page 289
October 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. XXXIVOCTOBER 1No. 19

A. D. 1913--A. M. 6042


CONTENTS

The Race-Course of the Age--Its "Cloud of Witnesses"291
What Constitutes Weights?291
The Two Parts to Sanctification292
Trials Proportionate to Strength294
Acceptable and Unacceptable Worship294
Spirit of Service Spirit of Discipleship295
Humility Indispensable to God's Service295
A God-Fearing Bad Man296
A Double-Minded Man296
Consider One Another298
Let Us, Then, Judge Ourselves298
Oblivion Not Annihilation299
Actual or Reckoned New Creatures?300
Difference Between Soul and New Creature301
Dual Souls--Not Dual Minds301
Secret of Self-Control301
Acquaint Yourself With God301
The Editor's Foreign Tour302
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies303

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 290

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 every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "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.

BROOKLYN TABERNACLE AND WASHINGTON TEMPLE

The following are Pastor Russell's appointments:

Washington Temple.................................Oct.  5, 19, Nov. 2
Brooklyn Tabernacle...............................Oct. 12, 26, Nov. 9

Preaching services at 3 p.m. Evening meetings as usual.

Baptismal opportunities at Washington, October 5; at Brooklyn, October 12.


BEREAN QUESTION BOOKLETS

We have Question Booklets in stock for Volumes I., II., III., IV., and V. of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, and also for TABERNACLE SHADOWS. Price 5c. each--50c. per dozen, postpaid, brings them within the reach of all. Order freely according to your needs.

Many of the Classes find these questions very helpful. The difficulty with many Classes in the past has been that not every one has the teaching ability to draw the information of the lessons from the Class. The successful class leader has little to say except as he sums up the answer to each question after it has been discussed by the Class; or, if the question be not understood by the Class, he may often render assistance by paraphrasing it and, if possible, simplifying it.

Excellent as public preaching is we believe that the Lord's people learn more in Berean Classes than by listening to any sermon. Thought is stimulated, quickened.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR NOVEMBER

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 November follow:

(1) 163; (2) 310; (3) 87; (4) 43; (5) 39; (6) 109; (7) 8; (8) 38; (9) 259; (10) 307; (11) 105; (12) 325; (13) 299; (14) 279; (15) 285; (16) 236; (17) 107; (18) 113; (19) 322; (20) 47; (21) 58; (22) 99; (23) 3; (24) 273; (25) 102; (26) 4; (27) 179; (28) 145; (29) 168; (30) 190.



[R5318 : page 291]

THE RACE-COURSE OF THE AGE--ITS "CLOUD OF WITNESSES"

Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."--Hebrews 12:1.
THE opening words of this text direct our minds back to the preceding context, as though St. Paul were saying, In view of the great things, accomplished by these faithful characters of the past, who manifested such faith and confidence in God that they were willing to deny themselves all earthly rights and privileges--seeing that we are thus encompassed with so great a cloud of witnesses--martyrs--let the inspiration of their example spur us to the greatest faithfulness in running our race.

The Apostle speaks of the Ancient Worthies as a "cloud of witnesses." He does not use the word witnesses in the sense in which it is used often today--in the sense of on-lookers. Originally, the word witness was used in the sense of a witness to the truth, or a martyr. Therefore, the text would seem to mean: Seeing that you have many surrounding you of those whose lives testified to the truth--martyrs, who were cut off from home privileges and from life itself--it should have a strong influence upon you. These Ancient Worthies, through the achievements of their lives, are looking down upon you.

The fact that the Ancient Worthies were even then dead need not detract from the Apostle's figure of speech. This style of expression is commonly used by us all. As an illustration, we recall that on one occasion Napoleon addressed his army saying, "My men, thirty centuries look down upon you!" While, strictly speaking, centuries cannot look down, yet in one sense of the word they can; for we can look back into the past and realize matters that are thirty centuries old and more.

The Apostle wishes us to remember that this "cloud of witnesses" is surrounding us, and that therefore we should run this race faithfully. While those noble characters will not obtain the prize for which we are running, they are, nevertheless, to have a prize. As we recall how faithfully they endured and achieved what was set before [R5319 : page 291] them, how careful we should be in running the race set before us--a race for glory, honor and immortality!

This "cloud of witnesses" continually surrounds us. The experiences of the Ancient Worthies are our experiences. At every step of our journey we find encouragement, strength, from the contemplation of their course. The Apostle, in giving us the picture of our text, indicates that we are to consider ourselves as running a race. We are to view the affairs of the present life as from a race-course.

No doubt St. Paul had before his mind the popular Grecian games of his day, especially the races. So his suggestions to those in the race for glory, honor and immortality are based upon that mental picture. As the runners in those races would strip themselves of all that was not absolutely necessary, so the Christian should lay aside all possible weights and hindrances in his course, and run with patience the race set before him.

WHAT CONSTITUTES WEIGHTS?

