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

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXIII.JANUARY 1, 1902.No. 1.


CONTENTS

Views from the Watch Tower
The Twentieth Century Church3
The Early Church4
Such As I Have, Give I Unto You8
Questions of General Interest10
Abraham's Wife--His Niece?10
Palestine as a Refuge10
Conventions are "Holy Convocations"11
The Father Draws Now, The Son Then11
Drinking at the Brook12

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

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

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"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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Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.


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

WATCH TOWER BINDERS, POST-PAID 40 CTS.

These hold two years' issues, keep them clean, orderly and ready for reference. This is wholesale-cost price; for your benefit.

MISSIONARY ENVELOPES.

We have these in good supply now; and the last lot is larger in size and of heavier paper than previous lots. Prices 25c per 100, $2 per 1,000, post or express, prepaid.

HOME EMBELLISHMENTS.

The announcement of Motto Cards, etc., in our Dec'r 1st issue opposite page 377 still holds good: A $2 lot for $1 plus 16c postage. We still have a good supply, and they are surely both beautiful and cheap and desirable. But we have in mind some of our readers who may not be able to invest even this modest sum in home-embellishments. What can we do for these?

We can and will put up for these dear friends a cheaper packet, which will serve them well, and help to brighten their homes and to remind them also of the precious promises of our Father's Word.

These will be 50 cents per packet, including postage.

We will put up also a 25c post-paid packet--for those who cannot invest more.



[R2929 : page supplement] WE EXTEND to our list of subscribers, and to all friends of our cause (all of whom we hope to have on our lists soon, as per suggestions in our December 15th issue), most hearty greetings, wishing you all A Very Happy and Spiritually Prosperous New Year--1902.

We trust that you were all greatly pleased with our report for last year. Its showing of a previous deficiency wiped out, and a snug sum on hand wherewith to begin this year's operations, are good cause for joy, and for thankfulness to God.

The outlook for the present year, you will be glad to learn, seems to us very encouraging. We are expecting much, and believe the Lord's providences and his Word justify these expectations. We hope to prepare, shortly, an article dealing further with the Call of this Gospel Age: showing some of our reasons for surmising that the next four years should quite double the present numbers of the interested, and the present operations in the service of the "harvest" message. It will appear as soon as possible, and we believe will be convincing to all. We mention the matter now, in advance, because we think that some are slackening their efforts, through a mistaken supposition that little more is to be done. We hope to convince and revive them; that they may renew their efforts in the service, and thus increase their joy and their usefulness.

We know not what is before us in the year, dear brethren,--nor do we need to know. If we have committed our all, for time and eternity, to the Lord's care, let us assure our hearts, afresh, of divine wisdom and power as well as love. Resting confidently in the everlasting arms, we may take whatever his providence may permit; not only willingly, but joyfully. If the year shall bring us blessings, prosperity and encouragement in spiritual matters, we can while rejoicing lay by a store of grace; for stormy times of trial later on. If the year brings us sorrows, physical or mental anguish, let us receive them with resignation: saying, with the Master, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"

If, dear brethren, life's experiences are accepted with faith, in the manner indicated, we may rest assured that this will be not only a happy but a blessed year for us. It is with each to determine this for himself under the Lord's grace. Faithful is he who hath called us;--let us be faithful.



[R2929 : page 3]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.


THE TWENTIETH CENTURY CHURCH.

--AN "ORTHODOX" VIEW.--

THE REV. HAWEIS, of St. James Church, London, England, gives his views of this subject in the London Daily Chronicle, from which we extract the following interesting items:--

"The only hope for the Church of the Twentieth Century is that it should make a clean sweep of 1900 years of theology and get back to Christ. We now know what this theology can do for us. It has done a great deal, for its statements at different times have approved themselves to different ages, and been the vehicles of a certain amount of Christian truth; but as Dean Milman said in his wise History of Christianity, Theophilus of Antioch, who invented the doctrine of the Trinity--or, at all events, coined that theological word--did not thereby very greatly benefit the Church. The same may be said of every other Christian dogma. It isn't that we don't believe the very important spiritual truths underlying every Christian dogma, but a form of expression of truth which is a living and a satisfactory one to an age immediately becomes false and dangerous when a better and a more complete expression is devised.

THE NEED FOR RE-STATEMENT.

"The Twentieth Century Church will insist upon Re-Statement on a large scale. Present theological text books are obsolete. They practically teach men and women infidelity. The Cimmerian darkness of Sunday-school teaching must be abandoned; the conscientious agonies of devout Sunday-school teachers must be relieved. They don't believe in the old hell themselves, but they have to teach it; the children don't believe it, but they have to put their hands behind their backs and tell the teachers these naughty lies every Sunday. The teacher does not believe in the Bible in the way in which he is supposed to teach it. No one believes it unless he is a fool or a brainless idiot....His creed, in the same way, as has been finely said, "merely stands sentinel over the heart to keep it empty." "I believe," he says, "in the resurrection of the body." He doesn't; nobody does; but he is not allowed to teach instead: "I believe in the survival of myself," which was practically all those of old meant by the phrase, "the survival of the self," being to them inconceivable apart from the resurrection of the body, and so on ad infinitum. Our mistake is in pretending to believe obsolete statements which once expressed truth, but which are now seen to be defective. We should discard them openly and plead for proper re-statements....

"People now despise the clergy on account of the old rubbish they are not ashamed to teach. The twentieth century will not tolerate them unless they mend their ways. The twentieth century will go solid for fact in the shape of re-statement. 'Dear me!' people say, 'the working man doesn't go to church. How odd!' Very much odder if he did. The twentieth century will insist upon a clear statement of what we may call exact knowledge of God or the moral nature of the Sovereign Will ruling the universe. ...Then the twentieth century will have to entirely change its attitude to the religions of the world, and it will have to admit that God has always been revealing Himself, His will, His purpose, as fast as man could receive it, and that the different and imperfect faiths and creeds are the result of the obscured mediums of the intelligence and the undeveloped spiritual faculties of man. The sun that always shines is seen through many diverse and distorting media--smoked glass, clouds, or mere tiny cracks in a darkened room, or again the prism, sunset clouds, or through folded lids of closed eyes seen hardly at all, but still the sun is always there. The teachings of Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, Moses, by a certain moral and spiritual solidarity, show that all religions are of Divine origin, though Christianity is the religion which belongs to the fulness of time.

MISSIONS AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

"Then all this will surely alter the twentieth century Church's ideas of missions! Just think for a moment. When missions were most active last century [R2930 : page 4] the universal belief was that all savages were doomed to everlasting fire. With the abatement of that fear there will be a certain diminution of enthusiasm to break up the privacy of their lives. We must distinguish between missions and missions. There is an enormous difference between attacking with the most inferior statements of Christianity, ancient civilizations and religious philosophies promulgated by some of the greatest and best men and deepest thinkers of antiquity, and simply interposing in case of savages in order to prevent cannibalism and slaughter. Anything which stops that is, on the face of it, more than respectable, although under the influence of clothes and the brandy bottle, which seem to follow disastrously in the wake of the Bible, what we call the lower races show a tendency to improve themselves off the face of the earth.

"The whole missionary method must be altered in the coming century.

"The Christian religion can only spread properly from the Christian life--the lives of Englishmen and Englishwomen, not merely from the Christian dogma, nor the Christian machinery, the Christian calico, or even the Christian bayonet. The only way for missions to be healthy is for the English people abroad so to improve their minds and intelligences as to make the natives come and implore them to reveal the secret of such marked superiority and goodness, which under their own faulty system they seem unable to attain. The real Christian influence should spread as Christ spread His religion, by enthusiasm for ameliorating the physical as well as the spiritual condition of the people. These things must spread not by way of proselytism--plucking the brand from the burning, which was the way of the Inquisition; true Christianity is the unconscious outflow from a positive life. 'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.' At present what they mostly see is a whirl of Bibles, beer, brandy, mutual jealousies, shoddy stores, and bad lives. The twentieth century must change all that.

"Don't I think the clergy want educating in their own theology?

"Yes, but the more you educate them on the present lines the worse they will be. The proper education of the clergy would consist in teaching them to understand the real nature of the Bible, instead of only teaching them what various theologians in the past have thought about the Bible, which is a very different thing from what modern research has shown about its records and the value to be attached to them. It is unfortunate that the chief doctrines of Christianity, as understood by the clergy, should have been left out of the Sermon on the Mount, the most perfect expression as some suppose of the Christian religion. It is also unfortunate to note that no one can read the closing chapters of St. John without seeing that our Lord can hardly be accounted quite sound on the doctrine of the Trinity, as it is stated in the Athanasian Formula. The twentieth century will probably read the Sermon on the Mount again....

"Humanitarianism, or pulpit interest in Politics and Sociology, is a wholesome tendency as far as it goes, because it shows the irresistible pressure put upon the clergy to make their moral instruction bear directly on affairs of practical life; but it is dangerous as tending to confuse what is roughly called the secular with the spiritual. You can't insist too much on the fact that Culture is not religion; religion always means one and the same thing--the sense of a spiritual nature--and dependence upon a spiritual source external to ourselves. I hope the twentieth century will develop both. They run on parallel not antagonistic lines, though it would not be fair to say they will never meet, for there is moral and physical intercommunication between the two. The Church of the twentieth century will be deeply spiritual, even spiritualistic, I am sure, in a very wide sense of the word. Spiritualism, in all its many forms, however people may dislike it, does, nevertheless, stand as a stout protest on behalf of man's spiritual nature and his spiritual affinities, and the twentieth century Church will have to look very largely to the recognition and development and purification of these spiritual manifestations and beliefs."



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THE EARLY CHURCH.
--ACTS 2:37-47.--JAN. 19.--

"The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved."


THE MEAGER outlines of the preaching on the day of Pentecost, afforded us by the extracts from Peter's discourse, indicate simplicity, wisdom and courage, such as we should expect in those who were guided by the holy spirit. The Apostle first took advantage of the charge of some that the speakers were intoxicated. He showed the unreasonableness of the proposition on the surface and then explained the true meaning of the phenomena, referring his readers directly to Joel's prophecy, "And upon the servants and the handmaids in those days I will pour out my spirit." --Joel 2:29.

It may be well to note in passing that Joel's prophecy is a double one, and that, probably for the very purpose of hiding the truth until due, it states matters in their reverse order; telling first about the general blessing of the Millennial age "afterward," and telling subsequently about the blessing of the Gospel age, which is confined exclusively to God's servants and handmaidens--"in those days" --during the Gospel age, prior to the general outpouring of the spirit which will follow the establishment of the Kingdom.

Having gotten the attention of his hearers, many of whom were believers in the prophets--and "waiting for the consolation of Israel," which they promised--the Apostle proceeded to preach Christ unto them. He did not becloud his subject and confuse his hearers by saying: You have heard of great philosophers and great teachers amongst the Gentiles, and as Jews we have had some great prophets ourselves, one of whom was Jesus; but he came directly to the point he wished to impress, [R2930 : page 5] and declared to them that Jesus, the despised Nazarene, of whom, doubtless, the majority had heard something, probably derogatory, was indeed the Messiah; that though he had died he had arisen; and having arisen and ascended on high he had shed forth his power upon these speakers, who were now his representatives and mouthpieces in the world, to declare his mercy. Neither fear of rulers nor shame in confessing the crucified one to be his Master is the least apparent in the Apostle's language. He fully identified himself with the crucified one, and as plainly declared that the rulers had been wickedly and sinfully responsible for his death, in that they had incited the Roman governor to its accomplishment. He pointed out that this was no mischance, but God's foreknown and prearranged plan--that it was necessary that Messiah should die as the Redeemer of the people, before he could deliver them fully. He pointed out that although it was necessary for Christ to die nevertheless a heavy responsibility, a curse, hung over that nation which had thus, in its wickedness of heart, rejected and crucified God's Son.

The word of truth, as always, was a savor of life unto life or death unto death. (2 Cor. 2:16.) To many the words were foolishness and had the death odor, and they passed on; but to those deeply interested ones who remained, the Apostle's explanation of matters was forceful,--especially as he backed this up by quotations from the prophets, showing that God had foreknown the death of Messiah, and had foretold his resurrection also, and this miraculous outpouring of his spirit, of which they all were witnesses. The record is that many of the hearers were pricked to the heart--conscience-smitten. They noted the aptness of the Apostle's quotations and their application, and the logic of his reasoning; and doubtless in all these things they remarked of the apostles what they had previously remarked of our Lord--that the teaching was not like that of the scribes and Pharisees, uncertain, indefinite, but with force, with authority, with distinctness, with conviction of its truth.

And after this same sort is all the preaching of God's true servants, done under the influence of the holy spirit. It is illuminating and not confusing. Error is never clear; it is always confused and confusing. Clearness and simplicity, on the contrary, are marks of the truth. For various reasons the old, old story, which the Apostles here preached, is considerably neglected in our day by professed ministers of the Gospel of Christ. One reason is that those who attempt to teach realize their own confusion of thought, and need first to be taught of God through his Word, by his holy spirit, and through such channels as the holy spirit may use in granting illumination of mind and appreciation of the Word. Another reason is that the nominal churches have in great measure ceased to believe the old, old story, and have accepted instead an evolution theory. Only to a small minority of Christian people, therefore, is the true Gospel precious. The majority more and more have itching ears for something new--a new gospel of education, refinement and wealth.--2 Tim. 4:3,4. [R2931 : page 5]

As the Apostle clinched one feature after another of his argument, and showed how completely Jesus had fulfilled the declaration of the prophets in respect to his life, his teachings, his miracles, his death, his resurrection, and the holy spirit now poured out upon his followers, conviction of the truth was forced upon the minds of many of the hearers, and they cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"--is there any mercy for us, seeing we are members of this nation, whose rulers have thus despised God's grace, and crucified his Son?

This was exactly the condition of heart which Peter desired to awaken. He wisely realized that people must see the provision for their forgiveness and rescue before they will lay hold upon salvation. He would not begin by tendering mercy, but by showing the right, the truth, and the wrong. But now that his hearers were in the right condition of heart the Apostle did not seek to terrify them, but promptly told them of God's mercy and love, assuring them that they were still his favored people, and that if they would come to the repentant condition of heart they would be accepted of the Lord, even as the other believers were already accepted; and that they, too, would have the blessing of the holy spirit and its gifts. There is a pattern in this preaching which all of the Lord's Royal Priesthood should take note of and practice as they have opportunity to dispense the good tidings. Instead of ranting, they should use logic, reason and Scriptural quotations;--and those convicted, and seeking to know the way, should not be terrorized, but should be promptly assisted and guided in the Lord's way, and assured of his mercy.

The Apostle was fully justified in telling his hearers that the promises were still theirs as a people; for it was clearly declared by the Lord, through the prophet, that Christ should be cut off in the midst of the seventieth symbolical week of Israel's favor, leaving one-half of that seventieth week, viz., 3-1/2 years, of special favor to Israelites individually, after their national favor had ceased.*--Dan. 9:25-27; Matt. 23:37,38.

*Millennial Dawn, Vol. II, p. 201.

Specifically, Peter's answer was that his conscience-stricken hearers should individually repent and be baptized. He did not make the mistake that some are inclined to make, when they suppose that sorrow for a wrong is repentance. Peter perceived that they already were sorry, "perplexed in their hearts." Sorrow is not repentance, but, as the Apostle explains, "Godly sorrow leadeth to repentance." (2 Cor. 7:9,10.) Repentance would be the proper fruitage or result of a proper sorrow. Repentance would mean a full retraction of all share in the great national sin of Israel, the rejection and crucifixion of Messiah. It would mean, therefore, an acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, and the confession of him as such. And this, in turn, would mean that confessing him to be the Son of God they would become fully submissive to his teachings, become his disciples. Repentance, therefore, rightly understood, meant a great deal, and it means no less today than then. Whoever today refuses to acknowledge [R2931 : page 6] Christ as the Messiah, the sent of God --whoever refuses to obey his teachings, to follow him--is unrepentant; no matter how fully he may believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the sent of God, the Redeemer; and, even though he sorrow at the record of the sufferings of Christ, he has not come to the point of repentance until he has renounced the sins for which Christ suffered, and become a follower of his teachings. Only such as are thus repentant have part or lot in the household of faith. God's proposition is not to save people in their sins, but to save them from their sins; and during this Gospel age the first condition of acceptance, and even a reckoned salvation, is that the sinner shall renounce his sin and accept the Lord and the righteousness and harmony with God for which he stands as representative. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."--I John 5:12.

