page 241
August 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. XXVIIAUGUST 1No. 15
A.D., 1906--A.M., 6034


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower243
Change in Churchianity's Methods243
The Bible Becoming Obsolete243
The New Idolatry244
Recent One-Day Conventions244
Report of the London Convention244
Berean Bible Study on Love245
"It Is High Time to Awake Out of Sleep"245
The Great Teacher's Table-Talks246
The Slighted Invitation249
The Blessing of Thorns (Poem)252
The Father of Mercies252
"Blessed Are Your Ears, for They Hear"254

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 242

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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MISSIONARY ENVELOPES


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"DUE TIME" MOTTOES


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[R3828 : page 243]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

CHANGE IN CHURCHIANITY'S METHODS


The Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer says:--

"The churches of the country enter so largely into the character and direction of its growth, and accomplish so much that is helpful in various ways in the uplifting of society, that information as to their progress is of interest to readers outside as well as inside their varied folds. No one can fail to notice how much in a general way their teaching and aims have changed with the times, and to how large an extent sectarian differences and angularities are disappearing and being disregarded. Fifty years ago churches were looked upon chiefly as divinely constituted organizations, insuring their members safe passage to and first-class accommodations in a better world, and their teaching was mostly along theological and doctrinal lines. Every sect, while doubting the efficiency of the insurance provision in the tickets of all rivals, was wholly confident of its own, and missions to the heathen were urged on the ground that unless converted they were all doomed to everlasting punishment for not accepting what they had never heard of. This world was not worth thinking about; the worse off we were here the better it would be for us in the next, and vice versa.

"It is wonderful how complete and rapid the change has been. The churches now are trying to emphasize points of agreement, rather than of difference, and are working harmoniously together for moral and humanitarian ends. Theology and doctrine have been sent to the rear, and it is recognized that the true work of the Church is here and now in making this world a happier and better place for everybody to live in, on a basis of unselfishness and brotherly love. In this effort agnostic and churchman, Jews and infidels, are working together, and what a man believes is regarded as of comparatively little consequence."


***

How clearly those whose eyes are opened to the true teachings of the Bible can see that the difficulty of the writer of the above and the general difficulty of Christendom is that the Truth of divine revelation has been buried under nonsensical human traditions which make the gospel an absurdity to them.

There are two views of this matter. (1) If Christianity be merely a human contrivance, then no doubt it [R3829 : page 243] is safer and saner to disregard doctrine entirely and turn to fighting graft and political corruption, etc. (2) But if Christianity is a divine institution which calls for the submission of plans and schemes and teachings to the divine eternal purpose, then the present movement is a repudiation of God and Christ from Christianity. Hence we prefer to speak of the present institutions as Churchianity.

The Editor, above, surely voices the sentiment of nearly all of the worldly-wise, and we who differ appear to his class as "fools." Let us, however, stick to the Lord and his promises. Let us still believe that all the woes of earth came as the penalty of "original sin," and that Christ has redeemed the world and is about to roll away the curse and uplift and restore all the families of the earth to the extent that they will accept his favors, in due time. Let us preach that coming uplift as his work and acknowledge that all that selfishness will permit under present conditions will be as nothing compared with the real uplift coming in God's own appointed way, and in no other. By and by the collapse of present institutions will discourage others, but will more than ever convince us that God is moving in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.

Meantime let us give special heed to the message and work given us by our Lord, however foolish it may appear to others. We see that the present is the time for finding and polishing the Lord's jewels; the time for selecting, electing, the Royal Priesthood and schooling them for their coming service in glory--blessing all the families of the earth.--Gal. 3:29.

THE BIBLE BECOMING OBSOLETE


President G. S. Hall of Clark University declares:--

There have been within the last few years a number of questions printed and sent broadcast to high schools and Sunday schools to test the knowledge of the Bible of high school and Sunday school students. All the questions have shown the school students to be amazingly defective in their knowledge, and particularly of the Old Testament. The reason has been discussed a great deal, and it seems to be that the Sunday school and home influence is diminishing. The Bible [R3829 : page 244] is less read in the home than it was a few years ago, and the number of children who have a fair knowledge of it is growing less and less. This shows the Bible is becoming obsolete.

"Professors of literature, even in colleges, have complained that students who have matriculated show an amazing lack of knowledge of the Bible. The Bible is becoming obsolete, and this fact has been exploited many times in the last ten years. In my opinion a knowledge of the Bible should be made a requirement in English of all colleges.


***

This speaker merely referred to the Bible as literature. Those of us who recognize it as the divine revelation must see to it that it does not become obsolete with us. The world can do without the Bible: indeed it was not given by God to the world, but "once delivered to the saints." To those actuated by faith and consecration the Bible is now and growingly the greatest of all books. Thank God for the "key of knowledge," by which its riches of treasure are now coming more than ever to our view.

THE NEW IDOLATRY


BY REV. WASHINGTON GLADDEN

To a very large extent the worship of Mammon has supplanted the worship of God. It is not a mere lip service, it is a living allegiance. It is by their works that the devotees prove their faith. We know that they believe in Mammon more than in God, for their lives give clear and abundant testimony. The evidences of this devotion are visible on every side. To what other cause can we attribute the evils that infest the government of our cities and that fill many of our State capitals with the stench of rotten politics; that turn many of our railway systems into gigantic instruments of extortion and build up a mighty enginery of finance with power to exploit the savings of a nation for the enrichment of a few?

Their actions prove that the real object of their faith and allegiance is Mammon. In their hearts they believe that Mammon is stronger and greater than God; that he is a better protector and friend than God; that he can do more for them than God can do. When the claims of Mammon and of God conflict their conduct makes it perfectly clear in whom they put their trust.

But these instances which I have mentioned are not exceptional. They are striking illustrations of tendencies which we see at work on every side. They are symptoms of a constitutional malady. Love of money, faith in money, devotion to material things has become the prevailing distemper of the time. It was doubtless true when the Apostle said it, but it is probably ten times truer now than it was then, that the love of money is the root of every kind of evil.--Kansas City Star.



[R3829 : page 244]

RECENT ONE-DAY CONVENTIONS

AT Springfield, Ill., we had a delightful season on June 24. The friends had worked hard and the Lord had blessed the wide advertising, so that the public service was attended by 1400, a very large audience for the size of the city. Surrounding cities were well represented, and an excellent spirit was manifested at all the meetings, the morning one being a Rally and Testimony service, and the evening one a discourse to the interested, already reported to many of you through the public prints.

The Allegheny Convention, July 1, was well attended by friends from nearby towns, the local congregation and the public, to the number of about 700. At the evening service five were baptized. The spirit of the Lord was richly with us and showed in the faces of all.

Hartford, Conn., had a very successful Convention July 11. Friends from New York City, Boston, Springfield and various other nearer places were in good evidence and helped greatly as well as encouraged the little class at Hartford, which is growing rapidly. The Rally was good. The afternoon service for the public was attended by about 900 people, who gave excellent attention. The evening session for the interested at "City Mission" was attended by about 300, and about 50 accepted invitations to remain over for a Monday morning Question Meeting. The joys of the Lord were with us richly and we feasted on both temporal and spiritual good things.



[R3829 : page 244]

REPORT OF THE LONDON CONVENTION
Dear Brother Russell:--

It is with much thankfulness to the Lord for his many mercies that we send you a report of the London Convention, June 2-4. Our loving heavenly Father has indeed poured out his blessing upon those who have sought him. The brethren came with their hearts full of loving gifts of praise and devotion, and the promise has been fulfilled to the extent of our capacity to receive. There was a general consensus of thought that the time had been laden with blessings from the Father's hand: and probably this was because the brethren had first brought their gifts into the storehouse. We are so much inclined to expect things that we forget ourselves and self gets to the front; our minds are so set on the good we are to get or on the good times we are to have, that we often hinder the blessing from the Lord. But on this occasion the brethren did appear to come to give--first themselves to the Lord, then to the brethren, and our gracious Lord gave to us according to his Word. It was good to see the effect of the gatherings upon those who had not hitherto been to a convention of this kind: to some of these the days were as the days of a new happy life, a foretaste of the good to come, and we know that they were as "red letter days" in their experience. As seems to be the usual experience in convention, the fellowship was the great stimulant, and as the numbers of the Lord's people were greater than on previous occasions, and as, therefore, there was more of the holy Spirit with us, it was to be expected that most good was done and gained. The addresses were good and helpful, and surely added to the experience and the wisdom and knowledge of the dear brethren.

There were 40 brothers and sisters who symbolized by immersion their consecration to the Lord, and amongst these was my daughter. We know that to some of these this service was a solemn time, for just before them is a time of trial into which they must enter; and we thanked the Lord for their faith in him, for their willingness to walk in the valley of the [R3829 : page 245] shadow if the Good Shepherd chose so to lead. The Lord add his blessing to these dear sheep, and to all his own! At the close of the last meeting by vote a message of loving greeting was sent to you.

There was, quite apparently, a feeling in the Convention that the time of our labor is drawing to a close, and that there is need for wisdom and grace to direct the energy aright, [R3830 : page 245] that the remaining work may be done to best advantage. We remembered the dear brethren scattered abroad, and all the work which is being done through the world; and we prayed for it, and for you, dear brother, that the grace of the Lord may continue to sustain you in your arduous labors for the Kingdom and for the brethren.

With much love in the Lord, I am your brother and fellow servant, J. Hemery.



[R3830 : page 245]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY ON LOVE
--SEE COMMENTS IN OUR JULY 1 ISSUE--

AUGUST 5

15. Why is love called "the mark"? Z.'01-'97 (1st col. par. 3) to 8 (1st col. par. 3).

16. What are the four "quarter-marks" of the Christian race-course? F.187, par. 2, to 189, par. 1; F.369, par. 2, to 373.

17. How does the Church's experience differ from that of her "Forerunner"? F.187, par. 1.

AUGUST 12

18. What is the significance of love as "the girdle"? Col. 3:14. Z.'99-142 (1st col. par. 2).

19. How is love the ultimate "end of the commandment"? I Tim. 1:5; Z.'00-360 (2nd col. par. 1, 2).

20. How is love the "fulfilling of the Law"? Rom. 13:10. Z.'05-121 (1st col. par. 3 to 2nd col. par. 1).

AUGUST 19

21. How is love the "law of the New Creation"? F.364, par. 1, to 367, par. 2.

22. Why is love called "the perfect law of liberty"? Jas. 1:25. F.377, 378; Z.'99-57; (2nd col. par. 2, 3); 58 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'03-43 (1st col. par. 2) to 45.

AUGUST 26

23. How are the "fruits of the Spirit" but different manifestations of love? F.186, par. 1, 2.

24. How may we discern the true fruits of the holy Spirit? Z.'05-123 (2nd col. par. 1, 2) and 124.

25. How is "zeal the measure of love"? Luke 7:41-43. Z.'97-242 (1st col. par. 1 and 2nd col.); Z.'05-153 (2nd col. par. 3).

Study Continued



[R3830 : page 245]

"IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP"

"And do this knowing the season, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand."--Rom. 13:11,12.

PREVIOUS to this exhortation the Apostle had been giving some wholesome counsel concerning the proper course of the Lord's people in the every-day duties of life. His advice seems to cover a wide range of the little vexing cares and trials that every one must meet, and shows us how to triumph in them through the mighty power of love. He evidently thought of the thin veneer of politeness in the world which so often covers deep-seated selfishness, and showed that our politeness and love should be only the genuine solid article, saying, "Let love be without dissimulation [pretence or hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil [abhor all shams and pretence]; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another." He thought of the temptations and vexations of our business intercourse with the world, and of its natural tendency to engross time, energy and thought in worldly things, and therefore counselled, not that we should give up all business, but that, while we should be energetic and "not slothful in business," we should be careful always to be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

He thought of the depressing tendency of the ever-present cares of life, and of the persecutions in one form or another that are sure to come to those who will live godly; and so, while admitting that no trial can for the present be otherwise than grievous, he tells us that we may rejoice in hope; for the trial will not continue forever, and by and by it will bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness if we are rightly exercised thereby, and in the end the rewards of righteousness; and therefore he says we should be "patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer" for that grace which is promised according to our needs.

He thought of the poverty and losses of some and therefore counselled sympathy and hospitality--"Distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Bless [even] them which persecute you; bless and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men."

He thought of the numerous vexations arising from contact with those of undisciplined hearts and said, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. [You will thus make him ashamed of his own conduct in contrast with yours.]"

Finally, he says, "Be not overcome of evil [do not allow the trials of life to make you sour, or vindictive, or cold and unsympathetic; nor allow the more favorable circumstances to make you proud or highminded or wise in your own conceits]; but overcome evil [of every kind] with good." [R3830 : page 246]

Then he instructs us to be law-abiding and God-honoring citizens in the communities in which we live-- "Rendering to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear [respectful deference or submission] to whom fear; honor to whom honor." And after pointing to the several commandments of the moral law he adds, "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Yes, love; supreme love to God and then to the neighbor as to self, is that disposition of heart that will make us victorious in every trial and temptation. In its operations toward God it lays hold by faith upon his mighty power; it trusts his wisdom and his guidance; it takes his standpoint of observation and patiently waits the outworking of his deep designs, rejoicing in hope; and is persevering and faithful through all the painful processes that lead on to victory. In its operations toward our fellow-men it is pure, peaceable, kind, forbearing, gentle, sympathetic, tender, and in strict conformity to the golden rule.

"Do this," says the Apostle--cultivate this God-like disposition of love. And not only so, but he would have us be diligent in the cultivation, "knowing the season," knowing that the time is short in which to build up in ourselves this God-like and Christ-like character. We have not a moment to lose if we desire to be finally approved of God as meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

If the Apostle could say to the saints of his day, "Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep," etc., because they had then entered upon the Gospel age with its privilege of running the race for the prize of our high calling, with how much greater force do his words apply to these closing days of the age. In the clear light of unfolded time-prophecy we see that we are now living in the latter half of the harvest period; that only eight years of the harvest time remain, and that before its close all the overcoming saints will have passed the vail of the flesh and entered into the joy of the Lord as co-workers with him in the great work of the Kingdom. Yes, "the night is far spent" and "the day [the glorious Millennial day] is at hand." Even now the gray streaks of dawn appear. It is the day when the kingly Bridegroom shall receive unto himself his ready and waiting Bride, and the time is short in which to make ready for our gathering together unto him. It is high time indeed to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation, our glorious deliverance, very near.