The weights to be cast aside might differ in different persons. One person might have inherited titles, honor, position. St. Paul himself was one of these. He was born a Roman citizen--an honor of great distinction in his day. This prerogative he laid aside when he entered the Christian race-course. He did, however, refer to his Roman citizenship when the interests of the Truth made it advantageous for him to do so. But he never tried to follow a middle course--to benefit himself and please worldly acquaintances a part of the time and then fellowship with the Lord's people at other times. One thing alone he did, as he tells us in these words: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the MARK for the Prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus."--Phil. 3:13,14.

Another weight might be wealth. One possessing much money might be hindered in the race by fostering the thought that he must occupy a large house, keep many servants, and live as do others of his class, but that nevertheless he would attend the meetings of the Lord's people. Still another weight might be talent along some line. Another might be love of the approval of men, etc.

He who desires to win in the race for glory and honor eternal should lay aside all those weights and any others which he may recognize as such; otherwise he will be so handicapped that he will not run well. Some runners will be more than overcomers and will receive the prize. Others will barely be saved, because of handicaps, and will receive inferior positions.

St. Paul tells us how much he valued these earthly possessions--ambitions, honors, etc. He weighted them and compared them with the Prize of the High Calling [R5319 : page 292] of God in Christ. His judgment in regard to these earthly honors was that they are but loss and dross. Therefore he threw them all away.

Of those who retain their hold on earthly things the Lord declares, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God?" These riches are not merely of gold, but may be of honor, position, power, approbation of men, etc. All these are likely to prove a hindrance in the race upon which we have been invited to enter for the Prize.

As we look back to the faithful witnesses of the past, we find that they carried very few weights along with them. They cast their weights aside, and ran with patience the course before them.

Not all weights and hindrances are to be cast aside, however. A man who enters the race with a wife and children must not throw these aside. If he has a child on each shoulder, then he must run with them. But if one who is unmarried is thinking of engaging in this race, he will do well to consider carefully how many children he should have on each shoulder, or whether he should have a wife on his shoulders. Some would be hindered with a wife, while others might be hindered without a wife. Each must decide for himself what is best. We are not trying to lay down rules.

INHERITED WEAKNESSES AND BESETTING SINS

Let us now consider that part of our text which deals with besetting sins. Another translation says the close-girding sin--the sin which wraps itself closely around us. Some sins are like a loose-flying garment, and others wrap themselves tightly about us. With these hindrances the runner is obliged to stop now and then to disengage himself, and so loses time.

We are to avoid sin in every sense of the word. No one has the right to sin. If we cannot rid ourselves entirely of our close-girding sin, we must put it off to such an extent that it will not interfere with our running. If this sin be an inherited weakness, a part of one's very nature, what then? Then he shall run in the race--not walk, not sit, but RUN, bending all his energy to win, straining every muscle, every power of his being. This is what the Apostle sets before us in our text.

The Lord has set this subject clearly before us in the Bible. The race is not an imaginary race, but a real one. It is a race that the Lord has arranged, and He has definitely stated the terms, the assistance to be expected, and the Prize at the end of the course. We thank God for the explicit information given in the Scriptures and for all the helps and encouragements of the way, as well as for this great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. And by the Lord's grace we will run with patience; for without this grace of the Holy Spirit one would soon fall out by the way, would soon lose all.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE NECESSARY

Any one might run a few steps; but when some of these find all the affairs of human life hindering them, and realize that they must drop all unnecessary weights, they begin to think that there is no use to try--the sacrifice is too great. So the Apostle encourages us to have patience; for all these trials, difficulties, etc., rightly borne, are developing character. The Lord wants true, loyal characters, established in righteousness, and these cannot be developed and demonstrated except by just such experiences as He gives His people.

The Apostle well knew the terms and conditions of the race in which he had engaged, and that it would be impossible for him to win unless he lived up to those conditions. He knew that the closest attention and most untiring vigilance would be necessary to reach the goal on time, and during the race there would be more or less uncertainty as to who would get the victory--the crown of life. In the Olympic and other Greek games it was always uncertain as to who would receive the much-coveted laurel crown.

The Christian is running a much greater race than any earthly course could ever exhibit. We know the goal toward which we run, and we have a sense of security-- that if we run faithfully we shall gain the Prize of our High Calling. Ours is not a race merely to the strong, and a victory to the swift. It is a race in which each one, according to the earnestness of his effort, will be rewarded. If one runs with all his soul and strength he will surely gain the Prize. And never before was there such a race! never one so remarkable! never one so glorious as this race set before us!



[R5319 : page 292]

THE TWO PARTS TO SANCTIFICATION

"Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth."--John 17:17.
THE prayer recorded in the 17th chapter of St. John's Gospel was offered while our Lord was on the way from the Memorial Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane. From the prayer we learn that it was offered for the Apostles and all those who through the Word of the Lord should become His disciples, or followers.

