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

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

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

VOL. XXXVIJANUARY 1No. 1

A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043


CONTENTS

View from the Watch Tower3
Meantime, What Shall We Do?3
Opportunities Never So Great as Now4
What About the Money Supply?4
Eureka Drama a Success5
Righteous and Unrighteous Anger5
The First Armageddon Battle7
The Power of a Faithful Woman8
Gideon--the Man of Courage9
Gideon's Brave Three Hundred10
1915--Our Year Text--191511
The Life Promised to the Church12
Hope for the World13
Interesting Letters14
More About London Drama Exhibitions14
Drama Prospering in Switzerland14
Says Colossal Thanksgiving is Due14
Drama Scenario in the Family15
Re Associated Bible Students15
Mid-Winter Toronto, Ont., Convention15

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

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

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS 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.

SYMBOLIC BAPTISM AT THE N.Y. CITY TEMPLE

Until further notice opportunities for symbolizing death with Christ will be given the first Sunday of each month.


"WHY FINANCIERS TREMBLE"

In the next Volunteer matter the above will be the title of the leading article. In ordering ask for Vol. Monthly No. 67.


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THE DRAMA IN MANY TONGUES

The DRAMA is being shown and heard by the Finnish, the Swedish, the Danish, the Norwegians and the Germans. We are hoping to have copies of these records for American use shortly. The Danish records have already arrived. We also have some inquiries for these in Polish, Greek, Spanish and Italian. If the interest seems sufficient to justify it we hope to have a fairly good array of foreign translations of the DRAMA. Any interested should address EUREKA DRAMA DEPT., 17 Hicks St. page 2



BETHEL HYMNS FOR FEBRUARY

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 February follow:

(1) 67; (2) 22; (3) 259; (4) 16; (5) 164; (6) 7; (7) 4; (8) 222; (9) 307; (10) 123; (11) 152; (12) 107; (13) 25; (14) 14; (15) 170; (16) 58; (17) 113; (18) 132; (19) 160; (20) 105; (21) 165; (22) 91; (23) 324; (24) 322; (25) 313; (26) 333; (27) 188; (28) 312.



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VIEW FROM THE WATCH TOWER

WHEN our worthy President and also his Holiness the Pope requested Christian people to pray God for the cessation of the European war, we declared that the prayer was not in harmony with the Divine arrangement and would not be answered. We pointed out that according to the Scriptures the 2520 years of Gentile dominion ended in September, 1914; and that the war is the one predicted in the Scriptures as associated with the Great Day of Almighty God--"the Day of Vengeance of our God." We pointed out the Word of the Lord through the Prophet Joel respecting the gathering of all nations to the Valley of Jehoshaphat--the valley of death.--Joel 3:1-12.

The experiences of Elijah in the closing of his ministry showed us how the Great Day of the Lord will be ushered in: first, the wind rending the rocks, representing the present war; secondly, the great earthquake, representing the Revolution that will follow the present war; thirdly, the fire, representing the Anarchy that will follow the Revolution; fourthly, "the still, small Voice" of God-- which will follow the anarchy in the world--through Messiah's Kingdom speaking, "Peace! be still!" "Beat your spears into pruninghooks and your swords into plowshares, and learn war no more!"--Micah 4:3.

We see no reason for thinking that the present war will terminate until either Great Britain or Germany has a decisive victory upon the sea. The strife between these two has been fomenting for thirty years. Each has wished the destruction of the other's fleet and colonies, but dreaded the war which would accomplish these ends, well knowing in advance that it would be a terrible one. The unfortunate circumstances which suddenly led up to Austria's assault upon Servia, Russia's defense of Servia, and France's revenge for Alsace-Lorraine, involving Germany on both sides, presented Great Britain the long-sought opportunity for crushing her commercial rival. It seems improbable that the British would now consent to cessation of war until a complete victory would be had over Germany, or until her own existence would be in jeopardy.

So far as at present may be discerned, nothing very decisive may be expected before Spring. Meantime, the soldiers are perishing, vast debts are accumulating and the industries of peace are being neglected. By and by, doubtless, the people will awaken to a saner view of the matter, and ask themselves why the people of Europe cannot live as happily there as they can live together in the United States. By and by they will raise the question as to why it should be wrong to murder one another at any private behest, and yet right to slay one another at the command of kings and kaisers. By that time the earthquake stage of the trouble will be near.

When the Earthquake, or Revolution, so prominently mentioned in the Scriptures shall have come, that, no doubt will be the time when the kings and the captains of industry, of finance and of politics will in self-defense greatly exalt the power of religious leaders. Then we may expect that the Federation of Churches will exercise a power in the world such as has not been since the days of Papal supremacy. In the symbolic language of Revelation, that will be the time in which the "Image of the Beast" will have life and work great wonders, threatening, commanding, in the name of Heaven.--Rev. 13:11-18.

MEANTIME, WHAT SHALL WE DO?

The effect of the war is not unfavorable in all respects. From Europe we have the word that a great religious impression is being made upon the people by the war. In their own distress and the distress of their loved ones on the battlefield, there is a natural tendency to turn to Heaven for help. At the same time there is a quickening of understanding. People are more ready to think than previously. Told that the soldiers are fighting for the Lord's Cause, and with the implication given that those who die are more or less martyrs for the cause of right (and are therefore heirs of Heaven), the people are fighting valiantly.

The newspapers tell them how the Catholics and the Protestants of Great Britain are praying for the Allies against their enemies; and how the German churches, Catholic and Protestant, are praying for the Germans and against the Allies. The people are wondering and will wonder still more as they think further as to how these different prayers can be answered--how the Germans could be taken to Heaven for fighting against the Allies and the Allies be taken to Heaven for fighting against the Germans! With all their thinking some will be sure to wonder whether or not these are reasonable conclusions, and what is their foundation.

On the other hand, they will think of the Hell of fire and the Purgatory of suffering taught them from infancy; and if all the soldiers are going to Heaven, they will wonder who is going to Hell. The sober thinking which the war is engendering will, no doubt, be helpful in the end, however unreasonable some of the conditions may be in the beginning. Saner views must ultimately come.

The American people are in some respects suffering more from the war than are the people of Europe; for [R5601 : page 4] the traffic of the world is temporarily hindered. They have not the business stimulus which prevails in Europe, because of military preparation there.

Americans, too, have a better opportunity of taking a calm, unprejudiced view of the war than have the people of Europe, who are so close to it and so liable to be influenced by the specious arguments of crafty leaders who tell them that the war is necessary for the maintenance of civilization--putting on their own construction as to what is real civilization. Partisan spirit, called patriotism, runs high in the countries engaged in the strife. The newspapers defend and uphold the governments; so do the preachers; so do the orators. The few who take the saner and correct view of matters are forced to silence.

From a distance the war seems most unreasonable. Germany should be allowed to build as many ships as she desires, until her people, vexed and worn out with the cost of militarism, will insist on a change of governmental policy. Great Britain should be allowed to have as many ships as she wants and as her people are willing to pay for. Each nation should be allowed to do all the business she can do justly, honestly.

Christian ministers should have long ago pointed out to the people that the present kingdoms of Europe are not God's kingdoms, but human institutions; and that all these, according to the Bible, will eventually pass away at the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom. The reverence of the Lord should have been taught, and patient waiting for His time and way. The effect of the war has certainly in America been favorable to Christian enlightenment. People who may be said never to have thought before on religious subjects are thinking now, thinking hard, and many are reaching reasonably sane conclusions.

The work which our Society has been doing in the world for several years is bearing some fruitage. People who sneered at the thought of Christ's Millennial Kingdom [R5602 : page 4] being imminent, and who trusted for a time that the world would be converted by the nominal churches, are now awakening to a realization of the fact that the fulfilment of the Lord's Prayer is the only real salvation of the world, and are continually praying, with more meaning than before, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as in Heaven." They are beginning to realize that not only have the heathens abroad doubled within a century, but that the heathenism at home is much greater than they had believed, and that the so-called Christianization of modern civilization is but a thin veneer.

OPPORTUNITIES NEVER SO GREAT AS NOW

All these conditions are favorable. Every tract and every book circulated now is likely to do three or four times as much good as in times past; for the people are getting awake to read, awake to think. Not only so, but they are more and more coming to doubt the theology of the creeds, and to see that the majority of ministers neither teach from the Bible nor believe in it as the only and the inspired Revelation of the Divine purposes.

We are well aware that some of our dear readers have the thought that the Gentile Times having closed, the Gospel Message was closed. Some of these brethren feel that it is useless to continue the Message. We cannot sympathize with their reasoning. The Divine command was that they should preach the Word, not until the close of Gentile Times, but until the Church would be completed. Just how long it will be before the Church will be completed we cannot say, but we do believe it is our privilege to tell the Good Tidings as long as there are hungry hearts to receive the Message; and we do believe that some of those coming to a knowledge of the Truth now are amongst the finest characters that have ever come into the Truth.

We believe also that the evidences strongly favor the thought that some of those who have recently come into the Light are fully received of the Lord into the blessings and privileges of the Church--His members. Some of them have the real spirit of sacrifice, which is one of the sure signs. They manifest a love for the Truth, which is another favorable sign. The Lord grants them clearness of understanding in the Truth, which is another indication of their having been begotten of the Holy Spirit. Some of them are willing and glad to suffer for the sake of the Truth, which is one of the best evidences that we could ask that they have received the Spirit of Christ.

So long as we see such evidences of the Lord's blessing by the preaching of His Word, should we falter, should we hesitate? Should we not rather be enthusiastic and redouble our efforts in the service of the King and for the service of the brethren, that they may be delivered from the bondage of ignorance and superstition into the glorious light of the knowledge of God?

We are asked, Did not the forty years of Harvest seem to close with the end of Gentile Times? We answer, Yes; we had so expected. But we remember that the Jewish harvest, which was a picture the Lord drew, was a little different from our harvest. Under the Law, the Jews were commanded to leave the corners of their fields unreaped, so that there might be something for the gleaners to do after the regular harvesters had done their work, that while the barns were being filled and the tares were being bundled and burned, making ready for a new crop, the gleaners might gather the wheat from the corners of the harvest field. Perhaps the present work is largely that of gleaning. It would appear so.

Looking back at the Jewish Harvest, we perceive that it ended in the year 69 A.D., but that certain features of the Harvest work continued over into the year A.D. 70. The burning of the chaff took place then. While that was in progress and the nation of Israel was being overthrown, doubtless there was a gleaning work, as the eyes of understanding began to open and as the people began to realize the fulfilment of Scripture. And just so it seems to be here. Shall we not be earnest in our endeavor to do this gleaning work? Surely we will be if we still maintain our love for the Lord's name and character! This will lead us to tell forth His glorious character, to show forth the errors which have beclouded the name of our Heavenly Father by misrepresenting His Divine Plan of the Ages. Surely we will be energetic in this work if our love for the brethren continues; for we see many who seem to be true children of God still in great darkness respecting the great and wonderful Truths to which our eyes of understanding have opened.

WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY SUPPLY?

But some may say, "Did we not read between the lines in the Society's Annual Report that the financial streams were drying up? And have we not heard that thirteen DRAMAS have been withdrawn, representing fifty exhibitions per day explanatory of the Divine Plan of the Ages? And does this not indicate that God's time has come for closing down the work?"

Our reply is that these things are so, but that we have a reason to surmise that God intends to send us in His own way further financial support, that His Message may go forth with great force throughout the whole world! With this in view, we are having all the DRAMAS overhauled and put into good order, anticipating that the funds to operate them will be in our hands shortly. Although we [R5602 : page 5] are still walking by faith and not by sight, we urge upon all the dear friends everywhere to slack not their hand in the Divine service, but rather to continue to labor and to wait, assured of God's favor and blessing in any event.

More than this, we suggest that all the dear brethren who have been active in the DRAMA work, and who are temporarily discontinued, do not enter into other business permanently, but hold themselves in readiness for this wonderful means of proclaiming the Truth which reaches so many people and gives them so much satisfaction and enlightenment respecting the Bible and its true Message. We also urge others who have not been with the DRAMA, but who may have knowledge of operating moving-picture films and stereopticon slides, that they make themselves as proficient as possible and advise us of their willingness and readiness and ability for this service.

We request all I.B.S.A. Classes to consider well if they have any brethren of special ability whom they could recommend to the Society for such openings as may come: (1) Men clear in the Truth and loyal to it, ready to lay down their lives for it; (2) men of good address and possessing a talent for public speaking and an ability to speak grammatically. We want to have a list of these, that we may call for them if opportunity offers. But be sure that you conscientiously answer the questions above, and that you do not recommend any to the Society except those who would be a credit to the Truth and its service. There may be other ways in which some could serve without the talent of public speaking and without any particular knowledge of grammar; but for the public service the Society believes it to be the Lord's will that His Truth should be presented in a creditable form.

Quite a number of our readers have had more or less experience in Colporteur work. Some of them have withdrawn from the service because of inability to meet their expenses, even though the Society gave them the books at less than cost--one half the selling price. Any such Colporteur, who has some ability and who could re-enter the work under favorable conditions, is requested to drop us a postcard stating willingness to re-enter and stating the number of books he was able to sell when in the service. Some of these might be assisted in one way or another so as to help them back again to this very important Colporteur work. We have methods and instructions now, by the use of which many are successful who formerly were unsuccessful.

We want to get this list, so that, if a way should open up that we expect, we may know how to communicate with you promptly. We ask for this address on a postcard, so that it may be easily filed.

The Volunteer work for 1915 should not be forgotten. As stated before, the people are awake and reading, whereas before many of them neglected the literature handed them. Now is the time to put a piece of literature into every home in your own city and to ascertain whether or not the adjoining towns and villages have been served --thus to extend your service in the Harvest work. We are ready to supply this literature free, paying the freight to destination. Send in your orders that they may be filled as promptly as possible.

EUREKA DRAMA A SUCCESS

In our Report we pointed out that, although only recently started, the EUREKA DRAMA service is proving a very efficient one, especially where it is taken into the small villages and cities. Empty churches, court houses, schoolhouses, etc., are very generally obtainable, when the people know that they are to have a very interesting entertainment free of charge. Some of the Classes have obtained these EUREKA DRAMAS by a partial payment down, the Society waiting on them for their greater convenience to pay the remainder. As these remainders are paid we are able to give out other DRAMA sets. Thus the work progresses. The blessing in every case seems to be not only to the public, but especially to those of the dear friends who are serving the public.

Be of good courage and the Lord shall strengthen your heart! Let us be loyal, faithful, and forget not the cultivation of all the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Thus shall we best be prepared for the glorious consummation of our hopes, which we believe so near at hand!



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RIGHTEOUS AND UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER

"Love is not easily provoked."--1 Corinthians 13:5.
IN THE chapter from which our text is taken, St. Paul sets forth the prime necessity for the cultivation and development of Love, without which, whatever else we may attain, we shall be nothing in the sight of God. The Apostle tells us in the words of our text, that love is not easily provoked. Evidently he uses the word provoke here in a very different sense from its meaning where he says that we should "consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works." (Hebrews 10:24.) The thought in the latter text is to incite to good works, to call forth love in others, to exert an influence favorable to righteousness. The thought in our present text, however, is that of being excited, or roused, to anger. St. Paul declares that love is not easily thus aroused, but is long-suffering.

We might say, strictly speaking, that it is not the quality of Love itself that would ever be moved to anger. Yet righteous anger--a just indignation aroused by our love for the principles of righteousness--is not incompatible with love. "God is Love," and the Scriptures assure us that He "is angry with the wicked every day." His anger is righteous indignation against sin.

GOD'S RIGHTEOUS ANGER

Looking to God as our great Example, we see that His Love was manifested on behalf of His human creatures in the beginning. It was love for humanity that provided the Garden of Eden with all its blessings and its perfect life, just as His love for the angels had provided all their blessings. But when Sin came in, Love stepped back; or in other words, Justice was the special attribute of God then manifested. It was better for mankind that there should be this punishment for sin; for from the foundation of the world God, foreknowing man's fall, had purchased his redemption. So even in the sentence of death His love for man persisted. But God is the opponent of sin, and when His Law was violated, Love, or He who is the embodiment of Love, was provoked to righteous anger.

God's indignation was likewise kindled against His chosen people, the Jews, when He said to the Prophet (Jeremiah 8:19), "Why have they provoked Me to anger?" Many Scriptures speak of God's anger. That anger has ever burned against sin. It has been resting upon the world for six thousand years. But the Love of God has in no way been violated by this attitude against the condemned world. Therefore, Love can be justly [R5603 : page 6] provoked to anger. He who declares that Justice is the foundation of His Throne never indulges in sentiments which are not in the fullest harmony with that Justice. But He has arranged for the recovery of this condemned race. The Love of God has made this provision for His fallen creatures.

GOD'S LOVE HELD IN ABEYANCE

But Love is not easily provoked, not unjustly provoked. It required an act of intentional disobedience on the part of Father Adam to provoke God to anger. It was not because Mother Eve was deceived that the sentence came upon the world. The anger of God came upon mankind and the sentence of death was pronounced because of Father Adam's sin, which was committed with full knowledge. And during all these six thousand years of sin God's Love has been held in abeyance, so to speak, provoked to the point of withdrawal.

But all the while God's character has not changed. He did not cause the diabolical conditions which have existed since the fall of man. Neither Love nor Justice, as embodied in Jehovah, would sanction sin; "The wages of Sin is death." (Romans 6:23.) And everything that goes with death as its natural result is a part of that penalty. But God has permitted these conditions, knowing that by His Power they would all be overruled for the ultimate good of mankind. The great Adversary of God is responsible for the disaster which Sin has wrought upon the earth. But the Almighty will yet cause the wrath of Satan to work out good for the children of men, ultimately crushing, annihilating, the great Enemy of righteousness.--Hebrews 2:14.