It is possible that some, even of the very dear and fully consecrated children of God, surrounded by the cares of this life, or weary in the struggle against sin and evil, or somewhat beguiled by the present things of time and sense, may have become more or less drowsy, and so stand in special need of the stirring exhortation, "It is now high time to awake out of sleep." It is a time for earnest, searching self-examination, for a more diligent feeling after God, for a closer walk and more intimate fellowship with him, for more thorough self-abnegation, more diligent and persevering cross-bearing, and more faithful conformity in every respect to the whole will of God concerning us. [R3831 : page 246]

The Apostle says, "Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light;" and again, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." A careful, prayerful searching of our hearts will make plain wherein we lack of conformity to the perfect will of God. And if we discover in us any perverse way we will want to correct it and the more fully to put on the armor of light--the armor of righteousness and truth. Thus we put on the Lord Jesus Christ--the mind or disposition of Christ, that spirit of love which Paul says "is the fulfilling of the Law"--that love that worketh no ill to its neighbor; that suffereth long and is kind, that envieth not, that vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, that rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; and without which, though we speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have it not, we are only as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; and though we have the gift of prophecy (teaching) and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though we have all faith so that we could remove mountains, and though we bestow all our goods to feed the poor, and even give our bodies to be burned, it profiteth nothing.--I Cor. 13:1-7.

How important, then, in the short time that remains to us here, that we awake fully and apply ourselves most diligently to the cultivation of this God-like and Christ-like disposition of love. "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love... and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."--I John 4:7,8,16.



[R3831 : page 246]

THE GREAT TEACHER'S TABLE-TALKS
--LUKE 14:1-14.--JULY 29.--

Golden Text:--"He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

THE SABBATH was quite a feast day amongst the Jews, but in accordance with the requirements of the Law the dishes were served cold--cooked previously. Our Lord evidently made no objection to these Sabbath feasts, since we find that on several occasions he participated in them. The feast at Bethany just before his crucifixion was on the Sabbath, and likewise the one referred to in the present lesson. The invitation was from a prominent Pharisee, one of the rulers. It evidently included our Lord's disciples as well as himself, and numerous of the [R3831 : page 247] host's prominent friends, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law.

The fame of Jesus had spread considerably, and doubtless these men were interested in thus coming in close contact with him, with a view to judging according to their own standards respecting his character, teachings and miracles-- whether or not he was a fanatic, whether or not he made great boasts of himself, why the common people seemed so attracted to him, and why he did not seem to specially seek the fellowship of the rich and influential--although, so far as we know, he never refused an invitation to a feast, always using such occasions as opportunities for the presentation of the truth, to glorify the Father in heaven, to help, to instruct, to benefit those with whom he was in contact.

The guests watched him critically rather than sympathetically. They were looking for faults rather than for virtues. But as with others, so with these--they found no fault in him. Perhaps by accident, perhaps by design, there was in the company a man who had the dropsy. He may have been a member of the household or family; indeed our Lord possibly may have been invited there with a view to proposing the healing of this one with the infirmity.

Our Lord seems to have had a special feeling of sympathy with the afflicted, and he quickly noticed the man with the dropsy. The Pharisees were no doubt interested in witnessing the miracle, as any others would be; and at the same time, according to their forms, such a miracle on the Sabbath day would have been a misdemeanor. Our Lord's interest in handling the situation is apparent. He first inquired of his host and his learned associates whether or not it was lawful to heal the sick on the Sabbath day. The Doctors of the Law were expected to be able and willing to answer such questions propounded by the people at any time; yet in the presence of the great Teacher they all held their peace, made no reply; they wanted to see what course he would take. They did not wish to interrupt him --perhaps they wished to have an opportunity to find fault with him on this account. No objection to healing on the Sabbath day having been cited from the Law, our Lord performed the miracle--"He took him and healed him and let him go." The implication is that in some manner our Lord touched the afflicted one, that thus it might be the more manifest that the miracle was of divine power through him.

THEY WOULD ASSIST DUMB BRUTES

After having answered his own question by the miracle, thus attesting that nothing in the Law forbade the healing of the sick on the Sabbath, our Lord justified his course before the company saying, "Which of you having an ass or an ox fall into a pit would not draw him out on the Sabbath?" Another reading is, "Which of you having a son or even an ox fall into a pit would not on the Sabbath draw him out?" The proposition was unanswerable. They all knew that, where their selfish interests were involved, they would decide that there was nothing in the Law to hinder lending assistance on the Sabbath. Thus our Lord clearly showed that their thought respecting the healing of humanity on the Sabbath was fallacious, unscriptural.

It will be remembered that our Lord was still under the terms of the Law Covenant, bound by every provision of the Law just as much as every other Jew had been from the time the Law was given at Mount Sinai. The Law Covenant did not pass away, as the Apostle points out, until Christ "nailed it to the cross." (Col. 2:14.) Hence nothing that our Lord did on the Sabbath day, healing the sick, etc., could properly be esteemed a violation of the fourth commandment, or any other feature of the Law.

We have already shown (DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., chap. VII.) that the Law Covenant sealed at Sinai was not in force before that time upon the Jews, that it was not given to any other people, and that so far as those who accepted Christ were and are concerned the Law Covenant ended at the cross. Hence all the obligations of the Jewish Sabbath ended there also. The followers of Jesus during this Gospel age keep the higher Sabbath, the antitypical Sabbath, the "rest of the people of God"--rest from their own works, rest from fear, rest in hope of the glorious things which God has provided through Jesus for all who love him, rest in hope also for the world, that in due time all shall come to a knowledge of the Lord. This perpetual rest of peace abides with us every day alike.

"NO LONGER SERVANTS, BUT SONS"

Our celebration of the first day of the week as a Christian Sabbath should not be with the thought that it is a law or bondage, but rather an appreciation of the great privilege we enjoy of leaving the ordinary affairs of life on that day to give special thought to the spiritual things of the New Creature and to fellowship one with another, commemorating the day also as the one on which our Lord arose from the dead and began the work of the New Creation. We are looking forward also to the glorious rest that remaineth for the people of God, the eternity of blessed perfection into which we hope to be ushered by a resurrection from the dead, when we shall awake in our Lord's likeness. During this Gospel age our heavenly Father addresses us not as a house of servants but as a house of sons--as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. It would not be appropriate for him to give to these New Creatures, begotten of his Spirit, such laws as he gave to the Jews, the house of servants.

The Lord would not insult the New Creature by even suggesting the various things stipulated in the Ten Commandments. The New Creatures in Christ Jesus have no sympathy with profanity, idol worship, the unrest of disbelief, with dishonor to parents, with murder and adultery, false witness, covetousness. Those whose hearts run in these directions have not been begotten of the Spirit, have not the Spirit of Christ, are none of his. The Lord's command to those who are New Creatures in Christ Jesus is that, being begotten of the spirit of love, they shall grow in grace and in knowledge and in love, seeking daily to bring into subjection all the weaknesses of their mortal bodies, reckoned dead at the moment they were begotten of the Spirit. True, the apostles do urge upon the Lord's people to put away anger and malice and envy and strife, etc., works of the flesh and of the devil; but even then they address the New Creature, not as though it were in sympathy with these wrong doings, but on the contrary, urging the New Creature to put away, to mortify, to put to death, these deeds of their flesh, already reckoned dead.

Our Father's dealings and commands are never to the [R3832 : page 248] flesh, but to the New Creatures. From this standpoint, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwell in you." (Rom. 8:9.) Therefore, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now, henceforth, know we him [so] no more." (2 Cor. 5:16.) We are "judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Pet. 4:6.) We are reckoned as fulfilling the highest demands of the divine law to God and to man, because we are not walking after the flesh but after the Spirit.

THE HUMBLE TO BE EXALTED

It was probably in answer to some question that our Lord propounded the parable of the guests bidden to a marriage feast, warning against the custom of seeking prominent positions, and the danger incurred that a more honorable person might come in later, and thus they might get the least honorable seat in the company. Our Lord noted this mark of selfishness in those who were gathered with him at the table of his host, but we must suppose that he did not rudely intrude the matter as a reproof at such a time without having a question or some reasonable cause for bringing the matter forward.

The entire lesson of the parable seems to be an illustration of the proper course amongst men as viewed from the divine standpoint, and hence an illustration to all of the way in which God will deal with those whom he invites to the antitypical marriage-feast. The chief places will not be given to those most bold, most inclined to usurp authority; but, on the contrary, the Lord will not forget the man or woman of humble mind who, thinking little of himself or herself, would thankfully and gratefully seek for and appreciate the very humblest place in the divine presence.

Ambition is a very necessary faculty of the human mind, without which the world would make comparatively little progress; but it is a very dangerous element as respects the formation of Christian character. We may be sure, from all the Scriptures set forth, that God's principle of dealing with us in the distribution of the glories and honors of the Kingdom will be along the lines laid down by the Master: he that humbleth himself shall be exalted, he that exalteth himself shall be abased.

LOVE OF POWER TO DO GOOD

We are frequently charged by those who, from blindness or other reasons, would disparage the glorious Gospel of the Kingdom, that those "of this way" are seeking selfishly for the glory and honor and immortality of the Kingdom as something superior to what others will receive at the Lord's hand. This as a whole is an unfair and an unjust charge, for as far as we know the majority of those who are interested in "Present Truth" are not so much ambitious for the dignities of the Kingdom as they are for any place in that great marriage feast, any membership in the glorious Bride company, any opportunity to share with the heavenly Bridegroom in the great and wonderful work of blessing all the families of the earth. It would not occur to any of us to think of ourselves in connection with such high honors and dignities, glory and immortality, except as we find it plainly stated in the divine Word, but finding it there, it is the duty of faith to accept whatever we may be deemed worthy of, and to allow it to work in us to will and to do the Lord's good pleasure, as he intended.

The chief difficulty, so far as our experience goes, is not a mere ambition as respects glory, honor and rank in the Kingdom, but rather an ambition as respects the present life--a seeking who shall be greatest on this side the vail. Our observation is that some of the most talented, most able, most conscientious of the Lord's followers are in danger along this line, and it is a part of our duty to call this matter to the general attention, that each of the Lord's dear people may do all in his power to help any who are in such a position to see that an ambitious striving for glory and honor and dignity and position in the present time would surely mean a loss of the Lord's favor and the ultimate attainment in the Kingdom of a much humbler position, if indeed pride did not hinder them entirely from being accepted as members of the "little flock." Let us remember the Apostle's exhortation, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."--1 Pet. 5:6.

REMEMBER THE POOR AND THE FRIENDLESS

Perhaps it was in answer to some other question that our Lord gave his dissertation respecting the making of a feast and who should be invited to it, the conclusion of our lesson. He set forth a new proposition: The custom was to invite to a feast those whom you would expect and desire to ask you in return to a feast at their home. The thought of recompense was thus associated, a selfish thought. But our Lord's suggestion would not necessarily, we think, mean that it would be wrong to invite a person to a feast at our homes if we thought it at all probable he would ask us to his home. His thought rather is that, while this would be a pleasant and profitable interchange, there would be no merit in so doing in the Lord's sight--each would get his reward in such a reciprocity.

Perhaps the Lord wished to show his host that in inviting himself and his disciples, who were not so situated as to be able to invite the others of the company in turn to their homes, he had really done a gracious act, provided he had the gracious motive back of it. In making a feast for the poor, the helpless, the maimed and the blind, a work of charity and mercy would be done, and, no recompense coming in the present life, they might be sure of a blessing in the future life. In other words, our Lord intimates that every good deed willingly, intelligently done from the right motive, may be sure to have a blessing, as surely as will every evil deed, every injurious matter done with a wrong thought and evil sentiment, be sure to have some kind of punishment either in the present or in the future life.

Our Lord declared that such a good deed will be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, but since he was not addressing his disciples, not addressing justified ones, we feel that his words should not be understood to mean that such a feast to the poor, etc., would secure the highest place in the First Resurrection among the blessed and holy who shall be kings and priests unto God and reign as the kingly class, the Bride class, with the Bridegroom. This would not be a reasonable view to put upon the words, because other Scriptures intimate that not only faith in Jesus [R3832 : page 249] as the Mediator is necessary, but a travelling faithfully in the narrow way in order to attain a share in the First Resurrection.

What then did our Lord mean? We answer that the First Resurrection, which will include only the "blessed and holy," the saints, the Bride of Christ, the Bride with the glorious Head and Bridegroom, will mark the beginning of the Kingdom which our Lord preached and which he taught us to pray for, saying, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven." Those who will have part in the First Resurrection are to be the kings and priests and judges of the world. (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 20:6.) Surely after that First Resurrection the blessing of the world, the times of restitution of all things, will begin! Then the whole world will stand before these judges during the thousand years to be helped up, if they will, to the full of human perfection, or, failing to respond to their glorious opportunities, they will be destroyed in the Second Death.

In that day of their judgment every deed of kindness to the poor will be found to have wrought some blessing in the character of the individual which will have to do with his station, with his starting-point on the highway of holiness. The most degraded, those who have accomplished nothing in the present time in the way of character development, must begin at the very start of the road and have the longer journey to its farther end of perfection; while those who in the present time have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and have sought to comfort and benefit their fellows, especially those who would give even a cup of cold water to a disciple of the Lord because he was his disciple--all such would be found to be benefited proportionately in that day of glorious possibilities. Thus the Lord's words would signify that any who would give a cup of cold water or who would bless the maimed and the blind and the poor would experience a reward and blessing in that future time which would follow the resurrection of the just--in the Millennial age.

VALUE OF TABLE TALKS

The example set by our Lord in the matter of table-talks we have followed for many years at the Bible House with great profit. We find that much advantage accrues from the observance of order and regularity. Every morning promptly at 7 o'clock we have praise and prayer (Sunday 8 A.M.). Then we gather at the table, and after giving thanks for the food and praying that a blessing may be derived from our fellowship together, one of our number reads the text for the day from the Heavenly Manna. Questions are called for as breakfast proceeds and the text is thoroughly discussed. Later, before leaving the table, the comment following the text in the Manna is read as a conclusion of the lesson. Our dinner and supper-table talks are upon whatever questions may suggest themselves to any of those present, with opportunities for general expression-- [R3833 : page 249] the brethren being asked for an expression, then the opportunity thrown open to anybody. The one occupying the head of the table is expected to give the final answer to the question. These table-talks are a schooling of themselves, ranging as they do on all parts of the Word of God, and refresh the memories of those present respecting what they have previously learned. We commend this method to all the dear people of God. Food partaken of under such circumstances seems to do one more good than otherwise, and the spiritual refreshment is almost certain to be advantageous. We do not favor disputings or replies of one to another, but merely the statement by each one of them of his own understanding of the question or the Scripture involved. Our minds cannot help being active, and it is profitable to us to have them directed into useful channels. Anyway, the example set by our Lord is surely a good one.



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THE SLIGHTED INVITATION
--LUKE 14:15-24.--AUGUST 5.--

Golden Text:--"They all with one consent began to make excuse."

THIS LESSON is a continuation of our Lord's table-talk at the home of the Pharisee. He had given suggestions along the line of humility on the part of guests, then to entertainers as to how their hospitality might wisely be dispensed: following this came a remark from one of the guests, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." This was doubtless uttered in a reverent spirit, possibly by one of the apostles, with a view to turning the attention of the company to the message which the Master and his disciples were proclaiming--the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Jews for over sixteen centuries had been waiting for the Kingdom of Messiah, which God's promise to Abraham indicated should come in connection with his seed-- Israel. Moses, their Mediator and lawgiver, had declared that Messiah would be like unto himself as a leader for the nation, but greater. Through the prophets, all the way down through Israel's history, God had told his chosen nation of the great blessings in store for them. The grandeur of the Millennial Kingdom had been portrayed, and the wonderful opportunity for divine favor and refreshment had been pictured, with the assurance that it should extend from Israel to all the families of the world. In a vague manner the Jews had looked forward to this Kingdom with a mixture of hope and pride, combined with a fear that the changed conditions might in some particulars put any restraint upon their liberties as respects sins, etc. The reference to eating bread in the Kingdom, viewed from the oriental standpoint, would signify to be on good terms with the King, and a new regime, and to be a participator in the blessings of that glorious epoch.

PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER

Our Lord was quick to turn the remark so as to point out a valuable lesson to all present who had the hearing ear. He gave, especially for the benefit of his disciples, but incidentally for the benefit of others of the company who were entertaining him, a lesson showing how those who might have been expected to appreciate God's favors would [R3833 : page 250] fail to do so, because of lack of faith and because too closely wedded to the affairs and interests of this present evil world. He likened God's Kingdom blessings to a great feast. This is a common illustration throughout the Scriptures--a feast of fat things with wines well refined, is the Prophet Isaiah's description of the Millennial blessings and glories which the Lord has in reservation for the world of mankind. The Prophet declares that the Lord will in this mountain spread a feast. (Isa. 25:6.) The mountain is the Kingdom, the dominion of Christ when it shall be set up, his Church being glorified with him in power, and blessings of very rich and choice kind will be set forth for the whole world of mankind.

The Jews usually ate two meals in a day: the first might be termed breakfast, and was usually very simple, very plain--bread, olives, milk, etc.; the second and principal meal of the day was called sometimes dinner and sometimes supper, and consisted of more elaborate dishes, according to the ability of each family. The great feasts were usually made about sundown. Our Lord's parable pictures such a great feast, for it speaks of oxen and fatlings being killed, which implies hundreds of guests. In these great feasts it was customary to send out the notifications long in advance, without specifying exactly the time, which would depend upon contingent circumstances. On the day of the feast, when it was assured that there would be no miscarriage of the arrangements, servants were sent to those already notified or bidden that they might come promptly to the feast.

Our Lord represents the host of his parable as getting ready the supper on a grand scale, and then sending word to the previously bidden ones to come. Contrary to all precedent these guests declined, literally "begged off," asked to be excused, did not appreciate the honor done them, and sought for one or another excuse to avoid going to the feast. Such great feasts were made by princes or very wealthy men, and it was considered a high honor to have an invitation and to attend. Our Lord purposely made the parable the very contrary to the custom. One excuse was that the invited guest had recently purchased property and must examine it; another had purchased five yoke of oxen and needed to inspect them, test them; another had married a wife, etc. When the servant returned and reported that the bidden guests had declined to come the host was indignant, as he had every right to be. It was indeed a shameful procedure from any standpoint to accept an invitation, to allow the host to expect the invited one and to make elaborate preparations, and then at the final moment for the latter to make some trivial excuse.

"THEY THAT WERE BIDDEN"

As the parable refers to Jehovah's invitation to the blessings of the Kingdom, so those in the parable who originally were bidden, but who began to make excuse, were the Jews. To them God had given notice respecting the coming feast. They as a nation had declared that they would be very glad indeed to accept the high honor which he had conferred upon them in bidding them first to the special favors and privileges of the Kingdom. The feast had been in preparation for more than eighteen centuries from its first announcement. Our Lord with the apostles was the servant of Jehovah to inform his chosen people that all things were now ready, to come in prepared condition of heart to enter into the Kingdom, to enjoy its bounteous feast of rich blessings in their own hearts and lives, to be changed, begotten of the Spirit, that they might become New Creatures and heirs of God and joint-heirs with Messiah in that Kingdom. What a wonderful offer! How we should have expected that the whole people of Israel would have joyously hailed the message, and cried Hosanna to God in the highest! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah--the Messiah.

But no! the guests on the contrary looked at the servant and said, "We do not believe that this will be so grand a feast as we had supposed. The servant looks so meek, so gentle, so lowly of heart, that we feel it indicates that the feast will be a very tame affair; and now, separated as we are, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, we do not believe that we would very much enjoy the feast. We will not say this in so many words, we will preserve an outward form of godliness, and instead of confessing the truth on the subject we will merely make excuses to ourselves or to the servant of being too busy, etc. We will send our regrets instead of attending, although really we have no regrets. Indeed we feel that we will be happier pursuing our usual course of selfish ambition rather than get too close to the Lord, to his supervision, and the rules of righteousness which must certainly obtain in connection with those whom he would honor."

The parable represents that the entire company of those who were bidden refused--failed to hearken to the servant or to come to the feast. Those who did receive our Lord and his message were so few, as compared with the entire Jewish nation, as to leave them almost unworthy of being mentioned, but, additionally, those who received Jesus were in large proportion the publicans and sinners, who in their day were considered rather as moral and social outcasts, and not at all recognized as the ones eligible to the Kingdom which God had promised to the holy. The Scribes and Pharisees counted themselves the holy people, and claimed for themselves the blessings, the invitation to the feast. Practically none of these received the Lord or came to the feast.

The host, who had made so great provision for the Jewish nation, "was angry"--not mad, not in a rage, but indignant, and with perfect propriety he decided that "None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." The supper of this parable, therefore, is not the only parable mentioned in the Scriptures, is not the supper mentioned by the Prophet Isaiah, which would be a feast of fat things for all nations. Because other Scriptures clearly show us that when that secondary feast for all nations shall be spread, Israel will have the first opportunity of participating in it. (Rom. 11:25-32.) The feast here spoken of is evidently the marriage feast of another parable. Its blessings are not the general favors and mercies that are coming to the world by and by, but the special blessings and favors of God which, in the beginning of the Millennial age, will be bestowed upon the glorified Christ, our Lord, the Head, and the Church his body, the Bride.

Natural Israel had the first opportunity for attaining the spiritual blessings to which spiritual Israel now aspires. [R3834 : page 251] The Apostle explains this in Rom. 11:7-26, where he pictures the favored ones of God as an olive-tree, and informs us that the branches of that olive-tree at the Lord's first advent represented the Israelites, and that nearly all of these branches were broken off because of unbelief, because of failure to accept the invitation to the feast, because of a lack of appreciation of the spiritual blessings to be bestowed because of lack of faith. The Apostle tells us that God has accepted the believers in Christ of every nation, and that these are by faith engrafted into the olive-tree to take the place of the natural branches, the Jews broken off from relationship to this blessing through unbelief.

THE MAIMED AND HALT GATHERED

As the Scribes and Pharisees, the more devout of the Jewish nation, constituted the class to whom the Kingdom was primarily offered, so the class whom they rejected, the publicans and sinners, constituted the class described in this part of the parable as the poor, the halt, the maimed and the blind. When the better educated, the less morally lame, the less spiritually blind, rejected our Lord and his message respecting the Kingdom, he at once began to seek out the publicans and sinners, and to these his teachings were chiefly directed--they were invited to come to the feast which their more educated, more outwardly religious and pious brethren of the Scribes and Pharisees did not appreciate. But the servant could not find enough of this class to furnish the feast with guests according to the original arrangement of the host. The explanation of this part of the parable is that God, knowing the end from the beginning, had determined a definite number to constitute the Church, the Bride class, to be joint-heirs with his son in the bounties and blessings of the Kingdom, represented by this great feast.

We understand the Scriptures to teach that this elect number is 144,000. Jesus and his disciples, as the servants of Jehovah, gathered as many of these poor, halt, lame Jews as were willing to come to the feast. About 500 accepted the invitation in our Lord's time and several thousand more at Pentecost, under the ministration of the Spirit, while several thousand more responded to the same glorious message further on, and ultimately the message reached those of every country. But in all we are assured that only a remnant of Israel was found worthy of the Kingdom honors. How many in all we could only guess, but we see no reason for placing the estimate higher than ten thousand. Even if some one would estimate that double this number more or less accepted of Christ, we should think it strange, as compared with present conditions, if more than ten thousand became footstep followers of our Lord Jesus in the narrow way of self-sacrifice even unto death, through which narrow way only can any attain to this great feast.

"GO YE INTO THE HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES"

Suppose that a remnant of ten thousand Jews did accept the divine favor in the very spirit of it, this would leave 134,000 short of the furnishing of the feast with the predetermined number of guests. Would the householder abandon his original arrangement? Nay: he determined that the full complement of guests should be there, as this parable shows, and hence the servants were found outside that city, the Jewish nation, to which belonged the promises by divine favor. Those servants were sent into the byways and hedges, into various parts of the world, to find guests for this great feast. They were bidden to urge all that they met, up to a certain number, to come to the feast. As the Lord of the feast had prescribed the number of his guests, they were not to cease inviting until the full complement had been found, nor were they to invite any more than the fixed number. This part of the message had been going out to the Gentiles ever since Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, heard of the blessed opening of this door of opportunity to the Gentiles.

Throughout the Gospel age the Lord has directed his servants and guided in the work, so that at no time would more than the elect number be even invited. This accounts to us for much of the opposition and persecution which the Lord has permitted to come from time to time upon his servants and upon those who are willing to accept his invitation. He not only wishes to have guests at his feast, joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom, but elsewhere he has shown that he has predetermined that these only are the ones he will accept as copies of his Son. This signifies, then, that those who hear this invitation and are inclined to respond favorably will be tested by opposition and persecution, which in various ways will test and prove them and discourage and hinder any who are not of the stamp, the character, which our Lord has predetermined will be satisfactory to himself. He assures us that faith and zeal are amongst the characteristics necessary, and he has provided for the covering of every blemish and defect where these acceptable characteristics are found.

"VIRGINS HER COMPANIONS"

To our understanding other Scriptures show that many more than the 144,000 have accepted Christ and have made a consecration, agreeing to follow the great servant of God to the feast. Many of these, a "great company," although following in a measure, and in that measure satisfactory to the Lord, are not up to the divine standard of love and zeal. Nevertheless, since they exercised a sufficiency of faith to leave the world behind with a view to accepting God's favors, he will not permit them to suffer loss, but will give them also a share in the feast, though not in the chief seats of honor and distinction with the heavenly Bridegroom and the 144,000 constituting the Bride. The "more than conquerors," we are assured, shall in this feast sit with our Lord in his throne and share his glory, honor and immortality; but to the great company, after a certain purifying and washing, tribulation, there will be granted the honor of association, not in the throne but before the throne, not wearing crowns but bearing palms, not constituting pillars and living stones in the Temple but doing service in the Temple in humbler positions. All of these are represented in Revelation 7, and again in Revelation 19 we have the intimation that although this feast is specifically the nuptial feast of Christ and the Church, nevertheless the "great company," (Rev. 7) the virgins, the Bride's companions, will be invited to share in this nuptial feast--"Blessed are they that are invited to the marriage-supper of the Lamb."--Rev. 19:9; Psa. 45:14,15.

It will be later on that the feast of fat things for the [R3834 : page 252] world will be spread out, and the intervening time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation shall so plow up the fallow ground of the human heart that the masses of mankind will indeed be ready to hail the blessings of that day. And hence we read of it that there the Desire of all Nations shall come. The bread of life will be provided to whosoever will accept it, the water of life to all who are thirsty, the Spirit and the Bride shall say, Come, and whosoever will may come and partake freely.

How wonderfully grand and broad are the divine provisions, the feast which God has prepared! What a grand privilege we enjoy in that our ears already have heard of this special feast, to which the invitations have been going forth throughout this Gospel age--this nuptial feast by which we all will celebrate our union forever with the heavenly Bridegroom in the glorious estate of the Kingdom which is to bless the world. Let us not be like those of the parable who disesteemed the offer. Let us, on the contrary, following the example of the Apostle and his exhortation, lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us--one weakness or difficulty in one person, another weakness or difficulty in another--and let us run with patience the race set before us.

Let us be so enthused with the glorious possibilities of this great feast that we will not be content to walk or to meander slowly, toying with the affairs of this world or the flowers or attractions beside the way, which would lure us from the way, but let us press along. The way is rugged, and has been purposely so arranged by the Lord that only the zealous, the earnest, the faithful, the loyal, will be able to attain to the prize. Let us not be discouraged either, as though it were an impossibility to attain the blessing to which we have been called. The fact that the Lord has called us implies that he has made it possible for us to attain, and this possibility we see centers in our dear Redeemer: not merely in the work which he accomplished for us in the past when he redeemed us, but also in his gracious assistances which he renders us all along the journey. Let us remember his assurance that he is able and willing to make all things work together for good to them that love him, to the called ones according to his purpose.


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THE BLESSING OF THORNS
When we thank our heavenly Father
For the blessings of each day;
For the flowers that are strewn
O'er the roughness of the way;
When we thank him for the roses
That we gather day by day,
Do we ever see the blessing
Of the thorns along life's way?

Oft we thank him for the sunshine
That he sends us from above;
Do we ever in the shadow
Recognize his tender love?
When our feet grow worn and weary,
And our crosses hard to bear;
Oft the way seems long and dreary,
Knowing not his tender care.

When the clouds that round us darken
Change to night our radiant day,
Oft we murmur that the sunshine
Has been hidden from our way.
But our Father in his wisdom
Sends the dark as well as light;
Can we doubt his loving kindness,
In whose keeping all is right?

If no shadow veiled our pathway,
And we knew no ill to fear,
Would we cling so closely to him?
Would our Father seem so near?
As when darkness gathers round us,
And our faith in self is lost,
We but trust him, and the Savior
Gives us strength to bear our cross.

In our path if all were sunshine,
Would we look to him for light?
And if all below were brightness,
Then would heaven seem so bright?
When we meet beyond the shadows,
In that land of endless day,
We will thank our heavenly Father
For the darkness of the way.

Oft we cannot see his kindness
Through the darkness, pain and loss;
But we know the crown is dearer
For the sharpness of the cross.
And when in his throne we gather,
And our dear Redeemer meet,
We will thank our heavenly Father
For the thorns that pierced our feet.
--Eugenia M. Doyle.



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THE FATHER OF MERCIES
--LUKE 15:11-32.--AUGUST 12.--

THE PARABLE of the prodigal son is one of three teaching the same general lesson: God's love and sympathy toward the poor and fallen and degraded and lost. These three parables were spoken to the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, who, while admiring the Lord Jesus, were indignant with him because he did not, like themselves, spurn the lower classes, the publicans and sinners.

In one of the associated parables the word-picture is that of a shepherd with an hundred sheep, one of which goes astray: the shepherd leaves the ninety and nine to follow the straying sheep, and, recovering it, rejoices greatly, more than over the ninety and nine which went not astray. The picture here seems to represent God's entire creation as his flock, the one sheep which went astray seeming to portray Adam and his race lost in sin. The pursuing of the lost sheep was the heavenly Father sending his Son to redeem Adam and his race, to bring back all or so many as are willing to come back to the fold--to fellowship with God and the enjoyment of his favor, everlasting life. This picture was one which would appeal to the people of that country, many of whom were shepherds or acquainted with the customs of shepherds. It presented the heavenly Father in a new light, as interested in the straying ones with a love that is in no sense selfish, but sacrificing.

