page 353
December 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

VOL. XXXVDECEMBER 1No. 23

A. D. 1914--A. M. 6043


CONTENTS

Spirit-Begotten Sons of God and Their Development355
How They Are Drawn356
Daily Battle of the Spirit-Begotten357
Temptations Peculiar to the New Creation358
World Not Able to Understand Us358
Our Sympathetic High Priest359
Seeing Things and Bewildered360
A Slump in Salvation360
Your Good Hopes for 1915361
"Watch Tower" Subscriptions362
The Church's Ordination363
"A Little While" (Poem)364
"Where He Was Before"365
Manner of Our Lord's Return366
Interesting Letters366
Re Distribution of B.S.M366
Turns Atheists to the Bible367
Report of Eureka Drama367
Mid-Winter Louisville Convention367

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

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

page 354

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

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 AND 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, London, 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.

NOVEMBER 1ST ISSUE IN DEMAND

Anticipating a heavy demand for extra copies of our November 1st issue, which is largely devoted to a systematic treatment of existing conditions as they stand related to Bible prophecy and Messiah's Kingdom, we arranged with our printers for considerably more than ordinarily required for our subscription list. Those desiring copies to give to their friends may have them at 5 cents each, or 40 cents per dozen, postpaid, while the supply lasts.


[R5586 : page 354]

EUREKA PROGRAM--FAMILY PROGRAM

In some of our back issues we have explained what constitutes the EUREKA DRAMA X, without pictures--only phonograph and DRAMA records, including musical records; also the Y DRAMA, with tinted slides, DRAMA lectures, music, etc.

Now we have a third suggestion, viz.: EUREKA FAMILY DRAMA. It consists of a phonograph of good, clear tones and a choice selection of records from the DRAMA and some musical records. A few of these records might be said to be a little shop-worn, but none of them are bad--most of them are strictly new. They are priced so as to bring them within the reach of many of our readers who could not afford to purchase the regular DRAMA, but who would like to have some of the records for their own family use and for such of the public as might choose to hear our most wonderful records.

The entire outfit represents twenty of the short lectures of the Scenario, four beautiful hymns and a disc-phonograph (concealed horn)--all for $12, or if all new $15. You would need to count on cost of expressage according to distance from Brooklyn. page 354



BETHEL HYMNS FOR JANUARY

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 January follow:

(1) 34; (2) 208; (3) 114; (4) 25; (5) 201; (6) 115; (7) 127; (8) 305; (9) 258; (10) Vow; (11) 299; (12) 47; (13) 221; (14) 197; (15) 307; (16) 324; (17) 128; (18) 175; (19) 152; (20) 52; (21) 202; (22) 109; (23) 173; (24) 300; (25) 240; (26) 284; (27) 101; (28) 303; (29) 28; (30) 119; (31) 245.



[R5582 : page 355]

SPIRIT-BEGOTTEN SONS OF GOD AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT

"If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."--Romans 8:13,14.
ONLY those who have the right spirit, disposition, will or intention, can keep the Divine Law, and only those who are in perfect harmony with God will He recognize as sons. The holy angels are sons of God on the angelic plane; cherubim are sons of God on their plane of being; and Christ and the Church in glory are sons of God on the Divine plane. All these are sons of God, yet they exist on different planes. They are all governed by the Spirit of God; and unless they had that Spirit, they could not be recognized as sons; for no one can keep the Divine Law except those who have the Divine disposition.

Before Adam fell he was a son of God. (Luke 3:38.) He had the Spirit of God, in the sense of having the right spirit, disposition, will, intention. But after he had become a transgressor of the Divine Law, he was considered a sinner. All of Adam's race are still sinners except those who have come into Christ. In the Millennial Age, however, Adam's race will have the privilege of coming into Christ. He will be The Everlasting Father, the Father who will give everlasting life to all those who will obey the instructions given under the Messianic Kingdom.

In order to reach that condition of Divine approval, mankind must have the spirit of the Truth, and must be developed along that line. Before they will be counted, or recognized, as sons, they must have the spirit, or disposition, of righteousness. Until they attain that spirit, they will not be able to render acceptable service; for the Lord seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth. In their fallen condition mankind are not able to keep the Divine Law. Even during the Millennial Age they will keep it only in part, until they shall have been brought back to the image of God in the flesh.--Genesis 1:26.

WHO ARE THE SONS OF GOD?

Thus far there has been a very limited number of sons of God on earth, according to the Scriptures. Throughout the Jewish Age God was the Instructor and Guide of His people through Moses and the Prophets; but the Israelites were not sons of God, and they did not have the Spirit's begetting to sonship. On the contrary, they were only a House of Servants. (Hebrews 3:5.) The Holy Spirit of God was not yet given to any of the fallen race; for Jesus was not yet glorified.--John 7:39.

The Scriptures speak of the Spirit of God as a special influence coming from God upon a special class, in a special manner, since a particular event--and not before that event. This coming of the Spirit was made manifest at Pentecost, so that it might stand out separate and distinct from anything that had ever before occurred. This power, or influence, is variously called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of a sound mind, the Spirit of sonship. The various qualities described by these appellations are all applicable to the same class; namely, those who are begotten of the Spirit.

These spirit-begotten ones are a particular class who have taken up their cross and become followers of Christ, and who are on this account recognized of the Father by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of Truth so illuminates the Bible that the Revelation of God may be better understood by those who have the Holy Spirit. They are able to comprehend the deep [R5583 : page 355] things of God, which cannot be comprehended without it. While others not having this Spirit of God might get some truth from the Scriptures, this special class have the very essence of the Truth.

SOME NATURALLY DRAWN TO GOD

We call to mind certain Scriptures which speak of a leading of God's people prior to their begetting of the Holy Spirit. Speaking of a kind of drawing that came to those who afterward became His disciples, our Lord said, "No man can come to Me, except the Father who hath sent Me draw him." (John 6:44.) This drawing is not the work of the Holy Spirit of begetting, which comes to those accepted of God through Christ and received as sons. On the contrary, that which the Scriptures speak of as a drawing of God, and which we have all experienced, seems to be a natural drawing along the lines of the flesh, not toward things sinful, but toward holiness, yet along lines which belong to the natural man.

For instance, when God created Adam, naturally he would love God, naturally he would desire to serve God, naturally he would desire to be obedient to God and to worship Him. These desires were all natural to him because he was in a natural condition--the condition in which he was created--pure. Sin has made mankind unnatural. But even after sin had entered in and had perverted the original character which God gave, certain longings for God remained in the human heart--even [R5583 : page 356] amongst depraved people. They would rather be in harmony with Him, be related to Him, have Him as their Protector and Friend.

God does not draw mankind by any other means than that original power which He implanted and which has not been altogether lost through the fall of the race of Adam. All mankind have degenerated from the image of God; but the desire for worship, for righteousness, for harmony with God, is much stronger in some people than in others. In proportion as one desires righteousness, in that proportion that one is drawn toward God, feels after God, if haply he might find his Creator. He is feeling after God because he wishes to find Him.

HOW THEY ARE DRAWN

This is the drawing, we believe, that comes to every one of us. Before we gave ourselves to God in consecration, we had a desire to come to Him, and that desire was something awakened in us. But it was there before it was awakened. Then something occurred that turned the thoughts toward God. Perhaps it was some great sorrow, some calamity, which drew the heart to God; and with it came the feeling that our grief should be taken to Him. Along with that desire, probably came the thought, "God will not hear me." This is a very proper conclusion, for there is no way of approach to God except through the Redeemer, who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Just as the Roman centurion Cornelius needed instruction as to how to approach God, so the soul feeling after Divine assistance also needs instruction. We verily believe that thousands upon thousands have been turned away from God because of the creedal misrepresentations of His righteous character. When people begin to realize that our God is loving, just, merciful, they will turn to Him. We find that some are now being attracted toward God through the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. Recently we heard of a lawyer who felt that he had lost his hold upon God altogether; but, as a result of seeing the DRAMA, he drew nigh to God and made a consecration of himself.

This, we believe, is the way in which we are drawn to the Father, whose influence is related to everything beautiful and harmonious in nature. Not until we have the desire to go back to God are we ready to be directed by the great Advocate; for when we come to the Advocate, He very pointedly says, "I cannot receive you except upon one condition." That condition, He tells us, is that we take up our cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24.) Consequently it would not be wise to tell any one about the narrow way unless he had some drawing toward God.

We see, then, quite a clear distinction between the drawing of the Father--that drawing which persists everywhere --and what in the Scripture is called the Spirit of God. That Spirit is given only to the sons of God. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14.) That Spirit takes hold of them, guiding them in various ways--sometimes by putting property into their hands, sometimes by taking it away from them, sometimes by permitting sickness to come. The experiences of these sons of God enable them to grow in grace, in knowledge and in love, that thus they may be fitted and prepared for positions on the spirit plane.

THE SPIRIT POURED UPON ALL MANKIND

During the Millennial Age things will be somewhat different from what they are now. Christ will have representatives in the earthly phase of the Kingdom, and through them the Word of God will go forth to the people. As many as will then be drawn toward God will be privileged to come into relationship with Him through consecration. They will then receive the Spirit of God in the sense of blessing, but not in the sense of begetting, as the Church receives it now.

The Ancient Worthies will be the earthly representatives of the Messianic Kingdom. The Christ, however, will be the great Teacher in glory, from whom all instruction will come through these earthly representatives. As people begin to get the true, the real knowledge about the glorious character of God, they will begin to see how inferior they are. Then they will be in condition to receive instruction.

No one will be compelled to have instruction, however; but whoever is out of accord with the Kingdom will have restrictions put upon him. The Prophet Zechariah, speaking of earthly affairs under the Kingdom, says, "And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain." (Zechariah 14:17.) If we interpret the word rain symbolically, we perceive that the thought is that upon such nations there will be no Divine blessing--if there were no rain, there would be no fruitage. But the rain, the blessing, would be upon those who would be in harmony with the Lord.

When people come into harmony with God, they will consecrate their lives and their bodies to His service. Then they will begin to get the blessings in their minds and bodies; and in this sense of the word they will get more of the Spirit of the Lord--the Spirit of His mind. So through His Truth and through the Divine judgments of that time, the Lord will "pour out His Spirit upon all flesh." (Joel 2:28.) In proportion as they receive His Spirit, they will come into the attitude of sonship.

But even then they would not be sons in the full sense of the term. We might say that the Church are not sons in the full sense of the word, but that we shall be sons indeed when we shall have experienced our resurrection change. So in the Millennial Age, as people come into harmony with the Divinely arranged Messianic Kingdom, they will be coming nearer and nearer to the standard of sonship. By the end of the Millennial Age they will have attained that condition of mentality which Adam had when he was perfect. All this blessing they will get through Christ and His associated Church.

THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH

Because our Lord will give everlasting life to the world of mankind, He is called "The Everlasting Father," the Father who gives everlasting life. (Isaiah 9:6.) All the willing and obedient will become His children during the Millennium. Then at the close of the Messianic Kingdom the children of The Christ will be introduced to their Grand-Father. Since they are to be sons of Christ, who is the Son of God, the Heavenly Father will be their Grand-Father. Then the whole world will be back into harmony with God as the sons of Christ.

During this Gospel Age, however, God is not operating upon the world. Whatever there is in the world of natural beauty is the result of the operation of the Power of God in a general way. Our text does not refer to this operation of God's Power, or Spirit, but to His influence upon the hearts of men. In the New Testament writings it refers to those who have become His people by making a full consecration of themselves and then being begotten of the Holy Spirit as New Creatures in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17.) All such are recipients of special Divine care.

The Scriptures speak of the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of Christ. All these are synonymous terms, which represent the Divine influence [R5583 : page 357] exercised upon the people of God. Having been begotten of the Spirit, we should remember that, as the Apostle suggests, we are to be perfected. We must make a certain development. We progress until finally we are born in the First Resurrection. Perfection will be attained then, not before. Meantime, in order to be ready for that resurrection, a certain development must take place.

MAKING READY FOR SPIRIT CONDITIONS

In our context the Apostle is telling how we may attain to this life condition, how to make ready for the birth of the Spirit in due time. He says that such a development will be attained through the Spirit, or Power, of God. This Spirit operates in various ways. For instance, God's Message applies to the Church. Therefore the more we understand the Plan of God, the greater will be that Power in our hearts; and the deeper our consecration to the Divine will, the more sympathy will we [R5584 : page 357] have and the greater will be our desire to do the Divine good pleasure.

The change going on within our hearts is neither by men nor of men. God began this work in us. Therefore we must look to Him to complete the work which He has begun in our hearts by the Message He has given us. So we go to Him in prayer, and we study His Word, to know the meaning of that Word and thus to be enabled to put it into expression in our lives. Just as we require food to strengthen our mortal bodies, so we must also have spiritual food to strengthen the New Creature. This spiritual food God has given us abundantly, in order that we may get spiritual strength to understand His will better than before.

This operation of God through the Holy Spirit is a gradual work. So beclouded are we by the errors of our former beliefs that we are not prepared to see the deep things of God at the first glance. Therefore we need to study, to meet together with those of like precious faith. Thus we are helped to see the deep things.

GOD'S WILL CONCERNING US

As we come to understand the matter more clearly, our thought on the subject changes gradually. When we first came to God, we had the thought that God's will toward us was that we should enjoy ourselves, live good, moral lives, and take care of our bodies; and that if we are God's people, we should have abundance; and that those who could not live in harmony with God would be destroyed. This would be the thought of the natural man. The Apostle says that the natural man cannot see the things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned. But this is not at all God's way of dealing with us.

By and by we begin to discern that our Heavenly Father prepares us for the spiritual things by showing us how to destroy the earthly condition and how this will be brought to an end. This is a new thought to us; and we ask ourselves, Does God wish me to mortify, deaden, destroy, the earthly condition? Am I not to seek to cultivate my talents and to live a natural life?

The natural man says, Follow natural things; do as you please so long as you are not interfering with the rights of others. But the New Creature is not to heed the natural inclinations of the flesh. We have asked the Lord to transform us, to renew our mind, and ultimately to give us what He has promised. Therefore we do not belong to the world at all, and our course is to be that which is marked out in the Scriptures.

THE WORK OF THE NEW CREATURE

Our text does not mean that we are to mortify our bodies in the way that some have thought. According to history, there have been earnest souls in the past who have used whips on their bodies until they produced severe pain, and then have worn hair jackets, etc. Sometimes these bodily tortures have been carried so far that the skin would be covered with sores. Others have undertaken to mortify their bodies by lying down to be literally walked on, etc. We cannot question that whoever would do these things must have a motive for so doing, and we cannot think it a bad motive; nevertheless, we believe that those who do such things have a wrong conception of the meaning of our text.

By the expression, "Mortify the deeds of the flesh," the Scriptures mean that the people of God are to put to death in themselves all natural practises that are not in harmony with the Spirit of God. We are all born sinners, the Bible declares, and therefore we are not to follow the bent of our fallen nature. We are to have the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, which will guide us in the way in which we should go. We are to mortify every inclination of the body that is not indorsed by the new mind.

There are certain qualities of the mortal body that are to be destroyed, and therefore are to be warred against at all times. Then there are other qualities which are to be utilized in the service of righteousness. Once we were under sin; but now we have a new mind. Henceforth we are to treat the old creature as an earthen vessel merely. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we are to know how to do this. The first step in the process is to reckon our body dead. Having reckoned it dead toward sin and toward everything of an earthly nature, we are then to reckon it alive in the sense of awakening, quickening, all the tendencies, attributes, that can be brought into the service of God. This is the second step.

THE DAILY BATTLE OF THE SPIRIT-BEGOTTEN

After we have been begotten of the Spirit, we are New Creatures. In every sense of the word we are free from our body. Whatever parts of our human nature we find to be in opposition to God and His will we are to mortify, deaden, as soon as we discover them. This process is a continual warring against, fighting against, the old nature. The Apostle distinctly calls it a warring between the flesh and the Spirit. But while warring against certain elements which are legally dead, we find that the flesh is not dead actually. But if we live according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, God will not recognize the flesh, nor shall we. We shall recognize only the New Creature.

The battle is a daily one. All our members must be brought into harmony with God and His will. We are to endeavor to see everything from the Divine standpoint. The thought is not that we shall ever perfect these mortal bodies, but that while we are living on the earth and have to do with these bodies, it is our duty and our privilege to make the body do the will of the New Creature.

