page 161
June 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. XXXIIJUNE 1No. 11
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6039


CONTENTS

Views From The Watch Tower163
Wisdom From Above the Noblest Science163
Chicago Dissatisfied With Revivals164
Tameness Emptying the Churches165
Right Habits of Thought165
The Truth of a Thing is But One of the Tests165
Sowing and Reaping167
The Sin Unto Death169
The New Will Cannot Sin While It Remains a New Will170
Could Our Example Lead Another Into the Second Death?170
Sennacherib Turned Back171
Jehovah's Suffering Servant172
Ransom--Ransom-Price--Sin Atonement173
"O, Glorious Day" (Poem)173
Some Interesting Letters174
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies175

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 162

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

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

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

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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

Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.


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


Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.



ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, AND DANISH EDITIONS.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.


ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA

INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS


AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER

FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.


FIVE-DAYS BIBLE STUDENTS CONVENTION

Oakland, San Rafael and San Francisco brethren extend a most cordial invitation to all outside friends to attend the 5-day joint-local Convention in San Francisco--June 22, 23, 24, 25 and Oakland June 26. Brother Russell will speak twice in San Francisco--June 25--and in Oakland June 26. Pilgrim service will be arranged for all days. Opportunity for water baptism will be arranged in Oakland June 26.

Arrangements will be made for visiting friends. Rooms may be engaged in advance at 50 cents, 75 cents, $1 and up per day. Send full data and money as soon as possible to "Sec'y Hotel Committee, I.B.S.A.," 2018 Green street, San Francisco. Data should show sex, color, those that wish to room together or are willing to share room and bed to save expense, also rate desired, exact dates, etc., and hour and route of expected arrival, if known. Free sleeping accommodations will be furnished by local brethren to those that can come, but cannot afford room rent; these should also advise promptly in advance. Visitors' mail may be sent in care of above address.

Meetings and headquarters for four days in San Francisco will be at Lyric Hall, 513 Larkin street, with public lectures afternoon and evening of Sunday, June 25, at Dreamland Rink.

Meetings and headquarters in Oakland, June 26, will be at corner of Jones street and Telegraph avenue.

TORONTO, ONT., CONVENTION, JULY 15-17

All services for the interested in Broadway Hall, 450 Spadina Ave. On Sunday, July 16th, Brother Russell will address the general public at 3 p.m., and again at 7.30 p.m. in Massey Hall, corner of Victor and Shuter Sts.

The Eastern Canadian Passenger Association, embracing the territory east of and including Port Arthur, Sault Ste. Marie and the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers has granted a rate of one fare for the round trip plus 25c. on the certificate plan. Buy a single trip ticket to Toronto and secure a standard certificate showing that you have purchased a one-way full-fare ticket to Toronto. This certificate, plus 25c., will, if the required number attend the convention, entitle the holder to a return ticket free. Deposit your certificates with the proper party at the Convention Hall immediately after arrival.

Inquire of Brother Wm. A. Sinclair, 193 Concord Ave., Toronto, as to rooms, sleeping accommodations, etc.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., JUNE 4

Morning Rally for Praise and testimony at 10.30 in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Ave. and St. Felix St. Evening service in Brooklyn Tabernacle, 7 p.m.

Those desiring water baptism or to present their children in consecration should notify in advance.

A COLORED PILGRIM BROTHER

Brother Walton is engaged in Colporteuring, but is pleased to serve classes composed wholly or mainly of colored people, when requested. Additionally we have other colored Brethren of good education, good address, and as clear in the Truth as white Brethren who might give some of their time similarly. We invite classes of colored friends who so desire to send in applications for such service.

TRACTS IN MISSIONARY ENVELOPES

Be careful not to put more Tracts into your envelope than the stamps will carry. Otherwise the Post Office will put "postage due" and the envelope will be refused and all be wasted.



[R4825 : page 163]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

WISDOM FROM ABOVE THE NOBLEST SCIENCE


WE REPEAT that the wisdom from above is the noblest science and the best instruction. Well do the Scriptures say, "The entrance of thy Truth giveth light." Well did the Lord through the Prophet foretell of our day--The wisdom of their wise men shall perish and the understanding of their prudent men shall not be manifest.--Isa. 29:14.

The great Sir Isaac Newton, guided by the promise of the Lord through the Prophet Daniel, declared his belief in the possibility of rapid transit amongst men. Daniel the Prophet declared, "Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." The philosopher, guided by his faith in God's Word, declared his belief that some day mankind would travel at the rate of fifty miles an hour. And yet the locomotive was centuries away, and the power of steam had not even been discovered. Nearly two centuries later, a worldly-wise man, scoffing at the Bible, scoffed also at the philosopher who would allow the Bible's suggestions to influence his expectations of the future. The infidel savant, Voltaire, called the Christian Newton "a poor old dotard, misled by that old Book, the Bible." We all know by this time which of these great men was the dotard!

Scientists are still guessing and still repudiating the guesses of each other. To such an extent is this true, that no scientific book written more than twenty-five years ago, except the Bible, is worth a penny. No college, no school, no professor, no man of learning, would recommend any scientific work of twenty-five years ago as being authoritative--scientific. But this failure of their brethren in the past in no way intimidates those who call themselves learned at the present time. They keep on looking wise and guessing just the same. They keep on laughing at the Bible and reviling it and speaking of its being unscientific and do not see its beauty and the real fulfilling of its promises. They still have a fashion of breaking a chip off a rock, looking at it long and carefully and then declaring, with an air of wisdom, the hundreds of thousands or millions of years since that stone was soft mud and sand or gravel. They keep a stiff upper lip, knowing that they are merely repeating the words and mannerisms of their predecessors and teachers. They know, also, that the more astounding their statements, the more wise the laity will think them to be and the more they will honor them. Any man who can, by looking at a piece of stone, reckon up all the hundreds of thousands of years since its formation, must be a wise man indeed in the estimation of the street urchin, or the farmer and others, who, though more intelligent, have never done any thinking, but have merely swallowed the advice of others.

SOME WHO DO A LITTLE THINKING

This is the kind of trash that is dispensed in many of the school-books of our day. And when the students inquire, how, then, does it come that the Bible tells of only six thousand years of the history of man upon the earth? the professors merely sneer and smile at the simplicity of the question and say, You will know more about it before you graduate. You must study geology, biology, etc. There is, indeed, a small class of people who, without great pretention, do a little common-sense thinking and have intuition. Some of these, properly enough, take note of the fact that certain alluvial processes of our far West, when dug are soft and can be worked with a pick or a shovel, but in a very short time, when exposed to the air, become absolute stone. These same thinkers take note of the fact that humanity has learned in our day to combine various clays and gravels and to make therefrom concrete and cement stone work. These are asking with propriety, Why must we assume thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of years for the hardening of the stones and clays which constitute the surface of our earth, when man knows how to produce such hardness in a few hours?

The celebrated "Mark Twain" had a good many grains of common sense in his make-up. It was part of his delight to poke fun at the pretensions of geologists respecting some of their theories. One of his amusing illustrations along this line discussed the Mississippi river and the changes known to have taken place in it within a few years. The supposition that similar changes had taken place every year for a thousand years would, he argued, imply that in that period the Mississippi river extended out and over the Gulf of Mexico several hundred miles. His irony was to the point.

It is not scientific nor wise to assume that the conditions of today or of this century or of many centuries have been true for thousands of years. Who does not know that for years the Missouri river has been so erratic in its course, so prone to cut new channels for itself, that farms in one State, by its changes of course, have been forced to be parts of another State. But geologists get so into the habit of guessing, and rely so much on the guesses of their predecessors, that they are slow to profit, slow to learn to base their calculations upon facts rather than fancies. "God is not in all their thoughts." His [R4825 : page 164] Word is neglected; hence the proper foundation for reasoning and judgment along geological lines is lacking.

THE GALLEY HILL MAN

Some twenty-three years ago a human skeleton was found imbedded in clay sand eight feet below the gravel which, we are assured, appeared to be in its original state. The finder of this, of course, felt sure that he had found a treasure, and in order to be a treasure and valuable it must be classed as very, very ancient. All theories and imaginations respecting a flood tide of the River Thames, or respecting a burial, must be discouraged. The find must be a valuable one for the sake of the finder.

The next thing necessary to be found was a gray-haired professor who also should be made famous. Dr. Keith, conservator of the Royal College of Surgeons, was the man of the hour. He has become famous through the wisdom he has displayed and the information he has given to the world in respect to mankind. He declares that the skeleton found belongs to a man who lived one hundred and sixty-four thousand years before the time when the Bible says Adam, the first man, was made in the image of his Creator!

We sit appalled at such wisdom. If we dared ask so great a man a small, trifling question, which, perhaps, any foolish person would know how to answer, our question would be, "How long, O sage, may we suppose the bones of an ancient Briton might have continued in good preservation had they not been ruthlessly disturbed?" We might further ask whether or not a sandy loam might be considered a favorable burying ground, so that corpses in general would not disintegrate and go to dust in a comparatively few years? Surely a miracle must be claimed by Prof. Keith for the preservation of these bones, so as to give him an opportunity of enlightening the world respecting [R4826 : page 164] the Briton of one hundred and seventy thousand years ago!

But the Professor hedges a little. He first says what nobody could dispute, namely, "No accurate estimate could be made of the age of a skeleton." But the professor was too scientific to stop with that sensible remark. He goes on:--

"We must judge of the past from what we know of the present, and on this basis the land movement is a slow one, for so far as can now be told, the level of the river has scarcely changed since the Roman period. If, then, a movement of a foot be allowed for each thousand years, one may with some safety assign a period of at least one hundred and seventy thousand years to have elapsed since the high level terrace was laid down at Galley Hill. Further research will probably show that the period is much longer."

Here the generous professor leaves room for some ambitious rival to come forward and claim a still greater miracle--that the bones of this skeleton were miraculously preserved for millions of years. Nevertheless, "The Word of the Lord standeth sure," writes the Apostle.

As another illustration of the exactness of scientific men and of the reliance we may place upon their conclusions, note the following:--

Prof. Hauser recently found in Southern France a human skeleton. He thought and studied very carefully over the subject to ascertain as nearly as possible the exact minute at which the corpse had been deposited. His conclusion, after this deliberation, was that it had been where he found it for a hundred thousand years--more than sixteen times as long as man has been upon the earth, according to the Bible.

But now comes Prof. Klattsch of Brescia who, after a similar amount of thinking, studying, etc., to find the exact moment, tells us that the skeleton was deposited four hundred thousand years ago. Of course, it makes no difference to the poor man whose skeleton it was or what these professors say, and it makes even less difference to us, except as the little discrepancy of three hundred thousand years proves to us the "exactness" of "scientific" attainment along such lines. The more we see of the foolishness of men, the more we should rely on the wisdom and Word of God. "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."

Let us, dear readers, be willing to be smiled at incredulously by Dr. Keith and others. And let us smile back again good-naturedly and stick to God's Word and trust, with good assurance, that in the dawning of the Seventh Thousand-Year period Messiah's Kingdom will be established and the blessings of mankind begin and the shadows of ignorance fade away, and God be found true and many wise men mistaken.--Rom. 3:4.


CHICAGO DISSATISFIED WITH REVIVALS

For three consecutive seasons Chicago has supported an expensive evangelistic campaign, having sought the leadership of the greatest men in this field. And, in turn, says The Christian Century (Chicago), Torrey, Gipsy Smith and Chapman have "inspired and disappointed the hopes of Chicago churches that this city might be stirred with new religious life."

The Northwestern Christian Advocate (Methodist, Chicago) recently undertook a questionnaire addressed to the various Chicago pastors of its denomination, "asking each to tell what results the recent Chapman-Alexander meetings brought to his church, his community, and the city as a whole." When these pastors frankly state that, "for the most part, the results are negligible in their churches," observes The Christian Century, "it is time for some one to arise and ask if the $50,000 spent in this evangelistic campaign could not have been spent to better advantage for the Kingdom of God." The replies of forty Methodist preachers are thus summarized:

ADDITIONS TO MEMBERSHIP

Twenty-two report "none"; one reports ninety; one reports forty; one reports thirty-six; one reports thirty; one reports twenty-one; one reports twenty; and the remaining twelve show lesser numbers aggregating thirty-four. Total for forty churches, 271.

ADDITIONS TO SUNDAY-SCHOOL

Thirty-five report "none"; one reports six; one "cannot tell"; one has "largest [attendance] in the history of the school"; one "cannot accommodate any more"; one, "some increase."

ATTENDANCE UPON MORNING SERVICE

Thirty-six report "no increase"; one reports an increase; one, "the congregation fills the house"; two, "slight increase."

ATTENDANCE UPON EVENING WORSHIP.

Thirty-eight report "no increase"; one reports "some increase"; one reports "best we have had."

ATTENDANCE UPON MID-WEEK PRAYER-MEETING

Thirty-five report "no increase"; two report "better attendance"; two report "some increase"; one reports "gratifying increase."

INCREASED RELIGIOUS INTEREST IN CHURCH AND COMMUNITY

Twenty-one report no change; thirteen report "slight increase"; five report "marked increase"; one reports the influence to have been less than favorable.

The meetings are declared "profitable," but "they did not reach the class it was hoped they would." "Relatively few of the unconverted were present." One man declares that "the people were not stirred by the meetings and Christians attended for the most part from a sense of duty."--Literary Digest. [R4826 : page 165]

TAMENESS EMPTYING THE CHURCHES

"Speaking the truth in love" does not suit the combative natures of two of our religious contemporaries. That plan is all very well, exclaims the editor of The Congregationalist and Christian World (Boston), but speaking in that mild temper is "tame when compared to speaking the truth in the heat of controversy." This editor finds no simile within his own sphere of activities to express his feeling of the weakness of one method as contrasted with the other, so he boldly sets them forth as "basket-ball compared to a prize-fight with knuckles." "The decline of religious controversy is surely one reason for the falling-off of Sunday-morning congregations at church," he asserts. Dr. Buckley, in The Christian Advocate (Methodist, New York), echoes approvingly and adds that "the decline of religious controversy also has a great effect on evening services." He finds the smiles used by The Congregationalist "highly original and expressive," going on to supply some more himself:

"When Christianity dispenses wholly with controversy it will be like a sleeping man--harmless and helpless; it will be a sad spectacle.

"We were entertained at the house of a friend in New Hampshire, where Henry Ward Beecher was spending a day or two. It was his birthday and he was jubilant.

"He conducted prayers, and his utterances were equal to any of his published prayers in beauty, simplicity, and comprehensiveness.

"Immediately after he arose, he called the writer to him and pointed to a large picture hanging on the wall, representing a huge mastiff sound asleep with a piece of meat placed before him, and a lap-dog quietly drawing it away. Said Mr. Beecher, pointing to the sleeping mastiff, 'That is Orthodoxy,' and to the little dog, 'That is Heterodoxy.'

"So it is and ever will be. Controversy was the life of Paul's works--polite controversy, brotherly controversy; but strong in exposing error and building up the truth. The Epistles are full of controversy. Moreover, many of Christ's sayings were strictly controversial.

"It is more than a fine art to combine in one sermon the forcible overthrow of an error and a heartfelt appeal; but it is possible to attain unto it."--Literary Digest.



[R4826 : page 165]

RIGHT HABITS OF THOUGHT

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report--if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."--Phil. 4:8.
AS THE mouthpiece of the Lord, the Apostle Paul is here giving instruction to the Church respecting how she should build herself up. Referring to the great influence of the mind over the body, he lays down certain rules for thinking; for as a man thinketh, so he will become. The more he thinks on good things, the better he will be. The more he thinks on evil things, the more evil he will be. The things we think about, the Apostle says, should be honorable, just, praiseworthy, beautiful. If a thing has none of these qualities the Lord's people should not think on it at all. A wonderful transformation of character is effected by thinking on those things which have wisdom and depth of instruction--those things which come from no one else but God.

"WHEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH IS COME IT WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH"

St. Paul was the one privileged to see the Lord after his ascension. We perceive that he, as well as all the other Apostles, had fulfilled in him the Master's words, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in [R4827 : page 165] heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 18:18.) That is to say, the Apostles would be so guided by Divine wisdom that whatever they should declare necessary in life, would be upheld in heaven, and whatsoever they should declare unnecessary, would be so considered in heaven. Hence, the whole duty and responsibility of the Church is outlined by this Apostle. Whatever we see in the Old Testament Scriptures that is valuable to us, we perceive that our Lord through the Apostles has marked out.

Much that our Lord said was spoken in dark sayings. The exposition of some of these sayings and some of these particular instructions he left to the Apostles, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The reason why Jesus did not give the explanation of the deeper and more spiritual things was that the disciples were not then spirit-begotten and could not understand these things; whereas, after their begetting of the Holy Spirit, they were able to understand the deeper things of the Word of God.

Our Lord said, "When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth;...and he will show you things to come." (John 16:13.) This he has done through the writings of the Apostles and by believers all through the Gospel Age. Thus the Lord is making ready for the glorious consummation of our hope; and thus the Bride is making herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb, which will shortly take place.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23.) These are inspired words of the wise king, Solomon, and it was evidently with the same thought in mind that the Apostle penned the words of our text. How beautiful this, the Apostle's final admonition to the Philippian Church, whom he addressed with affection as his "joy and crown"; and how much in keeping with the thought that out of the heart are the issues of life!

The heart represents the will, the intentions; the will must be kept true and centered in God, for it is the governing power of the whole man. Yet, though the will is the controlling power of man, it is also subject to influences. If the thoughts be impure, unjust, or unholy, the power of the will becomes more and more impaired. Hence the wisdom of the admonition of the Apostle as to what should be the character of our thoughts. In those who are striving to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord--to adorn themselves with the beauty of holiness-- the thoughts must not be neglected and permitted to browse in every pasture, but must be disciplined to feed upon pure and healthful food, as the Apostle directs.