The other associated parable was that of the lost piece of silver. The women of those times usually wore a bracelet on which was fastened ten coins. Such a bracelet was generally the gift of the bridegroom at the time of marriage, and the bracelet and each piece associated with it was highly esteemed by its wearer. The parable pictures the loss of one of these pieces, and shows the diligence with which a woman would search and sweep to find it because it was valuable in her eyes, and how she would rejoice at the finding. Our Lord's comment on this is that much more would the heavenly Father have an interest in humanity in its lost condition, and search for and rejoice in finding the lost. Both of these parables bore specifically upon the attitude of the Pharisees toward the masses of the people--the common people, including the publicans and sinners. These parables showed that their attitude was not the proper one.

PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON

Then follows the parable of today's lesson. A father has two sons. It was the custom of that time and country that the elder son should inherit the principal part of the estate if he chose to remain at home with his father. The younger sons were usually given some portion, and allowed to embark if they would in some other business or profession. The parable opens with the proposition of the younger son that he would leave home, taking with him whatever the father was willing to give him. His request was granted; the father gave a portion of his means to each of the sons. We do not understand the parable to teach that the father unwisely retained nothing to himself, but contrarywise--that he merely gave a reasonable individual portion to each son, retaining the remainder, which, however, was intended for the elder son, if faithful, at the father's death. Incidentally we remark that experience shows that would be unwise for a father to take any other course than the one here suggested. A man's estate is his stewardship from the Lord, and while children may be properly recognized in this stewardship, the responsibility of a Christian man's consecration should extend beyond his own immediate offspring while including them.

Rehearsing the story briefly; the younger son used his father's gifts riotously, wastefully, and soon came to want in a foreign land. In his degradation he became a swineherd, an especially demeaning occupation amongst the Jews at that time. He got down to the level of the swine in many respects, and yet he felt a longing for better things that he had known before. He was not satisfied, and determined to return to his father and to seek to be a servant in the household, claiming nothing further as a son, realizing that he had dishonored the relationship. The loving father is pictured as seeing the prodigal a long way off and hastening to him, embracing him and kissing him repeatedly. The prodigal attempts to make his statement of contrition, but is interrupted by the father's expressions of love and directions for the best robe, the ring, the feast on fatted calf, and general rejoicing that the dead had come to life, the lost had been found, the wayward had returned.

The parable shows the elder son offended, refusing to enter into the joys of the occasion, and complaining that his loyalty to his father had less demonstration than was given to the return of the prodigal. The father urges the elder son to come and rejoice also, to enter into his spirit in the matter, assuring him that this meant no less love for himself, and points to the fact that as the loyal son he may still be the heir of all his possessions, "All that I have is thine"--is for thee.

THE PROPER INTERPRETATION

No interpretation of the parable is given, but it might be explained in harmony with itself and in harmony with other Scriptures in two ways:

(1) We might interpret it as we have done the parable of the hundred sheep, that the elder brother represented those who had always been in harmony with God, the holy angels; that the younger brother was mankind, etc.

(2) Another interpretation seems much more appropriate and fitting. The elder brother well represents the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, who outwardly and theoretically were in harmony with God. Paul, who had been one of this class, declares that with all good conscience he had served the God of his fathers as a Pharisee. Doubtless there were others of the class whose intentions and desires were to remain loyal and obedient to the Heavenly Father--who sought daily by obedience to the Law to remain at home with God, and who did remain at home up to the time that our Lord addressed them this parable. They had their good portion in this present life, as well as the promise of the great Oath-Bound Covenant in the future.

The younger son would represent that portion of the nation of Israel which, while aware of the Oath-Bound Covenant and of the blessings and privileges of relationship with God, had nevertheless wandered off into the ways of sin as publicans and sinners and careless ones. These realized in large measure their own unworthiness, and sometimes smote upon their breasts saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." These were all repudiated by the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, who declared them to be in no sense of the word participants in the promises, regarded them as prodigals, sinners and would not eat with them nor salute them nor have any dealings with them. Our Lord, on the contrary, representing the Father, was willing to speak to these, willing to receive them, told them of the Father's love of his provision to give them the robe of Christ's righteousness, justification; of his willingness to make them participants in the great feast of fat things, the Kingdom blessings; of his willingness to give them the ring as a signet of his everlasting mercy, forgiveness and love, the Pentecostal blessing.

The Pharisees, etc., as the elder son, noting this divine favor to the poor common people, the publicans and sinners, were angry. They rejected the message of the Father through the Son, they would not go to the same feast. They thus showed that they lacked a very important quality of heart--they lacked the spirit of lovingkindness, and hence were not at all prepared for the feast. They left the Father's house, left their share in the Oath-Bound Covenant and [R3835 : page 254] the wonderful favors connected therewith, because they had not the Father's spirit, because they lacked the spirit of brotherly kindness, love. The Lord as a result cast them off as a nation, and they lost the privilege of the chief blessing and were blinded.

Although the heavenly Father has temporarily discarded the nation represented by this elder brother, nevertheless amongst those with whom he is now dealing (spiritual Israel) there are similar classes--some who are self-righteous and self-confident, moral and religious, but who, like the Pharisees, have not a sufficiency of the spirit of love to appreciate the Father's conduct and to abide in his love. On the other hand there is still the Lazarus class, still the returned prodigal class, to which the Father is pleased to grant riches of grace and mercy and truth, the robe of righteousness, the feast of fat things and the ring, symbolizing his eternal love and mercy.

The lesson for us all is that even after we have been favored of the heavenly Father, been accepted as his children, there are two ways of departing from him. One way is that of open sin and wantonness, the other a failure to attain to the divine likeness in our hearts. The parable seems to imply that there is more hope of those who have gone into sin and degradation returning to God, being accepted of him and received into his blessings and becoming inheritors of his future favors, than there is of some who, while outwardly moral and religious, fail to acquire the Lord's spirit of love and mercy. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his"; and being none of his he will surely not be permitted to share in the fruits and graces of the spirit of the present time, love, joy, peace, etc., nor in the exceeding great and precious things of the divine provision which are yet future--glory, honor and immortality.

OUR GOLDEN TEXT

The thought everywhere held out in the Scriptures is that God's mercy endures forever--that is, "olan," or to a completion. A small portion of the world of mankind at the present time has received God's favor to the extent of being justified and made participators in the divine favors and mercies of this present time. As in his dealings with these the Lord is very gracious, so is he to those who return from the ways of sin, and he is even patient with those who lack the spirit of love and forgiveness, and comes to them entreating them to join in his gracious plans and arrangements. This lovingkindness bestowed upon the believers of the present time illustrates the Spirit of the Lord. It becomes an assurance to us of the fulfilment of his promise that in due time all the families of the earth shall be brought to a knowledge of his goodness, to an opportunity for knowing him whom to rightly know and appreciate will mean to them everlasting life.

It is not in violation of the Lord's declaration of mercy that we find the Scriptures clearly teaching that when mercy shall have fully accomplished its work, when it shall have accomplished all it can accomplish in the interest of the fallen and the sinful, its work will be at an end, and all those not favored will then be those who, despite their knowledge of the divine character and the divine will, and despite their opportunities for coming into harmony with the same, will have refused to enter into the Father's gracious arrangements and plans. For such willful sinners to be eventually destroyed will evidently be not only for their best interests but for the interests also of all those who are in accord with the Lord. Thus the Lord will eventually bring to pass the promise that every creature in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard acknowledging and praising the God of our salvation, for he is worthy. (Rev. 5:13) No discordant note shall be heard throughout the universe of God. Every member of Adam's race shall through Christ be granted a full opportunity for return to the relationship of the sons of God, and all the willing and obedient will receive the great blessing. Indeed also it will be a blessing to the unwilling and disobedient that they should be cut off in the Second Death, rather than that they should continue perverse and unhappy and injurious to others as well as to themselves.



[R3836 : page 254]

"BLESSED ARE YOUR EARS, FOR THEY HEAR"

MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I have wished for a long time to tell you my own experience in coming into the Truth, but feared to trespass upon your valuable time. However, as my experience is (I hope) very different from that of most other people, I am going to tell it that you may know how marvellously I have been blessed of the Lord through his servant, Brother Russell, but in order to fully understand the extent of the blessing you must know of the rebellion that once possessed me.

I was born of Universalist parents and brought up in that faith, and at the age of fourteen I united with that Church. When I was fourteen years old I began to sing in a quartet choir in one of the churches in this city, and from that time until fifteen years ago, when I was compelled to give up my music on account of growing deafness, I was a member of a quartet choir in some Church in town. For the last eight years or so before I was obliged to give it up, I was a member of a local concert organization, whose services were in large demand for entertainments and public installations of the various secret orders, Masons, Odd Fellows, etc., and a great many other occasions, besides our regular concert work. During the few years we were associated together we furnished music at over 300 funerals. Taking it all together my music was a large part of my life, and my greatest pleasure outside my home.

I was during most of those years a teacher in the Universalist Sunday school, and one of the chief workers there; was always willing to do anything in my power to help in any good cause until my hearing utterly failed, when it seemed to me that I was of no further use to anyone or anything after that.

Soon after my 20th birthday I was married to one of the best of men, and it was about three years after our marriage that my hearing began to fail, gradually growing worse until about eight years ago, when I became stone deaf. Since that time I have been able to converse with people only when I have been able to "read their lips," or by writing or finger-spelling. So you see my husband has been a patient sharer of my [R3836 : page 255] affliction for twenty-seven years, during which time he has spent hundreds of dollars in having me try different so-called "cures for deafness."

We have one child, a daughter of almost sixteen years, but previous to her birth we had similar hopes three times--the little ones living but a few hours each. The loss of my babies, then the loss of my hearing, with all that implies, made me very bitter against our heavenly Father, and even caused me to doubt at times the very existence of such a being.

One day a few years ago, when a very dear old school-friend was visiting me, I was bemoaning my fate and she was trying to cheer and comfort me. Among other things she said, "It may be, Tena, that God has something better in store for you, and some time you will see that, although he has permitted this affliction to come upon you, it was in love, and may lead you to a still greater blessing." That aroused all my fiery indignation, and I replied, "I don't want any other blessing. I want those he has taken away! and don't you talk to [R3837 : page 255] me of the love of God! If there is such a being--which I sometimes doubt entirely--he has shown anything but love for me! He took away my babies as soon as they had breathed a few times. He has robbed me of my hearing and thus taken away my greatest pleasure in life, my music, etc., and at the same time raised a barrier between me and the world which I can never overcome. He has isolated me from all the world while still leaving me in it, and he would have shown more love for me if he had taken me out of the world entirely; and all this he has done notwithstanding the fact that I have always been a worker in his Church and cause, have always praised him with my voice, was ever ready and willing to serve him with hand and voice in any good cause, and this is the way he shows his love for me! Oh, to me he seems a good God to be hated, but not one who is worthy of my love and confidence or reverence."

My friend, with tears rolling down her face, clasped me in her arms and said, "Poor child! I am so sorry for you. It does seem hard, but still I can't help feeling that the time will come when you will feel differently and see things in a better light."

Was ever anyone so wickedly rebellious as I? I continued to feel the same for years, during which time, on the rare occasions that we met, my friend would drop some word, principally concerning events which were likely to soon take place in the world's history, and about three years ago she sent me some tracts which I was tempted to at once throw into the waste basket; but it occurred to me that after she had taken the trouble to send them to me, the least I could do was to read them before destroying them. I did read them, and one of them at least I kept, thinking it might come handy to refer to. So I put it where I saw it daily, and naturally read it over frequently. After a while I began to wonder what those DAWN books really contained. My curiosity very gradually increased until I sent to my friend for the first two volumes and began to read them.

But the "eyes and ears of my understanding" still refused to open and I was nearly through the first volume before my interest was fully aroused. As I now recall it, it seemed like awaking from a night's sleep: we begin to be conscious it is morning and soon will be time to get up; then we close our eyes for another nap, until we suddenly find it is broad daylight and we must be up and about our business. Then we get fully awake. So it was with my reading the DAWNS. At times in reading Vol. I., my interest would be aroused, but I soon relapsed into that dreamy, half-conscious state, until toward the last of the volume I found myself fully awake and was eager to begin the next volume. Before I was half through that I sent for the other four volumes to have them at hand as soon as needed.

The little tract that awakened my interest was "Do You Know?" and I intend to scatter that seed wherever I think there is a chance of its doing good. I wish I could express in words my thankfulness for the blessing received through reading the DAWNS and the study of God's Word in connection therewith, and also the TOWER publications. Right here let me thank whoever is responsible for sending me recently a package of six of your discourses published in a Pittsburg journal. I am so grateful for them, for I need all this "meat." So far as I know there are but two other people in town who believe in MILLENNIAL DAWN, and they, unlike myself, seem not to care to run for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, and I have no one in full heart sympathy with me to talk with, so it is a real feast to me to get the TOWERS and all such reading upon the subject now so dear to my heart.

As for me, I feel that I am indeed a "new creature." I cannot recognize myself today as being the same person who once was so ready to "curse God and die," and to think that, after all my sinful rebellion against him, he should permit me to see this wonderful revelation of his plan and receive the blessing far beyond anything I should ever have dared to hope for, teaches me a lesson in humility that I shall never forget. Now in days of trials and perplexities I can say, "Be still! It is the Lord. Let him do what seemeth to him good." I can even thank him for bringing me through these devious paths of doubt and despair, sorrow and suffering --rejoicing in tribulation, since it has brought me to his feet, humbled and ashamed, but now ready and anxious to do his will wherever it may lead me.

Last spring I withdrew my membership from the Universalist Church, although less than a year before my only child united with the Church. Then was a trial for me. I felt if I was to belong to the one true Church of the living God I should "come out of Babylon," yet I knew not what influence my doing so would have upon my child. But since I took that step in obedience to what I believed to be the Lord's will, I felt that no harm to my child should result.

My daughter has since come to see this "Present Truth," and wishes now that she had not joined the Universalist Church, yet does not quite want to withdraw from it, and I do not urge it. The seeds of truth are sown in her heart, and she says she "can't believe anything else since she has seen this," so I am content to trust the outcome to the Lord. She is really but a child yet, and, living the pleasures of youth, does not seem to want to sacrifice much for the Truth's sake. Later on she may, for she is a good girl, very bright and intelligent, and, with all her fondness for the good times usually enjoyed by young people, she has an undercurrent of sober, serious thought and a deep reverence for those things which so greatly interest me--and herself, too, only in less degree.

Pardon this lengthy letter, which I hope has not proved uninteresting to you, and now may the Lord's blessing be upon you and all co-workers in his cause.