Our bodies were slaves to Sin. Now we say, "I have the right to control this body. I am a New Creature, but this is my body. I shall increase my power over this body, and use it more and more in the service of the Lord. It is not my intention to do foolish things--to leap from a pinnacle to see whether my body will remain alive; but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am to get out of it the most that I can, in the service of the new Master."

All this is necessary to our development in character. God has called the Church to glory, honor, immortality and joint-heirship with Christ. If we do not prove overcomers, we shall never be ready for so great an exaltation. This exalted position will not be given to any mortal merely because he says that he desires to be something [R5584 : page 358] different from what he is. On the contrary, we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Those who profess entire consecration to God must demonstrate this by putting away everything that is contrary to the Divine will. As these seek to build character, they will be growing "strong in the power of His might." Those who will pursue this course to the end are the class that He is calling for, and those alone will prove worthy of the place to be given to the "more than overcomers."

REJOICING IN TRIBULATION

The world will have a thousand years during which to bring their bodies into harmony with the will of God. Gradually mankind will come to the place where they will be thoroughly loyal to the Lord. The stony heart will be taken away. To all those who through obedience reach this condition God will be pleased to give life everlasting.

But with the Church it is different. During this Gospel Age the Lord is selecting and directing those who of their own will desire to lay down their lives in His service. They love Him, and He is pleased to call them His holy ones. No good thing will He withhold from this class. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, what God hath in reservation for those that love Him--those who have through consecration been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and who are going forward from grace to grace, living not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For this class God has provided His very best things.

To this class the Scriptures declare that "through much tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God." Some might say that these have a hard time. But all Christians can agree that it is possible to reach that degree of development where one can rejoice in all these experiences in which the flesh is being mortified, deadened. This is not because we are so different from other people that we like what they dislike, but because we see a reason why this tribulation is permitted. We know that this is God's plan for us; and by these evidences of mortification of the will of the flesh, of the things of the flesh, we see that we are growing in the favor of our Heavenly Father.

These have the peace of God ruling in their hearts. They know that all of their affairs are under Divine supervision. The world have their troubles and fears and forebodings. But those who have put their trust in the Lord have a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. But we cannot explain this to the world; for they cannot understand it.



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TEMPTATIONS PECULIAR TO THE NEW CREATION

"We have not an High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."--Hebrews 4:15,16.
ST. PAUL had been speaking respecting the antitypical Priesthood, and had been showing that Aaron had been only a typical priest, that the Levitical priesthood never really took away sin, that a better Priesthood was necessary, that this higher Priesthood was represented in Melchizedek, and that God had declared that Jesus would be "a Priest forever, after the Order of Melchizedek." Jesus is a Heavenly High Priest--not an earthly high priest. The thought, then, might be gathered that if our Lord is not an earthly priest He would not know how to sympathize with us. But the Apostle assures us that our great High Priest can fully sympathize with us, because "He was tempted in all points like as we are."

We are not to understand the Apostle to mean that our Lord was tempted in every manner that the world is tempted. He had none of the temptations peculiar to a drunkard, etc. His was not an unbalanced mind. He was tempted "like as we are"--The Church. Like our Master, we are not, as New Creatures, tempted as are the world. The world has its own kinds of temptation. We are not of the world. We are being tested as spirit-begotten children of God. We are tested as to our loyalty to Him, as to our faith and obedience. Of course, while still in the flesh, we are liable to temptations along the line of our natural tendencies as members of the fallen race, but these are not our temptations as New Creatures.

THE WORLD NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND US

The world knows nothing of our peculiar trials as New Creatures. They know merely about the common trials and weaknesses of humanity. But we, having been justified in God's sight, and set apart for His service, desire to carry out our new aims. We are no longer of the world. The world, the flesh and the Devil seek to turn us aside, to draw us back into the old ways; and these temptations are liable to make us forget our covenant of special relationship to the Lord, and what we have agreed to do and to be. It is in this respect that we are being especially tempted and tried, and we must ever be on our guard. We know that Jesus, our great Head, was tried in like manner with us.

When Jesus told His disciples that He was going up to Jerusalem, and that He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and the scribes, and they would condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles, who would mock and scourge and crucify Him, St. Peter said: Master, do not talk that way--it is discouraging. And why speak of these strange things about eating your flesh and drinking your blood? Lord, do not say these things! God forbid; this shall not be your lot!

So even His chosen Twelve could not understand the Master. Jesus answered (but not in the crudity of the Common Version), "Get thee behind Me, adversary"--you are becoming My opponent. You would undo the very work I am doing. Instead of helping you are hindering Me, because your thoughts are not God's thoughts, but men's.--See Matthew 16:21-23.

And so it is with many who seek to show us kindness, who think they are serving our best interests. They say that we are foolish in thinking so much about religion. They mean well. They do not realize that we must be about our Father's business. This is the kind of temptation that comes to us as Christians, as followers of the Master. The special temptations of the Lord's children are not temptations to commit gross immoralities; and the temptations of Jesus were not of this kind. But He did have the temptation to withhold the Truth and to give something that would be more palatable.

Some of our nominal church friends may say to us: Why do you not engage in slum work, or in social uplift work? You are continually talking about the Kingdom! the Kingdom! As God's ambassadors we are here for the very purpose of telling men about the Kingdom, about the glorious things God has in reservation for His saints, and also His purposes for the world. We know that human "slumming" methods will fail to save the world, [R5585 : page 359] but the Kingdom will save it. The temptation is to do something that others would applaud, instead of doing and saying things of God's Word that bring disapproval from the world and the nominal church people. The Editor has friends who say to him, If you would not talk as you do, and write as you write, more people would listen to you. You could be very popular if you would speak a little differently. You are putting too much religion into your sermons. We reply, Yes, but we are speaking and writing to instruct the people respecting God's Word, character, Plan; and respecting His present call to the Church.

THE CHARACTER OF THE MASTER'S TEMPTATIONS

The Master probably had presented to His mind the suggestion: Now take an easier way. This way that seems to be indicated is the crudest possible one. Go to God and tell Him that it does not seem right to you, who have been loyal through all these ages, that you should be subjected to such treatment; that this seems a very strange way to treat a faithful Son; that there can be no good reason for it, and nothing can be gained by it. Ask God if He cannot make some change. Ask Him if He is not overdoing the matter.

And so we, His followers, may sometimes have similar suggestions. But a murmuring, rebellious spirit would prove that we are not in the right attitude of heart; it would prove that we had either never really submitted our will to the Lord or else had withdrawn it, and that we lacked confidence in Him. Any such temptations must be promptly resisted by the child of God.

When St. Peter sought to defend our dear Master from the soldiers and officers who came to arrest Him, though knowing what the end would be, Jesus said: "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?" He did not think for one moment of yielding to any temptation to use His superior power to prevent His enemies from taking Him. He showed them that He possessed such power; for they all went backward, and fell to the ground. Thus He made it manifest that had He chosen to exercise His supernatural power He was infinitely stronger than they, and submitted not because He must, but because He was in reality voluntarily submitting Himself to death. This was a demonstration of His previous declaration: "No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." (John 10:17,18.) He steadfastly refused to yield to any appeals from His flesh to escape or to lessen His sufferings. "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin."

We might weaken sometimes; we might come short-- and we do come short. We cannot fully live up to the glorious standard. Christ was without sin. We have sin abounding in our flesh, and we have weaknesses which He did not have. But if we are to follow in His steps, we are to overcome, and to prove overcomers to the end. We are not to say to ourselves; I cannot live as Jesus lived, even if I try ever so hard; what is the use of setting up so perfect a standard? But there is use in it; and we should earnestly strive to come as near as possible to that standard. By keeping this glorious Pattern ever before us, we shall be able to come much nearer perfection than if our standard was lower. We must have no less than this perfect standard as our aim, if we expect to win the prize for which we have entered this race.

If Jesus had sinned and had come short in any way, it would have meant failure complete. He would never have had a resurrection. This was typified in the Jewish high priest when he passed under the veil with the blood. The high priest who had not followed every instruction of the Law in the offering of his sacrifices would have died under the veil. This was what Jesus feared in Gethsemane, when "He offered up strong crying and tears unto Him who was able to save Him out of [Greek ek] death"--not to save Him from dying, but to save Him out of death by resurrection. And the record is that He was heard and was strengthened, comforted. (Luke 22:39-45; Hebrews 5:7.) As soon as He had the Father's assurance that He had not violated any conditions, and that He would not go into eternal death, He was content to suffer any other experience that might come to Him.

OUR SYMPATHETIC HIGH PRIEST

From the fact that our High Priest was tempted and suffered, we may know that He is not one who is cold and indifferent. On the contrary, He is One who is full of sympathy, who has had the largest kind of experience. (Hebrews 2:18; 5:8.) If then, we have temptations, what must we do? We are to come to our great High Priest; and as we come to the Throne of Heavenly Grace, we may come with boldness (or, more properly translated, with courage, not doubting), knowing that the One who meets us there is fully able to sympathize with our every sorrow and need, and with our every temptation.

If we have not sinned wilfully, if our sins have been those of imperfection of the flesh through besetment, so that at the time we were not able to overcome and to control the flesh properly, we may come with courage, knowing that the Lord understands all about the weaknesses of our fallen human nature--He remembers that we are but dust: (Psalm 103:13,14.) St. Paul says we cannot properly judge even ourselves as respects our own weaknesses. [R5586 : page 359] He says (1 Corinthians 4:3,4), "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you or of man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self;...but He that judgeth me is the Lord." He knows how to make all due allowance. Then let us not hesitate to come to Him in prayer, pleading His promises. Let us seek for the mercy of the Lord, knowing that we shall receive it, when we are truly striving to be faithful to Him.

Our Father knows all about these experiences we are having, and He made the provision for our covering. He provided succor from our difficulties, that we might come in as members of the Body of Christ, even though imperfect. He knows that we cannot fully control our imperfect bodies. But as we become stronger, we should be better able to control the mortal body. The new will should subjugate the old mind, and have better success in conquering the flesh. We must scrutinize ourselves and our progress; we should not be satisfied nor feel that we are proving overcomers, unless we can from time to time see growth in ourselves in Christlikeness and in ability to subdue the old nature with its impulses and tendencies.

No other arrangement would have been so good for us as the one the Lord has chosen. We have our weaknesses and imperfections charged up to us; but God has provided a way by which we can have them all forgiven, if they are unavoidable or if there has been no wilfulness connected with them. Any measure of wilfulness in a child of God requires expiation by stripes. If we judge-- closely inspect or scrutinize--ourselves, our thoughts, words and actions, we shall require less judging and disciplining by the Lord to correct our faults. If we realize that we have been remiss in any way in keeping our vows, if we think that we have been lax in some particular at any time, it is helpful to impose some penalty upon ourselves that we shall feel. We should go to the Lord in earnest prayer, asking forgiveness, and promising Him by His grace to strive to be more watchful in the future. [R5586 : page 360] We should daily scrutinize ourselves along this line, and never lightly pass over any failure.

How precious and comforting the realization that our merciful High Priest is touched with the feeling of our infirmities! We should never, however, relax our vigilance because of this knowledge, or take any advantage of His mercy. But we rejoice that we have a Mercy Seat to which we can go as soon as we are conscious of our inability to be all that we would, and rejoice to know that we shall not be turned away.



[R5586 : page 360]

SEEING THINGS AND BEWILDERED

FEW realize the wonderful change that has come over public sentiment during the last forty years--the Harvest time of this Age. The increase of knowledge prophesied for our day came on time and is doing its work. It is opening eyes of understanding long blinded by ignorance, superstition, false doctrines. Not only is this true in respect to God's consecrated people, who are now so much more clearly understanding the Bible and its Message, but it is true in large degree of the intelligent people of the world who make no profession of Christianity, yet have a good respect for the principles of righteousness, justice and mercy.

Misled by the errors which have adulterated Christianity, these well-disposed people wonder to what extent the Church's claims might be true, to the effect that present kingdoms constitute Christendom--Christ's Kingdom. Naturally they would doubt it, wondering why Messiah's Kingdom would make so little progress in the earth and exhibit so little power. This leads on to a double confusion:

(1) They wonder why all Christian people do not undertake the political, social and financial problems of the world and bring harmony out of confusion, and thus accomplish the world-wide uplift which should be expected if Christ's Kingdom is controlling the world and if Christian people are commissioned of the Lord to convert the world and uplift it socially, etc.

Many preachers and professed Christians are similarly led astray from the real commission of the Church by these errors--so that they abandon the preaching of the Gospel, and instead preach Sociology, etc., etc.

Thus it comes that the comparatively few Christian people who are following the Scriptural lines carefully, and preaching the authorized Gospel of Christ, are discredited, hindered, rebuked, made to appear to the world as neglecting their commission.

On the other hand, how plainly the Bible presents the subject! The true Church is commissioned by the Lord, not to convert the world, but to take out of the world a Little Flock of faithful footstep followers of the Lord. These are to pass through great tribulation, in order that they may enter into the Kingdom, which is still future. They are not to mix in politics, etc., but to throw their entire influence on the side of the preaching of the Gospel to all who have hearing ears to the intent that, thus drawn, called and sanctified by the Truth, an elect class of one hundred and forty-four thousand shall finally be completed and, by the "change" of the First Resurrection, pass from the earthly nature to the Heavenly and become the Bride of Christ, His associate in the great Kingdom which He will then establish world-wide, to the blessing and enlightenment of all the families of the earth.

(2) The world's second difficulty growing out of the adulteration of Christian doctrine could not be better illustrated than by the following article which we clipped from The New York Call. Evidently the writer is genuinely puzzled, as thousands of Christian people are puzzled, by the present war and by the fact that professed Christians are fighting on all sides, under every government except the Turkish. What are they fighting for and what are they fighting against, if so be that all of these kingdoms are Christ's Kingdoms--Christendom? Surely this war and the more terrible conditions which the Bible shows us will follow it will gradually open the eyes of mankind more and more. By and by, when the "flaming fire" of anarchy shall sweep the world, every eye of understanding will have discerned the gigantic error of the creeds which for a time misled us all. Their eyes will see through the trouble; and gradually they will understand the facts, the great lesson, that all the kingdoms of this world are human and are in large degree associated with the empire of the "Prince of this world," and that these are being overthrown to the intent that Messiah's Kingdom shall be established under the whole heavens. The article from The Call follows:


***
[R5587 : page 360]

A SLUMP IN SALVATION

"It is not only Socialism that has gone under in the European fracas, but the Salvation Army has also disappeared on the continent. Ten thousand of its most active members and workers are now fighting under literal banners of 'Blood and Fire' instead of the metaphysical symbol known by that name, under which the army conducted its warfare against 'the Devil.'

"The organization and system have completely collapsed on the continent, and in neutral countries the army is financially broken. A reconstruction of the entire army will, it is said, become necessary after the war is over. Its officers declare that it has suffered more than any religious organization in existence except that of the Catholic Church. In this country the well-to-do are closing down on their donations, the churches give nothing; the industrial plants, from which most of the money was extracted, have mostly gone out of business and collections at street meetings have fallen to the vanishing point.

"The report seems to show that this concern was no different from thousands of others based frankly on material considerations. When economically affected, it disappeared as they did. The metaphysical signboards and trademarks under which it carried on business became utterly useless and impotent in the face of material collapse. Actual, physical warfare, simply blotted out the abstract conflict between 'Sin and Holiness,' which the army was supposed to continually wage, and 'salvation' became a drug on the market. Those to whom it is offered without money and without price have no use for it, and those who formerly put up the price so that it might be brought to 'perishing sinners' have quit; and both the sinners and those who carried them the glad tidings are equally perishing on the battlefields of Europe, fighting the 'battle of the Lord' on opposing sides.

"But in this respect, the army is by no means unique. There is nothing which purports to represent 'religion' today that can stand up against war, from the haughty ultra-respectable, established state churches to the 'religion' of the gutter. The universal impotency of all of them suggests that they, too, should be sent to the scrap pile along with 'militarism.' If the world needs 'religion' of any kind, it needs an utterly new and different one, instead of one that serves 'the Devil' in war time, and pretends to oppose him in time of peace."



[R5600 : page 361]

YOUR "GOOD HOPES" FOR 1915

[The plan here proposed we designate "GOOD HOPES," because nothing is actually promised--only your generous hopes expressed, based upon your future prospects as they now appear to you. The plan has proved not only so beneficial to the cause of Truth, but also so blessed to the hopers, for some years past, that we again commend it to all as Scriptural and good. Those who desire to make use of this plan can fill out both of these memoranda. One should be kept for the refreshment of your memory; the other mail to us.]