The word sanctify has the significance of set apart, made holy. There are two parts to this work of sanctification. The first is that which we do, in the very beginning, when we set ourselves apart, with the desire to know and to do the will of God. The second is that part which comes gradually--the teachings and instructions which set before us things that we did not perceive before--certain principles of righteousness which we did not previously recognize. This is a deeper setting apart, and is done by God, inasmuch as it is done by the Father's arrangement.

This deeper meaning of sanctification is the one signified in the text. Hence, our Lord prays the Father to do this work. The disciples had left all to follow Jesus, and were set apart in the sense that they desired to know and to do the will of the Father. Our Lord prayed that the work of Divine instruction might go on in them, as it is written: "They shall all be taught of God." The Master desired that the disciples should come under Divine, providential instruction, which He indicated would come through the Word of God.

At that time the Word was not the Bible as we have it now, for the New Testament had not then been written. The Truth presented in the New Testament, however, is not God's Word in full, nor all of the Truth, but merely a portion of it. Our Lord did not pray that truth in general along different lines should be the portion of His followers, but rather that they should have knowledge of the Divine Plan and purposes.

There may be more or less truth coming into a man's life, which will awaken his mind. It may be the truth concerning chemistry, or it may be other scientific knowledge. There is truth respecting geology, truth respecting the sun, etc. These may influence the mind and lift a man somewhat from his fallen condition. But these are not the Truth, to which our Lord refers, and which is [R5320 : page 293] far more necessary than is the knowledge of the weight of the earth or the distance of the stars.

All the various truths which come to the world in general, which lead them to think, and which finally point some to their need of the Redeemer, are preparatory. But not only do these latter have such a drawing of God, but they must also set themselves apart. And these general truths, which are more or less clear, may bring the individual to the real school. These we may term a preparatory course. There must be such a preparation before the real course of the School of Christ is reached.

THE FIRST PART OF SANCTIFICATION

There is a sanctifying that takes place before the real sanctifying begins. The Lord said to the people of Israel, "Sanctify yourselves and I will sanctify you." This would be their setting of themselves apart by a certain hope. But the setting of one's self apart is one thing, and God's sanctifying him is another. Concerning the call of this Age, no man cometh unto the Father but by the Son, and no man cometh unto the Son except the Father shall previously have drawn him.

First comes the drawing of the Father through the natural mind. Man's brain is so constituted that there is a natural drawing--a desire to know the Creator. This we see manifested in the heathen, who have never known God and have never had the Bible. These people have a natural inclination or desire to worship God. Those who have this natural inclination of the brain not too much perverted by the fall, are in our Lord's providence guided to the Truth, the Light, without which no man can come to Him. Perhaps they find Jesus through a hymn or a tract or a book.

Willingness to receive God is merely the first step, as it were, in response to this natural drawing. As they come to enter the way, they learn that it is narrow, difficult, and that the "gate" is low. Of course, many are turned away. God is not seeking all. He is seeking a very special class; and therefore He is not seeking those who would be discouraged at the narrowness of the way and the lowness of the gate. These conditions are made so for the very purpose of turning such away.

Formerly, we thought that those who turned away because of the narrowness of the way and the lowness of the gate would go to eternal torment. Now we see that God is seeking a special class to do a good work--those who are seeking to do His will. Whoever does not manifest the proper degree of zeal would probably be injured if he endeavored to go on. Therefore, the Lord says, Consider the terms, count the cost, weigh the matter, before you decide to be My disciple. Then, if you decide to be My disciple, come and follow Me.

After one has become a disciple of the Lord, he comes into the condition of the class represented in our text by the word them. In this class were the twelve Apostles, the five hundred other brethren whom St. Paul mentions, and all who throughout the Gospel Age have accepted our Lord in sincerity and faithfulness of heart. To all such the prayer applies--"Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth"!

Strange to say, this which we thought to be the end of the way is but the beginning of it. Formerly we thought that to accept Jesus was all that there was to do. Our friends said, You have heard of Jesus; you have accepted Him. That is all there is of it. Now tell some others about Jesus.

But after we come to know of the Truth, we need to know more. If each of us were to cast his mind back and try to recall how much he understood at first, he would realize that he knew that he was a sinner and that if he came to Jesus the Father would set him apart. This is what St. Paul refers to when he says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." (Ephesians 2:10.) This setting apart the Father does through His Truth, as before pointed out.

TRUTH THAT SANCTIFIES

This sanctifying Truth is not to be viewed from the standpoint of general knowledge, for this Truth is not for the world--is not intended for them. It is for the consecrated--for those who have become God's children. It is the kind of truth that God gives His family. The Apostle Paul says that God has called us according to His purpose, that in the end He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7.) God has a purpose, which will be fully exhibited in future Ages in the further development of His great Plan.