In deepest gratitude, I am, your sister in Christ,
__________, N.H.



page 257
August 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. XXVIIAUGUST 15No. 16
A.D., 1906--A.M., 6034


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower259
Jews Flocking Into Palestine259
"Priests Are Knaves"259
Your Letters Appreciated259
A Mountain Swallowed by the Sea259
The Asbury Park Convention260
One-Day Convention Reports261
The Young Man and the Pulpit261
Pray Without Ceasing, and Humbly264
The Narrow Way to Life Eternal267

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 258

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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ST. PAUL, MINN., AUGUST 13-19


(For information respecting meetings, accommodations, etc., see last page, this issue)

All railroads have granted a rate of one cent a mile on account of the G.A.R. Encampment at Minneapolis. Ask for "G.A.R. Excursion Ticket" to Minneapolis, although it will not be necessary to go to that city to fulfil conditions of the ticket. On arrival at St. Paul display a WATCH TOWER at railway station for purpose of identification; but be not disappointed if you meet no one you know. The letter sent you gives explicit directions for reaching the lodgings secured for you by the Committee.

TO FRIENDS GOING TO ST. PAUL VIA CHICAGO:

The Chicago Church advise that about sixty of them expect to leave in a body on Sunday night, Aug. 12, due to arrive in St. Paul early Monday morning. They have made arrangements with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. Co. to supply them special coaches fitted with reclining chairs (without extra charge). Others may take advantage of the same arrangement by at once notifying the C.M.& St.P. agent, C.M. Southern 315 Marquette Building, Chicago stating the number in your party, and whether to expect you on the 6.30 or the 10.30 p.m. train. The 6.30 will carry most of the Chicago friends. If you reach Chicago in season for the 3 p.m. meeting, go to the meeting room, 26 Van Buren St.



[R3837 : page 259]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

JEWS FLOCKING INTO PALESTINE


London, England.--The correspondent of the Daily Mail at Jerusalem remarks that the influx of Jews into Palestine during the last few months has been remarkable. Five thousand of them from Russia landed at Jaffa a few weeks ago. They will settle on the plain of Sharon.

A few days ago some Jewish financiers made a trip east of the river Jordan. They were highly satisfied with the land there and are willing to establish colonies, but they are rather suspicious of the Bedouin tribes. It is believed, if the government will guarantee protection, the sale of large tracts of land will soon be completed.

The correspondent states that the Jews are regaining possession of the land by degrees, and that should the present quick rate continue the whole country in a few years will belong to them.


***

The above is a confirmation of the item we published recently to the effect that the Turkish government had removed the restriction on Jewish settlement in Palestine which had been in force since 1892. Undoubtedly there will soon be a general rush of Russian Jews to the Holy Land--the land of Abraham.

Thus is prophecy fulfilling before our eyes. The Zionist movement of recent years was caused largely by the refusal to allow Jews to go to the land. The Zionists planned to buy Palestine, but did not succeed. Now, "in due time," God has opened the door to Palestine without their purchasing it. The next eight years will no doubt show wonders there as well as elsewhere throughout the world--all in line with the Word.

"PRIESTS ARE KNAVES"


A bricklayer named Loos was severely punished on February 15th at the Berlin Criminal Court for "dishonoring the institution of the Christian Church."

In a speech delivered at a meeting of co-workers, Loos spoke of religion as being superfluous to workmen, and used the expression "Priests are arrant knaves, who keep the people stupid."

The Public Prosecutor argued that this expression contained an insult to the priesthood, and the Court sentenced Loos to three months' imprisonment.

YOUR LETTERS APPRECIATED


Since the issuance of the July 15th WATCH TOWER the Editor's mail has been greatly increased by letters expressive of sympathy and confidence. These are highly appreciated, dear friends. Each one would have had a personal reply had that been possible. Since Convention work, etc., etc., rendered personal replies impossible, we request that all accept this general acknowledgment. [R3838 : page 259]

The evidences are that our trials and difficulties will but draw all the Lord's true sheep nearer to him and to each other in the blessed tie of Christian love that binds our hearts as one.

"A little while, our trials will be over;
A little while, our tears be wiped away;
A little while, the power of Jehovah
Shall turn all darkness into gladsome day.

"A little while! 'Tis ever drawing nearer--
The brighter dawning of that glorious day.
Blest Savior, make our spirit's vision clearer,
And guide, O guide us in the shining way."

A MOUNTAIN SWALLOWED BY THE SEA


The Prophet declared that the mountains shall be removed and carried into the midst of the sea (Psalm 46:2). This we showed (DAWN, Vol. I., p. 323) means that the kingdoms shall be swallowed up by anarchy.

Note how the Lord caused the same thought to come to worldly minds: The Chicago Daily Tribune on July 17 printed on its front page a sketch of a wide waste of waters with a mountain peak emerging from [R3838 : page 260] it, on which the Russian Czar and six of his advisers are clinging, waiting in horror for the waters to cover them entirely. The title is "Doomed--Russian Autocracy."



[R3838 : page 260]

THE ASBURY PARK CONVENTION

FROM various directions the Truth people gathered at Asbury Park, N.J., for a General Convention, to the number of about 1,000--some staying throughout, and others a shorter period. Florida and Texas on the South, California on the West, Maine on the East and Canada on the North were represented, and many of the intermediate States, though the bulk of the attendance was from New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia. Besides, we were favored with the fellowship of three from Scotland. As you may surmise it was a family reunion, in which each was deeply interested in all others. As usual all faces were glad and bright because of the sunshine of the Truth within. The continuance of the Convention for an entire week under the beautiful and peaceful conditions of this model sea-side resort seemed to be appreciated by all.

According to program, the Convention opened with an address of welcome at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 22, followed by a Praise and Testimony Meeting which all seemed to greatly enjoy. Brother A. E. Williamson preached at 3 p.m., subject, "The Saints Shall Judge the World." Brother M. L. McPhail discoursed at 7.30 p.m. on "Elect and Non-Elect."

On Monday, the 23rd, another Praise and Testimony meeting was enjoyed from 9 to 10.30 a.m., followed by a discourse from Brother John Edgar, subject, "Time, and Its Relation to the Divine Plan." Brother R. E. Streeter discoursed at 7.30 p.m. on "Our Hope and Its Present Effects."

Tuesday, the 24th, opened with a Praise, Prayer and Testimony Meeting at 9 a.m. This was followed by a discourse by Brother Frank Draper on "Some Features of the Tabernacle's Teaching." At 7.30 p.m. Brother M. L. Herr preached on the subject, "Transformed."

Wednesday's program was a little different. A Sunrise Praise and Testimony service, 5 to 6.30 a.m., reminded the friends in general that we are all awake and on the outlook for the Sun of Righteousness to usher in the great antitypical Sabbath--the Millennium. At 10.45 Brother E. Bundy gave a discourse on "The Chief Corner Stone." Just as he concluded and a song of praise was being sung Brother C. T. Russell arrived and was conducted to the platform. The friends arose en masse and gave him their smiles of welcome with the "Chatauqua salute"--the waving of handkerchiefs. Brother Russell greeted the assemblage, assuring them of his joy in meeting them and of his hopes and prayers that the Convention would be a great success and blessing to all. He was assured of the Lord's willingness to bless us all and hence believed that the amount of blessing each would receive would depend very largely on his own attitude of heart--his receptiveness. He remarked that the Convention would cost the company, for railway fares and board, about $25 each on the average--or about $25,000 in all. Born with an economical streak he was accustomed to count the cost and compare it with the results. He had been learning of late that it is very difficult to estimate the value of spiritual blessings, and believed it quite possible for each one to get more than his money's worth of favor and spiritual uplift, but it behooved each one to seek for this result in himself as well as to assist others to the highest attainment in spiritual progress. Then the congregation filed past Brother Russell, greeting him and he them with hearty hand-shakes and words of comfort.

Later in the day Brother Russell introduced Brother W. E. Van Amburgh as the Permanent Chairman of the Convention and the speaker of the evening at 7.30 p.m.--subject, "The Honor of the Cross."

Thursday, July 26, opened with a Praise Service and at 10 o'clock was followed by a discourse by Brother Russell on "Baptism and its Import." At 3 p.m. symbolic baptism was administered in the Congregational Church's baptistry--65 symbolizing their burial and resurrection. At 7.30 p.m. Brother Smith Walker preached on "Making Our Calling and Election Sure."

Friday, the 27th, at 9 a.m. a Praise and Testimony Meeting held until 10.30 when Brother John Edgar delivered an address on "The Lessons Taught in the Great Pyramid." At 7.30 Brother Russell answered a large bunch of written "Questions on Biblical Topics."

July 28th, Saturday, Brother Russell addressed Colporteurs and the friends of that work, showing its importance and how evidently the Lord intended that it should be a feature of the present "Harvest" work, and how great its possibilities of reaching the eyes, ears and hearts of the people. The afternoon continued the subject and gave opportunity for the assignment of territory to many beginners. About 60 Colporteurs were in attendance. We hope for a still larger gathering of Colporteurs at the St. Paul Convention. At 7.30 p.m. Brother M. L. McPhail gave a discourse on "Patience."

When Sunday, July 29, the last day of our Convention Feast, arrived, it found the friends well filled and disposed to say with the Prophet, "My cup runneth over." The 10.30 a.m. discourse by Brother Russell was from the text (Col. 3:1), "If Ye then be Risen with Christ, Seek Those Things which are Above." The 3 p.m. discourse by the same speaker was on the theme, "The Bible Vindicated--To Hell and Back: Who are There. Hope for the Return of Many of Them."

The "Love Feast," the concluding service of the Convention, was an occasion long to be remembered. It was conducted by Brother Van Amburgh. At 7 p.m. Brother Russell gave a few parting words, reminding the dear friends of the General Assembly or Convention soon to be enjoyed by some and urging each one present to do all in his power to make his own Calling and Election sure. He reminded all that our sufficiency is of God in Christ, who has assured us that the Father himself loveth us and is for us, willing to assist us; that the Lord Jesus has promised, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," and assured us that all of life's experiences under his direction can and will be overruled in our favor--if we but obey his commands and abide in his love. He reminded the friends of his words of greeting on his arrival, and his exhortation that each get for himself and for dear ones at home [R3838 : page 261] the full value of the cost of the Convention. He had to tell them that many had told him they had been doubly repaid with interest, and that one brother remarked that he alone had gotten spiritual blessings of more value than the $25,000, the entire cost of the Convention. He had every reason to believe that many of us could not estimate the value of the seasons of spiritual refreshment, and he proposed their continuance until the Lord's providence indicated to the contrary. There was no time for a more formal adieu, so Brother Russell waved his hand to the audience and they theirs to him and he was driven to the train, while the others wound up the Convention with the Love Feast of the program.

We have refrained from comments on the discourses, but we believe that all who heard were blessed and edified. Comments to this effect were general --not only among the friends of the Truth but amongst visitors. None can tell the scope of the blessing resulting from these gatherings, which seem to become more popular every year. May the Lord add his blessing richly, not only to those who attended but also to the many more whose hearts and prayers were with us and who were frequently remembered in our prayers.



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ONE-DAY CONVENTION REPORTS

AT Jamestown, Ohio, we had a very interesting time on Sunday, July 15. Friends from surrounding parts were in good attendance, amongst them all of the Dayton class, about 40. The rally of the forenoon, led by Brother Martin, was refreshing and inspiring. The afternoon meeting for the public was well attended for the size of the city--about 400 were present. At the evening session there was a discourse for the interested, which many of you received the following day through the newspapers. The Lord's Spirit was with his people and they were blessed; and it is sincerely hoped that some of the public who came through curiosity got some food that will profit them everlastingly.

On July 22 the Elgin, Ill., Convention, longed for by the dear friends for some time, came to pass. The Editor reached Chicago Sunday morning in time to join the dear friends there on an excursion train--three coaches of which were reserved for their use. About 107 of the Chicago Church were present, and good representations from other small cities nearby. In consequence the morning rally, led by Brother Jones, numbered over 200--the evening attendance being nearly 300.

The afternoon meeting for the public was not so well attended as had been hoped--not over 500. But the attention was excellent. Elgin is not a large city and the audience was well proportioned to the population and the auditorium. The evening discourse on the "Ministry of Reconciliation" committed to us, many of you already have in the secular papers of the day following the Convention. We had a delightful visit with the Chicago friends both going and coming, and believe that all enjoyed the occasion thoroughly.


***

Any of the friends desirous of securing these discourses every Monday should subscribe through the WATCH TOWER office and get wholesale rates on the papers.



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THE YOUNG MAN AND THE PULPIT
--BY SENATOR ALFRED J. BEVERIDGE--

THE American people at heart are a religious people. They are practical and fearless, too. If you will listen to the chance conversations of the ordinary American you will find that the laymen of the nation have some very decided views upon the Pulpit, the man who fills it and the work he ought to do. In the breast of the millions there is not only a great need, but a great yearning, for certain things of the soul which it is for the Pulpit to supply. This paper is an attempt to talk as one of these millions to the young man who is about to mount to this sacred station.

"I have just come from Church," said a friend one day, "and I am tired and disappointed. I went to hear a sermon and I listened to a lecture. I went to worship and I was merely entertained. The preacher was a brilliant man and his address was an intellectual treat, but I did not go to Church to hear a professional lecturer. When I want merely to be entertained I will go to the theater. But I do not like to hear a preacher principally try to be either orator or play-actor. I am pleased if he is both; but before everything else I want him to bear to me the Master's message. I want the minister to preach Christ and him crucified."

The man who said this was a journalist of ripe years, highly educated, widely experienced, acquainted with men and life....

First, then, young man aspiring to the Pulpit, the world expects you to be above all other things a minister of the Gospel. It does not expect you to be primarily a brilliant man, or a learned man, or witty, or eloquent, or any other thing that would put your name on the tongues of men. The world will be glad if you are all of these, of course; but it wants you to be a Preacher of the Word before anything else. It expects that all your talents will be consecrated to your sacred calling. It expects you to speak to the heart, as well as to the understanding, of men and women, of the high things of faith, of the deep things of life and death. The great world of worn and weary humanity wants from the Pulpit that word of helpfulness and power and peace which is spoken only by him who has [R3839 : page 262] utterly forgotten all things except his holy mission. Therefore merge all of your striking qualities into the divine purpose of which you are the agent. Lose consciousness of yourself in the burning consciousness of your cause.

But if you do that you must be very sure of your own belief. Any man who assumes to teach the Christian faith and yet, in his own secret heart, questions that faith himself, commits a sacrilege every time he enters the pulpit. Can it be that the lack of living interest in certain Church services is caused by a sort of subconscious knowledge of the people that the minister himself is speaking from the head rather than from the heart; that what he says comes from his intellect, and not as the "Spirit gives him utterance"; and, to put it bluntly, that he himself "no more than half believes what he says"?

"The man spoke as if he were bored with endless repetition of sermons," said a close observer of a weary parson. Certain it is that even in political speaking the man who believes what he says has power over his audience out of all comparison with a far more eloquent man whom his hearers know to be speaking perfunctorily. No matter how much the latter kind of speaker polishes his periods, no matter how fruitful in thought his address, no matter how perfect the art of his delivery, he fails of the ultimate effect wrought by a much inferior speaker whose words are charged with conviction.