THE TRUTH OF A THING IS BUT ONE OF THE TESTS

Is this true, or is it false? is the first question to be asked in the consideration of any matter. Love for the Truth lies at the very foundation of a righteous life, and whoever sympathizes with falsehood or exaggeration is more or less defiling himself; but whoever cleanses his thoughts is to that extent purifying his entire character. With our poor and imperfect brains there is great danger [R4827 : page 166] of our being misled; and hence the Word of God exhorts us earnestly that we should not touch that which we realize is untrue.

The truth of a thing, however, is but one of the tests to which we should subject every matter. Who does not know that there are many things that are true, and yet dishonorable, not worthy of our thoughts. The true, but dishonorable and unworthy things presenting themselves for our consideration are, perhaps, oftenest in connection with the weaknesses, the errors, the follies, or what not of our neighbors, our brethren. The dismissal of these thoughts, so unworthy, will leave us the opportunity and the energy, if we will, to spend upon things that are honorable as well as true, worthy of our attention as New Creatures in Christ Jesus.

"Things that are just." Here we have another limitation. That which is just is that which is right. Justice and righteousness are synonymous terms. Very often that which is just is supposed to be the same as that which is lovely; as, for instance, The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." This is not the rule of love, but of justice. We have no right to do unto others anything that we would not that they should do to us. In keeping the Golden Rule, therefore, we are not keeping the great Law of Love, but we are taking a step in the right direction. No one should begin to think about love until he is just. Love would be something more than that which is right. Love is more than justice. We have no right to expect more than justice. Whatever we receive more than justice is love, favor.

JUSTICE SHOULD BE THE RULE OF OUR LIVES

In thinking on those things suggested by the Apostle, we should think, first of all, on our own course. We should critically consider whether we are always thinking on these things which are right, just. We should never be prejudiced in the matter. Justice should be the rule of our lives, of our conduct. Again, in thinking on these things, we might naturally think in respect to the conduct of others. We could think about the influence, for instance, of various things. We could allow our minds to dwell much on the injustices practiced about us and elsewhere; on how much injustice is done in Africa against those who could rule themselves better; on how much injustice is done in business, etc. Thus there could be a great deal of muckraking. But this should not be the subject of our general thoughts. We should think of the good things, the higher things, the happier things; not only the good things of this life, but the blessed things of the life to come; and thus have our minds running along the lines of justice at all times.

WE SHOULD NOT WAIT FOR THE LORD'S CHASTENING HAND

No one can cultivate justice until he gets some appreciation of what it is. This necessary knowledge is obtained through the Scriptures. Some are born with a larger sense of justice than are others and some are born who seem to have no appreciation of right or wrong. But whether we have, naturally, a keen sense of justice or not, the Bible is the standard. As we know, the Scriptures say that we should do unto others as we would that they should do unto us; that we should forgive others as we would they should forgive us. When we have considered well these first lessons, then we are ready to cultivate justice and to put it into practice in our daily lives. This we do by asking in respect to our words and acts, Did I tell the truth? And was it just to tell it? Was it right to tell it? Was it in harmony with what I should wish others to tell in respect to my affairs? Did I do the right thing?

Whoever is in the school of Christ is there to study and practice along the lines of justice and of love. It is the work of a life time. We find that we can improve from day to day. We should not wait for the Lord to chasten us, but should be so desirous of having the Lord's will done in us that we would scrutinize our thoughts. We should walk circumspectly. We should think about what we are doing, about what we are thinking. We should not allow our thoughts to ramble. People who do so do not keep themselves under proper grip. The will dominates the life. First of all, we should make a full surrender to the Lord by giving him our wills, the control over our thoughts, our words, our actions. Those who have accepted the control of Christ over their affairs are not at liberty to act as they will. They are to be controlled by his Word, and to walk according to his rules. Our Master said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34.) This is more than justice. The Lord so loved the world that he laid down his life for them. So should we be ready and willing to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We are not to allow our minds to run along lines that would be unjust. We are to learn to apply this test of justice to every thought and word and act of ours, while learning at the same time to view the conduct of others, so far as reason will permit, from the standpoint of mercy, pity, forgiveness, helpfulness. But we cannot be too careful how we criticize every thought we entertain, every plan we may mature, that the lines of justice shall in no way be infringed by us with our heart's approval.

OUR MINDS SHOULD BE FILLED WITH THAT WHICH IS PURE AND LOVELY

In scrutinizing our thoughts from the viewpoint of purity, we should consider, first, the nature of the thoughts; and, second, their influence upon others. Not only should our thoughts be true and honorable and just and right, but they should be pure, and such as will not excite others to impurity. We should avoid anything that, while not impure in itself, might have the effect of arousing impurity in another. The Apostle's thought seems to be that we should guard our thoughts at all times.

"Whatsoever things are lovely" calls to our attention the fact that we should not allow our minds to dwell upon things that are not lovely, that are not praiseworthy. We might permit our business to so fill our thoughts that we would think continually about that particular thing; for instance, one interested in the iron business might always think about structural iron; another, about the coal business; another, about potatoes and codfish, etc. These things might be just enough, true enough, honorable enough, but constant thought on these lines is not profitable to the New Creature. When we are employed in digging, we should give attention to that business; when we are in the iron-work business, we should give proper attention to it. But when we are in the thinking business, we should not allow our minds to dwell on the things which the Apostle stipulates to be injurious. We must endeavor to bring our thoughts into subjection and train them along the lines that will transform us more and more into our Lord's glorious character likeness.

Our thoughts must not only be true, honorable and just, but they must be pure, they must be beautiful. By the word beautiful we understand, not only the thoughts relating to the beauties of nature, the flowers, the animal [R4828 : page 167] creation, the fruits, etc., but also and chiefly the things of character--the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit-- meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. With these things our minds can become filled and enamored. If, on the contrary, we allow ourselves to neglect these things that are pure, just, lovely, we shall not grow in the fruits of the Spirit; but by thinking on these things and cultivating them in our hearts we become more and more God-like. If we do not cultivate these desirable qualities, then will be developed envy, hatred, strife, works of the flesh and of the Devil--the fruits contrary to righteousness.

In a word, then, we can hardly overestimate the importance of right thinking. There are on record instances of persons who were naturally depraved in mind, but who, by giving their attention to the things of the Truth, have become very noble characters, indeed. We can scarcely overestimate the power of the mind over the body. If we take pleasure in the cultivation of the fruits of the Spirit, they will prove a rich blessing to ourselves and to others. Thus we shall follow in the Master's footsteps and eventually become overcomers and associates with him in the Kingdom.

PURITY OF THOUGHT AN ESSENTIAL

We are to love and cultivate that which is pure to such an extent that that which is impure will become painful to us, distressing, and we shall desire to drop it from memory. This will be accomplished only by continually thinking upon those things that are pure, and avoiding the giving of thought to the things that are impure. We are to recognize true loveliness and to esteem it. When we would think on the purest of things, we must of necessity lift our mental vision to as high a point as possible and, as nearly as we may be able, discern the loveliness of the perfect character of our God and of our Lord Jesus Christ and, proportionately, the loveliness manifested in one and another of the followers of Jesus who walk closely in his footsteps.

"If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." While we should not think to praise ourselves nor to strive to obtain praise, yet we should strive to be praiseworthy. We should think about the praise of God. If there is anything that has any value, any merit, that has anything worthy of praise, we should recognize it. We should note in those about us, and particularly in the Church, the elements of character which are worthy of praise. We should not underestimate gentleness, faithfulness, patience. We should take note of constancy, of energy, of devotion to duty. We should not think of the trifling failures of others or of even their greater failures. If we continue to fill our minds with unhappy thoughts, we shall do injury to ourselves. As we continue to recognize the commendable things in our own lives and in the lives of those about us, we shall become the more God-like.

Things of any virtue, or value, things in any degree praiseworthy--the noble words, or noble deeds, or noble sentiments of anyone--we may safely meditate upon and, as a consequence, find ourselves growing toward those ideals upon which our minds, our new natures, thus feed.

Thus shall we become more and more transformed by the renewing of our minds, and approach nearer and nearer to the glorious likeness of our Master, being changed from glory to glory, inch by inch, step by step, little by little, during the present life; and our thoughts being in this attitude and our union with the Lord maintained, we shall have part in the First Resurrection, which will perfect us forever in the Lord's image and likeness.



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SOWING AND REAPING

"Be not deceived,...he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."--Gal. 6:7,8.
THE thought of sowing is that of planting with a view to development or result. Some time the harvest will come. All of our thoughts, all of our actions, have an effect on future character. Little by little the character is made up. The sowing of today will bring the reaping of tomorrow. If our thoughts and our attention are given to earthly things, the result will be an increase of development along earthly lines; but if our thoughts and attention are given to heavenly things, the development will be along spiritual lines.

Sowing to the flesh, minding the things of the flesh, means gratification of the desires of the flesh, minding the things that are craved by our fallen nature. If yielded to, these cravings will grow stronger and stronger. It is a mistake to suppose, as some do, that a reasonable gratification of the flesh is proper. Every gratification of the fallen flesh satiates only the animal propensities. Those who continue to yield to these propensities will ultimately reach corruption, death--the Second Death. Those who mind spiritual things set their affections on things above, not on things of earth; those who seek to develop themselves along spiritual lines, will progress in spiritual attainment. In due time such will reap a character likeness to the Lord, and become copies of God's dear Son, sanctified more and more through the Truth. To such is promised the gift of life eternal.

The words of our text are addressed to the Church, and relate, therefore, to "those who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice." If these live after the flesh, they shall die, as the Apostle says; for they have already surrendered their human life-rights. If by earnest endeavors they seek to lay down their lives and to develop the new life by mortifying the flesh, by putting it to death, by striving to overcome the weaknesses which they inherit, they shall shortly be rid of all the impediments and be clothed upon with the new body. Then they shall be like the Lord.

FEW REALIZE THE EXTENT OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHARACTER

Comparatively few realize to what extent we form our own characters, to what extent our minds, our affections, are gardens in which we may plant either the thorns and thistles of sin, or the merely moral and practical qualities corresponding to the useful vegetables, or those seeds which produce the fragrant and beautiful flowers and fruits which more particularly represent the heavenly and spiritual graces. Whatsoever a man soweth he shall also reap, whether he sow to the flesh or to the spirit. Whoever, therefore, seeks for the heavenly things, joint-heirship in the Kingdom, etc., must plant, or set out in his mind, in his affections, those qualities and graces which the Lord marks out as essential to the development of characters such as will be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."--Col. 1:12.

Thus the Father throws upon all those whom he calls to this "high-calling," this "heavenly-calling," and who [R4828 : page 168] accept the call and make a covenant thereunder, the responsibility for their success or their failure in attaining the prize. Through his Word he tells them of their own natural weaknesses and imperfections, and shows them how he has provided a full off-set or counterbalance for these imperfections in the merit and sacrifice of the Redeemer; he shows them also what are the fruits and graces of the Spirit which they must possess, in heart, at least, if they would be joint-heirs with Christ; he shows them also, in the Redeemer's life as well as in his teachings, the copy which all must follow who would reach the same glorious station and be his joint-heirs.

We might look at this matter merely from the standpoint of the responsibility which it throws upon us, and might well feel overawed thereby. Rather, however, we should view it from the standpoint of Divine grace, and consider what a blessed privilege has been granted us, of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may come more and more to know and to strive for the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. In addition to all this, God has set before us the grandest reward imaginable for the doing of that which is merely our duty and our reasonable service--the doing of that which would bring us the largest measure of joy and peace, aside from a future reward.--2 Pet. 1:3,4.

WE NEED CONSTANTLY TO PLANT GOOD SEEDS AND WEED OUT THE EVIL

There is for all mankind a natural attraction toward earthly things; even though, during this reign of evil, the earthly things are blemished and in many respects distasteful to those who have learned to love [R4829 : page 168] righteousness and hate iniquity, there is still, nevertheless, a strong attraction toward the marred and blemished earthly things. Like weeds, earthly affections and desires spring spontaneously from seeds which come we know not whence. The Christian, therefore, who would keep his heart in the love of God, must not only keep planting good seeds, keep setting his affections on heavenly things, but he must keep rooting out the weeds of earthly desire and attraction.

Our new life is not manifest to all, nor upon all occasions to any. This the Apostle intimates when he says, "Your life is hid with Christ in God"; it is a life of new desires, new aims, new aspirations, which the world can neither see nor fully appreciate, though it sees some outward manifestations of the new life in our daily conduct. Even the "brethren" may not be able to appreciate the progress of the new life in us; and we ourselves may at times be perplexed respecting the rapidity and strength of its growth; and we may need to look back over weeks or months, or perhaps years, in order to determine unquestionably that it is growing. Our new life, represented by our endeavors to follow the will of Christ, is hidden thus in Christ and in the Father.

In harmony with this thought the Apostle in one place declares that neither the world nor the brethren were capable of judging him--that only the Lord, who could read the heart and know all the conditions, testings and weaknesses to be striven against, could properly judge him. He even declares, "Yea, I judge not mine own self." (I Cor. 4:3.) It is an excellent plan neither to condemn others who claim to be walking conscientiously as children of the Lord, nor even to condemn ourselves if we are sincerely striving to do the Lord's will. We should simply press along, day by day, doing the best we can to cultivate the heavenly graces and to serve our Master, leaving all the results with the Lord. He careth for us, and so long as our hopes and aims and objects of life are centered in the heavenly things and our lives thus hid with Christ in God, we need fear no evil, present or future; for the Lord will be with us and bless us and keep us from falling and, ultimately, present us to the Heavenly Father both blameless and faultless.

PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON

Coming down to a particularization of the changes which take place in those who have consecrated themselves wholly to the Lord, the Apostle enumerates certain alterations of disposition which should be attempted and, so far as possible, accomplished, namely, the putting away of all the following: anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, impurity of language and falsehood in its every form. (Col. 3:8,9.) The necessity for such correction of life might, at first thought, seem to be unnecessary to mention, such evil traits being too coarse and entirely opposed to every true Christian principle; but, as we scrutinize the matter we find that the Apostle has really taken into his list nearly all the weaknesses of the flesh which beset those who have become "New Creatures in Christ."

What is more common with Christian people than to become angry? How many there are who have named the name of Christ, but who have malicious or, at least, unkind thoughts respecting others, and who harbor these, permitting them at times to influence their conduct! How many are there who indulge in evil-speaking --that is, slander (here translated blasphemy)! This is often done in such a manner as to deceive, not only the hearer, but also the speaker as respects his real intention in speaking of others discreditably, unkindly.

If all evil and impure language were avoided, what a wonderful world this would be! Every Christian should see to it that, henceforth, every word which proceeds from his mouth shall be such as will minister grace to the hearers, such words as will do only good and be edifying. Finally, how much need there is, not only of having good intentions in the heart, but also of expressing those good intentions truthfully one to another, without deception, without hypocrisy. But it requires that a heart be very pure and very full of love if it would be very truthful; otherwise it would lead to trouble continually. If the unloving, ungenerous, unkind hearts, full of evil surmising, malice, hatred and strife, were to express themselves frankly it would add immensely to the trouble of the world. The Apostle therefore urges, first the purifying of the heart, and then general candor.

With the thought before our minds of the oneness and equality of those who have been accepted into the Body of Christ, the Apostle urges upon our attention the necessity not only of putting off the evil dispositions of our fallen flesh, but also of putting on, cultivating, the various graces of the Spirit exemplified in our Head, Christ Jesus.--Col. 3:12-14.

He specifies these: (1) Compassionate sentiments; a disposition of largeness and generosity of heart toward everybody and everything--toward the saints, toward our neighbors, friends and relatives, toward our enemies, and toward the brute creation. Amplifying, he continues, showing that it would imply (2) kindness toward all; (3) humbleness of mind, the reverse of boastfulness, headiness, arrogance; (4) meekness, or gentleness of disposition; (5) long-suffering, or patient endurance with the faults and weaknesses of others. It implies that we should bear with one another's peculiarities of temperament and disposition, freely forgiving one another, if there be found cause of offense in each other-- learning the meanwhile to correct ourselves, as we see our own blemishes mirrored in others. And the standard [R4829 : page 169] for all this course of conduct is found in the Lord's course toward us; for he surely has been generous, kind, forbearing and forgiving.

THESE INJUNCTIONS ARE ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH ONLY

The Apostle brings to the attention of the "holy and beloved," the Elect, the fact that he is not attempting a reformation of the world along these lines, but merely a transformation of those who have entered into a special covenant with the Lord. All who have thus covenanted with the Lord and who hope to make their "calling and election sure" to membership in the glorified Church, will not only seek to cultivate these fruits of the Spirit in their own lives, but also to assist in the cultivation of the same fruits, as they may have opportunity, in their Christian friends and neighbors; and above all, will seek to exercise so good an influence upon their own families that, as their children receive from them, as parents, the natural life and the necessary instructions and start therein, these may also, if possible, receive from them a start in the new life, and the necessary instructions and equipment for it.

But the Apostle, as the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, is a thorough instructor. Not only does he tell us what dis-graces to put off and what graces to put on, but, viewing the Lord's Body arrayed in these qualities of heart-- compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patient endurance, forbearance and forgiveness, he adds, "And above all these put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." Love is thus pictured as the "girdle" which binds and holds in place the folds of the robe of Christ's righteousness with its various graces. In other words, the Apostle would have us see that forbearance, meekness, patience, etc., must not be matters merely of courtesy or merely of policy. However much they might partake of these qualities in the beginning, the wearers will not be perfected in heart, nor be fit for the Kingdom, until they have reached the place where these various graces of their wills, or intentions, are bound to them by the cords of love--love for the Lord, love for righteousness, love for the "brethren," and sympathetic love for the whole groaning creation. Love is, indeed, "the bond of perfectness," the very Spirit of the Lord.

CAN WE BE DECEIVED IN THIS MATTER?