The Love of God, thus held in abeyance, has bided its time, to be revealed to astonished man when the due time shall have come. Nearly two thousand years ago Love manifested itself on behalf of the world, when God sent forth His Only-Begotten Son to be man's Redeemer. He came to earth and gave His life--a willing sacrifice for human sin. Then the call went forth to gather the Church, the class who were in God's Purpose to be the Bride of His Son, to be associated with Him in the great future work for the race of Adam. During this Gospel Age, this Church is being gathered, and in due time will be exalted in Kingdom glory. Then God's love will manifest itself to our race. The Kingdom of God will lift up mankind from sin and degradation and death, into the light and glory of the Lord--all who are willing to accept life on God's terms.

SPECIAL CRISES IN CHRISTIAN LIFE

How earnestly we as children of God should watch and pray that we may indeed be fitted for our great future work--now so near! There is a danger that love will not be sufficiently strong in us; for by reason of the fall, sin and selfishness have come to be preponderating influences in the world. These, operating for six thousand years, have made man very deficient in love, sympathy, brotherly-kindness and long-suffering. Now there is a greater tendency toward anger, malice, hatred, strife, than toward love. Consequently, when God accepts us into His family, He tells us that one of the first requirements is love. Love must grow in our hearts and minds, and permeate all our thoughts, words and actions.

Our fallen flesh, helped on by the unseen "powers of the air," will seek to prevent our attaining this necessary condition; and after we have attained it, strong pressure will at times be brought to bear upon us as New Creatures to induce us to withdraw from this position. From time to time the child of God has experiences with others of the brethren that seem to threaten his spiritual health, or even his spiritual life. The powers of darkness assail him, endeavoring to encourage the feelings and sentiments which he is strongly tempted to adopt. He has come to a crisis in his Christian experience. He must go forward or backward. He cannot stand still. The struggle is on. Will this severe trial prove a stepping-stone to lift him nearer God, or will it be a stone of stumbling, to overthrow him?

At such crucial times, the only refuge is prayer. The Lord permits these very trials to test our mettle as children of God. The Adversary will endeavor to place the matter before our agitated minds in the most unfavorable light as regards the brother or sister. He will seek to pervert the judgment, and to deceive the mind as to the real facts in the case; and our flesh responds to this view of the matter. The only safe course is to refuse to entertain in the slightest degree the thoughts of bitterness trying to find a lodgment in our mind and heart, and to cry at once to the Lord for strength and help in our time of need, seeking counsel of His Word bearing upon our proper attitude in such an emergency. Let us remember the words of the hymn we have often sung:

"Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you
Some other to win.
Fight manfully onward,
Dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus,
He'll carry you through."

"FORGIVE, AND YE SHALL BE FORGIVEN"

Let us, then, be kind and forbearing one with another, brethren, seeking to put the kindest construction upon the words, the actions and the natural tendencies of one another, remembering our own peculiarities and foibles. Let us remember that each of us is blemished by the fall, and that those of the brethren who try us most may have had hereditary tendencies and environments in earlier life of which we are not aware, and which would make us very pitiful if we knew. Let us remember also that we may be altogether unaware of some of our own weaknesses and mannerisms, which may grate upon others. We should be much more careful to note our own mistakes and faults than those of other brethren of the Lord.

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger [fleshly anger], and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you"--and still forgives you. (Ephesians 4:31,32.) "Put on, therefore, as the Elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have occasion of complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are also called in one Body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom."-- Colossians 3:12-16.

After the child of the Lord has gained the victory in a struggle like this, and has through prayer and determined effort brought the Arm of God to his deliverance, he is a stronger Christian than before the trial came. He has taken a stride forward in the narrow way; he has taken a firmer hold on God, and will be the better enabled to conquer in the next testing. But every failure to thus overcome leaves the child of God weaker and less able to resist the onslaught of his flesh and of the [R5604 : page 7] Adversary and his evil host, and the less sure of being a final overcomer.

In speaking of love as respects the Church of Christ, the Apostle assures us that if we would be pleasing to the Lord we must develop richly this grace. Those who possess this quality in goodly measure will not be easily provoked to anger, will not readily take offense, will not be too watchful lest their rights and their dignity be infringed upon. Those who have little love will be easily angered and offended. Let us keep self down, and diligently continue the work of its crucifixion, looking ever to Him from whom cometh our help. The love which our Lord appreciates is longsuffering. This does not mean that there would never be occasions for just indignation, righteous anger. There should be a feeling of righteous anger when we see great injustice. Why? Because injustice is wrong. God is angry with injustice, when it is committed knowingly, or willingly. And so God's people should have no sympathy with injustice.

LOVE SUPERADDED TO JUSTICE

If the children of God do not carefully cultivate the quality of justice, they will get themselves into that attitude where they will not appreciate justice at all. But while appreciating what is right and what is wrong, we are to go further, and see that we cultivate diligently the quality of love, sympathy, charity. None can say that his own estimate of what constitutes justice and love is entirely right, and that the other man's estimate is entirely wrong, especially when this other is a brother or sister in Christ, seeking to develop the same Christlike qualities as ourself. Our viewpoints cannot be always the same; therefore let us not be too sure that our own viewpoint is the correct one, and the other view wrong, where there is any possibility of our being mistaken.

No follower of Christ is so well developed that he can say, I do not need any further instruction along the lines of justice and love, but my brother needs it. And in our experiences with the brethren, where the other one seems to be at fault, let us say to ourselves, Here is a brother who perhaps has had more disadvantages than I have had. He is a brother of mine according to the Spirit. He seems to me to be doing wrong, but I sympathize with him because he probably does not know that his action is wrong. Or I may be wrong myself. If he saw the matter from my viewpoint, he would do differently. I will not judge him, but leave that for the Almighty, who is infallible in judgment and to whom judgment belongs.--1 Corinthians 4:5.

SYMPATHY FOR ALL MEN

God has no sympathy with sin; but He has so much sympathy for sinners that He has provided His well-beloved Son to redeem and uplift the sinner. He has set apart a thousand years for this work of human uplift. We note injustice; we ought to note it. But it is not our province to flay, to inflict punishment. We are to "judge nothing before the time." We see acts committed that shock our moral sense. We are to say to ourselves, I believe that act to be criminal; but it is not for me to settle with that wrong-doer. God knows to what extent the individual is responsible; I do not. It is my duty as far as possible to view him from the standpoint of sympathy. It is my duty to assist him if it is in my power, if I have a proper opportunity--to help him out of his wrong views into right views. But even in this I am to be "wise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove." The conduct is wrong, but I cannot know how wrong the individual may be.

So Love looks out and sees that the whole world is in much difficulty through the fall. And Love says, Be gentle toward all; be meek; be forbearing. We are ever to remember that we are in a world of sin, pain, sickness, death. From this viewpoint, Love will not be easily provoked, but will think kindly and sympathetically of others. Thus, beloved, shall we grow up into Christ, our glorious Head, in all things, until, made perfect and complete through His grace, we shall be presented to the Father "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."-- Ephesians 5:27.



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THE FIRST ARMAGEDDON BATTLE
--JANUARY 10.--JUDGES 4:4-24; 5:1-22.--
SISERA AND BARAK--MRS. DEBORAH AND MRS. JAEL--WAS THE LATTER A MURDERESS?--HOW "THE STARS IN THEIR COURSES FOUGHT AGAINST SISERA."

"The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of their troubles."--Psalm 34:17.
WE HAVE heretofore pointed out that the great Battle of Armageddon--the anti-typical one--is near--that it will quickly follow the present world-war. Today's Study relates to the first of the great battles in the Valley of Megiddo, noted for its many slaughters, and therefore made the basis of the Divine prediction respecting the "Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation," which will precede and prepare the way for Messiah's glorious Rule of a thousand years.--1 Cor. 15:24-26; Rev. 20:6.

The Israelites, guilty of idolatry, had, according to God's covenant with them, been chastened by the permitting of their enemies to vanquish them. They had come to great straits. Their enemies had become strong and high-handed. General Sisera, of the Canaanites, having humbled the Israelites of North Palestine for years, started with a large army, intent upon victories, to the southward. The strength of his army is shown in the statement that it contained nine hundred iron chariots.

By the time he had gotten as far southward as the Valley of Megiddo, messengers reached him, informing him that Barak, a leader among the Israelites, had improved the opportunity of his absence and was also leading southward an army of ten thousand Israelites. Under Divine guidance Barak made Mt. Tabor his army base-- the same which, in Jesus' day, became known to His followers as the Mount of Transfiguration, where the coming Kingdom of Messiah was represented in a vision. Thus we have another remarkable feature of the picture of the future--the association of the vision of the Kingdom in proximity with the Armageddon field of disaster picturing the overthrow of present institutions.

A DISCOMFITED ARMY

General Sisera, disdaining the poorly armed Israelites, advanced with his army on both sides of the River Kishon toward Mt. Tabor. Then it was that the word of the Lord came afresh to General Barak, directing him to advance against the army of the Canaanites. The slaughter was a great one, as related in our lesson. Sisera's army was discomfited, so that it scattered. A great storm and cloudburst swelled the river, making quagmires of the lower valleys, rendering useless the chariots of Sisera. [R5604 : page 8] His soldiers, fleeing for their lives, were cut down by the Israelites, while other thousands were swept by the freshets down the river to the sea. This interference of God on behalf of His people Israel in figurative language is styled the fighting of the "stars of heaven" against Sisera's army. Similarly in the great Armageddon near at hand it will not be human might that will prevail, but the disconcerted hosts will effect the complete disruption of the present order of things, for "every man's hand shall be against his brother and against his neighbor." (Ezekiel 38:21; Zechariah 8:10; 14:13.) It is the cloudburst of Truth and the rising waters of knowledge which are bringing to pass this great human catastrophe--which the Lord will overrule for the blessing of the world.

THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL WOMAN

Although the Lord has been pleased usually to use men in connection with His work, not only as typical characters, but also as evangels of the Gospel, nevertheless the Scriptures give us pictures of noble women who, because of the delinquency of men, have been used and almost forced into public service by God's providence. Notable amongst the instances of such in the Bible is the case of Mrs. Deborah. She perceived how neglect of the Divine Law had borne fruit in the subjugation of her people. She perceived that this was spreading throughout the land of Canaan, and that what was needed was a guide to point the people to the right way--back to God. The Canaanites, whom they had not conquered, had conquered them.

The conquest was permitted of God. It had its incipient state when the Israelites neglected the Divine direction that they should live separate from all other people. Instead, they had begun to intermarry with the Canaanites. These, in turn, had enticed their husbands and their children to the heathen gods of worship. Apparently many of Israel who had not gone over to idolatry had nearly lost their knowledge and appreciation of the true God.

The same is a difficulty today in this land--everywhere. The revulsion of Christian people from the monstrous creedal errors of the past has alienated many from the Bible, under the belief that the Bible and the creeds teach the same doctrines. This is the explanation of empty pews and a distaste for religion. What the people need is correct information respecting the true God of Love and [R5605 : page 8] His real Plan, as outlined in the Bible.

In the dark hour of Israel's oppression, the princes of the tribes seemed to lack patriotism as well as faith in God. Each tribe was a separate State and there was no cohesion between them--the Divinely intended bond of union, the true religion, having relaxed. It was about this time that the Lord, seeking a channel through which to be gracious to His people, found that channel in a woman--Deborah. She realized the situation more keenly than others, probably because more deeply consecrated to God and His service. She removed from her home in the northern part to a central place in the Highlands of Ephraim. From there she sent encouraging, stimulating messages to the chief men of the various tribes. She was respected. Her counsel was appreciated. Her advice was sought. In this sense she judged--admonished, guided, assisted--Israel.

FULL DEVOTION OF HEART ESSENTIAL

Deborah is styled a prophetess. This might mean a public teacher, or it might mean one through whom the Lord sent special messages. Some things connected with the story indicate the latter. Surely the Lord used her, and that because she was a willing and consecrated servant of His Cause, His people. What a lesson here for all of God's people--that in order to be used in the Lord's service and accomplish things for Him and His, full devotion of heart is essential!

At an opportune time, when Sisera's army with nine hundred chariots had proceeded southward to Megiddo, Deborah sent word to Barak, a leader in her tribe--Naphtali. She admonished that now was the time to do something for the deliverance of God's people, and that he should immediately march to battle with ten thousand Israelites. Barak refused unless she would co-operate. She agreed to do so, forewarning him, however, that the honor of the matter would thus be divided with herself, and that he would miss a part of his blessing by reason of his lack of courage. Thus it was that when Barak's army moved to Mt. Tabor, it was under General Barak's command, but a woman was the real mouthpiece or agent of God, in directing the affairs of the battle which brought such signal victory to Israel.

WAS THE WAR JUSTIFIED?--MRS. JAEL

General Sisera's chariots stuck in the mire; his army defeated, he fled afoot with others, only to be overtaken by the victors. Entering a supposedly hospitable tent, he hid himself and fell asleep. His hostess improved the opportunity and drove a tent-pin through his temple. The act has been denounced as a breach of hospitality by some, but by others it has been defended on the grounds that the custom still of the Arabs of Palestine is that any man intruding into a woman's tent is worthy of death. Anyway, let us remember that Jael was not a Christian woman, not begotten of the Holy Spirit, not taught in the School of Christ and that, therefore, whatever may be said of her would have no bearing whatever in respect to Christians who are under the Law of the Spirit of Christ--the Law of Love.

Incidentally, let us remember that none of the Jews stood in the same relationship to God and His Divine purposes that true Christians occupy. Their warfare in the flesh typifies our warfare as New Creatures against the weaknesses and appetites of our flesh. Let us remember also that the death of Sisera and his army did not precipitate them into a hell of eternal tortures, but merely was the passage-way by which they were "gathered to their fathers"--"slept with their fathers." They have known nothing since, and will know nothing in the future until the time of their awakening; and that awakening God has graciously timed so that it will be after Messiah shall have taken possession of the world, and by the establishment of His Kingdom shall have overthrown the kingdom of Satan and the reign of Sin and Death.

Sisera and his army will come forth, like the remainder of mankind, as a result of the redemptive work of Jesus, finished at Calvary. They will come forth in order that the grace of God may be testified to them, and that they may have an opportunity, by obedience to the laws of the Kingdom, to prepare themselves to enter into everlasting life on the plane of human perfection in an earthly Paradise. With this though before us, it makes little matter whether death comes upon us through war pestilence or disease. Only those who have heard of Christ, who have accepted Him and who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit as New Creatures--only these are on trial at the present time. The trial of all the remainder of the world is future; for knowledge is an essential feature of testing for life eternal or death eternal.


"A thousand years! earth's coming glory!
'Tis the glad Day so long foretold;
'Tis the bright morn of Zion's glory,
Prophets foresaw in times of old."



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GIDEON--THE MAN OF COURAGE
--JANUARY 17.--JUDGES 6:11-40.--

A LOGICAL MAN--A STRONG CHARACTER--TOO HUMBLE FOR SELF-CONFIDENCE--FAITH AFTER PROOF--HOSPITALITY REWARDED

--DARING AND DOING FOR GOD--

FAITH GROWING SEEKS FRESH PROOFS.

"Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest."--PSALM 65:4.
ALTHOUGH the Scriptures tell us that not many great, rich, wise and strong are chosen of the Lord for His work, we may be sure that this is not because they would be unacceptable, but because their wisdom, riches, strength, courage, usually make them too self-confident and not sufficiently reliant on the Lord--not sufficiently humble to be taught of Him and to be glad of opportunities for His service. It was to Gideon, a stalwart young Israelite, that the angel of the Lord was sent with a message and with a work. His salutation was, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor." Gideon replied with excellent logic, "Why, if the Lord be with us, hath all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles of which our fathers told us?"

The Midianites and others of the nomadic peoples from the East, discerning that the land of Canaan was very fertile, repeatedly invaded it, confiscating much of the product of the land, so that on this very occasion Gideon was threshing out a few sheaves of wheat, fearing to have a customary threshing lest the Midianites should rob them of all their possessions and increase their levy.

The angel was not there to discuss theology, but to inspire Gideon and to make of him a messenger of the Lord in the deliverance of His people. The humility of the man shines out in his protest that his family was one of the poorer of the tribe of Manasseh, and that he himself was inferior to his brethren of his own father's house. Surely a mistake had been made in the selection, and a more capable person should be found! But to this the angel of the Lord replied, "Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man."

When we remember the Lord's promise to Israel that He would defend them and protect their interests--when we remember that their interests were earthly interests-- then we should remember also that this protection was dependent upon Israel's maintenance of heart-loyalty and faithfulness to God. In the same Covenant the Lord assured the people in advance that if they would wander away into idolatry He would bring upon them various adversities --that their enemies should reap their harvests, etc. Thus we may know the answer to Gideon's question of why the Lord allowed the distress in which they were. It was not that God was unfaithful to His Covenant, but that the Israelites had been unfaithful.

A proof of this unfaithfulness is found in our lesson and its context. Gideon's father had the charge or was caretaker of the groves of Baal and Ashtaroth. Their images were near his home--apparently on his property. These groves were large posts, significant of honor, erected near the idol; and these were maintained by the people of Gideon's own time, his own father being one of the principal of them. Here was the secret of Israel's helplessness and subjection to the Midianites.

Although Gideon apparently did not surely know who was his visitor, nevertheless something in the conversation persuaded him that he had an honorable guest. He prepared him a feast, and brought it to him. Instead of eating it the angel directed that the soup be poured out on a rock round about the food, and then touched the cakes and the lamb with his staff. A miracle followed which demonstrated that the visitor was the angel of the Lord-- fire proceeded from the rock and entirely consumed the food, which thus was accepted as a sacrifice. Immediately the angel vanished from Gideon's sight; for he had accomplished the purpose of his mission.