He is like the chemist's grain of wheat, perfect in all its constituent elements except the mysterious spark of life without which the wheat grain will not grow.

If, then, you do not believe what you say, and believe it with all your soul--believe it in your heart of hearts--do not try to get other men to believe it. You will not be honest if you do. The world expects you to be sure of yourself. How do you expect to make other people sure of themselves if you are not sure of yourself?

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

The world is hungry for faith. Do not doubt this for a moment. More men and women today would rather believe in the few fundamentals of the Christian religion than have any other gift that lavish fortune could bestow upon them. But these millions want to believe; they do not want to argue or be argued at. They want to believe so thoroughly that their faith may amount to knowledge. Doubtings are disquieting. We want certainties, we laymen.

For years I have made it a point to get the opinion of the ablest and most widely experienced men and women I met on the subject of immortality. In all cases I found that the subject in which they were more deeply interested than in all other subjects put together.

"I would rather be sure that when a man dies he will live again with his conscious identity than to have all the wealth of the United States, or to occupy any position of honor or power that the world could possibly give," said a man whose name is known to the railway world as one of the ablest transportation men in the United States.

"When I am by myself I think about a lot of strange things. Is the soul immortal, and what is the soul anyhow?" It is a politician who is talking now, and a ward politician at that, a man whom few would suspect of thinking upon these subjects at all.

So you see, young man, you who are being measured for the Cloth, all manner and conditions of men are thinking about the great problems of which you are the expounder, and longing for the answer to those problems which it is your business to give them. That is the condition of the mind of the millions.

But what is the condition of the mind of the young minister? A few years ago a certain man, with good opportunities for investigation and a probability of sincere answers, asked every young preacher whom he met during a summer vacation these questions:

First: "Do you believe in God, the Father; God a person, God a definite intelligence--not a congeries of laws floating like a fog through the universe; but God a person in whose image you were made? Don't argue; don't explain; but is your mind in a condition where you can answer 'Yes' or 'No'?" Not a man answered "Yes." Each man wanted to explain that the Deity might be a definite intelligence or might not; that the "latest thought" was much confused upon the matter, and so forth and so on. [R3840 : page 262]

The second question was: "Do you believe that Christ was the son of the living God, sent by him to save the world? I am not asking whether you believe that he was inspired in the sense that the great moral teachers are inspired--nobody has any difficulty about that. But do you believe that Christ was God's very Son, with a divinely appointed and definite mission, dying on the cross and raised from the dead--'yes' or 'no'?" Again not a single answer with an unequivocal, earnest "Yes." But again explanations were offered, and in at least half the instances the sum of most of the answers was that Christ was the most perfect man that the world has seen, and humanity's greatest moral teacher.

Then came the third question: "Do you believe that, when you die, you will live again as a conscious intelligence, knowing who you are and who other people are?" Again, not one answer was unconditionally affirmative. Of course they did not know. Of course [R3840 : page 263] that could not be known positively. On the whole they were inclined to think so, but there were very stubborn objections. And so forth and so on.

The men to whom these questions were put were particularly high-grade ministers. One of them had already won a distinguished reputation in New York and the New England States for his eloquence and piety. Every one of them had had unusual successes with fashionable congregations. But every one of them had noted an absence of real influence upon the hearts of their hearers, and thought that this same condition is spreading throughout the modern pulpit. Yet not one of them suspected that the profound cause of what they called "the decay of faith" was, not in the world of men and women, but in themselves.

How could such Priests of Ice warm the souls of men? How could such Apostles of Interrogation convert a world?

These were not examples, however; they were exceptions. Most preachers believe that they actually know the truths they preach....

Faith is infectious. James Whitcomb Riley, whose sweetness of character and nobility of soul equals his genius, gave me the best recipe for faith in God, Christ and Immortality I have ever heard:

"Just believe," said he; "don't argue about it; don't question it; simply say, 'I believe.' Next day you will find yourself believing a little less feebly, and finally your faith will be absolute, certain and established."

And why not, you of the schools who split hairs and dispute, and whose knowledge, after all, as Savonarola so well said, comes to nothing--why not? For, if you cannot prove God and Christ and Immortality, it is very sure you cannot disprove them; and it is safe --yes, and splendid--to believe in these three marvellous realities--or conceptions, if you like that word better.

The doctrine of noblesse oblige was one of the most beautiful of human conventions. It was based upon the propositions that a man being noble and the son of a nobleman could not do a mean thing--it was not good form. But if a man gets it into his consciousness that he is the child not of a nobleman, not of an earthly ruler, not of a great statesman, warrior, scientist or financier, but of the living God who presides over the universe, how large, how generous, how exalted and how fine his attitude toward life, and all his conduct, needs must be!...

Of course, everybody understands that preaching and faith and all that is not everything that the young minister must do for his fellow-men. "Faith without works is dead." Everybody who has read the Bible understands that. But this paper is on The Young Man and the Pulpit--an attempt to give him an idea of how the people to whom he is going to preach look at this matter, how they regard him and, above all else, what the people to whom his life work is devoted really need and really want above everything else in this world.

Don't preach woe, punishment and all mournfulness to the people all the time. Where you find sin, go ahead and denounce it mercilessly. But do your denouncing crisply, cuttingly, not dully, innocuously. Speak to kill. Do not forget that the Master told people of his day that they were "a generation of vipers."

But that was not the burden of his appeal. He knew that there were other things in the world and human nature besides sin. Mostly he spoke of "things lovely and of good report." Remember that his coming was announced as a bringing of "good tidings of great joy."

The Sermon on the Mount is the perfection of thought, feeling and expression. Make it your example. You will recall that it begins, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." It is full of "blessed" and blessings, of consolations and encouragements and promises of certainties. It radiates sense and kindness and prayer.

The One understood that most glorious truth of all truths--that there is some good in each of us, and that if that good only could be recognized and encouraged it would overcome the bad in us. You will remember the saying, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."

So don't be an orator of melancholy. There is enough sadness in the world without your adding to it by visage, conduct or sermon. Besides, it is not what you are directed to do. The people would be very glad if you could say with Isaiah that:

"The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me...to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,...to comfort all that mourn,....to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

That is the kind of talk that will cheer the people, and it is the kind of talk that will do the people good. There is nothing "blue" about that. And it is what the Book bids you tell the people. They want it, too, and need it--they need beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Ah, yes, indeed, that is worth while! Your pews will never be empty if such be the fruit of your lips and the ripeness of your spirit. The people want to hear about something better than they know or have known.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings!" Nobody likes a scold. Of course when it is necessary to scold, go ahead and scold. But don't make scolding a practice. Your congregation will not stand being abused; they will not stand it unless they actually need it. But they will then stand it. Unconsciously they will know that the stripes you lay upon them are medicine after all, and for their healing. Yet ordinarily we all have such a hard time that we all would like to hear about "a good time coming." Ordinarily we are all so tired that we would like to hear something like this: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." [R3840 : page 264]

The religion which you preach owes its vitality to the glorious hopefulness of it. The people want to know that, if they do well here, joy awaits them hereafter --and here, too, if possible. They want to hear about the "Father's house" that has "many mansions," and about him who has "gone to prepare a place" there for them.

They demand happiness in some form, if only in talk. If they do not get it in the assurances of religion, who can blame them if they say: "Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die"? For sure enough, they do die tomorrow so far as their world goes.

If you do not believe that religion means happiness, quit the pulpit and raise potatoes. Potatoes feed the body at least. But unfaithful words and speech of needless despair feed nothing at all. Put beauty, hope, joy, into your preaching, therefore. Make your listeners thrill with gladness that they are Christians. Even the men of the world have wisdom enough to make things profane as attractive as possible.

Think of the intimate and personal subjects of Christ's teachings. He spoke of prayer and the fulfilment of the law, of master and servant and of practical charity, of marriage, divorce, and the relation of children to parents; of manners, serenity and battlings; of working and food and prophecy; of trade and usury, of sin and righteousness, of repentance and salvation. Yet by means of all this he made noble the daily living of our earthly lives and gloriously triumphant the ending of them.

I do not think the ordinary layman cares to hear you preach about some new thing. The common man prefers to hear the old truths retold. Indeed there can be nothing new in morals. "Our task," said a clear-headed minister, "is to state the old truths in terms of the present day." That is admirably put. In science progress means change; in morals progress means stability. No man can be said to have uttered the final word in science; but the Master uttered the final word in morals.

But, after all is said and done, what the millions want from the modern pulpit is the fruitful teaching of the Christian religion. They want the fundamentals. They want decisions and certainty. Their minds are to be convinced, yes, but even more their hearts are to be touched.



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PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, AND HUMBLY
--LUKE 18:1-14.--AUGUST 19.--

"God be merciful to me a sinner."

AGAIN we have a lesson on Prayer, from various standpoints. The disciples needed to learn certain lessons respecting prayers, and our Lord gave the instruction through two interesting parables. The first lesson was respecting persistency: that they should continue to pray and not faint, nor grow disheartened and discouraged because of the delay in the answer. They were to be assured of the real character of our God, of his willingness to hear their petitions and to give them all necessary good things in the proper manner and at the proper time. The delay of the answer was to work out for them a blessing of increasing faith and trust.

THE UNJUST JUDGE

The parable illustrating this represents a judge in an oriental country, void of reverence for either God or man-- ready to defy divine commands and to violate public opinion in the attainment of his selfish ends. Judges in Christian lands we believe to be honorable and trustworthy: we recognize this as the rule and anything else as the exception; but in oriental lands it is often regarded as a matter of course that officials will indulge in graft of every kind, and that whoever is in office is there for personal benefit and profit. In olden times, indeed until within the last century, judges were to a large degree lawmakers as well as executives. Today in civilized lands these functions are separate, the lawmaking or legislative department of the government being entirely separate from the judicial and executive departments, much to the advantage of the public and to the forwarding of the ends of justice.

Before the unrighteous judge of the parable came a widow who was suffering from certain indignities and injustices from which she desired to be relieved by the judge. Since she was not wealthy and could not bribe him, since she had little influence, her demands for redress and justice were ignored. However, she was persistent until finally the judge, admitting to himself that it was not love of justice on his part but merely selfish desire to avoid further trouble, took up her case and granted her the necessary assistance and justice.

GOD NOT UNJUST THOUGH HE DELAY

The parable does not compare this unjust judge with our heavenly Father, and thus imply that the latter is an unjust judge. On the contrary it contrasts the two and gives us the thought, the lesson, that if an unjust judge would finally grant relief simply from selfish motives, surely our heavenly Father, who is neither unjust nor unloving nor careless of the interests of his people, will heed their prayers. If, therefore, a matter be one that in our judgment is very importune, demanding our earnest prayers, and if the answer to those prayers be not quickly forthcoming, we can neither conclude that God is an unjust judge who cares not for us because we cannot bribe him nor otherwise advantage him, nor are we to think of him as selfishly careless of our interests except as we would bother him; but we are to think of him as our loving heavenly parent, whose arm is not shortened that he cannot assist us, whose love for us is not deficient but strong, who loveth us as a father pitieth his children, and, on the strength of our knowledge of God's character and trust in his faithfulness, we are to have patience, and to trust the fulfilment of our petitions to his wisdom, love and power, knowing that all things shall be made to work together for good to them that love God, to the called ones according to his purpose.

Our Lord in applying the parable says, "And shall not [R3841 : page 265] God avenge his elect which cry to him day and night?" though he manifest no special haste in the matter. The lesson is that we are to have confidence in God and in his promise that eventually the right shall triumph. This confidence is to amount to an absolute faith which will grasp the promises, never doubting but merely waiting. Those who thus come to God in faith and trust may come repeatedly and be refreshed at every coming, because they come not with a hope of changing the Almighty, altering any of his plans and arrangements, which they recognize as righteous altogether: but, on the contrary, they come because they believe his promises and because they desire to rest and comfort their hearts by communion with him, by assuring their hearts in prayer that the Father himself loveth us and that he has a due time for the deliverance of those who are his from the bondage of the Adversary, of sin and death. The time may seem long, but if the proper faith be exercised a blessing will come with every step of the delay that will more than compensate.

Our Lord concludes this parable by saying, "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." This may mean that when the Lord's time shall come for the delivering of his people he will make a short work with the great Adversary and all the machinery of unrighteousness which, under the prince of this world, has come to occupy so prominent a place in the affairs of life--in opposing truth, righteousness, etc. Or on the other hand it might be understood to mean that the Lord will really not long delay in bringing in his Kingdom of righteousness. From the human standpoint the more than eighteen centuries from the time our Lord redeemed the world until now, the time for the setting up of his Kingdom, seems a long time: How could it be spoken of as "speedily"? We reply that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years": hence from this standpoint the whole period would be less than two days. What we need today is to take the Lord's standpoint in viewing matters. Both views are Scriptural, and therefore we need not dispute as to which one the Lord intended. Possibly he meant that we should take both.

SHALL HE FIND THE FAITH?

Separate and distinct from the parable the Lord interjects the statement, "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?" The intimation is that at the second coming of the Lord for the establishment of his Kingdom the true faith would be seriously lacking, almost extinct--just as at the first advent we read, "He came unto his own [people] and his own received him not." So, in the end of this age, our Lord's second presence for the establishment of his Kingdom will similarly try and test nominal spiritual Israel. Again he will come unto his own and his own will receive him not--he will not find the necessary faith in the earth. However, as respects the first advent we read, "But to as many as received him to them gave he liberty," etc. So at the second advent, to as many as have faith and receive him, to these also similarly he will grant a special blessing.

Associating these words with the parable foregoing the implication is that the Church, the very elect, the little flock, throughout the Gospel age will be expected to look to the Lord continually for help and deliverance, but that they will not actually be helped or delivered until the First Resurrection, at the Master's second advent, at the time he will set up his Kingdom. It is in line with this that the Apostle exhorts us saying, "Brethren, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Rom. 12:19.) Hence we find the Scriptures throughout indicating clearly that the second advent of our Lord will be a time of tribulation to the world in general, a day of vengeance, a day of rectifying the wrongs of the people. Thus through the Prophet the Lord declares, "The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year [time] of my redeemed is come;" and again, "It is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompense for the controversy of Zion."--Isa. 63:4; 34:8.

Taken as a whole, the lesson to the Lord's people through this parable is that we are to have patience, not attempt to render vengeance upon our opposers, but to love our enemies and to do good to them that despitefully use us, and to look to the Lord for such relief as he sees proper to send; and though we find the full measure of relief long deferred, we are to have rest and refreshment through faith that the time is coming when all the gracious promises will be abundantly fulfilled, "According to thy faith be it unto thee."

Those who believe little of the Lord's promises, who trust him little, will pray to him little, will exercise little faith, and will have little joy and blessing in consequence. Those, on the contrary, who have faith, and who go continually to the throne of grace and appreciate the Lord and trust in the glorious outcome of their prayers and labors, will have joy now and fulness of joy by and by.