The persons whom the Apostle addressed were all Jews, and hence he said, "Be baptized for the remission of your sins." Baptism is not God's appointed channel for the remission of sins; for, as the Apostle declares, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission." (Heb. 9:22.) However, the Jewish nation, under God's arrangement through Moses, was accepted of him as a whole, as a nation, and sin-offerings had been made for them all as a nation, and had been accepted, and a covenant had been made called the Law Covenant. Those whom the Apostles addressed, being under the Law Covenant, were under all these favorable conditions, under the blood of the typical sacrifices, typically justified and reconciled; and to them, consequently, God's promises pertained, as they did not pertain to the Gentiles, who had not come under such typical reconciliation through typical sacrifices. The sin which the Apostle wished his hearers to emblematically wash away in baptism was not, therefore, original sin, but was a sin against their Law Covenant,--including their national sin in the rejection of the Messiah. With these purged away, with the symbolical washing, they would be back to the standpoint of true Israelites, "Israelites indeed;" and as such they would have every right and privilege belonging to the Israelites, but belonging to members of no other nation.

The Apostle Paul explains this relationship (Rom. 11), saying that the Israelites were the natural branches in the olive root of the Abrahamic promise. As branches already in that root they would not need to be grafted in, as do we who by nature are Gentiles. They were already in relationship to God, and all that they needed to do was to repent of their sins and figuratively wash them away, when they would be fully acceptable branches in the olive tree, which would not be broken off, but, on the contrary, would receive now a special share in the Pentecostal blessing. Subsequently, when exhorting Gentile converts to baptism, the Apostle Paul explained most clearly its difference from this baptism of Jews for the remission of sins. (Acts 19:1-6.) He shows that our baptism signifies or emblemizes our introduction into the body of Christ, as wild olive branches grafted into the approved stock, to be partakers of the richness of the promises through the root. (Rom. 6:3-5.) We should, however, remark that the Jew no longer holds this same peculiar relationship; so that if the Apostle were addressing Jews today we believe he would address them exactly as he would address Gentiles on this point of seeking union with Christ. Our reasons for so thinking are: That as the national favor to Israel ended with the death of Christ, in the midst of their "week" of favor, so the individual favor to the Jew above the Gentile ceased with the breaking off of the natural olive branches during the remaining thirty-three years of their "harvest," which ended with the destruction of their polity, A.D. 70. A natural branch once broken off could be reunited only by engrafting--in no way differently from a wild-olive branch. Consequently, any Jew, seeking to come into Christ since the day of wrath upon his nation, could come in only under the same terms and conditions as a Gentile.

The Apostle would have his hearers understand that the rejection of Christ and his crucifixion did not end the mercy of God toward them. These matters were merely steps in the divine plan for the execution of divine mercy;--the promises were still theirs, yea, they would be for their children, and ultimately for all mankind, however far they might be from God at that time. But he intimates distinctly that a divine election is connected with the matter, and that only those called of God could at present be expected to hear and to respond. And this we see about us today, and as we look back through the past. As Abraham sent his servant, and invited Rebekah to be the bride of his son, Isaac, so the Heavenly Father has sent his servant, the holy spirit, during this Gospel age, to call the antitype of Rebekah, the Church, to be the bride of Christ,--joint-heir with his Son. As not all the women of the world were called to be the bride of Isaac, so at present not all mankind are called to be the Bride of Christ. Those invited to this joint-heirship must first be related to God, even as the one invited to be Isaac's bride was a relative of Abraham. Hence the step preparatory to this call to joint-heirship with Christ is justification through faith. The Apostle's hearers, being members of the typically justified nation, needed only to accept Christ, as the antitype of Moses, and to recognize spiritual Israel as the antitype of natural Israel, in order to be fully in relationship to the Lord's call.

Evidently the Lord was guiding in respect to every feature of the establishment of the Church, and it was on this account that so large a number as three thousand persons were prepared to accept the message,--to accept Jesus as their Redeemer and King, and to avow themselves his followers, his disciples. It is not necessary that we should suppose that they were all baptized in the one day, nor are we, indeed, certain that they all avowed their allegiance to Messiah in the same day; but that as a result of that one day's preaching about three thousand were added to the Church. These were not added to a denomination, a party, a sect, but were additions to the one Church, the body of Christ,--members added to the one head of the [R2932 : page 7] Church. We do not read that their names were enrolled as members of the Church, nor that they took certain vows, nor that they assented to certain confessions of faith. He who accepts Christ as his Redeemer and as his instructor, who pledges himself to obedience to him, and to walk in his footsteps, has taken the only obligation which the Scriptures define as marking those who are probationary members of the true Church. And it is still proper to make an outward acknowledgment or sign of this acceptance of Christ by a symbolical baptism. The real baptism, the real consecration of the heart, or will, its burial into Christ, takes place first; the outward or symbolical representation of this in water is the good confession by which the individual shows, in God's appointed way, to his fellows or to whoever may witness, that he has died to the world and become alive toward God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

That the new converts were "Israelites indeed" was demonstrated by the fact that they did not speedily fall away and become cold. On the contrary, we are informed that they continued stedfast, recognizing the teachings of the apostles-- that God specially used them as his representatives and mouthpieces for the instruction of his Church. They thus continued in fellowship with the household of faith, and this would imply meeting with them every first-day of the week to celebrate the Lord's resurrection, to unite their prayers at the throne of grace, and to build one another up in the most holy faith. Breaking the spiritual bread on these occasions, they also united in a common meal, in remembrance of the Lord's first meeting with them and making himself known after his resurrection in the blessing and breaking of bread. (Luke 24:35.) This has no reference to the Memorial Supper, which was celebrated yearly, and not with bread alone, but also with the cup, of equal importance.

"Fear came upon every soul"--reverence--an appreciation, to some extent at least, of the wonderful relationship to God into which they had been introduced, and of the wonderful power of God working in their midst, and especially manifested through the miracles and signs which the apostles were thus permitted to perform for the establishment of the faith of the justified.

It has been assumed by some that communism as that term is applied today, was practised in the early Church; and it is the claim of some that it should never have been discontinued, but should always obtain amongst the Lord's people. We answer, first, that the early Church did not practise what is now known as communism; second, that something akin to what the early Church did practise (but modified) still is the rule amongst the Lord's saints; third, the extreme view (and practice) of the early Church was apparently not intended to remain, was never enjoined by the Lord nor the apostles, and serves rather as an evidence against the feasibility of the doctrines of communism under present conditions.

So far as the record shows there was no compulsory division of wealth, such as communism proposes. On the contrary, everything was voluntary; and everything of the same kind is just as free, just as voluntary, and just as proper, now as then,--no more so, no less so. Some of those who owned farms and personal property sold them and brought the money and placed it at the Apostles' feet--gave it into their charge. Some may have given all that they had in this manner, but it is not so stated. On the contrary, various things give the inference that Barnabas, who sold the field and gave the money, may still have retained other properties, which no doubt, he would have been willing to have disposed of later, and to have made similar use of the money as it might be needed. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira did not consist in their not putting all of their property into the common treasury, but in their deceitfulness in the matter; --in their pretending to give the entire proceeds of one property when they did not do so. Some Scriptures clearly intimate that some of the Lord's people at that time had private possessions aside from those which were put into the common fund. (See Acts 12:12; 21:16.) It is possible, of course, that in the two instances cited the properties might have been given to the community and might have been returned when the community failed, and when the believers were scattered abroad. On the other hand, we think it reasonable to suppose that the selling of the possessions was merely to such an extent as was necessary to supply the wants of all--so that none of the Lord's people might lack while others had superfluity. This kind of brotherliness and common interest should still prevail amongst the Lord's people. Indeed, to a considerable extent it must prevail, or else we are none of his. We are not to forget, however, that the necessity for private provision of this kind today is less than it was eighteen centuries ago; for now there are many more opportunities for earning a livelihood, and many provisions for the aged, the sick and the infirm. The public provision for the poor today is probably quite superior to that which was accorded to the poorer brethren under consideration. The same spirit of charity finds ample opportunity today. On every side we see brethren and sisters having need, not of the meat that perisheth, but of the "meat in due season," the spiritual food, and having need also of the robe of justification. There is abundant opportunity for all to join in dispensing these blessings, worth so much more than temporal good things to those who have need of them.

It is noteworthy that the apostles neither commanded nor advised communism; nor do their writings intimate that it prevailed in the early Church. As showing that there were both rich and poor in the assemblies of the primitive Church, note the Apostle Paul's words to Timothy, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy: that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal [R2932 : page 8] life." (I Tim. 6:17.) The same Apostle reproves some of the wealthy brethren for improper displays in connection with the Memorial Supper, saying, "Have ye not houses to eat and drink in, or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not [wealth]?" (I Cor. 11:22.) The Apostle John intimates differences in financial condition when he asks, How could he who loves God shut up the bowels of compassion against a brother, who lacks life's necessities. (I John 3:17.) The Apostle James says, "If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart, and be ye warmed and fed, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?"-- James 2:15,16.

Indeed, in our judgment, the necessary lessons of life could not be so well learned, either by the rich or the poor, if community of goods were either the law or the rule amongst Christians. There can be no question, however, respecting the propriety of community of provision for those who are in want, in distress. It is in harmony with this thought that the Apostle advises each to lay by him on the first day of the week, according as God hath prospered him, a share of his income,--for good service to the Lord and to the brethren, in temporal and spiritual things. (I Cor. 16:2.) No doubt, after the Millennial Kingdom shall have brought the willing and obedient of mankind to perfection, there will be some kind of communism such as we may presume obtains amongst the angels. Even then it will be a communism which will recognize some head or authority; for amongst the angels, we are informed, there are principalities and powers, cherubim and seraphim, and God over all.

The early Church, full of love for the Lord and for each other, is a beautiful and in many respects an ideal picture, in which we can rejoice: no wonder it is recorded that they had joy, gladness, in their hearts, and in their thanksgiving to God, and that the people in general, their neighbors, were pleased with them and rejoiced in their loving spirit. How delightful it would be if all the Lord's people in the world today could be thus in harmony with each other and appreciated by their friends and neighbors. Indeed, we must suppose that the Lord specially shielded the infant Church for a short season, until it should become somewhat established in knowledge and in faith, else the Great Adversary would have raised up opposition and persecution more quickly than he did. Even as it was, it was but a little time until the persecution arose, and with it the testing of those who had espoused the cause of Jesus. Then came the great scattering under persecution, so that those who had learned the way of the Lord learned additionally patience and obedience;--some of them even unto death, and others being scattered abroad became preachers of the gospel of Jesus and their newly-found hopes in him.

The Lord "added to the Church daily such as should be saved," says our Golden Text; or, as the Revised Version renders it, "such as were being saved." As the same Apostle Peter declares, the salvation promised us is still future,--we are waiting for it; it is "to be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus," at his second advent. (I Pet. 1:13.) But meantime there is a beginning of this salvation in the present life. Even now we are, as the Apostle declares, "saved by hope." (Rom. 8:24.) The salvation is not merely of hope, either, but it begins to take hold upon us, mentally, morally and physically--the regenerating work begins; the new mind, the new will, is the start, and from that proceeds true obedience to the Lord's Word, progress in knowledge and progress in grace, and all the progress of the new creature. It often, indeed, means the sacrifice of the earthly interests of the natural man, but it means the development of the new creature. It means the progress of the work of salvation in the heart, which alone God recognizes; and the new creature thus making progress is ultimately to be perfected in salvation by a share in the "first resurrection."



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SUCH AS I HAVE, GIVE I UNTO YOU.
--ACTS 3:1-10--JAN. 26.--

"The Lord is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation."--Exod. 15:2.


PROBABLY it was not long after the day of Pentecost that the events of this lesson transpired. Our last lesson notes the fact that the believers, filled with their new joy, went frequently to the Temple for prayer and thanksgiving. This lesson shows us Peter and John attending the Temple service at the hour of prayer, three o'clock in the afternoon. These two had been with the Lord and with each other for now several years. Both had been disciples of John the Baptist, and previously they two had been together in the fishing business. They were also specially favored amongst the twelve, being with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and in the inner circle in the Garden of Gethsemane, etc. Although Peter was probably the eldest of the disciples, and John probably the youngest, and although their dispositions were quite different in many respects, apparently there was a strong element of harmony between them--they both loved the Lord very intensely, and they were both of ardent temperament. It was natural, therefore, that these two should be considerably in each other's company because of special compatibility. While it is well for the stronger brethren to pray with and company with the weaker sometimes, for the assistance of the latter, it is well also that kindred spirits should come together in communion with each other and with the Lord, as in this case.

As the apostles evidently went frequently to the Temple, and probably often by the same route, through the "Beautiful Gate," it is more than likely that the lame beggar, who had long been accustomed to that locality, in seeking alms, had seen them almost daily. Indeed, it would not be surprising if a knowledge of the Pentecostal wonders [R2933 : page 9] which had converted several thousand, and been "noised abroad," had reached the poor beggar, as well as many others of the religious class, who assembled almost daily at the Temple. Quite evidently therefore, the beggar knew Peter and John in advance of his healing. If so, it would to some extent account for his readiness of faith, by which, accepting the Apostle's word and hand, he was healed.

Why the Apostle Peter on this particular occasion was led to bestow a blessing upon this man we may never know, for it is probable that in that time, when there were no hospitals for the lame and blind, etc., the Apostles frequently passed by others as badly crippled and distressed as this one, without proffering aid. It would seem, however, that the man was an "Israelite indeed"--from the way in which he received the Lord's blessing. Otherwise, instead of having a heart overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness, he before would have been in an attitude of discontent, repining at his lot and complaining of divine providence; and in such a frame of mind his attitude after his healing would have been one of complacent satisfaction rather than of gratitude. He would have felt that he had received no more than his due. The connections, therefore, seem to indicate that the Lord's providence directed the apostles to him specially, on this account. And so it is with those of the Lord's people today who are in a right attitude of heart. They will, whatever their condition, find much to be thankful for, and can trace the Lord's providence and grace in life's affairs, notwithstanding its trials and difficulties. Such people are the objects of God's care, and have the assurance that all things are working together for their good. The Lord's providence may not always bring them physical health and strength, but it will surely bring to such the highest blessings which it brought to the poor cripple of this lesson--a knowledge of the Lord and a share of his spiritual favors.

At that time, when there was no provision for the indigent and helpless, alms-begging and almsgiving were entirely proper. It is creditable to the civilization of our day and land, however, that the helpless are provided for at public expense--all property paying a poor tax or alms tax. It strikes us as being as much wrong to encourage public begging now, as it was right to respond to it at the time mentioned. If the friends of the indigent cannot amply provide for them the public can, and should, and generally does; and it would be a false pride which would ignore these ample provisions and not blush to seek others.

The Apostle said, "Silver and gold have I none." We can scarcely suppose that he intended this statement to be taken literally, for in the preceding verses we have the record that considerable property was sold, and the proceeds laid at the Apostles' feet--put at their disposal. But this evidently the apostles considered as belonging to the Lord and not to themselves--as trust funds. We assume, therefore, that the Apostle meant, Silver and gold we have none to give you, but we have something better to give you, something which God intended we should dispense. And undoubtedly what the Apostles gave was more valuable than money to the poor cripple.

