, and examples of its power to sanctify wholly, as they gradually grew in grace, submitting themselves to its transforming influence. They were men of similar and varied dispositions like ourselves. Mark those who so run, and do likewise. God marked these, and kept a careful record of their course, judging them by their motives and endeavors; and He shows us that their course, thus judged, all their imperfections being covered by the imputed righteousness of their Leader, was acceptable to Him. They left all and followed Christ. Their all was not very much, not more, perhaps, than we have to leave; but it was their all, and so was acceptable.

St. Peter had left his fishing business and his friends to travel with the Master and learn and teach the Truth. He had thus given up his own will and his present interests to do the will of God. When he said to the Lord, "Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee" (Mark 10:28), our Lord did not say that St. Peter's little all was not worth mentioning, but He recognized it and encouraged St. Peter to continue to sacrifice all, with the assurance that in due time he should be rewarded. (Mark 10:29,30.) And so shall we all be, if we faint not; for faithful is He that hath called us, who also will exalt us in due time. – I Thess. 5:24; I Pet. 5:6.

As we thus mark the course of the faithful ones, we see that their warfare was largely one with themselves. It was their endeavor to keep down their own human wills while they carried out the Divine will. Even in the case of our Lord, where the human will was perfect, it was a hard thing to do, as evidenced by His words, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."Matt. 26:39.

THE WARFARE IN PROGRESS FOR CENTURIES

But there is another side of this warfare which we have not yet considered, and which we dare not overlook if we would be faithful overcomers. The Truth has its enemies now as well as in the days of the Apostles, and we are set for the defense of the Truth. Hence, the forces against which we must contend are not only those within, but also those without. To be listless and indifferent under such circumstances as surround us is certainly evidence that we are not fighting the good fight of faith.

To fight the good fight of faith implies, first, that we have a faith for which to fight. No man can fight this good fight who has not come to some knowledge of the Truth – a knowledge sufficient to awaken his sympathies and enlist his energies in its propagation and defense.

Now look at the warfare from this standpoint and see how the faithful soldiers of the cross from the beginning of the Age to the present time have contended for the faith delivered to the saints. (Jude 3.) Have they calmly and comfortably rested in luxurious ease, enjoying what they knew of the Truth themselves, and saying nothing about it where it would cause a ripple of opposition, and then flattered themselves with the idea that their lazy, do-nothing tranquility was evidence of their growth in grace? By no means!

The saints have endured hardness as good soldiers for the Truth's sake. They have proclaimed it boldly and have taken the consequences of public scorn and contempt, the loss of earthly friends, the sacrifice of business interests and earthly prospects, together with stripes, imprisonments, and perils to life on every hand; and in many cases they have met violent deaths. They have not only enjoyed the glorious prospect of future blessedness, but have become active to the extent of their ability in carrying out God's Plan for securing that end. Had they done otherwise they would have proved themselves unworthy of the high honors to which they were called. So it has been throughout the entire Age, and continues still.

When the great Mystery of Iniquity, or Papal system, had reached the height of its power and the very depths of its corruption, and the eyes of a few faithful children of God were opened to see its true character, noble reformers stepped out and boldly declared their convictions in the face of most violent persecution. Encouraged by their example, many other noble souls braved the same dangers and endured great hardships while contending for the Truth. Thus they gave evidence of their zeal and consecration by their faithfulness, even unto death by violent hands, and unto persecution and torture of the most revolting and fiendish character.

THE DECISIVE BATTLE NOW AT HAND

It is well that we consider frequently such examples that they may serve to spur our own zeal, and that we may the more lightly esteem the comparatively light afflictions which we are now called upon to endure, in our efforts to disseminate and defend the Truth today. We [R5109 : page 306] have now no bloody persecutions, though it is still true that those who will live godly shall suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12.) To "live godly," however, implies earnestness and consequent activity in God's service.

Remember, too, that the Apostle refers to these last days of the Age as the most perilous times of all. Why? Because the errors and temptations of this day come in more subtle forms than heretofore. This is emphatically the Age of Reason – an Age of advancement in almost every direction; many are running to and fro, and knowledge is increasing on every subject.

On the other hand, human conceit and presumption are running vastly ahead of knowledge; and reason, unguided by the Divine Revelation, is falling into many foolish and hurtful errors, which are passing current among those who profess to be the children of God, but who are deceived by these errors and are falling away from "the faith once delivered to the saints." The great Babylonian system is crumbling into decay, but multitudinous errors, far more injurious than the formalism and slumber of Babylon, are at work to build upon its ruins other systems of iniquity in which even the foundation principles of Christianity find no place whatever.

These errors must be met by the faithful few who are armed with the Truth – others cannot detect or defeat them. It is for these, armed with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to show by its profound reasonings the difference between Truth and error, and to prove that God's Plan, in God's way, is superior to all the plans and ways of human arrangement.

To escape falling into these errors, and being deceived by their subtle sophistries and by the professions of loyalty to God on the part of the deceived deceivers who advance them, the children of God must keep close to their Father's Word, and be filled with His Spirit; and when they see the Truth they must be bold and fearless in its defense, regardless of all consequences.

This is fighting the good fight of faith, whether you are severely wounded in the conflict or not. Those who, sacrificing home comforts, etc., scatter the Truth by the printed page, which, read and pondered by those receiving it, gives light and scatters darkness, are just as surely fighting the good fight of faith as if by word of mouth they were arguing with those whom they meet. Often they do it much more effectually. Such shall just as surely receive their reward and lay hold on eternal life as will St. Peter and St. Paul and other faithful soldiers of the cross – if they faint not.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE BATTLE

This little army of faithful soldiers, all told, is but a handful, a Little Flock. Though in numbers they are so insignificant that the hosts of the opposers of the Truth fear little from their efforts, the final victory shall be theirs; and God's power shall be glorified and manifested in them proportionately more.

Like Gideon's three hundred picked men who feared not to face the hosts of Midian because the Lord was with them, these have but to go forth likewise, strong in faith, sounding their trumpets of Truth and breaking their earthen vessels (sacrificing their human nature) that the blessed light of God's Spirit may shine out; and at the appointed hour the hosts of the enemy shall take the alarm and flee. Systems of error, new and old, shall be turned to destruction and, as in the case of the Midianites, each shall turn upon the other to accomplish the work of their destruction.

To have the privilege of fighting this good fight of faith and of being the Lord's chosen ones for the great work now to be done, God's children, like Gideon's army, must first be proved – tested. At first there was a host of thirty-two thousand with Gideon; and when all that were fearful were told to return to their homes, only ten thousand remained; and when God further tested these, only three hundred remained. A little, insignificant company, truly, they must have appeared, not only to the Midianites, but also to themselves. Yet, God's power was made the more manifest by their smallness and weakness. – Judges 7:3,7,22.

Just so it is now. No one is compelled or urged into this service. All who are fearful, whose faith in God's ability and intention to carry out His Plan is not strong enough to make them bold and courageous, and in haste to go forth, anxious to sound the trumpet-tones of Truth, and willing to break their earthen vessels (to sacrifice themselves) in the service, have the privilege of retiring from the battlefield. But, of course, such shall have no part in the honors of the victory with the greater Captain than Gideon.

THE CONTENDING FORCES

For whom do we fight – for God? for Christ? No, we answer. We fight for ourselves. A great mistake is made on this point by many who seem to imagine that fighting the good fight of faith is doing something for God, which deserves His thanks and reward. The Almighty God does not need that we should fight for Him. He is omnipotent, abundantly able to take care of Himself and His cause; He needs not our puny efforts. God is fighting for us, and assisting and encouraging us to fight the good fight of faith on our own behalf. It is well that this feature of the case be clearly discerned.

Against whom do we fight? We answer, our battle is not against our fellow-creatures, nor with carnal weapons; indeed, we can have large sympathy for even our most relentless foes, who, to the extent that modern civilization will permit, are ready and willing to "despitefully use and persecute" us, and to say all manner of evil against us falsely. (Matt. 5:11.) We can readily see that they are blinded in considerable measure, either by their own prejudice and passion, or by the great Adversary's delusive false doctrines and superstitions. Hence our warfare is not directed even against our enemies, and as we have opportunity we are to seek to do them good, "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." – 2 Tim. 2:25.

Hence also, when dealing with these, so far from battling with them and resisting evil with evil, our Captain has commanded that we return good for evil, gentleness for rudeness, kindness for discourtesy; and that we seek to do good to those who speak evil of us and persecute us, that thus the eyes of their understanding may be opened, and that they may be able to discern that there is such a thing as the spirit of Love, generosity, kindness, whereas they supposed all to be actuated by the same malevolent spirit of selfishness which controls themselves.

Our fight is to be against Sin – the great taskmaster which captured our race in the person of Father Adam, and has held it as slaves from then till now – mankind paying regularly for six thousand years the terrible penalty of death, with all its concomitants of sickness, pain, sorrow and trouble. Yes; this is the enemy whom we are to fight.

Indirectly, Satan is our enemy, because he it was through whose influence Father Adam first became the slave of Sin; and Satan has continued to pursue the same course, and is even now endeavoring to bring us back under the dominion of Sin, and to hold us there. We are not to forget, however, that our battle is not directly with [R5109 : page 307] Satan, nor are we to bring against him "a railing accusation" (Jude 9); rather, we are to say, with Michael, "The Lord rebuke thee"; and we are to await the Lord's time and the Lord's way for rebuking Satan. Nevertheless, we are to resist him; that is, we are to resist his influence and deceptions and endeavors to mislead us into error and into sin.

The Lord instructs us that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [exalted positions]." (Eph. 6:12.) Satan, as the great master, or general of Sin, has largely to do with all the various influences with which we must battle. It is his cunning, his "wiles," that supervise the battle against us; and since he is a spirit being, and therefore much more intelligent than ourselves, the contest would be a very unequal one if we were without a much more powerful Spirit Leader. But we are not thus left to battle alone against superior wisdom and cunning. Our Captain, the Lord Jesus, has conquered Sin and has been glorified, and He is on our part, so that we can confidently say, Greater is He that is on our part than all they that be against us – Satan and his cohorts of evil spirits, and his deluded earthly agents and servants. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" – Rom. 8:31.

St. John seems to sum up the agencies through which our great captor, Sin, seeks to hold us as his slaves, or, if we have gotten free, to regain his influence over us, as three – the world, the flesh, the Devil. We have seen the powerful influence of the Devil, as the great general of Sin. We next notice in what sense the world is our opponent, and in what sense we are to battle against it.

We have just seen that we do not battle with carnal weapons, nor do we in any sense of the word battle or contest with our fellow-creatures, seeing that they are blinded by the Adversary, and really little, if to any extent, accountable for their course. Our battle is not with these. It is with "the spirit of the world," its influence, that we are to do battle; it is to be fought against and resisted. The world's disposition, the mind of the world, the ambitions of the world, the motives which actuate the world, the pride of life and the deceitfulness of riches – these things, these wrong views of matters as seen from the worldly standpoint, we are to resist, to fight against – and it is a daily battle.

Finally, our battle is with the flesh – our own flesh. Ever since Sin captured our race, in the person of Father Adam, its slavery has been conducive to mental, moral and physical degradation. Its tendency is toward evil only, and that continually; and only as we get rid of the blinding influences, the perverted tastes, desires, ambitions, hopes and loves which sin cultivates – only in that proportion do we come to see matters in their true light, and to have even a faint glimpse of our degraded condition. But our great Captain, who is also the Chief Priest of our Profession, redeemed us from this slavery to Sin with His own precious blood. He had compassion upon us, and when we realized our deplorable condition and accepted His aid, He set us free from the yoke of Sin's slavery.

But we still have the motions of sin in our bodies – the tendencies toward sin, which have become almost second nature to us, through the long period of nearly six thousand years of slavery. So while we are now free, and with the mind are serving the Law of Christ and are accepted into His army as soldiers of the cross, to battle on the side of righteousness and Truth and goodness and purity, we nevertheless find our new selves harassed by the old perverted tastes and inclinations of our own flesh, toward the service of the old taskmaster. Not the least of our fightings, therefore, as New Creatures in Christ Jesus is against these perverted tendencies of our flesh, and the battle with these is a daily battle. With the Apostle Paul, one of the great soldiers of our war, we should be able to say, "I keep my body [my flesh and its desires] under [in subjection to my new will, my new self] lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." – I Cor. 9:27.

We enlist under the banner of our Captain; that is, from the time that we make a full consecration to Him, to fight the good fight, and to lay down our lives in His service – from that moment He reckons our flesh as dead. Our minds are renewed – alive toward God with a newness of life; and hence those motions of sin, which we are seeking to bring into absolute subjection to the will of God in Christ, are not recognized by our Lord as the will or motions of the New Creature, enlisted in His service, but merely as a part of the general enemy, Sin, pursuing after and battling with us, which we are pledged to resist and to war against, and to overcome which our Lord promises grace and help in every time of need. – Heb. 4:16.

CONTINUAL VIGILANCE URGED

It is these great enemies in our own flesh which cause us the greatest difficulties. It is to these that Satan appeals; it is these which he seeks to encourage in their warfare against the new spirit of our minds; it is through these that the spirit of the world gains closest approach to us, and seeks to capture us and lead us back as slaves of Sin. So to speak, the New Creature in Christ is beset, surrounded on every hand with enemies, seeking our disaster and re-enslavement.

We must battle – battle for ourselves, battle for our own liberty, battle for victory over our own weaknesses, battle against the spirit of the world, battle against delusions and snares of the Adversary by which he seeks to make the evil things appear good and the right to appear undesirable. No wonder, then, that the Christian soldier is urged to be continually watchful; no wonder that he is urged to "put on the whole armor of God"; no wonder that he is cautioned in regard to his various and wily foes, and especially against those of his own flesh.

Thanks be to God for the great Captain of our salvation! Thanks be to God for the great armory of His Word, from which we obtain the helmet of salvation, the intellectual knowledge to protect us from the delusions of our own perverted sense, from ignorance, and from the wiles of the Adversary! Thanks be to God also for the breastplate of righteousness, the merit of Christ and His great sacrifice, compensating for our imperfections, covering our vitals and securing thereby our life – eternal life!

Thanks be to God also for the shield of faith, of trust, of confidence in Him who has bought us, in realization that He who has begun the good work in us is both able and willing to complete it! Since God so loved us while we were yet the slaves of sin, and redeemed us from bondage with the precious blood of Christ, much more does He now love us, and much more is He prepared to aid us now that we have, by His grace, become free from Sin, and become the servants of righteousness! Thanks be to God also for the sandals, the preparation to endure hardness patiently, which the Truth gives, protecting us in the walks of life, and from the sharp animosities of the world! Thanks be to God also for the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of His Truth, as a defense by which we can resist the Adversary and come off conquerors, through Him who loved us and bought us! [R5109 : page 308]

Previous to St. Paul's exhortation to the faithful few, to fight the good fight of faith, he gives the very wholesome advice that we lay entirely aside from us the weights of our former earthly cares, etc. – pride, ambition, discontent, money-loving and such-like things. We cannot grasp or hold the treasures of this life, and at the same time run successfully for the heavenly prize – "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon"; and "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." – Matt. 6:24; James 1:8.

Let us then take St. Paul's counsel – flee these earthly things and, following after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life as joint-heirs with Christ in the glory of victory shortly to be granted. If, after we have consecrated our all to God, we turn back to mind and seek earthly things, and glory in their possession, we are really glorying in our shame; and the end of such glory, if pursued to the end, is destruction. "See that ye walk circumspectly," not minding earthly, but heavenly things, and not yielding to the temptations of those who walk otherwise. Then we also shall be setting an example for others, worthy of their imitation.