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS

Here we have another illustration of the fact that we are surrounded by spirit beings, invisible to our natural eyes, and the fact also that in God's providence in olden times He communicated to mankind through these angels, of whom we read, "The angel of the Lord encampeth [R5606 : page 9] around about them that fear Him, and delivereth them." And again, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation?" Doubtless the angels of the Lord are as present with His people as ever--indeed more so during this Gospel Age since Pentecost then ever before, because now God's people are the Spirit-begotten ones specially precious in their Father's sight.--Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 1:14.

"Their angels do always have access to the Father," was the comment of the Lord Jesus respecting His followers. It is a part of their business to look after the interests of the consecrated members of the Body of Christ and to deliver them from everything that would not be for their advantage, in harmony with the assurance that "all things shall work together for good to those who love God." But it is the interest, the good, of the New Creature that is being considered and not the interests of the flesh. These messengers, no less powerful, are invisible throughout the Gospel Age because the Lord would have the members of the House of Sons walk by faith and not by sight.--2 Corinthians 5:7.

In olden times, however, in the time of the House of Servants, the Lord's representatives assumed human bodies and ordinarily appeared in connection with their visits to humanity, so that they might have the better opportunity of direct conversation and instruction when communicating their messages. Thus the angels of the Lord appeared to Abraham and ate with him. He knew them not until subsequently they revealed their identity.

GIDEON'S GREAT COURAGE MANIFESTED

The same night following the visit of the angel, the Lord made a further revelation to Gideon, instructing him to destroy the idols upon the property and to overthrow the altar of Baal and to build instead an altar to Jehovah, to kill one of his father's bullocks and therewith to make burnt offerings unto the Lord, using for the purpose the wooden pole, or "grove," which formerly did honor to Baal. The work was accomplished in the night because his father, his brethren and the men of the village would have stoutly resisted the work, had they known of it. Gideon, therefore, was very courageous when once he knew that he had been called of the Lord to do the work.

Indeed, we may say that conviction that our work is of Divine authority is a power of itself in the heart of any man or woman. This is part of the lack of today--lack of faith in God, and failure to recognize a mission that is of God. Much of the preaching, praying and good endeavors is, therefore, formalistic, "having a form of godliness without its power." From such we turn away, as St. Paul directed. We are seeking to be God's servants and we want surely to know the Divine Word. Armed with it, "one may chase a thousand."

A young Hebrew pursuing his course in Harvard University said, "I have a talent for music and am pursuing it; but, oh, I feel as though I want to find some great [R5606 : page 10] object worthy of my life and to give my life for that object!" Undoubtedly there is such a sentiment in many of the young, especially between the years of twelve to twenty. Happy are the youth who, in God's providences, come under wise, helpful instruction, that they might realize that the grandest use of life possible is to render it to God in His service and in the service of humanity! Gideon was one of this type, as is manifest all through the story. He had the courage and the faith, and merely needed to have the knowledge of God and to be commissioned to go forth in His name to do His will.

When the villagers found what had happened and traced it to Gideon they called upon his father to deliver him up to death, but the latter wisely responded as to whether or not a god of mighty power would need to be defended. If Baal could not defend himself he could not defend Israel. The argument was potent. The people were prepared to look for a better God as their deliverer. Meantime, in harmony with his commission, while the Midianites were gathering, Gideon sent messengers to the various tribes, with the result that thirty thousand volunteers responded to give battle to the invaders.

But meantime, also, Gideon required fresh evidences of the Lord that he was doing the Divine will. The one test was that a wool fleece laid out in the open over night might be thoroughly wet with the dew, while the ground all about it might be dry. The Lord responded and granted the proof; for Gideon wrung from the fleece a bowl of water. But this was not enough. Who could tell but what there was some special attraction for the fleece in the water? He would reverse the test and ask God to grant a demonstration that all around the fleece might be perfectly wet with dew and that the fleece might be dry. This was also granted.

But we are not to think that because the Lord thus granted proofs to Gideon it would be proper for us today to make similar tests. We have much advantage every way. Behind us are the experiences of Gideon and others for now thousands of years--added to which we have the New Testament records of God's favor toward mankind and the Lord Jesus. We have the "wonderful words of life" and an introduction to the Heavenly Father through the begetting of the Holy Spirit as a result of faith in the precious blood. Ours is a different case. The Lord would have us walk by faith in the lessons already taught us, and not by sights and signs of our own time.



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GIDEON'S BRAVE THREE HUNDRED
--JANUARY 24.--JUDGES 7:1-8,16-23.--

A LITTLE ARMY TOO LARGE--"THINE BE THE GLORY"--COWARDS OFF FOR HOME--COWARDS' SPRING--STILL TOO MANY-- WHY THE LAPPERS WERE CHOSEN--"DO AS I DO"--PITCHER, LAMP, TRUMPET--JEHOVAH AND GIDEON--THE VICTORY--THE INCIDENT A PARABLE--ITS MEANING.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts."--ZECHARIAH 4:6.
TODAY'S Study reminds of the victory of the Spartan Three Hundred over the Persian hosts, except that in this case the battle depended, not upon human bravery, but upon the Lord's blessing. Our last Study showed us Gideon, encouraged by the Lord's promise of victory, sending messengers to the various tribes in Israel. Today's Study shows the resultant army of 32,000 with Gideon at the foot of Mount Gilboa, at Harod Spring--a little lake which drains off eastward to the Jordan. On the farther side of the lake were the Midianites, numbering about 135,000. An invading host, they had for some time been pillaging the Israelites unmolestedly; but now they learned that Gideon's army was gathering; and they assembled themselves to crush it.

While Gideon was feeling that his army was far too small for such a battle--one to four--the Lord directed him to the contrary--that the army was too large, and that there would be danger that the victory He purposed should come might not be appreciated as being from the Lord, but be thought to indicate the dexterity of Israel's warriors. Accordingly, by Divine direction, Gideon gave word to his army of 32,000 that as many of them as were fearful and preferred to return home might do so. Many were fearful--22,000. The name of the spring, Harod, signifies coward; and it has been assumed that the name was given it because of the fear manifested by the 22,000 who went home.

Surely the faith of Gideon was tried as his little army melted to 10,000 men! But the Lord said to him, There are yet too many. Cause the host to go down to the spring to drink; and discern between those who drink directly from the pool, kneeling down and putting their mouths into the water and sucking it up, and those who, bending over, lap from their hands as a dog laps with his tongue.

There were Three Hundred of this latter class left by this test; and the Lord declared these to be the proper ones to especially win the victory. The remaining 9,700, however, would later join in the pursuit of the enemy.

The custom of lapping water with the hand is still common with the people of Palestine--shepherds, etc. They became very expert at it. Symbolically, this act would seem to signify alertness and obedience. An ox drinks by putting his mouth into the water and sucking it and, when thirsty, gives his entire attention to the sucking of the water, refusing to pay any attention to the commands of his owner, and even resisting the use of the rod upon his flanks. The dog, on the contrary, while lapping the water with his tongue, is all alert, with his eyes watching in every direction, seeing everything about him, and ready to quit the water at any moment in pursuit of obedience to duty.

If water here, as elsewhere in the Bible, be understood to represent the Truth, these two companies of Gideon's army would represent two classes who love and appreciate the Truth. Both classes drink of the water of Truth, but the one class more for their own satisfaction. The other class, watchful, attentive, drink according to their needs, and do not neglect alertness in the Master's service, keeping eyes and ears open for the guidance of Divine providence at all times. This latter, wiser class are represented [R5607 : page 10] by the Three Hundred who were with Gideon, Gideon himself representing Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation.

THE VICTORY AT ARMAGEDDON

Armies in olden times evidently did not keep so strict a watch as do modern armies. At all events, Gideon and a trusted companion were able to penetrate in the darkness of the night amongst the tents of the Midianites. Listening, they heard one relate his dream of how a barley loaf rolled down a hill and did havoc. Another offered the interpretation that this was Gideon and his small army, which was likely to be their undoing. The incident shows that the Midianites were fearful, apprehensive. Gideon was confident; his faith was strengthened by this little experience which the Lord permitted him to have. [R5607 : page 11]

About midnight, shortly after the hour of the changing of the guards amongst the Midianites, was the time appointed for Gideon's attack. The method of warfare was novel. The Three Hundred were divided into three companies, and spread out over a considerable space near the Midianites. In addition to their usual armor, sword, etc., Gideon and his Three Hundred had new weapons. Each in his left hand had a pitcher of earthenware, each pitcher had in it a lamp; and each soldier had in his other hand a ram's horn trumpet. The instructions to the three separated bands were that those who were immediately with Gideon should do as he did; and that the other bands, hearing, should imitate, breaking the front of their pitchers to let the light shine out ahead, shouting aloud, "Jehovah and Gideon," and blowing in the rams' horns.

The Midianites, waking out of sleep, beholding the flashing lights, hearing the clash of the pottery like the sound of armor, hearing the shouting of voices and the blowing of trumpets, imagined themselves being surrounded by a great host; and half-dazed, they fled. They fought each other, mistaking each other for foes. Gideon and his Three Hundred pursued and were soon in the fight, assisted by the remaining 9,700. The victory was a great one. The Lord was recognized to be the Deliverer; and Gideon, His servant, was honored accordingly.

SOME LESSONS FOR TODAY

Referring to Old Testament matters the Apostle declares, "These things were written aforetime for our instruction." (Romans 15:4.) In addition to the lessons learned at that time the Lord, through some of these experiences of the past, gives certain spiritual lessons to Spiritual Israel. Gideon's call resembles the Gospel Call for volunteers on the side of righteousness--of right against wrong, truth against error.

Many in the world hear the Message, have sympathy with it and respond, purposing to become soldiers of Christ; but before they are fully accepted, the voice of Jesus calls to them, saying, Sit down and count the cost; it is better not to put your hand to the plow and become a servant of the Lord than afterward to look back and wish that you had not become one.

The sight of the enemy, the "fear of death" (Hebrews 2:15), causes them to walk not with the Master, because it is too much. When they first responded to the Call, they thought of the glory and honor, but overlooked the fact that these could be obtained only at the cost of hardship and endurance. These cowards who turn back, and never really take the vow of consecration, are perhaps no worse off than if they had never responded. But they will not share in the great victory--the laurels will not be theirs; the crown of life will not be their portion.

Then comes the second test--that of obedience and loyalty. One class of the Lord's people, like the faithful dog, put obedience to the Master's voice first, alert to do His will. Another portion of the Lord's consecrated people heed less the Master's voice, and even the rod; and being less alert to the service of the Lord, they are less used of Him.

Compared to the world, the most alert ones are but as very few. It is those of the Lord's people who are alert that He chooses and grants the greatest opportunities for service. These are the ones most willing to break the earthen vessel--to use their present earthly lives in the service of the Lord--that the light of Truth may shine out, and that the Cause of Truth may have a victory. These zealous ones are most faithful in blowing upon the trumpet, representative of God's Word. These have the blessed opportunity for letting their light shine. Their zeal entitles them to special privileges and opportunities.

The victory of the Lord is attained by the Antitypical Gideon and His little bank of faithful followers, "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord." The Lord's Spirit is represented by the light of the lamp shining from the broken vessel. The broken vessels of Gideon's host represent how the Lord's people present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, in His service--in letting the light shine out--in fighting a good fight against the hosts of sin.

We are doubtless near the time when the great victory, the antitype of Gideon's, will be accomplished, when the hosts of sin, the powers of evil, will fall upon one another for their mutual destruction. The present war amongst the nations of Europe is the beginning of this, but not its end. According to the Bible, the climax will be a temporary reign of anarchy, which will fully prepare the world for Messiah's glorious Reign of Righteousness.



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1915--OUR YEAR TEXT--1915

WE have chosen as a text for the year the Master's words uttered just before His crucifixion to two of His dear disciples, who had asked to sit with Him in His Throne. We have selected the Master's reply as the text for this year: "Are ye able to drink of My cup?"--Matthew 20:20-23.

Who knows what this year may bring forth! Who knows but that there may be some special trial, cup of suffering or ignominy, for the loyal followers of the Lamb during 1915! It seems well that we should have this text especially before our minds, "Are ye able to drink of My cup?" Let us answer as did the two disciples on that occasion, "We are able." This was not a boast on their part. It was merely a declaration of their full decision that, whatever circumstances or conditions might arise, they had no thought of any other course than that of obedience to the Lord and of following in His footsteps.

Let us make such a decision promptly. Let us think of it daily. Let us remember, too, that to all those who make such a prompt decision of their determination to drink of His cup, the Lord gave the same assurance that He gave to those two disciples; namely, "Ye shall drink of My cup." We are glad of the assurance that we shall drink of the Lord's cup, because we know that only those who drink of His cup will share with Him in the glories of the future, because we know that those who drink of His cup are especially loved of the Father, because we delight to do the will of our Father and to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus.

We have some little cards illustrative of this year's text. We had hoped for them in time for the holidays, but our printing was delayed. We shall be glad to send one of these cards to each regular attendant of the different Classes of the I.B.S.A., upon application of the Class Secretary, or to any other WATCH TOWER subscriber living in a place where there is no class. You will please receive them as little souvenirs from the Society. The card has a medallion head of the Savior--a beautiful one, embossed. Around the edges is shown a grape-vine, bearing large bunches of grapes, representing the fruitage of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Church and primarily from the Lord, who declares, "I am the Vine; ye are the branches." At the bottom of the card is a very fine reproduction of the Last Supper. On the card are the [R5607 : page 12] words of our text for the year, "Are ye able to drink of My Cup?"

The medallion picture of our Lord is an extraordinary one--admittedly one of the finest. The legend respecting it is interesting. It is the reproduction of an intaglio cut in an emerald. It purports to have come from the Roman Governor of Judea to the Roman Caesar, and was found amongst the valuables of the Caesars at the time of the fall of Constantinople, which for some time was the seat of government. It was presented to the Pope and is now amongst the treasures of the Vatican. A finely painted copy of this in a gilt frame was presented to us, and this picture and the frame have been reproduced on the card for the comfort and refreshment of you all. It is our desire that one copy of it should be in the hands of each WATCH TOWER subscriber; hence the above suggestion as to how you can best procure it.

On the reverse side of this card we have printed "Our Morning Resolve." Quite a good many have expressed their appreciation of this little Resolve and have assured us that it brought them a blessing--greater contentment of heart--greater resignation to the Divine will--greater joy in the Lord. We trust that having it on these cards may induce many of THE WATCH TOWER readers to make this Resolve their own and thus to share in this blessing. "The blessing of the Lord maketh rich."



[R5608 : page 12]

THE LIFE PROMISED TO THE CHURCH

"This is the promise which He hath promised us, even eternal life."--1 John 2:25.
FROM the standpoint of Christian thought in general, the words of our text would be practically meaningless; for the great majority of people believe that everlasting conditions are forced upon all humanity from the moment of birth, and that all must live forever somewhere. Therefore they argue that whoever does not merit Heaven must, at death, of necessity go to a Hell of eternal torment. This erroneous conclusion is based upon the assumption that every human being possesses everlasting life and cannot possibly rid himself of it, even if he tried. We are born, they declare, with a deathless nature, and whoever comes into being must continue to live somewhere to all eternity.

The Scriptures, however, teach to the contrary. They declare that no one can have life except as God gives it to him. When God created man, He gave our first parents perfection of life and organism. Then He informed them that they might have that life forever if they would obey His Laws; but that if they were disobedient He would put upon them the penalty of sin--death; that as soon as they had transgressed, the sentence, or curse, of death would go into effect--"Dying, thou shalt die." They disobeyed, and the penalty came upon them.

After nine hundred and thirty years of dying, Adam was dead. During all that period the penalty was coming upon him gradually. Daily he was dying, until finally he ceased to breathe. We see that the children of Adam could not share his perfect life; for he had lost it before any of them came into the world. Thus the world has been misshapen in sin and iniquity--a dying race.

NO LIFE EXCEPT THROUGH CHRIST

The Scriptures tell us that there would have been no future life for the human family had it not been for God's provision in Christ. "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish"--lose life altogether. Even before God sent our first parents forth from Eden, He promised that eventually there would be a Redeemer. The Seed of the woman would at some future time bruise the Serpent's head.

Although death reigned from Adam to Moses, nevertheless there was a hope held out to mankind that one day the curse would be removed. This hope was transmitted through the family of Seth, afterwards through the family of Noah, and later through Abraham and his posterity, the children of Israel. This hope was merely a suggestion; no definite revelation was made respecting God's purposes. True, the Prophet Enoch, the seventh from Adam through the line of Seth, had prophesied, "Behold the Lord cometh with myriads of His saints, to execute judgment upon all," and thus had intimated that one day righteousness would be established in the earth. Even the Promise made to Abraham, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," was not a clear, positive statement of everlasting life, although it implied a resurrection from the dead.

When the Israelites found that they could not gain life everlasting by keeping the Law of God, the Lord promised to send them a Deliverer, who would take away their stony heart and make a New Covenant with them. Their experience under the Law Covenant taught them that nothing they could themselves do would deliver them from the power of Sin and Death. Messiah would be their Deliverer.--Romans 11:26.

THE IMPORT OF JESUS' TEACHINGS

When Jesus came, He brought the words of eternal life, everlasting life. As St. Paul declares, Jesus Christ "brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." (2 Timothy 1:10.) The fact that our Savior brought these to light demonstrates that they were not seen before. Although there had been an intimation of God's Plan given to Abraham, yet everything looked contrary to this. The death penalty which God had pronounced in Eden seemed to preclude all hope of life everlasting. Although God had stated more or less vaguely that He would one day deliver humanity from the curse of sin and death, no one could tell how this could be--how God could remit the death penalty and still be just.

But when Jesus came, He brought the whole subject to light. He showed that His redemptive work, provided by God's gracious arrangement, would eventually give life everlasting to all who would accept of it upon the Divine terms. He also brought immortality to light. He revealed the fact that God purposes not only to give the world of mankind life everlasting, but to give the faithful followers in Jesus' footsteps a higher kind of life--immortality. Thus a new thought was brought out --one never even dreamed of before.