--TO THE--

"WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY."

Dear Friends:--I have read with interest of the openings for the STUDIES and Tract work in foreign lands and here at home. I need not tell you that I am deeply interested in the spread of the Glad Tidings of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of redeeming love expressed for us in God's great Plan of the Ages.

I am anxious to use myself--every power, every talent, voice, time, money, influence, all--to give to others this knowledge, which has so greatly blessed, cheered and comforted my own heart and placed my feet firmly upon the Rock of Ages.

I have been considering carefully, and praying to be instructed, how to use my various talents more to my Redeemer's glory and for the service of His people--those blinded by human tradition who are, nevertheless, hungering for "the good Word of God," and those also who are naked, not having on the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness, the unjustified, who stand, at best, in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. I have decided that so far as my "money talent" goes, I will follow the rule so clearly laid down for us by the great Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 16:2), and will lay aside on the first day of each week, according to my thankful appreciation of the Lord's blessings during the preceding week. Out of this fund I wish to contribute to the several parts of the Lord's work specified on the back of this letter. Of course, I cannot in advance judge or state particularly what the Lord's bounty may enable me to set apart weekly, and hence you will understand the sum indicated to be merely my conjecture or hope, based upon present prospects. I will endeavor to contribute more than I here specify; and should I not succeed in doing as well, the Lord will know my heart, and you, also, will know of my endeavors.

My only object in specifying in advance what I hope to be able to do in this cause is to enable those in charge of the work of publishing and circulating the Tracts, etc., to form estimates, lay plans, make contracts, etc., with some idea of what I will at least try to do in the exercise of this, my highly appreciated privilege.

My present judgment is that during the coming year, by self-denial and cross-bearing, I shall be able to lay aside on the first day of each week for Home and Foreign Mission Work (to assist in circulating SCRIPTURE STUDIES in foreign languages, and in publishing the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY in various languages, and in supplying these gratuitously to brethren who have the heart and opportunity to circulate them widely, and in meeting the expenses of brethren sent out as Lecturers to preach the Divine Plan of Salvation, and in general to be expended as the officers of the Society may deem best), the amount of__________per week.

To comply with United States Postal Laws, all or any portion of my donation may be applied as subscription price for WATCH TOWER sent to the Lord's poor or others, as the Society's officers may deem advisable.

That the work be not hindered, I will endeavor to send you what I shall have laid aside for this cause at the close of each quarter. I will secure a Bank Draft, Express Order or Postal Money Order as I may find most convenient, and will address the letter to

WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, 13-17 HICKS ST., BROOKLYN, N.Y., or, London Tabernacle, Lancaster Gate W., England; or, Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne, Australia.
(Name) .....................................................

(Post Office) ..................... (State) ................
page 362

WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTIONS

ON "GOOD HOPES" ACCOUNT.

The friends who contribute to the "Good Hopes" (described on the reverse of this sheet) at times desire to send THE WATCH TOWER to friends who are not yet interested enough to subscribe for themselves, or to deeply interested friends who are too poor to subscribe and backward about accepting our Lord's Poor offer. They are invited to give us such addresses below--the expense to be deducted from their donations. Give full name and address, and write very plainly, please, mentioning the length of the subscriptions.


WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTION RENEWALS

Most of our subscriptions end with the year, so we take this opportunity to remark that we shall be glad to hear promptly from such as desire the visits of THE WATCH TOWER continued. The Lord's Poor friends have been requested to send their applications in May. When names are dropped and afterward renewed it makes us unnecessary trouble. When desiring to know date of expiration look on your TOWER wrapper. Date is given in lower left-hand corner.

A PRIVILEGE AND A SERVICE

We are convinced that THE WATCH TOWER lists do not contain the names of one-half of those deeply interested in its teachings. The total is small enough surely, and we are not content that the name of any should be missing. We believe that all such will be stimulated and encouraged on the "narrow way" by its semi-monthly appearance on their table, reminding them afresh of spiritual matters which the world, the flesh and the Devil continually tend to crowd out of mind and heart.

We have at times required that all desiring THE WATCH TOWER on credit, or free, as "the Lord's Poor," should make personal application; now we request every subscriber to inquire among those whom he knows to be interested in Present Truth, and to obtain the consent of all such to send in their subscriptions either on credit or free, as their circumstances may necessitate. Any getting it on credit may at any future time request that the debt be canceled, and we will cheerfully comply. We desire that as nearly as possible THE WATCH TOWER lists shall represent all deeply interested in its message.

Our object is not the gain of "filthy lucre," but "the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry"--present and to come. (Eph. 4:12.) We offer no premiums, desiring the co-operation of such only as appreciate the privilege of being co-workers with us in this ministry.

CREATION DRAMA SCENARIO

This is a condensed statement of the Divine Plan of the Ages--profusely illustrated--much information in little space:

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CHOICE MOTTO CARDS--1914-1915.

We have, as usual, very choice sorts. These cards are made in Europe, hence subject to heavy expenses for freight and duty. Nevertheless, we can supply them in the United States and Canada at less than retail European prices, because we supply them at about cost price--that is to say, about one-half the usual American prices. Besides this, we prepay postage or express charges. Our object is to encourage the embellishment of the homes of the Lord's people with faith-stimulating and courage-inspiring texts tastefully prepared. To facilitate the handling of these motto cards we assort them in packets, carefully packed, at the following prepaid rates:

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Where a Class or several individuals choose to order together to one address we can save a little in the expressage, justifying the offer of five of the One Dollar packets and one of the Fifty-cent packets for Five Dollars, or more, at the same rate, assorted, as you please.

DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA

Those who use this book as we recommend are surely being blessed. It should be on your breakfast table regularly. Its daily text should be read and commented on freely by all. Then the MANNA comment should be read. Introduce it to your friends as a help toward godly living.

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[R5587 : page 363]

THE CHURCH'S ORDINATION
--DECEMBER 13.--MATTHEW 28:16-20; LUKE 24:36-49.--

"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."--Matthew 28:20.
TODAY'S Study relates to the commission, or authorization of service, which Jesus appointed to His Church in His discourses during the forty days following His resurrection. First we have the Master's words on the evening after His journey with two of His disciples to the village of Emmaus, near Jerusalem. Then we have a part of the general commission which Jesus gave just before He parted from His disciples and was received up into Heaven.

The lessons of that journey to Emmaus and of subsequent appearances must have been very valuable to all the followers of Christ at that time. He said, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you [while I was yet the Man Christ Jesus, before My resurrection change], how all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

The Evangelist sums up in few words conversation and Scriptural exposition which probably occupied at least an hour. We are not told what these expositions were which opened their eyes of understanding, but we can surmise. He probably explained to them the significance of the Passover lamb that was killed at that time of the year, and showed that He was the Antitype of that lamb. He probably explained to them the true significance of the Passover--that in the type the first-born of Israel were passed over, and subsequently represented by the tribe of Levi, including the priests; and that the antitype of these first-borns is the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in Heaven--all the saintly followers of Jesus who will be of the Royal Priesthood, and the antitypical Levites, their servants, in the work of the world's uplift during Messiah's Kingdom.

The Master doubtless also gave them some suggestions respecting the antitypical Atonement Day and "the better sacrifices"--that He Himself began "the better sacrifices," which would be continued in His disciples; and that, the sacrifices being finished, the Atonement blessings would go forth from the High Priest to all the earth, during Messiah's Kingdom of a thousand years.

POWER FROM ON HIGH PROMISED

Whatever features of the great Plan the Master unfolded, we have the assurance that His auditors were deeply interested. Their sadness disappeared. Their first thoughts were merely that they had lost their blessed Master, His counsels, His instructions; but now, through this enlightenment, their hearts burned with a fresh inspiration of knowledge. They saw heights, depths, lengths and breadths that they had never dreamed of in God's Plan. They saw that the death of Jesus was necessary for the carrying out of all the hopes and prospects inspired by the promises of God. They saw that they themselves were privileged also, not only to suffer with Him, but also to be glorified.

The concluding part of the Master's Message on that occasion was, "Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you." The Father had promised in various types that the Church, the Bride of Christ, would receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus, their Head. It was typified, for instance, in the holy oil which, poured upon the head of Aaron, typifying Jesus, flowed down upon the body of Aaron, typifying the anointing of the Church.

This promise of the Divine acceptance of the Church was all-important. Without it the disciples would have no commission, and could not be ambassadors for God. Jesus indeed had sent out The Twelve, and afterwards the Seventy; but they were His personal representatives, and He had given them of His own spirit, His own power, by which they worked miracles, cast out devils, etc. But they had never been recognized of the Father. As we read, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:39.) They must wait for this begetting and anointing of the Holy Spirit. It alone could imbue or qualify them for the Divine service --to be God's ambassadors and representatives.

"LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY"

St. Matthew's account of our Lord's benediction upon His disciples and His commissioning of them to declare His Message, is full of interest to us. By His appointment the Eleven met Him in a mountain in Galilee. For a few moments only He appeared to them. They worshiped, some fully convinced, others wavering. It was for the convincing of such waverers that Jesus remained during the forty days. And we are sure that He fully accomplished His work of convincing the Eleven; for they were all of one heart and one mind when they waited in the upper room for the Pentecostal blessing.

Jesus came near to them, and declared that full authority had been given unto Him in respect to both Heavenly things and earthly things. Unless they could realize this, it would be impossible for them properly to represent Him before the world. He had not this power and authority previously, during His earthly ministry. He was then in process of trial as respects His faithful loyalty even unto death, even unto the death of the cross. But after He had demonstrated His loyalty, the Father had raised Him from the dead to a glorious fulness of power. He was thus declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead. He wished His disciples to know that He was no longer under the human limitations or under the limitations of the Death Covenant. That work He had finished. He had entered into the blessing, the reward. He had experienced His change and now had all power, not only in respect to earthly things, but also in respect to Heavenly things.

Prophecy had declared that unto Him all would bow, both those in Heaven and those on earth. He had entered into the condition where this prophecy would soon begin to be fulfilled. He had ascended up on High, where all the angels worshiped, gave heed to Him as the Father's exalted One. Not yet is the latter part of the promise fulfilled--that all on earth should bow to Him. The time for such a recognition will be during His Messianic Kingdom of a thousand years. As now, all who come to a true knowledge of Jesus as the Son of God gladly bow their knee to Him as the Father's Representative, so gladly the world will come to recognize the Only Begotten and render obedience to Him.

Eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue confess; for, according to the Divine arrangement all who fail to appreciate the glorified Son of God at that time will be destroyed--counted unworthy of any further blessings and favor of God, who has bestowed upon Christ all the blessings which He designs for the fallen race. [R5588 : page 364]

"GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH"

Here is the commission. Primarily it belonged to the eleven Apostles, but subsequently it included St. Paul, who took the place of Judas and who was "not one whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles." (2 Corinthians 11:5.) The Apostles, and they alone, are authorized as mouthpieces of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church to the world. All that has been told us of Apostolic Bishops being successors of The Twelve is false, unscriptural. They had no successors; they are with us yet. The Master's Message through them is given us in the New Testament, of which one of them wrote, "The Word of God is sufficient, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished." (2 Timothy 3:16,17.) To the Apostles was given the great work of inaugurating the Church. They were endued with the power at Pentecost.

But while Jesus appointed especially the Twelve Apostles to be His mouthpieces to the Church, and declared that whatsoever they would bind on earth we might know was bound in Heaven, and that whatsoever they would declare was not bound on earth was not bound in the sight of Heaven, nevertheless the Lord arranged that each member of the Church should be His representative, and that each in proportion to his opportunity and ability might have a share in proclaiming the Gospel Message. Whoever receives the Spirit of begetting, the anointing, is included in the statement of Isa. 61:1-3 as a member of the Body of Christ, under the anointed Head, Jesus.

Thus we read, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath appointed Me to bind up the broken-hearted," etc. Everyone who receives the Holy Spirit is thus ordained, or authorized, to preach, according to his or her opportunity or limitation of circumstances or conditions. One limitation of the Apostle is that the sisters are not to teach in public. (1 Tim. 2:12.) Nevertheless there are plenty of opportunities for all.

Evidently, therefore, a great mistake has been made in the arrangement of a clergy class, who declare themselves to be the only ones who are ordained, or authorized, to preach or to teach God's Message. Jesus and the Apostles knew nothing of a clergy class or of a laity class. On the contrary, our Lord declared, "All ye are brethren; and One is your Master, even Christ." And the Master and His twelve Apostles especially forbade anything approaching a lordship amongst His followers, anything like a clerical class.

THE CHURCH'S COMMISSION

The Message given is, "Go ye, therefore, and make disciples from all nations." The commission is not to make the nations disciples, but, as elsewhere expressed, to gather out of all nations those willing to be disciples of Christ, whether rich or poor, learned or ignorant, noble or base. A disciple of Christ is a follower, one who learns, one who copies. Jesus defined this discipleship, saying, "If any man will come after Me [be My disciple], let him deny himself [set himself aside, ignore himself, his talent, his will, his wealth, his everything--discipleship first], and let him take up his cross and follow Me."

The intimation is that all true followers of Christ, all true disciples, will find the path in which the Lord will lead a difficult one, in which their own wills must be continually crossed, opposed--a way in which they will continually have difficulty according to the flesh. However, the promise is that eventually, "Where I am [in Heaven or in Kingdom glory], there shall My disciple be."

While the Church of Christ has properly viewed water immersion as a symbol of death to the world, death to self, and of rising to newness of life as members of Christ, the Body of Christ, nevertheless the water baptism is only a picture of the true. So here it is stated that our commission is not water baptism, but baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. "Into the name of" signifies into accord with, into fellowship with. All of Christ's disciples are to recognize the Father's name as standing for righteousness; and they are to become dead to every other principle than that which His name represents, and to be thoroughly immersed into that name of righteousness, justice, truth.

Ignoring all other names, such as Lutherans or Wesleyans or Calvinists, or State Church names, such as Roman Catholics or Anglican Catholics or Greek Catholics, these are to be thoroughly immersed into the name of Christ and to recognize His name and to be His members, His Body, His Church. Furthermore, they are to be immersed into the name of, the recognition of, the Holy Spirit--their own spirit, their own wills being dead. Their own aims, hopes and prospects are to be ignored. God's holy will, God's mind, God's holy purpose, are to be their will and purpose.

Thus we see our commission as respects all people of all nations who have an ear to hear our Message. We are to make them disciples and to immerse them into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commands. This is the extent of our authority. We are not to organize human systems and to call them kingdoms, churches, or other names. We are merely to prepare the followers of Jesus, co-operating with God, who will work in them to will and to do His good pleasure.

"UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD"

"And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." His words have been understood to signify that the world is to come to an end; whereas what the Master really said, according to the Greek, is that He would be with His people, even to the end of the Age-- down to the time when this Gospel Age will have accomplished its Divinely purposed mission of gathering out a sufficient number of disciples of Christ to complete the Divine purpose--until the Gospel Message shall have accomplished the sanctification through obedience to the Truth of a proper number to complete the Bride of Christ in glory, the Royal Priesthood. Then the end of the Age will come. Then will come the Master Himself, to gather His Elect, to glorify them with Himself, to establish His Kingdom, to bless the world of mankind--the non-elect.


[R5586 : page 364]

"A LITTLE WHILE"
How long, O Lord, till I am meet
To hold with Thee communion sweet?
How long until Thine eyes shall see
The Spirit's fruits complete in me?

When shall I come to Thee, my Lord,
As promised in Thy blessed Word?
When shall I see Thee as Thou art,
And satisfy my longing heart?

Ah, then, how mean will seem these toys,
These transitory, earthly joys!
How short appear this dreary way,
When night hath turned to endless day!

Then, peace, my soul, be strong, my heart,
And bravely strive to do thy part;
"A little while," He soon shall come,
And say, "Enough, my child, come home!"

NOV. 22, 1914.
GERTRUDE W. SEIBERT.



[R5588 : page 365]

"WHERE HE WAS BEFORE"
--DECEMBER 20.--LUKE 24:50-53; ACTS 1:1-11.--

"What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?"--John 6:62.
THE forty days which followed our Lord's resurrection were sufficient time for the Divine purpose. The disciples had lost their first bewilderment, created by the crucifixion of the One whom they supposed was about to take the throne to rule Israel and the world. We can see the wisdom of the Divine method of communicating the facts to the disciples. They were not alarmed, as they would have been if Jesus had appeared to them in a light above the brightness of the sun, as He afterwards appeared to Saul of Tarsus. Gradually they learned that their Lord was no longer dead, but alive; and that He was no longer a human being, but now a spirit being--that He was no longer confined, therefore, to the usages of humans, but, like the angels, could come and go like the wind, appearing and disappearing at pleasure.