"O watch and pray! for thou hast foes to fight –
Foes which alone thou canst not overcome;
Watching and prayer will keep thine armor bright;
Soon will thy toils be o'er, thy victory won.
O watch and pray! the Lord is at the door,
O watch and keep thy garments spotless, pure!"

[R5107 : page 308]

THE NEW CREATURE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DIVINE LAW
PART 3 – RESURRECTION OF CHURCH DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF WORLD
W
E SHALL NOW consider some texts which are not generally understood, but which will enable us to set forth clearly the sharp distinction between the resurrection of the Church and that of the world in general.

In I Thess. 4:14,16 the Apostle Paul mentions two classes – "those who sleep in Jesus" and "the dead in Christ." Our Lord's Ransom-sacrifice accomplished on Calvary has changed the future of the Adamic race, so that they may now be said to "sleep in Jesus." The world, therefore, is not to be considered as extinct, eternally dead, but as asleep, waiting for the time foreordained of the Father, when "all that are in the graves shall hear His voice [the voice of the Son of God] and shall come forth." – John 5:28,29.

"The dead in Christ," however, is an expression applicable only to the Elect Church. The call to be baptized into Christ (the Anointed) is an offer which is restricted to the "called and chosen and faithful" Church of the Gospel Age. The Apostle is here referring to those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and later have fallen asleep in death.

But they are not to be considered dead in the same sense in which the world is dead in Adam. "The dead in Christ" are the dead, who are to have the Resurrection of the dead – the First Resurrection – the chief resurrection. The others will be of the subsequent resurrection. We are not to understand, however, that these "dead in Christ" were dead as New Creatures, but that as far as the flesh was concerned their death was fully accomplished.

The term "asleep" has been applied to both classes. Those of the world who go down into death are still in the unsatisfactory condition in which they died and will come forth in the same state, in order that they may rise from [R5108 : page 308] it. But those who now belong to Christ will experience an instantaneous resurrection, and will receive new bodies like unto the Lord's glorious body.

The Church really begin to rise from the time when they become New Creatures; and unless we begin this rising now we shall not have the change – "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," at the end of our course. (I Cor. 15:51,52.) These shall not come forth under a future judgment, or trial, but in their change will pass fully from death unto life – into the glorious reward, the Divine nature.

"THE SPIRIT RETURNS TO GOD"

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." – Eccl. 12:7.

This text has no special reference to the Church. It has a general application to all mankind as they die. There can be no question as to what is meant by the first part of the text, for human bodies have crumbled to dust for centuries. The latter part of the text is wholly misunderstood by many Christians. It has no reference to the breath or anything returning through the air to God.

The thought is this: When God created Adam, He gave him a life that would continue forever if he would be obedient. When Adam sinned God did not take away the spirit of life immediately. He allowed him to hold on to that spirit of life just as many years as he could, battling with the thorns and thistles until the "breaking of the silver cord."

Adam transmitted a portion of that spirit of life to his children, in some of whom that portion of life continued for centuries. But mankind have no right to that spirit of life; it is merely something transmitted to them by their parents. God recognizes none as having a right to live except those who are in harmony with Him – those who are perfect. Since the fall all mankind have lived without a right to live. Therefore, from the Divine standpoint the whole world is spoken of as legally dead. Every right to life from the Divine standpoint is forfeited. No one can say to God, "I have a right to live." God could say, "You have no right to live; for your first parents sinned and thus lost that right."

Adam could not give to his descendants what he had lost. When Adam died he gave up the spirit of life; that is, he no longer held that portion of life which he had held for nine hundred and thirty years. Where did that spirit of life go? It went back to God from whom it had come originally. Everything goes back to God. Adam could not say to his children, "I bequeath my life-rights to you"; for he had none. No one but God can give a right to life.

"The spirit returns to God who gave it." When one who has possessed the right to life has forfeited it, he cannot say that he has a right to life or to anything. There is no way to get life other than through Christ.

"NOT OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING"

"The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob...is not a God of the dead, but of the living." – Luke 20:37,38.

When we note the context we see that our Lord was combatting the theory of the Sadducees, and proving that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob would have a resurrection. Jesus said, "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (Luke 20:37.) If they were dead in the sense [R5108 : page 309] that the beast is dead, God would never have spoken of them in this manner. They had come into accord with God, and He spoke of them in harmony with the general Plan. St. Paul says, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust." (Acts 24:15.) The Ancient Worthies had this testimony, that they pleased God; and we know that they had the promise of a better resurrection than would have been theirs if they had not pleased God. – Heb. 11:35.

These Ancient Worthies lived in exactly the same sense that the begotten New Creatures live. Unless God raises us up from the dead there will be no resurrection. The same thing that applies to the New Creature in Christ applies to the world in general. They may think that those in the tomb are absolutely dead; but God intends that they shall have an awakening. So the Apostle speaks not only of those who are asleep in Christ, but also of those who are asleep in Jesus. Those who are asleep in Christ are those who had become New Creatures in Christ, heirs of God, partakers of the Divine nature and have passed into death. These are spoken of as "the dead in Christ" who shall rise first.

Jesus is not the Savior merely of the Church, but also the Savior of the world. (John 4:42; I John 4:14.) He is the propitiation not only for our sins, "but also for the sins of the whole world." (I John 2:2.) Therefore, those who believe this statement – that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust – speak of the whole world in exactly the same way that they speak of those who have slept in Christ.

But in the awakening, those of the world who are asleep in Jesus will have the earthly nature, and those who have slept in Christ will have the higher nature. Christ gave His life as a corresponding price for man's life. But we who have come into the Church have come under different conditions altogether from those of the world. As Jesus said, "Ye are not of the world." (John 15:19.) We are separate and distinct from the rest of the world. The Apostle tells us that our life comes from the Father – "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." – I Peter 1:3.

Does Jesus do nothing for the Church? Yes, indeed! As Advocate He imputes of His merit to the Church that we may be counted in as joint-sharers of His sacrifice, for "if we suffer [with Him], we shall also reign with Him." (2 Tim. 2:12.) This willingness to suffer is the Covenant of sacrifice that we make with our Lord. Without Him we can do nothing. We can never come up to the Divine standards as He did; but as our Advocate He makes good our deficiencies. We have the same begetting of the Holy Spirit by the same Father and we shall also share in the same Resurrection, being made conformable to His death. The Resurrection of Christ is to the Divine nature, in which we shall be "changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." – I Cor. 15:51,52.

The world will receive earthly resurrection. The Life-Giver, Jesus, will give to them all that was lost – human nature and the Edenic condition. So then, the dead world is said to be asleep, but they are to be awakened. Theirs is exactly the same kind of sleep as with us; but the Church were asleep as New Creatures and the world are not.

"GOD GIVETH IT A BODY"

"Thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him."

Here is the thought: Mankind belong to the Adamic nature. The kind of nature that God has been pleased to give to the Adamic race is earthly nature. But if we belong to the spirit nature we shall come up accordingly. If you plant corn, you will reap corn; if you plant wheat, you will reap wheat; if you plant barley, you will reap barley. So in death. If an animal body is sown, the animal body will be raised. The Church is an exception to the rule. We New Creatures are sown as animal bodies, but we have these animal bodies merely loaned to us, in which to operate. We are New Creatures, not human beings. We are sown natural bodies, we are raised spirit bodies, in the First Resurrection.

THE TWO RESURRECTIONS

"The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." – John 5:28,29., R.V.

The Divine provision is that through the obedience of One, the sins of the whole world will be atoned for, and a blessing come to every member of the Adamic race. By a man came death, and by a man comes the resurrection of the dead. (I Cor. 15:21-23.) We have two classes here; they that have done good are those who, during the present time, have heard the Gospel, and who have and use an opportunity to do good, and those who have done evil are those who have not heard and who have not, therefore, had an opportunity of doing good.

Who can be said to have done good? "There is none righteous, no, not one." (Rom. 3:10.) After having received this good Word of God we should make good use of it, enter into the School of Christ to be taught of Him, and pass through our trials and testings. These things will determine whether or not we are worthy of this high position, to attain which we have consecrated our lives.

But we shall not in this life be perfect as Jesus was – in body as well as in mind. We cannot be perfect in the flesh, as Jesus was; but Jesus had a perfect will, and we can also have a perfect will, although we may have drawbacks and hindrances in carrying out that will. But to cover our defects, we have our Advocate, in whom God has arranged that we may be accepted. The Church have had their trial in advance of the world; and if they have overcome, God has said that the verdict will be, "Well done...I will make thee ruler over many things." (Matt. 25:21.) These constitute the "good."

Who are they that have done evil? None have been perfect; not even in their minds have they come up to a standard that God can approve. They are unsatisfactory, which means unfit. When God shall have established the glorious Messianic Kingdom, then He will put all mankind under trial to see whether, during the thousand years of His Reign, the rewards and punishments [R5109 : page 309] will bring them to a proper condition of heart. At the end of the thousand years, Jesus, as Mediator, will present them to the Father for a final testing. If they pass that test, God will give them everlasting life. But those who take a thousand years to make good, will not get as high a reward as those who, by self-sacrifice, now prove their love for the Truth and die for righteousness' sake.

"HIDE ME IN THE GRAVE"

"O that Thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldst keep me secret until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me!" – Job 14:13.

This passage of Scripture refers, not to the New Creature, but to a human being. It refers to a man and not to a spirit-begotten son of God and member of Christ. Job was here speaking as one of mankind. He [R5109 : page 310] was willing to die, for life had become burdensome to him. He said, "Oh, that Thou wouldst hide me in Sheol until Thy wrath be past!" In the midst of his very severe afflictions he cried, Oh, that I might die! but do not leave me as the brute creation; only hide me in the grave until all this time of wrath and sin and curse is done away with and the New Era shall be ushered in. We can hardly believe that Job realized the meaning of what he was saying, but we should rather suppose that he was uttering words, the full import of which he did not realize.

There is no reason to suppose that when David said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol" (hell), he knew that he was speaking prophetically of the Messiah. St. Peter pointed out that these words referred, not to David, but to Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption. (Acts 2:27-31.) But Job was speaking for himself, and yet prophetically for mankind. He was a type of the world. He had lost his flocks and herds, his friends, his home, his children, his wife and even his health.

But in due time, God gave Job back just as many sons and daughters and twice as many flocks and herds, etc. In this way he was a type of the human family. Adam and his family have been lost. He was the king of the earth, but he lost his authority, and with it everything that he had. Ultimately Adam and all of his children will come back to their own – child for child. And so far as the earthly riches were concerned, he will get very much more than he ever lost. Job is a type of this Restitution.

The world is asleep from the Divine standpoint. As Job could say, "Hide me in the grave," so once a Christian could have said, "I shall be hid in the grave until the resurrection." God has made provision for the resurrection of all. But did all die alike? We answer that the Adamic family are dead in the sense that their life-rights were forfeited at the time of the fall. But God looked forward and could speak prophetically either through Job or through any one else. Job could speak as if he were not dead, taking cognizance of the fact that there will be a resurrection. The point here seems to be, Was Job's life carried over in the same sense that St. Paul's life was carried over? By no means. Job was asleep in the Adamic death; St. Paul was asleep in Christ. The one was the life of the New Creature, and the other was the life of the old creature, not begotten of the Holy Spirit to the new nature.

[R5109 : page 310]

THE LONDON AND GLASGOW CONVENTIONS

WHILE ONLY the meetings at Glasgow and London have been officially styled Conventions, yet really we have had a series of Conventions from the time we landed at Liverpool. In each place we had at least one meeting for the interested, as well as one meeting for the public. In every case the meetings for the interested were attended by friends from nearby places, and in every case the public meetings were simply splendid, the audiences ranging from five hundred to five thousand. And such attention! Evidently the message of the Lord's grace was attractive to many – and to some most precious and sweet.

The Glasgow Convention, lasting three days, registered an attendance of the interested of about eight hundred, while the public meeting ran to five thousand, with hundreds turned away. A very loving spirit was manifested by the friends. Ireland, Scotland and England were well represented. It was good to be there! It was a season of refreshment long to be remembered. Those in attendance manifestly voted it the best Convention they had ever enjoyed. The number immersed was 45.

The London Convention was held in the Tabernacle, which was crowded beyond anything in past history. Friends from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Sweden were in attendance; but of course the majority were Londoners and from the country round about. The average attendance at the meetings was about twelve hundred. We had a pleasant time. Again the friends declared that this was the best of all Conventions and again we explained to them that it should be so – that we are all growing riper as the days and weeks go by, and that in proportion to our growth in grace should be our growth in appreciation of the blessed privileges we are enjoying, co-operating with our dear Redeemer in the glorious harvest work. Eighty-five were immersed at the Tabernacle.

The work in Great Britain seems to be prospering greatly. The Class Extension feature has been appreciated and utilized. Good results are noticed. Many have been brought to a clear knowledge of the Truth, and some from a partial to a full consecration. We were greatly encouraged by our visit. The Lord has much people here, and we were pleased with the blessing which we see attending the efforts to bring them into touch with Present Truth.

[R5109 : page 310]

OUR EUROPEAN CONVENTIONS
O
UR VARIOUS STOPS in Europe were not announced as Conventions, but nevertheless they were more or less of that character, in that friends from the surrounding parts attended. Although our principal attention was given to the public meetings we greatly appreciated the opportunities of addressing those already interested. In every case we sought to leave practical lessons, and to show their relationship to the Scriptures.

We sought specially to impress the necessity for character development on the part of all hoping to share Christ's Kingdom. We emphasized the brevity of the time for so great a work, provided our understanding of God's times and seasons be correct. We freely admitted, as we have always done, that we are walking by faith and not by sight. But we pointed out that the evidences seem more and more to corroborate our expectations. At the same time we suggested that should our expectations for October, 1914, not be realized – for years thereafter – this delay would not invalidate God's Great Plan nor our faith therein. Our consecration vow calls for faithfulness, "even unto death" – whenever death may come.

Leaving London our first stop was at Denain, France. The two meetings were for the interested – the attendance being about one hundred. The brethren, mostly coal-miners, manifested a deep and intelligent interest in the Truth. We had a blessed season of rejoicing with them.

Our next stop was at Paris, where we had much pleasure in meeting and addressing the brethren, but no public meeting. Our friends considered the Trocaderro the only suitable place. It was partially promised, but afterward refused. It is under Governmental control, and its regulation forbids that it be used for religious purposes. [R5110 : page 311]

On we went to Geneva – the chief city of Switzerland – Calvin's city. In the forenoon we visited Calvin's Cathedral and tried the hard wooden seat once used by the scholarly Reformer. Its hardness reminded us of the hard doctrine of the predestination of the non-elect to eternal torture.

We visited the monument erected to Servetus by the Free Thinkers. It pictured Servetus in jail in rags pleading vainly for a change of garments, and saying, "The lice are eating me up." It was shortly after that appeal that Servetus was roasted alive at the stake for four hours, with the wood fire just far enough away not to choke or asphyxiate him – that he might suffer the most horrible death imaginable. His crime was his inability to count "three times one is one." He was too honest to profess what he could not believe.

We visited the city of Servetus' execution and saw there the new monument to him erected by Calvin's friends as a partial atonement for their leader's error. It declares that they deplore the error and repudiate the crime as dishonoring to God and man. We thank God [R5110 : page 311] that the world is progressing in the spirit of the Truth, even though more slowly in the letter of it.

Our public meeting in Victoria Hall was well attended (about 1500), notwithstanding that it was out of season, we were told. (Calvin's Cathedral had only about 300 the same day.) The attention was excellent. We will hope for results later on. The Society's office for France and Switzerland will hereafter be at Geneva. It is a good centre for whatever of the old Huguenot Protestant influence yet remains in France and Switzerland.

Mulhausen, Als., came next in our journey. Although it rained incessantly the large hall was crowded and hundreds were turned away. The audience was exceptionally intelligent and gave closest attention. Some fruitage has already appeared. More will follow, we trust.