Our Lord's statements respecting life everlasting and immortality are not so clear as are the statements made by His Apostles. We recall that these Apostles were promised that they should be especially guided in their utterances. Whatsoever they would bind on earth would be binding and obligatory in the sight of God; and whatsoever they would loose would not be considered binding in God's sight. But in what our Lord Jesus said there was a basis for all that the Apostles said and taught.

There was a reason why Jesus did not clearly specify things in respect to Himself. This He declared when He said to His disciples, "I have many things to say unto [R5608 : page 13] you, but ye cannot bear them now." To have attempted to tell them all about the glory, honor and immortality to which the Church was being called would have been to give them more than they could have borne. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God--the deep things. Hence it was best for our Lord to leave those deep spiritual subjects. After Pentecost the spirit-begotten would be enabled to understand.--John 16:12-14.

HOPE FOR THE WORLD

The whole subject matter of Jesus' teachings was this everlasting life. He had come for the very purpose of giving His life a Ransom for many, that men might have restored to them the favor originally enjoyed. The Scriptures nowhere teach that all have life inherently; on the contrary, they teach the very reverse. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."

The Promise mentioned in our text we understand to refer particularly to the Message brought by our Lord Jesus: "Which salvation began to be spoken by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him." (Hebrews 2:3.) When Jesus came, He threw light upon the entire subject of God's Plan for human salvation from sin and death. He showed that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust--of those in a justified condition and of those not justified. He would raise them up at the Last Day, at the beginning of the great Seventh Day of a thousand years, during which His Messianic Kingdom would prevail and the blessing would be world-wide. As the long-promised Seed of Abraham, He and His Church would bless all the families of the earth.

SPECIAL PRIVILEGES OF THE CHURCH

Our text refers to a certain class only. It does not include the world. "This is the promise which He hath promised us." (1 John 2:25.) The promise is now to the Church, and to no others. All the promises for the world are made along the line of general principles. All the world are to be blessed, and the blessing that will come to them is an opportunity to gain life everlasting. God made everything dependent upon the Son: "He that hath the Son hath life"--no others. So only believers can have life now--and these not in the complete sense-- only the beginning of that life which will be perfected in the resurrection. The world have no life in them, and cannot have it, except under God's arrangement.

Those who now come to Christ are the Church, the Bride class, and are an especially privileged class. They come into the life that is incorruptible. But there is a promise for the world, and only believers know about this provision for mankind. All shall have opportunity for attaining everlasting life. God has provided a trial Day, a Judgment Day, to demonstrate whether, when mankind shall have been brought to a knowledge of the Truth, they will accept His terms and thus attain everlasting life.

The Lord will make it quite possible for the world to gain life everlasting on the human plane, just as He is now making it possible for the Church to attain life on the Divine plane. The thing for the consecrated people of God to do, then, is to strive to be of the "us" class. This term applies to those who become disciples, those who believe in the Kingdom glory and honor offered them, and who, so believing, devote their lives to walking in the footsteps of Jesus, even unto death.

This "us" class includes not only the antitypical Priests, but also the antitypical Levites. But while both classes will have eternal life, everlasting life, "the crown of life" (immortality) is only for those who will prove themselves to be "more than conquerors." The Scriptures hold out a special promise to all who will walk carefully in the footsteps of Jesus. This class are promised joint-heirship with Him, the privilege of sitting with Him in His Throne.--Revelation 3:21.

On one occasion our Lord said to the Jews, "For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." (John 5:26.) In this statement, doubtless, He touched upon the subject of immortality. As the Father has inherent life, so He gave to the Son to have this life; and as the Son had the promise of this life during His earthly ministry, so He had the actuality of it in His resurrection. This same [R5609 : page 13] promise is given to the Church which is His Body.-- John 10:27,28.

On another occasion He said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." (John 6:53.) This would be inherent life--life in themselves. The difference between this life and ordinary life is that the former is inherent, and the latter maintained. All the angels have a life not forfeited, an eternal, everlasting life. It can cease if God so choose, but it is not a life that has a terminating period. We do not know how the angels are supplied with life, but the fact that the Scriptures declare that some of them will die is a proof that they do not possess immortality.

A WORD OF CAUTION

We should be very careful in our use of language. If we were to say to the majority of people that we believe that only the elect Church will have immortality, they would misunderstand us altogether--they would misunderstand us to mean that all the remainder of humanity were to perish like brute beasts. Therefore we should be sure that we make the thought clearly understood. Everlasting life is a life that needs to be sustained; immortality is that Divine degree of life that needs not to be sustained.

Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10.) It was life that Adam lost. That life was everlasting in the sense that it might have lasted forever. It was not a life granted for a fixed period--a year or even a million of years--but was to last so long as it was not forfeited. In this Scripture our Lord refers to two classes--the obedient of the world, who will have sustained life everlastingly, and the Church, who with Jesus will share the Divine nature will have life "more abundant" in the sense that it will be inherent life, not requiring to be sustained.

This is the promise, then, which He has promised us. If we would make our calling and election sure to glory, honor and immortality, we must exercise great carefulness indeed. Those who attain the prize will get the grandest blessing God has to give. All should understand that we have something to do in realizing the gracious promises of God to us. While God is both able and willing to perform His part of the contract, yet we must make sure that we co-operate in every reasonable way.

"And can we hope to gain, dear Lord, such wondrous bliss--
To dwell with Thee in light ineffable?
Oh, can we e'er attain such joy as this--
The life immortal, incorruptible?
Ah, yes! for Thou hast promised, and Thy Word is sure,
And thus inspired we press along the way;
The path is lonely, but the end is sweet,
And openeth into realms of perfect day."



[R5609 : page 14]

INTERESTING LETTERS

MORE ABOUT LONDON DRAMA EXHIBITIONS

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Greetings and love in our Redeemer! The interest in connection with the PHOTO-DRAMA at the London Opera House continues, so that a further fifteen-days' exhibition has been arranged for. The enclosed card gives the figures to date.

This is proving by far the most economical exhibition held in London. Owing to the great interest in the DRAMA we have no need to spend a penny on advertisements for the repetition; we issue a plentiful supply of tickets, and leave the people themselves to do the canvassing, and they are glad to do it. The electrical equipment belongs to the House, so we have no charges on that account; the profit on the sale of Scenarios pays for the electric current, and we have only the rent to find; on this last occasion even this was provided by one of the audience. Brother Tharratt, who is acting as floor manager, had an envelope put into his hand by one of the crowd passing out--a perfect stranger to him. To his joy when he opened the envelope, he found twenty L5 notes ($500.00), which is just the amount required for rent for a further fortnight's presentation.

You can well understand, dear Brother, how our hearts rejoice in this manifestation of the Lord's approval. It is heartening to see with what eagerness the crowds press forward to their seats and listen intently to the message from the Lord; they show further appreciation of the DRAMA by frequent applause. We wish the House were larger that all might be enabled to find accommodation; night after night we are packed out, and great numbers are turned away.

It is surely a foretaste of how the "pure language" will be sought after by and by, and indicates how the great work of Restitution will be accomplished in the comparatively short space of time.

We think of you, dear Brother, and often wish you were here to see for yourself something of the wonderful results of your noble service for the Lord and His precious Truth. How London would delight to see you at this time!

Desiring for you, and all the loved ones with you, a continuance of the Lord's blessing,

Your brother and servant,
H. J. SHEARN,
Supt. of DRAMA for London.


DRAMA PROSPERING IN SWITZERLAND

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Concerning the DRAMA work in German Switzerland, I can give you good news; since I wrote last, we had very good exhibitions in Zurich, Basle and St. Gall. Altogether 40,000 visitors and 60 exhibitions at the expense of 50 francs [about $12] per exhibition, rent and everything else included. In all these places we found remarkable interest, and a large number of letters of appreciation came in, which I turn over to you, dear Brother, as the author of the DRAMA. We got over 3,000 addresses of such ones, who express a special interest in Present Truth, and we are anxious to lead them on further. All this keeps me exceedingly busy, and therefore I hardly find time for correspondence. I lecture nearly every night and Sundays two or three times publicly and always crowded halls. Present conditions have very much to do with it, as people are wakening up. We sell much literature, but there are many who cannot even afford to pay ten or twenty cents for a booklet or a volume. To these we loan one after another, in order that no one who has interest is hindered from getting the Truth.

As we are nearing Christmas and a new political year, we naturally ask ourselves: Will it be the last one? The Lord alone knows, and we are glad to wait patiently this side of the Veil till He calls us thither by such or other means. Our times are in His hands, and He cares well for us. What can we ask more? His name be blessed!

The many difficulties are growing fast, and people begin to become more and more afraid about the things to come. It seems hard to believe that the Church should gain more influence yet over the state. Everything we hear goes to the contrary, and shows how little influence the Church really has today. In Germany and German Switzerland most of the pious people say, "If Germany loses the war, then we will not believe any longer in the existence of a living God. It would prove that there is no such Being, for Germany fights for a just cause."

On this occasion I transfer to you, dear Brother Russell, the heartiest Christmas and New Year wishes from Sr. Lanz, myself and children and all the dear friends over here, who do not forget to thank the Lord every day more for the blessed Truth we got by your mediation. May the Lord be your great Reward, and help us all to become partakers of His blessed Kingdom, which ere long will be established.

With much brotherly love, I remain,
Your Servant in the Lord,
EMIL LANZ, Bern (Switzerland).


SAYS COLOSSAL THANKSGIVING IS DUE

DEAR MR. SHEARN of the London, Eng., I.B.S.A. Drama:--

I feel constrained to write you to indicate in some way my intense thankfulness, first to God, and after Him to Pastor Russell, yourself, and the I.B.S.A., for the great blessing of the last month.

As yet, I am a trifle bewildered by the magnitude of the outlook. In all modesty and reverence, I feel as though the Almighty had taken me into His confidence and solved problem after problem that I had always thought insoluble. Often I have tried to read and understand the Bible (both Testaments), and the statements have appeared involved, incoherent, and unintelligible. Now it would seem impossible to misunderstand; the whole Book seems to blaze with information.

Formerly I had just grasped a point here and another there; but there was no connection between the points, and I had come to the conclusion that--in my case, at any rate-- the connections could not be made during life.

I feel devoutly thankful for one thing, though, which now--in this fuller knowledge--would be impossible; and that is, I am thankful that I had fully made up my mind to pay God the only compliment possible in my so-recently unenlightened state--to trust Him and to believe that He was infinitely better than His ordinary servants made Him out to be.

Then came the PHOTO-DRAMA, and my chat with you the last thing Saturday, and your explanatory lectures Sunday.

What pleases me most is that I had trusted God while in the dark; for to doubt now is a sheer impossibility.

This letter is therefore an attempt to put in words the feeling of a colossal thanksgiving due to the teaching of the I.B.S.A. and the direct blessing of God in leading me to it. [R5610 : page 14] I have never wanted wealth before; but I want it now to help on, to the utmost of my power, the Holy work of this real man of God--Pastor Russell.

With all best wishes, very faithfully yours,
GEORGE RAWLINSON.--England.


REALIZES THE PROMISED ONE HUNDRED FOLD

MY DEAR BROTHER AND PASTOR:--

In the Master's name, Greetings: I feel constrained to write to you today, because it is the anniversary of a day which marked the opening wide of a door of opportunity to labor effectively in the Lord's service.

Though having been associated with Present Truth since 1900, it was only three years ago today that, kneeling at my table, I wrote out and signed the Vow--a solemn reminder of my personal covenant with the Lord, and sealed it with tears which, like "The Cup," were mingled sweet and bitter. Daily my desire has been, "May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body"; and whilst praying for you and all at the Bethel Home and everywhere, I have tried to scrutinize more carefully my thoughts, words and actions that I might be of more use to the Lord and His dear people.

So fortified, and encouraged repeatedly by our Father's smile, time passed in joyous service, and then that beautiful Resolve you commended to us appeared in THE TOWER. There was no waiting this time. My heart leaped to take advantage of this further fortification, and as I took up "The daily round, the common task," I said, "I will, this day, as a saint of God, fulfil my vows, continuing the work of sacrificing the flesh and its interests," and I tried to be humble, gentle and true to all; and then, when the anxieties pressed sore, and my "old man," naturally a mutterer, was tempting me to worry and fret, I remembered the closing lines and sought God's grace to "Repel all anxiety, all discontent, all discouragement."

I can now see that before November 11, 1911, I was not in an attitude which invited the utmost blessing from the Lord, but since that time I have realized the promised one hundredfold in this present life, and now look forward with full assurance of faith to that deliverance which soon shall swallow up our present hopes in wondrous realization.

May the Lord bless thee, dear Pastor. I thank Him continually for your able and faithful ministry, and esteem very highly the privilege of association with you in the dissemination of the Harvest Message, particularly in these closing days, when we have the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.

Your brother by His Grace,
H. C. THACKWAY.
[R5610 : page 15]

CREATION DRAMA ITEMS

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

At Dothan, Ala., a Jewish merchant said to one of the brethren there, "My son was out to see your pictures last night (Part 3), and he says he loves Jesus now."

At Pell City, Ala., a holiness revival meeting was in progress, and they had been praying that the Lord would close up the motion-picture house which had started recently --the only one in town. The revivalist lost his congregation when the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION was opened up, so he closed his meetings and came, too. This incident ought to appeal to the owners of motion-picture houses.

One lady came out at the close of Part 3 and said, "I have been a Christian and read my Bible for many years, but I never loved the Lord Jesus as much as I do tonight."

At Cairo, Ga., the ministers decided to fight us, and one of them, apparently more fair-minded than the rest, decided to come and see Part 1., so that his opposition might be intelligent. The result was he came to see all the parts and was much impressed.

At Sylacauga, Ala., the electric lights are furnished by water-power, but a continued drought had closed down the electric light plant and, of course, the motion-picture houses, too. So the Opera House was offered to friends at the low rate of $10 for four days. It seemed the $10 was to be wasted, but a day or two before the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain descended, and they had plenty of power for the PHOTO-DRAMA.

I am greatly thankful for the privilege of a part in this phase of the Harvest work, and daily pray that I may be kept humble and faithful in the discharge of my privileges to the very end.

Yours in much Christian love,
B. H. BARTON.


DRAMA SCENARIO IN THE FAMILY

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

For many years not a few parents have expressed the desire to have something additional to the Bible Talks for the instruction of their children in Truth matters. The thought has struck my mind just lately, as I was advising a mother regarding doctrinal instruction for her children, that the Scenario of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION would be just the thing to give instruction for children, that would be far better than that of the Bible Talks, and yet as necessary for their capacity, simpler in style and contents than the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. While you may not have intended such a use of the Scenario while preparing it, yet it seems that it is well adapted to the purpose of giving such general instructions on the doctrines, precepts, exhortations, histories, types and prophecies, as well as such promises of the Scriptures as would be adapted to the capacity of many of the children of the Truth people.

During my visits in various homes I have, among other things, given the parents help for their children's instruction; but have felt that we needed something beyond the history of the Bible, as necessary and good as that is, for the instruction of the Truth children. The Scenario, I think, will be a most excellent thing to fill this need.

With much Christian love and wishes for the Lord's continued blessing on you,

I remain, your brother and servant,
PAUL S. L. JOHNSON.


"BETTER THAN FOUR WEEKS REVIVAL"

DEAR FRIENDS:--

The PHOTO-DRAMA, with its trials and blessings, has come and gone, but I hope it has not been in vain; for it has left its mark here as nothing else has done for a long time back. The trials it brought us were considerable; but the blessings so far outweighed and exceeded the trials that the latter passed into insignificance.

We are truly thankful to you for giving us the opportunity of showing the DRAMA here. And we can never thank and praise our dear Heavenly Father enough for giving us this grand and wonderful privilege of helping in the work of presenting the DRAMA to the people of this town and vicinity. It is truly a marvelous witness for the Truth, and we trust that much good has been done here that will bear fruit in God's due time. And we are so glad and thankful that we could have a share in this, that the cost to us has seemed not worth mentioning. I am sure I speak the sentiments of all the class here.

Many are the favorable comments. One man said, "The DRAMA did the town more good than a four weeks revival." Another, "It is the finest thing that ever came to town; bring it again." Another, "It did me more good than anything I ever saw or heard." Many pronounced it the finest thing they had ever seen, even in the largest cities. So far, six have ordered complete sets of the books; one of them is an infidel.

I saw the DRAMA at the Clinton, Iowa, Convention, but never realized what a wonderful and powerful witness for truth it is, until it was shown here. It has been such a blessing to me and has filled my heart with such an overflow of joy that I could not contain it all. The joy comes largely from having the privilege of serving it to others.

Yours in the love and service of the Lord,
E. M. LANE.--Iowa.


GREATEST BLESSING THAT HAS COME INTO HER LIFE

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I feel I must write you a note of thanks for the greatest blessing that has come into my life, through the blessed promises of the Divine Plan of the Ages. I feel as though God had taken me into His very presence by giving me a glimpse of the glory of His love.

Last May, when the PHOTO-DRAMA came to Birmingham for a month it was my privilege to see it, and through its influence I was led to purchase the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. I have read and reread with growing delight those precious pages with the Bible at my side.

This has brought sure peace and contentment, answering the "Why?" that has been for years tugging at my heart-strings. How good God is to be so tenderly patient, and how I want to appreciate His love for us and do everything I know to please Him!

I realize the time is short, and by His grace am starting in the Colporteur service this week, grateful for the honor to be an ambassador for Christ.

I have just learned that a record is kept at the Tabernacle office of those who have sent in their names as having made the Vow their own. I recognize it as the deeper significance of my consecration vow, and have reverently asked God to help me make it and keep it my own, desiring that my name be added to the record.