It was a slow lesson. After the three appearances of the first day, they looked for Him each day until the following Sabbath, when the fourth appearance, or manifestation, was made. This delay only whetted their appetite, their craving, for knowledge respecting Him. Meantime they could, and did, think over all the things which Jesus had said to them during His earthly ministry. They perceived wherein they had mistaken a Heavenly Kingdom for an earthly one--or at least mistook the time of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom.

The lesson given on the way to Emmaus must have been very impressive. It dealt with the prophecies which related to Jesus, and explained to them how these prophecies were already in fulfilment--some of them already fulfilled, and some of them still future. Well did they remark that their hearts burned within them when He made these explanations!

AN IMPORTANT LESSON

After the four appearances, apparently two full weeks passed without any manifestation. In that time the tension relaxed, and the affairs of earth began to assert themselves. What would the disciples do? Privately they had been thinking of the wisdom of returning to their former employment, from which Jesus had called them to be fishers of men; but none of them cared to broach the subject to the others. St. Peter, always a leader of thought and action, finally declared himself: "I go a fishing"--I am going back to the fishing business. A word was all that was necessary. The others were of the same mind, and the old firm was reorganized.

For just such a decision Jesus had delayed His ascension. He would show them that their continuance in the work of fishing for men could go on in His absence with His blessing. The Master oversaw their interests, and that night gave them "bad luck." They caught nothing. [R5589 : page 365] They were discouraged, but it was "good for them." As is written, "All things work together for good to those who love God"--even their financial disappointments.

In the morning Jesus stood on the shore and called to them, asking them whether they had any fish for sale. They replied that they had caught nothing. The Master said, "Cast the net on the other side of the boat." They might have said that such advice was foolish, but they were in the mood to do anything to get rid of their "bad luck." They cast the net as directed, and quickly it was filled with great fishes. Then they knew that the One on the shore must be their risen Lord, who had thus made a new manifestation of Himself to them.

The fishermen hastened to the shore. They had known only one experience like this ever, and that was when on a previous occasion the Master had given them a similar great catch. The boat moved too slowly for St. Peter. He was afraid that somehow the Master would disappear. Girding upon him his fisherman's coat, he swam to the shore. The Master did not leave, but invited St. Peter and companions to breakfast from fish already on the fire.

Here was a great lesson. Their Master could provide cooked fish when necessary, and could give them just as much success as He saw best in respect to their fishing business. He who could thus provide for their needs on this occasion could do so in the future, should He send them forth again, authorized to speak in His name. None of them asked the Stranger His name; for, although His features and His clothing were different, they knew that it was another manifestation of their Lord, who was no longer a human being and who was able to appear in various forms, as He had done.

The lesson taught, Jesus vanished. He had one other meeting with His followers in Galilee. It was a prearranged meeting. Jesus had sent word that He would meet His followers there. St. Paul says that about five hundred brethren saw Him, and were witnesses of the resurrection.--1 Corinthians 15:6.

OUR LORD'S PARTING INSTRUCTIONS

Our lesson today relates especially to the ascension of Jesus. This took place near Jerusalem--at Bethany. Apparently He met with His followers in the Holy City-- perhaps at a very early hour, by appointment. He led them out to Bethany, talking the while, explaining the things that would be to their advantage to know--the things they would need to be thoroughly convinced of before He would leave them, and before they would be in a proper attitude of faith to be prepared for the blessings He had yet to send.

St. Luke, who also wrote the Book of Acts, tells us that the essence of Jesus' teaching during the forty days was in respect to the Kingdom of God. Still they understood not; indeed, it was not possible for them to understand fully until they would receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit. It was toward that point, therefore, that Jesus directed their attention, saying that they should not depart from Jerusalem nor engage in any work of preaching, but should simply wait for the promise of the Father, of which He had previously told them--the gift of the Holy Spirit. He explained that John the Baptist had indeed used the water baptism, but that He intended that all His followers should receive a superior baptism and qualification--the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost.

On this last occasion, which was probably the seventh manifestation, the disciples had gotten their bearing to such an extent that they asked the very significant question, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" The Kingdom had been taken away from Israel away back in the days of Zedekiah, king of Judah. At that time Jehovah had said that He would overturn the Kingdom until Messiah would come--"until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it unto Him."-- Ezekiel 21:25-27.

The disciples considered Jesus to be the Messiah, and thought that the Father's time had come for giving Him the Kingdom. But they had been witnesses to the contrary-- that the Kingdom of Heaven had suffered violence at the hands of the rulers, that the rightful Heir to the throne had been slain, and that He had risen from the dead. They had regained their confidence that there would be a King, and they were now inquiring whether [R5589 : page 366] it would be at this time or at some future coming of the Master that His Kingdom would be established.

The Master's answer was significant: "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath kept in His own hand"--in His own power. The Master had already intimated to His disciples that at the appointed time they would know the times and the seasons, but it was not due for them to understand those things then. They must wait patiently. The development of patience would do them good, would strengthen their faith, would strengthen their character in general.

For the Father to have made known the long interval of nearly nineteen hundred years before Messiah's Kingdom would be established would not have been wise-- would not have been for the good of His people, who would have been discouraged in view of the long delay of their hopes. The Master therefore merely indicated that they must walk by faith and not by sight, and especially that they must not expect to understand anything respecting God's program until after they would receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

After receiving the Spirit, they would be fully qualified to be God's representatives and to speak the Message; and from time to time they would be given the "meat in due season." Thus they would not be in darkness with the world, and the Day of the Lord would not come upon them as a thief in the night or as a snare. The Pentecostal blessing which they received qualified them fully for the work of the ministry, even though it did not cover their natural blemishes; for it was after they had received the Holy Spirit that we read, "The people perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men."

OUR LORD'S ASCENSION

Our Lord's ascension was a spectacular one, so far as His Church was concerned, but not in respect to the world. Of the world He had already said, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." The world did not see our Lord during the forty days in which He manifested Himself to His disciples; for He showed Himself to none except His faithful, consecrated ones. The ocular demonstrations so helpful to His disciples culminated with an actual ascension of the Lord into the air in the body in which He had just been with them. Because they were not yet spirit-begotten, they doubtless needed just such a manifestation to help their faith, to lead them to understand that they would see the Master no more until He would come with power and great glory to assemble all His saints to Himself and to bless the world.

Our Golden Text reminds us that Jesus spoke of this ascension beforehand. The ascending up where He was before should not, however, be understood merely to signify a return to a previous place. Rather, it should be understood to signify a return to a previous condition-- a spirit condition, which the Master had left to be made flesh, that He might ransom the world.

As Jesus parted from His disciples into the clouds out of their sight, we assume that the body in which He had just appeared was dissolved, or dematerialized. The use of it was merely to help to establish the faith of the disciples and to be a means of instruction, an assurance that Jesus had gone permanently--that they need not expect to see Him further in any kind of manifestation. It was an object lesson.

MANNER OF OUR LORD'S RETURN

One of the evangelists recounts that after Jesus had disappeared angels materialized and addressed them, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven." This statement has led some to believe that at His Second Advent Jesus will materialize and appear in the flesh; but to our understanding they are laboring under a grave misapprehension. The world is to see Jesus no more; and the Church is to see Him only with the eye of faith until that time when they shall experience their change, in the end of the Age. Then we shall see Him as he is--not as He was; for we shall be like Him. Then we shall know even as we are now known.--1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 John 3:2.

It is worthy of notice that the angels laid stress upon the manner of the going, and that the manner agrees with what the Bible tells us respecting our Lord's Second Coming. He went quietly, secretly, unknown to the world-- He is to return as a thief in the night; and none will know of His return except those whose eyes of understanding will be opened to discern the signs of the presence of the Son of Man. These will be His loyal, saintly few. So Jesus explained, saying that at His Second Coming it would be for a time as it was in the days of Noah--mankind would be eating, drinking, planting and marrying, and would not know of His presence.-- Matthew 24:37-39.



[R5590 : page 366]

INTERESTING LETTERS

RE-DISTRIBUTION OF B.S.M.

DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--

We realize how very busy you are, and this keeps us from writing you often, telling you how much we appreciate your labor of love on behalf of the Household of Faith. We certainly feasted upon the November 1st TOWER. What could be stronger evidence as to our present position than is there offered? We praise our Father for such a channel of blessing, and we ask Him, each day, dear brother, to strengthen your heart, realizing something of the persecution that comes upon you as a result of your faithfulness to Him and to His Cause.

We have had such blessings in the last few weeks in putting out the Volunteer matter! We want to tell you the method we have adopted; if it is new, perhaps a line in THE TOWER would bring the same blessing to other classes. It has been our privilege to meet with many of the classes throughout the United States, and having served one of the large ones as Captain of the Volunteer work for three years, we naturally notice this branch of the work, its effectiveness, etc. When we first took charge of the work the friends were merely throwing the Tracts into the yards; in a short time nearly all were placing them on the gallery, and a little later they were putting them inside the screen door, or under the door. Our method is to ring the bell, and meet the one who comes to the door with a smile, making some remark about the contents of the "sample copy of the little non-sectarian religious paper" we wish to present them.

As to the advantages of this method, it is a problem among business men, nowadays, to get advertising matter into the hands of prospective customers. To illustrate: I have gone to houses many times while colporteuring, and when the lady would come to the door about the first thing she would do would be to grab up a bunch of advertising matter that had been put inside the screen, and wad it up for the stove or waste-basket. Of course, our literature would get the same treatment; result, waste of thousands of dollars.

Now, as to the blessing that accrues from the method which we have adopted: First, the Tract is not destroyed; second, we feel that we have done the Father's work as well as we would do our own work; third, we meet many who say, "If this is Russell's literature I don't want anything to do with it." What an opportunity this affords to defend the Truth! Nearly all will admit that they have not read the literature, but have heard this, that, or the other about it. By using a little tact we can break down the prejudice and often get them interested. Fourth, we find many who are interested to some extent in Present Truth, who do not [R5590 : page 367] know that there is a class in the city. Sister Dunn met a gentleman who was reading your sermons regularly, but did not know that there were classes of Bible Students. She loaned him the books, and in a few weeks he made a full consecration to the Lord.

One of the brothers who was working with me met a minister recently who, when he learned that we had Pastor Russell's literature, was so angry that his lips quivered when he tried to demean you. He finally admitted that he had not read your writings, and that he could not prove a single assertion he had made. He also came down from his haughty stand and admitted that he did not understand the Bible.

These are a few of the blessings, dear brother, that come as a result of doing the Master's work rightly. What courage it develops in one to go right up to a door with a Message from the King of kings! We get some polishing, of course; but isn't that what we need? We meet people who have never heard of Present Truth, as many times as Denver has been served with the literature. The reason is, as above stated, the Tracts had found their way into the stove or waste-basket, along with other advertising matter.

Trusting that others may receive some of the blessing that we are receiving, through a few lines in THE TOWER on this subject, we beg your forgiveness for taking up so much of your valuable time.

Sister Dunn joins in loving greetings to yourself and all the dear family at Bethel.

Faithfully, your brother and fellow-servant in the One blessed Hope,
DR. W. H. DUNN.--Colo.


TURNS ATHEISTS TO THE BIBLE

DEAR BRETHREN AT LONDON:--

I notice that the only place the PHOTO-DRAMA has been actively opposed in the London area is at Ilford (where, by the way, the meetings have had overflow attendances). The first start was apparent early Sunday morning (when we arrived to rig up the booth, screen, etc., for the afternoon presentation) by the appearance of well-written warnings in yellow chalk on the pavement outside admonishing the passers-by to "Beware of Pastor Russell's lie," etc., but as the expected passers-by were all more or less in bed the "early birds" demolished the "worms" with a duster.

By the time the afternoon presentation started several energetic opponents were at the entrance supplying everyone with opposition literature. We asked one mild looking friend whether he thought he was exhibiting the Master's Spirit. He said, "My Master is the Lord Jesus Christ; Mr. Russell's master is the Devil."

We had the opportunity at intermission time to give the exact quotation concerning this information to the crowded audience, with the result that the opponents received quite cold comfort as the crowds passed out from the PHOTO-DRAMA, and the attempt to get up an argument and collect a crowd failed entirely. It was most noticeable that the people went straight off to their homes and ignored the odd folks outside. And it was quite evident that what the public had seen had proved beyond doubt that the Devil was not connected with the PHOTO-DRAMA or its founder; in fact, the opponents, who are at work every night, have proved a standing advertisement.

But more interesting still, and certainly to our surprise, is the fact that we have been opposed in the same way by members of the Rational Press Assn. (atheists, really). A brother who had converse with one of them writes me the following remarkable information of what was said: "A glance at the leaflet showed me that it discounted the miracles of the Scriptures, and stated that they were not to be seriously considered in the light of science and proper reasoning." "I asked the gent why he discounted the miracles, and if he discounted these why not put away the whole of the record of Holy Writ." He replied, "Exactly! I do not believe any of it, save a few historical points, which other books give." Then I said, "Why do you then come outside a religious meeting such as this and confine your efforts to discounting the miracles?" He replied, "Well, this Mr. Russell, whose teachings you have heard tonight, puts an entirely different construction on the miracles, and now some who had turned aside from Scriptural teaching and taken up a sound, scientific reasoning (i.e. Atheism) are believing what he says."

Surely "the wisdom of the wise will perish" when the beams of Truth are focused on them.

Yours in the dear Lord,
F. GUARD, SR.


INTERESTING REPORT OF EUREKA DRAMA

DEAR BRETHREN:--

I am herewith sending the report of exhibition of PART III., which closed the series at Holze, Ill. However, we had a fourth meeting, a finale, at which was given an illustrated lecture. The speaker used for his subject, "The Two Sacrifices." Slides were shown of Abraham offering up Isaac, and the explanation was made that it typified Jehovah offering up His dear Son in sacrifice. Also a great deal was said about "Hell," and slides were shown of Dante's Inferno. Then with a brief explanation of the words Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna, the "Bible Hell" was shown, the speaker commenting quite liberally on the same.

At the close of the meeting fifty names were handed in out of an audience of 125. This was very encouraging to us, and the class is much elated over their first experience with the "EUREKA DRAMA."

All these meetings were held in the School House. The town is very small, there being not over 150 inhabitants; and at least 400 people were served--an average of 100 at each meeting. Many farmers attended, and all seemed well pleased.

Some of the class felt somewhat reluctant on entering upon this new branch of the work, but now all are rejoicing exceedingly in the glad service. At first there seemed to be a little fear of encountering much opposition, etc.; but when once we realize that it is the Lord's work, and that He has promised "never to leave us nor forsake us," these big mountains that we see at first dissolve into molehills.

The class has an automobile, which is used in the work. Getting an early supper, we load up our paraphernalia and start off to the place of meeting, so as to have plenty of time to set up the machine and get up the curtain. Prayer is first offered, asking the Lord's blessing on the work, which surely has been with us.

Yours rejoicing in the service of the King of kings and Lord of lords,
LOUIS F. WIEBRECHT.--Illinois.


CREATION DRAMA DID IT

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

My wife and I truly thank our Heavenly Father for the great and priceless blessing which has come to us through your instrumentality. It was your beautiful PHOTO-DRAMA [R5591 : page 367] which was the cause of our seeing and accepting the Truth as our own.

We believe that we owe you, and the Ecclesia, which we attend regularly, a debt which we shall never be able to pay. We feel as if the DRAMA was brought here for us alone. With that feeling in our hearts we can see and truly appreciate our dear Heavenly Father's great love for us. But we cannot see where we are deserving of such great love.

We are truly happy now; we were not happy before. We could see too much of one another's faults. We sought worldly things, but now we count them "loss and dross," as the Apostle says.

We have your six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. They are a great help. We spend as much time as we can in reading and studying them. We have taken the Vow. We read your Morning Resolve, and the DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA every morning. They are a source of comfort to us. There are many things which I have to be thankful for. I won't try to enumerate them, because my dear Heavenly Father has been bountifully blessing me ever since I fully accepted the Lord as my Redeemer. I shall continue to pray for you, dear Brother, and I ask your prayers.