God had a special purpose when He called and set apart a special class. The special Truth which does that sanctifying work is the Truth of His great Plan of the Ages. He does not make all this known at once. The revelation of His Plan has been going on for centuries. Some of these revelations have come to us through the Prophets, some through Jesus and some through the Apostles. These revelations constitute the Heavenly provision for sanctification.

It is necessary, however, that we have the Plan, and something more than the Plan also. Various other things are to be considered, although this Truth is the channel of sanctification: "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." If one were caring for a babe, for instance, she would think about its food, fresh air, exercise, etc. So it is with God's people. Truths are gradually opened up to their observation. Our Father leads us out into various experiences in order to have our senses exercised. Our experiences and providences cause us to think, to appreciate, to study, to inquire; and as we do so, we develop by means of these experiences and providences. We are led to consider, What does this experience mean, and what does that one teach?

While God's Word is the basis for all our instruction, yet it is not our only source of knowledge. There are various lessons to be learned through the varied experiences of life. The child that would merely receive food and then lie still--merely eating and sleeping, never having a chance to toddle around--would not know how to walk. So it is with God's child.

THE SECOND PART OF SANCTIFICATION

We see that God called us with a new call. We are to have a new nature. Ours is not to be an earthly nature. The real object and purpose of our call is to fit and prepare us to be His New Creation, superior to men and to angels. We are to be Divine channels of blessing to all creatures--angels and men--for the development of all God's Universe, including other worlds, as they come to have inhabitants. As we come to see the scope of God's Plan, we see a reason why God is giving us trials, experiences. Our Lord Jesus was to be a merciful High Priest; hence His experiences, His sufferings. And if it was necessary that our Lord Jesus, the Shepherd of the Flock, should suffer, how much more is it necessary to our perfecting that we should suffer!

We should have a great deal of trial, suffering, temptation, and, being succored in these, we should know how to succor others. Those who are faithful amongst the Lord's people now, become especially developed in character-likeness to the Master. They are privileged to become elders, that they may feed the young, that they may [R5320 : page 294] instruct the Flock, that these may grow in the fruits and graces of the Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness--love. Therefore, the chief qualification of those who would stand as monitors amongst the Lord's people is that they be faithful, loyal, and manifest, not a lordly spirit, but a humble spirit, a spirit of service.

Sanctification is a gradual work, lasting throughout the Christian's life. It is not a point which he reaches only at death, but which he should attain soon after consecration. Consecration opens the door and gives him the standing, gives him the relationship, gives him the backing and encouragement of the Divine promises, and puts him in the way, therefore, to cultivate the various fruits of the Spirit, and finally to attain joint-heirship with our Lord in the Heavenly glory. But to maintain this standing in the Body of Christ, requires that fruits shall be produced, evidences of love and devotion.

Testings will come thereafter as to the degree of faithfulness in service, and to see how much of besetments he would endure--how strong a wind of false doctrine he could stand, how much of the assaults of the flesh and of the Devil he could bear without being unsettled and driven away from the Truth.

The Scriptures tell us that the Lord knows our frame, that He will, with each temptation, provide a way of escape. We shall all be tried. If the fire becomes so hot that to go any further would destroy us, the Lord will prevent this. By and by we become stronger. Then He may give us even greater testings. So "the Lord your God doth prove you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

TRIALS PROPORTIONATE TO STRENGTH

A metallurgist tries his metal--proves it. He tests it, to separate the dross from it. After he has separated some of the alloy, he puts in another flux, to remove other dross; and then another flux, etc. So the Lord is taking away our dross. He does not take away all of the dross of our flesh; for it is the New Creature that is being [R5321 : page 294] perfected. As the dross in our minds becomes apparent to us, we as New Creatures will more and more co-operate with God in its elimination.

So the Lord's people are to be more and more sanctified through the Truth. The word sanctify, then, conveys the thought of making saintly, holy. Every day of our lives should make us more sanctified--more fit for God's service in the future.

It is not necessarily true that the one having the most trying experiences would have the most dross. Our Lord Jesus had more trials than any of His followers, and He was perfect. As St. Paul intimates, these trials work out for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And the brightness of our future will depend upon the heart-development and character-development attained now. Our Lord Jesus will have the highest position because of greatest faithfulness under trials. Some of the Lord's brethren will have high positions because of having proved faithful under great trials. These trials are to fit us for a high position, both in the present life and in that which is to come.

"Yes, in God's furnace are His children tried;
Thrice happy they who to the end endure!
But who the fiery trial may abide?
Who from the crucible comes forth so pure
That He whose eyes of flame look through the whole,
May see His image perfect in the soul?

"Not with an evanescent glimpse alone,
As in that mirror, the Refiner's face;
But, stamped with Heaven's broad signet, there be shown
Immanuel's features, full of truth and grace;
And round that seal of love this motto be--
'Not for a moment, but eternity!'"