By His grace, one of the little ones in Christ,
MRS. EDLENA B. GIBSON.--Ala.


RE ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS

DEAR BROTHER AND PASTOR:--

We have noted the paragraph in November 1st WATCH TOWER re the name "ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS" in place of the one we have been using, "INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION." We can see some reasons why we are not entitled to use the latter name and we think the new one a very good one.

Shall we take down the signs that now appear on the Temple and change our stationery? (The signs over the doors now read, "PEOPLE'S TEMPLE, LOCAL HEADQUARTERS INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION.")

Trusting we may impose on your valuable time long enough to reply to these queries, and assuring you of our continued love and prayers, we are,
THE LOS ANGELES ECCLESIA.

IN REPLY

The words "ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS" on a religious-notice page of newspapers seems a very good name. We therefore use it in advertising local New York Meetings. This does not mean that we have abandoned the use of the words INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION in connection with all literature, conventions and general affairs. As respects the friends everywhere, if they think it best to continue the use of the name INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION they may do so; but we would like that it be used only as you have used it in Los Angeles; namely, "Local Headquarters (or Local Class) INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION."


MID-WINTER TORONTO, ONT., CONVENTION

We have arranged for a Three-Day Convention--January 30, 31 and February 1--at the time of Brother Russell's visit.

Trust you can give notice in the next WATCH TOWER. May the Lord's blessing be upon our mutual efforts to praise and serve Him. Requests for accommodations may be addressed to me as below.

Your brother and fellow-servant, W. C. DOUGLAS,
Sec'y I.B.S.A. Toronto, Ont., Class,
11 Kennith Avenue.



page 16

International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION



STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES


THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION.


SERIES I., "The Plan of the Ages," gives an outline of the Divine Plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)

SERIES II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner and time of the Lord's Second Coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)

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page 17
January 1st

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

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

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

VOL. XXXVIJANUARY 15No. 2

A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043


CONTENTS

The Soul, Not the Body, Brought forth from the Tomb19
A Candle as an Illustration19
In What Sense the Dead Sleep19
Points Not Usually Noticed20
What Christ's Death Accomplished20
A Stupendous Miracle21
The Tragedy of Samson21
Points to Be Remembered22
Victory in Death22
King David's Great-Grandmother23
Two Beautiful Characters23
Value of Positive Decision23
How to Become a Christian24
The Voice of the Lord24
Parental Responsibility Toward Children25
God's Reproof of Eli25
Divine Disapproval of Weak Character25
Reports from Foreign Missions--191426
Interesting Letters31

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

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

page 18

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS 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.




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[R5611 : page 19]

THE SOUL, NOT THE BODY, BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE TOMB

"There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust."--Acts 24:15.
WHEN we consider that for centuries people have been accustomed to confusion in respect to the teachings of Scripture, it is natural that the question should be asked, What proof have we that it is not the body that sleeps in death, and that meantime the soul has not passed on to the higher realms? The answer is that in the Word of God we find no suggestion that such is the case. The Bible says nothing about the resurrection of the body, but much about the soul. Repeatedly the Word of God calls death a sleep. Every night the body sleeps, if it is in good condition; and this natural sleep of the body is Scripturally used to illustrate the condition of all who die the Adamic death.

In order to get the matter clear in our minds we must go back to the beginning and see what the soul is. First of all we read in the Genesis account (1:27) that God created man--not man's body, but man. The question then arises, What is man?

We answer, Man is not so much avoirdupois, but an intelligent being, a personality. What God formed out of the dust of the earth was not man, but merely a form, or body, that would be made into man. Then into its nostrils God breathed "the breath of lives"--the Hebrew term signifying the breath or vitality common to all animal beings. It was not a special kind of life different from that which the lower animals have; on the contrary, it was the same kind of life given to fish, fowl and beasts--the power to live.

The same kind of life is carried forward in the human family that is carried forward in beasts. This vitality common to all animal creatures infuses the body and thus energizes it. The difference between man and the lower animals is that while they have the same kind of life man has the superior brain. Man's head is shaped differently; therefore he can think of subjects about which the lower animals cannot think, because he has a better brain. A man with a head of a given shape cannot think with the same breadth of mind as a man with a better shaped head--a man who is less fallen. Some have lost more, others less, of the original perfection, of the original intelligence, given man in his creation.

A CANDLE AS AN ILLUSTRATION

A careful examination of the Genesis account of man's creation reveals the fact that when the breath came into the body which God had formed out of the dust of the ground, the combination produced soul, sentient being, with personality. The body in itself has no personality, the breath of life has no power, no sentient being, but when the two came together, they produced sentient being.

Perhaps the best illustration of the thought is afforded by a candle. The candle is composed of tallow or wax and wick. The flame is produced by an outside power--the spark of fire. When the spark is applied to the wick, the air begins to combine with the wax or the tallow, and the result is light.

Let the candle represent the body, the air represent the breath of life--vitality--and the flame the being, the personality. God alone can strike the match--create the human being. This life which came from God in the beginning was given to Adam upon certain conditions, certain restrictions; namely, it was to continue forever if man remained obedient to God, but if he was disobedient God would take his life from him.

Adam was disobedient, and his soul was sentenced to death. (Ezekiel 18:4,20.) It was not the body that sinned and was sentenced to death, while the soul remained pure. On the contrary, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." The sentence of death pronounced upon Adam affected his soul. As it was the spark of life that produced the soul, so the taking away of the spark of life extinguished the soul. To revert to the illustration of the candle: If some one blow upon it, the flame will be extinguished; thus is produced an adverse condition.

But before Father Adam died, before the flame of life was fully extinguished, he had imparted the spark of life to his children; and these in turn imparted the spark of life to theirs. Thus the spark of life has been transmitted from generation to generation. In the illustration, if before we say, "I will blow out the light of that candle," it has been used to light other candles, the extinguishing of the flame of the first candle will not affect the others. But the fact that the transmitted spark of life was impaired is evident; for whereas Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years under adverse conditions, his children as a rule could not live nearly so long, thirty-three years now being the average life-time.

IN WHAT SENSE THE DEAD SLEEP

Everywhere the Scriptures state that it is the soul that is dying. The question then might arise, If the soul dies, what hope of a future life has mankind? The Bible answers that from the beginning God foreknew all that would happen, and that already in His Plan He had made arrangements whereby there would be a resuscitation, [R5611 : page 20] a re-quickening, of these human souls that have died. Nothing is beyond His knowledge or His power. Nowhere does He say that there will be a re-quickening of the body, but of the soul.

The Sadducees of Jesus' day did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. When, therefore, they heard that Jesus had said that all in the graves would ultimately hear His voice and come forth, they disputed His statement as foolish. Coming to Him with a proposition which they thought would expose the fallacy of His teachings, they said to Him, Suppose a woman had seven husbands, all of whom died before she did, whose wife would she be in the resurrection?--Luke 20:27-40.

Jesus replied that they erred because they neither understood the Scriptures nor appreciated the Power of the Almighty. He reiterated His statement that there would be a resurrection of the dead, and reminded them that God had so implied in His message to Moses at the burning bush, when He said, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." The Master's argument is that this statement is of itself a proof of the resurrection; for God surely would not refer thus to beings forever blotted out of existence; that God's purpose of a resurrection is fixed, unalterable, and that those whom men call dead "all live unto Him"--from God's standpoint they are asleep, and not destroyed. The Word of God therefore speaks of the dead as sleeping.

Throughout the Old Testament we read that different ones were gathered to their fathers or that they slept with their fathers. Did the body sleep? No, it was absolutely dead--returned to the dust from which it was created. What was it, then, that slept? That which slept was that which God recognized as the personality-- the soul. The souls of both good and bad slept; for it is written that "there shall be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust."

Abraham's fathers were not saintly men, but heathen. He was called out from amongst his kindred to be a servant of God. When Abraham was gathered to his fathers in death he went to the same place where they were--Sheol in the Old Testament, Hades in the New-- the tomb, the death state. Of all the kings of Israel, good and bad, and of the Prophets, we read that they were gathered to their fathers. They are asleep in death.

POINTS NOT USUALLY NOTICED

When Jesus entered the room where the young daughter of Jairus lay dead, He declared, "Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth." He did not say that she was in Heaven or in Purgatory or in Hell. He spoke in the same way about Lazarus, saying, "Lazarus sleepeth." His disciples replied, "If he sleep, he shall do well." They had not understood the Master's words. Finally Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead....Nevertheless, let us go unto him." So they went to the tomb where Lazarus was.

When Jesus met Martha and Mary, He did not tell them that Lazarus was in Heaven, with a harp in his hands, etc.--nothing of the kind. What He said was, "Thy brother shall rise again"; thy brother shall live again. Martha replied, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last Day"--the great Day, the Seventh Thousand-Year Day, the Day of Christ's Kingdom, when all the dead will be due to come forth. To encourage her, Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life"--there will be no resurrection except by My power--why not ask Me now? But Martha did not get the thought; for Jesus said, "Where have ye laid him?"

Martha and Mary took our Lord to where Lazarus was. When Jesus gave command that the stone be rolled away from the tomb, Martha protested, saying that since her brother had then been dead four days, corruption must have set in. We read that Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth"--out of the cave where he had been laid. Jesus did not say, Lazarus, come down from Heaven, nor did He say, Lazarus, come up from below.--John 11:1-46.

Lazarus was a very dead man; for he had died four days before Jesus came. Yet from the Divine standpoint he was asleep, as the Master declared; that is to say, his soul was not destroyed. According to the Scriptures, the soul can be put out of existence. On one occasion our Lord said to His disciples, "Fear not them [R5612 : page 20] that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna"--the Second Death.--Matthew 10:28.

WHAT CHRIST'S DEATH ACCOMPLISHED

The soul is that individuality which God has decreed shall have an opportunity of coming to a knowledge of everlasting life. All this opportunity is in Christ. As St. Paul says, "For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (Romans 14:9.) He lived as a man, and died that He might thereby have the right to control all those who have gone into the prisonhouse of death. Therefore the Scriptures tell us that there must be a resurrection of the dead.

Our Lord says that all will hear His voice and come forth from the tomb. (John 5:28,29.) In 1 Corinthians 15, St. Paul explains how this can be. He points out that the death of Christ is for all: "As all in Adam die, even so shall all in Christ be made alive--every man in his own order." Then he proceeds to show that the first to come forth will be the Church class. He also declares that if there is no resurrection of the dead, our preaching is vain and our hope is gone. He concludes that since Christ is risen from the dead there is therefore an assurance of the resurrection.

THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY

The restoration of the bodies of the billions who have died would be a very absurd proposition. Scientists tell us that the human frame changes once in every seven years; that continually old matter is being replaced with new, so that a man who has reached the age of forty-nine years has had seven bodies during his lifetime. The change of the body did not affect the personality of the man, however. The sloughing off of a hand or a foot or the loss of an eye might have taken place, but the human soul continues; for it is this intelligent human being that has resulted from the union of matter and vitality. God's proposition is the restoration of this soul, this personality. Never does He speak of the resurrection of the body.

The theory of the resurrection of the body has involved theologians in many difficulties. Some years ago a story went the rounds of the newspapers to the effect that the coffin of a man who had been buried at the foot of an apple tree had been unearthed, and the discovery made that the roots of the tree had penetrated the coffin and absorbed the body, and that at these roots there was something resembling a hand, an arm, a human limb, etc. In other words, the tree had been living upon that human body. The apples from that tree had been sold to various persons and shipped in all directions; some had been fed to hogs, etc. Those who hold to the theory of the resurrection of the body would have a knotty problem to solve in trying to fit their theory to these facts.

There is not one statement in the Bible that declares [R5612 : page 21] that the same body that dies is to be brought forth in the resurrection. On the contrary we read, "Thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it pleaseth Him." He will have no difficulty in making a body; Divine Power is equal to any emergency. The Sadducees doubted the Power of God.

A STUPENDOUS MIRACLE

We admit that to produce a body with the same convolutions of the brain, the same individuality, the same soul, the same sentient being, is a miracle so great that we cannot conceive of it. Yet it is that very thing which God purposes to do for the whole human family --thousands of millions in number.

It is for us to follow the Word of God, to reject all extraneous matter from whatever quarter it may come, and to "receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to make us wise." We are to discard the things which are without Scriptural authority. Nothing that man can offer can compare with what we find in the Word of God; the Bible is the very essence of grandeur, beauty, justice, love.

In Isaiah's prophecy we read that Jesus "poured out His soul unto death," that His soul was made "an offering for sin." (Isaiah 53:12,10.) Then again we read, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in Sheol [the grave]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm 16:10.) Explaining this prophecy, the Apostle Peter says that God would not leave Jesus' soul in Hades--the grave. (Acts 2:22-31.) The soul of Jesus was not left in the tomb.

Speaking of His own resurrection, Jesus said, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Revelation 1:18.) God raised Him up from the death condition on the third day. On the very morning of His resurrection He said to Mary, "Touch Me not; for I have not yet ascended to My Father....I ascend to My Father, and your Father, and to My God and your God." (John 20:17.) He was the first One who descended to the tomb, and was raised from the dead, and who has ascended far above angels, principalities, powers, and every name that is named.--Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11.

Since our Lord has passed through these experiences, the Apostle's suggestion is that He who brought the Lord Jesus from the tomb is also able to bring us. He tells us that we need not sorrow as do those who have no hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, let us believe that He will bring all that are in the death condition back to life. (1 Thessalonians 4:13,14.) Let us believe that "all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:25-29)--the Church first. As it is written, "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death shall have no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ; and shall reign with Him a thousand years."--Revelation 20:6.

Others shall come forth to a resurrection over whom the Second Death may have power. Whether or not they will ever get altogether free from death will be determined by their conduct during the time of their opportunity--during the time when the riches of God's grace will be made known to them and when they will have the opportunity of coming back into full harmony with Him and of gaining life everlasting.



[R5612 : page 21]

THE TRAGEDY OF SAMSON
--JANUARY 31.--JUDGES 13:8-16,24,25.--

SAMSON BORN A NAZARITE--HIS BIRTH FORETOLD--HIS MISSION FORETOLD--THE VALUE OF A MISSION--HOW HE JUDGED ISRAEL--SAMSON'S WEAKNESSES--HIS LOYALTY TO GOD--HIS VICTORY IN DEATH.

"Beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine, nor strong drink."--Judges 13:4.
ALL Jews who took a certain vow were styled Nazarites. No one should confound these people with the residents of a certain city called Nazareth. Jesus was a resident of Nazareth, but He was not under the vow of the Nazarite. The vow of a Nazarite was that he would avoid spirituous liquor in every form, and that his hair would not be cut. Samson from his birth was under this vow, which, by the direction of the angel of the Lord, was adopted for him by his parents. In some sense the vow seems to have signified the full, complete consecration of the individual to God and His service.

Twice before Samson's birth, an angel of the Lord communicated with his parents to the intent that the mind of the mother, especially, should be impressed with the importance of abstemiousness; and that thus her child should be born under a favorable endowment. Undoubtedly his parents realized to what extent parents may give mental and physical strength to their children; and they would be alert to endow their offspring favorably.

While the life, the virility, comes from the father, the mother has greatly to do with the stamping of the character. And in the mother's weakened condition prior to the birth of her child, the father could and should realize the situation, and appreciate his privilege of surrounding the mother with fine intellectual and spiritual influences. Thus the father moulds the thoughts of the mother and leads them in profitable directions, while the mother in turn stamps those high, noble aspirations upon her child, that he may be well-born--an honor to his family name, a blessing to his community and, above all, be qualified to be a servant of God.

According to Divine promise Samson was to be one of the Judges of Israel; that is to say, one of the Deliverers of Israel. The need of deliverance is evident from the context. The Philistines (otherwise the strangers) resided in the southwest of Palestine. They are supposed to have been pirates, and preyed upon the Israelites by land, as travelers are upon the deep. They were a war-like people, and evidently very intelligent as respects manufactures. Their cunning is shown in the fact that they not only disarmed the Israelites, but prohibited their making any iron implements or doing any kind of blacksmithing work. In this manner they held down the Israelites [R5613 : page 21] in a species of peonage, exacting tribute of them.

A great maritime power of our day still more shrewdly practises a similar oppression in India--supplying from her mills and shops implements of labor, while guarding against importation of war materials. Moreover, modern methods of finance bring to her rich revenues without the outwardly rude and crude methods of the Philistines.

Samson's work for his people must not be measured by merely the amount of damage he did to the Philistines in various ways as a warrior and as a strategist--setting fire to their wheat fields by ingeniously using foxes for [R5613 : page 22] the purpose, etc. Doubtless his chief work was one of reviving the spirit of his people, who had become thoroughly dejected, hopeless, under the oppression of their enemies. The lesson of what one man could do when he devoted his life to serving his people and to delivering them from their enemies must have been a great stimulus to patriotism, and an encouragement to return to the Lord and to expect Divine favor and prosperity as a result.

POINTS TO BE REMEMBERED

We must not forget that the Jews were not Christians, nor that the rules laid down by Jesus and the Apostles for Christians were not applicable to the Jews. Moses and the nation of Israel, according to the Scriptures, were a House of Servants. (Hebrews 3:5,6.) They were promised Divine blessings in proportion as they would serve faithfully, obediently, the Divine Law, which did not call upon them to be saints in the Christian sense of that word, applicable to the Church of Christ.

Another difference between the Jew and the Christian is that the former was promised temporal blessings as a reward for faithfulness, while the latter is promised spiritual blessings with temporal adversities and trials of faith and patience, love and loyalty. Unless this distinction between the two Ages and the two Laws be borne in mind, we shall continually be in difficulty.