Your brother in the Lord,
__________


page 367

MID-WINTER LOUISVILLE CONVENTION

We have secured the Seelbach Auditorium for our Convention --January 15th, 16th and 17th. It is on the 10th floor of the Seelbach Hotel, S. W. Cor. of 4th and Walnut Sts., diagonally across the street from Macauley's Theatre; in case of a crowd at Brother Russell's meeting, January 17th, we will use this Auditorium for overflow meeting. Auditorium seats 800 and is reached by four elevators. Friends can be accommodated in Seelbach, four to room, with bath, for $1.00 per person, not including meals; other good lodging can be had for 75c. up; meals from 15c. to $1.50 each. Trusting you can give notice in next WATCH TOWER, and praying our Heavenly Father's blessing upon our mutual efforts to praise and serve Him, I am, with Christian love,

Your brother and fellow-servant,
WALTER D. PELLE.
Sec'y I.B.S.A., Louisville, Ky. Class,
2438 Portland Ave.

Address all communications to Dr. Pelle.



page 369
December 1st

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

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

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

VOL. XXXVDECEMBER 15No. 24

A. D. 1914--A. M. 6043


CONTENTS

1914--Annual Report--1914371
A Very Notable Year371
Creation Photo-Drama371
The Eureka Drama Work373
Service in Newspapers373
Many Tons of Free Literature374
Our Correspondence Department374
Colporteuring "Studies in Scriptures"374
The Pilgrim Service of the Year374
Hope an Outgrowth of Confidence375
Confidence Indicative of Heart Condition376
Confidence Regained378
Savior of the World378
"The Common Salvation"379
New Creatures in Christ379
Israel's Experiences Typical, Allegorical380
God's Favor Returning to Israel381
"Drink Ye All of It"382
The Test Now Upon the Church382

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 370

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 AND 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, London, 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.

1915--YEAR TEXT--1915

As our Year Text we have chosen the Master's words so full of meaning, "Are ye able to drink of My Cup?" These words gain in force and weight as we ponder them.


MORNING RESOLVE CARDS

A beautifully designed card (3-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches) with a very fine reproduction in colors of a renowned profile likeness of our Lord. Across the bottom of the card is a splendid small picture of "The Last Supper." A grapevine and clusters of grapes form a significant border, and the text, "Are Ye Able to Drink of My Cup?" is a reminder of our consecration vow. On the reverse side of this card, "My Morning Resolve," is neatly printed. Price, postpaid, 25c per dozen, 3c each.


1915--VOLUNTEER MATTER--1915

Prepare for an early campaign. We are now ready to receive applications for B.S. MONTHLY for this effective work. Get your arrangements as classes well ordered, and through your class Secretaries send us your orders promptly.


I.B.S.A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY
Questions from Manual on Series Second of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDIES V.-VI.
Week of January  3...Q. 102 to 108  Week of January 17...Q. 116 to 121
Week of January 10...Q. 109 to 115  Week of January 24...Q.   1 to   7
Week of January 31...Q. 8 to 14

Question Manuals on Vol. II, STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 5c. each; or 50c. per dozen, postpaid.



[R5591 : page 371]

1914--ANNUAL REPORT--1914

WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY

FOR the sake of our many new readers we explain that the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, as the parent organization, represents all the activities in Christian work with which THE WATCH TOWER and its Editor are associated. All the work done through the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION and PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, directly and indirectly, is the work of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. The Editor of THE WATCH TOWER is the President of all three of these Societies. All financial responsibility connected with the work proceeds from the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. From it the other Societies and all the branches of the work receive their financial support. There is nothing unusual in this. It serves to keep the different parts of the work separate. Just so our Methodist friends have a Methodist Book Concern, an Epworth League for the young people, and both Home and Foreign Missionary Societies, besides numerous other aid societies, etc., etc.

Our division of the work was made necessary by the fact that the parent society Charter by the State of Pennsylvania is not by law permitted to hold property in New York State; hence the necessity for organizing a subsidiary society to hold any real estate in New York. Similarly, the laws of Great Britain prevent any foreign society from holding title to real estate there. This necessitated the organization of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION with a British charter. Thus it comes that we use sometimes the one name and sometimes the other in various parts of our work--yet they all in the end mean the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY--to which all donations should be made.

1914 A VERY NOTABLE YEAR

For instance, we have for forty years been looking forward to the present year as the one in which Gentile Times would expire and the one, therefore, in which we might expect some special manifestation of the transfer of earth's government to its new King, Messiah. We had hoped that the ending of the Gentile Times might have signified the ending also of the Church's times, or years, in the flesh, the ushering of all the Lord's consecrated people into the Kingdom. The latter expectation brought, we are sure, a great blessing to our thousands of readers. It brought them quickening of spiritual interests, and zeal to know and to do the Master's will. It brought them heart searchings, to see whether or not they were ready for the Kingdom. It brought them a condition of peace with God which passeth all human understanding, so that now they are able to rejoice in the will of the Lord, whatever it may be. If the Lord will continue us in His favor, it will matter little to us whether we are on this side of the Veil or on the other side--so great are our joys and blessings, and so pronounced the peace which rules our hearts.

In God's providence the present year has been the most wonderful one in the history of our Society. We believe that the Lord has used it mightily in pulling down prejudice, ignorance, superstition and error. It seems as though this year we had the grand climacteric of all previous efforts on the part of God's consecrated people to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In order that the results may be seen in their truly miraculous light, it is proper that we remind our readers that we have no church organization in the ordinary sense of the word, no bondage of any kind, no obligation to pay, either to the parent society or anybody else, either ten per cent. or any other sum. We remind you also that no solicitations for money in any way are authorized by this Society; that every amount, therefore, which has come into our hands, and been used, has been a voluntary donation from a willing heart. We remind you also that it is true of the Lord's people in general, just as the Scriptures tell, that among them are not many rich, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom.

With this before your minds, keep in memory the fact that last year, the year before and several years back, the brethren, THE WATCH TOWER readers, have been spending generously, according to their ability, both of time and money. Now suddenly, as is evidenced in their growing faith in the Lord and the Truth, in the fact that we are nigh at the door of the New Dispensation, everywhere there has been a willingness to give and much rejoicing in the privilege. Let these few words prepare you for the, to us, stupendous results of the year, which show that about One Million Dollars have been spent in the service of Present Truth this year by the Classes for Theatres, etc., and by the Society.

CREATION PHOTO-DRAMA

After two years of preparation, the PHOTO-DRAMA was barely ready to give its first exhibition in January last. It did not get properly started with a full swing in America until April. In July we made a start in Great Britain. By September the DRAMA had begun operations on the Continent of Europe--in Germany, [R5591 : page 372] Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. By October it had reached Australia and New Zealand. Few can appreciate the amount of labor involved in preparing each DRAMA outfit. The arrangement and preparation of the films used is comparatively an easy matter. Our difficulty lay in procuring copies of fine art pictures illustrative of the history of the world from the dawn of creation to the present time and into the future. We adopted, and adapted, everything we could find already prepared and suitable to our purposes; but this left hundreds of paintings and sketches to be made, from which in turn to make the stereopticon slides.

With all this accomplished, a still further difficulty presented itself. We wished to have those beautiful pictures hand-colored--really beautiful. To attain our purpose we had some painted in Paris and some in London, while the majority were done in Philadelphia and New York. We required of these artists their very best skill in coloring. We should not forget to say that, with others, our own Art Room turned out a large share of the work. Although we are not adding to the number of panoramas with painted slides, yet the breakage is so great that even now we have twenty continually at work on replacements and in photographing and tinting the Eureka Dramas.

God kindly veiled our eyes as respects the amount of labor connected with the DRAMA. Had we foreknown the cost of time and money and patience necessary for the start we would never have begun it. But neither did we know in advance the great success that would attend the DRAMA, and that through it nearly eight million people in the United States and Canada have already heard a glorious Message from the Word of God (a precious Message that they will never forget), also that other hundreds of thousands in other lands are hearing in their own tongues "wonderful words of life." We had twenty DRAMAS, which, in FOUR PARTS, were able to serve eighty cities each day. The audiences varied from four thousand down to less than a hundred, according to place and circumstances.

The Classes which put on the DRAMAS in the various cities experienced great blessings and also great trials. They had precious opportunities for serving, sacrificing time and money. These faithful sacrifices the Lord rewarded, as He always does. The trials of faith and patience sometimes arose from accidents causing delays in the receiving of films; sometimes from misunderstandings between the friends in connection with the service of the DRAMA; sometimes through misunderstandings along financial lines because of not being experts in the matter of keeping accounts. But, rightly received, all these trials had their good effect, helping to test love, to develop patience and thus to broaden Christian character. It is safe to say that the DRAMA has done as much for the friends of the Truth as for the [R5592 : page 372] public in general. This is surely saying a great deal; for in one city the newspapers published that in the week following the showing of the DRAMA their police court records showed one-half the usual criminal cases.

The special advantage of the DRAMA seems to have accrued to a certain class of people whose faith had well-nigh slipped, who were beginning to doubt the Bible and everything connected with the future. Some of these have written us very beautiful and pathetic letters of appreciation and of thanks to God. Some have contributed to the Society's Funds to assist in defraying the expenses of the DRAMA further.

We had various things to contend with in order to keep the DRAMAS all busy every day. Train schedules were not always to our convenience. Then, too, the friends who engaged the place of exhibition could not always get the dates that would have served best. In order to adapt ourselves to the various times and seasons, opportunities, etc., it was often necessary to take what might have appeared a very zig-zag course. Hindsight might have enabled us to do better in some instances, but we used the best foresight which we possessed. We had a large force of extremely competent Brethren continually at work safeguarding the interests of the DRAMA and the engagements. Perhaps a sufficient number of mistakes occurred to keep us all very humble, to make us realize that when that which is perfect shall have come and that which is in part shall have been done away, the whole world may move the better in consequence.

The expenses of the DRAMA were, first, the preparation of the films and the slides. This was considerably accomplished before the DRAMA started, of course. But the large amount of money necessary for this preparation was not included in the statements of last year and the year before. The friends who contributed the money were quite agreeable that it should be used for this purpose and not be reported until the DRAMA would begin. Those preliminary expenditures are included in the present financial report. Another item of expense was the railway fares of approximately one hundred and twenty people, their food, shelter and clothing. The shorter the stay in each place, the higher the rates for board, lodging and traveling. These expenses all appear in the financial statement under the head of the DRAMA expenditure.

However, there is another item of DRAMA expense which does not appear in our report; namely, the expense borne by the various Classes in connection with the DRAMA presentation. It is difficult to estimate the total, but we do know of three cities which have each spent more than Ten Thousand Dollars in conjunction with the showing of the DRAMA in their own cities. We believe that it will be safe to say that the total amount expended by the different Classes for the preaching of the Gospel through the DRAMA would total somewhere between $150,000.00 and $200,000.00, in addition to what our financial report shows. What a wonderful blessing thus came to the Lord's people! If it is more blessed to give than to receive, as the Master declared, then surely these have had rich blessing.

Quite naturally these heavy expenditures on the part of the different Classes caused a considerable decrease in the contributions which otherwise would have come to THE WATCH TOWER treasury. The friends, having given of their substance freely, could not in every case fulfil all of the "Good Hopes" they had entertained at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, we are sure that a great surprise awaits every reader to see how large have been the contributions this year, notwithstanding the financing of the DRAMA'S expenses in the home cities. The results are greater than anything we have had before.

Doubtless many of our foes imagined that by this time THE WATCH TOWER readers would be disconsolate, disheartened, etc., and that many of them would be regretting that they had spent their money so liberally for the Truth. But not so! The spirit of service seems to burn within the hearts of the dear friends everywhere. Gratitude to God, appreciation of the Truth and desire for further opportunities of service--these are prompting to love, joy, faith, confidence, rejoicing.

While the field seems riper than ever for the Message [R5592 : page 373] of the Truth since the war began, the Lord's providence is making it clear to us that expenses must be reduced. The twenty DRAMAS are now reduced to six, and we know not how long they may continue active. One other DRAMA has been taken over by a Brother who engaged to spend Ten Thousand Dollars in the expense connected with the showing of it. The Society always follows the plan of watching the Lord's providences. The more money we receive, the more we spend. As the funds diminish, we curtail expenses. We have no desire to lay up treasures on earth; neither must we incur debts. In this connection we should add that so great a work could not have been accomplished for less than double the amount shown in our financial columns had it not been that all of our Managers, Superintendents, Operators, etc., gave their time freely, voluntarily, merely receiving things needful--which we supplied not only to those who were out in the field operating the DRAMA, but also to the many in the Bethel Home connected with the preparation of the slides, films, management, etc.

THE DRAMA OUTSIDE AMERICA

Splendid reports are coming to us from the showing of the DRAMA in Great Britain. It has been presented in six different places in London to large and appreciative audiences. It opened at the Prince's Theatre, remaining there for several weeks. Then it showed in various suburban districts of London before reaching London Opera House. The presentation in the latter place has been phenomenal. It showed there approximately five weeks, afternoon and evening daily, including Sunday. In the evening hundreds were turned away--very much the same as when the DRAMA was shown in the great Auditorium Building of Chicago. In the London Opera House an exceptionally high-class of visitors were present. Several hundred pounds Sterling were voluntarily handed in, thus permitting continuance of the exhibition. By the time the engagement at the Opera House was closed, the interest was so great that the London friends found themselves able to undertake the exhibition of the DRAMA in Royal Albert Hall--one of the largest and most notable buildings in Europe. It has a capacity altogether of nine thousand, but probably not more than five thousand could be comfortably seated and have a view of the screen. We have yet to hear of the results.

In various other cities of Great Britain two other DRAMAS have been operating as continuously as possible, the dear friends demonstrating their love and loyalty by their self-sacrificing arrangements for the presentation of the DRAMA. In Glasgow the DRAMA had an especially good reception.

Good word reaches us from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland. In each of these very large auditoriums are obtained. The people crowd to see the pictures and hear the lectures. The free Scenarios are taken with avidity. The Lord's blessing is with the work, and many hearts have been made glad. We have just heard from Australasia that the DRAMA there has started and bids fair to be a good success.

THE EUREKA DRAMA WORK

Our readers will remember that reference was made in these columns to the Eureka Drama No. X and No. Y, suggested to the Classes and private individuals as useful in connection with their Class Extension work. These notices appeared in our issue of August 1st, Page 238, and in our issue of August 15, Page 254; also in November 15th issue, Page 2. Our readers will be deeply interested to note the success of these DRAMAS. They are going into the various small towns, villages, school-houses, in the vicinities contiguous to the owners of the DRAMAS.

Consider DRAMA X first. We have sent out a total of fifty-six outfits, but we have had reports from only six of these. These reports certainly are encouraging. They have shown in nineteen different places, sixty exhibitions altogether, with a total attendance of 1,231, an average of over twenty at each entertainment. The X DRAMA, be it remembered, has no slides, no films, but merely the phonograph musical and lecture records. We trust that the possessors of the other fifty outfits of DRAMA X are doing similarly good work and that we shall hear from them at their convenience.

EUREKA DRAMA Y reports show as follows: Of the forty-five outfits sent out twenty-nine have reported. They have served two hundred and seventy-two places, giving eight hundred and four exhibitions to a total attendance of 69,053. The average attendance was 86. Three thousand five hundred and ninety-seven cards inquiring for further literature were received. The number of DRAMA Scenarios and STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES sold has not been reported, but over a quarter of a million of Scenarios have been distributed free.

How interesting to note the leadings of the Lord's providence! The people in the rural districts seem hungry for just what these DRAMAS present. We trust that the sixteen other Y DRAMAS are doing as well as the twenty-nine included in this report, and that we shall hear from them soon. The Lord seems especially willing to bless all of His consecrated ones who seek to devote time, strength and money to His service. These agencies are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and to the upbuilding of His saints in the "most holy faith," in preparation for the glorious resurrection "change," which we are all hoping for soon.

When we speak of fourteen DRAMAS being disbanded, we do not mean to say that they are done away with. The operating corps are disbanded. The slides, films, records, etc., etc., are stored, awaiting such a change in [R5593 : page 373] the Lord's providence as may permit their service to be resumed. We are not without hope of this.

SERVICE IN NEWSPAPERS

As our readers are aware, Pastor Russell's sermons and weekly Bible studies have for several years been very widely published in the secular newspapers. The number publishing is not so large as formerly; nevertheless, we are probably reaching more people than ever, by reason of inserting the sermons in metropolitan newspapers --in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Los Angeles.