[R5321 : page 294]

ACCEPTABLE AND UNACCEPTABLE WORSHIP

"God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth."--John 4:24.
WORSHIP is that outward manifestation of reverence for holy things which is pleasing to God, if done in a proper manner and from the right motive. But it is possible to assume the attitude of worship, and yet not offer worship that would be acceptable to God. In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, our Lord is declaring the manner of worship which the Father would accept. One might worship and bow down, and yet not be acceptable to the Father. And so the Lord indicates here that acceptable worship is that which is offered to God in Spirit and in Truth.

Our Lord makes a distinction between worship in Spirit and worship in Truth. We might have the Truth and know a great deal about the Lord; but if we did not go to Him in Spirit--in the right attitude of heart--our worship would not be acceptable, no matter how much we might know. On the other hand, a man might be a heathen and yet have a great deal of the Spirit of worship, but he could not render acceptable worship unless he had the Truth. Take, for example, Cornelius, the centurion. He prayed often and gave much alms to the poor, but he was a Gentile. He had the real heart intention to come near to God, but God did not accept him at that time. Why not? Because he did not have the Truth, and could not receive it until the due time for the Gentiles. But we find that when the right time came, this Gentile was the first one to receive from God the knowledge of the Truth, so that he might worship, not only in Spirit, but in Truth also. He received the assurance that his prayers were now accepted by God.

The Truth which was sent to Cornelius is the essential thing that we must all have to come near to God and be acceptable. This Truth necessary to Cornelius was that though he was a sinner, God had provided in Jesus a Redeemer, a satisfaction for sin. He learned that by becoming a follower of Jesus and seeking to do the will of God as expressed by Jesus, he would be in harmony with God's arrangement. This was the great Truth made known to Cornelius. He received the Holy Spirit, and came into the family of God.

The same principle holds good today. There are people in heathen lands who have the Spirit of worship, but they are without the Truth respecting Jesus. And this Truth must be known to the person before he can be a worshiper of God in the proper sense.

This was true also in respect to the Samaritans, to one of whom the words of our text were addressed. The Samaritans were a Gentile people, who worshiped God in Mount Gerizim, the mountain of Samaria. And they took delight in thinking that God was their God. When this woman of Samaria inquired of Jesus she said, We worship God in this mountain of Samaria, but you Jews say that the only place to worship God is in Jerusalem.

Jesus explained to her, saying in substance, Ye worship ye know not what, but we Jews have the Truth on this subject--we know what we worship. We Jews may worship God because, under the Divine Covenant made with [R5321 : page 295] our nation, we have the privilege of coming to God in prayer, and of having God hear and answer prayer. We are worshiping according to God's directions. And He might have added, Many of you have the spirit of worship, but you do not have the Truth on the subject. It would have been possible for the Samaritans to become proselyte Jews. But they did not know the necessity for this; hence they did not come in.

During the Gospel Age we, through Christ, have the privilege of becoming joint-heirs with Him. Some have thus come into God's family. If, however, we should come with this Truth, but not in the proper spirit, our prayers would not rise above our heads. It is those only who have come into proper relationship with God as children of the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, who can worship in Spirit and in Truth. These and these only will receive the fulfilment of the exceeding great and precious promises.



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THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE THE SPIRIT OF DISCIPLESHIP

"Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant."--Matt. 20:27.
PROPER aspirations are very beneficial, both to the person himself and to those with whom he comes in contact. Our Lord had an aspiration. We read of Him that He "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame." (Heb. 12:2.) There are worthy incentives; otherwise the Father would not have set one before His Son. The thought which should inspire us is that if we are faithful in the things of this present time, the Lord will make us ruler over many things. So the ardent desire to obtain these things which God has reserved for those who love Him, is laudable; for these blessings are of God.

Every New Creature has high aspirations. In fact, every one should have an ideal toward which he is striving; and having this wish to attain it indicates that there is a motive behind the desire. It is altogether proper to have incentives before the mind, and it is proper to know what kind are worthy of our efforts; otherwise wrong ones might lead us astray. In our text a most laudable aspiration is placed before us.

The Church, which is the representative of Christ, is the Body of our Lord in the flesh. And the Apostle Paul, speaking of ambitions, advised the Church that they should have the more profitable aspirations, that they might be teachers, instructors of the flock; for this is the most useful office in the Church. It is known that one gift of St. Paul's time was speaking in an unknown tongue. It was a very remarkable gift. But the Apostle pointed out that to speak in an unknown tongue was not so much to be sought after as some gift that would be useful in the Church.

We do not have these miraculous gifts in the present time, but we have the Word of God, and the desire to be able to make known the Truth of the Lord. Therefore the gift of oratory is still a desirable one. The Apostle proceeded to point out that we should desire to have the fruits of the Spirit--that they may have a controlling influence upon us.