So it is today; we are unable to respond as liberally as we would like to the requests which sometimes come to us for financial aid. The means which the Lord has put into our hands we understand him to intend us to transform in the main into spiritual food and clothing and strength and help, for the sin-sick and lame and for the error-blinded; and accordingly we are sometimes compelled to say, silver and gold we have little to give; but of the spiritual blessings we are willing to give liberally--without money and without price.

Our Lord's words were, "The poor ye have always with you; but me ye have not always." In seeking to be helpful to brethren in the Church and to the unfortunate in the world it is well that all should cultivate a largeness of heart; and yet it is well also to remember that in the cases of many of the Lord's children adversity has evidently been of the Lord's intention, to bring to them blessings which they would not be prepared to receive in any other manner. We are to endeavor to be helpful to each other, while seeking not to conflict with the operations of divine providence, and the learning of important lessons by those whose welfare we seek. We should never forget the Apostle's inspired words. --2 Thes. 3:10.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Undoubtedly every child of God has realized the truthfulness of this; God is ever a bountiful giver, and his people, in proportion as they cultivate this quality, generosity, are therefore cultivating a grand, God-like quality. "Do good and lend, hoping for nothing again [no reward]; and ye shall be children of the Highest." (Luke 6:35.) If we cannot always give much money, or if we cannot give as much as we would like to give, to those who are in need, we may always, like Peter, give something. We cannot, like him give health and strength miraculously, since we are not endued with those apostolic powers; but we can give a word of encouragement, a kindly look, a helping hand over difficulties; and these will often be more valuable than money, and sometimes more appreciated. Even an "enemy" should be fed, if hungry; but neither friend nor foe should be encouraged in indolence, nor in wastefulness.

We notice how distinctly Peter acknowledged the source of his power, and how he was not ashamed of any feature of divine truth. He boldly declared his miracle to be in the name of "Jesus of Nazareth." He did not say, in the name of Jesus, the greatest of all Jews, the highly esteemed friend of Joseph of Arimathea, and of Nicodemus, one of your influential rulers; but, ignoring all such human weaknesses, he plainly declared that it was Jesus the Nazarene, the despised one, whose power had healed. We find some of the Lord's people today far less courageous than Peter; inclined rather to feel ashamed of the truth and ashamed of the agencies God has used in its dissemination;--for fear that these would be a reflection against it. We should rather follow the Apostle's course, and be very courageous and [R2933 : page 10] ready to publicly affirm whatever we find possessing divine sanction. Whatever agencies God may make use of in connection with his service we may be sure that he has some purpose, some object in view, and that his purposes will best be accomplished by plain, candid, truthful statements, like Peter's.

The description of standing, leaping and walking, may well represent the first efforts of one who had been born lame, and who consequently had never learned how to walk. However, the strength was in his limbs, and abundantly testified to the miracle wrought. The poor man was not ashamed of the agents whom God had used in his restoration. He shouted praise to God, and held on to his two benefactors, advertising them to the people, and thus advertising also the Gospel message, which they had to give, which undoubtedly was the very purpose the Lord intended. Here, too, is a lesson for us, not to be ashamed of those whom the Lord may use in connection with our spiritual healing-- much more valuable, much more to be appreciated and acknowledged before God and men, than any temporal blessing. Indeed, the natural sight, natural hearing, natural walking, and natural enjoyment of every kind, are insignificant in comparison with the spiritual enlightenment and hearing and strength to walk in a spiritual way, as the spiritual joys are higher than the natural.

Peter was not self-seeking; he was alert to use every opportunity, every opening, that might come to himself, to the glory of the Lord and of his cause. And so when the multitude gathered together he used the miracle of healing as his text-- as a demonstration of the power of the risen Jesus, operating through him; and he straightway declared to the people that this was the same Jesus whom their rulers had crucified some two months previously. He distinctly disowned that either he or John had any power of themselves to perform such a miracle; he did not say, either, that the healing was by a natural law operated by the man's faith; nor [R2934 : page 10] did he say that the healing was by "Science"; nor did he deny the facts, and claim that the man's impotence was merely a wrong thought, the correction of which had given relief. He told the truth,-- that the man had been ill but was now made sound by the power of Jesus. Nor did he spare his hearers, but pressed home the truth of the responsibility of their nation for the crucifixion of one who not only was innocent and just, but who was the sent of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Life.

Here is another lesson for us. When we obtain the attention of men it is not to be frittered away, either in the discussion of unprofitable topics or in personal boastfulness; but is to be turned directly to the Lord's glory, to the preaching of the good tidings of redemption through the precious blood, that it may be known that all blessing of every kind comes through the merit of that sacrifice, and from our risen glorified Lord.

Our Golden Text surely represents the heart-sentiments of every member of the household of faith. The Lord is our strength; we lean not upon human might,--neither of our own or of other men. We hold the Head, from whom not only come the laws which govern us, but from whom come the strength, the direction, the protection, the care, which we need and which we enjoy. The Lord is become our salvation; he has saved us from the condemnation of sin through faith in the blood; he has rescued us from the love of sin. He has not only revived us, but strengthened us, and enabled us to walk in the narrow way, and to do so with joy and gladness and leaping. He is our salvation already--the salvation that is to be brought unto us, and thus to be complete in us, in the first resurrection, is already begun--for we are already passed from death unto life, and have the witness of this in the holy spirit.



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QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST.


ABRAHAM'S WIFE--HIS NIECE?


Question.--In the Tower for July 15, 1901, p.233, Sarah is mentioned as Abraham's niece. How can this be harmonized with Gen. 20:12, "She is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother"?

Answer.--In olden times it was customary, instead of speaking of grandchildren, to call them children, as, for instance, "the children of Israel." "All the souls which came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls"--yet some of these were grandchildren and some great grandchildren. The thought is that Haran was the eldest son of Terah; that he had two children, Lot and Sarah, and that these were near enough their uncle Abraham's age to be his companions. Under the rule above mentioned Sarah, if the daughter of Haran, would be counted the daughter of Terah, not by his wife, but by Haran's wife. We would not insist that this view of the matter is beyond question, however, and those who think differently have full right to do so.

PALESTINE AS A REFUGE.


Question.--What are the facts respecting Palestine at the present time? Is it being rapidly settled by the Jews in colonies or otherwise? Would it be a good place for those who have a knowledge of present truth to emigrate to? Would it be a good place for serving the truth, or would it be a favorable place as respects escaping the coming time of financial and social trouble?

Answer.--We could not recommend friends of the truth to emigrate to Palestine. They would find almost no opportunity for serving the truth, and, as respects the time of trouble, we might say that the poor of that land are continually in trouble enough, and that even in the future the Scriptures assure us that the time of trouble will reach Palestine. Furthermore, not only would it be impossible to circumvent the Lord and thus escape the coming trouble, but additionally the Lord encourages his faithful people to believe that he will deliver them from the trouble wherever they may be. As respects the resettlement [R2934 : page 11] of the land; it progresses very slowly; first, because few of the Jews are interested deeply enough to live in such a country under present conditions. Second, because Jews have not been permitted to settle there since the Sultan's ukase prohibiting their settlement in 1892. Jews going thither are only permitted to land if provided with permits, which allow them to remain about 30 days. The Zionists are hoping to report some new and more favorable arrangement at their next Congress.

CONVENTIONS ARE "HOLY CONVOCATIONS."


Question.--Are the conventions, such as the one recently held in Cleveland, and the One-Day Conventions mentioned from time to time in the Watch Tower, of real benefit? Do they not reach merely the rich, who can afford to make the journey, etc.? Are they in harmony with Scriptural precedents?

Answer.--Yes, we have every reason to believe that the Lord's blessing is with this department of the work, as well as with the other departments. Of course all of the friends are not able to attend the conventions, but this is not, we think, an argument against them. All are not able to attend the regular gatherings of the Church every time, sometimes because of sickness, and sometimes for other reasons. If both husband and wife cannot attend a meeting it should be to the advantage of the absent one that the other does attend, because of the rehearsal of truth upon his return. Similarly with the Conventions. Our experience is that those who attend the Conventions and return home are greatly blessed themselves, as they endeavor to repeat to the brethren some of the precious thoughts they have gleaned, and to inspire their hearts with the letter and sentiment and spirit of the truth.

Furthermore, it would be quite a mistake to suppose that those who gather at these Conventions are wealthy; very few of the Lord's people are rich in this world's goods. We never advise anyone to spend for travel money that is needed for bread or clothing; but as a rule those who are in attendance find themselves abundantly rewarded for the time and money expended. In our judgment the Conventions are indeed a great blessing, and it is for this reason that we are extending the One-Day Conventions in various directions. The Pilgrim visits are somewhat similar; they cannot visit every town, but friends from nearby places, seeing mention of their coming to the vicinity, can attend at small expense, upon writing us for any particulars necessary.

As to Scriptural precedent: We remind you that the Jews had numerous Holy Convocations; and that our Lord and his disciples frequently attended these, especially the Feast of the Passover. The Apostle Paul also hasted in his journey that he might be present at the Passover, and en route we remember that he sent on for the elders of the Church at Ephesus to meet him, and hold a little by-convention. However, in matters of this kind, where the spirit of the truth is being carried out, it would not matter if we had not an exact correspondence in deed in the early Church. For instance, they had neither books nor tracts nor journals, nor Bibles with marginal references, or otherwise. Some of these things are blessings which accrue to us because we are living in the most favored day which the world has ever seen. As our day brings many additional trials, besetments, enticements and cares, to "choke the Word," so, by God's grace, it brings also many opportunities for assembling ourselves in little and in larger groups. For all of these we give thanks, and all of them we endeavor to use to the Master's praise and to the comfort and upbuilding of one another.

THE FATHER DRAWS NOW, THE SON THEN.


Question.--In the Watch Tower you have pointed out that in the present time only a limited number are drawn, and they by the Father, to the intent that, following on, they may become members of the Church, which is the Bride of Christ; you have also pointed out as Scriptural that during the Millennial age the drawing will be general--"all men"--and that it will be done, not by the Father, but by the Christ. I recognize that these statements are in full accord with the presentations of Scripture, but am at a loss to know in what manner the drawing of the future will differ from the drawing of the present time, and this is my question.

Answer.--The drawing or influencing of all men, by and by, will be through the truth; and the same is the drawing power now. Few are drawn now, because darkness, ignorance, prejudice and superstition prevail, the god of this world blinding the masses and keeping them deaf to the voice of righteousness and truth, so that only they can now hear and appreciate the truth who have "an ear to hear." The majority of the race are fallen, and their appreciation of the principles of righteousness is too warped and twisted to permit the truth to have its proper weight and influence upon their hearts in drawing them to Lord. Yet this is the only class that God wishes specially to draw now, and even of those who are thus amenable to the influences of righteousness now, and somewhat drawn by it, comparatively few are so in love with truth and righteousness that they are willing to sacrifice every other interest as respects the present life, on its behalf. Yet only such are now sought by the Heavenly Father to be joint-heirs with his son. [R2935 : page 11]

But by and by, when under the Father's arrangement the Son shall begin his reign as King of the earth, he will exercise a drawing influence upon all, by restraining Satan from deceiving, and by opening the eyes and ears of understanding, and by causing the knowledge of the truth to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. Thus, although the drawing of that Millennial age will be very similar to the drawing of this present time, as to kind, it will be much more general, reaching every class and every condition, and helping each and all, who will respond, out of degradation and ignorance and sin and death, back to full harmony with the principles of righteousness. The special drawing which the Father accomplishes is in connection with what is called "the election according to favor," while the drawing which Christ will accomplish in the next age will be the operation of free grace, upon all and for the benefit of all.



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DRINKING AT THE BROOK

"He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head."--Psalm 110:7.


OUR TEXT refers directly to our Lord Jesus, and secondly to all the members of the church, his body, each one of whom must share his experiences--walking in his steps and drinking of the same "brook," if they would in due time share with their Lord in his exaltation, to glory, honor, and immortality; this exaltation being represented in our text by the expression, "lift up the head." In ancient times as at present, human language was full of figures and symbols, water representing truth, and drinking of water representing appropriation of the truth, namely, wisdom (See Prov. 18:4); and lifting up the head, exaltation.--See Gen. 40:13.

Our text is given as the reason for the glorious blessings and honors predicted of the Christ and described in the preceding verses of the same psalm. Let us notice these. The first verse is directly applied to our Lord by the Apostles (Acts 2:34; Heb. 1:13; I Pet. 3:22), and our Lord applied the same to himself. (Matt. 22:44.) A figure of speech is again employed, descriptive of our Lord's relationship to the Father in Glory; he is not literally seated beside him at his right hand, but he has been honored with a superior station, a position above all others-- he specially is at the right hand of divine power. Nor does his second coming hinder or change this relationship; at his second coming he will still be at his Father's right hand as he himself, declared (Matt. 26:64.) At the Father's right hand during the Millennial Age, the Father, through him, shall subdue all things to himself--put down all opposing authority and insubordination; blessing those who come into heart-harmony with his kingdom of righteousness, and destroying from the earth all who after fair knowledge of good as well as evil, choose the evil. These will be considered as followers of Satan instead of followers of God, and the second death, we are specifically told, is for the Devil and his messengers, servants.--Matt. 25:41.

The description of the Millennial Kingdom is continued by the Prophet, who declares, "Jehovah shall send the rod of thy strength out of (or through) Zion"--primarily the Church, the "Bride," the "body" of Christ; the rod or sceptre or authority shall be exercised through the Church, by the Lord Jesus the Head of the Church, under the divine commission,--"Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." This is not in any measure fulfilled yet. Jesus when in the flesh did not rule in the midst of his enemies, and the Church has not thus ruled; on the contrary, both he and his followers have been subject to the powers that be, and the violent have taken the kingdom by force and have despitefully used the Head and the body members. (Matt. 11:12.) The enemies are not yet made the footstool of the Lord, Zion has not yet been glorified, and Messiah's sceptre or authority has not yet gone forth therefrom. On the contrary we are still in "this present evil world," we still wait for the completion of the elect Church that together she may be glorified with her Lord--enter into His glory--when he, the due time having come, "shall take unto himself his great power and reign;"--then the nations will be angry, etc., (Rev. 11:18) and divine wrath will come upon them; and following that "day of wrath" shall come the promised blessing, upon all who shall demonstrate under the good opportunities of that Millennial Kingdom, that they love righteousness and hate iniquity.

This latter class--those who during the Millennial age, during that day of his presence, shall become the Lord's people (I Cor. 15:23)--are referred to by the Prophet when he says,--"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." The day of his power is not yet here, as the poet declares: "Wrong and evil triumph now." The "Prince of this world" still rules and is "god of this world" as the Apostle asserts; because our Lord has not yet taken to himself his great power nor begun his reign. The people who shall be willing in the day of his power are not, therefore, the saints of this Gospel age: these latter are only the "first fruits unto God of his creatures" and are willing before the day of his power--willing to hear the Shepherd's voice and to follow him; willing to sacrifice all and to lay down their lives in his service, for the brethren.

Evidently, therefore, those referred to as "Thy people" who shall be willing in the day of Christ's power, the Millennial Age, are those whom our Lord represents as his "sheep," in the parable of the sheep and the goats. They are those who after the Son of Man shall be seated on the throne of his glory, and after his Church is seated with him in his throne, and after the judgment or trial day for the nations, the world, is ended,--after the knowledge of the Lord has filled the earth, after it has gradually proved the savor of life unto life, or death unto death to the world, shall be found truly "his people,"--willing, nay, glad to serve him when they know him and understand his will. As his sheep they will desire to follow in the way of righteousness, truth and holiness; as his people they will not need to be coerced further, but learning the truth in the day of his power, when the adversary is bound and when the eyes of their understandings are opened, they will be willingly his people. And all who shall not then become willingly his people will be esteemed his enemies, "goats," angels or messengers or servants of the adversary, and be destroyed with him in the Second Death.