In our text the Apostle says, "Be not deceived." The question naturally suggests itself, Is there danger that we may not know whether we are sowing to the spirit or sowing to the flesh? We answer, there is danger of being deceived along this line. The Scriptures represent that the flesh is very crafty; that the natural mind is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that the new mind needs to guard continually lest it fall into a trap of the old nature. If one is living according to the flesh, he may expect to reap accordingly. Though others may be deceived, God cannot be mocked by our outward service of him and his Truth while we inwardly live according to the flesh. If we plant corn, we reap corn; if we sow wheat, we reap wheat. In all the affairs of our lives we are either building up the old nature that we agreed should be destroyed, or faithfully seeing to it that the deeds of the flesh are mortified and killed, that we may prosper as New Creatures.

We "Sow to the flesh" every time we allow the fleshly, selfish, unjust, unrighteous desires of the flesh to have sway in our hearts and lives. Each sowing makes more sure the end of the way, which is death-- Second Death. On the contrary, each sowing to the Spirit, each resistance of the desires of the flesh toward selfishness, etc., and each exercise of the new mind, of the new will, toward the things that are pure, the things that are noble, the things that are good, the things that [R4830 : page 169] are true, the things that are spiritual, is a sowing to the Spirit, which, if persevered in, will ultimately bring the attainment of the Lord's gracious promises and arrangements --everlasting life and the Kingdom.



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THE SIN UNTO DEATH

THE HUMAN MIND, with its various qualities, is very much like a legislative body. The vote, or decision, of that body is its will. So the vote or decision of our minds is the will. Once, when we knew no better, the vote was for sin. But when light came in we voted out the mind of the flesh and voted in the mind of Christ and agreed with ourselves, individually, that we would be New Creatures, dominated by that new mind. As we say that the old will died when the will of Christ came in, so we think it proper to say that the old will is being revived, raised from the dead, when we turn again to the "beggarly elements of the world."

What is the influence which revives the old will? It is minding the things of the flesh. If we live after the flesh we shall die as New Creatures. (Rom. 8:13.) We mind the will of the flesh when we permit the fleshly desires which we have given up, abrogated, gotten free from, to become again the ruling, or controlling influence of our minds. So, then, the new mind is dead and the old mind, or will, revived when we seek to do the will of the flesh rather than the will of the Lord--to mind earthly things instead of heavenly things, etc.

In the case of all those who have not passed "beyond the veil," the New Creature, which has been begotten of the Holy Spirit, has merely a fleshly body, or organism, in which to exercise itself. This body is not at first fully under the control of the new will. It is the duty of the new will both to rule the body and to bring it completely into subjection, even unto death. After gaining this victory, the New Creature receives the new body which God intended for him. By its opposition to sin the New Creature demonstrates its loyalty to God, its harmony with righteousness. God judges this New Creature, not according to the flesh, but according to the will. If the flesh should gain the victory over the new will and there should be a fall, it would not mean that the new will had ceased, but that it had not been on the alert.

In such a case the Lord might, in time, judge that the new will was not worthy of the highest honors, because it had failed to keep the body under and to sacrifice the fleshly interests. Or, if a wrong course were persisted in, the new will would become so weakened and the flesh so strong that there would be a gradual dying of the new will; and finally it would cease to exist. The Apostle John, in speaking of this matter, declares that these New Creatures are to so keep themselves that "that Wicked One touch them not." (I John 5:18.) Again, he says, "He who is begotten of God cannot sin," so long as the "seed" of God abides in that individual. In other words, so long as the mind, the will, is in complete subjection to the Divine will, he could not willingly, knowingly, intentionally, do that which is opposed to the Divine will, just as a person could not go north and south at the same time. [R4830 : page 170]

THROUGH LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, ETC., THE NEW NATURE MAY FOR A TIME LIE DORMANT

We believe that there are instances in which persons, begotten of the Holy Spirit, have fallen away from zeal and obedience to the new will on account of lack of spiritual nourishment, lack of knowledge, lack of appreciation of things that strengthen the new nature and "Build it up in the most holy faith;" sometimes this is on account of ignorance, superstitions, which cause it to lose its zeal. This might happen when the new will was neither dead nor had given way entirely to the flesh, as might seem to be the case. Thus, while the new will was submitting itself and allowing the old will to have its way, the conduct might be blameworthy through lack of spiritual nourishment, as has been stated. Such persons have been regained through a better understanding of God's Word--by more knowledge; and have been known to turn out very noble Christians, even when the new mind for a time had been dormant. The Apostle warns us against this state saying, "I keep my body under"; "Forget not the assembling of yourselves together"; "Build one another up in the most holy faith."--I Cor. 9:27; Heb. 10:25; Jude 20.

When one, once begotten of the Holy Spirit, has willingly, intentionally adopted the old life of sin, then the "seed" with which he was begotten has perished and he is one mentioned by the Apostle as "twice dead, plucked up by the roots" (Jude 12), one under condemnation of the Second Death, for whom there would be no more sacrifice for sin. (Heb. 10:26.) When he first presented himself to God and was accepted through the merit of Christ, the new will was recognized of God and the person was begotten of the Holy Spirit. Old things had passed away; all things had become new. His body was not new; but he had a new will, a new purpose. When later he willingly left the service of the Lord and willingly, knowingly and intentionally became the servant of sin, his course would imply that his new will had died; that his old will had come to life and had gained the ascendency.

THE NEW WILL CANNOT SIN WHILE IT REMAINS A NEW WILL

Thus, by losing the Divine will and voluntarily accepting the will of the flesh again, the New Creature could commit the sin unto death. This, however, would not mean that the new will--which is always in harmony with God--could sin. If the will sins it has ceased to be a new will. If one never willingly turns from God, he would never commit the sin unto death. So the losing of this "seed" of the desire, the spirit, to do that which is pleasing to God, would be the step by which one passes from the life condition into the death condition. We have never as yet had the new life in its fullness. But we could lose the spirit, the new mind. If we lose the spirit, the mind, we lose all.

As there was a particular moment in which the Lord accepted us and we were begotten of the Holy Spirit, so, likewise, in the event of the Second Death, there must be a particular moment at which that would take place. Similarly, as we learn of the Lord's will we come gradually to the point of presenting our bodies living sacrifices. As this was a gradual work, so we should suppose that the retrogression, departure from the Lord, would be gradual. A sudden denial of the Lord does not seem probable, neither would it be in line with the declaration of Scripture. The falling away is a process of retrogression, a departure from the living God and from our covenant with Him. This may be, first of all, a gradual departure from the arrangements by which we have made a covenant of sacrifice with the Lord. This might more and more increase until it becomes a defiance of God, a deliberate and wilful sin.

Stumbling is one thing; but wilful sin is another. The righteous man may stumble many times and yet recover himself. We that are spiritual may recover such a one, remembering ourselves, lest we also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1.) These stumblings are not, however, what is referred to as "the sin unto death." The Second Death condition, according to the Scriptures, we understand to imply the full giving over of the individual, his entire abandonment by the Lord and his going into utter, hopeless destruction, from which there will be no resurrection. But no one could come into this condition without deliberately and wilfully abandoning the Lord and without having received chastisements for the purpose of bringing him back and of restraining him from going into this condition.

AFTER BEGETTAL THE WORK OF TRANSFORMATION OF CHARACTER BEGINS

Our begetting as New Creatures is at the time when we make a full consecration of our lives to the Lord and receive the merit of Christ as necessary to cover our blemishes. God's acceptance of this consecration is manifested by the impartation of the Holy Spirit, spoken of in the Scriptures as the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The work following this begetting is that of renewing the mind--"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Eph. 4:23.) The Apostle was not here speaking to the world, to sinners, or to any one except the brethren. Although the wills of these brethren are already renewed, yet it is another thing to bring every thought into harmony with the will of God in Christ. We should demonstrate to ourselves, first, what is the good will of God--what is his will as to our following righteousness, etc.; then what is wholly acceptable to him; and, thirdly, what is his perfect will. (Rom. 12:1,2.) This gradual development is to proceed with those who are Spirit-begotten; and only those who are thus brought to the graduating point will be members of the Bride class, perfected in the First Resurrection--"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years."--Rev. 20:6. [R4831 : page 170]

We are not to understand that the conduct of one could send another into the Second Death, without his co-operation. No one could intervene to separate us from God. As the Apostle asks, "Who shall separate us from Christ?" (Rom. 8:35.) But whatever influence we have may be used for either the assistance or the injury of another. It is possible for us, not only to so live as to be helpful to others, but to so act as to injure others. Nothing in the example of another could give us eternal life; but the doings and example of one might be an assistance to another; and if we can be of assistance to each other, we can also be injurious.

COULD OUR EXAMPLE LEAD ANOTHER INTO THE SECOND DEATH?

The question, then, comes up, in what way could a brother's example so stumble another that he could go into the Second death? We answer that if one should be influenced by another to violate conscience, one might thus be started on the downward course which would lead him from righteousness. It might be a small matter to begin with, but shortly it would lead off into sin. We should so guard our actions and our words that others [R4831 : page 171] would be made stronger and more tender in their consciences; we should try as far as possible to help them in the right way.

The Apostle speaks of our liberty becoming a stumbling-block to those that are weak--"For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols?" (I Cor. 8:10.) Thus we might, unintentionally, not only offset the good that we might do, but do harm when we are not aware of it. If the same tongue can curse men and praise God (James 3:9), how careful we should be to speak that only which will be helpful and uplifting and not destructive and injurious!



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SENNACHERIB TURNED BACK
--JULY 2.--ISAIAH 37:14-38.--

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."--Psa. 46:1.
IN A PREVIOUS STUDY our attention was drawn to the good King Hezekiah of Judah, his zeal for the Lord and the notable Passover celebration which he brought about and the overthrow of idolatry following. Our present study relates to him at a later period in his reign. The Assyrian empire to the north and east, with its capital at Ninevah, had become great and powerful and threatened to become the first Universal Empire.

Before Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah his father entered into a treaty whereby peace was secured by the payment of an annual tribute. Egyptians, Philistines and Sidonians urged Judah to join them in the confederacy by which they hoped all might regain their liberty from the Assyrian yoke. Urged by his people, Hezekiah joined this confederacy and stopped the tribute money--contrary to the Lord's admonition through the Prophet Isaiah. The measure was popular, and the king did not seem to realize how fully the Prophet represented the Lord in the matter. He should have remembered that Israel was under a special Covenant with the Almighty by which He was their Sovereign, their King, and the Arbiter of their destiny. The error was allowed to work out a serious penalty for the disobedient, but when the king and the people repented and gave evidence that the lesson had been learned. Divine mercy came miraculously to their assistance, as we shall see.

SENNACHERIB THE CONQUEROR

The King of Assyria, with a large army, took the field. Knowing the difficulties of a siege of Jerusalem, he did not begin with it, but passed down the Mediterranean coast, overthrowing the Sidonians and Philistines, to Joppa and farther south; and then eastward to Lachish, a fortified city of Judah. The whole country was filled with fear, as nearly forty cities of Judah, one after the other, fell. King Hezekiah and his counselors resolved to avoid, if possible, a siege of war, and sent ambassadors to King Sennacherib apologizing for their temerity in refusing the tribute money and asking what compensation would satisfy him.

The penalty was a heavy one, amounting to nearly one million dollars, which at that time was a much larger sum than it would be today. The payment of it required the removal of much ornamental gold from the temple, but it was paid over and the release granted. The successful Sennacherib, about to attack Egypt, rued his agreement with Judah, and, in violation of his compact, his general appeared before Jerusalem and demanded its surrender. [R4833 : page 171] Loudly did he proclaim the victories already achieved and warned the people of Jerusalem not to trust in their God for deliverance, telling them that other peoples had trusted in their gods and that all had failed before Sennacherib.

Fear prevailed in Jerusalem. The king and his counselors were not only fearful of war and captivity and the loss of their all, but they dared not trust the people lest they should surrender and open the city gates. Then it was that the king and his advisors and the people sought the Lord in prayer.

The Lord was waiting to be gracious, as He always is to those who are His true people. He delayed, however, to give the word of comfort, until the necessities of the case had humbled the people and taught them a lesson of faith and dependence upon their God. Then came the answer of the Lord, the prophecy that the King of Assyria should not come into the city nor shoot an arrow there, nor even come before it with shields, nor cast up embankments of siege, but that the Lord would defend the city as His own. Doubtless the prophecy seemed strange to the people. By what miracle this could be accomplished they could not think. The lesson to us is that:

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."

A HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND SLAIN IN A NIGHT

Isaiah briefly and poetically declares that the angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians, without explaining in what manner. We remember the statement of the Scriptures that wind and fire and lightning may be the Lord's messengers or angels. Quite probably, in this instance, the messenger of death may have been a malignant form of fever said to prevail at times to the northeast of Egypt; but it matters not to us what messenger the Lord used to turn back the Assyrian hosts.

The lesson for us is to note the Divine power which overrules, orders and directs, so that all things shall work together in harmony with His will. It was not His will that Assyria should become the first Universal Empire. That honor was reserved for the kingdom of Babylon, a century later--at exactly the proper time when God was prepared to withdraw His own typical kingdom, of the line of David, from the earth--to be "overturned, overturned, overturned" until the Messiah should come.

The lesson to the Christian is that we should keep right with God, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty; and that so doing, all things shall work together for our good.

"THE ENEMY MELTED LIKE SNOW AT THE GLANCE OF THE LORD"

The story of Sennacherib's defeat by the angel of the Lord has been put into verse by one of our great poets, Byron, as follows:--

"The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold;
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen.

"Like the leaves of the forest which autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown;
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed.


***

"And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow at the glance of the Lord."



[R4831 : page 172]

JEHOVAH'S SUFFERING SERVANT
--JULY 9TH.--ISAIAH 52:13; 53:1-12.--

"Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
IN THIS STUDY we have a Divinely drawn portrait of the experiences which God foreordained should come upon the One whom He has promised shall ultimately be the great Messiah of glory who will exalt the nation of Israel and through it pour blessings upon all the families of the earth. Thus it is written, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Much of the prophecy of this study has already been fulfilled, but not all of it--the glorious features are yet to come, and we believe are nigh, even at the door.

These prophecies were written nearly seven hundred years before our Christian Era. They had their most striking fulfilment in the personal experiences of Jesus. However, it should not be forgotten that a faithful handful, a "little flock," the followers of Jesus, have walked in His steps during the nineteen centuries of this Age; they have followed Him through evil report and through good report; they have suffered with Him, and the reproaches of those who reproached Him have fallen upon them; and when the hour of glorious revelation, the Kingdom power, shall come, these will be with their Redeemer and share His throne and glory, and, as His Bride, share His name. "This is the name whereby she shall be called, Our righteousness of Jehovah."--Jer. 23:6; 33:16.

The key to the understanding of the long delay in the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom is found in the fact that the Church is a very part of Him, members of His Body. Had it not been the Divine intention to gather an "elect" few from Israel and from all nations to be the Bride of Messiah, and a sharer in His Kingdom, there would have been no need of the long delay between the sufferings of Jesus and the outpouring of the glorious blessings which His death secures.

Again it must be remembered that the elect Church is wholly different from the nominal church, as represented in its various systems. The true Church of God consists only of the saintly few who may be found inside and outside of all denominations of Christendom. "Gather My saints together unto Me, saith the Lord, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) Of these St. Paul wrote, "The world knoweth us not even as it knew Him not." But the assurance comes--"The Lord knoweth them that are His." The completion of the selection and character-perfecting of this "little flock" will come--the end of the "sufferings of Christ"--and immediately the glory will follow, the glory of the Messianic Kingdom.

THE PROPHETIC SUMMARY

In the first three verses of our study, the entire work of Messiah, not only in its preparation, but also in its revelation in Kingly power, is set forth. It is applicable, specially, to the Head, but is applicable also to the members of His Body. A preferred translation reads:--

"Behold my Servant shall deal wisely; He shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. As many were astonished in Thee; but His visage was so marred more than any man. For so shall He startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths to Him, for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they understand."

There are two reasons why the world and its great ones will be astonished when the Millennial Kingdom shall suddenly burst upon the world. They have heard such chimerical and unreasonable statements respecting Messiah's Kingdom, even from the people of God, that they will be taken completely by surprise when they shall behold the reality. Some have told them that Messiah's reign was accomplished during the period of the Dark Ages, in the triumph of the Church of Rome. Others have told them that Messiah's reign is now in progress, that the various kingdoms of earth, at war and preparing for war, are branches of Messiah's Kingdom.

Still, others have claimed that the Kingdom is to be an evolutionary matter brought about by moral reforms. When it shall be ushered in, following a great social revolution, it will be so much more majestically grand than anything dreamed of that every mouth shall be stopped and, as the Lord through the Prophet declares, that Kingdom of Messiah shall be the "desire of all nations."-- Hag. 2:6,7.

AS SEEN BY HIS FOLLOWERS

Chapter 53, verses 1 to 6, picture the experiences of Jesus as viewed from the standpoint of the disciple of His day and since. Following their commission, they have told the wonderful story of the Savior's love and sacrifice, even unto death. But how few have heard, in the true sense of hearing; how few have appreciated it; how few have seen in Jesus the Arm of Jehovah, stretched down for the relief of Adam and his race from sin and death! Only a handful, the saintly few, really and truly believe the message, for surely every true believer would not only accept the proffered share of the Redeemer's merit, but also the proffered share of His sufferings, that they might have a share also in the glory to follow. We read:

"Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Not understanding that there must be a sacrifice for sin before the Divine blessing could come, the Jews looked for a mighty hero, a conquering general, to deliver them from the Roman yoke. Hence their disappointment in finding Jesus a gentle teacher, full of tenderness and compassion, laying down his life for the "sheep." He, indeed, had the blessing of purity and Godlikeness, but this was not the blessing of their dreams and hopes. The experiences endured by Jesus were misunderstood by many-- misunderstood even by His disciples, one of whom said, "Far be it from thee, Lord; this thing shall not happen unto Thee"--his crucifixion; and when the crucifixion did come, it was accepted by the many as an evidence of Divine disapproval, as an evidence that Jehovah repudiated the Servant and the service.