Basle came next in our itinerary. Here also we had the best hall and many standing and hundreds turned away.

This same report fits to the succeeding places – Zurich, St. Gallen, Munich, Reichenbach and Dresden. Splendid interest was manifested both before and after the meetings. The brethren, after follow-up meetings, assure us that an awakening of thought has stirred the people as they never were stirred by religion before.

DRESDEN'S WELCOME IN VERSE

Our welcome everywhere was with deepest manifestations of Christian love. This at Dresden was emphasized by its poetic form, so feelingly expressed that it brought tears to the eyes of those who understood the German. Later we obtained a copy of the address in German and also an English translation, which herewith we present: (Translated from the German.)

[Dedicated in loving remembrance to our Dear Brother Russell on the occasion of his visit to Dresden, August 17th, 1912, by the Class at Dresden.]

Child of God, wait patiently and calmly, tho' steeper grows thy path,
Committed to His care whose grace thus far hath kept thee;
And tho' the night of trouble draweth on, with clouds both black and dense,
Follow faithfully the Lamb; the morrow will be light!

Child of God, rest fearlessly in Him whose arm securely holds;
Thou mayst trust Him as a child doth trust, because thou art His own.
And tho' the night be very long, thou art His child, be not dismayed,
Confiding in His Word, for it proclaims the light of morn.

Child of God, does His commission send thee out in all the world?
Thou shalt feel, yea, very surely, how He in His love upholds.
Proclaim in North, South, East and West the Kingdom now in sight,
And gather in what still remains of children of the Light.

Child of God, pursue thy journey, as doth a star;
And when thy plea to Heaven ascends, let us remembered be;
With thee, relying on His might, we come before His face;
No fear can trouble in the night, through which we pass to light.

The Berlin meeting for the interested (like the one at Dresden) showed a considerable gathering of the dear friends from the surrounding country – two from Russia. The hall for the public gathering held 2000, but it is estimated that 5000 were turned away. The acoustics of the hall were not the best, but a grand witness to the Truth went forth. Some of the hearers manifested great interest.

Next came Elberfeld. We had the City Hall. Every seat was filled, about 200 stood and crowds were turned away. The audience here was one of the best, if we may judge from their intelligent appearance and close attention. The Barmen-Elberfeld region is one of the most religious in Germany. And, by the way, we learn that higher criticism and the evolution theory have made great havoc with Christian faith in Germany. We have it from several that not one person in ten believes in the Bible as a Divine revelation; and our informants thought that even a personal, intelligent Creator is not believed in. If it is really half so bad it is terrible – "Without God and having no hope in the world."

Copenhagen, Denmark, was our next stop. Here we had fresh evidences of the warmth of the Danish sentiment. Our friends assembled in goodly numbers to our mutual joy. And the public meeting was a repetition of those of Germany. A crowded hall – hundreds turned away – intelligent and deep interest.

In Finland, a part of Russia, was our next appointment – at Helsingfors. Our first visit to the Finnish people was encouraging. We liked the people. Their humiliation at losing their liberty to Russia may be a blessing – working in them meekness and preparing some of them for the Truth.

Two Finnish brothers have been specially active for two years to serve the Truth to all the Truth-hungry. They have translated three volumes of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES and EVERYBODY'S PAPER for free circulation, at their own expense. Now about fifteen Colporteurs are carrying the Truth to every nook and corner of the land.

The public meeting was crowded to the capacity of the hall – 1000 – many standing; some almost in tears because they could not gain admission. Certain seats were reserved for some of the elite of the city, but the crowd climbed through the windows, etc., and no seats could be kept; and those who had tickets for reserved seats could not get near the doors long before the time for beginning the lecture.

Here we were interpreted first in Swedish and afterward in Finnish, because the population is mixed. The evidence is that God has some true children in Finland to whom his Harvest Message is now due.

SUMMARY OF THE HARVEST-WORK IN FINLAND

The work in Finland is quite new. It seems to make excellent progress. The number of Colporteurs engaged, and the fact that it is self-sustaining, speak well for the depth of interest. The following report will prove interesting:

NOVEMBER 1, 1911, TO AUGUST 1, 1912.

STUDIES IN SCRIPTURES (Colporteurs 16)......   9,792
Various booklets, TABERNACLE SHADOWS, etc...  14,087
                                              ------
                                              23,879
[R5110 : page 312]
Bibles sold.................................     215
Number of subscribers to the Finnish PEOPLES
 PULPIT.....................................     500
Volunteer Tracts............................ 185,000
Number of meetings held.....................     357
Total attendance............................  37,866
Number of miles traveled in preaching tours.   9,570
Letters and cards sent out..................     717
Letters and cards received..................     741
Total expenditures...........Mk. 18,234:03 $3,646.81
Total receipts...............Mk. 18,135:33 $3,623.07

Stockholm, Sweden, was one of our very interesting appointments. We addressed about 300 of the friends four times with great pleasure and, we trust, with profit. We also had a grand opportunity for a public witness, in the "Circus." About 1,500 were present notwithstanding it was a rainy forenoon. May God grant His blessing!

On our journey back to London we stopped at Kiel, Germany, where we had a repetition of our previous experiences – an earnest class of Bible students numbering about 30; a great crowd, and deep interest at the public meeting, and many turned from the doors with reading matter.

London got the evening before our start for Liverpool and Brooklyn. We had first a social meeting with the Elders and Deacons, and then a general meeting with the Tabernacle congregation, which was well represented. We concluded with a farewell; and, asked when we could return, we promised – "Soon as the Lord seems to indicate – possibly within six months!"

Arrived at our boat's wharf in Liverpool, we found about forty of the dear Liverpool friends waiting for us. They sang for us, "Blest be the tie that binds," and as we started – "God be with you till we meet again."

Some of the passengers afterward remarked to us the sweetness of the Farewell song! It reminded them of God and His protective power, and of human dependence on Him, especially on the mighty deep.

Our home-coming was equally pleasant. About twelve of the Brooklyn Elders met us at the pier as representatives of the class and especially of the family. And on our arrival at Bethel we had mutual felicitations, a hymn of praise to our God and a prayer of grateful thanks to Him whose mercy endureth forever.

*                         *                         *

Nothing else, perhaps, better shows that we have the Truth than does the fact that it produces the same spirit wherever it goes. From Maine to California, from Canada to Texas, from Great Britain to Japan – the spirit of God's people is the same. Why? Because ye were all baptized by one spirit into one Body – Christ.

[R5111 : page 312]

A SIGN FROM HEAVEN
– NOVEMBER 3. – MARK 8:11-26. –

"Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." – John 8:12.
T
HE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES – the leading religionists and teachers of Jesus' day – were perplexed and troubled by His success in reaching the people. True, those who heard Him gladly were chiefly of the common people, whom the Jewish teachers had come to despise, terming them "publicans and sinners," and refusing to recognize them as brethren. They considered Jesus a competitor and a successful one, and feared, not without a cause, that their own reputations as teachers were becoming tarnished because of the superiority of Jesus as a Teacher, whose "Wonderful Words of Life" touched the hearts of many.

These Pharisees came specially to find fault – "tempting" Jesus. They asked Him for "a sign from heaven." Their real purpose was to belittle the many signs He was giving the people, in the healing of the sick, etc. Ignoring all these, they said, What sign can you give us from heaven? We want a heavenly sign; give us that and we will believe on you.

In order to be able to sympathize to some extent with the chief rulers of the Jews at that time, we must remember how different were the things which Jesus was doing in proof of His Messiahship from the things which they had supposed He would do. The prophecies told many things of Messiah, but they in reading them had given special heed to those which spoke of His glory and of the power that would come to the Jewish nation, and of the blessing which the Jewish nation would ultimately bestow upon all nations, for the blessing of the world during Messiah's Kingdom. They overlooked, and did not study carefully enough or deeply enough other Scriptures of a totally different kind.

These other Scriptures tell of how Messiah would "be led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He would open not His mouth." (He would be "dumb" in the sense that He would not open His mouth to prevent His condemnation and death.) They told of how He would "preach deliverance to the captives," and the opening of the eyes of the blind, but these they associated with the glorious Kingdom rather than with the period of Messiah's being "despised and rejected of men," and of their hiding their faces from Him in shame, in disesteem.

True, they should have studied the Scriptures properly. It might be said that they were not at fault in making this mistake; in one sense that might be true. On the other hand, however, we are to remember that their difficulty really was pride of heart, and a know-it-all spirit. They lacked humility, and therefore were not teachable. The "Israelites indeed," who did accept Jesus' Message, doubtless had similar misunderstandings of the prophecies, but they were open to conviction and ready to be led and guided, and to these the Master's teachings were attractive, blessed, wonderful. They were guided gradually to the correct understanding of each feature of the Divine Plan as it became due, and thus they became ready for the Pentecostal blessing in due time, and manifested themselves as part of the Elect, which God was choosing to be the Bride of Messiah, and joint-heir in His Kingdom.

NO SIGN BUT THAT OF JONAH

Our lesson tells that Jesus sighed deeply and said, "Why doth this generation seek after a sign?" and refused to give them a sign, and departed for the other side of the Lake. Saint Matthew (16:1-4) gives a more detailed account of this question and its answer. Jesus called the attention of the Pharisees to the signs that He was giving in abundance to them, and then said that there would be one great sign given that nation; but it was not given until Calvary. That "sign" did have a great effect upon thousands of Jews, as is evidenced by the account in Acts of the thousands who were baptized on Pentecost [R5111 : page 313] Day, and subsequently, upon hearing Saint Peter's preaching respecting the death of Jesus, His three days in the tomb and His resurrection on the third day.

Jesus cited the sign of Jonah, that as he was (portions of) three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so the Son of Man would be a similar period in the earth, and as Jonah came forth, so the Son of Man would come forth.

We leave it for Higher Critics to fight out amongst themselves the proposition they raise in opposition to our Lord's statement. According to Higher Critics, Jesus and the Apostles were badly deceived, in every sense of the word; but according to Jesus and the Apostles, the Higher Critics are badly deceived. We prefer to stand by the Word of God, let who will take the "wisdom of men."

THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES

After entering the boat Jesus cautioned His disciples against the doctrine of the Pharisees – He likened it to leaven – yeast. Leaven is a ferment, which spreads, especially in dough for bread. God's Word is Truth, the bread upon which His people are to feed. But they are to use the unleavened bread – pure bread, pure Truth, unmixed with the leaven of human philosophy.

This caution was necessary because the Pharisees were apparently and really the most holy sect or party amongst the Jews. The most earnest and most zealous and most gifted Jews would therefore naturally be attracted to that sect. Its claimed association with the highest and best things made the sect and its teachings the more dangerous, because its bread, its truth, was intermingled with human traditions which would make sick and dyspeptic, and to that extent poison all the minds which received it.

The same lesson is applicable to us today; no matter how holy any denomination of Christians may claim to be and seem to be, we are to remember to beware of their "leaven," their false doctrine – to be on the lookout for it, to avoid it. It is the pure Truth of God's Word that is able to make us "wise unto salvation" and which, the Apostle says, "is sufficient, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work."

Let us all, then, as Christians of all denominations, unite our hearts and minds in full consecration to our Lord and Redeemer to do the Heavenly Father's will; and let us stand free and clear from all the "leaven" in all the various creeds, which in the past have done so much to separate the people of the Lord into six hundred denominations. We deprecate this division as more and more bearing in upon God's people everywhere, and more and more we desire to unite the earnest hearts under one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father over all, and one "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven."

"PERCEIVE YE NOT YET?"

The disciples very stupidly missed the point of Jesus' parabolic statement about the leaven of the Pharisees. They at once thought of literal leaven and literal bread, and noted that they had only one loaf with them and supposed that the Master was upbraiding them. Their mental eyes, their eyes of understanding, were not very widely open, and Jesus promptly and very plainly told them so, and apparently with a measure of chagrin, that after all the teaching He had given them they should be so slow to perceive the spirit of His words.

He reminded them of the miracle of the five thousand fed with the five loaves, and asked them how many basketfuls of fragments they collected. They answered, "Twelve." He reminded them of the other feeding of the four thousand with seven loaves, and asked them how many baskets were taken up. They answered, "Seven." He said, How, then, do you not understand that I was not finding fault with you for having only one loaf; surely, if I had the power to produce bread before, I have still that power, and could not have referred to your lack of bread.

The same thing is noticeable today amongst the Lord's people in Bible Study frequently; the spirit of our Lord's teachings is often missed altogether by some whose minds center merely around some little incidental. The remedy for this is a closer walk with God; a more careful study of the Divine Word, entering into the spirit of the Master and His work, as footstep followers. In this connection let us not forget the difficult "thorns" which another parable tells us so frequently infest the hearts and minds of God's people and hinder the Word of Truth from bringing forth its proper fruitage. The "thorns" are "the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches," Jesus said.

Arriving at Bethsaida a blind man was brought to Him with a desire that He would heal him. Jesus took him by the hand and led him out beyond the village. He spat upon his eyes and put His hands upon him and asked him if he saw anything. He looked up and said that he saw something that looked like trees moving about which he supposed to be men. Again Jesus put His hands upon his eyes and bade him look once more. He did so and saw clearly. The object in employing this method is not clear to us, but quite probably the man himself lacked faith and Jesus was gradually developing it in him. This thought is borne out by the final statement that the man looked steadily, and kept looking for some time, and then declared that he could see everything clearly. Apparently the Lord required the man to exercise his full power of will and to strive to see things.

[R5112 : page 313]

"COME AND LET US RETURN"
– NOVEMBER 10. – ISAIAH 5:7-16. –

"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that tarry late into the night, till wine inflame." – Vs. 11.
T
ODAY'S LESSON had its primary force in connection with the affairs of Natural Israel in the days of the Prophet. But when we remember that Natural Israel types Christendom we find a value in this lesson very pertinent to our time. As the Lord called Israel His vineyard so did He with Christendom. "And He looked for judgment [justice], but, behold, oppression; for righteousness [equity] and, behold, a cry" of distress. As to the national cry and the reason for it, see verse eight, which reads:

"Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" Here we perceive that a spirit of selfishness prevailed in Isaiah's day, as it does today; as then property was disposed to accumulate in the hands of the more successful, so it is today. As then landlordism took possession of vast areas, neglectful of the fact that "the earth hath the Lord given unto the children of men," and not merely to a few of them, so is it today.

Only by the most strenuous laws, and in some cases revolution, have the people maintained a hold of considerable [R5112 : page 314] portions of the earth. The French Revolution broke up the large holdings there; special laws have thrown open the lands of Ireland. In the United States large corporations have grasped immense bodies of land, some of which unlawfully seized have been restored to the people for a more equitable distribution. As in Isaiah's day, many of the wealthy seemed to ignore the rights of the people and to be indifferent to their necessities, so it is today. We are not to overlook the fact that there are many noble, generous souls amongst the rich, as well as amongst the poor; we are merely calling attention to the parallelism between the conditions in Israel and the conditions here in our day.

THEN A TIME OF TROUBLE

Divine disapproval of human hard-heartedness, selfishness and neglect of poorer brethren, and the forgetfulness of the fact that we are all children of one blood and amenable to the laws of the same Creator, brought upon the Israelites the Divine chastisements, judgments. We believe that the Scriptures with equal clearness tell of a great "time of trouble" now impending over the world, but especially over Christendom – a time particularly mentioned by Saint James, saying, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the misery that shall come upon you." – James 5:1.

This trouble is mentioned in today's study, verse 9: "The Lord of Hosts said in my hearing, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair [houses and families], without inhabitant." If we rightly appreciate what the Scriptures foresaw respecting times not far ahead of us, we will see that many of the great and rich will be in a sad plight in their country-side homes, as will be some of the poorer in the congested cities, for the time of trouble, it is declared, will be upon all. The Prophet proceeds to indicate that shortage of crops will have much to do with the trouble: "Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah."