The difference between the two services is that in the smaller cities the sermons are published strictly as news, the newspapers paying for the stereotyped plates twenty-five cents per column weekly. It is the business with these, conducted by a newspaper syndicate, that has fallen off considerably. The number now publishing the sermons, etc., regularly, is about one thousand.

Newspaper space in large cities is counted too valuable generally to justify the publishing of a sermon of two or three columns weekly. Besides, if one newspaper would publish, the others of the city would decline to publish as news. Furthermore, the publishers claim that since there are many talented men in all large cities, these would expect their sermons also to be published, or else would be offended. To publish the sermons of a large city would be a huge contract. The Society has felt, therefore, that this large field of influence, the large witness to the Truth possible through the immense circulation [R5593 : page 374] of these papers well justifies the expenditure in this way of some of the money at its disposal. It will be encouraging to all of our readers to know that the sermons are now reaching weekly approximately five million five hundred thousand readers.

We trust that some good is being accomplished. We are continually coming into touch with noble souls being reached in this way, and doubt not that many others are being influenced who have not yet come to the place where they wish to express their interest by writing. The money expended in this department this year has been large; but we believe that it has been very economically spent, and the evidences are that it was wisely spent.

MANY TONS OF FREE LITERATURE

From year to year we have wondered what would be the limit of the capacity of our friends in the matter of the distribution of free literature. The quantities have grown enormously. Many who cannot give all of their time in the Colporteur work, Colporteurs also and Pilgrims (indeed, all our readers), have found opportunities for engaging as volunteers in the Lord's service in the distribution of reading matter, which we provide approximately in thirty languages--even the freight or expressage or postage being met from the Society's funds. Indeed, while we supply the literature freely, it is a fact that many of those ordering it are donating largely to the Tract Fund.

It is difficult for people to estimate quantities, especially when the figures run up high. We will not stop to calculate how many car loads of paper went into tracts, nor how many times these papers would girdle the earth. We will merely state the facts in quantities, although we are aware that very few appreciate what a thousand is, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand, or a million. In a word, then, the total distribution of free literature, during the year just closed, in the United States and Canada alone amounted to forty-seven million six hundred and ten thousand (47,610,000) copies. Of this quantity about two-thirds (30,000,000) were BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLIES, and seven million eight hundred and fifty thousand (7,850,000) were free Scenarios of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. Thus you will see that these were good-sized Tracts, containing many valuable lessons for those wishing to read them.

OUR CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT

Naturally the increase of the work has led to great increase in the correspondence. Nevertheless, we have not been able to write the dear friends as fully and elaborately sometimes as we would have liked. The Editor hopes that all the readers will charitably remember that his capacity is limited, and that he cannot do all that he would like to do in the way of answering the letters of the friends. In fact, letters are rarely answered at all unless something in them especially calls for reply. Sometimes the reply is made by sending a marked copy of some of our publications dealing with the subject, which the correspondent has forgotten or failed to see. The Editor hopes that the dear friends will continue to accept THE WATCH TOWER articles as his personal letters to them. In this way he can best serve the largest number.

The total number of letters received during
 the year was................................     199,139
The total number of letters sent out during
 the year was................................     428,273

COLPORTEURING "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"

Our readers well know that we esteem very highly indeed the Colporteur Branch of the service. God seems to have blessed it in a wonderful manner. We are glad to be able to report that the falling off in Colporteur work during the year was not so great as might have been expected. The DRAMA work became an attraction to many of the friends, some of whom left the Colporteur work to engage in the DRAMA--later on returning to the Colporteuring. A comparison with last year's output shows a less number of volumes put out; yet the figures are wonderfully large. Be it remembered, too, that very few of these books are sold in stores and very few of them sent out from the Office direct in answer to mail orders. Nearly all of them represent the direct exercise of mind and body on the part of a noble band of the Lord's people--brethren and sisters known by the general name of Colporteurs. Amongst them are some from the home and family, the shop, the work-bench, the farm, as well as some clerks, bookkeepers, stenographers, draftsmen, teachers, preachers, lawyers, doctors. The more influence any one has the larger is his talent, all of which has been consecrated, if he entered the Body of Christ which is the Church.

Our enemies have helped us considerably. Their slanderous misstatements undoubtedly stopped some from purchasing and from reading the books, but in other cases their harsh, unchristian words and conduct had a reverse effect to that which was anticipated and intended. Some bought from curiosity. Some said, "If Pastor Russell has something different from the preachers, we would like to see what it is; for we have not been satisfied for a good while with what has been doled out to us--which satisfies neither head nor heart."

At one time we think the Colporteurs avoided as much as possible giving the name of the author of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES for fear the customer would be prejudiced. Now, however, many of them are finding that the surest way to interest their customers is to tell them that the books are written by Pastor Russell, and that they are not like other religious books, but absolutely different, both in matter and style, and contain the very subjects they have been perplexed about for a long time--the subjects concerning which they have asked their ministers repeatedly and unsuccessfully.

The DRAMA has helped also, wherever it has gone, stirring up an interest in the books. Besides, many of the Colporteurs have solicited orders for the bound editions of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION SCENARIO. We trust that all of our readers feel, as we do, a very warm interest in the Colporteurs; and that, as they may have opportunity, they will speak to them words of encouragement; for their way is not always strewn with thornless flowers.

The total output of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES during the year past was more than 2,000 copies daily.

In cloth binding.............................     623,018
In magazine edition..........................      78,000

THE PILGRIM SERVICE OF THE YEAR

The Pilgrim Service during the year was immense; but for a time it took a little different course from its previous and usual one. Aside from special lectures following the exhibition of the DRAMA, special series of Pilgrim Meetings were held in many of the large cities. These sometimes continued every Sunday for months, the local friends providing the auditoriums, the Society providing the speakers. This kept busy the Brooklyn Brethren and necessitated their traveling over considerable distances--to Boston, Washington, Richmond, Providence, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. These meetings, while not taking the Brethren long from the Office work, [R5594 : page 375] did entail considerable expense for railway fares. However, we believe that the expenditures were wisely made, and that the results justified the efforts and outlay. This extra service is responsible for much of the extra cost of this Department above other years.

Total number of Pilgrims employed............          76
  "     "    "  public meetings held.........       3,217
  "     "    "  semi-public meetings held....       2,931
  "     "    "  miles traveled...............     817,475

The expense will be found in the Financial Report.

Some extra services have been cut off. We are endeavoring to trim our sails to the lighter financial breezes. Should the Lord's providence be favorable, you will quickly discern increased activities along all propitious lines.

WATCH TOWER ACCOUNT--1914
Balance on hand 1913.........................   $1,333.95
Tract Fund and Good Hopes....................  414,880.48
Sundry P. & L................................   42,419.96
Special Accounts (amply secured).............  107,000.00
                                              -----------
                                              $565,634.39
                                              -----------
EXPENDITURES.
Free Literature and Newspapers............... $125,462.60
Pilgrim Department (advertising, etc.).......   61,686.37
PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION......................  314,876.91
To British Branch............................   24,165.44
To German Branch.............................   14,735.52
To Australasian Branch.......................   10,723.68
To China, Japan, Korea, etc..................    5,705.48
To India and South Africa....................    3,845.00
To Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish,
 French, Italian, Hungarian, Arabic,
 Greek, Finnish..............................    2,146.30
To West Indies...............................      609.97
Cash on hand.................................    1,677.12
                                              -----------
                                              $565,634.39
                                              -----------



[R5594 : page 375]

HOPE AN OUTGROWTH OF CONFIDENCE

"Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward; for ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God ye might receive the things promised."--Hebrews 10:35,36.
CONFIDENCE is another word for trust. The Apostle's thought, then, is, Cast not away your faith, cast not away your trust, which hath great recompense. It seems strange to us, sometimes, that God should purpose to reward faith rather than works. Surely almost anybody else would have made a Plan which would have said, I will reward you according to what you can accomplish. But God has declared that He will reward us according to our faith, our confidence, our honesty, our sincerity. Under the present conditions God can do nothing with a dishonest man. During the Millennial Age this class will receive the necessary stripes--just exactly what they need--to bring them rightly into accord with righteousness. But for the time being, God is making an appeal only to the honest-hearted.

As we come to the Bible and get it clearly before us, as our eyes become anointed with the Holy Spirit and we see into the deep things of God, we find that He has a great, a wondrous Plan. When His Kingdom shall be established, then all the families of the earth shall be blessed, and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth. None shall need to say to another, Know thou the Lord; for all shall know Him, from the least unto the greatest of them.--Jer. 31:34.

God is not dealing with the world yet, but is dealing with the few. There was a time when He dealt with typical Israel alone. Then, beginning with our Lord Jesus, who kept the Law which the Israelites could not keep, and who obtained the blessing accruing from the Law Covenant--from that time God's Plan has been, we see, to gather out of all nations and out of all parts of the earth a people for His name, to bear the name of Jesus, to be the Bride, the Lamb's Wife.

As a woman is joined to a husband and bears his name, so this company is called out from the world to bear the name of Christ. The word Christ signifies, as we know, The Anointed of God, and includes Jesus, the Head of The Christ, and all the members of the Church which is His Body. God purposed the selection of the Church, and He purposed that it should not be accomplished by force, by compulsion. If any have thought that God has been dealing with the world, they have been mistaken. We are told in the Bible that God has been drawing a class, calling a people, a very different thought. Our Lord Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep. The sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

It is a wonderful privilege to become a member of the Body of Christ. God is not forcing any one to become a member. How strange it would be for us to think that He said, If you do not become a member of the Bride class, you shall go to eternal torture! Nay, dear brethren, He lays before us the grandeur of the Divine Plan, that seeing it, we might be eager to become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. This is set before us in the Bible as a great Prize, "a Pearl of great price." If we do not care to come in under the invitation given, then we need not come at all.

AN HONEST HEART--A WILLING MIND

We remember that the Apostle declares that the Gentiles rejoiced that they had been accounted worthy to hear. (Acts 13:48.) Do we realize what an honor it is that God has asked us to hear His Message? It is a great honor, to our understanding. The one thing that is the basis of God's favor is sincerity. There are people who are born dishonest, born insincere. The Message was never designed of God for a dishonest mind.

There is something about the dishonest, insincere, self-sufficient, that would surely lead them to take a wrong course. We think of a gentleman--a well educated man, an engineer. He was well-balanced mentally and could talk on any subject. One day we told him something of the Divine Plan and of the call of the Church. He replied, "Well, I do not care to have anything to do with it. I do not wish to have my sins forgiven; I wish to bear the penalty of my own sins. If other men are going to get along, I shall get along, too."

Jesus said that if one would receive His Message, he must receive it as a little child--in that pure, simple manner that a little child would receive a message. It is natural for a little child to be full of confidence. How often we hear a child say, "My papa can do anything! My papa says thus and so." And so the Heavenly Father would have us honest, faithful, full of confidence in Him, trusting what He has said, not doubting. He would have us to be loyal to Him.

"Cast not away, therefore, your confidence," said the Apostle. He had been telling these Christian Hebrews that they had a good degree of confidence. They had accomplished a good work. They had endured hardness in various ways, partly while they themselves were made [R5594 : page 376] a gazing-stock, and partly while they were the companions of those who were so used. The Apostle went on to say that God was not unjust to forget their labor of love.

A POTENT TEST OF LOYALTY

But, dear brethren, it is not enough to make a good consecration; it is not enough that for a time we fight a good fight. No, indeed! God is not accepting to the Kingdom those who once were faithful. He desires to have those who were once faithful, who were afterwards faithful, who are always faithful! He desires to have in the Kingdom class those whom He can trust implicitly, those to whom He can safely give the glory, honor and immortality that He has promised to the faithful. And before they receive this high reward and exaltation, they must be thoroughly tested and proven. We see the reasonableness of this arrangement in every particular. If "He has called us to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ," He expects us to be found worthy of that honor--not that we could do anything to make ourselves worthy of so great exaltation, not that we could merit it in ourselves, but He expects us to be true overcomers, and to develop the character necessary for so high a position of responsibility and glory.

Have you given God the glory in all the affairs of your life, in whatever measure of success you have attained in His service? or have you often taken the glory to yourself? This is a good question for each one of the Lord's children to ask himself. We know that we have deserved no glory whatever in connection with what we possess or what we have accomplished. If any have attempted to take glory to themselves, they have taken the glory from the Lord. We must be so loyal that in presenting the Truth to others we will say, "This is not my Plan. I am glad to tell you anything that I know about it, but it is not man-made. It is all God's Plan."

So, then, let us remember the Apostolic injunction: "Cast not away your confidence." What confidence are we to have? Confidence in God. In whom else could our confidence be placed? Many of the world have no confidence except in themselves. Others place their confidence in some earthly hero. One man says, I have confidence in King George; I will follow him to death. Another man says, I have full confidence in Kaiser Wilhelm; I will follow wherever he leads. A third man declares, I have great confidence in President Wilson. What does President Wilson or any of these rulers know about the future? No one but God and He who is executing God's will, know to a certainty, except in so far as God has seen fit to reveal His purposes.

We as the Lord's people look up and see our great Creator's wonders in the heavens, and we say, How great is our God! Then as we look at ourselves and find how wonderfully we are made by our Creator, so that by thinking, by the power of the mind, we can move the different parts of the body--the hands, the feet, the eyes-- oh, we say, this is the most wonderful machine in all the [R5595 : page 376] world! And so we are led to exclaim, Surely this great God, our God, our Father, is willing to tell us, His people, who love Him and desire to know His will, what His will is! He must have a good Plan; for He is wise, He is loving, He is just.

CONFIDENCE PROPORTIONATE TO KNOWLEDGE

And so we have found our old Bible, which perhaps was long covered with dust, and we have studied about God's Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power. And we have learned to have confidence in that dear old Book; for its Message is so consistent, so reasonable, so loving. The Bible explains how sickness, sorrow and pain came to be in the world. It informs us that all these came as the result of sin, and that from the very beginning God foreknew the fall, and purposed the restitution of mankind from sin and death. The Bible points out that the blessing to all men would come when Messiah would come.

Thus we have confidence in the Word of the Lord and in the great Plan presented in that Word. And we have confidence that God has invited us to be joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom, that He is taking out a people for His name--those who will confess their sins, will acknowledge that they themselves are not great--those who will, when they receive God's favor, be so loyal to Him that they will be ready to lay down their lives.

Ah, yes! Others lay down their lives for earthly kings, and we have a King of kings and Lord of lords, and if we could not lay down our lives in loyalty to Him, what would we think of ourselves! We have a good God, worthy of all confidence, and we trust Him. In proportion as we have knowledge of God, of the Bible, in proportion as we have grown in grace by seeking to walk in the narrow way, in that same proportion our confidence is growing stronger and stronger.

CONFIDENCE INDICATIVE OF HEART CONDITION

The only question remaining is, Will we be found faithful? The Scriptures declare that He is faithful who has promised, and that He will do exceeding abundantly more than we could ask or think. He has determined that all who will receive the great blessing will be those who will demonstrate their loyalty to the fullest degree. Hence the Apostle urges, "Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."

God will one day reward our confidence. Why is it that the Lord will especially reward our confidence? The reason is this: Our confidence in God represents our heart condition, and it will go down like a barometer in falling weather if we lose our faith. Our hearts cannot be wholly stayed on God except as we are strong in faith. The only instances in which Satan will be permitted to take away the confidence of God's people will be in the cases of some who have not been living up to their light. The Lord will permit such to go gradually into darkness.

So we are to keep firm hold of our confidence; for this assures us that God is our Father. We all know something of the wireless telegraphy which is now being used in a marvelous manner on the sea and on the land. And this is only a feeble illustration of the wireless communication that maintains between the true Christian and the Heavenly Lord. In every circumstance this confidence, leaning on the Lord, will look to Him. There will be the wireless communication between Father and child.

When the Lord's people find themselves in difficulty, they should reason like this: What is the Lord's will? What does His providence indicate? He has said that all things shall work together for good to me because I love Him; therefore, having confidence in God, I am sure that all things shall indeed work out for my good. I have faith in His Wisdom and His Power and His Love. He could have protected me from this difficulty had He seen best. So the fact of its reaching me proves that He saw fit to permit it for a wise reason. He has promised that He will not suffer me to be tempted, tried, beyond what I am able to bear. As He is faithful, He will never fail to keep that good promise. So then, I will "not cast away my confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."