According to the Law, Samson was rated as a very faithful servant of God. His faithfulness consisted in his loyalty to the Divine requirements, to the Cause of God and to Israel, the covenanted people of God. His faith was continually manifested in all that he did; and his whole life was used in serving his people. Hence he is rated in amongst the Ancient Worthies by St. Paul, in Hebrews 11:32, when enumerating those who through faith gained victories and had the testimony that they won the Divine approval.

In a hundred ways Samson was neither a Christian nor an example to Christians. In many respects he lived after the flesh, notwithstanding his noble self-sacrifice in the service of the Lord. We should remember, however, that he was never begotten of the Holy Spirit. Only since Pentecost have any been begotten of the Spirit of the Lord as "New Creatures in Christ." True, we read that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Samson; but we are to bear in mind the distinction and the wide difference in the Spirit of the Lord coming upon the Prophets and other Ancient Worthies to move them to do this, that and the other thing for the accomplishment of Divine purposes, or to write this, that and the other thing in harmony with the Divine will. Such a mechanical operation of the Holy Spirit is wholly different from that which applies to the Christian, begotten of the Spirit, during this Gospel Age.

We are to receive the Spirit of Adoption, the Spirit of sonship, the Holy Spirit, which, more and more permeating our lives, will make us more and more like unto our Father in Heaven. In all these spirit-begotten ones will be exemplified growth in grace, knowledge and love, by their development and manifestation of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.

VICTORY IN DEATH

A woman was Samson's undoing. He confided to her, and she betrayed him. He informed her that he was under a vow which included not only his abstinence from the use of intoxicating liquors, but also that his hair should not be shorn; and that if the vow were broken, his special strength and power would be broken. While he slept, his deceitful friend cut off his hair, and then aroused him, saying, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!" But, the vow being broken, he was without the special strength which had made him so wonderful before.

Samson's enemies gloated over him, put his eyes out, and kept him as a slave, grinding at the mills. But at a great feast they brought him forth as a trophy. He stood near two massive pillars which supported the roof of the great building; and with a prayer to God he grasped these and pulled down the entire structure, doing more damage to the Philistines in the killing of their chief men, and more therefore for the deliverance of his people, in that one act than in all the other experiences of his life. Samson's faith in God and desire to do His will are continually manifested throughout his life, when viewed from a proper angle. He "obtained a good report through faith."

LESSONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN

One lesson we may learn from Samson's experiences is the importance of having an object in life. No one can get the best out of his life unless he have some definite purpose before him. Parents should encourage their children not to aspire for things for which they have no capacity, no qualification, but to aspire for the best of what they are capable in life.

"Dare to have a purpose true,
And dare to make it known."

In boys and girls between the ages of twelve and sixteen, there is a surging of the life forces which, rightly directed, tends to make of them noble men and noble women; but which, perverted into wrong directions, may make them vicious; or which, discouraged entirely, may make them do-less. Every parent and every guardian should realize these facts, and shape his dealings with the young under his care accordingly.

Not only so, but there is in youth a striving for nobility, a realization that life is as so much of value, that it can be used but once, and that the direction of its start has much to do with the results. At such a time the faithful parent or guardian may be very successful in setting before the opening mind the reasonable obligation which he has toward the Creator, and the blessed privilege of laying down life itself on the side of right against wrong, on the side of Truth against error. With these matters thoroughly appreciated, the number of moral heroes in the world would be greatly multiplied.

Another lesson associated is in connection with vows. Vows are voluntary matters. No one is obligated to take a vow; but a vow once taken should be observed faithfully, if its blessing would be enjoyed. We are not advising vows to men or to social or religious institutions, but we do recommend vows to the Lord respecting faithfulness to Him and to His Cause. But whoever takes a vow should remember that it were better not to take it at all than to violate it; for its violation serves to weaken the conscience, whereas its observance tends to strengthen the entire life and to make the individual the more fit, the more prepared, for the Lord's service here and hereafter. The Lord seeks amongst His people strong characters for efficient service.


"Up, then, and linger not, thou saint of God,
Fling from thy shoulders each impeding load;
Be brave and wise, shake off earth's soil and sin,
That with the Bridegroom thou mayst enter in.
O watch and pray!

"Gird on thy armor; face each weaponed foe;
Deal with the Sword of Heaven the deadly blow;
Forward, still forward, till the Prize Divine
Rewards thy zeal, and victory is thine.
Win thou the crown."



[R5613 : page 23]

KING DAVID'S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER
--FEBRUARY 7.--RUTH 1.--

A BEAUTIFUL STORY--ISRAEL'S HOME LIFE--BENEATH THE SURFACE--GOOD PEOPLE ASTRAY--NAOMI'S RETURN--RUTH'S CONVERSION--WHAT IT COST HER--WHAT SHE GOT.

"Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."--Ruth 1:16.
IT is said that when Benjamin Franklin was American Minister in Paris, he spent an evening with some of its literary people, during which he was called upon to contribute to the entertainment. Drawing from his pocket a manuscript prepared for the occasion, he remarked, "Reading a very ancient book, I came across a very charming bit of literature, which I believe will [R5614 : page 23] prove as interesting to many of you as to myself. I have copied it; and if you will permit, I will read it." It was the story of our lesson--indeed, the entire story of the Book of Ruth. The narrative tells that the audience was delighted and desired to be informed where in ancient history so beautiful and idealistic a tale could be found. They were more than surprised when he told them that he had copied it from the Bible; for France at that time, in its official and literary circles, was agnostic, if not atheistic.

The story of the Book of Ruth gives us a little glimpse into the affairs of the Israelites, showing us that there was a deep spirit of religion underlying the surface of wars and captivities, etc., which naturally most impress themselves upon our attention in every history of every people. The opening was at Bethlehem, "the city of David," where centuries later Jesus was born, "David's Son and David's Lord." The religious sentiment of the family is shown by the import of their names. Elimelech, the husband's name, signifies "My God is King." His wife's name, Naomi, is said to mean "The pleasure of Jehovah." They had two young sons, Mahlon (sickly one) and Chilion (pining one).

They became discouraged because of the invasions of their enemies and the frequent loss of the fruits of their labor, and finally, because of a severe drouth, which almost produced a famine, they left their home, crossed Jordan into the land of Moab, and dwelt there for ten years. There the two boys married. Both died, leaving widows; and Elimelech died. Evidently the leaving of the Land of Promise, the Land of the Covenant, to live amongst a people who were idolators, and who were not in covenant relationship with God in any way, had not resulted greatly to the benefit of the family; for when Naomi concluded to return to her native land, she had practically nothing.

It is worth while here for us to learn a lesson to the effect that it is never good policy to sacrifice our religious interests for our temporal interests. With all Christians the motto should be "God First." It will not do to say that perhaps they moved to Moab that they might do a little missionary work; for although the Moabites were the descendants of Lot, and therefore related to the Israelites and had spoken to some extent the same language, nevertheless God's Covenant was merely with the descendants of Abraham, and the others were aliens, strangers, foreigners, from the commonwealth of Israel, like all other Gentiles. Nor would it have been proper for them to attempt to convert the Moabites; for God had not called the Moabites, but merely the Israelites --as we read, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth."--Amos 3:2.

However, many Christians have made the same mistake that this family made; and if Christians indeed, they were all the more responsible, because the Christian has a higher relationship with God and should have a clearer knowledge of His will and more of the "spirit of a sound mind." It was unwise to take two boys into a heathen land, where they were likely to be contaminated; instead, every reasonable influence should have been thrown about them to preserve their loyalty to Jehovah.

Doubtless Naomi realized all this, as indicated by her words in the lesson, "It grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me." Here again we perceive that the hand of the Lord against her was really in her favor, and that it had a proper influence upon her and brought her back to the Land of Promise.

TWO BEAUTIFUL CHARACTERS

Naomi (the pleasure of Jehovah) must have been a beautiful character. This is evidenced by the deep affection manifested toward her by her two daughters-in-law. They both preferred to join her and to go to her homeland, to leave their own home associations; and they started with her. But as she reflected that they would be strangers in a strange land and would pine for home, even as she was pining now, she tenderly urged them to reconsider-- to go back to their home and kindred, their habits and customs, and to remarry, etc.

One of them so concluded, and kissed her good-bye; but the other one, Ruth, broke forth in such eloquent terms that her words have become permanently identified with classic literature:

"Entreat me not to leave thee,
And to return from following after thee;
For whither thou goest, I will go;
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge;
Thy people shall be my people,

"And thy God my God:
Where thou diest I will die,
And there will I be buried:
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If aught but death part thee and me."

When we say that Ruth was converted, we of course do not mean that she became a Christian or that she became an heir of Christian promises; for there were none such until after Jesus, by His death, opened up the "new and living way" beyond the Veil. She was converted to Judaism, and this is a fresh testimony to the faithful living of Naomi.--Verses 16,17.

THE VALUE OF POSITIVE DECISION

One thing here is worthy of note; namely, the positiveness with which Ruth made her decision. It was not a proposal to try for a time how it would go to live in Judea. It was a decision unto death. In this respect all true conversions are alike. The Christian, for instance, did not really become a Christian until he made just such a definite, positive consecration of himself to leave the world, its affairs, its loves, its hopes and ambitions, and to spend and be spent even unto death in the service of the Lord. The value of positive decision in respect to life we can hardly overestimate. Thousands of lives are blighted because of lack of decision. Positiveness for God is the only condition in which we can hope to "make our calling and election sure."

True to God's promise to the Jewish people, Naomi and Ruth were blessed in their return to the Lord--to His people--to His Land of Covenant and Promise. We are to remember that all the promises to Fleshly Israel were earthly, while all those to Spiritual Israel are Heavenly. [R5614 : page 24]

Both the nobility and the wisdom of Naomi's character are manifest in the course which she pursued on arriving in Bethlehem practically penniless, and unable to retrieve the interest of her husband and her sons in their share of the land. She did not beg, nor request Ruth to beg. There was no false cry nor false modesty. Ruth went out, like other poor women, to glean handfuls of grain after the reapers. Under the Law it was a part of God's provision for the poor that no one should reap the corners of his field, but should leave these for the poor. Naomi counseled Ruth to go gleaning in the fields of one of her wealthy relatives, named Boaz.

KING DAVID'S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

As Naomi had surmised, the wealthy Boaz took note of the modest young woman who daily gleaned in his fields; and subsequently he learned that she was a relative through marriage. He pursued the course of the Jewish Law, and Ruth became his wife. Obed was the name of their son, Jesse was the name of his son, and David was the youngest of Jesse's sons. Thus Ruth the Gentile became identified with the royal family as an ancestor, and with King David's greatest Son and Lord--Jesus.

The Bible is a very honest Book. It does not disguise the fact that Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, was received into the Jewish nation by marriage and became an ancestor to King David, Solomon and Jesus. It does not disguise the fact that Ruth was by nature a foreigner, a Gentile, and at one time an idolatress. No other book is so honest. Similarly the New Testament, with wonderful candor, tells all the details of how one of His own disciples betrayed the Master, of how all forsook Him and fled, of how the subsequently noble St. Peter denied his Master with curses, of how St. Peter and St. John, when preaching in the Temple, were perceived by the people to be ignorant and unlearned.

Similarly the weaknesses and sins of King David and others of the royal family are in no sense covered or disguised. They are all laid bare and reproved, their punishments stated, and the repentance of the culprits noted. We dare trust such honest writers, even as in the history of today we would be willing to trust such writers. Indeed, we do not know of any history today that would compare with the Bible history in candor.

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN

In these Studies we make no attempt at impassioned appeal; but rather, in the words of Jesus, we suggest that each one, when considering whether or not he will join himself to the Lord, become a follower of Christ, shall first quietly "sit down and count the cost," as the Master directed. We do, however, earnestly urge the importance of decision, and a positive decision, as being essential to proper peace of mind and to proper Christian progress, and to an inheritance with the saints under the terms of this Gospel Age.--Colossians 1:12.

Those who do conclude to give their hearts to God should know that "there is no other name given under Heaven or amongst men" whereby we can be recovered to God's favor, so as to be permitted to enter the House of Sons, than the name of Jesus. In His name means in, by and through all that His name stands for to have faith in God, obedience to His terms, etc. But when the decision is reached, it means, "Thy God shall be my God."

Decision is reached to join the House of Sons through Christ. Be it noticed that we have not recommended the joining of any denomination, nor does the Bible. The instruction of the Bible is that each, to be a member of the House of Sons, must be joined to the Lord--to Christ, and through Him to the Father--in order to be an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. Such as [R5615 : page 24] do this have their names written, not on an earthly roll of membership, but "in the Lamb's Book of Life," "whose names are written in Heaven."

Their next step should be to say, "Thy people shall be my people." And so surely as any of God's people are found, they are all brethren of one family, whether they be found amongst Roman Catholics or Baptists, amongst Methodists or Presbyterians, amongst Lutherans or Anglicans, or whether they be found outside of all denominations. God's people are all one, because by one Spirit they are all baptized into the one Spiritual Body, the Head of which is Christ, whose Spirit must pervade all His members.--1 Corinthians 12:13.

Not only should we seek for the people of God, but we should acknowledge and fellowship them, whether they be white or black, rich or poor, learned or ignorant; for "ye are all one in Christ Jesus," and "One is your Master, even Christ."

The proper course for all those who come into Christ is to inquire for and search out "the old paths"--the footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles, their teachings, their practises--and not to be influenced by modern digressions, philosophies and sciences falsely so-called, or by creeds and theories of the Dark Ages. "They shall all be taught of God" is a promise which belongs to the entire Household of Faith; and the Word of God is "meat in due season," and is the strength provided for their strengthening, upbuilding and preparation for a share in the Kingdom.



[R5615 : page 24]

THE VOICE OF THE LORD
--FEBRUARY 14.--1 SAMUEL 3:1-13,19,20--

SAMUEL DEVOTED TO GOD BEFORE HIS BIRTH, BY HIS MOTHER-- AN OPENING FOR SERVICE--FAITHFULNESS IN SERVICE-- CALLED TO HIGHER SERVICE--SAMUEL THE FIRST OF ISRAEL'S PROPHETS--JOHN THE BAPTIST THE LAST.

"Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth."--1 Samuel 3:9.
TODAY'S Study gives a little insight into the family conditions of the Israelites at a time not long after the days of Samson and of Ruth. It shows us the deep religious sentiment prevailing amongst many of the people. The Tabernacle of the Lord, in this Study styled the Temple, was located at Shiloh, a few miles north of Jerusalem. The priest in charge was Eli. The people by Divine direction went annually to worship the Lord, to offer sacrifice, etc., at the Feast time, the Passover.

The father and the mother of Samuel were of these annual worshipers before Samuel was born. It was on the occasion of one of these visits that Hannah made earnest prayer to the Lord for a son, vowing that if her petition was granted, her son should be devoted to the Lord's service for life. Her prayer was answered. The child was born and named Samuel, which signifies In God's Name. When he was weaned he was presented to the Lord through Eli, the priest--to be the latter's servant, assistant, in the service of the Tabernacle and the service of the priest's home, which was connected with the Tabernacle. The word weaned we may properly understand to signify, not the time merely when the child ceased to receive suck from the mother, but the time [R5615 : page 25] when he was able to do without his mother's care--probably ten years old.

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD CHILDREN

It is difficult to imagine the value to a child of being well-born--born of healthy parents, and particularly of intelligent and God-fearing parents. Few realize the dignity and responsibility of the parental office. Many are aware of the fact that vitality and constitution proceed from father to child--whether this be slight vitality or strong vitality, weak constitution or strong constitution. The mother indeed has to do with this also, since the portion assigned to her by nature is that of nourisher, provider, for the child, up to the time of its weaning.

But the still more important part of the mother's responsibility toward the child few parents realize. The mother's mentality during the period of gestation stamps itself upon her unborn child. Her fretfulness or vacillation or discontent, or her peace, her joy, her high ideals, are affecting not only her own happiness, but stamping almost indelibly her offspring. In view of this, how serious is the responsibility of motherhood, as well as fatherhood!

Moreover, we must remember that the mother's attitude of mind is largely under the influence and control of her husband. He is the provider, caretaker, of his wife. The responsibility is with him to place before his wife, at this important period of life, high ideals, noble sentiments, helpful suggestions, peaceful and restful surroundings. Thus parents co-operating intelligently might produce children even nobler than themselves, as their ideals may be better than were their own birth conditions; or reversely, they may produce children inferior to themselves, while their conditions are possibly more favorable than those of their parents.

The Bible declares that we are all born in sin, "misshapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us"; but, as we have seen, these conditions of the fallen race may be accentuated or diminished to a considerable degree by the mental conditions of the parents, their appreciation of their office. But how often children come into the world undesired and permanently marked thereby to their disadvantage through life! How favorable is the condition, in comparison, of the child that is desired, prayed for, prepared for, and whose mental conditions have been well provided for by the parents! Samuel, the subject of today's Study, was such a child--such a man.

GOD'S REPROOF OF ELI

Our lesson opens with the declaration that the child Samuel "ministered unto the Lord before Eli"; that is to say, he was a servant of the Lord by virtue of his being a servant to Eli, who was the Lord's representative and priest. The Word of Jehovah was precious in those days; that is, it was seldom that God sent messages at that time. Perhaps that of the angel of the Lord who appeared to the father and mother of Samson, probably fifty years before, was the last direct communication between the Lord and any of His people Israel. "There was no open vision"--visions and revelations were not then being given. The Divine Plan was hidden. The Urim and the Thummim answers of the Lord to the inquiries of the people had ceased.

It is supposed that Eli at this time was about seventy years of age--some think nearer eighty. His vision was dim. He was sleeping in one apartment and little Samuel, his servant, in another. The latter heard a voice calling him and three separate times went to Eli to ask what service he could render, only to be told that it was a mistake, and that he had not been called. But by the third time Eli the priest realized that it was God who had called Samuel; and he instructed the lad that if the voice should again be heard, he should answer, "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth." And so it was. The voice came again, and apparently the angel of the Lord appeared to Samuel at the same time. Then the Lord gave a message to Samuel respecting Eli--foretelling the sad end of the lives of his two sons, and Eli's own death, and that Eli's family should nevermore serve the Lord as priests. The inference is given that Eli's sons misused their position as under priests, taking more of the sacrifices than they were properly allowed in the Divine arrangement, and besides this, practising immorality, and thus misleading the people into unrighteousness, whereas, as the Lord's servants and priests, they should have been instructors of the people in righteousness, both by precept and example.