"In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth." That is to say, as morning after morning comes forth fresh and vigorous as its predecessor, as the sun grows not old and feeble, so with Messiah, and so also with those accepted as the members of his body, they will have perpetually the freshness and vigor of youth,--glory, honor, immortality, the divine nature--this is part of the blessing that is promised, and which will result, our text tells us, from drinking of the brook in the way.

Having told us of the kingly power and authority of Messiah, it is appropriate that the Lord through the prophet explains to us that Messiah's priestly office is to be also of a higher type than the earthly, --that his priest and kingly offices are to be blended and united as was typified in Melchisedec, who was [R2935 : page 13] both king and priest. Our Lord when on earth was not of the Aaronic priesthood, nevertheless, Aaron was his type, and the sacrifices which Aaron performed were typical of the "better sacrifices" performed by the antitypical priest, in the laying down of his own life and in the consecration and sacrifice also of all those who are his during this Gospel age, who thus "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." By and by our High priest will have completed all that was illustrated in the Aaronic type, he will have finished the Day of Atonement sacrifices, and then the glory promised will follow,--instead of a suffering priesthood there will be "a royal priesthood" --a reigning priesthood.--I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:10.

Then follow assurances that this glorious priest-king will prosper, that his reign of righteousness will be successful; the assurance being that God will be at his right hand supporting him and bringing matters to a successful issue,--smiting down kings and wounding the heads over many countries, and subduing all things mightily. The great day of trouble coming is very generally referred to as "the day of Jehovah,"* the day of His wrath, although it will be under the direct supervision of our Lord Jesus, for the purpose of introducing and establishing his Millennial dominion.

*Millennial Dawn, Vol. 1, Chap. 15.

These, foregoing, descriptions of the greatness of Messiah and his kingdom, lead up to our text; and it, as before suggested, is given as the reason why so great blessings, honors, and dignities and authority are conferred. "He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head--[be exalted.]"

LEARNING OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS SUFFERED.

As we look into the Word for testimony upon the subject, we find that our dear Master did indeed learn certain lessons of experience; as the apostle declares, he "learned obedience in the things which he suffered." Not that he had ever been disobedient to the Father's will, but that his testing at the time that he came into the world to do the Father's will was of a character and of an intensity such as never before had been brought to him nor any other creature. His obedience attested his love to the Father, attested his faith in the Father's love and justice; and in all these things he fully approved himself of the Father; he overcame every trial, he drank frequently [R2936 : page 13] of the brook of wisdom, in connection with these lessons. Moreover, it was expedient that he, to be the great High Priest of mankind, should be touched with a feeling of their infirmities, and therefore that he should be tempted in all points like as his followers are tested--along the line of personality, of self will; along the line of worldly ambition; along the line of faith and trust; along all the lines of obedience to God's plan. He drank deeply of the cup, and rejoicingly said, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?"--John 18:11.

And now we come to a point of special interest in our text; for we perceive that if it was necessary for our glorious Lord from the heavenly courts to drink of the brook of experience, and gain wisdom by the things he suffered, endured, and thereby to demonstrate his confidence in God, it is equally necessary that all the members of his body should likewise drink of the brook in the way, if they would hope to share with the Lord in the Kingdom blessings-- glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature.

Our dear Master's time for drinking at the brook is past, yet the lessons and encouragements therefrom are still before us in the Scripture records. It is now our time to drink of the brook of experience,--to learn the lessons that are necessary to our preparation for the Kingdom. It is not enough that we have tasted of the brook of experience, that we have learned something of obedience, that we have endured some trials, that on some occasions we have learned obedience through the things we have suffered; we must continue drinking until we can gladly say--Father, thy will, not ours be done! If we drink not of the brook in the way we shall not share in the glory to follow.

Some of the Lord's people not discerning the matter in its true light, are disposed to pray that they may be spared from trials and temptations; whereas they ought to understand that the trials and difficulties of the consecrated are witnesses of the spirit *that they are children of God, and are under his training and preparation for a glorious share in the Kingdom, to which he has called us. Because if we are not tried we cannot be "overcomers"; if we do not suffer with him, and learn to endure hardness as good soldiers, and to esteem our trials and difficulties from the right standpoint, and to count it all joy when they come to us, knowing their object and knowing the Lord's sustaining grace and strength, we will not be "fit for the Kingdom."

*See Millennial Dawn, Vol. 5.

Others interpret the trials of life as evidences of divine disfavor, and fail to realize that they are designed of the Lord to shape and polish our characters and thus to work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Because of their misunderstanding they are profited little by many of life's experiences through which they are called to pass-- they feel the rod, but not discerning the loving purpose behind it, they fail to learn the lesson intended. Let us become more and more awake, more and more alive to the things of God,--to the facts of the case as he presents them to us in his Word--to our call to joint-heirship to the Kingdom, and incidentally to the drinking of the brook of experience and wisdom in the way that will fit and prepare us for the glories to follow.

Drinking of the brook does not, however, imply that we sorrow and are disconsolate above others; on the contrary, those who drink of the brook properly are full of joy. As the apostle declares, they are enabled in everything to give thanks unto God,--in life's difficulties, as well as in its pleasures--even as he again says, Count it all joy when ye fall into divers difficulties, knowing that under divine providence they will work out for you a greater blessing. (James 1:2.) It is the world, which must also share its part of life's difficulties, that sorrows as those who have no hope, or who have false hopes. The apostle points out side by side the world's condition and the [R2936 : page 14] Church's condition under the trials and difficulties of this present evil world, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Then he explains the position of God's people, begotten of his spirit, who are walking in the Lord's footsteps, and drinking of the brook in the way, saying, "We ourselves also groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the deliverance of the body"--the body of Christ, the Church. This hope, which we have, gives a changed coloring and silver lining to every dark and troubled subject which comes to us in common with mankind; so that inspired by draughts from the brook we can sing in the house of our pilgrimage, even though as yet we must also groan, because we are in this imperfect tabernacle, this unsatisfactory mortal body.

We want to ask the Lord, our Master and Head, that he will bless us more and more, as with fresh zeal we shall endeavor faithfully and rejoicingly to drink of the brook of life's experiences, and gain wisdom therefrom that will fit and prepare us for his service by and by; and which will the better fit and prepare us for his service also in the present time, and enable us by his grace to show forth his praises in all the trying circumstances and vicissitudes of life so as to glorify him in our bodies and spirits which are his. Let us, as we drink of the brook, take a lesson from the little birds, which when drinking repeatedly lift the head as though giving thanks to God. Let us continually give thanks to our Lord for every taste of life's experience, for every lesson, for every trial-- appropriating them all to our spiritual development. The time for lifting up our heads in glory is nearing, too, and already the Master directs that seeing (with the eye of faith) the evidences of their approach, we may lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh.--Luke 21:28.



[R2936 : page 14]

INTERESTING LETTERS FROM FRIENDS.


Dear Brother Russell:--

Pray do not think that I write in a captious spirit, but the extracts from "The Jew," are statements so grossly overdrawn, if not absolutely and entirely untrue, that if you were to cause such accusations to be verified here before inserting them in the Tower, where absolute truth alone should appear, they certainly would not appear therein, except so far as true.

There is, and has been of late, a great influx of Jews ("Infidels, Turks, and offscouring of Europe") into England, London particularly, and it is not surprising that their ignorance of the language and generally, their clannish herding together, their filthiness and their habits and manners, as well as their injury to the employment of others, should be resented almost exclusively by a poor and uneducated people whom they displace or come into unpleasant contact with (and particularly at this time).

Precisely the same feeling is manifested toward Chinamen in San Francisco, and on the Pacific coast, etc., the difference being that in the United States there is legislation against them,--but here Jews and any nationality have absolute freedom and assured and certain protection and even-handed justice.

Such articles as that from "The Jew" are calculated to produce hatred, because they manifest a spirit of gross ingratitude, and wilful lying (there is no other word for it), when the Jew question is considered broadly and not from perhaps some isolated case. As to the political parties being pledged to anti-Semitism, or any other charges against them as a people, or even against their capitalists (except it may be one or two German Jew South African firms), these are on a par with the rest of it and not worthy of notice. The fact is that newly found freedom, with some, cause them, from ignorance, to be aggressively and offensively assertive, and presume upon the liberty of action and speech, etc., accorded them--and so they assist largely in bringing about that of which they complain.

I write out of warmest personal regard, and respect and sincere Christian love.
I am, dear Brother, Yours truly in Christ,
B. C. HUGHES,--England.


***

[Nothing was farther from our intention than to intimate that the masses of the British are Jew-baiters: nor that those who do the baiting are without provocation. We merely mentioned it as "news;" and as evidence that the Jew will yet, as the Bible declares, be persecuted in every nation and thus be driven back to Palestine when Zionism shall succeed in opening that door.--Editor.]


Dear Brother Russell:--

Greetings from the Church of Los Angeles!

According to 1 Cor. 16:2, we have endeavored to follow Paul's advice, and have provided a treasury, from which is drawn, the expenses of the church, the expenses for volunteer service, also the expenses of any in need; and from this treasury we now send the Tract Society a little thank-offering. We, as a body, unite in the desire, to express our appreciation of the privilege of obtaining this literature for "Volunteer" work, and of the opportunity to serve it, while it is yet called day. Our earnest desire is to help the Bride to make herself ready; our earnest prayer is for the establishment of the kingdom.

We desire to thank you and the "Tower" office assistants, [R2937 : page 14] for your labor of love to the Church, especially for all efforts expended in our behalf. Above all we thank our Heavenly Father, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, and we know of no better way to express our gratitude than to send to the fund the enclosed $50.00, which has been raised for this purpose together with the surplus in our treasury.

We cannot hope to pay for the thousands of pages we have distributed; but we trust you will accept this as an expression of our gratitude.

We ask your prayers, that each of our number may be more zealous, more faithful, more fervent in spirit to serve our God and lay down our lives for the brethren, loving His approval above all else.

With Christian love and prayers for your steadfastness, we remain, your fellow-servants, in Christ,
Church of Los Angeles.


My dearly beloved Bro. Russell:--

My poor heart overflows with gratitude to our dear Lord, for the beneficial and sweet moments we have so richly enjoyed with you during this, the first Christian convention that I have ever seen in the city of Richmond. Dear brother, rest assured that your labor is not in vain here; for the 12th and 13th of October, 1901, will long be a pleasure to think of. The feast of good things continued with some of us the next day, while God's dear children before leaving the city have been telling of the joy and benefits received. No jars, no objections, no schism or worldly contention; but praise and thanks to God from every quarter,--that we attended the convention and all received such a blessing.

Truly our prayers for this season of refreshing were answered. We thought that we loved you, very dearly before, and esteemed you very highly for your works' sake; but these sessions with you have kindled our love so much, that we almost feel impatient for the beginning of eternity when in God's kingdom we part no more. O [R2937 : page 15] brother, the Lord knows that I feel these sentiments, and I believe that the other dear ones also do. This season with you has built us up in the most holy faith, and we pray that it may long, yea, very long last us. The dear brethren leaving for their homes were saying, "How clear this point was made; and how rich was that thought; and how long I have wanted to see dear brother Russell, the channel through which our God has sent us the blessed truth, and my longings have been realized."

We do hope, that it may meet with your approval to still further encourage us by reporting our convention in the next "Tower." With this hope, I give as nearly as I could count them, the number present, i.e., believers. I made the count one hundred and twenty-eight, possibly a few over or under. Fourteen symbolized their consecration by water baptism. Five states and District of Columbia were represented. Pray for us here, dear brother, that we may continue faithful, and let our light shine, through love and humility as well as otherwise. May our Father's richest blessings be with you to the end.

Your brother in the love and service of our dear Lord,
M. L. STAPLES,--Virginia.

[This report is late;--crowded out of our previous issues. ED.]


Dear Brother Russell:--

How I long to see you. I have had a big fight and gained a glorious victory. I send you my article prepared for the Conference. I had a hard time to get a hearing, as my name was called before I reached the seat of Conference. Had I been there then I could have had the floor; but after that it was difficult. After pressing the matter they allowed me five minutes to speak and I read rapidly until I reached the sentence, "Thy Kingdom come," two thirds through, and there the Bishop called me to order. He said I had used up six minutes and I asked for an extension of time but could not get it. (They had enough.) So I asked our own City Editor if he would like to publish it and he consented.

There was a great surprise I assure you, at Syracuse Conference, when I withdrew from it and gave my reasons even partially. I commenced giving out tracts-- until all were gone. When I gave one I said, "Read that carefully, when you are all alone." I have a good many old friends in the Conference and Church (Nominal), but thanks be to God, I am the Lord's free man.

Some have asked me what church I am going to unite with, and my answer is the "Church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven."

Yours in love,
B. F. WEATHERWAX,--New York.


Dear Brother Russell:--

I wrote you a short time since for some samples of your publications to which you kindly replied, by forwarding me several copies of the "Watch Tower" and some tracts, all of which I have carefully read. I am more than ever convinced of the correctness of your views of Scriptural truth. I try to make the Word of God the Counsellor and Guide of my life, and I rejoice in every development of light and truth.

Have you a Church organization? if so, what is it called, and what is the form of your church government?

What is required of persons desiring to unite with the Church? Have you a regular ministry? and how are they appointed and employed? An answer to the foregoing questions, and all information you may be able to furnish will be much appreciated.

That you may not be in ignorance as to whom you address, I will say, that I am a minister in the Congregational Church, and if you desire can give you satisfactory references.

Since writing you, Vol. I., "The Plan of the Ages," has been recovered, and though much mutilated, is still readable. I herewith enclose you 25c in stamps for which please send me Vol. II., "The Time is at Hand." The other volumes, I will order later on, or after carefully reading this.

There is great unrest and dissatisfaction among professing Christians, and it seems to me they desire, as they truly need, instruction concerning the truth as it is in Jesus. How shall this be furnished? It may be you have tracts for free distribution; if so, and you feel like entrusting me with a small supply, I will endeavor to place them where they will do the most good.

Pardon my long letter, and if you find time, amidst your arduous labors, I would be glad to receive a reply.
Yours in Christ,
L. F. WAY,--Texas.

[We sent the Brother a copy of "Zion's Watch Tower" containing an article on "Which is the True Church?" with our answer and hope to hear from him further, and still more enthusiastically after he has read more.-- Editor.]


Dear Brother Russell:--

The brethren have done excellently in distributing the tracts sent us.

They had an amusing, though joyful experience in distributing at the last meeting of the "Christian" Church Convention. They began distributing to the few stragglers that came out before the close of the meeting. Among these was a minister who upbraided them and told them that he should warn the people against them. This he did, announcing from the pulpit that there was literature being distributed at the door that should not be read and everyone should refuse to accept it. The result was that the people crowded around the brethren with outstretched hands eager to get them. The clerical gentleman probably never served God better in his life than he did when he forbade the people reading the tracts. Everyone was surely read in search of forbidden fruit.

We have already had an illustration of the truth of your prediction in the last Tower. Last Sunday a local preacher in talking of the people who had "jumped the track" after defining Christian Science and the Dowieites said,--"There is another class of people, who claim to hear the call 'come out of her,' who separate themselves and put a weird interpretation to the Scriptures. What are these? "Religious anarchists! nothing more, nothing less."

Surely this is an indication of what we may expect in the near future. May the dear Lord strengthen us that we may be prepared to stand fast in the faith when that evil day shall come.
Yours in the blessed hope,
(Mrs.) J. M. WHITE.--Iowa.


Dear Brother Russell:--

I know that you will be gratified to learn that the Cleveland Convention has proven an increasing blessing to me, the Lord using it and its influence, among other things, to increase my hungering and thirsting for righteousness, i.e., the walking more zealously in the footsteps of the dear Master, using every occasion, and as far as possible, making occasion, to do his commandment-- love the dear brethren as he loved us. Then, too, what grand opportunity we occasionally have to bear testimony to the world of our faith in the kingdom, and how it will make all things right. Our little band of faithful ones here is growing in zeal and knowledge, and the spirit of the Master.