CONFIDENCE IN GOD TO BE TESTED

If God would reward according to works, some of His children would get very little. The very ablest of God's people cannot do very much. We spend one-third of our [R5595 : page 377] time in sleep; we need perhaps eight hours more for preparing our food, etc.; and we have a thousand and one things to do in the remaining eight hours. How little time we have, after all, even if we have cut off many things that once took more or less of our time! The most intelligent people have very little time to spare.

Do your very best, and try to note how little you will be able to accomplish by the close of the day. Think of those five minutes, that half hour, etc., and count up and see how much you render to the Lord your God daily. We fear that each of us would be ashamed to see how little time the sum total would make. And if the reward depended on our works, it would surely be a very small reward. God knows also that some have more time at their disposal and some less, and that some have more talents and some less.

Some are able to give ten times as much as others. How much would you like to do for the Lord? How much do you strive to do for the Lord? It will be in proportion as you have confidence in Him. As you come to have more trust in the promises, you will try harder and harder to live up to all the terms and conditions of discipleship. If you have but little confidence in the Lord, you will be like the man who was told that if he would go to a certain place he would find a fortune, and who replied, It is absurd to consider anything of the kind! If some one should say, Behind a curtain in a certain corner there is hidden a bag of gold, and any one who will go there for it may have it, it would be safe to say that not two persons out of a hundred would go to look for it.

God is testing your faith, your confidence, and our own. And, oh, that is worth so much more than all the wealth of the world! We have been invited to try for the great Prize. We said, Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Then He said, Will you be faithful under the conditions which I impose? I am watching to see how faithful you are every hour, every minute. I will protect you from the pitfalls in the way, as you strive to show forth My praises; I will uphold you in every trial. My dear children, I want to give to you a great blessing. You have all entered on a common basis. You would be very unequal in the race if I should take you according to your natural qualifications. I will judge according to your heart and how you do in little things. He that is faithful in the little things, in that which is least, will be faithful in that which is greatest. I will reckon the matter thus. That is a fair proposition, and exactly what the Lord says. God purposes to reward greatly all faithfulness.

THE NATURE OF THE PRESENT TEST

But there is another phase of the confidence. Bible students all over the world have been expecting certain things to occur; and we have been hoping that the Lord's time is near for the setting up of the Kingdom, the time for the fulfilment of the prayer, "Thy Kingdom come." We have been hoping for this; but if it should not come as soon as expected, we will still hold fast our confidence.

There are not many people in the world who are hoping to die soon; and it is only our confidence that makes us have this hope. If we did not have a strong confidence in the outcome, then we would not have the desire to pass beyond the veil. We are speaking of our confidence to those whose eyes of understanding have been enlightened to see the lengths, the breadths, the heights and the depths of the love of our God, and to know something about the times and seasons of our Father's Plan.

The Apostle tells us, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light, children of the Day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness." (1 Thess. 5:4,5.) God has promised that He will give His true children the light at the time appointed, and that they shall have the joy of understanding His Plan at the appropriate season.

"What more can He say
Than to us He hath said!"

The Editor has been rejoicing in these blessed experiences. Even if the time of our change should not come within ten years, what more should we ask? Are we not a blessed, happy people? Is not our God faithful? If any one knows anything better, let him take it. If any of you ever find anything better, we hope you will tell us. We know of nothing better nor half as good as what we have found in the Word of God. As the hymn expresses it:

"It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do."

Personally, we can say, If God has some further experiences for us, we are glad that He has; if we need further polishing, we hope He will give it to us. If it takes a year to get the polishing necessary, we desire to have this time allotted. Or if He desires to have us do some work in the polishing of others, and if we should not get into the Kingdom ourself, we would be glad to have His will done.

We have sometimes asked, How many brethren would be willing to take a thousand dollars for what they know of the Truth? Not a hand was seen! Who would take ten thousand dollars? None! Who would take a million [R5596 : page 377] dollars? Who will take the whole world in exchange for what he knows about the Divine character and the Divine Plan? Nobody! Then we said, You are not a badly discontented crowd, dear friends. If you feel so rich that you would take nothing in exchange for your knowledge of God, then you feel just as rich as we do.

CONFIDENCE LOST

The Editor has known from earliest childhood what it is to call God his Heavenly Father; for he had Christian parents. And then, when fifteen years of age, we gave Him our heart, and reverenced and worshiped Him with what amount of knowledge we had. Although indoctrinated along Calvinistic lines to believe that only the Elect would reach glory, and that all the non-elect would experience eternal torment, we were accustomed to think of ourself as one of the Elect, and to appreciate the Love of God, which had provided for the salvation of the Elect.

A few years later, however, reason began to assert itself over superstition. We inquired of ourself, Where is this Hell which you preach? What do you really know about it? Confessing our own ignorance, we went to our teachers and Elders; but to our amazement we found that they knew no more about it than ourself. Then we stopped preaching and began to think and to examine the creeds. We found that the difference between them was trivial. All had the one foundation of Heavenly salvation for the few and eternal woe for the thousands of millions.

The more we investigated, the more sure we felt that a great mistake had been made; that a real God could not have made such an arrangement as our creeds declared. We threw them all away; and thinking that the Bible was the basis for them all, we threw the Bible after them.

SOUL-HUNGER FOR GOD

But having once known our Heavenly Father, we could find no rest without Him. Our soul hungered for His love and care. We still held to the great fact that our Universe had an intelligent, personal Creator; for His Wisdom and Power were before us on every starry night. The more we studied anatomy, the more thoroughly we became convinced that all humanity, yea, every creature, is "fearfully and wonderfully made," and that the eye, the [R5596 : page 378] ear, the nerves, the power to move in response to mere thinking, could not have come by chance, could not have been evolved by a nature god. We worshiped the God of Wisdom and Power, and sought to know more of Him, confident that we should find Him good.

Left to the resources of our own brain, we reasoned, Could others and ourself possess as the gifts of our Creator the qualities of justice and love, which we esteem to be the very highest of our faculties, and yet the Creator Himself be devoid of these attributes? Our mind answered, Surely He who formed the eye to see and the ear to hear and who gave humanity the qualities of justice and love must possess these qualities in infinite measure.

Thus with the eyes of our understanding we beheld the great God of the Universe, infinite in Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Again we worshiped Him, rejoiced that we could have confidence in our God and realize that He had made neither the earth nor the race of mankind in vain, but that He had some wise, just, loving purpose in connection with our creation.

CONFIDENCE REGAINED

Our next thought was, Would not a just and loving God be pleased to make known His purposes to those of His creatures who desire to do His will? Would He be ashamed of His purposes? Would He ignore the qualities of mind which He has given us? Again our mind answered, You may confidently seek God's Message to humanity. Thinking that we had already examined the Bible sufficiently, we turned our attention to heathen religions, only to find them less rational in some respects, though less fiendish, than our own creeds. Evidently the most intelligent peoples have been the most thoroughly seduced by Satan and his doctrines of demons, into believing the most horrible things respecting the Creator and His purposes toward His human creatures.

Finally, we resolved to begin anew the study of the Bible, first assuring ourself that our colored creed-spectacles were thoroughly broken and our mind entirely untrammeled. Gradually the Lord led us to clearer and yet clearer light upon His Word, until we found that the basis of all our difficulty lay in the fact that we had followed Satan's lie told to Mother Eve in Eden--"Ye shall not surely die." From that time onward the entire Bible became illuminated, grand, beautiful, harmonious; and now it stands pre-eminent before our mind as God's Word!

No tongue or pen can tell the peace, the joy and the blessing which a clear knowledge of the true God has brought into our heart and life. The Story of God's Wisdom, Justice, Power and Love fully satisfies the cravings of both our head and our heart. We are seeking no further. There is nothing more to be desired than to get this wonderful Story more clearly before our mind, and to appreciate more and more the Divine character as illustrated by the great Divine Plan of the Ages, which our Heavenly Father is gradually outworking for the blessing, first of the Church, and afterwards of all the families of the earth.



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SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
--DECEMBER 27.--2 CORINTHIANS 5:14-21.--

"Far be it from me to glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."--Galatians 6:14. R.V.
TODAY'S Bible Study reminds us afresh of the fact that Jesus is not merely the Savior of the Church, but that He is also the Savior of the world. In the past, Bible students have overlooked this great truth, to their confusion. Now we see that God has provided two distinctly different salvations --the one for the Church in the Gospel Age, and the other for the world in the Age to follow this--the period of Messiah's Kingdom.

Not only do we see that there are two different salvations, but also that they are wholly different, totally different in kind. They are alike in some things, however. Both are salvations from sin and from its power and its penalty, the curse--sorrow, pain, crying, sighing, dying. Both are salvations to an everlasting happiness. But there the similarity ends; for the Church is to be saved by a change of nature, while the world is to be saved without a change of nature--by a resurrection to the perfection of human nature.

The Church's salvation, which is now in progress, has its beginning in the "hearing" of faith. The Message of God's grace is proclaimed here and there by stammering lips, which do not appeal to many of the great or wise or learned, but chiefly to the poor of this world, rich in faith. Such of these as are of humble mind, of "broken and contrite heart," are charmed with the Message of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God through the Redeemer. As they approach and seek to draw near to God, He through His providences draws near to them. If they continue to hunger and thirst after the Lord and His Message, He will satisfy them. He will show them His Covenant. He will enable them to understand the terms and conditions upon which they may be received back into fellowship with God as dear children--no longer aliens, strangers, foreigners--no longer condemned to death, but on the contrary justified to life.

Here comes to them another test of their love of righteousness, their hunger for fellowship with God; for the requirements made of them seem at first to be exacting. These requirements, as stated by the Master Himself, are: "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself [renounce his own self-will], take up his cross [begin to live contrary to his own preferences in that he will do according to the Divine will, instead of according to his own will, where it crosses the Divine], and follow Me." Then he must continue to follow in the Master's footsteps--faithful unto death.

Some, upon learning of these stringent conditions of discipleship, turn back and follow no longer in pursuit of the Lord's favor, forgiveness, reconciliation, blessing, begetting of the Holy Spirit. It is their option; and their course will decide their worthiness or unworthiness to be counted in with the special class whom the Lord is now selecting from the world to be the Church--"the Bride, the Lamb's Wife."

THE BLESSINGS OF FAITH

We are not to think of those who reject the Lord's cross and refuse to make a full consecration of their lives as being, therefore, condemned either to eternal torment or to anything else. The call of the Gospel Age is a favor and a privilege. Those who respond get a special blessing; those who reject miss that special blessing. They are not condemned (damned) in any sense of the word because of rejecting the privilege of walking in the Master's steps. On the contrary, as the Scriptures declare, they were already condemned--condemned in Adam, because members of his family, sharers of his weaknesses and unworthiness of life--sharers of his death sentence. They failed to escape from that condemnation, and thus they continue under it. [R5597 : page 379]

It is of the Church class only that St. Peter writes, "Having escaped the corruption that is [still] in the world." (2 Peter 1:4.) As the Apostle Paul wrote, "We were children of wrath, even as others [still are]." (Ephesians 2:3.) By believing in Christ, by accepting His terms, by becoming His disciples through full consecration, we secure forgiveness for the sins that are past, and additionally secure relationship with the Heavenly Father through our Redeemer, our Advocate. Now His acceptance of us is by and through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and this is granted to none others than those who come by His appointed way.

Those begotten of the Holy Spirit are Scripturally styled "New Creatures in Christ." To them, "old things have passed away, and all things have become new." They have new aims, new objects, new hopes in life. To them, earthly things have no value, except as they can be used to glorify the Lord and to serve Him. Earthly learning, reputation, honor, titles, are valuable only as they can be used in some way to the glory of God--in the service of His Cause or for the benefit of fellowmen, especially those of the Household of Faith. To these, earthly prospects, political hopes and ambitions, etc., are nothing; for they have before their mind's eye Heavenly prospects, which include joint-heirship with Christ in His Messianic Kingdom of a thousand years and, after that, additional glory and honor in the ages to follow.

But all these blessings, you note, are heard with the ear of faith, seen with the eye of faith. Thus the Lord selects and draws only those who can and do exercise faith; for "without faith it is impossible to please God."

Those who either never hear, or hearing fail to respond, or responding go for a little way and then stop when they come to the crucial test of self-denial, self-renouncement --these lose all those spiritual blessings which the others, if faithful, will attain--Heavenly honor, Heavenly glory and immortality through the change of nature begun at the time of their begetting and to be consummated in their complete change in the First Resurrection. These the Apostle describes as "sown in weakness, raised in power; sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body; sown in dishonor, raised in glory."

But even those who lose God's highest blessings and rewards will still have open before them great and wonderful favors of God, all of which were purchased by the Redeemer's precious blood--by His sacrifice for our sins, by His submission of His life for the forfeited life of Adam, for the recovery of Adam and all his race from the sentence, or the curse, of death. These blessings for the world, however, are not to be clearly seen or appreciated yet, except by those who are especially taught of God--those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus enabled to understand "the deep things of God." --1 Corinthians 2:10.

"THE COMMON SALVATION"

The point we are here especially making is that God has provided a salvation for the world, as well as a salvation for the Church. The Bible tells us of the general facts of these salvations. It assures us that "God so loved the world [as well as the Church] that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.) We noticed at first that the penalty that is upon the world is not an eternal torment penalty, but a penalty of destruction. Christ died that the race might not perish, but in due time recover from the death penalty through faith in Christ and obedience to Him.

Only the few can exercise the great faith that is necessary to a place in the Heavenly reward as members of His Bride class. By and by, when the knowledge of God shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep, all will understand; all will hear and be able to believe in God's goodness and in His wonderful arrangement on man's behalf. Those who will then believe, and who will then accept God's favor on its terms of loyalty and obedience to the best of their ability, will be blessed by Messiah's Kingdom.

The blessing, as the Bible describes it, will be the rolling away of the curse and the rolling on, instead of the curse, "the blessing of the Lord, which maketh rich; and He addeth no sorrow with it." This work of rolling away the curse and rolling on the blessing is the appointed work of Messiah's Kingdom for a thousand years.

We may be sure that by the time His Kingdom shall end, and shall be delivered up to the Father, our Lord will have fully accomplished all the great work which was committed to Him of the Father and for which He has shown His worthiness by His co-operation in the Father's Plan, to the extent of dying for the race. And this King of Glory, Messiah, will have for associates those who, like Himself, delight to do the Father's will-- those who delight to walk in His steps. His perfection, His sacrifice, making good for their defects through the fall, enables them to become joint-sacrificers with Him. Of these the Apostle writes, "For if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him; and if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him."

NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST

In today's Study St. Paul deals especially with the Church class. He explains to us that it is the love of Christ that has exercised the constraining, or drawing, power upon our hearts. The love of Christ is merely the love of the Father, but as men we would not be able to understand the Father's love. We are enabled to understand that love as it was manifested by our Redeemer; and thus through Him we look upward to the Father, and are able to appreciate something of the love that is beyond all human understanding. As St. Paul points out, Christ's love was manifested in that He died for all. When we say "for all," it means that the whole race was dead, that none had a right to everlasting life, and that none could commend themselves to God so as to be worthy of everlasting life.

The Apostle explains that all who realize this matter fully, clearly, should indicate the fact by consecrating their lives to the Lord, to live unto Him, to know His will, to lay down their lives in the service of Him who died for them and who rose again. These have a special love for the Lord and they, properly, have a special love for each other. They are seeking to live, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit--in harmony with the begetting of the Holy Spirit, which they have received.

Hence they more and more are thinking of Christ, not as the Man Jesus, but as the glorified Lord. So also they are learning to think of each other, not according to the flesh, but according to the heart; for "if any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature." To such, earthly things--earthly hopes, aims and prospects--have gone, and all things have become new. They have new hopes, new ambitions, new relationships. If faithful, they will receive the glorious things which God has in reservation for those who love Him.

These things are of God. They are not of the Apostle's making up, nor of Jesus' origination. The Father Himself originated the whole Plan and arrangement. He has already reconciled us to Himself by Jesus [R5597 : page 380] Christ. We are fully given over to Him. We have no rebellion in our hearts. He has reconciled us to Himself through His Son; and God has nothing against us. "There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Their sins are forgiven. Instead of condemning them, God justifies them. As St. Paul says, "It is God that justifies; who is he that condemns? It was Christ that died," giving full satisfaction for our sins.