Never before has the world been so amply fortified against all peculiarities of conditions. Drouth and famine in one part may be relieved by the surplus of another part; nevertheless, we are to remember that the entire situation is in the Divine hand, and that if a shortage of food supply should now come to pass it would indicate a Divine intention in the matter, more than at any time in the world's history.

MUSIC, REVELRY, INTOXICATION

The text given us for today's lesson comes next in our study. It implies that in the days of Isaiah's prophecy many of the rich indulged themselves in intoxicating liquors, music, revelry, etc., to their own injury as well as to the neglect of their responsibilities to God. They asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" even as Cain asked this question. By their accumulated wealth they had more than heart could wish, while others had insufficient and were needy. Their brilliancy of intellect and good fortune in life enabled them to triumph over the curse, which reads: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken." – Gen. 3:19.

But this victory gave them time, for which they were also responsible. Instead of using that time for the general blessing of their fellowmen, and their money for the general uplift of humanity, they accumulated houses and lands, etc., and drank constantly and excessively to their injury. Could they wonder that such a course would not have Divine approval? Could they wonder that all these things would bring upon them some disaster?

And how about today? is it the same? We answer, Yes and No. With many it is the same exactly, but with a considerable number of the wealthy of our day it is very different, we are glad to say. Continually we have evidences of the noble rich, as well as of the noble poor. Continually we have evidences that some of the wealthy consider their possessions as a trust from the Almighty to be used in His service, to be used for the sake of humanity, for its uplift, its comfort. Nearly every quarter of Christendom can boast of some such characters, but alas, they are comparatively few. The majority of the rich, like the majority of the poor, are selfish to the core.

It is in this direction that we are to look for the danger which the Scriptures declare to be imminent. When the selfish rich and the selfish poor shall join issue in a great struggle, as the Bible clearly declares they will do, then the world will see the time of trouble prophesied – "such as never was since there was a nation" – a time of trouble which Jesus declares will never be again, because following that great trouble, upon the ashes of the present civilization, Immanuel, Messiah, the Son of the Highest, will establish the Kingdom of God, the rule of righteousness under the whole heavens, for the blessing of all the families of the earth, the rich, the poor.

THE OPERATION OF GOD'S HANDS

God's complaint in verse 12 is that the rich in their feasting and music and selfish aggregation of wealth regarded not the work of the Lord, neither considered the operation of His hands. In applying this to our day, let it not be thought that we are objecting that the wealthy do not contribute sufficiently for the maintenance of the various denominations of Christendom.

The thought we gather is that God would have the prosperous people of our day take a broad view of His work, of humanity in general. He would have them concentrate their mental powers and force of character, not upon the personal aggregation of wealth, but upon generous schemes for the blessing and uplifting of the entire race. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof"; "He hath given it to the children of men." Ultimately, according to the Scriptures, He intends that the world as a whole is to share, upon a basis of equality, all of earth's advantages.

Thus Socialism, according to the Bible, will be the ultimate condition of the earth in which all mankind will receive a blessing. Socialists, not aware of this teaching of God's Word, these promises of the future, or if aware of them doubting them, propose to take over in the interest of all mankind the great blessings which are now in the hands of the comparatively few. To us their schemes appear dangerous, impracticable. To us it appears, as the Scriptures indicate, that failing to accomplish their benevolent designs, Socialists will become bitter anarchists, and plunge themselves and the whole world into the most awful trouble ever known.

But what an opportunity is now slipping through the fingers of some of the very wealthy – an opportunity to join in with the noblest and best of the Socialists and help to lead the masses of the people, not toward anarchy, but away from it – toward the conditions which God's Word and the principles of Justice and righteousness set before us as the proper conditions – the ideal conditions!

Among the many wealthy people of our day are some multi-millionaires, who could accomplish much for mankind, and who, indeed, have already accomplished much, and who have the wealth necessary and those hearts, we believe, are longing for an opportunity to do good; but [R5112 : page 315] doubtless the opportunity will pass unimproved; the time of trouble foretold will fall upon the race.

We must admit, in any event, that even if Socialism were established in the world it could not be maintained in any degree of perfection except by men thoroughly converted to God – men who would feel their responsibility to God and to men. In other words, what we need is the conversion of the world, not merely to an outward bowing of the knee, but to a heart-harmony with God and the principles of His righteousness.

Will this ever come? Ah, yes! The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it! But it cannot come through any power of ours. We can favor it, advocate it, and point toward it, but, individually, those who love righteousness and who see the way of the Lord are so insignificant that they cannot accomplish what they would for their fellows. "Wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until that day!" "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." – Zeph. 3:8,9. [R5113 : page 315]

In His own time, following the great time of trouble, God will humble the world. Meantime the Elect saints will be glorified, and with Messiah, as His Bride, constitute the long-promised Kingdom of God for the blessing of humanity. Then Satan shall be bound and all the good influences of righteousness and truth and knowledge shall be let loose for the blessing of the world.

"HELL HATH ENLARGED HERSELF"

The Lord tells us that because of these conditions His people are in captivity, not knowing how to help themselves, lacking knowledge, and their honorable men are famished, weak, perplexed, ignorant of the proper course; and the multitude who rely upon them are also thirsty. This is the famine elsewhere mentioned, not for bread, nor for water, but for a hearing of the Message of the Lord, the Gospel of Messiah's Kingdom, which is the very Message that all need to hear.

On account of the same conditions, "Hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure; and their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth shall descend into it." Not the hell of eternal torment taught in our various creeds is here meant, but the Bible hell, the grave, the state of death. The time of trouble approaching will mean the loss of much life; as Jesus said, "Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." – Matt. 24:22.

[R5113 : page 315]

THE WHITE STONE GIVEN THE OVERCOMERS

"To him that overcometh will I give...a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it." – Rev. 2:17.
I
N ANCIENT TIMES the Greeks and the Romans had a custom of noting and perpetuating friendship by means of a white stone. This stone was divided into halves, and each person inscribed his name on the flat surface, after which the parts of the stone were exchanged. The production of either half was sufficient to insure friendly aid, even from the descendants of those who first divided the stone. A similar custom was sometimes observed by a king, who would break a white stone into two parts, one of which he would retain and the other part give to a special ambassador. That part could be sent to the king at any time and would insure aid. Thus the divided stone became a mark of identification.

Rev. 2:17 seems to refer to this ancient custom. The white stone signifies a precious token of the Lord's love, and the new name written in the stone suggests the Bridegroom's name. The statement indicates a special acquaintance with the great King of kings, secret between Himself and the individual. The overcomers are not to be recognized merely as a class – the Bride class – but each will have the personal favor of the Lord. Of this no one will know save himself and the King. There is an individual and personal relationship between the Lord and the overcomers, who may be said to receive the mark of identification – the antitypical white stone – now, in this life.

This mark is the sealing of the Holy Spirit by which the Lord identifies the overcomers. While this is said to be a part of the final reward of the Church, yet from the very beginning of our experience we have this personal acquaintance with the Lord. The full seal of the Holy Spirit will be given in the Resurrection, when we receive the new body. Then we shall have the complete knowledge of the name by which we shall be known to the Lord and He to us forever.

"THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH"
I came and saw, and hoped to conquer,
As the great Roman once had done;
His was the one hour's torrent shock of battle,
My field was harder to be won.

I came and saw, but did not conquer,
The foes were fierce, their weapons strong;
I came and saw, but yet I did not conquer,
For me the fight was sore and long.

They said the war was brief and easy,
A word, a look, would crush the throng;
To some it may have been a moment's conflict,
To me it has been sore and long.

They said the threats were coward bluster,
To brave men they could work no wrong;
So some may boast of swift and easy battle,
To me it has been sore and long.

And yet I know that I shall conquer,
Though sore and hard the fight may be;
I know, I know I shall be more than victor
Through Him who won the fight for me.

I fight, not fearful of the issue,
My victory is sure and near;
Yet not the less with hand and eye all watchful,
Grasp I my buckler and my spear.

For I must fight, if I would conquer,
'Tis not by flight that fields are won;
And I must conquer, if I would inherit
The victor's joy and crown and throne.

HORATIUS BONAR.

page 317
October 1st

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

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

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

VOL. XXXIIIOCTOBER 15No. 20
A.D. 1912 – A.M. 6041
CONTENTS
Self-Esteem's Advantages and Drawbacks 319
"Let a Man Think Soberly" 319
The Development of Faith Through Fiery Trials 320
Faith of the Angels Severely Tested 322
Persecution and Fiery Trials the Christian's Experience 323
Sufferings Resulting From Heredity Not Sufferings of Christ 324
Shrinking Back From Suffering 325
Spared in the Day of Trouble 326
The Present a Wonderful Time 327
The Great Question 327
"What Shall It Profit a Man?" 328
The Kingdom in Tableau 329
"Tell No Man the Vision" 329
Interesting Letters 330
Questions Respecting Class Discipline 330
Berean Questions in "Scripture Studies" 331

'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 318

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

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

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

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

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

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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER RUSSELL WILL BE THE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
[FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.]

ST. LOUIS, MO., OCTOBER 20

Morning rally at 10:30, and discourse for the interested at 7:30, in Recital Hall, Odeon Bldg. An opportunity for symbolic immersion will be afforded. Public address at 3 o'clock in the Odeon, Grand Ave.

PITTSBURG, PA., OCTOBER 21
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., OCTOBER 27

Morning rally at 10:30 and afternoon discourse for the interested in the Metropolitan School of Music, Pennsylvania and North Sts. Public session in The Murat, Massachusetts Ave. and North St., at 7:45 p.m.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., NOVEMBER 3

Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In conjunction with this meeting an opportunity will be given for symbolic baptism in water. Robes, etc., will be provided. Any desiring to make use of this opportunity will please give us timely notice. The evening Question Meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Topic, "ARMAGEDDON."

OTTAWA, ONT., NOVEMBER 10

Public Discourse at 3 p.m. in the Russell Theatre. [R5121 : page 318]

CAN YOU ASSIST IN THIS?

All over the United States "Registry Voters Lists" are being prepared. We have use for such of these lists as cover Rural Routes amongst intelligent farmers. Send us such, please, but no others. We desire to send to such addresses some free literature to assist them toward the light. But this method is too expensive except for exceptionally desirable lists. If lists sent represent Swedes or Germans principally please so indicate on the margin.

BETHEL HYMNS FOR NOVEMBER

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 November follow:

(1) 1; (2) 164; (3) 151; (4) 273; (5) 313; (6) 109; (7) 145; (8) 305; (9) 94; (10) 78; (11) 204; (12) 130; (13) 87; (14) 107; (15) 96; (16) 307; (17) 325; (18) 293; (19) 4; (20) 299; (21) 165; (22) 312; (23) 265; (24) 110; (25) 14; (26) 10; (27) vow; (28) 168; (29) 250; (30) 38.

[R5113 : page 319]

SELF-ESTEEM'S ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS

W
HOEVER WILL CAREFULLY study the matter we believe will agree that a moderate amount of self-esteem is a great aid to success in the present life. It gives a self-confidence in respect to all of life's affairs, great and small. It impels its possessor to do and to dare to the full extent of his ability – if caution be lacking it may lead on to disastrous folly. But the lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, has held back thousands who otherwise might have been brilliant leaders in the path of progress.

Having pointed out some of the advantages of reasonable self-confidence we should point out some of the disadvantages of over-confidence – too great self-esteem. Its arrogance, its pride, its snobbishness, are disgusting and continually interfere with the progress of the unfortunate possessor. He never learns except by bitter experiences, because he always thinks he knows, and exposes his ignorance.

Some of the best people, the saintly, have small self-esteem, depreciate their own talents and exaggerate their own blemishes. Their humbleness of mind is a blessing when it leads them to God – to the Throne of Heavenly grace for forgiveness and for grace to help in every time of need. As between too much and too little self-esteem, therefore, our choice should be the latter.

"LET A MAN THINK SOBERLY"

Whether born with too much or with too little self-esteem, those who come into God's family are put into the School of Christ to be taught, corrected – made right, in harmony with Divine standards. Those naturally self-conceited must learn meekness – by instructions if they will – otherwise by experiences. And they should learn to rejoice even in humiliating experiences. They are evidences that God's providence is supervising their affairs and preparing them for the Kingdom; for without meekness and humility none will be fit for it.

As the self-conceited must learn humbly to trust God and not rely on themselves and thus secure balance, so the naturally self-depreciative must learn a lesson of confidence. Not self-confidence, not self-reliance is the most desirable, but rather confidence in God and reliance upon His promised "grace to help in every time of need." This maintains the desirable humility and meekness, yet gives the courage and force suggested by the Apostle's words: "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13.) As St. Paul again declares, "Our sufficiency is of God!"

Thus inspired by faith in God and in His promises those "taught of God" become marvelously "strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." (Eph. 6:10.) The righteous is strong as a lion, saying, "I will not fear what man may do unto me." (Psa. 118:6.) I will not heed what man may say of me or do to me. So long as I have the Almighty Creator for my Father and the Redeemer for my elder Brother I shall be content, relying on their "exceeding great and precious promises."

Thus, whether by nature self-conceited or humble, God's Word and providences in Christ tend to bring all followers of Christ to oneness of heart and mind. The one is humbled, the other exalted. Both learn not to trust [R5114 : page 319] in self or the arm of flesh, but in Him who is able to do for them exceedingly, abundantly, more than they could ask or think, according to the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here note the Apostle's exhortation that a man "think of himself not more highly than he ought, but think soberly," according to the measure of God's grace bestowed on him. (Rom. 12:3.) If any man has received none of God's grace, favor, mercy, forgiveness, surely it is not because he did not need it. Let him therefore feel his poverty without it. If any man has received much of God's grace it was because he needed it. He therefore may boast, but not of himself. His boast may well be in God who is thus working in him "to will and to do of His good pleasure." – Phil. 2:13.

LACK OF SELF-APPRECIATION

This deficiency operates in many ways not generally suspected. Many a man is a beggar or a thief simply because of a lack of self-appreciation. He thinks, I am nobody – and everybody knows it. He hangs his head in self-shame. He has a guilty look without having committed crime. He is treated according to his estimate of himself as expressed in his acts and looks, all of which reflect unconsciously his mental picture of himself.

When some, measuring him by his looks, declare: You are a mean man, a rascal, a thief, a scoundrel; I can see it – I can read you through and through! the effect is to thoroughly discourage him. Accepting the rating of his own brain and its reflection in the words of others he becomes rascal, scoundrel, thief. Few there are of benevolent heart to see the trouble of this class and sympathetically to give an encouraging word – to turn the scale and help bring forward the better qualities of the mind and heart.

It is here that the Gospel of Jesus does for such what nothing else could do. The Master's voice rings out in [R5114 : page 320] contrast with all other voices saying: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and discouraged; I will give you rest. Ye shall find rest unto your souls!

Ah, the change! The discouraged one says, Then I am not beyond hope; not so mean, not so degraded that Jesus would pass me by. The very suggestion inspires new hope. If followed, it leads on and on to the riches of God's grace provided in Christ for the penitent, the willing, the obedient.

By the time such a man receives the begetting of the Holy Spirit and is able to cry, "Abba, Father!" old things pass away and all things become new. However, his fleshly weaknesses and unworthiness may still continually cry, You are unworthy; however, still in humility, he may acknowledge this with groans and tears, he is not cast down! He has God's assurance that he is a New Creature in Christ, whose perfect spirit body awaits him in the First Resurrection. He has the assurance that God knows of his fleshly weaknesses, and has made provision for his forgiveness through Christ, the Advocate. He has the assurance that it is not the flesh that God expects to perfect, but the New Creature, the heart, the will. He has the assurance that he is a son of God and a joint-heir with Christ in His great Messianic Kingdom, which soon is to bless the world. He has the assurance that all present trials of faith and patience and loyalty to God, to the Truth and to the brethren are permitted to test his heart-loyalty, without which he could not be a joint-heir in Messiah's Kingdom. These Divine assurances make strong the weak and give courage not only in respect to the future life, but also in the affairs of the present. No wonder the Bible speaks of the followers of Christ as transformed and mind-renewed!Rom. 12:2.