RESPONSIBILITY UPON EACH ECCLESIA

As respects positions in the Church, the Lord indicated that He would do the setting. "Now God hath set the various members in the Body as it hath pleased Him." God ordained that there should be in the Body this setting; for instance, the service of the eye. As the eye member assists the human body, so the eye member in the Church may be very assistful to the Body of Christ. Also there are ear members, foot members, hand members and tongue members. These different members have unlike services to perform for the welfare of the whole body. The hand [R5322 : page 295] is not to say to the foot, "I have no need of thee," or vice versa.--I Corinthians 12:14-31.

If the body tries to walk on the hands, it is not the Divine order. The body should walk on the feet. So it is in a congregation. But if the congregation lays too much on the feet members, it is depriving the hand members of their use. The various members should be in the positions where they can render the most efficient service. In other words, the congregation should seek to know the service God has evidently prepared each individual to perform. They are to seek to use their best judgment, to place the right person in the right position.

We see congregations occasionally where they try to make all walk on the hands and not on the feet. That congregation loses in not putting every member into the place for which Divine Providence has especially qualified him. To do so is the responsibility of the congregation. However, if it tries to make the Body walk on the hands instead of the feet, it will learn in time, probably, to get the hands to exercise themselves in their own position, and likewise the feet in theirs; and each member will finally do the service for which he is fitted.

HUMILITY INDISPENSABLE TO GOD'S SERVICE

Not only is it to the disadvantage of the congregation for the members to be in the wrong positions, but it is also wrong for the members to try to do other services than those which they should be doing. It is not in our power to change ourselves from what we are by nature. Only Divine Power could prepare us for service in another part of the Body. Our proper attitude should be to really serve the Body of Christ, to serve the Lord. We should notice wherever there is a service to be rendered which we can do. "Do with thy might what thy hands find to do."

The difficulty with many in the Church is that they desire to do what somebody else is doing--something that they admire. They are not looking around to see what they can always do--do good unto all men, as they have opportunity, but especially unto those who are of the household of faith. They have not the proper spirit of discipleship. Therefore the injunction of our text should lead them to say to themselves, My highest ambition should be to serve the Lord acceptably, and let Him take care of the place where I may serve. Here is a little place; there is a little corner. I will try to do the thing which is needful in my position. If the Lord shall open the way, and show me something else which seems to be more important, I will take that. But I will do with my might what it is my duty to do--whether it is sweeping, or engaging a hall for a meeting. Whatever comes as an opportunity to me, that I will do.

This does not mean that we have no aspirations. The controlling impulse is to serve the Church. Here we have a laudable motive, a proper desire. But it seems that some are ambitious--seek to be chief. Our own ambition (and we believe it would also be the Spirit of the Lord) is not to help one who aspires to the chief place, into the position which he seeks. To assist him in such a course would do injury both to him and the cause. But if we find any one seeking to do with his might what his hands find to do, we may be sure that this will be approved [R5322 : page 296] of the Lord; and perhaps the Lord will later give him some more important work in recognition of his faithful service to Him.

SELF-SEEKING TO BE DEPRECATED

Each is to be content with what the Lord's Providence opens up to him. He is not to be self-seeking. "He that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:14.) He that exalteth himself is not to be exalted by the Church; for he will not be exalted by the Lord. He that humbleth himself will be exalted, either by the vote of the congregation, or by the Lord's will.

As the matter is stated in our text, we think the Lord meant this: There will be some of you who necessarily will be recognized as chief. There are various kinds of service, and it is necessary to have a chief in connection with the services of each congregation. God has recognized this Himself. He made Jesus a Chief. He passed by Satan, who was self-seeking. He chose Jesus, and made the road very narrow to Him! But after Jesus had proved His humility, then the Father gave Him the high exaltation, gave Him the great reward promised.

The Father is seeking now those who will have the same spirit of humility, the same spirit of service, that the Lord Jesus manifested. We look at Him, and we see that, while the Father held out the condition of being chief, He also held out the condition of being servant. Jesus, we see, was the Servant of all. Therefore God exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name.

So it should be with each little congregation of the Church. It is the Lord's will that not every one who would be its chief servant should be recognized as the chief. But the Lord will recognize the one who will show himself humble-minded, as He has shown Himself to be, in doing anything for the brethren. Let such be your servant. Each should consider that the chief honor amongst you, amongst the Lord's brethren, is to be servant. And the one who is most faithful should be given the opportunity to serve. In that sense he would be your chief.



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A GOD-FEARING BAD MAN
--NOVEMBER 2.--NUMBERS 22:1 TO 23:10.--

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."--James 1:8.
AFTER the Israelites had entered Canaan and were fully recognized as God's holy nation, it would appear that all dealings between God and the Gentiles were discontinued. Before that, apparently men of faith in God were more or less recognized by Him--for instance, Abraham, Job, Melchizedec and Balaam--the latter constituting the central figure of today's lesson. Balaam lived on the Euphrates River, in the country which Abraham left when he came to Canaan. He was known far and near as one whose messages either for good or for evil were sure to come to pass. In other words, he was considered an oracle.