A MORE MATURED VIEW

Verses seven to nine portray the matured view of Jesus' disciples as they began to consider more carefully and to understand more fully their Master and His work. As with the Head, so with many members of His Body, the Church; only after their decease is their real spirit understood and appreciated from the Divine standpoint.

We read: "He was oppressed, yet He humbled Himself [R4832 : page 173] and opened not His mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, He opened not His mouth. By judicial oppression he was taken away; and as for His future offspring, how could there be any, for He was cut off out of the land of the living! For the transgression of my people was He stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; of all He had done, there was no violence, neither was any deceit found in His mouth."

How could one dying as Jesus died, without natural children and as a felon, ever expect to become the great Messiah, of whom it is written, "He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, a Mighty One, the Prince of Peace, and the Father [or Giver] of everlasting life!" How could the crucified Jesus give life to any one?

The Scriptures explain that in the Divine arrangement He purchases Adam and Adam's race, condemned through Adam's fall. Being raised from the dead by the Heavenly Father, Jehovah, Jesus is now the glorified One, merely waiting for the completion of the Church which is His Body, that He may take to Himself His great power and reign, as the Messiah of Israel and of the world. During the Messianic reign, opportunity will be given to Adam and all of his race to be resurrected or uplifted out of sin and death conditions--up, up, up to full human perfection and everlasting life--to all that was lost in Adam, to all that was redeemed through the cross. This is explained in the following verse: "He shall see His seed"--His progeny; so many of Adam's progeny as will obey Him He will adopt as His children, giving them life everlasting on the plane of human perfection.

THE PROPHETIC EXPLANATION

Verses ten and eleven give the following prophetic explanation of the experiences of Jesus: "Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. Thou shalt make His soul an Offering for sin; He shall see His seed. He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, when He shall bear their iniquities."

THE REDEEMER'S EXALTATION

The last verse of our study points out to us that the exaltation of Jesus in His resurrection, far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named, was as a reward for His faithfulness in doing the will of the Father, according to His covenant of sacrifice. Jehovah also tells us that this great reward Jesus will share with His Church, His Bride, "the strong, the overcomers." Finally the Prophet summarizes the Master's work as respects the present Age:

"Because of this will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bare the sin of many and accomplished intercession for the transgressors."



[R4832 : page 173]

RANSOM--RANSOM-PRICE--SIN ATONEMENT

BUT ONE Ransom-price was arranged for by our Heavenly Father and provided for in the death of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That Ransom-price is for the sins of the whole world. But the world has not yet gotten its share of the benefit of that Ransom-price provided more than eighteen centuries ago; for it still "lies in the Wicked One." (I John 5:19.) Our Lord, knowing the Father's will in this matter, declared, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me."--John 17:9.

The application of the merit of the Ransom for the Church was made when our Lord Jesus "ascended up on High and appeared in the presence of God for us"--the Church class. (Heb. 9:24.) His application of his merit for us was manifested by the Pentecostal blessing, which has since continued with all of the "us" class, begetting these to the new nature, as joint-heirs with our Redeemer.

Our great High Priest will not make application of his Ransom-merit on behalf of the world until the end of this Age, until he shall have finished the use of it on behalf of the Church--now enabling those drawn of the Father to "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, their reasonable service."-- Rom. 12:1.

During this Age, he accepts, therefore, as part of his own sacrifice, the offering of the Church. This enables this class, as referred to by the Apostle (Col. 1:24), "to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his Body's sake, which is the Church." Thus, suffering with him in this present time, they will shortly be glorified with him in his Kingdom as his Bride.

To recapitulate: The Ransom-price is one thing, and the Sin-atonement made with that Ransom-price is quite another. The Ransom-price for all was provided by our Lord in the work finished by him at Calvary. The appropriation of the Ransom-price is two-fold:--

(1) In this Age, for or on behalf of, the Church.

(2) In the coming Age, for the sealing of the New Covenant with Israel, which will be open for acceptance by all the families of the earth--all nations.

The Atonement, so far as God is concerned, all proceeds from the Ransom-price provided at Calvary. The first application of that price was made after our Lord ascended up on High, when he appeared for us, his Church. The second application of the Ransom-price will be at the close of this Age, when, as the Great Priest, he will mediate the New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This Covenant is different from the Covenant under which the Church is developed, namely the Abrahamic Covenant, which has no mediator, and which is a Covenant of sacrifice, while the New Covenant is a Covenant of Restitution, to return man to his original condition of perfection.


[R4834 : page 173]

"O GLORIOUS DAY"
"Thou hast been faithful--
Thou hast borne the cross,
The thorns have pierced thy feet;
But now the night is past--
The day has come--bright,
Glorious Day of endless joy and love.
The trial time hath proved thee true
And thou art safe, Beloved,
In thy Father's home.

"O, glorious Day, for thee we long!
We will be faithful, will the
Burdens bear, sustained by grace Divine.
In meek submission to thy holy will;
Dear Lord, by faith we clasp thy hand
As side by side we tread the Narrow Way,
And wait--for it will surely come--
Some day, some dear, sweet day;
O, tarry not too long!"



[R4833 : page 174]

SOME INTERESTING LETTERS

PRAYER AND TESTIMONY MEETING

DEAR PASTOR:--The matter of a topic for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting was brought up at our Board meeting recently. It seems to some of us that it would be fine if we could have a topic suggested in THE WATCH TOWER, so that all would be considering the same topic, and so that, wherever we might be, we would know what the topic is.

Some suggested your sermon-text as the topic, but so many do not get the sermon until after Wednesday, that it hardly seemed best. Others suggested the MANNA text for Wednesday as the topic. We hope that in due time you may have some plan for a general topic, if it seem best to you, and the Lord's will in the matter. Yours in the Redeemer,
R. H. BRICKER.--PA.

IN REPLY

We have had many suggestions relative to the advisability of unanimity of topic for these meetings. We take this opportunity of reiterating the counsel offered in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Volume VI., namely, that we know of no meetings more helpful than the testimony meetings, where they are properly conducted, and after the friends have had about a month's experience with them. Testimonies as to one's conversion years before, or as to how one first received the knowledge of the Truth, may be very good in General Conventions, etc., but such testimonies we certainly believe very tedious and tiresome in a weekly class. It would be tiresome also for the friends to tell you what they ought to do and what experiences they ought to have. What is desirable and refreshing is crisp, up-to-date testimonies touching the events and experiences of the preceding week. Such meetings tend to make all of the classes holding them more attentive to note the providences of God and the lessons of life daily and hourly. Thus more valuable experience is gained daily than when such things are passed by with little or no attention.

We recommend this plan for Wednesday evening and that Thursday's MANNA text become the topic for each new week ending with the Wednesday night meeting.

There is nothing in the nature of a bondage in this suggestion. But those who approve might accept it, and those who do not approve may do otherwise. It is the affair of each class. It would be, however, very nice to know, not only that the Vow and its prayer daily draw all of the Lord's people close to the Mercy Seat, but also it would be pleasant to know that all are thinking of God's providences along the same lines each week.


DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I have been seeing some of the Truths for about seventeen years, but did not have an understanding heart, I suppose, or else the sacrifices were too great. But our Heavenly Father allowed me to see the imperfection of human love and happiness away from Him, and now the eyes of my understanding are being opened that I may understand His blessed Word.

I symbolized my consecration unto death last month, and we have started a little class up here in Doylestown. I am enclosing some clippings on the use and abuse of narcotics. I gather from I Cor. 8:13, that we should not stumble or offend any of the brethren and that must apply to all matters.

You can see from the clippings how scientists are classing caffeine with the harmful, nay, dangerous narcotics.

We should be so glad to have an article in THE TOWER on the subject of abuse of such things as coffee: "and every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." (1 Cor. 9:25.) This seems to me to include even the very small sacrifices of our daily life, if the things sacrificed are in any sense harmful.

Yours in the Blessed Redeemer,
E. J. HAYMAN.


page 174
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Pardon me for taking a few moments of your valuable time to express my appreciation of the Truth. In the four years I have been privileged to have it, it has caused a great hunger, not only for the knowledge of God's Plan, but also that I might be found in the likeness of His character.

The March 15 TOWER was especially helpful in that it searched my heart as to what effect the Truth has had upon me--how much I have permitted it to cleanse me from all "filthiness of the flesh and spirit."

Thanks be unto God, where there was envy and jealousy there is now a greater measure of the Spirit of Christ. I find myself grieved by the least omission in my allegiance to His law of liberty.

Words fail me to express my thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness in permitting me to be awake to my own condition and to allow the Truth to reveal to me the secrets of my heart, while thousands of Christian people are asleep, not only to their heart condition, but to the marvelous work the Lord is performing in the earth today!

Yours in the Harvest work,
H. FINJORD.--Minn.


[R4833 : page 174]
DEAR BRETHREN:--

Please find enclosed $1, for which send THE WATCH TOWER. I received a copy of the issue of the 15th of last January, from which kindly date my subscription.

"The Divine Plan of the Ages," the New Testament, and a few copies of THE WATCH TOWER which you have sent me, have been of more service than all of the preaching I ever listened to.

I have been called a skeptic and an infidel for forty years, but, when the kind of light we had is considered, it is no wonder the world is full of skepticism. Give me light! more light!

Very respectfully yours,
W. M. BURKE.


page 174 DEARLY LOVED BROTHER:--

Greetings in the name of "him by whose kind favor heavenly Truth has reached our ears."

Knowing that your time is much occupied, I have hitherto restrained my desire to write, but as present circumstances forbid my seeing you in the flesh, I trust you will permit me to express my loving sympathy for and confidence in you as the Lord's faithful servant.

May he stand by you and strengthen you, and may his strength be made perfect in your weakness, enabling you to be faithful until death, when you shall hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"

Your Sister in the glorious hope,
LIZZIE BAUR.--SCOTLAND.


MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Please accept the enclosed as a small token of my love for the dear Lord, and also for yourself as one of his very own.

I can never praise him enough for all his great, loving kindness in the way that he has led me and is still leading me day by day.

It is now rather more than three years since your books came my way, and I can truly say they have been the best years of my life.

I was hungering for the food which I could get nowhere, for, although a regular attendant in the nominal church, I got nothing there and I did not understand my Bible.

But now, praise the dear Lord, since getting the "key," which was supplied in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, how I love to read my Bible!--for now I know, to some extent, our dear Heavenly Father's great love as shown in his glorious Plan for the salvation of mankind--first for the Church and then for the world.

I want to tell you that I took the Vow some time ago. I feel that I need every help I can get.

I am sorry that I shall not be able to hear your address, as I am confined to bed. But I shall not forget you at the Throne of Grace, nor shall I forget all who are associated with you in the great "Harvest" work--that you may all be abundantly blessed and strengthened in your labor of love, and that the true "wheat" may all be safely garnered.

With much Christian love, I am,

Your Sister in his dear service,
MARY LAWSON.--ENG.


DEAR BROTHER:--

Enclosed find twenty-five cents, for which please send me PEOPLES PULPIT one year and also "interesting sermons," as mentioned in a recent issue.

This is the literature I have been wanting ever since I was old enough to think for myself. It is almost like a glimpse of Paradise to read Pastor Russell's sermons. May God bless and prosper you in your work.
I. N. RITTER.--KANSAS.


DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I have much pleasure in writing to you and thanking you as I have already thanked the dear Lord, for the many blessings I have received through you and your writings.

I have been in Present Truth only about six months. But during that short space of time the Lord has taught me many things which have been a great blessing, far greater than I asked or dreamed. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I am still progressing in the Truth, and striving to keep humble, and thus faithful. But to tell you all this was not the only page 175 reason that this letter was written. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I have taken the Vow, and I find it a great help, especially in the keeping of my heart; it keeps me continually on my guard, and thus I am able to gain many victories over self. Now, dear Brother, I pray the Lord will bless you and the great work that he has given you to do. He is faithful and true, and waits for us to prove faithful, so that he can reward us with that crown that he has in store for them that are faithful.

I am your Brother in the one hope of our calling,
J. T. JAHME.--Eng.


[R4833 : page 175]
BELOVED PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I have been thinking over the article in the January 1 TOWER, "Was the Alarm Clock Right?" Does it really matter to any of those who are striving faithfully to carry out their consecration vow? All I have of real solid truth, I gratefully acknowledge has come through that faithful Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society which God raised up to feed his flock with meat in due season. Who can shut their eyes to the rapidly fulfilled prophecies of the holy Prophets, our dear Saviour and the Apostles? Is not Daniel's prophecy alone sufficient warning to the household of faith to set their house in order? But apart from the vast amount of evidence we have of the near close of the Gentile times, I think the "Shaking [R4834 : page 175] among the dry bones of the House of Israel" would alone be sufficient to prove that the time is at hand. It was necessary that the Lion of the tribe of Judah should be able to take and open the Book and loose the seven seals thereof, for to him was committed the task of carrying out the Divine Plan. But as far as the little flock is concerned, it is not necessary that they should know the exact hour of the closing of the Gentile Times. Surely, enough of the precious Present Truth has been revealed to awaken even the dullest believer.

We are to live by faith, and our faithfulness in this matter may be one of the tests of our faith. Who, I would ask, could read the parable of the Ten Virgins, and not see its application to the time in question? They all slumbered and slept, but at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold the Bridegroom!" Only the five wise virgins who took oil in their vessels with their lamps were ready at the sudden call to follow the Bridegroom, and went in with him to the marriage. Undoubtedly the attitude of every true child of God is one of prayerful watchfulness. The sealing in the forehead has been ample to all who are earnestly seeking to be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb. God's wonderful Plan of Salvation, as shown in the STUDIES, is sufficient for all those who have by Divine love been called and chosen and are faithfully striving through the merit of Jesus to be honored, and we have our Heavenly Father's promise that the Adversary shall not be able to pluck them out of his hand.

Oh, how many have reason to thank God for the wonderful help they have received through the STUDIES, THE WATCH TOWER and all the other helps to the footstep-followers of our Redeemer!

Beloved Pastor, may the dear Lord continue to make you a blessing to his Church until your work is finished, and you hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," is the prayer of your humble fellow-servant in Jesus.

The enclosed $10 is for use in the Harvest Work, to be used in whatever way you think best. It comes in grateful acknowledgment of the blessed hope gained through the STUDIES and the other helps, and with an earnest prayer that our Heavenly Father will guide and strengthen you through the coming year as in the past, and continue to make you a blessing to the household of Faith through our precious Redeemer.
JOHN MCCARTHY.


page 175
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I am writing you because I wish you to have my name as one of those who have taken the Vow. It is some time since I made it my own, but have delayed sending in my name until now. In talking with a dear Brother recently in regard to the matter, I saw that I was neglecting a privilege and am glad now to state my position respecting the Vow. I realize that it has proved a great blessing to me and a constant reminder of the narrowness of the way that leads us upward to the life immortal. It is surely of the Lord, from whom cometh all good and perfect gifts. With much Christian love, I remain,

Yours in the one hope,
FRANKLIN H. MACKENZIE.--Mass.



page 175

BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES

Series VI., Study V.--The Organization of the New Creation.

JULY 2

(75) Is this illustration of the Apostle that of a fully developed human body? P. 239, par. 2.

(76) While unity of faith is desirable, upon what is the Scriptural idea of unity based? P. 240, par. 1, first half.

(77) What are the two essentials upon which unity must be demanded? P. 240, par. 1, last half.

(78) Should we expect and look for a continuance of the Lord's gifts to the Church in respect to prophets, pastors, teachers? P. 241, par. 1.

(79) Why should force not be used in an attempt to unify the members of the Church? P. 241, par. 2.

(80) What lessons may the antitypical "Royal Priesthood" learn from the typical priesthood? P. 242, par. 1,2.

JULY 9

(81) Should mental or physical deformities in any member, unfitting him for public service, hinder his spiritual development or recognition as possessing full rights at the Lord's table and at the Throne of Heavenly grace? P. 243, par. 1, first half.

(82) Who are to be regarded as "Elders" in the Church? P. 243, par. 1, last half, and par. 2.

(83) What is the meaning of the word Bishop, and what is the relation between the terms bishop and elder? P. 244, par. 1.

(84) How is the term "general overseer" applicable to an elder in the Church? and what qualifications should be expected in such a one? P. 244, par. 2.

(85) What spirit gradually led to Papacy and later to sectarian and unscriptural divisions into clergy and laity? P. 245, par. 1.

(86) While all the elders are caretakers, what various services may they render according to individual qualifications? P. 245, par. 2.

JULY 16

(87) What does the word prophet strictly signify? P. 246, par. 1.

(88) What is the most essential qualification to eldership? P. 246, par. 2.

(89) What is the duty of every member of the Church with respect to the selection of leaders? P. 247, par. 1.

(90) Is it absolutely necessary for every Ecclesia to have a public servant? P. 248, par. 1.

(91) How should the self-seeking and novices be regarded in selecting elders? P. 248, par. 2.

(92) What explicit advice is given by the Apostles Paul and Peter concerning the character, etc., of those who should be recognized as elders? P. 249, par. 1,2.

JULY 23

(93) Is there any limitation as to the number of elders in an Ecclesia? P. 249, par. 2.

(94) Is it essential that an elder be "apt to teach"? and does this necessarily imply ability for public speaking? P. 249, par. 3, first part.

(95) Should we expect the Lord to raise up public speakers in every Ecclesia? and if none are supplied, what should be the conclusion and our course of action? P. 250.

(96) How may elders, not so apt to teach, exercise other talents? P. 250, par. 1.

(97) What does the word Pastor signify? and how does it apply to an elder? P. 251, par. 1.

(98) What is the Scriptural injunction respecting "Elders that rule well"? (1 Tim. 5:17,18.) P. 251, par. 2.