IN RESPECT TO PHYSICAL HEALTH

It may surprise some to learn that lack of self-confidence affects physical health as well as morals. Physiologists are agreed that the mind has much to do with the operation of all the human functions. The man deficient in self-esteem not only feels mean in respect to other affairs of life, but he lacks physical tone, snap, energy, so necessary to our best success in any avenue of life. How hope, joy, peace, content can affect the liver, spleen and stomach none can explain; but the fact is conceded. How despair and hopelessness can and do affect not only the various functions of the brain but the heart, stomach, liver, gall, etc., we cannot explain; but the fact is conceded.

The person lacking self-esteem is disgusted with himself and ready to imagine any disease, and is proportionately predisposed to diseases.

Wisely, therefore, physicians and philosophers are advising people to hold up their heads; not to become discouraged; not to imagine every sensation a symptom of a dangerous disease. This salutary advice is good for such: to look on the brighter side of life; to think of being strong – to imagine themselves strong, healthy, happy, and to feel and to be as nearly perfect as their imperfect minds and bodies will permit. This anti-bilious view of life is sure to bring encouragement and blessing to some.

But nothing will so thoroughly offset the burdens of life as the grace of God. Whoever receives the "wedding garment" no longer is so overwhelmed by the appearance of the filthy rags of his own unrighteousness. Whoever realizes that as a son of God and follower of the Savior he is an ambassador for God has no time specially to pamper and coddle his flesh, nor to make its care his paramount thought. He must be about his Heavenly Father's business! He must make use of his ambassadorship! He must "show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!"

The effect of these new ambitions, hopes, aims, upon his physical health is often marvelous. It serves as a spiritual nerve-tonic. It stimulates the mortal to service Divine. The new mind does not suggest carelessness of the mortal body – nor yet carefulness, except to the extent that necessary care may obtain the larger results to God's glory from the consumption of the human energies. Hence, as St. Paul says, "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is as well as of that which is to come." – I Tim. 4:8.

[R5114 : page 320]

THE DEVELOPMENT OF FAITH THROUGH FIERY TRIALS

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." – 1 Pet. 1:7.
F
AITH MAY BE said to have in it the two elements of intellectual assurance and heart-reliance. Both the head and the heart – the intellect and the affections – are necessary to the faith without which it is impossible to please God. With some, faith is all emotion; with others, it is all intellectuality. But neither of these elements alone can withstand the fiery tests to which faith is subjected. Both must be present and remain, if our faith be that which will endure to the end and be found unto praise, honor and glory at the appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The trial of our faith to which our Lord and the Apostles refer is a trial, not only of our intellectual knowledge of Divine Truth, but also of our heart-reliance upon God. In both respects, the true child of God will find himself severely tried. Let him see to it that he has a "Thus saith the Lord" for every item of his belief. Let him study the doctrine and get a clear understanding of every element of the Truth. Let him become rooted, grounded, settled and established in the doctrines of God, and give earnest heed lest at any time he let them slip. – Heb. 2:1.

When he has his faith well grounded in the fundamental principles of Divine Truth, let every consecrated child of God see to it that he also continue to cultivate heart-reliance in the "great and precious promises." St. Peter tells us that a faith which has stood the tests of fiery ordeal and has come off victorious is very precious in the sight of the Heavenly Father. Whenever we pass through a fiery trial and still retain, not only our faith in the doctrines, but also our confidence in God, our reliance in His promises, our integrity of heart and purpose, and our zeal for Truth and righteousness, then our characters have grown more Christ-like and hence more pleasing to God, who subjects us to discipline for this very purpose.

St. Peter intimates in our text that the faith of those called throughout the Gospel Age will receive a severe testing. He says, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." In the present [R5115 : page 321] time, when gold is comparatively a rare metal, it has a special value. Therefore, the Apostle compares it to the faith of the Little Flock, to whom alone, of all humanity, will be given the glory, honor and immortality promised to those who overcome.

Hence the trial of the faith of this class is very important. None will be admitted to membership in the Body of Christ who has not been tested and proved by the Lord. But let us remember that our testing is not to see whether we are perfect according to the flesh. On the contrary, God knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. – Psa. 103:14.

What God is seeking in us is the development and perfection of faith. We are tested to see whether we believe in Him as a faithful, wise, loving and true God; and in His Son as our Redeemer, who purchased us with His own precious blood, and as our Advocate, who now covers our blemishes, past, present and future, with the Robe of His imputed Righteousness. These are the elements of faith which He will test thoroughly and which must grow stronger as time goes by. Without strong, well-tested faith in God and His promises, we cannot please Him and become members of the Elect class which He is now selecting.

THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH FAITH IS TRIED

The trial of our faith is not left to chance. It is supervised by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who is represented by the Prophet Malachi as a refiner and purifier of gold and of silver, that He may purify the antitypical House of Levi, and separate the dross from the precious metal. (Mal. 3:3.) In one sense of the word, He came as that refiner at the First Advent. During the entire Gospel Age, He has been doing the refining work in His people, that the offering to the Father might be an acceptable one.

First of all, our Lord laid down His life in fulfilment of the types of the Law, thus demonstrating His absolute trust, loyalty, and faith in God. The Church of Christ must be similarly tested and proved in respect to their obedience, trust, loyalty to the Father. They must be willing, not only to trust God when things are favorable, but to trust in His providences when they cannot see the outcome. To attain this degree of faith, they must pass through manifold trials and testings, that they may demonstrate their faith and loyalty.

During the Gospel Age a peculiar, special and called-out class is being dealt with. We can see that God is not dealing with the world, but allows it to "lie in the Wicked One." (I John 5:19, Diaglott.) St. Paul tells us that during those times when the people were in ignorance, God paid no particular attention to their conduct, except when it went to an extreme. (Acts 17:30.) But during the next Age, whoever does not repent when he hears the Gospel will make no advancement; but will, in conjunction with the Divine Plan, have punishments, stripes, for anything that he knowingly does that is wrong. This Gospel Age, however, is for the development of a specially called-out class – a people for a purpose – the Church of Christ.

The question naturally arises, Why should God test faith rather than works? The answer is that all kinds of works are dependent upon the ability of the worker, and that the whole race of Adam has become unable to do perfect works, on account of the fall of their first parents. None can be perfectly just, perfectly wise, perfectly loving; to be so in our present imperfect condition is impossible.

Therefore, in His Wisdom and Love, God avoids making His test along those lines in which we are absolutely incompetent, and makes it along the line of faith – in His Wisdom, His Love and His promises. To doubt any of these would be to weaken the basis of our hope. We realize that we are in a fallen condition, that we are dying like the remainder of the race. We have heard through the Word of God that He has provided a Savior, but we see that things continue much as they were, despite all that God and Christ have done. Our faith, however, assures us that God, who knows the end from the beginning, is working all things according to the counsel of His own will and that in due time He will establish righteousness in the earth. – Eph. 1:11; Psa. 72:1-7.

The language of one without faith would be, "I cannot see that God or Christ is accomplishing anything for the world. Man now learns to control himself better than did his ancestors and so he does not fight as did the savages of old, but uses more modern weapons. He builds hospitals and insane asylums; in this way he gets the sick and the insane off his hands and so has more time to devote to business." Present conditions have a strong influence upon the world. Very much depends upon how we look at a matter.

TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS INTEGRAL PARTS OF CHARACTER

From the standpoint of faith we see that Christ has come into the world and during the Gospel Age has been carrying on the work of selecting the Church, which is His Body, and that from these a light has shone out into the surrounding darkness, which has been more or less dispelled by it. The light of the Holy Spirit, shed abroad by the example of many Christian lives, exerts an influence today, and many have a veneer of politeness which may be mistaken for the fruits of the Spirit of God. But the outward conduct alone is not evidence of acceptable heart condition. God desires that truth and righteousness shall become integral parts of our characters and that the principle of Love shall dominate in everything. This development of character we do not find among all who profess the name of Christ.

Our faith, looking out into the world, asks of the Lord, "When will the promised time come in which Thy will shall be done on earth as in heaven?" The Scriptures reply that the glorious time for the blessing of the world will not come until the Church shall have passed into glory; that Messiah will then reign for a thousand years in order to put down sin and opposition to Divine arrangements and to uplift those who desire to come into harmony with God; and that in order to accomplish this work He will establish a government based upon the principles of righteousness. By faith we accept this answer, and await God's due time for the blessing of all mankind.

Meantime, we will not permit ourselves to drift into unbelief while we delude ourselves with the thought that we or others are accomplishing something through "social uplift." We are glad to see efforts put forth to help the unfortunate; but we perceive that there is a force at work in the world that prevents success along this line. Present methods will not eradicate selfishness from the human heart; and until this is accomplished, God's will cannot be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

To bring about this desired result, the Kingdom of Heaven is soon to be established, according to the Word of God. If, while waiting for His due time to arrive, we participate in worldly ambitions and endeavors, our faith will become vague and perhaps die. Although the good that we may do will be in conflict with the darkness around us, nevertheless, it should always be shining forth [R5115 : page 322] in our words and in our conduct as the result of the glorious hopes that inspire our lives.

Faith is a quality possessed by all whom God is calling to membership in the Body of Christ, and the appeal of the Scriptures is only to those who have some faith and who are determined to increase it. When we begin our course as Christians, we have comparatively little faith, and it must be developed; our Christian experience is for the purpose of faith development. As St. Peter suggests, our faith, which is on trial, is much more precious than gold, although the gold be tried by fire. The exercise of faith tends to its development, and so our Father gives us numerous trials to test its strength.

THE FAITH OF THE ANGELS SEVERELY TESTED

God purposely permits us to be subject to manifold temptations for the testing of our faith, which is necessary because of the outcome of the trial. We may suppose that prior to the existence of man the angels had no such trials of faith and patience as the Church has had, for the angels saw God and knew of His works. Nevertheless, God has been pleased to give them a test of faith, which has continued during all of man's experience.

The primary cause of Satan's deflection, which resulted in his rebellion, was that he lost his faith in God. He formed the idea that he could manage the Universe better than could the Almighty, and thought to secure to himself a little corner where he could show how affairs should be carried on. He succeeded in getting control of our first parents, only to find that, instead of bringing a blessing, he had brought upon the human family the curse of death – the penalty of sin – and all the misery and crime now on the pages of history.

Satan's career became a very important test to the angels. Believing that God had all power, they did not understand why He would permit Satan to pursue so evil a course. They would have restrained the Adversary altogether. So when they saw evil going on unrestrained for centuries, some of them also evidently lost their faith. Thus came about the conditions mentioned in the sixth chapter of Genesis, when some of the angels preferred to materialize and live in human conditions. This was in violation of the Divine arrangement, and was the result of their loss of faith in God's Wisdom and Power. They had seen what Satan had done, although he had not succeeded in doing anything great; and their sentiment was, "Apparently God does not control affairs so completely as we have thought." – Gen. 6:1-4; 2 Pet. 2:4,5; Jude 6,7.

Thus we see that God tested the faith of the holy angels, especially when we understand that the evil conditions [R5116 : page 322] prevailing before the flood have continued to some extent. The holy angels had occasion to doubt, to fear respecting God's Wisdom, Love and Power. Thus they were all thoroughly tested – more so than humanity; for they saw all that there was to be seen. We admit that there are a great many things that we do not know and cannot see, but the angels have apparently a much wider scope of knowledge. Thus the test of their faith was much greater than is ours.

God tested the faith of the angels because He wished to know which of them had that absolute confidence which would enable them to trust Him, whether it seemed that He had or had not the power to control affairs. The lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin was both wise and necessary. Had the fall of man resulted in the everlasting torture of even a small proportion of the human family, we could not think that God was either wise or just in permitting this test to come upon His creatures.

For more than four thousand years God permitted mankind to go down into death. Then came a manifestation of His Love when He provided for their redemption; and a still further manifestation of His Power will be given in the next Age, when they will be raised from the dead. Furthermore, in the Bride class He is making a special illustration, both to angels and to men, of His Love for those who manifest heart-loyalty to Him, and of His willingness to lift those faithful few far above the angels and even to make them "partakers of the Divine nature." We see, then, that in God's dealings with the angels He had respect to their faith.

FAITH PROPORTIONATE TO KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S CHARACTER

The Scriptures say that "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Heb. 11:6.) If one lose his faith, there is no telling whither he may wander. The Apostle Peter's argument is that this special class who are being selected for exaltation to the Divine nature, must expect to have their faith tested, and that this testing is most important from the Divine point of view. If they have faith, it will control all of their affairs. – Compare Heb. 11:1,6.

Our faith will be in proportion to our knowledge of the character of God. We shall find, upon observation, that in proportion to our faith we can endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Since our test is for so brief a time – a few years – it must of necessity be a very severe, a crucial one. God is subjecting our faith to a great heat in order to separate the dross. If we had not the faith, we might fear to take the steps which would bring us into this crucial position. Fear would lead us to decline to take the course that God indicates to be His will. Without faith we would shrink from the fiery trials, the heated furnace. If we have not the faith to stand the trials, then we are not of the kind for whom God is at the present time looking.

If we appreciate this matter, we shall see that "without faith it is impossible to please God"; and that confidence in Him will lead us to weigh His words of precious promise. These promises will make clear to us the reason why these testings are upon us, and will enable us to appreciate our testings as marks of His love for us. The Lord would have us be "a peculiar people," tried and tested, "zealous of good works," a people for a purpose; and so He develops us through suffering.

When the world is on trial during the Millennial Age, knowledge will have come in, and there will be less opportunity for the exercise of faith. Mankind will be in much the same condition as that in which the angels now are. For a thousand years, the world will be assisted upward, and at the same time they will have opportunities of cultivating faith – heart-reliance – in God. What we now see by faith, they will actually know – that the permission of sin has been working out a great Divine test for both men and angels. Thus gradually, throughout the thousand years, their faith will be established in practically the same way that the faith of the angels is now being established. They will see and will walk by sight, while we believe the promises and so walk by faith.

There is a difference between intellectual belief and heart-reliance. The person who knows God best will trust Him most. Our Lord Jesus in His glorified position trusts the Father most perfectly at all times. But with us, whose trust is imperfect, it is different. Not until the First Resurrection shall we have perfect trust. The greater the knowledge of God's character, the greater will be the heart-reliance upon Him.

During the Millennium, as intellectual belief gives [R5116 : page 323] place to knowledge, the heart-reliance of those who are loyal to the principles of righteousness will increase proportionately. It will always be in order to trust in God. The Great Creator is the Great Upholder of the Universe; and all of His creatures will ever be recipients of His bounty. If we understand the Scriptures, the only ones who will have deathlessness will be the Lord Jesus and the Church, which is His Body. (I Cor. 15:53.) All others will have dependent lives, and so will be objects of Divine care. In order to have everlasting life, they will need to have a heart-reliance upon their Creator. The more they learn of the unchangeableness of the Divine promises and character, the greater will be their trust.

The faith of the Church will be of a higher character than is that of the angels or than will be that of the world restored. The faith of the Church will have been wrought out amidst the darkness and obscurity of this Age, which are being permitted for the very purpose of developing that faith; for the Church is called to occupy a place much higher than that of angels or men – called to be partakers of the Divine nature. – 2 Pet. 1:3,4.