DIVINE DISAPPROVAL OF WEAK CHARACTER

This was not the first time that the Lord had reproved Eli regarding the wrong course of his sons and what would happen. Years before a message had been sent him on this very subject, and although Eli himself apparently was faithful and loyal to God, he had not restrained his sons; hence he was a sharer in the penalty which came upon his sons.

In the morning Eli inquired of Samuel whether or not the Lord had spoken any further, and what He said. It was a trial to Samuel to tell his friend and benefactor, who was like a father to him, respecting the Lord's criticism and pronouncement of judgment against himself and his family; but Eli demanded to know the full particulars, and we read that "Samuel told him every whit." Thus it is often with the Lord's faithful servants; their tenderness of heart, their sympathy, might prompt them to hide, to cover, matters which their sense of duty may require them to speak boldly. In every case the individual's conscience must be educated, and of course the Word of God is the educator.

When Eli heard what the Lord had declared respecting his family, he answered most loyally, "It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good." But however faithful and submissive he may thus appear to be, we know that his character was not satisfactory to God. There are many like Eli, willing to take, without murmuring, the [R5616 : page 25] punishments which God metes out; but the Lord prefers characters that are stronger. Eli would have been more pleasing to the Lord had he had more firmness of character-- a clearer appreciation of his duty toward the Lord as His servant, and toward his children as their father. We may be sure that strong characters are more pleasing to everybody. They may in some respects be more difficult to deal with; but, nevertheless, firmness of character is something that is a jewel, highly esteemed by all wise men and women, as well as by the Lord.

Samuel grew in favor with God and with Eli and with all the people of Israel, as they came to know him; and they perceived that the Spirit of the Lord was with him, and that he would be a representative of God amongst them.

All in Samuel's time could not be priests, but only those of the priestly tribe. All then could not be prophets, but merely such as God was pleased to use as His mouthpieces. As St. Peter says, "Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." But, as St. Peter proceeds to tell us, the prophecies were not generally understood by those who uttered them, but were meant to be understood by the Church of this Age, in due time, as the Holy [R5616 : page 26] Spirit would make them known--"meat in due season."

As Samuel is styled the first of the Prophets of Israel, so the Lord informs us that John the Baptist was the last of those Prophets, and that "none were greater than he." It astounds us perhaps to find the Bible clearly teaching that while the offices of prophet and priest were restricted in olden times, as we have seen, yet, during this Gospel Age, all who come unto God through Christ may become priests, and every priest of this New Order may be a prophet of the Lord.

Failure to discern the change from the Jewish Dispensation to the Christian Dispensation, which began at Pentecost, leaves many Christian people in confusion of mind. Jesus clearly presents the matter, saying, "Verily I say unto you, There hath not risen a greater Prophet than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he."

The Church is the Kingdom of God in embryo. It is to be the Kingdom of God after being set up at the Second coming of Christ, by the power of the First Resurrection, but even now it is God's Kingdom class in preparation, being educated, tested, in respect to faith, obedience and loyalty. The overcomers will be the Church of Glory, the Kingdom of Glory; but even in the embryo state, these are styled by St. Peter a Royal Priesthood. He is not in this speaking of any clerical class as a priesthood, but speaking of all who become united to Christ, of every faithful believer anointed with the Holy Spirit, as such a priest in things pertaining to God. He is a priest in the sense that he is counted in as a member of the Body of the great High Priest. As a member of Christ he is associated in the work of sacrifice, "presenting his body a living sacrifice" daily.

Additionally, all of the Royal Priesthood class, even at the present time, are God's prophets, God's mouthpieces. These, and these only, are authorized to speak in the name of the Lord. Their ordination, or authorization, does not come by any laying on of hands of bishops or anybody else; but, as the Scriptures declare, it comes directly from God--through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Hearken to St. John speaking to the whole Church. He says, "Ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye all know it." Whoever has this anointing of the Spirit should be able to discern its influence in his heart and life, and should recognize that it is his authorization to serve as a priest and as a prophet of the Lord; as St. Peter says, "that we should show forth the praises of Him who hath called us."



[R5616 : page 26]

1914--REPORTS FROM FOREIGN BRANCHES--1914

BRITISH BRANCH REPORT

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

We have pleasure in sending a summarized account of the work of the British Branch for the year 1914. As you will see by the figures subjoined, there is a good work to report. The sales of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES have increased by more than 20,000 copies, our total British circulation for the year being 131,984. Besides this number we sent out to Australia over 26,000 copies, or a total British output of 158,264 STUDIES. The circulation of free literature is also considerably in excess of last year's figures. We sent out of London for Volunteer work, for the Class Extension service and for the PHOTO-DRAMA work a total of 15,787,950 items, representing in tract pages 262,770,280, a huge figure. However, our report does not increase all the way; for the war came in the midst of our work, and immediately began to restrict it--but not to a great extent.

The general Colporteur work suffered first, and then the Brethren, as well as ourselves here, were hindered from obtaining halls for public witnessing, because so many were required by the military authorities. But the war helped as well as hindered; for many were much more inclined to hear what we had to say, so that both in the public meetings and to the Colporteurs there was a preparation for the message of Truth. Also the people more able to buy the sets of the STUDIES were more attentive, and many of these have shown a warm interest in the Truth. It must be said that the Colporteur work has been very much helped by the recent methods of furthering their work. Brother Rutherford's extended tour resulted in the selling of over 10,500 volumes of STUDIES, and the follow-up work after the PHOTO-DRAMA is also of very great help. It was believed that sets of STUDIES could not be sold here, but now this has become the common thing; and our output of Vols. 4, 5, 6 has largely increased. The war has not made an appreciable difference in the outward aspect of things; but it is impossible that such a state can continue, and no doubt there will be a pinch in the spending capacity of the people not at present keenly felt.

There has been little outward opposition to the spreading of the Truth along our usual lines; the Lord has kept back violent opposition, and so we can report the greatest witness yet given here. The outlook is not bright, and we see other factors at work which indicate that our freeness of service cannot long continue. We rejoice in whatever is afforded to us, and we hope to be faithful to our Head until the work is accomplished. The first six months of the year saw very little activity in the Class Extension work, but the advent of the DRAMA came about the time the Class Extension territory had been covered; and since then the brethren have been energetic in this newer phase of service.

The DRAMA has now been shown in London and 97 other cities and towns in Great Britain and Ireland, and has been attended by 1,226,650 people, London figures being 25 exhibitions with 425,000 in attendance. Outside London attendance 800,100. The London exhibitions were 22 of two weeks each, and 3 others of four weeks each. The signed cards for further literature, etc., numbered in London 7,470; and so far, over five thousand books have been sold through these. In the country over 12,000 cards have been left, and the resultant sales is about the same proportion. In London the cloth Scenarios were in good demand; in two centres alone 7,966 copies were sold. Thus we feel that this great city has had an opportunity of gaining some knowledge of our loving Heavenly Father's character and Plan.

The friends have everywhere risen loyally to their opportunities of service. The Volunteer matter has gone out well--you will notice that we have sent out nearly 7,000,000 B.S.M. The work has, as you know, continued to make increased sacrifices upon the time and the means of the brethren, but the sacrifices have been made to the blessing of increased faith and love among the brethren.

We praise the Lord for all the mercies of the way, and we will keep on with His work till He shall bid us cease. We are going on with such work as is at hand, hoping to do it to His praise. With love in the Lord,

Your servants in Him,
J. HEMERY, H. J. SHEARN, WM. CRAWFORD,
British Branch Managers.

[R5616 : page 27]

SUMMARY OF OUTPUT OF "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDIES, all kinds................................   158,264
To Australia, out of above........................    26,280
                                                     -------
Total British local sales.........................   131,984

OUTPUT BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY AND OTHER TRACTS.
BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY............................ 6,932,300
EVERYBODY'S PAPER................................. 5,828,200
Colporteur tracts.................................   302,000
Hell pamphlets....................................    28,250
DRAMA volunteer................................... 1,958,000
Free Scenarios....................................   739,200
                                                   ---------
                                                  15,787,950
Or Tract pages...................................252,607,200
Books (Manual, MANNA, Poems, etc.)................     3,246
Scenario, paper...................................    18,351
Scenario, cloth...................................     5,717
[R5617 : page 27]
Booklets..........................................    23,679
Letters, out......................................    35,174
Letters, in.......................................    31,425


AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH REPORT

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

We are glad again to think that you will be pleased with the year's work. It has been a year of progress as the result of the increase of love and zeal and spirit of sacrifice generally among the friends. Yet we realize that there is much to be done here; and that it may be some months before the door of opportunity is closed for laboring and suffering for the Truth's sake.

Last year was a record with its 30,000 volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES; but it has been exceeded and the output has reached over 40,000, as you will see from the appended statement. The Colporteurs have done well; and while the war has tightened money considerably, yet it has increased interest in the matters dealt with in the STUDIES, so that there is still a good work going on. We have about thirty Colporteurs in the field now, some doing moderately and some doing splendidly. Some have been ever so much more successful since the war broke out than previously. Many more volumes would have been put out if we had had them to supply orders; but, as you are aware, our shipments were stopped.

The PEOPLES PULPITS, which have been mostly sent through the post, continue to bring good interest, and the list of subscribers has steadily increased. THE WATCH TOWER list also continues to grow, which will indicate to you best the amount of progress, although it is still so that one WATCH TOWER serves for may be a family or for one or two readers.

While the Tract Fund shows a good increase over last year, yet it does not represent probably more than half what has been spent by the Classes in special efforts under the auspices of the Society. While Brother Gates has been used by the Perth Class for many public efforts, the Sydney Class have used Brother O. Walters, and the Brisbane Class has served many outlying small towns with several brethren. In this way much has been done without expense to the Society. Brother Nelson has traveled mostly in New Zealand and Queensland, and has been a means of blessing to the friends at those places. He is now in Queensland, and we hope to see him once more at our Melbourne Convention Christmas time.

We still have about thirty-five Newspapers publishing the sermons. Some opposition has been strongly working against these, and has succeeded in one or two instances; but generally the editors have been able to take it for what it is worth. Some of the editors have been more than pleased with the matter of the sermons themselves, and have realized that their readers are appreciating them. We have heard of many cases of strangers getting quite interested through this service. At the same time we feel that the friends generally do not fully realize their opportunity of encouraging the papers in the good work.

You will find a list of Extension efforts and Pilgrim Public Meetings, but this is by no means complete, as we know we have not had returns from all the classes that have been busy. Along this line we are glad to say that the visit of Brother Hollister in the early part of the year was very much appreciated and much good was accomplished, not only in encouraging the brethren everywhere, but also creating new interest. We do rejoice in all the good providences of our God.

PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION

The PHOTO-DRAMA has been shown in Wellington, N.Z., the attendances totalling about 40,000. The Class there nobly shouldered the whole expense, which amounted to about L200; but with experience now gained, this will not need to be so great elsewhere. We have evidences, however, that good will be accomplished by this means of declaring "the whole counsel of God" as revealed in His Word. We now have the films in Melbourne, and preparations are well advanced for the work. We feel sure that we are voicing the feeling of the International Bible Students in Australasia when we express gratitude for the generosity on the part of Brooklyn in affording us two sets of such expensive outfits. When we realize how much sacrifice is involved in the way of patient toil, as well as of substance by others in the production of this wonderful exhibition, it makes us feel the responsibility of now doing our part to our utmost with what is entrusted to us, in order that the work may be accomplished here. The Melbourne Church, though generally poor in this world's goods, has followed the example of Wellington in the spirit of sacrifice, and has promised eighty pounds toward the expense of the production.

We had our Finale on Sunday and had record meetings both afternoon and evening. Twelve hundred were present and many were unable to get into the Hall. I took the speaking part and endeavored to follow the notes suggested in the instructions. The Lord was with us, and we believe that much good was done. Altogether we have over 200 names of interested. These are now being called upon by three of our best Colporteurs, and we feel sure of good follow-up meetings in the same Hall for the next three Sunday nights, when I am to give Chart Talks. We reckon that we showed to 22,850 people, or rather attendances; for many attended every one of the exhibitions.

The DRAMA started in Geelong this week. Geelong is a City of Churches, hard to wake up. But the Lord arranged to stir them up. The Council of Churches made a strenuous effort to hinder our having the Theatre, which is under the control of the Town Council.

We cannot run several cities at the same time here; but though it will take us a little while to get round, it is beautiful to see the effect and to realize that the Lord is directing our steps and blessing the work.

The work all over is, we think, progressing well, not only in the all-important deepening of the spirit of consecration personally of those who have been some time under the hallowed influences of the Truth, but in numbers. These are growing, in some cases, quite rapidly. We hope, however, that while the door of opportunity remains open even greater things may be accomplished. It is good to realize that there never has been a time when it was so easy to get people to think along the lines of the Truth; and that the shackles of error are breaking and the mists of the Dark Ages are being dispelled by the bright shining of the glorious Sun of Righteousness. [R5617 : page 28]

While the clouds of trouble roll over the earth in fulfilment of the Word, thus in accord with our expectations, as though the great Divine Time Clock has struck the End of the Gentile Times, we are resting in the promise that our "deliverance draweth nigh" and are seeking to identify ourselves with the Kingdom which is being set up and co-operate in its glorious work of turning "the pure language to the people." "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"--Isaiah 52:7.

With Christian love to yourself and all of like precious faith,

Yours in the service of Christ,
R. E. B. NICHOLSON.

SUMMARY OF WORK
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.........................    38,713
   "     "  "      "    --Magazine form...........     1,321
Booklets..........................................     2,433
                                                      ------
Total.............................................    42,467
Free Literature sent out:
B.S.M. and EVERYBODY'S PAPER...................... 1,129,800
WATCH TOWERS......................................     4,287
Debates...........................................     1,000
Hell TOWERS.......................................     3,487
                                                   ---------
Total............................................. 1,138,074

CORRESPONDENCE
Letters received..................................     4,370
   "    dispatched................................     4,444

A goodly amount of Pilgrim work was done by Brother Edward Nelson, Brother Robert Hollister and myself; but the exact figures are not obtainable at the moment. Considerable of this work was also done in New Zealand.

EXPENDITURES, ETC.
Pilgrim, Extension Work, Halls,
 Advertising, etc...................... 280:12:-
Postage, freight, etc..................  49:--:5
Rent, gas, stationery, personal
 expenses..............................  56:--:-
PHOTO-DRAMA Expense, Customs
 Duty, etc.............................  31:15:8
Supply of Free Literature.............. 394:17:-
                                        --------
                                        812: 5:1 = $3,947.56
Tract Fund Donations................... 827: 9:7 =  4,021.55
Dr. to Brooklyn.......................1,597:11:2 =  7,764.13


THE WORK IN GERMANY

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I send you the yearly report, and am glad to say that again, by the Lord's grace, the amount of literature circulated [R5618 : page 28] exceeds that of the preceding year by about one-third. The totals are as follows:

     Volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES--
       German.....................................    24,136
     Volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES--
       other languages............................     1,070
     Volumes MANNA................................     1,079
     Volumes DIVINE PLAN in journal form..........     8,770
     TOWERS on Hell...............................    31,085
     Booklets--German.............................    12,946
     Booklets--Foreign............................     2,277
     German TOWERS, including 5,000 copies
       monthly to regular readers.................    78,040
     BIBLE STUDENTS Quarterly and Volunteer
       matter-German.............................. 5,015,200
     BIBLE STUDENTS Quarterly and Volunteer
       matter--other languages....................   122,900

The Lecture and Pilgrim Service was quite extensive this year, with good results. A number of new classes, of 20 to 40 consecrated, have been started; and others have doubled.

     Number of Public Meetings....................       262
       "    in attendance.........................    52,894
       "    of addresses for free literature......    14,743

EXPENDITURES, ETC.
     Printing, Lectures, Pilgrim Service,
       Rent, Household, etc.......................104,282.16 Marks
     Donations--German and Swiss--European
       ........................................... 58,704.16   "
                                                  ----------------
                                                   45,578.00 Marks
     Amount of cash from Brooklyn, plus
       proceeds from books sold to
       cover balance.
     Letters and Cards received...................    13,555
        "     "    "   sent out...................     6,823

We have quite a large stock of books on hand, which no doubt will be very much in demand in the near future, since the friends are zealously calling attention to the fulfilment of prophecy in the European or universal war. We hope, indeed, to be able to still circulate a number of million copies of B.S.M. on timely subjects before our work this side the veil is ended. If the six or seven thousand readers of the German TOWER in Europe let their light shine out fearlessly, as the opportunities increase and circumstances offer or demand, the testimony will surely have been given according to the Lord's own Word (Matthew 24:24), so far as this part of the world is concerned. We are glad to know that it is even more so the case in other parts, especially in America.

With confidence in God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and with much love to yourself and your faithful colaborers everywhere, I beg to remain

Your humble brother,
O. A. KOETITZ.


SWEDISH BRANCH REPORT

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

By the Lord's grace we have passed another year in His blessed service, on this side of the "Veil," and it is accordingly my greatly appreciated privilege and duty to send you the usual report of the work done in this land during the last year, under the auspices of the Society.