JULY 30

(99) What is the significance of the word Deacon? P. 252, par. 1.

(100) With the foregoing view of the subject, should we understand that no distinction as respects service obtained in the early Church? P. 252, par. 2.

(101) How is the word deacon specifically applied in the New Testament? P. 253, par. 1.

(102) Mention a notable example of the fact that deacons, while serving chiefly in temporal affairs, were not hindered from exercising their talents in other ways. P. 254, par. 1.

(103) What was the most marked characteristic of the early Church arrangement? P. 254, par. 2.



page 177
June 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. XXXIIJUNE 15No. 12
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6039


CONTENTS

Acceptable to God179
"Keep Back Thy Servant From Presumptuous Sins"180
The Rewards of Sacrifice180
Sacrifices Acceptable During the Gospel Age Only181
The Work of Grace in the Heart182
We Must Learn Thoroughly the Lesson of Love182
"Study to Show Thyself Approved"183
Divine Justice and Mercy185
A Godly Young King186
Deliverance From the Curse187
1911--Conventions Program--1911187
"Love Casteth Out Fear"188
Face to Face With Trouble (Poem)188
"Christ in You the Hope of Glory"189
The Robe of Christ's Righteousness189
Questions of Interest190
Some Interesting Letters191

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 178

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

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

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

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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

Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.


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


Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.



ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, AND DANISH EDITIONS.
SAMPLE COPIES FREE.


ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA

INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS


AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER

FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.


FIVE-DAYS BIBLE STUDENTS CONVENTION

Oakland, San Rafael and San Francisco brethren extend a most cordial invitation to all outside friends to attend the 5-day joint-local Convention in San Francisco--June 22, 23, 24, 25 and Oakland June 26. Brother Russell will speak twice in San Francisco--June 25--and in Oakland June 26. Pilgrim service will be arranged for all days. Opportunity for water baptism will be arranged in Oakland June 26.

Arrangements will be made for visiting friends. Rooms may be engaged in advance at 50 cents, 75 cents, $1 and up per day. Send full data and money as soon as possible to "Sec'y Hotel Committee, I.B.S.A.," 2018 Green street, San Francisco. Data should show sex, color, those that wish to room together or are willing to share room and bed to save expense, also rate desired, exact dates, etc., and hour and route of expected arrival, if known. Free sleeping accommodations will be furnished by local brethren to those that can come, but cannot afford room rent; these should also advise promptly in advance. Visitors' mail may be sent in care of above address.

Meetings and headquarters for four days in San Francisco will be at Lyric Hall, 513 Larkin street, with public lectures afternoon and evening of Sunday, June 25, at Dreamland Rink.

Meetings and headquarters in Oakland, June 26, will be at corner of Jones street and Telegraph avenue.

TORONTO, ONT., CONVENTION, JULY 15-17

All services for the interested in Broadway Hall, 450 Spadina Ave. On Sunday, July 16th, Brother Russell will address the general public at 3 p.m., and again at 7.30 p.m. in Massey Hall, corner of Victor and Shuter Sts. [R4844 : page 178]

A DONATION OF MIRACLE WHEAT

Brother Bohnet writes us that he has gradually accumulated a crop of miracle wheat from the few grains he obtained as a start. He prefers that the first opportunity for obtaining this wheat shall go to THE WATCH TOWER readers. He will sell it for $1 per pound, including postage, and give the entire proceeds to our Society. All orders for this wheat should be addressed, Miracle Wheat Bohnet, 17 Hicks street, Brooklyn, N. Y. This will keep mail on this subject separate from his personal mail and from ours.

Brother Bohnet promises to be ready to ship this wheat by August 1. He says miracle wheat should be sowed one-fourth as thick as common wheat. Ordinarily it should produce from ten to fifteen times as much proportionately to the amount sown. To save keeping account, money should accompany the order. WATCH TOWER readers will have the preference up to August 15, after which orders will be attended to indiscriminately, so long as the supply holds out. This wheat should be sown in the fall. page 178



BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR JULY

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

(1) 32; (2) 24; (3) 95; (4) 176; (5) 130; (6) 105; (7) 57; (8) 182; (9) 260; (10) Vow; (11) 281; (12) 129; (13) 135; (14) 110; (15) 229; (16) 330; (17) 315; (18) 324; (19) 145; (20) 9; (21) 46; (22) 78; (23) 65; (24) 3; (25) 279; (26) 193; (27) 131; (28) 249; (29) 259; (30) 322; (31) 217.



[R4834 : page 179]

ACCEPTABLE TO GOD

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."--Psa. 19:14.
HOW BEAUTIFUL in the sight of right thinking men is a well-balanced, self-possessed and disciplined character! And in contrast with such, how unlovely are the undisciplined and ungoverned--the selfish, the unjust, the unkind and the violent-tempered! Naturally, the one awakens in us emotions of pleasure and admiration, and the other, of pain. And if such is the appreciation of virtue and the abhorrence of the lack of it among men who have lost much of the original image of God, with what a keen appreciation must they be observed by a pure and holy God!

Men of the world who have no personal acquaintance with God have no special thought as to how they appear in His sight; but with what carefulness should those who love Him and who value His approval study to conform their conduct to His pure and holy mind! True, all who are "begotten again," notwithstanding their imperfections and shortcomings through inherited weaknesses, are acceptable to God through Christ, whose robe of righteousness amply covers them; but the measure of their acceptableness to God, even through Christ, is only to the extent that, while availing ourselves of His imputed righteousness, they are earnestly striving to attain actually to the standard of perfection. By so doing they manifest their real appreciation of the Divine favor.

With what confusion and chagrin would one be covered who, in the midst of a fit of violent temper or an unjust or mean transaction, unworthy of his dignity or his profession, should be suddenly surprised by the appearance of a beloved friend of high and noble character! And yet, the eye of such a One is ever upon us. And only to the extent that we dismiss this thought from our minds, or else that we undervalue the Lord's opinion and approval, can we allow the evil propensities of the fallen nature to run riot.

"WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY"

Realizing the downward tendency of the old nature, how constantly should the above prayer of the Psalmist be in the minds of God's consecrated children! But how, one inquires, may the difficult task of subduing the inherent depravity be accomplished? It is hard for one, particularly under exasperating circumstances, to control a hasty or violent temper, for another to bridle a gossiping tongue; and especially if the trials of life to some extent put their colored glasses on the eyes. And then what a host of inherent weaknesses there are, which every one of God's true children realizes and knows that he must strive against, if he would be acceptable with God! The thoughts of our hearts are not manifest to fellow-men until we express them in words or actions; but even the very thoughts and intents of the heart are all open and manifest to God. What a comfort to the honest-hearted!

The Psalmist repeats this inquiry, saying, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" and then replies, "By taking heed thereto, according to Thy Word." Then he frames for us this resolution: "I will meditate on Thy precepts and have respect unto Thy ways; I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy Word." (Psa. 119:9,15,16.) Here is the secret of a pure and noble life, acceptable to God. It is to be attained, not merely by prayers and righteous resolutions, but, in addition to these, by careful painstaking heed, by systematic and diligent effort at self-cultivation, by care and perseverance in weeding out evil thoughts, and by diligent and constant cultivation of pure, benevolent and noble thoughts, and by nipping in the bud the weeds of perversity before they bring forth their hasty harvest of sinful words and deeds.

But observe, further, that this heed or care is to be taken, not according to the imperfect standard of our own judgment, but according to God's Word. The standard by which we test our lives makes a vast difference in our conclusions.

The Psalmist further commends this standard to us, saying: "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. [That is, if we take heed to our ways according to God's Law, it will turn us completely from the path of sin to the path of righteousness.] The testimony [the instruction] of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple [the meek, teachable ones--clearly pointing out to them the ways of righteousness]. The statutes [the decrees, ordinances and precepts] of the Lord are right [the infallible rules of righteousness], rejoicing the heart [of the obedient]. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean [not a mental, servile fear, but a noble fear, begotten of love--a fear of falling short of His righteous approval], enduring forever. More to be desired are they [the Law and the testimony of the Lord] than gold; yea, than [R4835 : page 180] much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

"KEEP BACK THY SERVANT FROM PRESUMPTUOUS SINS"

"Moreover, by them is thy servant warned [concerning the dangers of the way and the snares of the Adversary, and concerning everything which is calculated to discourage, or to hinder his growth in grace], and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who [in the use merely of his own fallible judgment and without the standard of God's Law] can understand his errors [can rightly judge himself]?"

But when, as we measure ourselves by this standard, we detect and deplore our shortcomings, let us remember the Psalmist's prayer: "Cleanse thou me from secret faults"--thus supplementing our efforts by our prayers. --Psa. 19:7-12.

But there is still another part of this prayer which the Lord thus puts into our mouths. It reads: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Let us consider what kind of sins would be presumptuous sins. To presume signifies to take for granted without authority or proof. A presumptuous sin would, therefore, be taking for granted and asserting as truth something which God has not revealed, or the perversion of what He has revealed. To claim and hold tenaciously as a part of God's Plan any doctrine, merely on the ground of fallible human reason and without Divine authority, would therefore be a presumptuous sin.

Of this nature is the sin of those who malign the Divine character by boldly teaching the blasphemous doctrine of eternal torment without warrant from the Scriptures, and in direct contradiction of them. And there are many other sins of greater and less degree which partake of the same character. But the words here seem to refer directly to some particular error into which there is danger of drifting--"Then shall I be innocent from the great transgression"--evidently, the sin unto death referred to by the Apostles also. (I John 5:16; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31.) Such a sin would be that of presuming upon the love of God to bring us salvation, even though we should wilfully refuse it through the channel which He has appointed--the precious blood of Christ, shed for our redemption.

"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE DELIGHT IS IN THE LAW OF THE LORD"

Well, indeed, may we pray and strive to be kept back from presumptuous sins--sins of pride or of arrogant self-will which does not meekly submit to the will of God! Let us, beloved, beware of the slightest tendency toward pride and self-will, or the disposition to be wise above what is written, or to take for granted what God does not clearly promise. "Then," indeed, if we watch and strive against the very beginning of that proud and haughty spirit which surely presages a fall, we shall be "innocent from the great transgression."

"Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and who doth meditate therein day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psa. 1:1-3.) If we make the Word of God the theme of our constant meditation, its principles will soon be assimilated and become part of our mental makeup, making our characters more beautiful and commendable both to God and to our fellowmen; and in harmony with this habit of the mind the acts of life will speak.

The purified fountain will send forth sweeter waters than formerly, bearing refreshment and good cheer to all who come in contact with it. It will make happier homes --better husbands, better wives and better children. It will sweeten the temper, soften the voice, dignify the language, cultivate the manners, ennoble the sentiments and lend its charming grace to every simple duty. It will bring in the principle of love and cast out the discordant elements of selfishness. Thus it will make the home the very garden-spot of earth, where every virtue and every grace will have ample room to expand and grow.

It will not only thus favorably affect the individual and the home-life, but it will go out into the avenues of trade, and truth and fair-dealing will characterize all the business relations; and thus will God be honored by those who bear His name and wear the impress of His blessed Spirit.

While the heights of perfection cannot be reached so long as we still have these imperfect bodies, there should be in every child of God very perceptible and continuous growth in grace, and each step gained should be considered but the stepping-stone to higher attainments. If there is no perceptible growth into the likeness of God, or if there is a backward tendency, or a listless standstill, there is cause for alarm.

Let us constantly keep before our eyes the model which the Lord Jesus set for our example--that model of the complete fulfilment of the will of God, in which the whole Law was kept blamelessly. Let us follow His steps of righteousness and self-sacrifice as nearly as a full measure of loving zeal and faithfulness and loyalty to God will enable us to do, and we shall have a blessed sense of the Divine approval now, and the glorious reward of Divine favor in due time.



[R4835 : page 180]

THE REWARDS OF SACRIFICE

"I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--Rom. 12:1.
NOWHERE IN THE SCRIPTURES are we commanded by the Lord to sacrifice our earthly rights and privileges. The Divine commands end at the line of justice. In other words, justice and righteousness are one and the same thing. Sacrifice, self-denial, taking up the cross to follow Jesus, are all propositions away beyond the Divine Law. The Law Covenant proffered a perpetuation of human life to all who would fulfil its requirements. None of the Jews, with whom that Covenant was made, were able to fulfil those requirements, except the One who came from above and for whom was provided a perfect human body, which enabled Him to keep the requirements of the Law Covenant, entitling Him, therefore, to everlasting earthly life.

The New Law Covenant, under the antitypical Mediator, will offer the same reward of everlasting human perfection to all who will fulfil its requirements. Its superiority over the first Law Covenant will consist in its having a better Mediator, capable of helping mankind fully out of condemnation, death and weakness and authorized so to do because of the merit of His "better sacrifices." [R4835 : page 181]

But while Jesus, born under the Law, was obligated to the conditions of that Covenant and fulfilled them and through them had a right to everlasting earthly life, He did more. He sacrificed that earthly life--laid it down-- permitted sinful men to take it from Him without resistance, although He had the power to call for legions of angels for protection. This was His sacrifice. He did not sacrifice sinful weaknesses, for He had none. He sacrificed perfect life and all His legal rights and privileges. His reward for so doing was exaltation from the human nature to the divine nature--far above that of angels, principalities and powers. (Eph. 1:21.) Thus exalted He has the human rights (which He never forfeited) to give Adam and his race--their ransom-price. These He will give to them in the end of this Age, applying them to the sealing of the New Law Covenant, under which Israel and all mankind may be restored to all that was lost through the first man's disobedience. Meantime, the glorified Redeemer uses that sacrificial merit (which He intends to give eventually to the world) to cover (imputatively) the blemishes of those of the household of faith who may hear the Divine call (and accept the same) to follow in the footsteps of Jesus--to sacrifice and suffer with Him in the flesh, that they may be glorified and reign with Him on the spirit plane beyond the veil.

SIN-OFFERING SACRIFICES ACCEPTABLE DURING THE GOSPEL AGE ONLY

Throughout this Gospel Age the Law Covenant has continued upon the Jews only, the remainder of the world being without any Covenant with God and waiting for the "times of restitution" under the New Law Covenant of the future. (Acts 3:19-21; Jer. 31:31-34.) It is during this time (the Gospel Age) that God draws and calls a certain loyal class and gives them an opportunity of sharing with their Redeemer in sacrificial death. The faithful will be counted His members or His Bride or joint-heirs in His Kingdom of glory and honor and immortality. All men, in proportion as they know the Divine will (what is just, from the Divine standpoint), are correspondingly in duty bound to fulfil that righteous requirement or Law of God to the extent of ability. But [R4836 : page 181] those desirous of following in the footsteps of Jesus are shown what they can do more than justice; but they are not commanded to do more. All sacrificing is a privilege, not a duty, not a command. In harmony with this, St. Paul writes, not commandingly, but entreatingly, "I beseech you, brethren,...present your bodies living sacrifices." He did not command this. To have made it a command would at once prevent the opportunity of sacrifice. What we sacrifice is something that is not commanded. Whatever is commanded of God is obligation and not sacrifice.

The Ancient Worthies presented their bodies, laid down their lives, renouncing earthly rights, but they did not sacrifice. Why? Because it is one thing to kill and another to have the slain creature accepted of God as a sacrifice. God did not call for human sacrifices prior to Jesus' sacrifice of Himself. God was unwilling to accept imperfect, blemished creatures at His altar. They might lay down their lives, but He would not count them sacrifices. Jesus was accepted as a sacrifice because He was perfect and His followers, since Pentecost, have been acceptable as sacrifices, because they are perfect--made so by the Redeemer's imputation to them of a sufficiency of His merit to compensate their blemishes.

Thus this Gospel Age is called the "acceptable day (or time) of the Lord," because, during this Gospel Age God is willing to accept a predestinated number as joint-sacrificers with Jesus. But as soon as that predestinated number shall have been completed the acceptable time will immediately end. No more presentations will be accepted as sacrifices--the antitypical Day of Atonement will have ended.

But suppose that some should present themselves after the close of the acceptable time; what would be their status and God's dealing with them?

Since God is unchangeable, we must assume that He would always be pleased to have His creatures devote their lives wholly and unreservedly to the doing of His will, as He was pleased with the faithfulness of the Ancient Worthies to lay down their lives before a Covenant of sacrifice was in force. We may reason that as God has promised human perfection to those Ancient Worthies who laid down their lives, He would be willing similarly to reward any who might follow the same course after the completion of the Church--after the ending of the acceptable time of sacrifice.

Quite likely, therefore, there will be some in the end of this Age who, although faithful unto death, will not have been begotten of the Holy Spirit and not attain the spirit plane of being in the resurrection, but who will come forth members of the same class as the Ancient Worthies, who were developed before this Age began.

THE PRESENTATION OF ONESELF ALWAYS A REASONABLE SERVICE

In view of these facts our advice to all who love the Lord and who desire to be in complete fellowship with Him is the same message that has gone forth throughout this Age--"We beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies living sacrifices." We cannot now assure them that, after presenting themselves as sacrifices, God will accept them as such and grant them spirit-begetting to a new nature; but we can assure them that it will be their reasonable service and that God always gives large rewards to those who manifest their faith and loyalty towards Him and His cause. We can tell them, too, that, to our understanding, the Scriptures teach that the Ancient Worthy class (of which they may be a part if they fail to be accepted to the new nature) will be highly honored of God, perfect on the human plane and made "princes in all the earth." We can assure them that, to our understanding, these princes will have a glorious precedence over the remainder of mankind as the special representatives of the invisible Messiah class for a thousand years. We can assure them that, to our understanding, after participating in that glorious work, these princes will be uplifted at the close of the Millennium to the spirit plane of being--as part of the antitypical Levites.