When the king of the Moabites perceived the Israelites conquering all with whom they battled, he greatly feared them, even though they had not molested the Moabites. He conferred with the ruler of the Midianites, and then sent messages four hundred miles to the Euphrates to get Balaam to come to pronounce a curse against the Israelites. A considerable reward was offered.

The Prophet Balaam inquired of the Lord whether or not he should go on this mission. The reply was, No; Israel was blessed of the Lord, not cursed. Balaam gave the decision, and the messengers returned. Balak was all the more insistent and sent fresh messengers of higher station, intimating higher rewards. Balaam knew the mind of the Lord on the subject, but was a money-lover and somehow hoped for a chance to get some of the rewards of unrighteousness. In response to this second inquiry, whether or not he could go with the men, he obtained permission to go.

It was on this journey that Balaam was reproved by his ass. An angel of the Lord stood in the pathway, in a narrow place where the ass, seeing the angel, could not pass him. Balaam's eyes not being opened, he saw not the angel. The ass, being beaten, remonstrated. Even this miracle did not stop Balaam's money-lust. He coveted the wealth, and would do anything in his power to obtain it--merely stopping where he must.

Balaam was received by Balak, king of Moab, with honor. He directed that altars be built and sacrifices be offered to God. He would have a form of godliness, even while desiring to do contrary to the Divine will, which he already knew. The sacrifices offered, he began his prophecy, which the king hoped would be a curse, but which was really a blessing, the words being Divinely inspired. As wrote St. Peter, "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21.) The king complained that instead of a curse would come a blessing. Balaam remonstrated that he had said from the beginning that he would be powerless to utter anything except the Divine message.

The disappointed king, fearful of Israel, sought the exercise of black art in some manner against them. He took the Prophet to another viewpoint and urged the curse of at least this many of the host. Altars were built again; sacrifices were offered again. And again the hoped-for curse instead of blessing did not come. Getting desperate and angry, the king insisted that at least a portion must be cursed, and led the Prophet to another standpoint, from which a still smaller wing of the host of Israel was visible. But here again the results were blessings, not curses--for the third time.

A DOUBLE-MINDED MAN

The double-mindedness of the Prophet, Balaam, was abundantly manifested by his course, as we have examined it. He wished to be a Prophet of the Lord and to speak His Word in His Name; but he also wished riches, and the honor which would accompany them. He wished for what God's providence had not seen best to give him. Right and wrong--God's way and the way of riches --both were before him. Which would he choose with all his heart? He chose neither one. He tried to have both--to be a servant and mouthpiece of God, and to gain the rewards of an opposite course.--2 Peter 2:15,16.

Alas, how many in every age have had the Balaam spirit! Jesus warned against this spirit, saying, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." How many have found the Master's words true! How many have found that the Lord would reject from His counsels and His fellowship those who regard iniquity in their hearts; and who, if they would not love to serve it, at least would love its rewards. Let us remember that God looketh upon the inward parts--the heart. Let us remember how it was written of Jesus: "Because Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, [R5323 : page 297] hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."--Psalm 45:7.

In God's dealings with our Redeemer, He has exemplified the principles of His righteous Government. A double-minded man is unreliable in every way--not pleasing to God, not acceptable to Him.

THE HEART WITH THE TREASURE

The Master said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Those who set their affection chiefly upon earthly things can with difficulty avoid the snares that go with them. Balaam's only safe course was in heart loyalty to God. Knowing the mind of the Lord on the subject, he should have delighted himself therein, and should to the fullest have rejected every overture looking in an opposite direction. The nobles who took King Balak's second proposition should have been kindly, but firmly, told that the Divine will was the law of Balaam, the Prophet; that he would not for a moment consider anything to the contrary of the Divine will; that money, wealth and honors as inducements to a course of opposition to God's will would be an insult. Let us each apply this lesson in life's affairs. Let God be first in our hearts, as well as in our words and acts.

But if, overtaken in a fault, Balaam had gone so far as to start on the journey with the hope of somehow gaining the evil reward, he should have been thoroughly aroused by the incident of the ass. Even an ass knew better than to attempt to go contrary to the Higher Power. Evidently the greater reasoning power and courage of humanity above that of the brute may be used to great advantage.

We see that Balaam's heart was wrong. He still continued to be a Prophet, but was ceasing to be a holy Prophet every minute that he toyed with the tempting wealth, the reward of unrighteousness. Alas, how his mind was debased, debauched, by the love of money! While outwardly he still remained loyal to God in that he would not utter a false message, yet inwardly his harmony with God was gone. The infection, from being a mere speck of a wish for the money, spread rapidly until it swallowed up everything noble and true in the man. The rot or blight which started in his heart, like the blight at the core of a beautiful apple, spread until nothing remained but the outward form.