When, during the Millennial Age, the world shall have learned their lessons along the lines of knowledge, God does not purpose to receive them everlastingly without a thorough test of their heart-reliance. In Rev. 20:3,7-10, we read that at the close of the thousand years, Satan shall be loosed for a little season. Mankind will then know what is right and what is wrong, for the principles of righteousness will have been implanted in their hearts. The experience with Satan will be a test of heart-reliance, of loyalty, in that God will apparently not be in control.

Then all those not in the fullest sympathy with God and His Divine Plan will be misled by this test of faith. Thus they will demonstrate their true character. Those who prove disobedient will be destroyed in the Second Death. God tells us that in the consummation every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of His Name, and that every creature in Heaven and in earth shall give honor and praise to the Son. – Rev. 5:13.

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PERSECUTION AND FIERY TRIALS THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPERIENCE

"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." – 2 Tim. 3:12.
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ODLINESS IMPLIES a character which is actuated by principles of righteousness. In all our dealings we are either just or unjust, kind or unkind, not according to what some people may think of us, but according to the standard of righteousness found in the Scriptures. Therefore, in order to develop that character which is pleasing to God, we should in every detail of life consider carefully what is right and what is wrong, according to that standard. This course is Scripturally termed meditating in God's Law. When we reach that development of character in which thought, word and deed are measured by the principles of righteousness, we shall have attained godlikeness. – Psa. 119:97.

What the Lord desires to see in His people is not merely an outward manifestation of devotion to Him and to His brethren, but a development of love in our hearts and our dispositions. If we profess to love one another and yet pursue a course of self-seeking, wherein do we manifest love? So St. John admonishes to love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. – I John 3:18.

Primarily, the godly are those who are in Christ Jesus, members of His Mystical Body, having presented their human bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of the great Advocate. Secondly, the term godly includes those who live righteously, in sympathy with Christ Jesus, even though they may not live up to the full standard which the Lord has set, because they shrink from the suffering that results from godly living. Thirdly, the term godly includes some in the remote past, who, believing in the promise of the Lord that the "Seed" should some day come, separated themselves from the rest of the world and, having obtained new aims, new ideas, were out of touch with the remainder of the race because of having a different standard. – Heb. 11:13-16.

The Ancient Worthies composed this third class, who had a share in the suffering of the godly and a participation also in the blessing. Moses, for example, preferred to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to participate in the honors of the Egyptian Government. Although adopted into the family of Pharaoh, he had [R5117 : page 323] respect to the promise that the Messiah would come. Hence he suffered on account of his faith in the promise. So all the patriarchs desired to be in harmony with God, in accordance with His promise made to Abraham, and because of belief in that promise they suffered more or less persecution. – Heb. 11:24-26;36-38.

Some one may ask, "Why should the godly suffer?" The Bible answers that sin has brought the world into opposition to God. Whoever, then, would have all men speak in commendation of him would not be in harmony with the Divine arrangement, for the masses of the world are pursuing a course that the Lord does not approve. We are not saying that everything which the world does is sinful, but that the standards of God are so high that because of their fallen condition the masses of the world are not subject to the Law of God, neither, indeed, can they be, for they are carnal, sold under sin. (Rom. 8:7; 7:14,15.) Those who wish to have influence with the world must cater to popular prejudices. On the contrary, those who would be God's people must be loyal to the principles of righteousness and consequently must go in the opposite direction to that of the world. Hence they are opposed by the world.

From the standpoint of God the course of the world is sinful. There is a tendency in our flesh to go with the world, who are laboring under false views of various kinds, because that course is in sympathy with the desires of our own fallen flesh. Hence to live godly is to live in opposition to the course of the world and of our own flesh. This would include not only living uprightly and avoiding sin, etc., but also the making of sacrifices as well, where principles are not involved. We are to beware, however, lest we be deceived along this line. Not only are we contending with the world, but we are wrestling with wicked spirits in high positions. – Eph. 6:12.

ILLUSTRATION OF SATAN'S DEVICES

Sometimes Satan's arts seem to be employed to get those who are trying to live godly into contention with each other. One of his devices is to make unimportant things seem important, and in this way to make people think that they are contending for righteousness' sake, and that the sufferings that they bring on themselves in this manner are for righteousness' sake. Another device is to deceive people into "busy-bodying in other men's [R5117 : page 324] matters." (I Peter 4:15.) It behooves us, therefore, as the Lord's people, not to try to straighten out all the affairs of the Church or of the world, and not to get into conflict with the brethren. They, like ourselves, are laboring to counteract the influences of the world, the flesh and the Devil.

Our influence upon each other should be uplifting; we should not cause others to grieve, except where suffering is absolutely necessary. Hence the Lord's people should cultivate the fruits of the Spirit increasingly – meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. The cultivation of these fruits of the Spirit is a law in respect to the Lord's people. All who would live godly in Christ Jesus are to see to it that they are not the cause of suffering to others – especially to those of the household of faith.

SUFFERING AS A CHRISTIAN

While it is true that all who will live godly in this world will suffer to the extent to which they are out of harmony with the present evil conditions, yet the promised blessings of the Scriptures are to those who live godly in Christ Jesus, those who are Christians. Of these St. Peter says, "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed." – I Peter 4:16.

A Christian is a follower of Christ, one who has cast in his lot to suffer with Christ, that He may be also glorified with the Lord. (2 Tim. 2:12.) From the Apostle's standpoint, therefore, no one could suffer as a Christian unless he had become a Christian.

Every painful experience which our Lord had was suffering for righteousness' sake – not only the great sufferings, not only the great fight against sin, but also all the little, unpleasant experiences common to the world. Being "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26), there was no reason why He should suffer. We do not understand that the Heavenly Father has provided sufferings, trials and difficulties for the angels who are in harmony with Him. Nor do we think that Jesus, being a Son in full accord with the Father, would have suffered were it not for His Covenant of self-sacrifice. All of His sufferings were because He had come into the world to be man's Redeemer. They were all parts of His necessary experience.

The sufferings which our Lord endured were the result of His activity in the service of the Father. These were His weariness, His weakness after giving out His vitality to heal others, His bloody sweat, His ignominious buffetings, and all the reproaches, the sneers and the bitter words incurred on account of His faithfulness, to all of which He meekly and quietly submitted until His sufferings on Calvary terminated His human existence.

SUFFERINGS RESULTING FROM HEREDITY, NOT SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

There is no question that suffering in general is not suffering with Christ, but with Adam. Our physical infirmities which are of heredity, are not sufferings of Christ. Rather we should speak of the sufferings of Christ as being voluntary and not involuntary. When the Apostle says that if we suffer with the Lord we shall also reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12), he means the suffering which we bring on ourselves through faithfulness to our Covenant. St. Paul speaks of filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His Body's sake, which is the Church. (Col. 1:24.) These experiences are not for Adam's sake.

In St. Paul's own case he had, we believe, weak eyes as a result of his wrong course in persecuting the Church; and that wrong course was, no doubt, largely the result of heredity. When the Apostle speaks of the sufferings he endured on account of his eyes, he does not speak of them as the sufferings of Christ, but says that his affliction was a messenger of Satan to buffet him. (2 Cor. 12:7.) We might then say that all physical sufferings resulting from heredity are ministers of Satan opposing us, causing us much difficulty. However, we believe that the Lord is pleased with us if we resist these ministers of Satan.

If we should think of all our physical pains and aches as sufferings for Christ, then we should be obliged to think of our mental defects also as sufferings for Christ. For instance, a man who had a disabled hand might have a comparatively even temper; another might have a perverse temper, leading him into trouble, leading him to busybody in other men's matters, etc. Thus his disposition causes him to suffer as a busybody and not for Christ. St. Paul tells us that our defects in character are works of the fallen flesh. (Gal. 5:19-21.) If the sufferings that come to us because of imperfect mental conditions are sufferings of heredity, the physical sufferings which result from imperfect physical conditions, cannot be counted as sufferings for Christ.

In the case of a Christian, inherited weaknesses and those brought upon himself by the violation of the laws of God previous to his entrance into the family of God as a son, while not sufferings with Christ, will be made advantageous to him. These weaknesses our Father sees fit to leave with us, but assures us that His grace will be sufficient for us. (2 Cor. 12:9.) While the realization of such care for our interests is humiliating in that it forces conviction of our weakness, yet it is refreshing and inspiring in that it proves our Father's love for us. "The Father Himself loveth you." – John 16:27.

SUFFERING TURNED TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE NEW CREATURE

But when one has undertaken to follow in the footsteps of Christ and has been begotten as a New Creature, whatever affliction that New Creature undergoes because of following the Lord, is suffering as a Christian; and whatever our experiences in suffering may be, these are not necessarily the portion of the sons of God, for the angels do not suffer; but He permits the Church to have them in order to develop and crystallize character. If we rejoice that we are found worthy to share in the sufferings of the present time, every trial will be turned to advantage as a part of our Christian experience. "They are not of the world." (John 17:16.) Therefore all of our experiences must be regarded as Christian, for correction in righteousness and for educational purposes.

But this is taking a broader, deeper view than ordinary. Certainly a Christian is not to be ashamed of what he may suffer because of his loyalty to the Lord, to the Truth and to the brethren. In these sufferings he is to glorify God and to be thankful for them. He is to be glad for the opportunity of enduring something, to show not only the Lord, but himself also that he has endured something for Christ's sake. Every sacrifice that we make is for the purpose of suffering as a Christian, and we are not to be ashamed so to suffer. – I Peter 4:16.

SUFFERING FOR CONSCIENCE NOT ALWAYS SUFFERING FOR CHRIST

There are others who suffer more or less as Christians suffer, but they are suffering from a worldly standpoint. People sometimes say, "This worldly man has his trials and sufferings, and shows such patience, such resignation, that surely he is suffering as a Christian." But we do not [R5118 : page 325] understand that anyone can suffer as a Christian unless he takes the steps necessary to make him a Christian. We are to view matters from God's standpoint. Doubtless many have suffered as Christians from a human viewpoint who were not Christians. In the Dark Ages many were put to death for the sake of principle. In our own day there are people who give no evidence of being Christians, but who would rather die than have the Bible taken out of the public schools. Although they do not understand the Bible, yet if these were times of persecution, many would die at the stake in order to keep the Bible in the public schools.

We cannot always tell whether suffering is for Christ's sake. But where people have suffered for conscience' sake, they have thus cultivated character, and will get a blessing in the next Age for that suffering. At present there is only the one door into membership in the Body of Christ – obedience even unto death. Suffering with Christ, as we have seen, is not the ordinary suffering common to all in the fallen state, but only such experiences as are the result, more directly, of following Christ's example in advocating unpopular truths and in exposing popular errors. Such were the causes of the sufferings of Christ; and such will be the causes of suffering, persecution and loss to all who follow in His footsteps. Such will have fellowship in His sufferings now, and in the end will be counted worthy to share in the reward given for faithfulness to principle.

Throughout the Gospel Age this course has meant self-sacrificing labor and endurance of reproach in the sowing and watering of Christ's doctrines. Now, in the end of the Age, it means a similar fidelity and endurance in the Harvest work now in progress – faithfulness even to the laying down of life itself, whether it be required by the gradual process of working it out in the Master's service, a dying daily, or by being brought more abruptly to a martyr's death.

SHRINKING BACK FROM SUFFERING

Our Lord forewarns us that in the end of the Gospel Age, many who have a love for Christ will allow their love to grow cold because of the iniquity and sin in the world. (Matt. 24:12.) It will be a test for such to decide whether they will follow the Lord in self-sacrifice as His disciples or whether they will partake of the worldly spirit. We see this test in operation now. A great many people who name the name of Christ, who really love the Lord, who appreciate much of His character, who would like to see the right prosper, nevertheless have no thought of making a spectacle of themselves before men. They would like to do right, to walk honorably, and to have the favor of men as good citizens. But as to being warm and faithful followers of the Lord – through "evil report and good report" (2 Cor. 6:8) – their faith and zeal are not sufficient to endure the test.

The Lord Jesus gives us the invitation to become joint-heirs with Him. He has very clearly informed us that to follow in His steps will mean trials and difficulties in the flesh. He says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John 16:33.) St. Paul repeats the sentiment, saying, "We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God"; and again in our text he emphasizes the thought, saying, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12.) There is no other way to enter the Kingdom than by self-sacrifice, deadening of the flesh, mortifying it. In proportion as the New Creature grows, the old creature perishes, until the sacrifice shall have been completed in death.

The Lord's people should thoroughly understand the terms and conditions upon which they have been called. They should therefore not think it strange when trials come upon them, no matter how fiery, no matter how severe. The Apostle Peter lovingly counsels the Church: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." (I Peter 4:12-14.) The Lord is to be not only the Instructor, but also the Refiner to purge out the dross, that we may be made ready to share with Christ in the Kingdom of "glory, honor and immortality." – Rom. 2:7.

TRIALS FROM FALSE BRETHREN

The Scriptures plainly teach that special trials may be expected in the Church, amongst the brethren. And we find it to be true that our severest trials come not from without, but, as the Apostle in substance says, "From among yourselves shall arise false brethren," to injure the flock in general through personal ambition. (Acts 20:30.) This becomes a test not only to the Church, but to all those who are in contact with us, for if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. – I Cor. 12:26.

We are not, therefore, to think it strange if there are trials and difficulties, and if more or less dispute arise in the Church. We are to cultivate gentleness, meekness, patience, loving-kindness toward all. Nevertheless, if a dispute arise amongst the Lord's people, we are to recognize that such things are unavoidable amongst those who have the Truth. Our heads are imperfect, and consequently it requires some time to come into line with the teachings of the Lord's Word. Even disputation makes life an activity, and is better than a dead condition – not to care what is spoken or not spoken. Nevertheless, those who have zeal should be careful that they manifest the Spirit of the Lord, as above indicated – gentleness, patience, meekness, brotherly kindness, love, humility.

Think it not strange that there are fiery trials amongst yourselves, arising from one cause or another, that will make it particularly severe for you. Those among whom you are thrown in contact will cause you suffering, because of your zeal and their misunderstanding, their imperfection, etc. Similarly, you may be a cause of trial to others. All of these fiery trials will work out good for you. It is far better to be amongst those who are fervent in spirit than to take a place amongst those who are lukewarm and thus lose the privilege of being one of those who are footstep followers of Christ. Perhaps those who are lukewarm will, in the Time of Trouble, learn a lesson. But the Little Flock are to learn their lesson in the present time – allowing the experiences of life to work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. – 2 Cor. 4:17.

Our knowledge of God is limited; yet it is only what we should expect of the Heavenly Father, that any whom He accepts as His children will have Divine love and care in the supervision of their affairs, which will make all things work for good to them. Since the Lord is our Shepherd, no one is able to pluck us out of His hands. (John 10:28,29.) We are as dear to Him as the apple of His eye. He that began a good work in us is able to complete it is in the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6.) So the more faith we have the more we appreciate [R5118 : page 326] the text, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28.) This includes even the things that seem to be very contrary, very evil, very disadvantageous.

Our Lord said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent." (John 17:3.) To know the Father means to be in fellowship with Him, to have an intimate acquaintance with Him. Experience corroborates this fact. The more obedient we are as children the more intimate is our acquaintance with Him. And if we are unfaithful, even for a little space, we shall fail to make development along spiritual lines. But in proportion as we are seeking to walk in His ways, we become intimate with Him in the particular sense in which a child knows his father. This knowledge gives us the trust that He cares for us as His children, and makes all things work together for good to us. – Rom. 8:28; I John 1:6,7.

CO-OPERATION WITH GOD TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY

We note, however, that St. Paul says that all things work together for good, not for best. God has something to do in the way of His choice of His reward and of our possibilities. The angels of God, however obedient to Him, could not become archangels nor cherubim. Their obedience brings their highest welfare on their own plane. So with us. We cannot get the best for the reason that He has already given it to Jesus Christ, whom He has set next to Himself at His right hand in power and glory and honor. – I Peter 3:22.