PRAYERS OF THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS NOT ACCEPTABLE

The Pharisees were a very moral class amongst the Jews, devout, at least outwardly, very exact, though inwardly, the Lord tells us, they were far from right. He alone was competent to make the terrible arraignment that they were like sepulchers, beautifully whitened on the outside but inwardly full of corruption. There is a similar class in Christendom today, who are outwardly moral, very particular, exact, scrupulous, and yet not pleasing to the Lord. They are proud of their righteousness, and seem to fail to realize that if they are naturally less depraved than some others they have nothing therein to boast of, because they are still far from being actually perfect. This parable is intended to show that God would look with more sympathy, [R3842 : page 265] more compassion, upon the more depraved man if he were the more honest and more humble rather than on the morally better but less humble.

The parable pictures two men going up to the Temple according to the Jewish custom to pray: the one was a self-righteous Pharisee, a moral man, in many respects a good man, but very conscious of all his righteous deeds and perfunctory observances of divine rules; the other man was of a lower class and cast, who had more weaknesses and blemishes and who realized his condition. The Pharisee, we are told, stood and prayed with himself: apparently his prayers did not ascend to the Lord, and it would be strictly true, therefore, to say that he prayed with himself, heard [R3842 : page 266] himself pray, congratulated himself in the prayer, and rejoiced in his own self-consciousness generally. His prayer was not the kind which the Father invites, for he seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth; and it seems impossible for any one to come before the Lord in a proper manner who does not appreciate his own weaknesses, imperfections, blemishes, and acknowledges these and seeks the divinely arranged means for covering them.

PRAYER OF THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS

The Pharisee said, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." It is quite true that such a prayer uttered truthfully would imply a compassion of heart for which we might well give thanks to God. All Christians by virtue of their relation to God, the covering of their sins, the begetting of the Spirit, the transforming work progressing in their hearts, have every reason to give thanks to the Lord that they differ from the majority of their fellow-creatures. But they have nothing whereof to boast, for, as the Apostle remarks, What have we that we have not received from the Lord? Who hath made us to differ? (I Cor. 4:7.) If, therefore, the difference between ourselves and others be recognized as of the Lord and his work of grace in us and not of ourselves, this is the proper attitude of heart, and all who have this realization may properly enough give thanks to the Lord that in this respect they are different from others because he hath made us to differ, because by his grace we are what we are.

The difficulty with the Pharisee of the parable was that he prayed with himself, congratulated himself, and merely pretended to give thanks to the Lord for these differences. He did not thank the Lord that he had made him to differ, but thanked the Lord that he had made himself to differ--he was trusting in his own works of the flesh, which could never be acceptable to the Lord, and was, therefore, as a Pharisee, rejecting the imputed righteousness of the Atonement Day sacrifices. The condition would be similar today to us if we boasted in ourselves in any sense or degree. Such a man offering such a prayer should know that it does not go to God, that it was merely self-adulation and that he profiteth nothing by it. We are in the right attitude when we realize that our sufficiency is of God, who has made us to differ and who keeps us by his own power, covers us with the robe of Christ's righteousness and is preparing us for the glory, honor and immortality which he has promised us if we are faithful in obedience to his lessons and guidance.

All the Lord's people should be able to assure themselves at the throne of grace that they are not extortioners, not unjust, not adulterers, nor like other men. This is all in harmony with our Lord's declaration, "If ye were of the world the world would love its own: but because ye are not of he world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." We are to be glad if we find these evidences of our separateness from the world, but we are not to boast of them nor to consider that they are of our own institution nor attempt to take credit for them. As already shown, we are what we are by the Lord's grace.

The Pharisee as a part of his boast claimed that he fasted twice in the week, as well as gave tithes of everything that he acquired. In this fasting he was going beyond anything that the Law required, and doubtless felt that he was to be especially commended therefor. But not so from the Lord's standpoint--works can never justify us. If we were to fast, starve ourselves to death, it would not be meritorious; no works can be of value except as based upon proper recognition of our own imperfections and proper acceptance of divine justification, which is granted to us now through faith in Jesus, and which in that day was typically imputed to all the members of the Jewish nation through the typical sacrifices of their Day of Atonement. As for fasting, the Lord's people today will find plenty of things from which they may well fast. Fasting simply signifies self-denial, and self-denials of food are not the greatest nor the most estimable in God's sight, we may be sure. There are other desires of the flesh which all who are the Lord's true followers are to strive to control and diminish and starve out, that they might proportionately flourish and be nourished spiritually and made strong.

BOASTING OF GIVING TITHES

The tithe-giving was proper. God had enjoined, as a mark of respect for him, that one-tenth (or tithe) of all increase of herd or flock or field should be set apart peculiarly to his service: and obedience to this arrangement was nothing to boast of, particularly when it is remembered that the Lord is the bountiful giver of all good. Where then was the room for pride and boasting in connection with such tithe-giving? It showed a self-satisfied condition of heart, unready to make the still greater consecration required of all who would be accepted as members of the house of sons, the followers of Jesus, who are expected to consecrate their all to the Lord, and thenceforth to act as stewards who will be prepared to give an account of the use of every dollar, every talent, every opportunity. Are the saints inclined to boast of their self-denials or services? Let them reckon the matter carefully and see how little the most energetic is able to accomplish, and then doubtless with shame many will confess how little of all they desired to accomplish they have been able to render unto the Lord.

"GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER"

The publican was a sample of those who made no profession of great piety. Humble-minded people, they realized that they did not live up to the grand requirements of God's perfect Law, and, discouraged by the assertions of the Pharisees that they could obey and live up to those requirements, these more humble-minded ones were often in a discouraged attitude, and sometimes in consequence lapsed into carelessness and sinful ways. In the parable the publican stands afar off; he did not approach close to the holy precincts of the Temple; he stood at a goodly distance. He recognized the great difference between God's perfection and his own personal unworthiness, imperfection and sinfulness. He smote upon his breast, upon his heart, as though indicating that he accepted the divine sentence of death as well deserved, merited, yet he appealed for mercy--Lord have mercy upon me, I am a sinner! Although outwardly not as moral nor as good a man as the other, judged by any human standards, inwardly, from God's standpoint, his was the [R3842 : page 267] better heart of the two, the more hopeful. He was not trusting in himself, and was in a better condition, therefore, to receive the grace of God upon the only terms upon which it could be obtained, humble faith. Our Lord indicates that of the two this one--outwardly less noble, less moral--was inwardly more acceptable to the Father, justified rather than the Pharisee. And then, as a lesson based upon this, comes the word,

"EVERYONE THAT EXALTETH HIMSELF SHALL BE ABASED; AND HE THAT HUMBLETH HIMSELF SHALL BE EXALTED"

Is it not remarkable that so frequently throughout the Scriptures the Lord calls attention to the great necessity for humility, assuring us that without it, whatever may be our conditions, our qualifications, we could by no means enter the Kingdom. In the parable just considered this quality of humility is illustrated in the publican, the lack of it is illustrated in the Pharisee. To reason the matter out we can see that only the humble minded could possibly be prepared to confess themselves sinners and unworthy of divine favor and love, needing justification, forgiveness, provided for us in Christ. Not only so, but even after exercising such humility and coming to the Lord and being accepted of him, if the humility be lost our gracious standing in Christ is forfeited. Pride signifies self-satisfaction, and the corresponding ignoring of the all-sufficiency of our glorious Head, who said to us, "Without me ye can do nothing."--John 15:5.

Alas, that so many of those who have some knowledge of God and of his plan of salvation are hindered from laying hold in a proper manner by a lack of humility and readiness to see their own faults, confess them and to accept divine mercy and grace. Alas, also, that so many, after having exercised faith and been washed from their old sins, are through lack of humility led to haughtiness, high-mindedness, which in one way or another is sure to work injury to us as New Creatures-- sure to blast the prospect for a share in the Kingdom in which only those who humble themselves shall be exalted.



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THE NARROW WAY TO LIFE ETERNAL
--MARK 10:17-31.--AUGUST 26.--

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."--Matt. 16:24.

THE PICTURE presented in this lesson is that of a young man, a Jew of a prominent family, a ruler, who, seeing Jesus going forth on a journey with his disciples, came to him running, fell on his knees before him, and said, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" Jesus did not immediately answer his question, but sought first to prepare the way, so that when the answer was given it would have the greater weight. He therefore inquired, "Why do you call me good?" Is this simply a mark of courtesy, or do you recognize the fact that there is only one standard of goodness, which is represented by God the Father, and that in calling me good, therefore, you are not only recognizing this divine standard but recognizing me as a teacher whom God approves? Thus paraphrased our Lord's language would signify to the young ruler, This teacher claims to be of God: his claim is either true or false; he is therefore either a true or false prophet. I have called him Good Master or Good Teacher. If I have been sincere, if this is the result of my previous investigation of his teachings, I ought to be ready to accept whatever answer he will give me as divine direction, and should promptly obey.

Not waiting for a reply to his query, but content with leaving the suggestion before his mind, our Lord proceeded to answer the original query, saying, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother." Matthew's account of the incident informs us that our Lord added the words, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."--Matt. 19:19.

THE LAW COVENANT STILL IN FORCE

Some have queried why our Lord did not answer the young man as we today would answer him, saying, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, confess your inability to keep the divine Law perfectly, believe on the Lord Jesus as the one who has redeemed you and whose robe of righteousness you may receive by faith and thus become acceptable to the Father, and then make a full consecration of your life to the Lord. We answer that such a full statement of the matter was not yet due to be promulgated, because our Lord Jesus had not yet finished his sacrifice, and it was not yet possible for anyone to have access to the Father through the merit of that sacrifice. Before any could thus come to God it was necessary that our Lord should finish his sacrifice and rise from the dead and ascend on high, "there to appear in the presence of God for us" as our representative, appropriating to us [believers] his merit, justifying us before the Father.

The Law Covenant which had been given to Israel sixteen centuries before was still in force, because our Lord Jesus had not yet "nailed it to the cross." (Col. 2:14.) Hence it was necessary that our Lord's answer should be in line with the Law Covenant still in force. For this reason he directed the young man's attention to the Law, showing that the way to eternal life was by the keeping of the Law, as God had promised. But we see through the teaching of the New Testament what the Jews as a people had failed to discern, namely, that by the deeds of the Law no flesh could be justified in God's sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. 3:20.) In other words, the intention of the Law was first of all to test our Lord Jesus, and to demonstrate his perfection in that he would be able to keep it; and secondly, it was to prove to the Jews and thus to all men the impossibility of any one but a perfect man fulfilling the terms of the Law Covenant. The value of thus proving to them their inability to meet the divine requirements was to show them the necessity for getting eternal life as a gift from God through Jesus Christ, and not as a reward of their own good works, which were short of the divine requirement and could never justify them.

When the young ruler replied, "All these things have I observed from my youth up," the Lord looked lovingly upon [R3843 : page 268] him. He was a model young man, such an one as all lovers of truth and righteousness delight in. Our Lord loved him, loved his endeavors to keep the Law, and loved his manifestation of humility and earnestness in coming as he had done in a public manner to ask the way to life eternal. Evidently the young ruler had his misgivings as to whether or not he was up to the divine standard, even though outwardly observing the requirements of the Law. Quite probably he felt fairly satisfied, but perceiving the deep spirituality of the teachings of Jesus he thought he would like to have the confirmation of this great Teacher, his assurance that the Law was all-sufficient, and that his obedience to it in the manner claimed guaranteed him life everlasting.

The conclusion of our Lord's recitation of the Law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," was a part of the usual formula of statement amongst the Jews, and it had probably lost much of its intense and deep signification because so commonplace. The young ruler evidently neglected to attach to the words their only meaning; he was thinking of the more specific definitions of the Law, neglecting this more comprehensive statement, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Our Lord, always gentle toward those who manifested a right attitude of heart, those who were sincere inquirers after the way of eternal life, did not rudely call the young man's attention to his defects by saying, "You are a liar; you know very well that you do not love your neighbor as yourself, and your wealth indicates this, for there are many poor all about you, and if you love them as yourself you would be endeavoring to do for them." On the contrary, Jesus realized that selfishness had become ingrained in the fallen human nature, that this young man was really far above the average of men in his nobility of character, in his desire to be just toward his fellows.

The young man was blinded by the customs of his time, and Jesus proceeded to open the eyes of his understanding in a most gentle manner, saying, "One thing thou lackest: Go, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."* Here was the crucial test; every Jew ready and willing to sacrifice his earthly belongings and to become a follower of Jesus would be accounted worthy of transfer from the house of servants under Moses to the house of sons under Christ. The actual transfer of all such took place at Pentecost, when the Father acknowledged them as no longer of the house of servants under the Law Covenant, but as members of the body of Christ, begotten of the holy Spirit to heavenly things and to life eternal.

*The words, "Take up the cross," are not found in the Sinaitic and Vatican MSS.

The young man, so full of confidence a few moments before, found that the great Teacher had probed his heart in its one vulnerable spot--he had not sufficient love for God and for his fellows. During the past eighteen centuries the same test has proven many good, honorable, wise people to be unfit for the Kingdom. In other words, the tests for joint-heirship in the Kingdom are so high that the majority of mankind even amongst the most moral, the most enlightened, the most reverent, fail under the test and miss the Kingdom.

It is proper enough for us to inquire if the test for membership in the Kingdom is too severe. Has God fixed too high a standard--an impossible one--or one impossible at least to the majority of mankind? We reply that to the majority of Christians this whole matter is beclouded by the false doctrines received from the "dark ages," which tell us that this young ruler, because he did not become a follower of Christ, would go to an eternity of torment, notwithstanding his many admirable qualities of heart and life--because although willing to be just and honorable and upright in his dealings with his fellow men and reverential to his God, he was unwilling to sacrifice his earthly possessions and to become by all disesteemed, a follower of Jesus the Nazarene, despised of men. According to that standard would not almost the entire human family be properly considered as surely en route for eternal torment? How few there are who forsake all, consecrating life and time and every interest to the Lord and his service as followers of Jesus!

If these few who are to inherit the Kingdom are the only ones who will get eternal life, then indeed there are few that will be saved. But when we take the Scriptural view of this matter, that the Lord at the present time is seeking out from amongst men a very elect, a very select, class to be joint-heirs with his Son in the Millennial Kingdom as his "Bride," and that the specific work of that Kingdom will be the bringing of order and righteousness and restitution blessings and opportunities of eternal life to all the human family--then and then only can we understand this matter, and see not only the justice but also the wisdom and the love of the divine arrangement in the entire procedure. Then we are prepared to appreciate the privilege we now enjoy of becoming followers of Jesus, forsaking all that we may be his associates and joint-heirs in that glorious Kingdom to come.

"HE WENT AWAY SORROWFUL"

The young ruler had no complaint to make. The one whom he had acknowledged to be the good Master, the great Teacher, had showed him in a few words from the Law just [R3844 : page 268] where he stood--the utter futility of his endeavor to justify himself under the terms of the Law Covenant. What he needed to know, but what he did not stop to inquire, was how could he do this? What power or assistance could be rendered him by which he could overcome his innate selfishness, his greater love for himself, and hence his desire to keep the great possessions he already enjoyed and to add thereto? Had he said to the Lord, "Master, I perceive that I am not what I thought I was--you have found in my heart selfishness, contrary to the divine standard, which I did not know was there. Can you help me over my difficulty? It seems too great a sacrifice for me to make."