I want you to rest assured, dear brother, of my increasing love for you, and appreciation of your work in the Lord. As Paul was to Timothy, so, in a great measure at least, have you been to me, a father in Christ; and in the Lord's own good time and way, I hope to testify more fully to you my appreciation of all you have done and are doing. It comforts me to tell you that in every prayer--secret--I bear you to the throne of favor, realizing that as the Lord has appointed you to be so prominent a teacher, you receive a correspondingly severer trial, or testing. Thank God, we know His grace is sufficient for all your needs, and that having begun He can finish His good work in you. May your faith fail not.

I did not intend so long a letter, realizing how fully your time is occupied. Remember me in love to the household with you.
In the bonds of Christian fellowship,
W. E. PAGE.--Wisconsin.



page 17
January 1st

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

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXIII.JANUARY 15, 1902.No. 2.


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower19
Anti-Semitic Move Renewed in Russia19
The Zionist Congress20
The Decay of Belief20
Some Suggested Remedies20
A Pastor's Testimony21
The First Persecution21
The Great Jehovah's Plan23
"With Him--Called and Chosen and Faithful"24
Attempting to Deceive God28
May We Defend Earthly Interests?29

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 18

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"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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ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.

NEW SUBSCRIBERS AND OLD ONES.

We welcome the lists of new subscribers now coming in, and greatly appreciate the zeal of the friends, manifested thus. We offer no "Premiums," preferring to have only such help as is tendered to the Lord by grateful hearts. They shall receive their reward in another form,--from the Master.

But, however glad we are to get new names on our lists, we are still more pleased to have old ones continue there. It will be with pain that we will now, shortly, cut off our list the names of several hundred whose subscriptions expired a year ago, and who have neglected to send money for renewal, or request to have the journal continue on credit, or on the free list,--as the "Lord's Poor."

We give all such this final notice; and explain that unless you state the matter explicitly, no record is made in our subscription books; and thus our list-clerk assumes that you have not been heard from and are either dead or no longer interested; and the name is dropped.

If you sent us money and we received it, you get a mail acknowledgment of it. If any mistake appears drop us a card at once, explaining. If your paper ceases to come to you, write at once; we will be glad to reenter your name; but it would save both you and us trouble if you would express your intentions promptly when your subscription (whether cash, credit or free) expires. We desire that all the deeply interested shall have the journal so long as they live and it is published. We have no desire to force or intrude it upon any one.


If you subscribe for a friend on account of Good Hopes or sending the money, please notify him to expect the journal, otherwise he may be less interested in examining it.



[R2938 : page 19]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.


AMERICA is forcing a revolution on Europe as certainly as God reigns.

How? By taking the bread out of European mouths, by sending men, women and children to bed supperless, by forcing European millions to live upon two meals a day, and those two scant ones, in reality not more than one and one-half. American genius, American machinery, American push, American capital is doing that, and each revolution of American engines brings the inevitable day of doom for Europe nearer.

How long has it been since the American manufacturer began to realize his power? Ten years, perhaps. What has he accomplished toward the inevitable end in that time? He has closed European factories; he has cut European profits on manufactured goods to the minimum; he has thrown European workmen out of employment, he has forced Europe a long step ahead toward the day of revolution.

But the end is not yet. Scarcely have we seen the beginning. Wait until a heavier over-production than we have yet witnessed cuts prices on manufactured articles still lower. Who can best stand such a cut? The American. Why? Because he has not already been forced to the last notch. He does not know the meaning of small profits. When he begins to sell on a small margin of profit the European manufacturer will go out of business, and the revolution will be on.

Of all the nations of Europe England, blood-stained England, is least able to stand the dark days that are to come. Our people have drank more liberally of the liquor of prosperity and financial freedom than have those of other nations. We have cultivated a taste for the luxuries of life that is hardly known among the peasant classes of the continent. It will be hard to renounce these, and I fear they will not be renounced without a struggle that will be the dearest and darkest in the history of the English empire.

American prosperity means European bankruptcy, and bankruptcy means anarchy.--W. T. Stead.

This is a gloomy picture, not only for Europe but for the entire world; for the world today is bound together as never before. If Europe suffers, America will just as surely suffer. The poor world, the "groaning creation" has our sympathy as it opens its eyes to the grand result of its highest civilization, under its inexorable law of selfishness. Would that we could point out to this brilliant editor, and to all men, the glorious prospect we see in the Word of God

--the silver lining of the cloud, which they see not;--
the dawning of the long-promised Millennial Day. But a clear insight into the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine love and plan is intended only for the "little flock," yet. "None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." --Dan. 12:10.

Those who were readers of Zion's Watch Tower twenty years ago, will remember how astonished they and others were at its presentation, from the Scriptures, of the very conditions which all men now perceive to be fast hastening toward us;--anarchy in the midst of the greatest prosperity the world has ever known. Those who have newly come into the truth, and who never saw the earlier issues of our journal, are often amazed at the statements they find in the Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., when they notice that it was published in 1886.

Our Master, who gives us in his Word the inside information, tells us to note the fulfillments; and adds, "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads and rejoice, for your deliverance draweth nigh."--Luke 21:25-31.

ANTI-SEMITIC MOVE RENEWED IN RUSSIA.


Vienna Dispatch.--Again the Jews in Russia are being harassed. Presumably this is by order of the government, since the oppressive measures are not confined to any one place. The ministry of the interior [R2938 : page 20] has appointed a special commission, under the presidency of M. Dournovo, to revise the laws and regulations governing the Jews. Heretofore Jewish matters have been discussed and reported upon by the clerical department. Intervention by the ministry of the interior, acting on its own discretion, is likely to lead to a more stringent policy than ever.

Jews of all classes are now prevented from moving freely about Russia in pursuit of their professions. For example, the law allows certain classes of Jews to reside in St. Petersburg or Moscow, but it does not expressly say that a Jew merchant has the right to trade in those cities. Therefore, if a Moscow Jew merchant wishes, he may go to St. Petersburg and he may even live there, but he may not trade there. If he dies his wife and children are immediately "cleaned out." This is the phrase used. They are compelled to go to the Jewish "pale," or the place from which they originally went to St. Petersburg or Moscow.

In every form of activity known in Russia today the Jew is in some way represented, and, as he has no friends except those of his own religious persuasion, he is a convenient anvil for every official hammer. The Russians hate the Jews because they fear them even more than they fear the Germans or the Poles.

Now that the ministry of the interior has taken a hand in the persecution, there will be no refuge. The officials will treat them with less mercy even than the clerical department, which formerly had them under supervision. There are instances where the clerical authorities have shown some mercy toward Jews, but there is none where the purely political officials have treated him as anything better than a convenient scape-goat.--Chicago Record-Herald.

THE ZIONIST CONGRESS.


As per announcement, the Zionist Congress opened December 26th, at Basle, Switzerland. It was attended by about one thousand delegates, twenty-five of them from the United States. Dr. Herzl of Vienna, the founder, presided, but had nothing definite to report from the Sultan of Turkey, respecting Palestine. He reported, however, that in his audience with him, in May last, the Sultan had expressed his sympathy with Zionism's ambitions, declared himself the friend of the Jews, and that he considered them desirable as colonists. Failure to receive something more tangible was a source of disappointment to the Congress; but it is not discouraged. It has thus far accumulated about $1,000,000.00 toward its object;--nearly all from the poor Jews of the world.



[R2938 : page 20]

THE DECAY OF BELIEF


PRESIDENT CYRUS NORTHROP, of the Minnesota State University, recently delivered an address before the Chicago Baptist Social Union. In it he made the following reference to the present religious conditions. He said in part:--

It seems to me that in looking at the religious condition of the country--I do not mean the statistics of the churches, nor the amount of gifts to missions and philanthropy, nor the general condition of the church as an organization--but I do mean the state of thought in the church itself in reference to its own faith; it seems to me that we are confronted by four marked changes which have grown into prominence in the last few years. If I am wrong I shall be glad to know it, and if I am right I shall be grateful, as I am sure you all will be, to any Biblical scholar who will show us the truth. These changes stated briefly are: First--A decay of belief in the supernatural. Second--What I may call the disintegration of the Bible. Third--New views respecting inspiration. Fourth--Loss of the sense of accountability.

These four changes are essentially one. They are at least shoots from a common root--and that root is doubt as to whether God ever has had any communication with men. Under this doubt Christianity ceases to be the religion which God intended for men to cherish, and becomes simply one of the religions of the world--a purely human device, like Confucianism or Mohammedanism, of no more authority than these and to be preferred to these only as its teachings are more reasonable and uplifting. There is a world of difference between saying this thing is true because God said it and God said this because it is true. The former carries with it the certainty of "Thus saith the Lord." The latter is of no validity, because many things may be true which God never said. And if God never said anything to men inspiration becomes so attenuated that it is hardly discoverable under the more or less theory which grants inspiration of some degree to every one who voices a noble truth, and grants no higher inspiration, though perhaps a greater degree of inspiration, to any one else. Under this arrangement a man must first get his idea of God and then determine whether anything is the product of divine inspiration according as it meets or does not meet that idea. There is in this no possibility of revelation in the usual sense. The order is inverted--God does not reveal truth to men; the truth on the contrary, reveals God. Now this may or may not be satisfactory to some. But it is, to say the least, very unsettling to human faith and very depressing to the ordinary Christian who does not know enough about God's style to determine whether he said a thing or not, [R2939 : page 20] and who is not sufficiently familiar with the internal signs of inspiration to determine whether any particular writing reveals God truly or not. And this condition of things is the darkest part of the outlook at the opening of the twentieth century.

SOME SUGGESTED REMEDIES.

FOR THE PULPIT:

a. "Preach the Word." Restore the Bible to its rightful place as the Word of God divinely inspired and supremely authoritative. Use the Old Testament Scriptures as our Lord used them; freely and without apology. He never explained them away. You need not. To discredit your text book is to discount your message. Eliminate the "ifs" and "perhapses," and proclaim the Word in the power and demonstration of the Spirit. [R2939 : page 21]

b. Remember your calling; it is not to exploit shifting philosophies and passing fads; sociology, evolution or even higher criticism; but to declare the gospel of the grace of God. The former never edified a church or saved a sinner or comforted a human heart. The latter is the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation.

"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word let him speak my word faithfully."

c. If the Bible doctrine is true that the one sufficient remedy for man's sin is the sacrificial death of the Divine *Substitute--not his teaching or his example --then the popular teaching of "salvation by character," is manifestly unscriptural and unwarranted. "He suffered for us, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."

*We must understand this to mean,--the substitute which God furnished: otherwise it would be out of accord with the Scripture testimony, and the meaning of the word ransom,--"a corresponding price."

d. "The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man," as so often indiscriminately and universally applied to saint and sinner alike, is equally unscriptural and misleading.

There is no spiritual Fatherhood without spiritual birth. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." "Ye must be born again."

FOR THE PEW:

a. "Take heed what ye hear." "Let no man deceive you with vain words." "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith." "Be ye ready at all times to give...an answer for the hope that is in you."

b. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." "Be ye blameless and harmless, the sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."

c. Live and walk habitually in the light of Titus 2:11-14.

A PASTOR'S TESTIMONY.


Joseph Parker, of London, on the 40th anniversary of his pastorate of the City Temple, said: "Looking back upon all the chequered way, I have to say that the only preaching that has done me good is the preaching of a Savior who bore my sins in his own body on the tree, and the only preaching by which God has enabled me to do good to others is the preaching in which I have held up my Savior, not as a sublime example, but as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."



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THE FIRST PERSECUTION.
--ACTS 4:1-12.--FEB. 2.--

"There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."


THE COMMOTION caused by the healing of the cripple by James and John, and the gathering of the crowd of worshipers to whom they preached, brought upon the apostles a new difficulty. The priests, whose ministries were more or less interrupted by the disturbance, felt a grievance against those who thus attracted attention away from themselves and their services, and the officers of the Temple, whose duty it was to preserve order, were also disturbed. These, coming upon the preaching Apostle and the interested multitude, arrested the three who were the cause of such a commotion, that the matter might be enquired into. It was toward evening, and therefore too late to gather the members of the Sanhedrin Court. The three who had been witnessing for God and for Christ were put in ward, in the prison; not as felons, but for trial. It would have been possible for the imprisoned men to have viewed their situation from the standpoint of unbelief, and to have said to themselves and each other: God did not approve our work, and hence has permitted us to be thus arrested and imprisoned, and now we know not what the result will be on the morrow, for those who crucified our Lord may crucify us also.

Or they might, in unbelief, have reasoned still otherwise, and have said to each other: After all, what right have we to think that God has anything to do with these matters? We are like other men, and have merely found some new way in which natural law operates in the healing of the sick: God evidently is not concerned in this work; for if he were surely he would not have permitted us to come into these straits, while we were seeking to serve him and to declare the good tidings. But we may safely assume that the thoughts and words of the prisoners took a totally different direction. Full of faith, they no doubt said to themselves: We know not in what way the Lord may intend to use this, which seems to be a disadvantage to us, and an interruption to his work; doubtless however, he will use it in some manner to forward his cause and to reach more of his people with the truth.

As a matter of fact, the Lord evidently intended through this seeming calamity to bring to the apostles a still grander opportunity of testifying to the truth on the next day--of preaching to a class which they might never again have opportunity to reach-- the priestly class, the ruling class, represented in the Sanhedrin, and those who would gather at its sessions. When the Sanhedrin Court opened the next morning, amongst its seventy members, representatives of the most influential classes in Jerusalem, were Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas, his son, both of whom had about two months previously presided in the trial of the Master himself. Nevertheless, the apostles were evidently not at all dismayed by the dignity of the Court--the Lord evidently fulfilling to them his promise, "Ye shall be brought before kings and governors for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles; but when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak." (Matt. 10:18-20.) That Peter, as spokesman for the three, was supernaturally assisted, is implied in the narrative. "He was filled with the holy spirit."

It is not amiss here to notice that the Jewish party which most particularly persecuted our Lord [R2939 : page 22] was the sect of the Pharisees, the holiness people of that time, basing their opposition upon our Lord's public declarations of their hypocrisies,--the Sadducees taking less interest in the persecution. But, on the contrary, in the Acts of the Apostles, the persecutions of the Church seem to have been largely at the hands of the Sadducees. The Sadducees should scarcely be considered a religious party, for they denied the resurrection of the dead, and denied also the existence of spirit beings, and hence believed principally in a religion for the present life merely. The Sadducees were the policy-men of that time. They favored harmony with the Roman Empire, and might, indeed, be termed the politicians of the Jewish nation. History says that the high priest and his family, and those principally in influence, were Sadducees. It is evident, therefore, that the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus, and of some spiritual power by which he could work through the apostles to the healing of the man born lame, would be an aggravation to these Sadducees, because it was directly in conflict with their belief and teachings.

Indeed, it is worthy of notice, here and in subsequent lessons, that one of the main features of the Gospel which the apostles preached was the doctrine of the resurrection--that Christ had risen from the dead, and that through him in due time not only believers should be raised from the tomb, but ultimately all the world of mankind be released from death,-- that each and all might have a full share in the judgment or trial for life everlasting, which had been secured by the ransom sacrifice of Christ. No wonder, then, that the Sadducees specially resented this new doctrine, which antagonized their views and to some extent supported their religious opponents, the Pharisees.

It may at first seem peculiar that a court trial should be held in respect to the healing of a cripple. However, the object of the trial evidently was, if possible, to condemn the apostles for having practiced necromancy, sorcery, the black art. For, according to the law, a witch or wizard or necromancer, a spirit medium, was to be put to death.