Again, this promise is not a guarantee that all things in life will work together for the very best to us as though we had neither will nor choice in the matter. We should not say, "I positively resign myself; the Lord has said that all things will work together for the best, and if I miss opportunities in the service I shall say, 'Oh, well, it is all for the best.'" Thus to think would be a mistake, for it is evidently not at all the thought.

After we have become New Creatures in Christ and children of God, He leaves us with a certain amount of choice. It is very largely in our own control what we shall do, whether we shall make progress or stand still or go backward. We cannot say that if one had lost the High Calling his experiences would be the very best possible; and that if he went into the Second Death, his fate was the best. But we can say that this Scripture means that God stands ready to give us the best that He may have under the terms and conditions of the Covenant which He has made with us.

Ours is a Covenant of sacrifice. There are certain laws and principles which are not to be broken. Along these lines the Lord Jesus tells us that the Father will appoint those next to the Lord who have demonstrated most of the Spirit of the Redeemer. He will not put anyone in such a position or into the Kingdom arbitrarily. His Character, His Words, stand pledged that He will [R5119 : page 326] make the best of us that He is able to do, while at the same time recognizing our wills as paramount.

Jehovah does not seek those as His children who need to be forced. Our Lord said that the Father seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23.) We are to work to the best of our ability. But with all of our stumbling the Lord stands pledged that He will not leave us if we are faithful, and that He will make even our stumbling work out for good to us. Those who lose the crown may come up through great tribulation with the Great Company class. This is the best thing possible for them under the Divine arrangement. For those who go into the Second Death, their fate will not be the best for them; but it will be best for the entire universe that those should be blotted out of existence who are out of harmony with righteousness.

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SPARED IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE

"They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his only son that serveth him." – Mal. 3:17.
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IKE MANY OTHER prophecies, the words of the Prophet Malachi seem to have a general application throughout the Gospel Age and a particular one at the close of the Age. Eighteen hundred years ago the Lord Jehovah began to make up His jewels. The first of these jewels was our Lord Jesus Christ, who was polished, perfected and taken up on high. Jehovah did not cease His work with the perfection of His Son, our Lord. He has arranged that other jewels be cut and polished after the similitude of His Son, that they may shine with Him in the heavenly glory and Kingdom; as it is written, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." – Eph. 2:10.

These gems must all be found by God, who is making up these jewels. But having been found of Him, they are placed in the hands of the great Lapidarist, our Lord Jesus, that He may cut, polish and fit them for the glorious work of shining with Him in the Kingdom. Our Heavenly Father has appointed our Lord to be the great Master Workman in the preparation of the jewels.

In our text, the Lord Jehovah says that in that day of preparation of the jewels He will spare this class as a man spares his only son that serves him. He has not spared this class in the sense of relieving them from all suffering, for if they were thus spared they could not share the glory to follow this trial time. He did not spare Jesus, the Head over the Church, which is His Body. But He will not permit them to be tempted above what they are able to bear. (I Cor. 10:13.) He has an interest in them and a sympathy for them, and delivers them from those things which would prove too weighty for them.

THE MOUNTING OF THE JEWELS GOING ON

In a certain sense, then, God has been making up His jewels for more than eighteen hundred years – in the sense of preparing them. But there is still a final gathering, or assembling, of this class, which has not yet been completed. The gathering of these jewels must include the resurrection, not merely of those who have been sleeping as members of the Body of Christ, but also of those who are alive and remain to the end of the Age. These all experience a change from animal to spirit conditions – "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." (I Cor. 15:51,52.) In the assembling of this class – the mounting of the jewels, as it were – the Lord will show His own workmanship, what He has selected out of the filth and mire of the sinful race of mankind, and what He has made of them.

This gathering of the jewels is that to which the Prophet Malachi refers in the following quotation: "Behold, I will send My Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, He shall come, [R5119 : page 327] saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap; and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." – Mal. 3:1-3.

The Messenger of the Covenant is, primarily, our Lord Jesus, who came more than eighteen hundred years ago and presented Himself to those who were heirs of the New Covenant – the Jews. The Apostle points out that this new arrangement meant, not only a new Mediator for them, but also better sacrifices and a new priesthood, who would be able to effect a satisfaction for the sins of the people, so that it would not be necessary to render the typical sacrifices thereafter year by year. – Heb. 9:11-15.

This Messenger of the Covenant came unto His own, but His own received Him not, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God" – to become associated with Himself, to become identified with Himself, as members of His Body. They are begotten to a new nature, not of the will of the flesh, but only of God. – John 1:11-13.

THE LORD'S WORDS A REFINING FIRE

In this sense of the word, our Lord sat as a refiner of gold and silver – discriminating, purifying. The words which He spoke were not only words of grace, of eternal life, but also words of purification, likened elsewhere to a sharp, two-edged sword. (Heb. 4:12.) The Prophet Malachi compares them to fullers' soap, which would take out all stains and leave the garment pure and white; and he also says that our Lord will sit as a refiner of gold and silver, that the Levite class may offer to the Lord an acceptable sacrifice.

This prophecy refers, as we see, to the antitypical priesthood and includes both the Royal Priests and the Great Company. The work of this great Refiner is to purify the members of the Church class – not only the Little Flock, but the Great Company as well.

This refining process takes place all through the Gospel Age. As the individual members of the Body of Christ grow in grace, they are put through not only the preliminary processes of the refining, but also the more trying ones. Gold represents the Divine or higher order of spirit nature, and silver, the lower order. The gold represents the Little Flock, and the Silver the Great Company.

None of these would be able to make an acceptable sacrifice of himself; but the great Advocate imputes His merit to each who offers himself in sacrifice and thus enables him to become such. The Father permits the Advocate to make of these acceptable sacrifices. They are His sacrifices, not their own. Then they are begotten to the new nature and adopted into the Body of Christ. By this offering, our Lord, as the great Mediator, is getting ready for the institution of the New Covenant.

THE PRESENT A WONDERFUL TIME

The closing scenes of the Gospel Age will be the most remarkable of the world's history. The Church will then be completed. We are not at liberty to guess when the end of the trouble will be. Whether all of the trouble will come in the next two or three years we do not know. But we think that the most serious part of the trouble will occupy a very short time.

Let us remember that we are living in most wonderful times. More can be accomplished in one month now than could have been done in years some time ago – more in one hour than in days formerly. We are still in the waiting attitude, so that the Lord can indicate His will in the matter to us. We believe that the year 1915 will be even more wonderful than the present. We fully believe that the year 1914 will see the end of the Gentile Times, for we cannot find even one flaw in our Bible chronology. But we do not claim infallibility. To err is human. If, therefore, the Father permits us to blunder in respect to His Word in this matter, nevertheless, He will undoubtedly have a great blessing for us. And if it should be that the year 1914 should not mark the close of the Gentile Times, we would still believe that the time could not be very far distant; for the nearer we come to that time, the nearer we see the fulfilment of the things which the Scriptures indicate will then occur.

In a short time the Lord will spare His people – not from the trouble altogether, but from any unnecessary experience. We cannot expect that He will spare them as jewels any more than He did His Only Begotten Son. He allowed that Son to be put to death – even the death of the cross. Yet He protected our Lord and did not permit any of the things which He suffered to work to His detriment. And so the Lord will spare us as New Creatures. He is preparing for us the glorious things which He has in reservation for the faithful.

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THE GREAT QUESTION
– NOVEMBER 17. – MARK 8:27-9:1. –

"Thou art The Christ, the Son of the Living God." – Matt. 16:16.
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OR A CONSIDERABLE period of His ministry our Lord did not declare Himself, even to His disciples, to be the Messiah. Undoubtedly He chose the wiser course. As the Great Teacher He instructed the people, until they said, "Never man spake like this man"; He healed the people, until they said, "Could Messiah do more than this?" It was better, undoubtedly, that the thought should gradually come upon the minds of His followers than that He should have started in with making that claim – better that the people should claim it for Him than that He claim the honor for Himself.

He did, however, wish His disciples to know, and He approached the question by asking, "Who do men say that I am?" He got a reply, that some thought Him John the Baptist risen from the dead; that others considered Him to be Elijah risen from the dead, and others thought of Him as being perhaps one of the other Prophets.

Then came the point of the question: "But who say ye that I am?" St. Peter answered and said, "Thou art The Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus admitted the correctness of this, saying, "Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven."

Forthwith Jesus began to explain to the beloved Twelve the experiences that lay before Him – how the Kingdom would be formally proffered to the Jews, and how through their representatives, the Elders, the chief priests, they would reject Him; how He would be killed, and after three days rise again. [R5120 : page 328]

He made the statement about His death very emphatic, and the disciples clearly understood it. Judas, angrily disappointed, considered it a disgrace upon our Lord for Him to take such a view of the future, and a disgrace also upon the Apostles, because if Jesus had such expectations it would modify and regulate His course, and soon disaster would come to Him, and the dashing of all their hopes which He had inculcated – hopes of sitting with Him in His Throne, etc.

Doubtless all of the Apostles were disappointed, but only St. Peter had the courage to express himself, saying, "Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not happen." You will, we all know, as the Messiah, attain the Throne of Israel and thus eventually the Throne of the world, and bring blessing to the whole human race; and as you have promised, we shall be with You in Your Throne.

"GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN!"

In this course St. Peter was opposing the Divine will and plan, of which the death of Jesus was the very center or hub, from which would radiate all the fulfilments of all the various promises – to the Church first, to Israel next, and finally to all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. Jesus perceived that these influences were striving to hinder His consummation of His sacrifice, even as Satan tried to do in the beginning of His consecration.

To make the matter very emphatic He said to St. Peter, "Get thee behind Me, adversary," thy words savor not of the things of God's plan, but of the things of human judgment and preference. Then He began to make clear to His followers what had not been "meat in due season" to give them before, in such plain terms, namely, that whoever desired to be counted in with Him in any part of His work must realize that it would cost him all that he possessed of an earthly kind; he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow in the footsteps of the Redeemer.

Anyone solicitous of maintaining his rights and holding on to the present life, and unwilling to sacrifice all, will lose the great "prize" of the Divine nature, which will be given to those who do take up the cross and make a full sacrifice of earthly interests. And on the other hand, he who will faithfully lose his life for Jesus' sake will save it – will gain the reward of life on the spirit plane.

Moreover, the same principle that now thus operates will always operate, namely, that whoever is simply selfish, loving his own life and his own interests, will not be accounted worthy of everlasting life; but those who will sacrifice, if need be, in the interests of the Lord's cause will be the ones accounted worthy in character for eternal life.

"WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN?"

God has provided a future life for every soul of man through the redemption accomplished by Jesus, but only the noble of heart, of character, of life, who will accept this great blessing through the Divinely appointed way will get it. If they selfishly seek for the whole world, the selfishness thus developed will make them unfit for the eternal life. For what would a man take in exchange for the loss of his life? Would he consider wealth or fame or name for a few years in the present time worthy of exchange at profit, if it were to cost him eternal glory and eternal life? Surely not. We are therefore to have in mind that character-building is absolutely essential to our attaining eternal life upon any plane, by the proposition that God has made us through His Son.

Whoever becomes a follower of the Lord and hopes to gain the prize of everlasting life and glory on the spirit plane must do so whole-heartedly, and not in an underhanded or secret manner. He must come out fully and courageously and properly acknowledge Jesus and acknowledge His words. And Jesus puts Himself and His words on a parity – "whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words." Jesus' words are Jesus' doctrines or teachings. To be ashamed of the Truth, to be ashamed of the Divine Plan, to be ashamed of what we find to be the teachings of God's Word, because they are unpopular with men, is to offend the Lord and to prove ourselves unworthy of His favor.

All who are of His Church will need Christ continually as their Advocate, down to the very last, when He shall present them blameless and unreproveable before the Father in love. (Col. 1:22.) And if they would maintain Him as their Advocate, they must also be advocating His cause amongst men, not ashamed of Him and not ashamed of His doctrine, His words.

That the Lord addressed His words especially to the disciples is shown by His reference to others of that nation who had not made such a consecration as all of His disciples must make. The others were called "an adulterous and sinful generation." The followers of Christ must hold up the Light of Truth before the world, and so doing faithfully they will be acknowledged by the Lord Jesus in due time, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. He will not be ashamed to acknowledge them; He will present them to the Father and to the holy angels.

THE GREAT QUESTION

The great question of eighteen centuries ago is the great question of today! Who is Jesus? If, as some claim, He was merely a good man, a most able Teacher, then He was not The Christ, for The Christ, although the embodiment of all these qualities, was more, much more. To be The Christ, He must have been "the Man Christ Jesus," who gave Himself a Ransom-price for all, to be testified in due time. (I Tim. 2:5,6.) And this signifies that He must have been, not of ordinary birth, but extraordinary, born from above, because if born in the ordinary course of nature He would be like others of Adam's sons, subject to the sentence of death, and hence unable to save either Himself or others. But if He was The Christ, the Sent of God, who left the glory of the Father and was made flesh that He might "taste death for every man," then we behold Him as the great Redeemer of the world, whose death was necessary as a Ransom, or corresponding price, to secure the release of mankind from the death sentence and to make possible the resurrection of Adam and his race.

More than this, the word Christ signifies The Anointed. The Bible declares that the Anointed Lord shall be the Great King, Prophet and Priest, whose Kingdom shall be under the whole heavens – a Kingdom which shall last for a thousand years; and shall destroy sin and all who love sin; and which shall lift up all humanity willing to return into harmony with God. According to the Scriptures, this Jesus is – the Messiah. And His present work is the gathering of a Bride class, to be His joint-heir in His glorious Kingdom, which will be set up soon after the Elect Church shall have been completed by the glorious change of the First Resurrection.

What think ye of Messiah? What think ye of His invitation to become His associates in His glory and Kingdom? What think ye of the cost of self-denial, self-sacrifice? What think ye of the great reward? Let those who have made the consecration review the terms; let those who have not made this consecration do as Jesus [R5120 : page 329] said: "Sit down and count the cost," before making a decision, so that if they become His disciples they will do so intelligently, and be loyal and faithful in their course.

Only those who appreciate the "High Calling of God in Christ," "The Heavenly calling" – only such will have the necessary incentive to run with patience the race upon which they started when making a consecration; and only those who run the race faithfully will win the prize; and only by the assistance of the Great Advocate can any hope to come off conqueror and "more than conqueror," through His precious Blood.

[R5121 : page 329]

THE KINGDOM IN TABLEAU
– NOVEMBER 24. – MARK 9:2-13. –

"A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone." – Luke 9:35.
O
UR STUDIES continue to appertain to Messiah's Kingdom of glory. Today's lesson tells of a tableau illustration given to His disciples respecting it. The lesson deeply impressed the three Apostles who witnessed the vision, namely, Peter, James and John. St. Peter referred to it afterward in his Epistle (2 Pet. 1:16-19), saying, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His Majesty...when we were with Him in the holy mount."

Jesus prepared His disciples for the transfiguration vision, saying, "There be some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death until they see God's Royal Majesty having come with power." The occasion will be remembered. Jesus had foretold His death, quite contrary to the previous expectations of the Apostles, and now He sought to draw their minds gradually to a realization that His death would not mean a repudiation of the promise of the Kingdom and its glory but a fulfilment of their expectations on a higher plane. Jesus would formally offer Himself to Israel as King riding upon the ass five days before His crucifixion; He would be despised and rejected and crucified; but His kingly office and work would thereby only be confirmed. His authority to be King of the earth, His authority to release mankind from the power of sin and death, His authority to uplift humanity and to bring the earth in general to Paradise conditions, would all be founded upon His sacrificial death at Calvary.