Since none can know when the elect number will be fully completed all should be alike anxious to lay down their lives in the service of God and of His Truth. To say that we would refuse to serve because any uncertainty would prevail in our minds respecting the character of our reward would be to show our unworthiness of any favor of God, for, to be acceptable to Him, our service must not be rendered to obtain the reward, but to serve righteousness and to please God! "I delight to do Thy will, O God"--everything written in the Book. Hence at Memorial season all of the consecrated should manifest their love, loyalty, obedience, faithfulness, by symbolizing the Redeemer's death and symbolizing also their own desire to share in the sufferings of Christ as parts of the "broken loaf" and as participators in the cup of His suffering.

As to how much we should expect for our children is [R4836 : page 182] another matter. It is not for us to say at how early an age the children might demonstrate loyalty to God and to the Truth in a manner pleasing and acceptable to God. Those who are parents should, in all reasonable ways, by example and precept, illustrate and exemplify their appreciation of the privilege of the Lord's service--even unto death. Furthermore, their children should be instructed weekly and, if possible, daily, in respect to the different features of the Truth, that they may receive as much as possible. God knows whether a child of even tender years and short mental and heart development might not present himself in an acceptable manner. Parents, therefore, should do their best by their children and leave the results with the Lord, with full satisfaction with whatever may be His wise, just and loving decision for them, either on the earthly or on the heavenly plane. We are to remember, however, that none can enter either of these planes of instantaneous perfection in the resurrection unless his trial be finished successfully in the present life and by passing into death. The remainder of mankind, however, as already shown, will then have glorious opportunities and possibilities before them.



[R4836 : page 182]

THE WORK OF GRACE IN THE HEART

"The love of Christ constraineth us."--2 Cor. 5:14.
THE WORD constrain has the double thought of drawing together, holding together. The Apostle had been recounting his own activities in the Lord's service, and had stated that with some his course seemed to indicate an unbalanced mind. He explained that this was not so; that he had a sounder mind than ever before. He felt himself bound to Christ, constrained by love of Christ to love Him and all who were His with a pure heart.

Why should this love constrain? For this reason: If we reckon that all are dead, then all need the service of the Life-Giver; and if Christ died for all, and if we now have come to life through Him, we should hereafter live not according to, or after, the flesh. We should give up the flesh entirely and live the new life which we have received from Christ. St. Paul would say, I am not mad; but I am so closely drawn to Christ that I have the same sympathetic love for others that He had. As He had laid down His life for the brethren, so would I.

Our Lord's love was specially manifested toward His disciples, and chiefly toward those who were the most zealous and energetic--Peter, James and John having the particular love of the Lord. Similarly the Church is thus instructed. There is no exhortation to lay down our lives in the service of the world, but specially for those of the household of faith. We see that the benefits of Christ's sacrifice are to reach the whole world of mankind, every member of Adam's race.

Assuming, however, that the Lord knew from the very beginning who would betray Him, and that Divine discernment would know all who would go into the Second Death, we could not think that the Lord would do anything on their behalf. In other words, the blessing of God is only for the "Israelites indeed." Only those who will come into harmony with Him will have the rich blessing and favor of the Lord. These are included in the redemptive work, not because of anything in themselves, but because of the love of the Lord, which is broad enough and deep enough for all who will receive it. But God cannot love wicked characters. His blessings are only for those who are His children now, or who will be, under the blessings and privileges which He later on will grant. It is our duty to bless all to the extent of our ability.

THE CHIEF OBJECT OF OUR TRAINING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOVE

The work of grace for the Church during this Gospel Age is the transforming of our perverted characters and the re-establishing of them in the likeness of the Divine character, Love. Whoever fails to attain this transformation [R4837 : page 182] fails to attain God's will concerning him, and must, necessarily, fail to win the prize set before us in the Gospel. We are, to begin with, very poor material out of which to form likenesses of God's dear Son. We were "children of wrath, even as others." (Eph. 2:3.) The original likeness of God, possessed by Father Adam before he transgressed, has been sadly lost in the six thousand years intervening. Hence, instead of finding ourselves in the Divine likeness of love, we find that we were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity" to such a degree that instead of love being the natural, ruling principle in our characters, it is in many instances almost entirely obliterated; and what remains is largely contaminated with evil, self-love and carnal love--perversions which are in direct antagonism with the wholly unselfish love which is the essence of the Divine character.

"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God"--the God who is Love. (John 17:3.) To know God means more than to know something of His loving Plan and character; it means to know God in the sense of personal acquaintance and intelligent appreciation of His character; and no one can have this except as he partakes of the Spirit of God, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of love. And this spirit of holiness and love cannot be acquired instantly; it is a growth; and its development is the chief business (and should be the chief concern) of all who hope to know God in the complete sense which will be rewarded with life eternal.

But since our transformation of mind or will is not accompanied by a physical transformation, or restitution, it follows that so long as we are in the flesh we shall have to contend against its inherited weaknesses and disposition to selfishness and sin. But this sharp and continual conflict not only selects a special, overcoming class, but serves to develop the desired character more quickly than will the more easy processes of the Millennial Age. In consequence, while it will require nearly a thousand years for the world's perfecting, the perfecting of the saints in character may be accomplished in a few years, under the special training of sharp discipline and the special course of instruction designed for the "little flock." But whether in a few years or many years, and whether with little or much friction with adversity, the transformation and polishing of character must be accomplished. This love-likeness of our wills to the will of God is the end to be sought, if we would finish our course with joy and with good hopes for the eternal glory.

WE MUST LEARN THOROUGHLY THE LESSON OF LOVE

If we possess the love of God in our hearts it will rule all the affairs of our lives and will make us God-like in thoughts, actions and words. In the School of Christ, the great lesson which the Master is teaching us [R4837 : page 183] day by day is the lesson of love, which we must learn thoroughly if we would attain "the mark for the prize of our high calling."

In the School of Christ, all the instructions of the Divine Word and providences are intended to develop our hearts and influence our conduct in harmony with the lines of love. While the fruits and graces--meekness, gentleness, patience, etc.--are manifestations of the Spirit, yet the Holy Spirit must be present before these manifestations could appear at all; and while the spirit might be perfect, its manifestations might be imperfect. The vine may be good, but for a season the grapes will be immature. So with these graces of the Spirit. They are outward manifestations of the inward condition of the heart, which may attain perfection before these graces are perfect. Indeed, these graces may never be perfect on this side of the veil.

At the moment of making consecration, before we had borne any fruits of the Spirit, we were not at the mark of perfect love. We were consecrated and had the right spirit, so far as we had knowledge. But we had not a sufficiency of knowledge to recognize what would be expected of us. For this we needed some development, some instruction in the School of Christ. The knowledge of what it would cost to follow Christ came gradually. If the will kept up with the knowledge, one would reach the mark of perfect love in the heart. The manifestations of the graces of character which this condition of heart produces may never be fully perfect in the present life, but only when we have the perfect bodies. The heart which shall have reached this condition will be in perfect tune with the conditions which will obtain on the other side.

"BY THEIR FRUITS SHALL YE KNOW THEM"; YET PERFECTION IN THE FLESH IS IMPOSSIBLE

We must recognize each other, in the good professions which we make to each other and in the evidences of these professions which are manifest. As a gardener might go to his vine and look through the different branches for grapes, so the Lord knows whether the heart is in the proper attitude to bring forth fruit. Of those who have openly professed a thorough consecration to the Lord, all those whose lives do not contradict their profession, and who are walking, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, may be known and recognized by us in the same way by which they will recognize us. "By their fruits we shall know them"--by the outward obedience, but not by the full fruit-development. We know each other, therefore, not by the full development of the fruits, but by the measure of the obedience and striving to obey the Lord.

Absolute perfection would mean perfection of thought, word and deed, which is not our condition at the present time. The most that any of us can have now is perfection of love in our hearts; that is, a perfect love for God, for the Truth and for the brethren. Perfect love leads to sacrifice. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15.) Those who have perfect love will fulfil their sacrifices. But at any time one may pass from the stage of perfect love to that of alienation and opposition. The person might come into such a condition of heart that the fervency of his love would become cool. Gradually he would become estranged from the Lord, and might become identified with the "great company" class. Then, if the chastisements of the Time of Trouble did not lead to a thorough reformation, he would pass on to the Second Death.

After Love's provision of the Lamb of God (the Ransom-price for all mankind laid down by Him, and the imputation of His merit to the Church, all the various steps for our deliverance from sin are along the line of developing us in the character of love, the character of God, which alone, according to the Divine standard, will make us acceptable before the Father and bring to us His grace of everlasting life. How important, then, that we should be "taught of God" and develop this character!

The work of grace for the world, during the Millennial Age, will be to make known to all mankind the gracious character of God and His provision for the salvation of all; and to transform all who are willing, from the depravity of sin to perfection of character-- Love; making mankind once more images of God. This transformation of their wills, accompanied by a gradual physical transformation, will remove from them all the blemishes of sin and all hereditary inclinations thereto and leave them in the likeness of God, with a recollection of the undesirability of sin and its evil consequences.



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"STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED"

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." --2 Tim. 2:15.
THIS TEXT does not say, "Study the Scriptures," but "Study to show thyself approved" --study to know what God would approve. And yet it means, first of all, to study the Revelation He has made. Then, after having come to some knowledge of the Scriptures, we must meditate upon them and consider how the Word is applicable to all of life's affairs. Thus we would study the nature of everything that we come in contact with, as to whether it is good or evil. The word "study" here is used with very much the same thought as when the Apostle says, "Study to be quiet."

Evidently the central thought of this expression is the approving of ourselves to God, not to men. It is proper enough that we should have the approval of all good men and good women. But our study, primarily, should not be along this line. First, we should study to please God--to be approved of God. We notice that there is a contemplative study, such as David speaks of when he says, "I meditate upon thy Law day and night"--to see how that Law would work out its height and depth, its length and breadth of influence upon himself. And so the Apostle's thought here is that it should be our chief aim to please God.

"Rightly dividing the Word of Truth" would signify the proper application of the Word of Truth; the understanding of how and when and where it should be applied and what was the purpose and thought and Plan of the Divine Mind in the giving of this Word of Truth, the Word of God's Message. Up to the advent of our Lord, God's Message had been given chiefly through the Old Testament Scriptures. Then God's Message was attested by Him who came from heaven. Additionally, our Lord left twelve chosen Apostles to be His special mouthpieces, to increase the Word of Truth, to increase the Word of knowledge, to increase the Word of explanation of the Divine Plan. Everything, therefore, that Timothy could [R4838 : page 184] recognize as being the Lord's Message he was to give heed to. For instance, one part of God's Message applies to the past, a part applies only to the Jews, still another part applies to Christians in the present life, and yet another part to their future hopes.

WE SHOULD HAVE CLEARER LIGHT THAN HAD OUR FOREFATHERS

And so, as we get the matter rightly divided before our minds, we get the true understanding, the special enlightenment needed in our day, and we are enabled to rightly divide the Word better than did our fathers, so that today we can see, as our fathers did not see, the teaching of God's Word respecting the "high calling" and "restitution"--the spiritual portion of blessing for the Church and the human portion of blessing for the world. We also see something about the times and seasons --which apply to the Church and which to the blessing of the world.

Thus, in our Day, to rightly divide the Word of Truth necessitates the taking cognizance of everything that seems to be of the Lord and that throws any light upon the Word, and thus we may be able to "rightly divide" it. We must always bear in mind that in the Scriptures of the Old Testament "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," and that the Lord also said of the Apostles: "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

We are not to forget that the Lord promised that He would guide His people in the way of the Truth and show them things to come. We are to "study" to show ourselves approved--study the doctrine and endeavor to have our course of conduct harmonize with it--study to perform faithfully the duties of a loyal soldier of the cross of Christ.

The Christian soldier must study to perform even the smallest duty in a manner creditable to his calling; he must not permit himself to become entangled with other things which do not relate to his duties as a soldier and thus be side-tracked. The Christian soldier who turns aside to seek some personal, temporal advantage to the detriment of his duties as a soldier is to that extent an unfaithful soldier and likely to be drawn out of the ranks entirely. [R4839 : page 184]

"Study to show thyself approved." Study the Word; study yourself, that you may become well acquainted with yourself; that you may know your talents for service-- in what direction they lie, and what are your weak points and how they may be guarded against--that you may know both your abilities and your shortcomings. Then study to avoid error and to shun all foolish questions and profane and vain babblings. Remember that only "the foundation of God standeth sure"; that all other foundations are worthless and that all other theories must come to naught. But "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are His." And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."--2 Tim. 2:19.

WE SHOULD STUDY TO MAKE OUR IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS MORE AND MORE ACTUAL

There is much significance in the word "study" and it is important to note that this Divine injunction is given to the Church, to those who are believers in Christ and who have consecrated their lives to His service. Having been reckonedly cleansed from sin, we are to give all diligence to the work of studying to make this reckoned cleansing, this imputed righteousness, an actual thing, to the extent of our ability. It is purely of Divine grace that we are reckoned righteous before we are actually so. Looking at our hearts and seeing in them, not only our good and honest intentions, but also our desire for righteousness and our efforts to become righteous in the way He would approve, God accepts the will for the deed. Accordingly, He counts us as righteous now and treats us as His children, since we have been redeemed from the curse and have accepted His gracious provision for reconciliation.

LET US STUDY TO SEE THAT OUR LIVES ARE AN HONOR TO THE CAUSE WE ESPOUSE

Let us, then, study our hearts to see that we are striving daily to cast out all the old leaven of sin; to be sure that we are not content to allow it to remain in us and work in us; otherwise we prove by our course that our love for righteousness is growing weaker. Happy are those who find that they are not merely working down the leavened mass occasionally and allowing it again and again to ferment, but are casting it out, by constantly resisting sin, by cleansing their thoughts, words and deeds with the Truth and cultivating the blessed "fruits of the Spirit"--love, joy, peace, etc.

Only the studious find the way to Divine approval and acceptance. Let us study to see that our lives are an honor to the cause we have espoused; that we abstain from even the appearance of evil; that we are circumspect in all our conversation, in our conduct--watching our thoughts, our lips, our lives. Let us study to be diligent in every duty, performing it with a ready mind and with joy and gladness of heart. Let us never lose sight of the fact that we are soldiers, and that as true soldiers we are to learn to "endure hardness."

A soldier has many trivial duties to perform and he is as really doing his duty as a soldier when he is polishing his armor, foraging, cooking his meals, cleaning camp or building bridges for the army to pass over, as when he is fighting the enemy. Such things are incidental work, but are necessary and entirely consistent with his commission as a soldier and should not be regarded as entanglements and hindrances. These duties cannot be disregarded nor carelessly done without a measure of unfaithfulness.

WHATEVER OUR CAPTAIN HAS RECOGNIZED AND APPROVED IS PROPER FOR US

So with the Christian soldier. The routine of life-- housework, shop work, daily toil, anything, everything, incidental to a proper and honest provision of "things needful" for ourselves and those dependent upon us for support, as well as for provision for the prosecution and care of the Lord's work--all this is a proper part of our engagement as soldiers of the Lord.

The Apostle Peter was as truly serving the Lord when catching the fish from whose mouth he got the coin with which to pay his Master's taxes and his own, as when proclaiming, on the day of Pentecost, the "raising up" and ascension of the Lord. The Apostle Paul was as truly a soldier of the cross and doing his proper work as such when making tents (rather than be chargeable to any) as when at Mars Hill he preached Jesus and the resurrection. Whatever is done with a view to the glory and honor of our Lord, the Captain of our salvation, or for the benefit of any of our fellow-soldiers, or for our own preparation for this warfare, or in the discharge of obligations which our Captain has recognized and approved, is proper work for us as soldiers and is not entanglement in the affairs of this life.



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DIVINE JUSTICE AND MERCY
--JULY 16.--2 CHRON. 33:1-20.--

"Cease to do evil; learn to do well."--Isa. 1:16,17.
MANASSEH, the central figure of this study, was the son of the good King Hezekiah. Manasseh succeeded to the throne of Judah in his twelfth year--the bad son of a good father. This matter of good fathers and evil sons, and evil fathers and good sons was probably due, frequently, to the good or evil character of the mothers, as well as to the fact that the king, occupied with the affairs of state, could not give proper attention to the cultivation of his own children. Doubtless, there are exceptions to every rule, but it is impossible to avoid a certain amount of reflection against the parents in respect to every scape-grace child.

HOW FEW RECOGNIZE THE SACREDNESS OF PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Parentage is undoubtedly the highest and most important function of human life. Yet how few realize the sacredness of parental responsibilities! The Prophet inquires, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" While admitting the inference that none of our race can possibly be perfect, we must admit also that in the parents reside great possibilities respecting the good or evil of their children. This responsibility should be felt in mating--before marriage. We are not urging that marriage should be put upon the same plane as stock breeding, and the finer sentiments disregarded; but we do claim that the spirit of a sound mind should be sought in connection with the most important contract of life, affecting not only the destiny and happiness of the pair, but also of their offspring.

Whoever will acquaint himself with the care exercised by the scientific florist and gardener for the obtaining of choice varieties of fruits and flowers and vegetables, will have reason to feel ashamed of the little attention that is paid to the attainment of proper ideals in respect to the human race--indeed, it is amazing that with the majority there is no ideal whatever; blind, brute passion alone is recognized.

The breeder of fine horses, dogs, cattle, etc., will explain how careful he is with the mother during the period of breeding--her health, her surroundings, all are considered, because all have to do with her offspring, yet these same breeders of cattle, horses, poultry, etc., seem to give little consideration to the condition of the wife, the mother of their own children, during the period of gestation. How strange that a horse-fancier realizes that the breeding mare will be benefitted by pictures of running horses and by seeing horses racing, and that as a consequence her foal will be more speedy and more valuable, yet fails to apply this principle to his wife!