If Peter had been filled with fear he would not have spoken as he did to this Court, or if he had [R2940 : page 22] been filled with the spirit of egotism and boastfulness he would have spoken differently;--he would have spoken unwisely, rashly, no doubt. But filled as he was with the holy spirit, the spirit of meekness, patience, gentleness, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, and guided in his words by this spirit, he made an address which is beautiful, both for its simplicity, its directness, and its meek-boldness. His opening sentence had in it, possibly, a gentle irony respecting a trial for a good deed; but, as on previous occasions, he immediately proceeded to disclaim for himself and his associate, John, any power, any authority, in connection with the matter, and declares that the miracle was performed in the name, by the authority, by the power, of Jesus of Nazareth. Once again, he is not ashamed to own that the one he acknowledges was contemptuously called the Nazarene; nor to say that he is a follower of the one who was crucified as a malefactor. While telling the plain truth, that this very Sanhedrin had caused the death of Jesus, he states the matter without bitterness or acrimony.

Peter allowed the fact that God raised up Jesus from the dead to stand as the proof that they had erred in their condemnation of him; and, without parleying the question, he proceeded to assure his hearers that this one, Jesus, whom they despised and rejected, had nevertheless been owned of God as the "chief corner stone" of the great Temple which God purposes to build. He thus referred their minds directly to a Messianic Psalm (118:22) familiar to them, pointing out its fulfillment in Christ, and declares, "Neither is the salvation in any other." This expression, "the salvation," to his hearers would have the sense of, The salvation for which we Jews, as a nation, have been waiting and longing,--a national salvation, and an individual salvation in the Kingdom of God.

Let us mark well also the inspired utterance of the Apostle, "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." This would be a difficult lesson for his hearers to receive. It would mean a total revolution of their theories, hopes, aims, plans and projects. It would mean that they had been wrong, utterly wrong, in all their expectations for some time. It would mean that they had, as teachers, been misrepresenting the divine plan and misleading the people. The Apostle's course, however, was plain. It was proper that he should state the matter clearly, without peradventure, that his hearers might have a full testimony respecting the truth.

The Apostle's words are "a hard saying" today, also, in the nominal church. False doctrines have made it appear an unreasonable statement in the minds of Christian people generally. They say, This cannot be so, because if true, it would mean that the heathen are lost. If true, it would mean that our friends and neighbors and relatives who have never believed in the name of Jesus, who have never accepted him as their Savior, are lost; and by "lost" they would mean--gone into eternal torment. Thus does false doctrine becloud and contradict the truth. But how beautifully and how simply might the Apostle's words be received just as they are, if all could but realize that the whole world was already lost, already condemned, by one man's disobedience; already under sentence of death and passing into it. Peter's declaration is that only those who have accepted Jesus have yet come under the terms of the only salvation God has provided: and, since Jesus "tasted death for every man," it follows that in God's "due time" every man must come to an opportunity of hearing of the only name, and of accepting the one salvation. This opportunity, according to the Scriptures, will be during Messiah's reign in the Millennial age, when "the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth," and "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" by the glorified Christ and his glorified Church unitedly, the spiritual seed of Abraham. --Gal. 3:16,29; Jer. 31:34.

Blinded by the inconsistencies of doctrines received from the "dark ages," many of the Lord's professed people are today grappling with this question of who shall be saved, many or few, and fail to [R2940 : page 23] see that the greater part of God's plan of salvation is to come after the calling and perfecting of the "elect," the Church. Thinking that the present life ends all trial for every creature, many are convincing themselves that the Apostle erred, and that instead of one name only being given for salvation there are many names--including those of heathen divinities and teachers. They fail to see the ransom and its importance, as paving the way for teaching of any value or assistance. Hence they vainly hope that the ministries of Confucius and others will somehow or other save them, separate and apart from Christ, whom the Scriptures declare to be God's appointed Savior for the whole world,--and of whom Peter, under the plenary inspiration of the holy spirit, declares that his is the only name whereby salvation must be obtained, if obtained at all. These false hopes turn the eyes of many away, so that they cease to look for the God-ordained "Sun of righteousness," whose beams, we are promised, shall shortly enlighten and bless all.--Mal. 4:2.

Very evidently the testing for the saints in this end of the age is coming along this very line--belief or unbelief in the testimony which God has given us through his Son, and through his chosen apostles, --"the twelve." Those who are faithful to the Word of the Lord will come off conquerors; those who yield to human theory, miscalled wisdom, will fail, will stumble, will be separated from the true wheat, the entire remnant of which must shortly be gathered into the garner. We thank God that this stumbling and unbelief will not mean the Second Death to all who stumble, because very few today evidently have that sufficiency of light and opportunity essential to a sentence to the Second Death;--very few obtain their full trial. We are to judge ourselves closely, however, and build no false hopes for ourselves, if we are among the favored few who have tasted the good word of God and been made partakers of the holy spirit. We are to remember the Apostle's caution that such as have enjoyed these favors, if they should fall away, would be doing despite to God's grace, and would afterward find no place for repentance.--Heb. 10:29. [R2945 : page 23]

THE GREAT JEHOVAH'S PLAN.


I am so small, and thou so great;
So weak, and thou so strong;
Yet from my heart there flows to thee
A true and loving song.
Thou art Jehovah, God!
And hast in thy control
The empire of the universe,
Where suns and systems roll
In wide expanse of trackless space,
Yet held in place by thee;
Each sphere into its orbit set,
Through vast immensity.

Of dust am I, and to earth's dust
I'll molder and decay;
This living frame and pulsing heart
Will soon have passed away;
But is it all of life to live,
Or all of death to die?
Thy Word proclaims a ransom found,
On whom we can rely.

Thou art the mighty King,
Thy name, the Holy One,
But unto thee a living way
Was opened by thy Son.
He is our righteousness;
Through him comes peace with thee;
And in his name we favor seek,
And are from sin set free.

He tasted death for every man;
He dieth once--no more;
And by his sacrifice secured
Man's rights he will restore.
"Death" was the penalty of sin,
But Love o'er Death hath won;
For the gift of God is life supreme,
Eternal, through his Son.

He died for all of human kind;
He rose that they might live;
And, as God's Word is ever true,
This greater life he'll give!
In sheol, hades, hell,
In earth, or oceans' deep,
His voice and power will soon be felt,
To wake from death's long sleep.

The one true church, the "little flock,"
The Holy Spirit sought,
As kings and "royal priests" of God,
Are to the Father brought.
"First fruits" are they of those who slept:
Joint-heirs with Christ, their Lord,
When he, who is their life, appears,
He'll bring them their reward.
Made like the One they serve and love,
His nature to them given;
His power, glory, honors share;
Their home, with him, in heaven.

As "Abraham's seed," they'll bless the earth
And rule with loving sway;
Instruct and teach the way to life
Is to God's laws obey.
But they who will not hear this Priest--
Christ and the Church--his wife,
Will be cut off by second death,
Destroyed from hope of life.
But they "who will" need never die,
And glories, yet unknown,
Are kept reserved in store for those
Who loyal love have shown.
Thus up the scale to perfect life,
In "highway" wide and broad,
The ransomed race can seek and find
Full harmony with God.

A race redeemed, an earth new made,
Riches and wealth untold;
A world where righteousness will dwell
And man his God behold!
Where pain and sickness, grief and death
Are memories of the past;
Where loving faithfulness to God
Forever more will last,
With curse removed, the blight of sin
Entirely swept away,
And man God's image evermore
Abides in perfect day.

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This is thy finished work,
Thy own most glorious plan;
And this the wondrous love thou'st shown
Toward sinful, fallen man.
Oh, Israel's God! How great art thou!
What wisdom, love and grace
The eye of faith will always find
When we thy dealings trace!--Mrs. Jennie M. Stratton.



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"WITH HIM--CALLED AND CHOSEN AND FAITHFUL."


BECAUSE considerable interest is being manifested, by our readers, on the subject of the Gospel Age call, and the prospects of those who have consecrated themselves to the Lord since 1881, we take this occasion to present some thoughts supplemental to what we have already presented, in our issue of Nov. 1, 1901, and in Dawn, Vol. III., pages 212-216.

The terms of the gospel are necessarily those of a call or invitation; leaving the matter of acceptance open and optional with the invited ones. Hence we read, "Many are called, but few chosen;" and note that, the invited are advised, not commanded, to make their "calling and their election sure," by compliance with the terms of their call. (Matt. 20:14; 2 Pet. 1:10.) Commands to accept an invitation to joint-heirship with Christ, and penalties for not accepting that invitation, would be as incongruous as to have given a call or invitation to keep the Law Covenant, or, in the Millennium, to invite the keeping of the Laws then to be promulgated. We cannot even suppose that the holy angels are merely invited to obey the divine mandates. We must suppose that they are under a law commanding their obedience. We must assume that they have much of the spirit expressed by our dear Master, who is represented as saying, "I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart." If this were not their attitude they would surely not be holy angels.

The reasonableness of a Creator, through his representative, giving his just and good commands rather than invitations, becomes so apparent upon a little reflection, that we want to scrutinize all the more closely this question:--Why did God, during this age, apparently depart from so reasonable a rule, and, instead, to allure us with a high-calling, inviting us to become joint-heirs with his Son in the Kingdom? Why does he send word to us saying,--"Ye are not under the Law, but under grace"--favor?

The reason is, that divine law can demand no more than even-handed justice; and the Lord's purpose during this Gospel Age is to select a "little flock" along lines of self-denial, sacrifice,--beyond what Justice could demand. Hence of necessity this must be accomplished by a call--an invitation, with exceeding great and precious promises attached as incentives; "that by these we might [be encouraged to faithfulness, and so] become partakers of the divine nature,"--in the Kingdom.--2 Pet. 1:4.

God foreknew us; we were "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." "And whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate must be conformed to the image of his Son." He determined in advance that as the Son must pass through severe tests before being accepted to the divine nature, so also, all who would be acceptable to joint-heirship with him must exhibit and demonstrate that they have his spirit; that they are copies of him;--the very image of him, in their hearts. And the object of this Gospel Age is to call, and find, and test this predetermined class.--I Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29.

The promises made to the seed of Abraham (though appropriated by the twelve tribes of Israel, [R2941 : page 24] without divine disapproval) belonged really to anti-typical Israel--spiritual Israel. The natural seed, as natural branches in the olive-tree (representing divine favor) were allowed to grow for a time and be tested, but on failure they were broken off;--new branches coming forward continually, until our Lord's first advent. The branches then in place were specially favored with the offer of the highest spiritual favor--not under the Law, but under Grace.

But few, "a remnant," were in the heart-condition to appreciate and accept this great favor. The majority clung to attempts at self-justification; and like their fathers were broken off. Then the message was broadened; the invitation went to the Gentiles, "wild olive branches" to fill up the places of the broken off natural branches;--to complete the foreordained number of the elect. The total number of branches in the tree is 144,000, springing from twelve main limbs or tribes. Keeping up the Scriptural figure, we may say that as we who were by nature Gentiles, are grafted into the Abrahamic Covenant, we are reckoned as members of the original twelve tribes,--sealed, spiritual Israelites--until the predestined number, 144,000, shall have been completed.

The methods by which the Lord has proceeded to call these "elect" are worthy of careful notice.

(1) Our Lord declares that he called "sinners" in Israel "to repentance." This call was no part of "our high calling" to a share with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom; but it was a preparatory step: guilty sinners are not invited to, nor desired in the Kingdom. The call to faith and repentance, if heartily accepted by the sinner, brings him justification from sin--release from divine condemnation--reconciliation with the Father.

(2) "Being justified by faith [after repentance], we have peace with God [realizing that our sins and imperfections are covered] through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also [additionally] we have access into this grace wherein we stand, [viz.,] rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God,"-- the hope of sharing the Kingdom glories of our Lord Jesus. How did we gain access into this grace, after justification? By another call or another part of the one call--God "called us to glory and virtue [excellence]." --2 Pet. 1:3; Rom. 5:1,2.

In a general way all repentant believers, justified, are called or invited to consecrate themselves to the Lord; because, as each starts out desirous of doing right--(with no thought of self-sacrifice), he goes but a short distance until he finds great opposition to right-doing, and even to right-thinking. He finds his opposition coming not only from the world and the devil, as he might have expected, but also from his own flesh, and from nominal Christians. These four opponents harass the newly justified will--whiles in anger, whiles in pity and sympathy--declaring that the right way is an impossible one, and that an attempt even to follow it will mean the ruin of every earthly prospect.

THE EFFECTUAL CALLING.


This is a testing time. Will the justified one heed the voices of the world, the flesh and the devil, and choose a downward or, at least, a compromise path? Or will he heed the voice of God, inviting him [R2941 : page 25] to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, in the "narrow way" which leads to glory, honor and immortality? If he obeys God's invitation, he is one of the effectually called. His acceptance means a full consecration to God;--a renouncing of all earthly hopes and prospects, to obey God rather than self or others; and to have the blessings God has provided for his faithful: (though at this stage he cannot clearly discern the reward). This is self-sacrifice. God's acceptance of the sacrifice (the consecration) is guaranteed by the terms of the general call: further, it is attested by receipt of "the spirit of holiness," "the spirit of the truth": additionally, by an ability to discern spiritual things, and "to comprehend with all saints the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the love of God."--Eph. 3:18.

Since our standing is the result of our acceptance of God's gracious call, and since the Father seeketh only such as worship and serve him in spirit and in truth, it follows that, in the exercise of our free wills, we may if we choose renounce our consecration, withdraw our sacrifice, and thenceforth walk after the flesh, and not after the spirit. But whoever does so, of course loses the spirit of God, the spirit of his begetting to the new nature,--he is no longer to be classed among those begotten of God;--he is of those who "draw back unto perdition," destruction, Second Death, nonentity. He who is in the begotten condition "sinneth not [willingly, designedly, of preference] because his seed [the holy spirit] remaineth in him:" while it remains he cannot love or willingly serve sin.--Heb. 10:39; I Jno. 3:9.

THE PREDESTINED NUMBER OF THE ELECT.


The more our knowledge and experience expand our judgments, the smaller is apt to be our estimate of the number who ever reach the point of making such a consecration or self-sacrifice as we have above delineated. And, on the other hand, growing experience is apt to convince us that comparatively few of those who have consecrated themselves, fully and intelligently, ever draw back;--in the sense of willingly and heartily renouncing the Lord and their covenant obligations.

The large numbers who profess conversion during "revivals," etc., and soon fall away, are not to be reckoned as of this class. They merely heard a call to repentance and reformation; a call which any and all are authorized to make, at any time. The majority never progressed beyond repentance, even to the extent of justification;--the chaffy, confused presentations of most of revivalists, and so-called teachers, being quite insufficient knowledge to lead even to justifying faith--much less to sanctifying faith.

Accepting the word "called" as applying only to those who come under the conditions of justification, and subsequent full sanctification through a belief of the truth; and admitting that these, in all, have been very few at any period--truly a "little flock"--can we suppose the number so small as 144,000 from Pentecost until now?

Examining our own day, and the views of consecration now prevalent, and the general scarcity of that quality;--remembering that love for the truth and the brethren is among the tests of devotion to God;--remembering, too, that a knowledge of present truth is to be an indication of those now close to the Lord in favor;--we are inclined to look into the past with far less optimism than in years past. With a clearer eye than formerly, for what constitutes a saint, and a martyr "beheaded for the witness of Jesus," we incline to think that but few of the millions of martyrs were really saints,--from the Scriptural standpoint.

For instance, St. Bartholomew's day--and its slaughter of French Huguenots: Have we any sound reason for supposing that the hapless victims were any more saintly or more sinful than the Galileans who suffered death at the hands of Pilate?--or than the eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them?--or than a like number slain today in Paris, or London, or Berlin, or Vienna, or Rome, or St. Petersburg, or Washington? Today, when religious questions have been largely removed from the arena of party strife, it is somewhat difficult for us to realize that, in olden times, all politics turned chiefly on religious questions. Suppose that the Boers were Catholics and the British Protestants, or the Filipinos Protestants and the Americans Catholics, --and then imagine how partizan historians could write up both sides of these wars, and describe their victims as Christian martyrs.