All this was presented to the three chosen disciples six days later. Jesus took them to the mountain-top and was transfigured before them. His flesh and His garments shone and glistened white, after the manner of angels, the vision thus representing the Lord after having experienced His resurrection change from earthly to heavenly conditions. Then with Him "talked two men," says St. Luke, "who appeared in glory" – radiant, but less so than Jesus.

In some manner they recognized these two men of the vision as Moses and Elijah. They heard these discourse with Jesus respecting His decease, "which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem," says St. Luke. How long the vision lasted we are not told, but St. Peter, thinking that he should make some comment on the situation, and not knowing what to say, suggested the building of three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Moses, one for Elijah. He evidently thought that the Master would be rejoiced at such blessed fellowship, and he was willing to do anything for His aid.

"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON"

Then came a voice from the overshadowing cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him!" And suddenly the vision vanished, and they saw only Jesus with them, and He no longer with radiant appearance. What could it all mean? It may be that several good lessons came out of this: (1) During the six days following the announcement of the Master's coming suffering, ignominy and death, we may assume that the Apostles were sad-hearted, bewildered. In this condition it would be a great refreshment, and be strengthening to their faith to witness this vision which testified of Jesus they knew not what, but which showed them that the death He had foretold was a certainty and known of God and of Divine approval.

(2) The voice from the cloud would be a fresh encouragement to their faith. They had believed that Jesus was all that He claimed to be – the Son of the Highest. They had believed that He was not an ordinary member of the human family, born in sin, but that He had been particularly and specially born from above by Divine power. They had believed His own testimony that He proceeded forth and came from God and that He would return to the Father, but now their faith was corroborated; God Himself had testified in this miraculous manner that Jesus was His Son, His Well-Beloved, His Only One.

"TELL NO MAN THE VISION"

As the Apostles were coming down the mountainside with Jesus, wondering about the meaning of the vision they had seen, Jesus said to them, "See that ye tell no man the vision until after the Son of Man is risen from the dead." (Matt. 17:9.) So "they kept the saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the Lord meant by the rising again from the dead." Thus, little by little, the Great Teacher impressed upon His true disciples great truths which they could not otherwise have learned, seeing that they had not yet been begotten of the Holy Spirit; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, the Pentecost blessing had not yet come, because Jesus had not yet suffered nor risen from the dead, nor ascended into the presence of God to make Sin-Atonement on their behalf.

The fact that Moses and Elijah appeared as real to the Apostles as though they were in life does not contradict the words of Jesus that what they saw was a vision. We are to remember the many visions given later on to one of these Apostles, St. John, recorded in the Book of Revelation. In those visions St. John saw angels and men, horsemen, beasts, crowns, etc., and heard voices and singing and talking, etc., just as in this vision.

THE MEANING OF THE VISION

We have St. Peter's words (2 Pet. 1:16) in corroboration of the text here, that what they saw on the mountain represented the Royal Majesty of Messiah – the Kingdom of Messiah. Moses represented the faithful of Natural Israel, the "House of Servants"; "Moses as a servant, was faithful over all his House." Elijah represented The Christ in the flesh, the House of Sons, which has been in process of development throughout this Gospel [R5121 : page 330] Age. All of the consecrated, spirit-begotten people of God, during this Age, are represented by Elijah, who, God promised, should come before Messiah would set up His Kingdom. In other words, the Elijah class is composed of Jesus and all of His footstep followers throughout this Gospel Age – in their earthly or fleshly condition, spirit-begotten, but not yet spirit-born.

This Elijah company as a whole must be developed and must do a work in the world before the real Kingdom of Messiah can be established. The glorification of Jesus, following His death and resurrection, was due, but as the glorified One He stood between the Moses class, called previously, and the Elijah class, which had just begun to be called to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom. He was thus in their midst, and the crucifixion at Jerusalem was about to fulfil all the conditions necessary to the bringing about of the Messianic reign.

But the glorification of Jesus was not the only thing necessary; the entire Church, the Body, must suffer with Him and be completed and then be joined with Him beyond the veil before the Kingdom glory can be fully established. This work of calling and preparing an Elijah class has been in progress for more than eighteen centuries and we believe is now nearly completed. As John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus in the flesh, so this greater Elijah, the Church in the flesh, is the Forerunner of the great Messiah on the spirit plane. We must suffer with Him if we would share in His resurrection and share in His glory. This was the lesson of the transfiguration vision.

The disciples wondered and queried, saying, "Why do the Pharisees and Scribes tell us," according to the Scriptures, "that Elijah must first come." Jesus answered that, in a sense, to those who could receive it, John the Baptist had thus come, and had introduced Jesus as the Messiah, and that John the Baptist had in a sense fulfilled this prophecy when He introduced the Redeemer-King.

St. Peter's words, already referred to, fully satisfy us that the transfiguration scene was a vision of the coming glory of Christ – "We were eye-witnesses of His Majesty, that the promised Kingdom will eventually come. The vision on the mount confirms this to us. However, the prophecies of old, which foretold Messiah's coming and reign, are still more authentic, "more sure," they cannot fail; the Kingdom merely awaits the sufferings of those who will be the members of the Body of Christ. Then, at the Second Coming of Jesus, these will be blessed and glorified, and the class represented by Moses will also be blessed and used as instruments of the Kingdom. Thus in the vision the entire Kingdom was represented: first of all, by Jesus Himself, second by Elijah, who represented the Church class, and third by Moses, who represented the faithful on the earthly plane, through whom the Heavenly blessings will pour out upon humanity. page 330

O, Master, it is good to be
Entranced, enrapt, alone with Thee,
Till we, too, changed from grace to grace,
Gaze on Thine own transfigured face.

[R5122 : page 330]

INTERESTING LETTERS
QUESTIONS RESPECTING CLASS DISCIPLINE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Some of us desire your further advice on two points:

(1) What attitude should we take toward brethren who hold little meetings not authorized or appointed by the Class with which they are connected?

(2) We note your recommendation concerning testimony meetings and their helpfulness in character-development. What should we do in a case where Elders oppose such meetings, but where the Class desire to have them?

THE EDITOR'S REPLY

We think it rather unwise for a brother claiming to be a member of the Class to entirely ignore that Class in the matter of holding meetings. For him to inaugurate meetings, advertise them, hold them during the regular hours of the meetings of the Class, etc., would seem to be in the nature of ignoring the Class; and to hold meetings at the same hour might be considered an opposition. However, even though all this were done, it would not constitute a cause of offense or of excommunication. The Class should rejoice to know that the Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached, even though it were preached in a strifeful and contentious manner, as St. Paul suggests. (Phil. 1:15-18.) A Class would have no more right to think or speak evil of such a brother and of his effort than to think or speak evil of any Christian minister of any denomination and of his effort.

If, however, a brother were invited to give a little talk in a private or a semi-public manner to a few, not as a regular Class, nor as an opposition meeting, nor at a conflicting hour, there would seem to be no ground whatever for reproof. On the contrary, we should all commend his love and zeal and, thanking the Lord for the brother's privileges, seek as good for ourselves.

We are to keep strictly in mind that the Lord has not given any of us a right to supervise His work nor to forbid another to preach the Gospel. The disciples of old did this on one occasion and Jesus rebuked them, saying, "Forbid him not; for there is no man that shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of Me." (Mark 9:38-40.) Again He said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20.) He did not say that the two or three must be authorized, commissioned, or in any manner privileged of men. Hence, whatever there is of co-operation in the Church should be merely of love, of wisdom, of estimation of the Divine will and the oneness of the Church.

We are surprised to learn that there are any in opposition to the weekly testimony meetings which we have so strongly urged. In our experience this class of meeting is one of the most spiritually helpful. In many places if it were necessary to have but one meeting, the Classes undoubtedly would hold on to the weekly testimony meeting as the best and most helpful of all. We commend Wednesday night as being a most suitable occasion for this kind of meeting. We have already recommended that the weekly topic be the Manna text of the preceding Thursday. Observing this rule, the Lord's people all over the world can study and think much along the same lines and, looking for experiences in the same direction, obtain corresponding blessings.

We recommend a trial of this method to all of the Classes everywhere. They will have plenty to testify about if once they acquire the habit of looking for the Lord's providences in the affairs of life, noting experiences and lessons and comparing them with the instructions of the Divine Word. Those who are following this course are often surprised to note how much more every day is worth to them than formerly.

With many, life is a business routine or a dream. As New Creatures we desire to have every day full of Christian experiences and intelligent thought directed and moulded by the Divine Word. This blessed condition is attained largely by the method we have indicated. Our growth in grace depends not so much on the number of chapters or verses which we read, as upon the exercise of our minds, hearts and wills in connection with what we already know and what we daily learn of the will of God.

It is not for the Elders, but for the Class to determine what meetings it wishes to hold. When the Class decides, the Elders, of course, still have their privilege of resigning. Indeed, it would certainly be advantageous, both for the Elder and the Class, to have such Elders resign as desire to rule the Lord's household, instead of desiring to serve it.

However, our experience teaches that frequently supposed oppositions are merely misunderstandings. We advise a careful study afresh of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. VI. Indeed, we remind the dear friends how leaky are all our memories, and of the wisdom, therefore, of the course being followed by a great many – the reading of the entire six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES every year – twelve pages or more every day. Those who are following this course report great blessing and give evidence of great clearness in the Truth.

page 331
DEAREST BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Inclosed find report for the week. The work goes forward gloriously and with greatly increasing momentum. The week has been chock full of the hardest kind of work, and the blessing and presence of the Lord never seemed half so bountiful. But the necessity for rapid and continuous work can hardly be exaggerated. It seems to me, with some exceptions, one day at most places is what is required.

There are some things, however, that make us very sad. It is to see some substituting petty whims of their own for the Lord's precious Truth and "the spirit of a Sound Mind." In some instances these are surmising evil, making efforts to prop themselves up and appear wise. In some instances their efforts to hold on to responsibilities in the church for which they are poorly suited lead them to not only discard the help of some superior fellow-members of the Body, but to speak evil of them.

That there is a separation now rapidly going on is plain as day. It is so distinct and extensive as to be alarming. Surely it does behoove everyone of the consecrated to be on guard as never before. The temptations to neglect bodily discipline and indulge the human desires are so subtle and powerful as to prove destructive before they are realized.

In much love to yourself and all the dear ones at Bethel and everywhere, I am faithfully yours in the Master's Service,

O. L. SULLIVAN.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Lord be unto you!

We were delighted to see and hear you again both at Glasgow and at London. I think the London Convention has proven a great blessing to the Church in Nottingham. Two-thirds of our number attended and we have had such an impetus given to us that we are now able to have public meetings at any time.

I am sure you will be delighted to know that at our meeting last Monday it was agreed to take larger premises, and although the expenses will be heavy, yet the friends have decided to sacrifice more than ever, in order that a good witness may be given in this place.

Dear Brother, it is a great joy to me that at last such an awakening is come, for a short time ago I almost felt like despairing of arousing interest. You, however, under the Lord's guidance, were permitted to do so, and it is a great cause for thankfulness.

The suggestion that "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" be said every morning has been carried out by quite a number of the friends and it has had a good effect, hence they are desirous of doing more.

Certainly we have not done as much as we might have done in the past, but now we trust there will be a good witness given.

Dear Brother, you are always remembered in every prayer of ours that our dear, loving Heavenly Father may grant you more and more of His Spirit, so that you may continue to give us "meat in due season"; and as for myself I feel day by day that it is a great and mighty privilege given me to bear witness to the Truth.

Certainly I get more tired in this work than I did in my scholastic work, but that is all the more to rejoice in, and from my heart I praise God for the privilege!

Many, many thanks, dear Brother, for the "Poems of Dawn" sent from the British Branch. The more we think of your loving consideration for all of us the more we love you and desire to follow you, as you follow the Master.

Quite a number of times have I been told I have great zeal, but it is for a man and not for God. This is because I have said, "Let us see what Brother Russell says upon the matter."

We should be delighted, dear Brother, if you could give us a visit in Nottingham again the next time you visit this country.

Several have joined us since your last visit, and we praise God for it; two are most earnest members.

And now, dear Brother, our prayer is that the peace of God which passeth all human understanding may rest and abide upon you. Love from us both.

Yours in our dear Redeemer,

J. AND C. HODSON. – England.

page 331

BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study XI. – The Passover of the New Creation.
NOVEMBER 3

(13) Explain the antitypical significance of the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. P. 463, par. 3.

(14) What did our Lord mean when he said, "This do in remembrance of me"? And what is the significance of the expression, "As oft as ye drink it"? P. 464, par. 1.

(15) How does 1 Cor. 11:26 show that to all the Lord's followers the annual Passover celebration must have a new significance? And was the Memorial Supper enjoined upon Christians as a law? P. 465, par. 1.

"WE BEING MANY, ARE ONE LOAF."

(16) How does the Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 10:16,17, show forth the secondary significance of "the bread which we break," and "the cup of blessing," of which we partake? P. 465, par. 3, and P. 467, par. 1, 2.

(17) How should we look to it that we do not lay more stress upon the symbols than upon the reality? P. 466, par. 1.

(18) How do 1 John 3:14 and 16 emphasize our oneness as the Body of Christ? P. 467, par. 3 to P. 469.

NOVEMBER 10

(19) How does the selection of the Church during this evil time prove our love and loyalty to the Lord and His followers? P. 469, par. 1.

THE MEMORIAL STILL APPROPRIATE.

(20) What method was used by the Jews in reckoning the date of the Passover? P. 469, par. 2 and P. 470, foot-note.

(21) Explain the false doctrine of the Mass, and show how it practically took the place of the Lord's Supper. P. 470 to 472, top.

(22) How do "Disciples" celebrate the Lord's Supper, and why is their practise unscriptural? P. 472, top, and par. 1.

WHO MAY CELEBRATE.

(23) Who only are invited to celebrate the symbolical feast of the Lord's Supper? P. 472, par. 2.

(24) What is the warning of the Apostle, as expressed in `1 Cor. 11:27-29? P. 473, par. 2, 3.

NOVEMBER 17

(25) What should be the attitude of every true member of the Church as respects partaking of this Memorial Supper? P. 474, par. 1.

WHO MAY OFFICIATE.

(26) What false teachings have led to the popular impression that only "an ordained minister" may administer the bread and wine? and what is the Divine commission in this respect? P. 474, par. 2.

(27) Nevertheless, in view of the necessity for order in the Ecclesia, what procedure is advisable? P. 475, par. 1.

(28) What declaration of the Lord Jesus applies to this Memorial celebration, as well as to all other gatherings of His people? and what is our privilege in the event of our inability to commemorate in company with other members of "His Body"? P. 475, par. 2.

AN ORDER OF SERVICE.

(29) What order of service has been suggested as reasonable and appropriate for celebrating the Memorial Supper? P. 476 to 478, par. 1.

(30) Give some helpful thoughts suggested by remembering that we are all "members of the One Loaf.? P. 478, par. 2.

NOVEMBER 24

(31) How should we profit by Judas' experience? P. 478, par. 3.

EASTER – PASSOVER.

(32) What is the origin of the word "Easter," and how has it become applied to the Passover season? And to what day, rather than a period, has the name "Easter" been attached? and what should we consider the most appropriate day for celebrating our Lord's Resurrection? P. 479, par. 1.

(33) What is the larger view of the term "Easter," as held by Catholics, and what superseded the celebration of the Memorial Supper at its appropriate time? P. 480, par. 1.

(34) What was the change in method of counting the date of our Lord's death, and when instituted? How does this differ from the Jewish reckoning? P. 480, par. 2.

(35) What was the special appropriateness of our Lord's being crucified at the full of the moon? P. 481, par. 1, 2.

(36) Read statements from McClintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, a recognized authority, which corroborate the foregoing position? P. 481 to 484.