In reply to such words the Master no doubt would have said, "What I propose is not so unreasonable as you surmise. If you give your heart completely to the doing of the will of the Lord in this matter I can point out to you step by step how you can accomplish it: but the consecration, the determination on your part to do this to the extent you are able to do it is necessary first. Then my grace, my assistance, will be sufficient for you and enable you to accomplish [R3844 : page 269] those good desires of your heart." If the young man had then proceeded to say, "Lord, I do consecrate everything to be your disciple and to get the eternal life, hard as it may be. I accept your promised assistance in the matter. Now how can I begin?" Our Lord probably would not have told him to sell everything that he possessed immediately, but to begin with doing all the good that he could find to do, using time and judgment and intelligence to ascertain the best ways of using all that he possessed, not as his own, but as wealth which he had consecrated to the Lord and his service --the Lord's wealth, the Lord's property, the Lord's time, the Lord's influence.

Some of his money might have been expended at once for the Lord and his apostles, and thus he might at once have begun to have a share in the harvest work then in process. But, you say, Were the Lord and the apostles in need? We answer, No. The Father saw to it that a sufficiency of means was provided for the work, and similarly he has always cared for the interests of his cause. He is not dependent upon the generosity of humanity. He is pleased to use human generosity and thus grant a blessing to those who seek to render a service to his cause; but his cause would not be left destitute if none appreciated the privilege, for the gold and silver and the cattle upon a thousand hills belong to him who has the supervision of his own work.--Psa. 50:10; Hag. 2:8.

It is the same today. That young man would have had a privilege in connection with the service of the Truth. And it is still a privilege for any of us who possess this world's goods to have our means used in the Lord's service. We are not to think that we are carrying on the Lord's work, and that he could not get along without us; but, reversely, are to consider that he has no need of either us or our means; that it is a great privilege we enjoy to have the opportunity of casting influence, time, money, everything we possess, into the Lord's treasury, for use in his service. Whatever could not have been done for the Lord's cause directly could have been done for the poor of the Jewish nation, who indirectly represented the Lord's people, so that anything done for them because they were the Lord's would be so much which the Lord would accept as being done unto himself, and would appreciate and ultimately acknowledge and reward.

THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE RICH

When the young man had gone away sorrowful--declining to have the eternal life which Jesus was offering on the only terms now attaching to the offer--Jesus looked around upon his disciples and followers and noted afresh that they were for the most part ignorant, unlearned men and the poor of this world, and he said to them, "How hardly [with what difficulty] shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God." We read that the disciples were amazed at this statement. As they looked about them they well knew that the most prominent in religious circles were the rich, either in mental, social or physical riches. If the great, the learned, the Doctors of the Law, the prominent Pharisees, the rulers in the synagogues, the members of the Sanhedrin, etc., who constituted the wealthiest portion of the nation--if these would not get into the Kingdom of God, which the whole people had been waiting for for centuries --if these, whom they supposed to be the ones most ready for that Kingdom, and who claimed to be the only ones ready, and that all others were unfit because unholy, what must they think of the Kingdom--who would be in it anyway?

Noting their astonishment Jesus made the matter still more emphatic, saying, "Children [simple, unsophisticated ones], how difficult it is for them who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" Here our Lord defines the difficulty: it was not merely the fact that a man had been born wealthy or that by some peculiar means he had acquired great wealth--not these conditions would hinder him from getting into the Kingdom; but it would be the fact that he would love these riches and trusted in them that would hinder his faith in God and his love for God and his dependence upon God and his learning the lessons of faith which the poorer would have many more opportunities for learning.

THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE

Our Lord emphasized the matter, saying, "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." The thought is not that all of the Lord's people should be penniless, dependent upon the charity of others, but that they must all be so fully consecrated to the Lord and to his service that they will not be their own--that their possessions, whatever they may consist of, riches of knowledge or wealth of money and houses and lands, or wealth of reputation and honor of men --all must be consecrated to the Lord, to be used in his service, to be sacrificed as our belongings if we would have a share with him in the Kingdom. We must not blind our eyes to these specific terms; if we do there will some day be an awakening to the fact that the opportunities which are ours have passed from us and are lost to us, and we will find that others have entered into the Kingdom and we have failed.

Our Lord's words indicate what is elsewhere set forth throughout the Scriptures most explicitly, namely, the necessity of sacrifice. The Royal Priesthood alone will constitute the Kingdom class, and, as the Apostle declares, every priest is a sacrificer and must have something to offer. (Heb. 8:3.) We have nothing of ourselves that would be fit to offer to God or that he would be willing to accept: every sacrifice upon his altar must be without blemish, and we by nature are blemished, children of wrath as are others. (Eph. 2:3.) Hence first of all we must receive from the Lord Jesus, from our Redeemer, through faith, the robe of his righteousness to cover our blemishes, to make us fit and acceptable for the altar of the Lord, and then we must follow the Apostle's directions, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service."--Rom. 12:1.

When we sacrifice ourselves wholly and unreservedly it includes not merely our hearts, our wills, our intentions, but all they can control--our mortal bodies, with whatever are their belongings, health or strength, time or talent, influence or money. Whoever makes this consecration has the promise of divine assistance in carrying it out--whoever fails to make such a consecration can have neither part nor lot in the Kingdom. [R3844 : page 270]

Our Lord's words with respect to the camel and the needle's eye are illustrated by the accompanying sketch of a city gate with a small panel door therein. These small doors were called needles' eyes. When the gate of the city was closed at sundown for fear of robbers, etc., the watchman guarded merely the needle's eye and admission through it was designedly tedious to prevent the intrusion of enemies. We have never seen one of these gates, but have heard that it is possible for a camel to squeeze its way through on its knees provided the load be first removed from its back, but for the truthfulness of this we cannot vouch. In any event the Lord's thought is evident: no rich man can enter the Kingdom. The only way one can enter it is by becoming poor, nothing;--by sacrificing everything, and this would include riches, social, political and financial; and thus, whatever his previous condition, he must cease to be rich in his own name and title and possession ere he could be accepted by the Lord as fit for the Kingdom. The spirit of the Royal Priesthood must be one of self-sacrifice and not one of selfishness. The great work of the future will be the blessing and uplifting and assisting of the world, and the Lord now seeketh for the "very elect," such as will manifest a sympathy of heart-desires in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Kingdom he is about to establish. All others will be excluded.

THE KINGDOM THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

Where then would be the hope for the rich young ruler and the many of our day who intellectually and socially and in a monetary way are wealthy, and who do not exercise faith nor make the consecration to the Lord, without which they could have no part in the Kingdom? What provision has God made for these? We answer that "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man," that "he is the propitiation for our sins [the sins of the Church, who now accept him and forsake all and become his followers], and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2.) A benefit must come to all mankind through this great sacrifice for sins, which God himself has arranged for. The rich young [R3845 : page 270] ruler and all the families of the earth are to be blessed, and the time for their blessing is specifically stated by the Lord to be under his established Kingdom. Only a very elect, select class of faithful sacrificers will constitute that Kingdom. These, with the dear Redeemer, on the spirit plane, will constitute the seed of Abraham, through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed.

Under the reign of that Kingdom Satan and sin and selfishness will be dethroned. In various ways conditions amongst men will be so changed that wealth will not have the same strong bondage upon mankind that it now has; knowledge will be so increased that all may have it freely, fully; the good things of life will be made so common, so general, that all may enjoy them; name and fame will go only to those who merit them. Under those new conditions we may see the young ruler glad to have life eternal through acceptance of the divine arrangement. Sacrifice will not be possible then nor will it be required, even as the angels of heaven are not required to sacrifice. Only Christ Jesus, our Lord, and the Church, his Bride, are put under this severe ordeal of test, invited to become sacrificers of their interests; and to them is granted the exceeding great and precious promises of God, and to them will be given the great exaltation to glory, honor and immortality by which they shall not only be superior to mankind but also far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named--next to the Father.-- Eph. 1:21.

This is what our Lord meant by his statement, With men it is impossible, but not with God. This was said in answer to the disciples' query, "Who then can be saved?" It was not then time to explain that in God's plan various salvations are provided for--that first comes the special salvation, and that finally will come the general salvation, which will make it possible for such as this rich ruler and others who love righteousness and hate iniquity to attain eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. According to the Law no such thing was possible, but God made possible this plan of salvation through Jesus, who not only fulfilled the requirements of the Law for himself but sacrificed himself for those who were condemned under the Law, so that God might be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth on Jesus--not only of those who are now called in the election to the high calling, the heavenly calling, but to those also who will have a share in the great work of restitution uplift which will follow the establishment of the Kingdom.

"WHAT SHALL WE HAVE?"

A new idea respecting the exclusiveness of the Kingdom offer was reaching the apostles, and Peter, the spokesman for them, called attention to the fact that although they were not wealthy they had forsaken all that they did possess to become the Lord's followers, and therefore he desired an assurance that he and his associates would be in the Kingdom. Our Lord's reply was surely amply satisfying to his dear followers: he assured them that no man that hath left either home or brethren or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for his sake and the Gospel's sake but would receive again an hundred fold now in this time, with persecutions, and ultimately in the world to come such will receive also eternal life. There was encouragement in this to the apostles, and there is encouragement also to all who are the [R3845 : page 271] Lord's people today. The suggestion is that the more we leave, the more we sacrifice, the greater our present loss for the Kingdom's sake, the greater will be our reward both now and hereafter. O, if we could only have this thought well in mind continually how we would vie with one another in our endeavors to spend and be spent in the service of so gracious a Master and in so glorious a mission and with so grand prospects and rewards.

Our Lord's words being true it is very evident that some who receive little of the Lord in this present life and who have but faint prospects respecting a share in the Kingdom in the future have themselves to blame. They should ask themselves, What have I sacrificed? What have I left, for the Lord's sake, for the brethren's sake, for the Father's sake? The stipulations are specific, hence those who have nothing to sacrifice can have no reward. But who has nothing to sacrifice? We know of none so poor that he could not sacrifice something, and the poorer we are the more diligently should we strive to find something to render unto the Lord our God.

In this connection we are to remember that the thing which the Lord most appreciates and the thing which is most difficult for us to sacrifice is self. Hence we read, "A broken and a contrite heart, O Lord, thou wilt not despise." (Psa. 51:17.) If we have given our hearts to the Lord we have given him all that we possess, and he will see to it that this shall cost us enough to test the loyalty and sincerity of our sacrifice; and as we see the test coming day by day we are not to be intimidated, but to remember that the Lord has promised that greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us, and again that his grace is sufficient for every time of need. Hence, as trials and difficulties, pain and sorrow and persecutions or slanders shall come upon us, we are to rejoice and be exceeding glad (1) That these indications of our being in the hand of the Lord as pupils in the school of Christ are evidences that we are of the elect who are being shaped and polished, fitted and prepared for places in the Kingdom. (2) We are to remember that all these trials and difficulties rightly met, loyally responded to, are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We are, therefore, to take the spoiling of our goods with patience, with joy, knowing that in heaven we have enduring riches, enduring friendships, enduring knowledge and blessings of every kind.

But even in this present life how much the Lord grants us to enjoy: our enjoyment will be proportionate to our loyalty of spirit in the sacrificing. If we love much, and are prompt and liberal in our sacrificing, we will in turn be loved much by the Lord, be blessed and comforted, as he has stipulated, an hundred-fold more than all our distresses. Who are these who have an hundred-fold more than they give to the Lord? Who are these whose joys are more than an hundred-fold greater than their sorrows, trials and difficulties, pains and disappointments? They are the elect of God, whom Jesus is not ashamed to call his brethren.

MANY FIRST SHALL BE LAST

"Many that are first shall be last; and the last first," are the concluding words of our Lord in this lesson. What did he mean? His words stand related to the recorded discourse just preceding. The rich young ruler, the priests and Scribes and Pharisees and wealthy generally, appeared to the disciples to have much better opportunities for the Kingdom than would the less learned, the less noble, the less influential and the less wealthy fishermen and tax gatherers, etc. Yet the latter, though seemingly less favored of God, seemingly handicapped by lack of influence, etc., were really advantaged. It was easier for them to humble themselves, to sacrifice earthly interests and ambitions, to make a complete consecration of themselves to the Lord than for those who had greater advantages everyway. On the contrary, as we have seen, position, honor of men, wealth and education were all barriers to becoming disciples of Jesus. Thus those who were first or most prominent apparently in opportunity were really less favored, while those who had less opportunity were really first or most favored from the divine standpoint.

"FORSAKING ALL"

Let us guard against a mistaken view of our Lord's words respecting father, mother, houses, lands, etc. Our Lord certainly did not mean that we should sacrifice others in order to be his disciples. Our Golden Text expresses the thought we would enforce: it is ourselves that we are to deny, ourselves that we are to sacrifice. Hence in making our consecration and in our endeavor to carry it out we are to remember this, and to deal justly and lovingly with those who are dependent upon us and for whom we are responsible by ties of nature. For instance, the selling of houses and lands, the forsaking of these, would not mean that the Lord would have us deprive our families of necessary comforts and temporal provisions. Other Scriptures show this distinctly, that he that provides not for his own--for those for whom he is the responsible caretaker,--is worse than an unbeliever. It would be worse for any of the Lord's people to neglect the ties of duty than for an unbeliever to do so, because with his higher light and sounder spirit of mind he should appreciate the situation more clearly than do others, and therefore be more just in his dealings with those who are properly dependent upon him.

This does not mean, however, that we should yield to the whims and fancies of friends or neighbors or parents or children in respect to our course as the Lord's followers. We are not men pleasers--and the only one who has the right to command us and the only one we have a right to obey is the Lord Jesus. If, therefore, a man finds that he has made proper provision for his children or for his parents, so that they suffer not in respect to a reasonable share in life's necessities and comforts, it is for him and not them to decide how his time and energy and further means shall be spent. He is not to seek to amass wealth for them, he is not to consider that wealth already entrusted to him belongs to them. He is to understand that he has one responsibility toward them as a father or as a son and another responsibility toward the Lord, and that the Lord is not only willing but commands that the responsible duties of life shall be fulfilled by him. Whatever is more than this in his possession he holds merely as a steward, for use in the Master's service.

Let us then, dear friends, whatever our station, remember that there is only one narrow way to the Kingdom, and that it is open only during this Gospel age, and that the [R3846 : page 271] highway of holiness belongs to the next age. While rejoicing that the world, now unwilling to travel the narrow way, will have the glorious opportunities of the highway by and by, let us rejoice that the great favor of God respecting this narrow way has been brought to our attention, and that it is our privilege to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, with the assurance of his assistance all the journey through to the farther end, and with the gracious promise of life eternal and participation in the Kingdom. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [let him sacrifice himself, his personal interests, ambitions, etc.], and take up his cross and follow me."



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