We are not meaning by this to intimate that there were no true saints martyred in olden times, anymore than we are denying that some true saints may have fallen in the South African and Philippine and Cuban and Chinese wars. What we do mean to imply is, that any estimate which would rank all those millions of the past (who, nobly, and ignobly, died for their convictions), as "saints," "overcomers," members of the "little flock,"--would be nearly as gross a mistake as to suppose that all who have fallen for their convictions in modern warfare are such. We must remember that the records of martyrs such as Cranmer and Latimer, and others less notable, who surely gave strong evidences of saintship, and whom we hope to meet in the Kingdom, were exceptions, and by no means the rule.

Our estimate of the past must and should be based considerably upon our findings of the present: and reckoning thus, 144,000 would seem not only ample, but large, as an enumeration of the "copies of God's dear Son." Let us not forget that in the Primitive Church the congregations were small, and usually met in private houses. (Acts 1:13; 5:42; 12:12; Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2.) It was not until the apostles fell asleep in death, and errors came in and attracted the unconsecrated--by false threats and false promises--that the numbers became large, and costly edifices were erected. And yet, the apostles dealt chiefly with Jews, who for centuries had been under the Law Covenant, whose mission was to guide them to Christ. Out of all the millions of Jews in Palestine only a few thousand "received the word;"--so few that Josephus did not even mention them in his histories of that time.

That the result of the Apostle Paul's renowned missionary journeys was only small congregations, as a rule, seems evident from the records;--because [R2942 : page 26] he set forth the gospel so clearly, so uncompromisingly; --showing the narrowness of the way, as well as the glories of the reward;--not shunning to declare the whole counsel of God. Yes, it was afterward --after the apostles fell asleep--that the mixed and misrepresenting preaching drew and drove multitudes into an apostate system;--"tares" to choke the "wheat."

And even though the apostles, through faithful preaching of the truth, kept out the "tares" in their day, we find that the congregations which they established were not by any means all saints. St. Paul's epistles generally indicate this; for he sometimes addresses them to "the saints and faithful brethren" and to those "called to be saints." In these epistles, too, he intimates that many are called compared to the number who will make their calling and election sure. He urges them to take heed lest any should seem to come short of the requirements; but to so run as to obtain the prize. Hence we could not count all of the "household of faith" then, anymore than now, in the number of the final overcomers,-- 144,000.

If we keep in memory the Apostle's statement, that God's special favors, light, etc., have come upon "the ends of the ages" (I Cor. 10:11), and note its correctness,--that special light and favor came at the first end, and now also at the latter end of this Gospel Age,--it will be helpful in this study. We might almost be justified in expecting that the first and last half-centuries of this age have not only enjoyed special light and favor, but possibly may supply a full half of the elect number.

THE GREAT COMPANY WHOSE NUMBER NO MAN KNOWS.


But, another matter is to be considered: The 144,000 are the "called and chosen and faithful;" the "overcomers;" whereas the real converts, the true saints, in the apostles' day and since, include not only the "overcomers" who make their calling and election sure, but also those [probably few] who "draw back" and become subjects of the Second Death (Heb. 6:6; 10:39), and also those who--while not rejecting the Lord, nor turning to love sin--still fail to fulfill their sacrifice with zeal; and, becoming overcharged with the cares of this life, can only be "saved so as by fire," and must "come up out of great tribulation and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," and take a lower place than that to which they were called.-- Rev. 7:9-14.

Would it be safe to estimate that this "great company whose number is known to no man" (because, unlike the "little flock," it was not predestinated, and consists of such only as fail to reach the standard required) would be twice as numerous as the "little flock"? If so, it would mean that the total number of the truly sanctified and spirit-begotten, during this Gospel Age, has been 432,000. But we are not to forget that no more than the 144,000 could be under invitation at one time; because it is not reasonable to suppose that God would ever invite anyone for whom there would be no place if he proved faithful.

A COMPARATIVE ESTIMATE OF THE ELECTION.


Suppose, for instance, that 45,000 made full consecration during the remainder of the first century, and that one out of three gained the victor's crown; that would represent 15,000 of the "elect;" the result say of 68 years' labor of the Apostles,--garnering the ripe wheat of the Jewish nation and starting the work among such Gentiles as were "feeling after God, if haply they might find him." If for every period of 68 years, from the year 100 to the year 1881, A.D., we estimate the results to have been one fourth what they were under the very favorable Apostolic ministration, it would probably be very liberal, viz., 3,750. We are not to forget that in Israel, as the Master said, the fields were already white for harvesting. In those fields the Apostles needed not to do sowing, but merely to gather in the fruitage of the Law dispensation. After the cream of the Gentiles had also been gathered in, the work would surely go more slowly.

Calculating on this reasonable and liberal basis, the year A.D. 1881, would see 112,500 who had already finished their course with joy as "overcomers," --and a remainder of 31,500 yet needed, to complete the predestinated number. Or, if the perfect fruitage of the Apostolic period were estimated at 12,000, and the remainder on the same basis, the total number garnered up to 1881 would have been 90,000; leaving a balance of 54,000 to be perfected since 1881, A.D.,--up to,--say 1910.

For our estimates, let us take the former figures, as being very conservative;--viz., 31,500, to be developed--during, say 30 years. This would be considerably above the ratio estimated for the Apostolic period; but we are not to forget, on the other hand, that this is the harvest time for Christendom; --many times more numerous than was fleshly Israel. We are not to forget, either, that not only present-day inventions, conveniences, etc., permit each laborer to do more work, but also, that education being much more general now, a more extensive and intensive "harvest" work is possible now, than in the Jewish "harvest." On the whole, we cannot think that these figures can be considered immoderate.

"THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND."--DAN. 12:10.


This brings us to another point. We believe that the Lord meant us to understand, that one evidence of faithfulness today, would be a knowledge of present truth. This seems to be the only possible deduction from the Parable of the Ten Virgins, from the Apostle's words in I Thes. 5:4, etc. And is it not as reasonable to suppose that the "elect" will all learn of our Lord's second presence, as that every Israelite indeed was informed of our Lord's first advent, in that separating of wheat from chaff? We are to remember, however, that some of those who at first were in such darkness that they persecuted the faithful, were subsequently rescued from their blindness, and became zealous brethren and servants of the truth. So here;--our thought is, that none could now be esteemed "overcomers," victors, while ignorant of our Lord's parousia, etc.; but we believe that many, if not the majority of the above mentioned 31,500, still in darkness, may yet prove amenable to [R2942 : page 27] their consecration and come into the light of present truth.

As is generally understood, we believe the prophetic Scriptures to teach that the general call or invitation ceased in 1881; and on the foregoing calculation this would imply that the conjectured 31,500 consecrated, were written in the Lamb's book of life at that date, as fully sanctified persons, who had presented their all to the Lord in living sacrifice, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

Our hypothesis being correct, these 31,500 have been on trial, for now over twenty years; and, meantime, the only chance for others to come into this elect class has been as the trial time of some of these may have lapsed, without their making their calling and election sure;--their names being blotted out of the Lamb's book of life, and their claims upon crowns of life being forfeited, as our Lord forewarned (Rev. 2:10; 3:11),--they being numbered either among God's enemies (Heb. 10:26,27) or among those whom the Son will deliver, "so as by fire," in the "great company" of Revelation 7:9,13.

If we are correct in supposing that a knowledge and confession of present truth are essential to overcoming, now, we may give a fair guess at the number thus far faithful from the Watch Tower lists and our general knowledge of the friends. A liberal estimate would be 10,000, walking in the light of present truth, and sanctified thereby. This would leave 21,500 yet in darkness; and probably most of them in "Babylon." Of the 10,000 whom we will assume that we know, our estimate would be that nearly or quite one half of them were not consecrated in 1881, --not amongst the 31,500. Accepting this as a basis of estimate it would teach us what?

THE WISE VIRGINS GOING IN TO THE WEDDING.


It would teach us that since 1881 about 5,000 had gone on faithfully and been granted the light of present truth, and have good hopes if they stand fast that they will finish their course with joy--in death. It implies, that the 5,000 who have consecrated and received the light of present truth since 1881, took the places of 5,000 whose period of probation ended without proving them so far overcomers as to be worthy of the light. Thus 10,000 of the 31,500 are already disposed of. Now, of the 21,500 yet to be dealt with, what may we expect? (1) That one third, or possibly one half the number, will yet prove themselves "overcomers" (Rev. 15:2-4; 20:4); and (2) that the remainder--10,000 to 14,000--would represent the numbers of those whom we might expect yet to come into divine favor by a full consecration; --to take the places vacated and prospective crowns forfeited by the "overcharged." And more than this: we must reckon that of those consecrating now, even in the light of present truth, there must be a testing, a sifting; and that if one half of the smaller estimate fail, it would mean 5,000 more to make consecration and stand testing; and if one half of these fail, it would mean 2,500 more, and so on.

We should not forget, however, that those entering the "race" now have many advantages. (1) We may assume, in harmony with reason and our observations, that a considerable number who have consecrated since 1881, have been under the Lord's care and instruction, along the lines of discipline and character-building, with a view to their being accepted to fill the places of those failing to make their calling and election sure,--to joint-heirship in the Kingdom. (2) We may assume that, since the general call has ceased, none of these would be instructed in "the deep things of God," except as they are permitted to take their places in the race. (3) We may expect that those consecrated in 1881 must close their probation for the prize very shortly now. (4) As the [R2943 : page 27] "present truth" is now shining very clearly, and is getting more generally shed abroad, and is in a condensed form, easy of quick assimilation, we should expect that characters would form and expand and crystallize, now, much more rapidly than ever before. (5) We see that the cleavage or gulf is growing wider and wider, between "wheat" (true believers, fully consecrated) and "tares" (deceived persons misnaming themselves Christians, because mistaught by Churchianity). As the "tares" more and more openly repudiate faith in the blood of Christ, and more and more boldly declare for "higher criticism" and "evolution," the "wheat" who have been halting and fearful toward the truth and its true servants, will begin to see that they must decide quickly;--and all of the "wheat" class will decide correctly; and some of them promptly enough to be classed with the "elect little flock." (6) We anticipate continued and increasing opposition; so that it will be fair to suppose that those giving adherence to the truth will generally so well count the cost in advance that comparatively few of them will need to be sifted out.

LABOR,--FOR THE NIGHT COMETH.


Those who for some time have inclined to wonder at our sanguine expectations, respecting the progress of the truth, the growing numbers of Watch Tower subscribers, etc., now have, in the foregoing, our reply to their queries. We doubt not that the arguments will commend themselves to the majority, if not all of our readers. We trust that it will come to you all as a fresh incentive to energy and zeal in the harvest work. Faith and patience are qualities necessary to every soldier of the cross. Be valiant! Quit you like men! is the Apostolic exhortation, and it is ours also. Go forth in the name of our glorified Head, giving to all true Israelites the "three signs" of the Lord's presence. And if in pouring the water upon the land it turn into blood, even your blood, rejoice and be exceeding glad. Remember that your covenant is, to lay down your life for the brethren,-- even unto death.

Let each go at once to the throne of grace, petitioning the Lord, that in so far as these presentations are the truth, they may be blest to his own heart. Pray also that the Lord will send forth more laborers into his vineyard and inspire yourself and all of his faithful "brethren" (Heb. 2:11) to renewed energy and effectiveness during the year 1902. Among the estimated 21,500 consecrated brethren yet in Babylon, several thousand should be ready for the sanctifying truth this year. Watch and pray for opportunities to serve them, and for wisdom from on high to rightly use the opportunities as they come to you. May the grace of God abide with us!



[R2943 : page 28]

ATTEMPTING TO DECEIVE GOD.
--ACTS 5:1-11--FEB. 9.--

Golden Text:--"Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor."--Eph. 4:25.


"WHILE MEN slept the enemy came and sowed tares," our Lord's parable explains. After the apostles fell asleep in death the Adversary had a comparatively free hand in the sowing of the seeds of error, and cultivated in the Church the tare class, as a result. But at the time of our lesson--shortly after Pentecost--circumstances were different. The apostles were still in the Church, and exercised the special powers of the holy spirit conferred upon them, as the Lord's representatives, for the establishment of the Church--sowing only the good seed, and hindering the Adversary from sowing tares or hypocrites in it. Our lesson illustrates the method by which the Lord, through the apostles, kept the infant church free from hypocrites.

As previously suggested, a partial community of interest amongst the believers was early established. A number of the faithful had already sold possessions and contributed to the general fund. Joses was one of these whose case is particularly cited. (Acts 4:36,37.) He was one of the noble brethren whose generosity and helpfulness in the Church was generally recognized, so that amongst the believers he received a new name, Barnabas, which signifies "son of consolation," or son of comfort and helpfulness.

Although there was nothing compulsory upon any in respect to this selling of goods and giving to the common treasury, the very fact that those who did so were highly esteemed in the Church would naturally become a snare to some who, without the real spirit of helpfulness and sacrifice, would appreciate and desire to have the approbation of the brethren. Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, were of this class, desirous of the approval of the Church, yet deficient in the real spirit of sacrifice. They had a property which they determined to sell, and in order to pass before the believers as saints of the same order as Barnabas, they pretended to give to the general fund the full amount received for the property. Secretly, however, they had much less generous sentiments; they agreed together that they would retain part of the sale-money for future contingencies, --yet would pass as sacrificers to the full amount.

The wrong of their course is manifest. As the Apostle Peter declared, the property was their own, and after they had sold it they still had a right to do as they pleased with the proceeds; but they should have been honest about the matter, and if they wished to give a tenth, a half or all of the amount, it was a matter of their own business alone, and no one would have had the least right to find fault with or criticise them. The entire wrong consisted in the deception practiced--the palming off of a part of the price as the whole, for the purpose of deceiving the Church and of gaining an applause for an amount of sacrifice more than they made. In this and in this alone consisted the sin for which they both died.

The record is that "great fear came upon all the company"--great reverence for God and for the apostles, his representatives. It brought also a realization that consecrations to the Lord were far from meaningless forms. This would mean, not only to those who had already espoused the Lord's cause, but also to all who for some time thereafter would identify themselves with the church, that any who were insincere would best make no pretensions to discipleship. Quite probably the influence of the lesson lasted for a considerable time--during the lives of the apostles. Since the death of the apostles, however, any number of hypocrites have come into the Church,--indeed, have been dragged and coaxed in to swell the numbers: and God has been pleased to permit the many false assumptions and false pretenses of these "tares" to go unpunished and unchallenged. (Matt. 13:30.) This does not mean a change on God's part as respects such characters, but rather that the case of Ananias and Sapphira was made a special one to serve as a lesson in the Church. Likewise, the first offence of Sabbath-breaking was punished with death (Num. 15:32-36), although Sabbath-breaking was not similarly punished subsequently under the law. We are not to think of Ananias and Sapphira as being sinners above others of their class, because summary punishment was meted out to them.

Those who believe that eternal torment is the punishment for sin must, to be logical, suppose that Ananias and Sapphira passed on to torments at the hands of devils, from which they have since been suffering, and such must wonder that many who are equally hypocritical in nominal churches of today, so far as human judgment can discern, go unpunished, and are encouraged by their spiritual leaders to hope for a share in the best the future has to give.

From our standpoint--the Bible standpoint-- these two deceivers received no other punishment than the loss of the present life; and as they were evidently not of the "wheat" class at all, and had not become partakers of the holy spirit, but deceived themselves, as they attempted to deceive others, their conduct did not affect their cases everlastingly, but merely as respects the present life. They were made an illustration of a principle--they served as ensamples for the instruction of the Church. They received the full penalty of their deception in the loss of present life. As respects the future life, an opportunity for which the Lord Jesus has purchased for all mankind, it will "in due time" be thrown open to them and to the whole world, to be accepted or rejected, under terms of clear knowledge and obedience. They are still heirs to a share of those blessings which will come to the world after the spirit-begotten Church shall have been glorified, and begun the work of blessing all the families of the earth.