Is it any wonder that children are born nervous and peevish when we know that the mother in bearing them was fretted and annoyed in a thousand ways? Is it any wonder that children are born to a heritage of passion, anger and lust, when we think of the experiences of their mothers which are thus impressed upon them? Surely all parents of reasonable judgment, understanding these matters, would lay proper foundations for character in their children--foundations upon which, subsequently, they would patiently, carefully and lovingly develop their children along the lines of the highest standards of righteousness and the beauty of holiness and loyalty to the Creator! But while this should be the endeavor of all, when could we hope ever to bring the world into a condition to desire and strive for such results? Never! Hope for the world would die were it not based upon the sure Word of the Lord, which promises mankind help from on High in the great Kingdom of Messiah.

THE VALLEY OF HINNOM

King Manasseh reintroduced idolatry, built altars for the worship of Baal in the courts of the temple, used enchantments and communicated with evil spirits. The Lord permitted him to take this course and apparently the majority of the nation were swayed either to good or evil by the example of their kings. Thus the people were [R4840 : page 185] made to err. The punishment for this course followed. The king of Assyria was permitted of the Lord to be the executioner of the punishment. He captured the city and took the king prisoner. The punishment for idolatry was not eternal torment, be it noted; that erroneous view came to us during the "Dark Ages." We are getting back to a better understanding of God and His Word.

After the king had been in captivity a while, his senses commenced to return to him and he began to learn his lesson. Thoughts of his good father, King Hezekiah, and the Lord's blessings upon him, surely came to his mind. King Manasseh repented, sought the forgiveness of the Lord and obtained it, and was restored to his own kingdom.

In connection with the king's idolatrous delusions, it is recorded in verse six that he "caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of Hinnom." That valley lies just outside the city of Jerusalem, to the south. It is now considerably filled up and covered with orchards. Of old it was a deep valley. It was used for religious rites at one time. A great brass image erected there, the body of which was hollow, constituted a flue for the fires built underneath. The image had outstretched arms, which became heated and upon these arms children were sometimes offered in sacrifice to the false deities, wholly contrary to everything authorized by the Almighty.

Later on, this valley of Hinnom was polluted so that it might never again be used as a place of worship. No doubt it was used as a place for the destruction of the offal of the city of Jerusalem--dead cats and rats and dogs, etc., were thrown there and fire and brimstone burned therein for the destruction of the foul gases. The bodies of the vilest criminals might after death also be thrown into this valley as refuse, indicating no hope of future life for them.

In the New Testament, written in Greek, this "valley of the son of Hinnom" is styled Ge-hinnom, or, later, Gehenna. Our Lord several times used this valley in illustrating the Second Death--the hopelessness of all those who would wilfully, intelligently and persistently refuse the grace of God.

LEARN TO DO WELL

Our text, from Isaiah, is the Lord's admonition, "Cease to do evil; learn to do well." It represents God's general attitude toward our race. He does not chide us for being sinners, for He Himself explains that we were born in sin and mis-shapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us. What the Lord desires in us is that, realizing our wrong condition, we shall turn therefrom to the best of our ability to do right. We shall not be able to effect this transformation in ourselves except so far as to have a right will and a pure heart, or honest endeavor for righteousness. To all such the Lord proposes succor, assistance, and this assistance [R4840 : page 186] He has provided for us in our Redeemer. He is an assistance already to those who can accept Him and His Word by faith. He will be an actual assistance to the great majority of mankind through the establishment of His Kingdom. Eventually all who will come to love righteousness and hate iniquity shall be enabled to attain eternal life, and all who will love iniquity and hate righteousness shall have the punishment of the Second Death, symbolically represented in Gehenna--"everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."



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A GODLY YOUNG KING
--JULY 23.--2 CHRON. 34:1-13.--

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth."--Eccles. 12:1.
KING MANASSEH of our last lesson had a bad son, Amon, who reigned but two years, and was murdered by his courtiers in his own palace. His son, Josiah, the central figure of today's study, became king in his eighth year. By the time he was sixteen his heart had begun to seek after and to desire to serve the Almighty God. By the time he was twenty his religious convictions were so deep and fixed, and his authority as a king so in his own hand that he dared to begin the work of reformation. The idols and their temples and groves for idolatrous worship were destroyed. The valley of Hinnom, as already suggested, was desecrated and made a dumping-place for the offal of Jerusalem.

The temple of the Lord was repaired and cleansed of all its idolatrous defilements, and worship and praise therein to the Almighty, was restored. More than this, the king extended his influence for the destruction of idolatry into what was once the territory of the two tribes, north of his kingdom.

MISTAKE TO ASSUME THAT WILD OATS MUST FIRST BE SOWN

What a force there is in our text, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth"! What a great mistake some parents make in assuming that their children must have an experience in "sowing wild oats" before they will be prepared to appreciate righteousness and become its servants! This thought is reflected upon the minds of the young, both male and female; rarely do [R4838 : page 186] they seek to live by a higher standard than that expected of them by their parents or guardians. We have known saintly mothers to unintentionally lay snares for the feet of their children by introducing them to ways of the world in which they themselves would not walk. Their expressed sentiment was, "I must not put upon these children the weight of the cross, nor expect of them saintship; if ever they become truly consecrated saints of God they will then know the trials of the 'narrow way' and have plenty of them."

Alas! such Christian mothers have failed to grasp the situation properly. They have failed to realize that, at the present time, there is no real happiness in the world except in the "narrow way." The "broad road" of self-gratification, pride, lust, sin, selfishness, is indeed a beautiful picture at a distance, but the picture is a mirage-- it can never be reached--it is a delusion. The millions of those who throng the broad road of selfishness, pride, etc., are all bent on pleasure, seeking it with all their might; but how many of all the millions on that road have found pleasure? We hold that they are merely pleasure-hunters and not pleasure-finders; we hold that the only real pleasure and substantial joy in the world is to be found in the narrow way of self-sacrifice --in the footsteps of the Great Teacher--in taking up the cross to follow him--in laying down life as He laid down His--in "suffering with Him that we might also reign with Him"--in being "dead with Him that we might also live with Him."

Of those who enter the broad road, few ever turn to the narrow way. Parents, friends, Christians have given them the misunderstanding that the broad road is the one of pleasure and happiness. When they find it the reverse they naturally think that the narrow way must be much less happifying, much less desirable.

A CERTAIN SIMPLICITY AND HONESTY IN THE MIND OF EVERY CHILD

Of the few who do find the narrow way after having walked in the broad road their plaint is, "Oh, why did I not earlier find the way of the Lord, the way of Truth, joy, peace and happiness!"

Notwithstanding the depravity with which all are born, there appears to be a certain simplicity and honesty in the mind of every child. It is that principle which must be used by teachers and helpers in general, if the child is led in the right way, by which he would most quickly attain a relationship and harmony with his Creator; nor is it necessary always that there shall be a preceptor. At times, under God's providence, the message from on High reaches the heart, and draws it with seemingly little resistance. The hollowness of life is perceived, the need of wisdom from on High is recognized, and perhaps by the servant, perhaps through parental instruction, perhaps through the counsels of a friend, perhaps by a tract or a book, the young heart is shown the way of wisdom and is pointed to the Lord and to the narrow way.

We are to remember that the will is the real director of our destiny, under Divine providence, and that it is all-important to have the will rightly directed and established. Many a one is in the broad road of sin and selfishness--away from God today--who has in his make-up many good qualities entirely out of sympathy with his position and course in life. But without the will to guide, to lead, he goes downward. Similarly there are some on the narrow way who have many physical, mental and moral blemishes of heredity continually drawing them toward the broad road, but who are kept in the narrow way of the Lord, not by the self-will of the flesh, but by the power of a renewed will. How important, then, the proper directing and fixing of our wills in youth! How much greater blessing we may enjoy in the present life, and how much more adequate preparation we may thereby have for the future life!

King Josiah of today's study is an example of the proper course for every young person to take. First of all, the heart should be given to the Lord in the days of youth, before the evil days and evil experiences have come; before one shall have learned so much of evil that the remainder of life would not suffice to eradicate it. Then, like Josiah, when time shall bring us opportunities for the service of righteousness, let us be whole-hearted in our advocacy of the right and in our opposition to the wrong, and in everything show forth the praises of our God, with the motto, GOD FIRST.



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DELIVERANCE FROM THE CURSE

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"; "but the wrath of God abideth on him."-- 1 John 5:12; John 3:36.
THE BELIEVER referred to in this text is he who believes with the heart--not merely one with an intellectual appreciation of the fact that Christ is the Son of God: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." It means one who has come into relationship to the Son of God, to acknowledge Him as his Leader, the Head over the Body! "He that hath the Son hath life." At the present time such a one has this life imputed to him; but he does not, of course, possess it in its full sense. He has merely the begetting to the new nature and the promise that, if faithful, he shall have part in the First Resurrection. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years."--Rev. 20:6.

In this resurrection change, which will come in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, such will, in the fullest sense, have life. Now, they are looked upon as New Creatures. They have passed from under the death condemnation; "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23.) Those who have accepted this gift are, therefore, in this condition. The remainder of mankind are still under the death sentence, the wrath of God. They are not under the sentence of eternal torment, but under the curse, the condemnation of death. All mankind were born under this sentence. So the Apostle again says that we "have escaped the corruption which is upon the world." (2 Pet. 1:4.) It is still upon the world, but we are free.

THE NEW COVENANT TO BE MADE WITH ISRAEL

There is a difference, however, between this Age and the next. Before the world shall be put on trial it will have a Mediator provided, composed of Christ, the Head, and the Church His Body. This Mediator will stand between Divine Justice and the masses of mankind. The first act of the Mediator will be to put into operation the New Covenant. Jeremiah the Prophet (31:31) tells us that the New Covenant will be inaugurated with Israel: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Messiah will be the Mediator of that New Covenant. Moses was a type of this greater Mediator; and the Law Covenant a type of this New Law Covenant. All the Jews will be transferred from Moses to Christ, the better Mediator; and from the Old Law Covenant to the New Law Covenant.

This New Covenant will be open to all mankind as they come to realize their need, the supplying of which can be accomplished only through the Mediator. All must come under the arrangements of the Messianic Kingdom in order to share with the Jews in the blessings of that time. So we read, "And many nations will go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2.) They will say, He has done for the Jew first; but he will also do for us.

"HE SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD," ETC.

Thus the Lord's blessing will extend from one nation to another until the whole world will be full of Divine blessings; and thus all the families of the earth will be blessed. This New Covenant arrangement, however, will bring blessings to mankind only in proportion as they accept the Mediator. All down through the Millennial Age the eyes of their understanding will be opened as they come into harmony with the New Covenant arrangements. Thus to gain life through the great Life-Giver in the next Age will be very different from the attaining of life now. All through that thousand years of His glorious ministration and reign, Christ, as the Mediator of the New Covenant, will be developing Israel and the world, raising them from their fallen condition and bringing them up to perfection.

As Isaiah the Prophet puts it, "He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6.) So the relationship of the great Mediator to all the people will be that of a Father to His own children. The period of Christ's reign will be the time in which everlasting life will be given to whomsoever will; and every creature will have fullest trial, fullest opportunity to come up to everlasting life. At the end of the thousand years mankind will be delivered up to the Father to be finally tested.

The relationship of Christ to the Church, however, is a different one. He is not our Father. He is our Brother. Nevertheless, He is the Advocate through whom we must come to the Father; through whom we may cry, Abba, Father.

Our text applies now, primarily. It will apply in the Millennial Age, gradually, as men shall come to a knowledge of the Truth. The Jews will be transferred as a nation from the Law Covenant to the New Covenant. God kept them bound up under the Law especially to that end, that they might be transferred in due time. But as for other people, they will be obliged to accept the great Mediator; and thus from the moment they accept Christ the provisions of the New Covenant will cover them. But upon those who do not accept God's arrangements the wrath of God will still abide.



page 187

1911--CONVENTIONS PROGRAM--1911

LONDON (ENG.) CONVENTION opened the season and has already been reported.

BOSTON CONVENTION, May 28, 29, 30, was a blessed success. The average attendance was between 500 and 650, while the public services ran up to 2,000 for the discourse on "Zionism" to 4,000 who heard "Which Is the True Gospel?" The dear friends entered heartily into the work--physically and financially--and the Lord greatly blessed their efforts.

THE WESTERN CONVENTION TOUR, already announced, will extend conventional blessings far and wide. Our dear Brother Jones' Special Train will surely add to the zest of the various programs.

TORONTO (CANADA) CONVENTION, JULY 15, 16, 17, has secured very favorable railroad excursion rates, as elsewhere announced. Accommodations, $1.25 per day and up. Address Wm. A. Sinclair, 193 Concord avenue, Toronto, Can.

ST. JOHN'S (NEW BRUNSWICK), August 20, 21, 22. This gathering will accommodate the friends of a considerable area, and no doubt will be a joy as well as a blessing. Rates, $1.25 per day and up. Address us.

MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK, MD., SEPT. 1-11. This is expected to be the Convention event of the year. The place is a choice one for resting and Bible study. It is a Summer Tourist Rate Point so far as railways are concerned. We can secure no further concessions. Entertainment, $1.25 per day up to $3. Particulars later. This Convention will be the last for the year except possibly one at GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, Oct. 28, 29, 30, concerning which we still await information.



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"LOVE CASTETH OUT FEAR"

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment."--I John 4:18.
BETTER expressed could have been the thought of the text by saying, "There is no dread in love." We do not dread that which we love. In one sense, however, the more we love, the more we fear. We would not be so careful about pleasing a person whom we do not thus love. This is not the kind of fear, however, that the Apostle wishes us to cast out. On the contrary, it should be much enhanced. Consequently, the word dread would more accurately express the thought of our text.

The Scriptures speak of some who have "no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom. 3:18.) Evidently these are unregenerate. Often, among men, there is a thoughtlessness in respect to God and the future. The Apostle in this text does not intimate that all hearts have fear; but that if any heart has fear, perfect love will cast it out. As the knowledge and love increase, the fear diminishes. We may say that those of the world who have a reverential fear are such as are in a preferable attitude of mind; they are in better condition than the thoughtless. In life, certain conditions which surround us call for reverence; and man's brain is so constituted that reverence will be a part of his mental attitude if he be not depraved. Hence, the Scriptures say that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Prov. 9:10.) The fear of the Lord, the reverence of the Lord, will bring a blessing. This fear of the Lord rather increases as the child of God comes to know His Maker; but it is a gradual process.

There is a certain kind of fear which comes as the result of imperfect knowledge. We do not credit the Adversary with producing all the evil thoughts of the human mind, yet we believe he has very much to do with the evil influences which surround our race. People may be without fear of God; and we think that even after they have come to the Lord, and are learning to reverence Him and to know something about Him, they may lack the right kind of fear. Then the Adversary's plan will be to plant dread in their minds.

So we find with all heathen peoples. As soon as they have any knowledge of God, the Adversary seems to conjure up slavish fear which crowds out love, and produces dread. We read that "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." (2 Cor. 4:4.) We think that this evil influence is accountable for many of the things which seem so remarkable to us. It explains the fact that the heathen have devilish doctrines mingled with dread of God; and that all the worldly who have knowledge of God, both Jews and Christians, have fear also--dread. Yet Christians have much greater light upon God's character than have others, and so should have correspondingly less fear than the heathen.

A CERTAIN KIND OF FEAR PROPER

Evidently our text is not intended to signify that a Christian should have no sense of fear. This fact is shown by the experience of the first Christian, our Lord Himself, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He there feared, as the Apostle tells us in speaking of this occasion, and He was heard in that He feared. He offered up strong cryings and tears to Him who was able to save Him out of death. (Heb. 5:7.) If the Master feared, so should His followers. The Apostle says, "Let us, therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (Heb. 4:1.) How shall we harmonize these fears with our text. The text is, evidently, not intended to contradict the great lessons otherwise taught. Our Lord Jesus appealed to the Father who, He knew, loved Him; but He knew also, that the Father was absolutely perfect, righteous, just; and he feared lest He might have come short in fulfilling some of the requirements.

So with us. Let us know that "God is love" (I John 4:8), but let us fear respecting ourselves, and have such a carefulness, such a desire to please God, that we should feel fearful lest in any degree we should come short. Ignorance begets fear; but love for God will enable us to cast out that fear, and will also enable us to come to God with great confidence. So let us "Draw nigh unto God" (James 4:8) with full confidence that He will bless us. This thought is the very opposite to that in the heathen mind. Their conception of a god is that of a demon. The Christian, on the other hand, who is walking in the footsteps of the Master, learns to love his God and to wish to do the Father's will only. Nothing is acceptable in the nature of a sacrifice that is not prompted by that love. "The Father seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth."-- John 4:23,24.


FACE TO FACE WITH TROUBLE
"You are face to face with trouble,
And the skies are murk and gray;
You hardly know which way to turn,
You are almost dazed, you say.
And at night you wake to wonder
What the next day's news will bring;
Your pillow is brushed by phantom care
With a grim and ghastly wing.

"You are face to face with trouble;
A child has gone astray;
A ship is wrecked on the bitter sea;
There's a note you cannot pay;
Your brave right hand is feeble;
Your sight is growing blind;
Perhaps a friend is cold and stern,
Who was ever warm and kind.

"You are face to face with trouble;
No wonder you cannot sleep;
But stay, and think of the promise,
The Lord will safely keep,
And lead you out of the thicket,
And into the pasture land;
You have only to walk straight onward,
Holding the dear Lord's hand.

"You are face to face with trouble;
And did you forget to look,
As the good old father taught you,
For help to the dear old Book?
You have heard the Tempter whisper,
And you've had no heart to pray,
And God has dropped from your scheme of life,
For--oh, many a weary day!

"Then face to face with trouble;
It is thus He calls you back
From the land of dearth and famine
To the land that has no lack.
You would not hear in the sunshine;
You hear in the midnight gloom.
Behold, His tapers kindle
Like stars in the quiet room.

"Oh! face to face with trouble,
Friend, I have often stood,
To learn that pain has sweetness,
To know that God is good.
Arise and meet the daylight;
Be strong and do your best!
With an honest heart, and a childlike faith
That God will do the rest."