Although it has often, even from the beginning of the past year, been very difficult for us to understand the Lord's guidance and to recognize His will respecting His work and its interests in this part of the field, and although we have often been absolutely unable to see any part of the way before us respecting the same, we cannot now, as we look back and compare the past experiences with their already noticeable results, do anything but give thanks and praise to God, when we can see that it is He who, to a great extent through you, beloved Brother Russell, and also through surrounding circumstances and by His Word and its spirit--has directed our steps on the way which we did not know beforehand. It is with deep gratitude toward the Lord for the opportunity He has thus granted us to be, even during the past year, His co-laborers and yours, that we now present the following figures, etc., which we hope will help you a little to judge of the condition of the work here.

Down through the year the propagation of the Harvest Message and the gathering together of the Lord's saints have continued and developed more and more all over the land, so that--in spite of all adverse circumstances and hindrances--the results of our efforts to proclaim the Good News in different lines have exceeded those of previous years; and there has never before been a time when we have seen a more general manifestation of the spirit of love and zeal, of brotherly-kindness, patience, humility and faith amongst the brethren in Sweden.

Though several of our most successful Colporteur brethren have been kept away from the work during the last three months by being mobilized for war and for other reasons, still the circulation of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES has not gone down, but exceeds, by 3,065 [R5618 : page 29] copies, that of the previous year. The pressure and fear of the present war seem to make many people more willing now than at any previous time to investigate the Truth. The free distribution of Volunteer matter has also made some increase, as you will see. It may at this time interest you to be reminded of the fact that from the start of this little Branch of the great Harvest work until now, there has through it been circulated 200 thousand copies of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and more than 5 millions of the Society's good tracts.

The number of subscribers to the Swedish WATCH TOWER has grown from 2,174 to 2,344, who have paid kronor 5,636 in subscriptions, against kronor 5,244 the previous year. Regular subscriptions for the year to the Swedish Newspapers which publish your sermons weekly have been received through this office to the number of 1,390. In one of these newspapers nearly one whole page has stood at our disposal the whole year.

The regular Pilgrim service, in which six Swedish brethren have taken part during the year, has been richly blessed by the Lord; and besides this, a large number of mass meetings have been held in all parts of the land, attended by tens of thousands of attentive listeners, who have demonstrated their interest in the Message by purchasing thousands of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES when departing from these meetings. We have also had the pleasure of meeting together with others of "like precious faith" in Conventions, on a larger scale than ever before, as not fewer than 18 Conventions have been held in different parts of the country during the year, most of them in the summer time. Those conventions were attended by from 30 to 350 Truth friends, and every one of them has been successful and spiritually helpful. The number of meetings held here under the auspices of the Society has grown from 1,576 to 1,820.

One of the surest proofs of increasing appreciation and love for the Truth is the fact that the absolutely voluntary contributions for the propagation of the Harvest Message received at this office exceed the preceding year's large sum by not less than 20,000 kronor, and this in spite of the poverty of nearly all the friends here and the hard times.

After all the difficulties and disappointments (caused to a great extent by the European war condition) in connection with the preparation for the presentation of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION to the Swedish people, we finally succeeded, as you already know, so that the DRAMA was shown here for the first time on September 25. From that day the DRAMA has been presented to overcrowded houses twice every day in from one to three Swedish cities. The interest in this DRAMA is remarkable indeed. We have seen many people standing in the street in bad weather for fully two hours in order to secure a seat; and in the evenings usually from 1,000 to 2,500 people are turned away from the halls in the different places. Up to date we have given 184 DRAMA presentations of two hours each, with a total attendance of 89,650 people in seven of the largest cities of Sweden. As far as has been possible to ascertain, probably twice that number have had to be turned away for want of room, although we have everywhere had some of the largest halls obtainable. Additionally, preparations have already been made for showing the DRAMA in a good many more places before the holiday season.

The 10,000 edition of the Scenario of the PHOTO-DRAMA in book form, which you authorized us to begin with, is nearly gone, so that we have already been compelled to prepare for publishing a new edition. Of the free Scenario in paper form we have sent out 110,000 copies, and it looks as if we should soon need a new large edition of this also. All this seems to us as an illustration of the Lord's words by the Prophet: "Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I shall send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord."--Amos 8:11.

As the work grows rapidly all over the field where we, by the Lord's grace, have been placed, the Office work grows accordingly; and still the office force here has not increased in number, but has really decreased since the starting of the DRAMA work, in that some of its noble members have been wholly taken out in that new Branch, as operators, instructors, etc. The regular DRAMA force here contains more than twenty members, fully engaged in that Branch. We are all very glad indeed for the privilege given to us of having a share with you in the "afflictions of Christ for His Church," and also in your sacrifices and sufferings for the Truth's sake in preparing the "groaning creation" for the coming "Times of Restitution [R5619 : page 29] of all things." More and more do we realize that our present opportunities are wonderful and precious indeed, more so than any words can say; and as we see how the big clouds gather above us, and how men's hearts are trembling in fear of the approaching storm, which already has begun the shaking of the present order of things with its institutions and governments, we cannot but "lift up our heads and rejoice," knowing that "our redemption draweth nigh."--Luke 21:28.

You yourself, dear Brother Russell, are always included in our ardent prayers before the Throne of Heavenly Grace; and we pray that we also may continually have a place in your prayers and supplications on behalf of "all the saints," that we all with you may be kept faithful until the end of our race-course and then be granted an "entrance abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Asking you, on account of all the Swedish Brethren, and especially each member of the Bible House family in Orebro, to kindly accept their warm Christian love with thanks and gratitude for all that you, as the Lord's messenger and representative, have been to all of us during the past year, I am

Your brother and colaborer in Christ,
AUG. LUNDBORG.

SUMMARY OF THE WORK
Copies of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, circulated
    at cost....................................     43,526
Various other books and booklets--MANNA,
    TABERNACLE SHADOWS, etc....................     15,678
                                                __________
    Total......................................     59,204

Eko fran talarstolen (PEOPLES PULPIT),
    issued free................................    681,300
Other free tracts, free DRAMA Scenarios and
    copies of the Swedish WATCH TOWER..........    135,023
                                                __________
    Total......................................    816,323

Amounting in tract pages to.................... 16,221,056
Number of subscribers to the Swedish
    WATCH TOWER................................      2,344
Number of sermons in newspapers, about.........    200,000
Number of meetings held under the auspices
    of the Society.............................      1,820
Number of miles traveled in preaching tours        117,837
Letters and cards sent out.....................      8,745
Letters and cards received.....................      6,987
Total number of various shipments, by mail
    and by railroad............................     63,505

EXPENDITURES
Pilgrims, Conventions and other          Kr.
    meetings.........................21,621.52 = $5,843.65
Translations, printing, binding,
    paper, etc.......................27,311.96 =  7,381.61

::R5619 : page 30::

Freight and postage.................. 4,527.56 =  1,223.67
Helps to poor Colporteurs............ 4,211.95 =  1,138.37
The newspaper service................ 2,166.28 =  6,092.43
Office expenses, rent, light, heat,
    etc.............................. 7,108.38 =  1,921.18
The PHOTO-DRAMA service..............22,541.99 =  6,092.43
                                     _________   _________
    Total.........................Kr.89,489.64 =$24,186.39

RECEIPTS
Voluntary donations to the Tract
    Fund...........................  38,954.43 =$10,528.23
Voluntary donations to the DRAMA
    service........................  15,056.83 =  4,069.11
Swedish WATCH TOWER subscriptions
    ...............................   5,636.55 =  1,523.39
Sold books, pamphlets, etc.........  29,901.04 =  8,081.36
                                     __________  _________
    Total.........................Kr.89,548.85 =$24,202.09
                                     _________   _________
Balance on hand...................    Kr.59.21 =    $15.70


SOUTH AFRICAN MISSION

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

It is with mingled feelings that I present the report of our labors in the Harvest Field for the past twelve months. We are deeply grateful to God that October, 1914, finds us still busy in the Lord's Great Service, and that the year that has gone has been the busiest of our office existence. The Lord has been very good to us, opening doors of opportunity, and we have sought ever to be on the alert to enter in. And now we realize that we stand on the threshold of the Kingdom, and that possibly our next report will not be to Brooklyn, but to Headquarters beyond the veil. We are conscious, however, that there is work still to be done here below, and are determined by God's assisting grace not to slacken our efforts (though we long for the homecoming), but to work with all diligence as long as the day lasts. Pray for us, dear Brother, that the blessing of God may rest upon our humble efforts to serve Him and that we may be used abundantly here in gathering in the last grains of ripe wheat for the Lord's Garner.

From the accompanying report you will see that our output of volumes has been largely increased, and that a greater quantity of literature of all kinds has passed through our hands. Everywhere throughout South Africa we find an increased interest in the Truth since the beginning of the present strife of nations. Men who formerly looked upon the subject as a huge joke, are now asking with scared faces, "What does it all mean?" We have neither time nor inclination for the inevitable "I told you so," but are only too glad to explain the significance of current events to all who are now ready to listen to Present Truth.

The meetings of the Ecclesia at Durban are well sustained and the average attendance is larger than ever before. During the year I have made three Pilgrim journeys, covering nearly 3,000 miles, and have lectured in many of the large towns and some of the smaller ones in the Union. On these visits I have been much impressed with the growth in grace of the dear brethren throughout the country, some of whom, in comparative isolation, have been growing like calves in the stall. I have been twice to the Transvaal and once to Cape Colony, and am just about to embark upon another tour of the Cape, right down the coast to Capetown, returning by the Western Province.

The Native work continues as interesting as ever, and under the able guidance of our two native teachers, Brothers Jordan and Tshange, this work is spreading considerably in this part of the Continent. A dear Brother who has been Colporteuring in Cape Colony reports considerable interest among the natives there, and at their request I am taking Brother Jordan down to establish classes in various centres, and otherwise to assist the interested ones. In Nyasaland the work continues to develop, especially in the Northern Province. I am sending to you an interesting letter from a leading Brother there. The Nyasaland brethren have had their faith much strengthened by the fact that a fight took place in their own land, at Karonga, between the British and the Germans, a tangible evidence that we are in the beginning of the Time of Trouble.--Daniel 12:1.

During the year we have had two Conventions in South Africa, one at Johannesburg, already reported, and the other at Durban. At both of these we received much blessing from the Lord, and the spiritual life of all present was greatly stimulated. Our one regret, dear Brother, was that we were so far removed from Brooklyn that we could not have you with us in person. We know, however, that you were with us in spirit and we spoke of you and joyfully anticipated the great meeting at the end of the way, now so close at hand.

The newspaper work continues normal. We have added two papers to our list during the year, but some others have dropped out. The scarcity of material, due to the war, has made the newspapers here very jealous of their space. All over we have much to thank God for, and are inspired by past experience to a still larger confidence for the future, whether long or short.

Permit me here, dear Brother, to express the gratitude to God felt by all the dear friends in Africa, both black and white, for your faithful ministrations, and to assure you of their entire confidence and loving devotion. Our prayer is that He who has brought you through many difficulties may sustain you in the special trials that necessarily pertain to the end of the way and that we all, with your well beloved self, may appear before God in Zion.

With much Christian love, I have the honor to remain,

Your brother and colaborer, WM. W. JOHNSTON.

SUMMARY OF THE WORK
Free literature circulated--
     English...............................   67,650  270,600 Pages
Free literature circulated--
     Hollandish............................   38,380  135,520   "
                                             _______  _______
                                             106,030  406,120   "

Newspaper sermons sent out........................... 7,720
Parcels dispatched...................................   165
Letters dispatched................................... 1,257
P. R. L. B. wrappers................................. 1,316
New TOWER subscribers................................    30
Meetings held........................................   380
Pilgrim journeys.....................................     3
Miles traveled....................................... 2,986
[R5620 : page 30]

FINANCIAL SUMMARY
          Cr.                        Dr.
                        s. d.                      s. d.
Tract fd. donations  13 12  0  Office expenses..109  7  4
TOWER subs..........  7  4  0  P.R.L.B. exp..... 78  6  8
Sales............... 87 12  7  Pilgrim expenses  60 17 11
                               Grants to native
                                 workers........ 21  5  0
                               Bank charges.....  2 16  5
                    ___ __ __                   ___ __ __
                    108  8  7                   315  3  1

CASH STATEMENT
                        s. d.                      s. d.
Cash on hand,                  Total expenses.. 315  3  1
  Nov. 1, 1913.....  43 14  1  Repayment loan..  32  0  0
Local receipts..... 108  8  7  Cash on hand....  72 16  0
Loan...............   7  0  0
From Brooklyn...... 260 16  5
                    ___ __ __                   ___ __ __
                    419 19  1                   419 19  1
[R5620 : page 31]

REPORT FROM FINLAND

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I send you a short report of the Harvest work in Finland for 1914. God's grace toward us during the past year has been exceedingly great. God has opened doors all over; and we have tried with our feeble powers to use the opportunities, although we have felt that "the Harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few."

In the beginning of the year we finished the publishing of the six volumes of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in Finnish; and since then we have rejoiced with our Finnish brethren and sisters, as they have the whole light of Present Truth set forth in these blessed books. Six newspapers have during the year published "Pastor Russell's Sermons," one of the papers having a circulation of more than 30,000.

The interest in Present Truth has been growing amongst the friends, and they have tried to do their very best in spreading the Glad Tidings. A very beautiful opportunity was afforded in THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. The glorious Message went out during two months in the nicest form; and every day was a festival.

Up to the last of September the work was going on with very great force; but on October 1 everything was changed, and since that day it has been very difficult to do anything. We have tried to do, but we have had only few possibilities. We see how the night is coming. You know that the sun is going down in the "East." Nevertheless we are in good condition, filled with the best hopes, because we see the New Day and how the Sun of Righteousness is rising. We are therefore very happy and thankful toward God, who has used you as a channel to bring us the knowledge of His plan and prospects.

As I think it will interest you, I send a report of the Harvest work in our country:

SUMMARY OF THE WORK
Output of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.........  22,409
Output of various books and booklets........  27,622
                                              ______
    Total...................................  50,031

Number of subscribers to the Finnish TOWER..   1,124
Number of subscribers to the Swedish TOWER..     117
                                              ______
    Total...................................   1,241

Bibles sold.................................     130
Volunteer Tracts.....................479,602
Sample TOWERS........................ 46,573
Scenarios............................ 70,478
                                     _______ 596,653

Number of Meetings held..............    862
   "    " PHOTO-DRAMA Entertainments
    .................................    218
                                     _______   1,080
Number of Miles traveled in Preaching Tours   29,986
Attendance at Meetings.............. 130,294
     "      " Entertainments........  80,500
                                     _______ 210,794
Letters and Cards sent out...................  4,962
   "     "    "   received...................  3,892
Total number of various Shipments............ 47,751
Total Expenditures......Fmk. 80,319:61 or $15,477.00
  "   Receipts.......... "   74,461:00  "  14,348.21
                        ____________________________
    Shortage............ "    5,858.00  "   1,128.79

I assure you of our deep love, and that we daily ask God's blessing upon you,

Your brother and servant in the Lord,
KAARLO HARVETA.


REPORT FROM SUISSE-GERMAN WORK

Following is the I.B.S.A. annual report of distribution of literature in German Switzerland from November 1, 1913, to November 14, 1914:

STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    I., German.....................   1,694
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    II., German....................     308
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    III., German...................     303
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    IV., German....................     308
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    V., German.....................     224
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol.
    VI., German....................     287
                                     ______
    Total...........................  3,124
Volume I., in journal form, German    1,944
MANNA, German.......................    182
Bible Helps, German.................     42
Booklets, German....................  8,344   417,401
German WATCH TOWER (600
    Monthly)........................  7,200   360,000
                                              _______
    Total number Tract Pages........          777,401
Hell TOWER in German, etc...........  6,442   358,700
B.S.M. and Tracts...................314,297 7,983,500
                                            _________
    Total number Tracts Pages.......        8,342,200

Respectfully submitted,
SAMUEL LAUPER.


"GOULD FREE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND"

Chapters of SCRIPTURE STUDIES and Pamphlets (WATCH TOWERS, Tracts and Special Sermons), in Braille type, loaned by mail:

Chapters...................................    8,372
Pamphlets..................................    2,811
Weekly sermons mailed......................    3,728
Letters received...........................    2,476
Letters dispatched.........................    2,302
Expenses...................................$1,106.51



[R5620 : page 31]

INTERESTING LETTERS

EUREKA DRAMA BLESSINGS

DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--

We are sending weekly reports of our EUREKA DRAMA exhibitions, but we feel sure you will be glad to hear from us, though it be but a greeting.

The year 1914 has been a momentous one to almost all the dear children of God. While we were late getting a complete outfit of the DRAMA, yet after a brief season of rehearsal we put six teams in the field, each team serving in rotation.

We started about November 15 and have been quite busy since. Eleven places have been served thus far, which means thirty-three exhibitions. At these the total attendance of adults was 4,159, making an average of 126 at each exhibition. The cost of hall rent was $105, or $3.18 per exhibition.

It makes our hearts rejoice to have been able to serve 4,159 people with the Message of the Ages at so small cost! May God bless you and all in the service of the Truth is our prayer, with hearty New Year greeting.
MARSHALL G. ELLIS.--Washington.
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APPRECIATES MORE THAN TONGUE CAN TELL

DEAR FRIENDS:--

In reply to your kind letter received this day, would say I have secured all of the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, have subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER and purchased a Bible Students' Edition of the Scriptures with the notes. I am now well into the fifth volume of the STUDIES and appreciate more than tongue can tell the wonderful unfolding of God's Plan as given therein.

For twenty-five years I have been reading everything on the Advent doctrine, but have never grasped its full significance. While I still wonder on some points, no doubt the Light will break in further as I study and pray for Divine guidance. If you have the time some day, tell me how I can enroll myself more fully with you; and how, in the practise of my profession, I can help in the work of spreading this glorious Message. I have met the few who are in the Truth here, but have not had the time to meet often with them.

Faithfully yours,
E. A. GUYTON.--Wis.



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International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION

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