The particulars of the lesson require no further detailing. We merely note the fact that the Apostle Peter evidently had the gift of discerning spirits (I Cor. 12:10), and that God fortified the knowledge granted him, as evidence or proof of his apostleship. We proceed next to consider some of the lessons which may properly be learned from this incident of the past, by the Lord's consecrated people of today. The lesson is that God desires "truth in the inward parts"--in the heart--and that any who have not this quality--candor, honesty, truthfulness--cannot [R2944 : page 29] be pleasing to God; and therefore cannot share in the glories shortly to be dispensed to the elect class of this Gospel age.--Psa. 51:6.

As we look at ourselves, we come to realize how imperfect are all the members of the fallen race; and when we consider God's perfection, we can conceive of only one quality that the fallen creature could possibly possess, that would meet with divine approval --even when viewed through the merit of Christ's atonement. That one quality is honesty. The true Christian must, in honesty, confess his own shortcomings, his own deficiencies. He must, in honesty, acknowledge that his sufficiency is of God, through Christ and not of himself. He must honestly strive for the standard set before him in the Gospel. He must honestly admit that he cannot do the things that he would. He must candidly and fully accept the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, as the covering for his blemishes. We are inclined to the belief that the greatest sin in the Church--even amongst the consecrated believers--is the sin of dishonesty --the sin of which divine disapproval is so excellently illustrated in the case of Ananias and Sapphira.

We have no desire to distort, or to make matters appear worse than they really are; but from our standpoint the nominal church teems and overflows with just such hypocrites--self-deceived, to some extent. These are the tares, or imitation wheat.

Do not all who claim to be Christians profess to be following in the footsteps of Jesus,--to bear his name, to be his Church, his body, and to take up his cross and follow him? Yet how comparatively few of the nominal whole have or have ever had any thought of so doing? By their profession they declare that they have sold their earthly possessions, their earthly interests, that they have sacrificed these, and presented the whole matter as a loving gift and sacrifice to the Lord; yet in reality they have done nothing of the kind, and never for a moment thought of even as much liberality to the Lord's cause, keeping as proportionately little to themselves, as did Ananias and Sapphira.

We cannot judge the heart, and will not attempt to do so. We cannot even always tell which are grains of "wheat" and which "tares," but out of their own mouths we may judge those who profess to be "wheat." Some professing thus, and occupying very high positions in the Church, even as ministers of the Gospel, tell us plainly, not only by their actions, but also at times by their words, that in pretending to sell out their interests and to turn over the entire proceeds in consecration to the Lord's service, they have grossly falsified--some of them tell us that they do not even believe the things which they vowed they would preach. They thus tell us that they have been dishonest with men and with themselves, in respect to the things of God. Truly this is a serious, a dreadful condition. The Church of today, instead of being free from deceivers, has them in its very highest positions of trust and honor,--as representatives of the Lord, purporting to be his mouthpieces.

This is an individual matter still, as it was in the days of the apostles. Each individual of the Lord's people must answer for his own course, to the Lord himself. It therefore behooves all those who are seeking divine approval to see to it that they are not influenced by the prevalent disposition to hypocrisy, but that they deal with the Lord in purity and honesty of heart. They should see to it that, having covenanted to give to God and his service their all, they keep nothing back, but consider their time, their influence, their means, their lives, fully devoted to the Lord, and that they use these as his--as they believe he would wish to have them used--as stewards. He who is honest with himself will be honest with God, and be honest also with his fellow-men. As Shakespeare expresses it,--

"To thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Our Golden Text is quite to the point, and requires no comment. We perhaps should, however, guard some against a mistaken view of truthfulness. Some persons of large conscientiousness fail to properly balance the subject, and reach the conclusion that they are bound to answer every question that may be asked them, telling all that they know upon any subject. This is a mistaken view; we are not bound by any laws of honesty to tell all that we know in all cases. Some people ask questions which they have no proper right to ask--about things which are not their proper business: such persons should not be encouraged; their queries should not be satisfied. Nor is it necessary to truthfulness that we should say to them in so many words,--You are busybodies, and your questions are impertinent, and I will not answer them. On the contrary, a soft answer will be better--an answer which will tell them as much or as little as suits convenience, permitting them to draw the conclusion that for some reason unmentioned you would not care to give a fuller statement of the facts. An exception to this rule would be a case in which the keeping back of the information would be to the injury of the inquirer. Then, love for our neighbor should prompt the giving of the information; perhaps, indeed, the volunteering of it without being asked--especially if it be concerning a matter of which you have not merely an opinion but actual knowledge, without the revealing of which he would suffer injury.



[R2944 : page 29]

MAY WE DEFEND OUR EARTHLY INTERESTS?


Dear Brother Russell:--

At our Dawn Circle the postal ruling was referred to. One sister expressed surprise that you should take the position you have in contending against it: which remark led to a further exchange of thought. A brother said he thought he was supposed to give up anything when asked for it, and let people impose upon him--that that was a part of his sacrifice. Another brother stated he once had a house and lot which was two-thirds paid for, when some obstacle arose, and rather than have any trouble he sent the contractor his deed to the place, letting him have it without standing up for any of his rights. If our little meeting is any criterion, it seems [R2944 : page 30] to me very many of our dear brethren are allowing Satan's followers to defraud them of not a little of their stewardship.
J. H. C__________

We publish this letter, with its answer, believing that some of the Lord's dear sheep have need of counsel along the lines of the inquiry.

It is difficult for many, to rightly adjust the relationship between the two parts of our Lord's command, "Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves." The harmlessness of the sheep and of the dove beautifully represent what should be the character of all the Lord's consecrated people as respects violation of the rights of others; but a sheep is stupid as well as harmless, and the Lord does not recommend that his followers shall consider stupidity a Christian grace. Rather, he encourages us, in the words above quoted, to be wise;--not, like serpents, in venom and disposition to injure and attack, but like serpents in wisdom; that this wisdom in us may be combined with the harmlessness of the dove and of the sheep.

This combination of wisdom and gentleness--a wisdom used for good and not for evil purposes,-- is in the Scriptures denominated "the spirit of a sound mind." This sound mind was well illustrated in the conduct of our Lord and of the Apostle Paul, the leading representatives of the truth and examples of the flock in the New Testament. To illustrate: When our Lord was assailed by the scribes and Pharisees, who sought to entrap him in his teachings, he was meek and gentle, as the Lamb of God, but not foolish;--he did not run away from the questions, but, as the narrative shows us, he entrapped in their own arguments those who were seeking to entrap him. When his arrest was threatened in Gethsemane, although he knew that "his hour was come," he did not go forward and say, I know all about this; just take me along. He enquired, Why did you come here to take me as a prisoner, after night? Why were you not courageous enough to take me prisoner in the day time, when the multitudes were surrounding me, as I taught in the Temple? Then he seems to have exercised some influence upon them which caused them to go back and fall to the ground. But having thus asserted the right, and knowing that it was the Father's will that he should now be delivered over to their power, he subsequently permitted them to take him prisoner. In the judgment hall, when reproved and smitten unjustly, our Lord defended himself, to the extent of reasoning with his assailant, and declaring his own rectitude.

The Apostle Paul defended himself, frequently, before priests and kings; explaining the justice of his cause; and on one occasion replied to his assailant, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." In every instance he seems to have used the law, so far as there was a law, for his defence, on one occasion going so far as to appeal his case to a higher court-- Caesar's at Rome. Nevertheless, whenever the laws did not support him we find the Apostle bringing no railing accusation against the laws nor against magistrates, but submitting himself, and counselling the Church to "be subject to the powers that be, for the powers that be are ordained [permitted] of God." In all this we understand that the Apostle was entirely right;--within the letter and spirit of the Master's teaching, when he said, "If any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy cloak, begrudge him not [R2945 : page 30] thy coat also,"--if he secure it by process of law.-- Luke 6:29.

We consider that the brothers mentioned in the letter erred in judgment; but we are glad to be able to fully approve their heart-intentions. Although, by doing as he did, one failed somewhat in his stewardship of the means entrusted to his care, and to that extent is to be criticized; nevertheless, we are sure that the Lord, who looks at the heart, would be better pleased to see him thus fail in his stewardship than to have seen him violate his conscience in the matter. If the property under consideration was worth contesting for, in our judgment, it would have been his duty to have resisted the injustice practiced, in so far as the laws of his State would grant him justice. The Apostle's words, "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" (I Cor. 6:1), has no reference to such a case as this. It applies only to differences between brethren in the Church; --amongst the consecrated. A brother is to shield a brother in the Church, and to condone any injustice suffered at his hands, even as he would shield a natural brother and condone his injustice, rather than make the matter public before the world. But we would have no scruple about going into the State courts in an action against a nominal Christian, if he attempted to defraud us, provided the amount involved seemed to justify the trouble and expense incidental to the trial of the case. The reason for this distinction between a brother in the Church and a nominal Christian would be that nominal Christendom accepts present governments and present courts as "Christian"--part and parcel of Christendom itself. Therefore, in trying a case against a nominal Christian in the public courts we would be trying him before a Christian court, according to his acceptance of the term.

As respects our appeal to the President against the violation of the law by his representatives in the Post Office Department. We hold that our action was proper, right; and that any other course,--a failure to take such action, might have been wrong. God opened a wide door of opportunity for the spread of the truth through the postal laws as they now stand; but a man has arisen, and without the authority of the law has deprived us of this open door. We are right in appealing to the law; and to the President, as the head of all the departments of the Government; to protect us in the privileges which the law grants us as it stands. We have the same right to appeal for justice that our Lord exercised and that the Apostle Paul so frequently exercised. We believe that the Lord was pleased with the Apostle's interpretation of his will; and we believe that he is pleased with our interpretation of it in this matter of appealing to the President for rectification of an injustice, --a violation of law, defrauding us of our rights.

But now, suppose that our protests avail nothing; --what will we do? We answer that we will allow the sheep and dove nature to control fully; we [R2945 : page 31] will neither become anarchists, nor vicious maligners of the Government; nor make any attacks upon either the laws or those who have defrauded us. We will neither dynamite them literally nor with our mouths and pens;--we will submit. Why? Because we understand this to be a part of the Lord's injunction; that we shall be subject to the powers that be; that we shall be harmless, as sheep and doves. When all the wisdom we possess has been exercised, we shall be content; and take the results as being the will of God;--knowing that he is perfectly able to overrule in the matter as may please him.

Besides, our readers know that for years we have been expecting that the door to opportunities of service would soon close; and we are not surprised if it closes gradually rather than abruptly. We will not be surprised that our protests shall be of no avail in this matter. We will consider, nevertheless, that we have done our duty; and that failure to effect anything should be to us an evidence that the Lord's providence is cooperating in the matter with a view to restraining, to some extent, the opportunities at our disposal.



page 31

KIND WORDS FROM THE INTERESTED.


Dear Brother:--

I did not know there were such publications as Millennial Dawn and Zion's Watch Tower until this year. And how forcibly they have brought the message to me, "Go work in his vineyard!" for indeed the harvesters are few. I feel that I could sacrifice all for the Master. But oh, I feel my insufficiency when I ask myself what can I do? I have an ardent desire and longing to work for the Master in an acceptable way, and ask the Father many times with streaming eyes to open the eyes of my understanding and let me know the truth of his divine plan. We have been so blinded by error and misconception of the Truth. I have been a member of the "Church of Christ" since early girlhood, but I am sorry to say that until the last five or six years I belonged to that large body who call themselves Christians and do not know God. Since that time I have been earnestly seeking for more light and it seems that your glorious works have been an answer to that prayer. I accidently (?) ran across three numbers of Zion's Watch Tower and the first three volumes of the Dawn. They have thrown a wonderful light on passages in the divine Word which were either neglected, or dark to me before.

Oh, Brother Russell, the wealth of earth could not buy from me the knowledge I now possess of the Father's glorious plan! With a grateful and earnest heart I thank God for the store house of knowledge you have opened to my understanding. It seems that you have given me the key. May many other souls awake and be brought to the knowledge of the glorious coming kingdom and realize what it is to suffer with Christ if we would reign with him! I am eager and anxious to work for the Master, but how, in the way to do the most good? The Church would be glad to have me work, at fairs, suppers and entertainments, but I cannot do that and call it for the Master. What are the qualifications necessary for the colporteur work? I think possibly I might work there. Explain this matter to me fully, for I am anxious to help with this grand work. Remember me in my weakness at the throne of grace. I am sincerely your sister,
Mrs. V. Roughton.--Illinois.

[Colporteur work explained by letter. Ed.]


My Dear Brother Russell:--

I think I have a somewhat peculiar request to make of you. I know how busy you are, but your past kindness makes me bold to come to you. As the Dawns have been published we have received and read them greedily,-- often reading them in whole or in part several times: and we have most surely appreciated them. Our hearts have been filled with love and praise to our Father for permitting us to see the glories of his plan, the mysteries of his blessed Word. We have loaned and given away books, tracts and Towers more than we could possibly tell, hoping that some hungry soul might find a feast. We tried to be zealous and faithful, but realize that we have made more failures than anything else. The Father has been so good to us. We were permitted to attend the St. Louis Convention and that was the beginning of better days to us.

I am now about half way through a re-reading of Vol. III. Dawn. I did not realize that I was neglecting the Dawns, but I now know that I was. I have had such a feast, I cannot express it. I can only praise our Lord for stirring me up to the re-reading.

You see that all these years I have been reading the Towers and the Bible and now as I re-read the Dawns I understand them so much better. Besides, at first I was not capable of grasping so much, all at once. If I knew the right words to say that would cause all Watch Tower readers to re-read their Dawns, I would write a letter for publication in the Tower and I would plead with them as they value the truth and their "high calling" not to neglect this privilege. I would not call it a duty, for it is above a duty, it is a privilege. So now, Brother Russell, that is what I want you to do, for you will know the right things to say. May the Lord give you the things he sees you need to make you perfect in his sight. We thank you for all your kindness to us.
Mrs. S. B. Strate.--Illinois.


Gentlemen:--

I have read the three volumes of Millennial Dawn with much interest, pleasure, and profit, and am therefore anxious to know if any more volumes have been published since Vol. III., as intimated in its pages.

[Five volumes are now out, and two more are purposed. Ed.]

I should very much like to express to the author, the great spiritual blessing I have received from a study of these three books, fully believing that God has put them into my hands. I had been looking for light on these things for some time, and before hearing of these volumes I had already made some of their opinions my own. Hoping that God's blessing may still rest on your labours, believe me,
Yours gratefully,
__________, England.


Dear Mr. Russell:--

I received a copy of "Tabernacle Shadows" enclosed with a parcel of tracts. I am not able to express how much it was appreciated by me, and what a help it was to a fuller understanding of God's Word. Some parts I wept over, in particular, the verses "My Sacrifice," and about the scapegoat. I felt, indeed, the scapegoat more nearly represented me, but I am very desirous to be of "the Lord's goat,' and to be an "overcomer" by his grace. Sometimes I have a strong hope that I may be "accounted worthy," which gives me such joy that I can then triumph over every adverse circumstance, but sometimes I am discouraged by the difficulties of the way. But I thank the Lord for his loving favor in allowing me to know these things, and trusting in his merit, "I press toward the mark."

The Watch Towers are my greatest help. I find them more so as time goes on, and the way seems more narrow. I have received several helpful messages enclosed with tracts from the London Branch, which are much enjoyed. I am still distributing tracts on Sunday afternoons when able, but cannot say much about results. I must leave them with the Lord. Several Christian people have appreciated them and wanted more, but many have been distributed at a distance, so that I do not see the people for a long while. But I feel that it is for my good not to see great results. His word will not return void but will accomplish that for which it is sent, so I can leave it with him. With love in the Lord to all at Bible House, with much gratitude I remain, yours in our Lord Jesus,
__________, England.



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