THE SERVICE OF RECONCILIATION

These New Creatures, begotten of the Holy Spirit, are given a work to do. They are not only to have a work in the future as kings and priests, joint-heirs with Christ in the blessing of the world, but they have a work to do at the present time, a work for God. They are to be ambassadors for God. They are to be His representatives amongst men. They are to seek to tell the Message of God's Love to those who do not understand it. They are to tell the way of return to God to those who know not the way and to those who give evidence of a desire for reconciliation. They are thus ministers, or servants, of the way of reconciliation even in the present time. All those reconciled in the present time by faith and obedience are privileged thus to become members of the Bride class--joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom.

In the 20th verse it will be noticed that the word "you" is in italics, indicating that it is not in the original. The passage does not read properly with the word "you." It should be omitted. God is not beseeching the Church through the Church, or through each other, to be reconciled; for all of the Church are reconciled.

The Apostle is telling us that God through us is beseeching or urging mankind--all who have the hearing ear--to be reconciled to Him, telling them that He is willing to be reconciled to them, and explaining the basis of this reconciliation; namely, that Christ took the sinner's place, that He personally knew no sin, but was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, and that those who receive this Message may have the privilege of coming into the righteous condition acceptable to God, and thus of being inducted into the Bride class, who will complete the Royal Priesthood beyond the Veil, and for a thousand years have the glorious work of blessing all the families of the earth.



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ISRAEL'S EXPERIENCES TYPICAL, ALLEGORICAL
--JANUARY 3.--JUDGES 2:1-19.--

NATURAL ISRAEL'S ENEMIES--SPIRITUAL ISRAEL'S ENEMIES-- NATURAL ISRAEL'S JUDGES OR DELIVERERS--SPIRITUAL ISRAEL'S REFORMERS AND HELPERS--TYPICAL IDOLATRIES AND THEIR ANTITYPES--ISRAEL'S LAST DELIVERANCE NOW DUE-- GENTILE TIMES HAVE ENDED--PALESTINE SOON WILL BE POSSESSED BY ABRAHAM AND HIS NATURAL SEED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF MESSIAH AND HIS SPIRITUAL BRIDE, THE CHURCH.

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely."--Hosea 14:4.
TODAY'S Study tells us of the death of Joshua, who became the leader of the Israelites at the death of Moses. He was a worthy example of faithfulness to God amongst his people. Under Divine direction he divided the land of Palestine amongst the ten tribes of Israel, giving each his portion with the understanding that the portion was the gift of the Lord, and that the more faith possessed the more quickly would the tribe enter into its inheritance.

The Israelites were enjoined by the Lord through an angel, especially sent as God's representative, that they should speedily take possession of the land, driving out their enemies, destroying their idols and altars of worship, and thus conquering the entire country for themselves as God's people and ridding themselves and their children of all idolatrous temptation. But instead of doing this, they made leagues with the various heathen peoples inhabiting the land, and brought themselves into more or less of a friendly relationship. This disobedience to Divine command proved to be a serious snare.

In studying the history of Israel, we are to remember that the Apostle tells us those things were allegorical. (1 Corinthians 10:11.) They were true, they were real occurrences; but their chief object and purpose, from God's standpoint, was to illustrate certain great truths for Spiritual Israel, coming afterwards--the Gospel Church. Thus, for instance, when the Christian enters upon his new life as a result of his consecration to God, it corresponds to crossing Jordan--dying to old interests and entering into the new inheritance. Under the leadership of Jesus, our Joshua, we enter into new life full of courage and faith. Victories result.

Then we learn that the New Creature is to conquer the perverted appetites of his own flesh, which correspond to the idolatrous peoples who resided in Canaan. It is the duty of the New Creature to drive out these earthly hopes, ambitions, weaknesses, perversions, and oppositions to the Lord and His righteousness. If the work of exterminating were carried on thoroughly, the result would be a ripened character, strong in the Lord, full of faith, obedience, joy, peace and blessing.

However, like the Israelites of old, in too many cases the Lord's people make a truce with their own fleshly weaknesses. They fail to drive these out, and fail to overthrow the altars of passion, avarice, etc. These weaknesses and depravities of the flesh for a time cower before the new nature, entreating mercy, patience and a measure of gratification. But so surely as these are granted, the result is that the passions and weaknesses become stronger and stronger and the New Creature is worsted in the battle, until he must cry to the Lord for deliverance, lest he perish before the onslaught of his own passions and desires. Thus the lives of many Christian people are a succession of battlings and defeats --captivities. The battle should have been fought out at first. The will should have been fixed firmly on the side of righteousness, truth, obedience to God.

It is difficult to determine how much all of the Lord's people suffer as a result of not being firm enough, rigorous enough, in their dealings with their own flesh, especially at the beginning of their Christian experiences. The only remedy is to cry unto the Lord as the Israelites did when they found themselves hard pressed. As the Lord delivered them, so He is willing to deliver all of His Spiritual Israelites.

However, it is certainly a shame for Christians that their defeats are so numerous, as it was a shame to the Israelites that, during the period of the Judges, they were eighteen times oppressed by their enemies--slaves where they should have been masters. The one great lesson of all this to the Natural Israelites and to the Spiritual Israelites is the lesson of God's mercy, as expressed in our text. The Lord is very gracious, willing to forgive our trespasses and to assist us when we realize our [R5598 : page 381] wrong condition and appeal for help. "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely."

JOSHUA'S WISE EXHORTATION

The Book of Joshua closes with the account of his death, and the Book of Judges begins with incidents covering the same period. When Joshua realized that his work was done and that he was about to be gathered to his fathers--to sleep with his fathers in death--he called the Israelites, and reminded them of the Lord's mercies and manifest favors toward them in bringing them thus far and finally giving to each tribe the allotment of its inheritance in the Promised Land. Then he warned them respecting the dangers of the situation, the necessity for being separate from the people of the land--Gentiles; otherwise the tendency might be toward idolatry. He urged upon all a full settlement of the mind, the will, on the side of the Lord and against all the heathen religions. It was then that he took his stand and announced, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The others joined with him in the same resolve.

Our lesson tells us that all the days of Joshua, and the days of the others of the judges who outlived Joshua, things went well with the Israelites. They had the Lord's blessing and were prosperous. These leaders had in mind the Lord's wonderful dealings, and realized the importance of being on the Lord's side, if they would have His blessing. The idolatries that came in were subsequent.

The true God has always prohibited idols, while the false gods have usually been represented by idols. The idols, according to human reasoning, would appear to be an excellent way of keeping religion before the mind; but it was not God's way, and hence was not advantageous. As the Israelites noted the idolatrous worship of their neighbors, they doubtless felt that the latter were the more religious, because of this outward demonstration.

Moreover, in connection with the heathen forms of worship were various licentious practises, which to some extent would draw from curiosity and, through the weaknesses of the flesh, appeal to the Israelites. The true God, on the contrary, had instituted in their midst a worship which was pure in itself, in every way condemning sin, pointing out the necessity for its cancelation and the need for drawing near to God in the way of His appointment. In a word, the true religion appealed to the highest and noblest sentiments, while the false religions of the Canaanites appealed to the baser passions, combining a form of godliness with gratification of the flesh, dancings and various saturnalia.

But as for the Christian who condemns the Israelites very severely for wandering off, time and again, into the idolatries of his heathen neighbors and requiring to be punished of the Lord that he might turn again and seek the Lord in the right way--let such Christian remember the antitype--how forms of godliness are inclined to take the place of true heart-worship, reverence; and how the weaknesses of the flesh are inclined to assert themselves, to justify themselves and, if possible, to make themselves appear to be in accordance with the Divine will. Let them remember that many today worship the golden calf more than they worship God, requiring chastisements time and again to correct them, to awaken them to their real condition. Let them remember, too, that the Christians have made idols equally as hideous as any made by the heathen--not idols of stone or wood or bronze, but more hideous misrepresentations of the Divine character--our printed creeds.

Verse 17 and its connections seem to indicate that the record of our lesson covers a long period of centuries of Israel's experiences, under many judges. When they repented, the Lord raised up judges, or, as we say, deliverers, through whom their adversities would be corrected. Yet even these repeated experiences did not deeply enough impress the great lesson, so that they needed to learn their lessons over and over. When the judge would bring them back from their adversities, and they would have rest for some years during his lifetime, it was merely to fall away after his death. Nevertheless, the Lord's Covenant was with the nation. The centuries since have shown the persistency of God's mercy.

GOD'S FAVOR RETURNING TO ISRAEL

As we have previously pointed out, the Bible indicates very clearly that Israel's last great lesson of oppression under the Gentiles closed in 1914. The period of chastisement, twenty-five hundred and twenty years long, began where the crown was taken from King Zedekiah, B.C. 606. (Ezekiel 21:25-27.) They have not been an independent nation in all these twenty-five hundred and twenty years. As the Lord declared, Zedekiah was the last of the line of David who should reign until Messiah's Kingdom would be established. The end of Gentile Times, then, marks the beginning of Messiah's Kingdom. Everywhere we see manifestations that He as the great Judge is taking over the affairs of the world, and that Israel's final deliverance is at hand.

Spiritual Israel must first be delivered by the glorious "change" of the First Resurrection. Thus the Spiritual Empire will first be established. Following that great event and the incidental Time of Trouble will come the exaltation of representatives of Natural Israel to be the [R5599 : page 381] earthly exponents of the Heavenly Kingdom. These will be the Ancient Worthies of the Hebrew people--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the Prophets. Others of the Hebrew people, delivered from Gentile domination, will nevertheless get their blessing through their acceptance of the Kingdom arrangements, which includes the thought that their eyes of understanding will open and that they will recognize the great King.

Thus it is written that they that pierced Him shall look upon Him and mourn because of a realization that they crucified the Prince of Life. Nevertheless they will have a great blessing, in proportion as they have been seeking conscientiously to serve God and the principles of His righteousness. Then the Lord will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and supplication, in connection with which they will have so much blessing. (Zechariah 12:10.) And this blessing of the Lord, coming upon Israel first, means also the blessing of all the world.

All who realize the fulfilment of the Times of the Gentiles should be looking for and co-operating with the further steps of the Divine Plan. One of these is Israel's repossession of the control of Palestine, the inheritance of Abraham and his family. The time is ripe. It remains for Jews, who by God's favor have the wealth now, to use that wealth in the furtherance of the hope of Israel. But a failure on man's part to appreciate and use opportunities will not interfere with the Divine Plan. The hour of blessing is coming. Through some instrumentality Palestine will shortly pass into the possession of the Jews.

Note the fact that promptly at the close of the Jewish year in September, Russia published her decree giving the Jews full religious liberty and privileges as citizens. Germany quickly followed. Great Britain also honored the Jews. Legally, therefore, the Jew today--since the close of Gentile Times--is accorded the same liberties as other people. He is no longer "trodden down of the Gentiles."



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"DRINK YE ALL OF IT"

"Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?"--Matthew 20:22.
THE incident which is narrated in our context occurred just previous to our Lord's death. He had gone up to Jerusalem. He had made the triumphal entry into the city. Now He was waiting for the grand climax of His experiences. He had forewarned His disciples and had explained to them that the chief priests would deliver Him up to be crucified.

But the Apostles in general did not understand the Lord's words. On many occasions His words had been figurative. So now they wondered what He meant. They did not know what kind of figure of speech this could be. They thought that He was near to sitting on His Throne, and that they would be with Him. So thoroughly were they convinced that the establishment of the Kingdom was at hand that St. James and St. John--their mother acting as spokesman, advocate --had asked that when He came into His Kingdom they two might sit near Him, the one on His right hand, and the other on His left. They were expecting that in a day or two important events would take place which would bring them into the Kingdom.

Our Lord's answer to this request was intended not only for the disciples there before Him, but undoubtedly for all His disciples throughout the Gospel Age, to set before them the conditions on which the Kingdom was to be attained. Our Lord stated the matter very plainly, asking James and John, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They did not understand these words in full, but perceived that it meant some kind of death. "Are you able?"--Are you willing? They replied that they were.

The word able, while it contains the thought of force, strength, nevertheless expresses willingness; for it refers to the will. The thought is not, Are ye physically able?-- but, Are ye mentally able? This thought would properly be represented by the word willing. Are your wills strong enough? The two disciples determined that they were. "Yes, Lord, we have a will to do the whole thing, whatever it may be." They were fully given up to the Lord, to do His will. They would be willing for anything. They had such appreciation of the Kingdom, and such confidence in the Lord that whatever He was about to do they were willing to do.

OUR LORD'S REAL BAPTISM

And so it is with us. Our wills are made up. "Are ye able?" Surely! There is not a doubt--nothing to interfere. That which the disciples could not understand, and which we could not have understood had we been in their places, we fully understand now, because we have the assistance of the Holy Spirit to guide and help us in the understanding of the deep things of God. We see that the Lord meant that He was immersed into death. At the beginning of His ministry, He gave up all of His earthly interests in every sense of the word. This was His sacrifice. It was symbolized by baptism into water, but it was really a baptism into death. He had been fulfilling that baptism for three and a half years; and the next day He would die, as He well knew. "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!"--Luke 12:50.

The thought is, "I am feeling greatly straitened until that baptism be accomplished. It will be accomplished tomorrow. I find that connected with that death there are difficulties that I had not expected. I am anxiously waiting for tomorrow, for the completion of My sacrificial death."

Our Lord had not supposed that His consecration to death would mean a death of such serious indignity, humiliation and misrepresentation of His character--an ignominious death. He had known that He was to be crucified, had told His disciples so and was entirely willing thus to die. But as He got down to the core of the matter, He saw that the arrangements were that He was to die the death of a criminal. It was an entirely different matter to be crucified as a criminal. Because He was a good man, it was most trying to Him to be arrested as a blasphemer--one guilty of the worst crime known to the Jews. To be condemned on the charge of blasphemy and to be led by His own countrymen to be put to death, when He was really giving up all that He had for the service of God, was a terrible ordeal for Him--much more of a test for Him than it would have been for one who had been tainted with sin, and who was less sensitive because of his wrong life. Jesus seems frequently to have referred to this cup, as if He instinctively shrank from the experience.

THE CHURCH'S CUP OF EXPERIENCE

In a broad sense, the figurative expression, cup of experience, might be used in referring to every affair of our lives. But this is apparently not the way in which Jesus was using this word at this time. He used it in respect to something in the future. "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?"--in the future--that cup which I shall drink within the next few hours. That cup was a terrible draft to Him--not the dying, not the cross. He had not asked that He might be spared the dying, that He might avoid death. But He had asked that this bitter cup of ignominy, that He should be put to death as a blasphemer, might be set aside; and yet He said, "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?" After He had cried out with strong cryings to God and had received the assurances of God's favor, He was then ready to drink of this cup.

So it is with the Lord's followers. It is hard that our good should be evil spoken of, that we should be declared to be poisonous to every religious sentiment. This is a part of our experience. To have people separate us from their company would be a trifling thing. To die in some respectable way would be a small matter. But to be put into a false light, to have our good made out to be evil, these are trying experiences. Our attitude is to be the same as that of our Master, "The cup that our Lord shall pour, shall we not drink it?" We have the word of the Apostle that all things shall work for good to those who love God, to the called according to His purpose. With these thoughts before our minds, we are to be of good courage and to accept the cup of experience which the Lord has for us. We know not how near that cup may be. Perhaps with the Church it is the same as with Himself. Perhaps there will be a measure of acknowledgment that we are right about the Divine Plan. Then through the machinations of the church systems we may be delivered up--possibly to death.

THE TEST NOW UPON THE CHURCH

The disciples at the First Advent did not realize how near they were to the experiences of Gethsemane and Calvary. It may be so with us now, for aught we know. Therefore we realize the importance of our lives being such as the Lord has marked out for us. Watch ye, lest ye fall in the hour of temptation! The hour of temptation was upon them; therefore it was important [R5599 : page 383] that they keep themselves in the right attitude. And so should we do now, when we believe the Age is closing. There may be peculiar tests, which the Lord may not wish us to know--they would not be such tests if we knew of them in advance. Therefore we should be on guard that we may be found loyal and faithful, and that we may demonstrate our faithfulness unto death in the way that the Lord has prepared for us.

It would appear as though the present time may be one in which the Lord is giving His people a test of a new kind. Even though we see the Gentile nations in process of disintegration, there is an opportunity for some to doubt the whole matter and to say, "There have been wars before, and I suppose there will be wars yet! This is not the end of the Gentile Times, as I thought it would be." Such people, if they had been engaged in the Lord's service, might leave it and go into worldly society, or become engrossed in business, or what not. This is most particularly the very time in which such testings might come. Therefore we should be on our guard lest any spirit of doubt come upon us. "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."

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