[R4841 : page 189]

"CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY"

"The mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, is now made manifest to his saints;...which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."--Col. 1:26,27.
THIS expression in various slightly different forms occurs many times in the New Testament. The consecrated children of God are spoken of as being "in Christ Jesus," whom God gave to be Head over the Church which is His Body. We are "baptized into Christ." This the Apostle explains as the Mystery hidden from the Ages, but now made known to us--that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.--2 Cor. 5:19; Col. 1:26.

This Christ is composed of many members. (I Cor. 12:12.) The Greek word Christ corresponds to the Hebrew word Messiah. In either language the significance of the word is, The Anointed. In olden times the Priests were anointed with oil, as were also the kings of Israel. This ceremony seems to typify the anointing of the antitypical kings and priests. The Messiah, therefore, is the anointed King and Priest, whom God hath foreordained from before the foundation of the world --for putting some down and lifting up all who will be obedient to His arrangements.

This Gospel Age is the time in which the Messiah is prepared. The Head of the Messiah, therefore, very properly, is first; and following Him the Apostles and all down through the Age the various members of the Body. This Age will end when the full number of the "elect" shall have been found and tested. Then the Body will have been completed. When The Messiah is complete, The Christ will be complete.

This part of God's Plan is hidden from the natural man, who sees nothing in it. Only those who reverence God sufficiently and who are in close touch with His arrangement can see. It was hidden from the Jews, who saw not that Jesus was the Head of this Messianic Body, and was to be a Spirit-being, not human; and that God is taking from them and from all nations those who shall compose this Body.

"YE HAVE AN UNCTION FROM THE HOLY ONE AND YE ALL KNOW IT"

In view of the various statements of Scripture relating to this subject, we see how Christ is represented in us. In proportion as we have the Holy Spirit, in that proportion we are faithful members of His Body, and have the anointing in us. As the Apostle says, "The anointing that ye have received of Him abideth in you"; "Ye have an unction [or anointing] from the Holy One, and ye all know it." (I John 2:27,20.) It manifests itself to us as it would not to the world. We know that we have the mind of Christ--the opposite of selfishness. This we can more and more discern in others--better than in ourselves. As every good seed will bring forth good fruit, so we, if we abide in the Vine, shall bring forth the fruits thereof--meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, long-suffering, love.

Christ in you is the hope of glory in the sense that to this Christ, this Anointed One, God has promised glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature. Only those who possess this anointing, the Spirit of Christ, can properly possess this hope; for what we now have is merely an earnest of our inheritance and a foretaste of what is to come. But this call is to ignominy now. "They shall say all manner of evil against you" who have this anointing. The world will know you not, even as it "knew Him not." (I John 3:1.) This, which we have now, is a bitter foretaste; but coupled with this there is a joy which the world cannot give.



[R4842 : page 189]

THE ROBE OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS

"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."--Rom. 4:7.
THE "WEDDING GARMENT" mentioned in the Lord's parable (Matt. 22:2-14), is the Robe of Justification, which becomes ours at the time of consecration. At the very moment of our begettal, when the Lord accepted us, we became probationary members of the Body of Christ, the Bride Class, and were covered with the Wedding Robe.

This "wedding garment" is given, not to the Old Creature, but to the New Creature, to cover the blemishes of its imperfect body. At the moment of God's acceptance of our sacrifice, and of the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the New Creature is reckoned as coming into existence and as wearing this robe. Thenceforth, the Old Creature, from the Divine viewpoint, is non-existent--"Old things are passed away; all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17.) But this New Creature must have a new body. The New Creature has the old body, but a new will--the will of Christ. The Apostle tells us that we should not be satisfied with merely reckoning ourselves dead according to the flesh, but that we should reckon ourselves as having been made alive in the Spirit. If the Spirit of Christ be in us, it will quicken our mortal bodies--vivify them.--Rom. 8:8-14.

These mortal bodies, then, which were under the influence of the old imperfections and under the old course of life, have now, under the new mind, a restraining, or constraining influence put upon them and the New Creature is expected to use the new mind, or will, to overcome the desires of the flesh. While in this body of flesh, the New Creature is expected to demonstrate such faithfulness in the development of character that he may be accounted worthy of being raised in the First Resurrection as a Divine being. Having this imperfect body, he needs the robe of Christ's righteousness to cover his imperfections.

THE ROBE DOES NOT COVER SINS OF THE NEW MIND

In studying this subject, it is well to keep in mind that the robe does not cover, as some seem to think, sins of the new mind. The Scriptures ascribe no sin to the new mind, and no perfection in righteousness to the fallen flesh. If the new mind were disloyal to God, the robe would not cover it; it would cease to be a new mind. To continue to have the imperfections of the flesh (which we have inherited from Adam) covered, the New Creature must remain loyal to God; otherwise, it will deserve the Second Death. Hence, these New Creatures, with imperfect bodies under the control of the new mind, have the Bridal Robe granted to them, that they may have a standing in the sight of the Lord and of each other.

This righteousness of our dear Redeemer is represented as being imputed to us. It is for us, then, to work out the glorious embroidery, the stamp of which is already upon the robe--the directions as to how we may work out the fruits of the Spirit thereon.



[R4842 : page 190]

QUESTIONS OF INTEREST

THE GRADUAL END OF GOSPEL FAVOR

QUESTION.--Do you understand the Scriptures to teach, either directly or indirectly, through the Parallels of the Jewish Dispensation, that it was necessary that all who would eventually constitute the "little flock" must have been in a justified condition previous to October, 1881? Answer.--No, we do not so understand the matter.

Question.--Was it necessary that all who would be of the "little flock" should have made their consecration by or before October, 1881?

Answer.--No, we do not so understand the matter.

The chapter in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. II, showing the parallels between the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, makes prominent four dates, viz., (1) October, 1874; (2) April, 1878; (3) October, 1881, and (4) October, 1914; these dates being parallel to four in the Jewish harvest, viz., (1) The beginning of our Lord's ministry; the beginning of the trial or harvest time of the Jewish nation, October, 29; (2) The end of our Lord's ministry, His crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jewish nation as a nation, April, 33 (See SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. 2, chapter 7); (3) The close of the "seventy weeks" (Dan. 9:24-26) of favor upon the Jewish nation--October, 36--after which the Gospel privileges were open to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first convert; (4) The full end of trouble and destruction which came upon Israel's polity, October, 69.

It should be clearly noticed that the parallels between the Jewish and Gospel Ages all belong to the nominal systems then and now, and if this is borne in mind, it will prevent our applying these parallels either to the gathering out of the Gospel Church or to the gathering of the Lord's people out of Babylon now.

Noting these parallels, we find 1874 as the beginning of this "harvest" and the gathering together of the "elect" from the four winds of heaven; 1878 as the time when Babylon was formally rejected, Laodicea spewed out--the time from which it is stated, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen"--fallen from Divine favor. The parallel in 1881 would seem to indicate that certain favors were still continued to those in Babylon up to that date, notwithstanding the rejection of the system; and since that date we would understand that that relationship has been in no sense an advantageous one, but has been in many senses of the word a distinct disadvantage, from which only with difficulty could any free themselves, the Lord's grace and truth assisting. And in harmony with this parallelism, October, 1914, will witness the full end of Babylon, "as a great millstone cast into the sea," utterly destroyed as a system.

Coming back: We concede it reasonable to infer that the close of the favors upon fleshly Israel represent the close of the special favor of this Gospel Age, viz., the invitation to the High Calling; accordingly, our understanding is that the open or general "call" of this Age to Kingdom honors ceased in October, 1881. However, as already shown in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, we make a distinction between the end of the "call" and the closing of the "door"; and believe that the door into the Kingdom class is not yet closed; that it stands ajar for a time, to permit those who had already accepted the "call" and who fail to use its privileges and opportunities in self-sacrifice to be thrust out, and to permit others to enter to take their crowns, in harmony with Rev. 3:11. The present time, therefore, from 1881 until the door of opportunity for sacrifice in the Lord's service shall fully close, is a period of "sifting" as respects all who are already in Divine favor, in covenant relationship with God.

And since those who have gone into the "Feast" through the "door" represent all who are called (except those who have afterward been rejected and expelled), it follows that the places of those thus expelled must be taken by some who were not previously amongst the called, amongst the consecrated. This, we trust, makes plain the answer to your question, proving that some not previously consecrated will, in the eleventh hour, be admitted to the vineyard labors and to the rewards of the faithful, after the open call ceased, and before the "door" closes.

Indeed, we are to distinctly remember that in speaking of the gathering to take place during this harvest time, our Lord mentions amongst others those who have been in the field (in the world), apparently referring to a class who previously had been neither justified nor sanctified through the Truth. See SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. III, Chap. 6.


THE NEW CREATURE GIVEN THE ROBE

Question.--Can the New Creature's body sin?

Answer.--The New Creature's proper body is the Spirit body of the First Resurrection. But before getting it he is placed on probation and given his old human body to practice with. The New Creature cannot make the old body obey him perfectly. But he can develop strength in his endeavors to bring words, actions and thoughts into perfect accord with the perfect Law of God--Love.

Unable to conquer, he must show the Captain of his salvation his loyalty to the core by "fighting a good fight."

The imperfections of the flesh to which the new mind does not consent are all of heredity--all from Adamic weakness--all, therefore, forgivable by the Redeemer, who merely needs to be appealed to as the great Advocate. But every transgression of the flesh is charged to the New Creature, who owns the flesh and is using it. This obligates repentance, prayer, etc., and means the greater blessing to the New Creature. To whatever extent the New Creature gives consent or sympathy to the sin of his flesh he is worthy of "stripes," which correctively will assist in his character development. "What son is he whom his Father chasteneth not?"

The New Creature only is given the wedding robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, as a covering for his imperfect flesh. It represents his justification as a New Creature. It shows him as in Divine sight, holy, harmless, undefiled, through the merit of Jesus his Advocate and Redeemer.


THE NEW CREATURE AND SIN

Question.--Can the New Creature sin?

Answer.--Yes! and No! The Apostle says, "He cannot sin, for his seed remaineth in him." (I John 3:9.) That is to say, so long as any New Creature continues to possess the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, he cannot consent wilfully to do sin. If one Spirit-begotten does sin wilfully it implies that prior to that wilful sin he parted with his spirit of holiness (lost the seed of his begetting) and got instead a spirit of sin, the spirit of the Adversary. In other words, a holy person, possessing God's Spirit of begetting, cannot wilfully and intentionally do that which he knows to be unholy and displeasing to God. He cannot take pleasure in sin. He once died to it, and to have it revive means a return to wallowing in the mire--"twice dead, plucked up by the roots"; ready to be taken and destroyed as a brute beast.--Jude 12; 2 Peter 2:12.



[R4843 : page 191]

SOME INTERESTING LETTERS

BELOVED PASTOR:--

I feel constrained today to say a few words concerning the joy which I feel in my heart and what I owe to your faithful ministry. No loyal heart could fail to be impressed by your unwavering fidelity to our Master and to His "flock," to whom you stand so peculiarly related.

Appreciating the "Vow" submitted in 1908 as a Heaven-provided safeguard for the "flock," I felt from the first that subtle tests just ahead were sure to emphasize the needs of just such a safeguard. Realizing that there is a practical side to the Christian warfare, I promptly availed myself of the "Vow," at the same time realizing that our relation to it must be the same as to our original Vow of full consecration; that while the taking of the Vow was the initial step, its value as a safeguard is in the faithful carrying out of all it expresses. While the developments following this note of warning have been more startling than I had anticipated, I have been impressed as never before with the significance of the Scripture, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath (that which could not praise Him) shalt thou restrain."--Psa. 76:10.

During 1909 I tabulated a large number of subjects being treated in WATCH TOWER concerning the "Ransom" and closely related topics. I feel that those wonderful explanations of Truth which have come to us, especially during the past two years in a faithful endeavor to shield the "sheep," are a forceful illustration of the "Vine and Branch" proposition --that nothing the Lord permits means loss to the fruit-bearing branches. The Divinely provided nourishment withdrawn from the unappreciative means added enrichment to those giving evidence of a disposition to use it. Truly, we have realized that the more searching the analysis the more glorious the Truth becomes; indeed, our hearts should be filled with wonder, love and praise.

I am trying to weigh the serious side of it. Sometimes I cannot keep back the tears as I think of the abounding wealth into which we have entered. I feel that if we are not energized to greater appreciation and to greater faithfulness, as the reasonable acknowledgment of such favors, then we have lost all reasonable grounds for hope of their continuance. Surely we must enter into the spirit of His work now (the development of the "Bride"--laying down our lives for the brethren, not only willingly, but gladly), if we are to share in the ultimate work after the preparatory features are completed.

God bless you richly, dear brother; our prayers follow you on your missions of love. We are constrained to express our sentiments in the language of the MANNA comment for Sept. 1, as follows: "It is because we see Jesus to be the Father's choice that we unite ourselves to Him; because we see the Father's character manifested in Him, that we leave all to follow Him. Similarly, if we lend our aid, our support, to any human being in connection with the Divine Plan and service, it should be simply upon this ground--not merely a personal magnetism or favoritism, but because our hearts are touched by the Lord with the leader's being of His appointment."

The hearts of the dear ones in these Lower Provinces of Canada are made glad with the hope of arrangements for a Three-Days' Convention during this season.

We ask that you pray for us all, increasing faithfulness. Sister Black shares with me, dear brother, this expression of love for yourself and for the Lord's flock.

Faithfully yours in the joy of service,
W. W. BLACK.--CANADA.


DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I thank our Heavenly Father for the Truth and for you, through whom great blessings have come to me. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to be associated in the Harvest work, in Berkeshire Co., Mass., with Brother Goodwin, of Torrington, Conn., through whom I have received added blessings.

I have recently had some remarkable experiences with the Jews, of whom there is a colony of about twenty families, including a Rabbi, in the vicinity of my home.

Some time ago I distributed among them copies of Die Stimme, the Yiddish paper. The young people of the colony cannot read Yiddish and are asking for similar matter in English. As PEOPLES PULPIT sermons are along lines of Christian teaching, I have not distributed them, lest the motive be misconstrued.

These people have the correct idea concerning the cause of the centuries of suffering which they and their ancestors have experienced. They acknowledge that Christ was sent of God to bless the world; even the Rabbi assented to this. They were very cordial, urging me to come again.

This colony, composed mainly of farmers from Russia, I am told, has the support of the Rothschilds. They are looking for the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies, expecting it within a few years.

Your statements upon Jewish matters, when clearly understood by them, will, it seems to me, be one of the most potent factors in uniting the Jews in the Zionist movement. Since the distribution of the Yiddish paper, I find your name a household word among them. I would like suitable literature (English) to give them, as they request it for the young people. Dear Brother, I wish always to be

Your faithful brother in Christ,
NEWTON T. HARTSHORN.--MASS.


DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I am enclosing just a "mite" for use in the Harvest Work. Although I realize that you are very busy, I will take some of your time to tell you about it, for I know you will find it interesting.

It is the contents of a "mite box" to which I contributed for six or eight months, putting in small amounts for each blessing which I received--not counting the daily blessings of bread and health, etc. It shows that the Lord was good to me, doesn't it? However, the most interesting part follows:--

My box was one among several which our Sunday School teacher gave to us girls in 1909. We had previously withdrawn from the church with which we were associated, and its school, but had been held together by the Lord's loving kindness, and had weekly classes of our own. For some reason, which we could not then exactly understand, we were reluctant about sending the money to the Missionary Society of our denomination.

About a year ago our teacher died after a short illness. I will not dwell upon the persecutions which she had suffered in the church, nor our own sorrow afterward. I will only say that God has opened the eyes of our understanding and enabled us to see Present Truth. As in her life she was a great blessing to me, so, also, in her death. I believe the Lord had me save the money for this very purpose, and that she was one of his bright "jewels."

I cannot express the blessing which you have been to me, and the rest of us, and I thank Him for it. We daily remember you before the Throne of Heavenly Grace, and also the general interests of the work and the dear co-laborers.

By His grace, one of the "Little Ones in Christ."
MARY L. JENKINS.--MASS.


DEAR PASTOR:--

Having a growing conviction that the following extraction may be of interest to you (the more so after reading WATCH TOWER of March 15), I determined to send it along, hoping that you would be able to spare about two minutes of your valuable time for its perusal.

The Rev. S. Manning, who traveled through the Holy Land in the early part of 1873, in recording his experiences, says concerning the barren slopes of southern Palestine: "Even yet we can trace the lines of those ancient terraces, showing what the land once was, and what it may yet become again when 'the time to favor Zion, yea, the set time, is come.' From our camp, a few miles north of Bethel, we could see the hills clothed to their very summits with fig gardens, now in their bright spring greenery. A Syrian gentleman, who was my frequent companion through this part of Palestine, plucked the young figs as he passed without stint or scruple. His reply to my question as to his right to [R4844 : page 191] do so was instructive, as throwing light upon an incident in the life of our Lord, as to which some difficulty has been felt.

"In the early spring, when the first leaves appear, an immense number of small figs are produced, which do not ripen, but fall from the branches, crude and immature, to the ground. To these we find a reference in Rev. 6:13. The true crop is not produced till later in the year. This first crude, 'untimely' growth, though of no commercial value, is yet plucked and eaten by the peasantry, sometimes with a pinch of salt, sometimes with bread. Like the wild fruit of our hedgerows it is free to all passersby. It was just at this early season, before the feast of the Passover, that our Lord and his disciples, having walked from Bethany, 'hungered.' Seeing a fig tree 'afar off having leaves' they sought fruit, but found none. Seeing leaves they had a right to expect fruit. Finding fruit they would have had right to pluck it, 'for the time of figs was not yet'--the true and valuable crop was not yet produced. This incident He turned into a solemn lesson of warning to the Jews, etc., etc."

Yours humbly in Him and His service,
WILLIAM SMITH.



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