The professed man of God groveled in the mire of sin in his desire to obtain Balak's proffered wealth. He said to the king, The reason I am not permitted to curse Israel is that they are blessed of the Lord; but I will explain to you that the Lord's blessing is with them because they are His consecrated people, in covenant relationship with Him, seeking to obey His Law. The only way in which you could bring a curse upon Israel would be by tempting them to disobedience to God.

Guided by Balaam, King Balak communicated with the leading people of the Midianites, and urged that their wives and daughters should apparently fall in love with the Israelites, and introduce them to the sensuous religious rites practised by Midian. In proportion as they would succeed in ensnaring the Israelites into sin and idolatry, in that proportion the curse of Israel's Law would fall upon Israel. How sad it is, and yet how true, that knowledge is a dangerous thing to those who misuse it! How true it is today that none can make so successful tools of Satan as those who have some knowledge of God!

GOD PERMITTED THE LESSON

God could have hindered all those evil machinations, as He could hinder evil deeds and evil plans today. But He allowed matters to take their course, and a great lesson thus to be taught--for then as well as for now and intermediately. The scheme was successful. Some of the leading wives and daughters of the Midianites attracted some of the leading men of Israel to adultery, and to idol worship and orgies. Forthwith a plague started amongst the Israelites, according to their Covenant with God at Sinai, Ebal and Gerizim.

God's Covenant with Israel was that while they would be loyal to Him and His Law, their enemies could not prevail against them. They should be His people. They should be blessed in their every temporal interest. But if they would neglect His statutes and engage in idolatry, He would bring upon them various plagues. This course not only would punish them for their wrong doings, but serve as a lesson, a warning, to restrain them from excesses such as were common amongst the heathen.

We must remember that the death of thousands of Israelites on such occasions was the whole penalty for their sin. They did not drop into a hell of eternal torment, but merely fell asleep, to await the better Day of Messiah, the Antitype of Moses, when they will be awakened from the sleep of death and be brought to full, clear knowledge of those things which, at very most, they then enjoyed only in a typical way.

Not only did God punish the Israelites according to the terms of their Law Covenant, but He also punished the Midianites and Balaam. Under Divine direction Moses called for a thousand armed men out of each of the tribes. This army completely wiped out the Midianites as a nation, including Balaam, the Prophet, who, to secure the rewards of his nefarious advice, had evidently remained to oversee the work of iniquity.

Our glorified Redeemer, in His last message to the Church, foretold that some of His followers would imitate Balaam and, for earthly advantage, put a stumbling-block in the path of the brethren. The intimation is that the harlotry and false worship would be on a higher plane than that which stumbled Natural Israel--even as everything in this Christian Dispensation is antitypical.

BALAAM'S WONDERFUL PROPHECY

Several passages in Balaam's prophecy are very striking in their fulfilment. For instance:

"For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him;
Lo, it is a people that dwell alone
And shall not be reckoned amongst the nations."


***

"Blessed be every one that blesseth thee
And cursed be every one that curseth thee."


***

"I behold Him, but not nigh;
There shall come forth a Star out of Jacob,
And the Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.
And One out of Jacob shall have dominion."

Surely we see fulfilled the declaration that Israel shall be separate from all other nations. What other nation of that day remains a people of preserved identity?

How true the statement that those who have cursed, or injured, Israel have brought injury upon themselves! As we scan the whole field of the world, we find that every nation which has dealt harshly with Israel has received severe chastisement or blight. On the contrary, Great Britain and the United States, nations which have blessed the Jew, have in turn received great blessings.

The lines referring to Messiah's Kingdom are equally true. The Sceptre did rise out of Israel. The One who is to have the dominion of earth is of Jacob's posterity, according to the flesh. As the bright and morning Star, He is leading on to a glorious sunrise--the dawning of the Messianic Day, which is to scatter earth's night and to bring blessings instead of the curse.



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CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER
--NOVEMBER 9.--ROMANS 14:7-21.--

"It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth."--Romans 14:21--Diaglott.
THIS lesson makes, perhaps, the strongest appeal of anything in the Bible in favor of total abstinence from the use of intoxicating liquors. True, it is addressed only to Christians, as is the entire New Testament. Nevertheless, many who have not become followers of Jesus can appreciate the argument here, and to many such it will appeal --not along the highest Christian lines, but along the lines of the Golden Rule.

To make a distinction between the Golden Rule, the acknowledged standard for all mankind, and a Christian's rule of life will be considered by many, doubtless, as a distinction without a difference. But this is not true. [R5324 : page 298] The Golden Rule, that one should do to others as he would be done by, is a simple rule of justice. All should recognize it. All should follow it, as none will dispute it.

The rule for Christian living, as taught by the Master and exemplified by Him, is far more exacting than the Golden Rule, which is applicable to all men. Those who become followers of Christ are, of course, subject to the Golden Rule, but they voluntarily place themselves under a far more stringent rule. Their Covenant with the Lord is that in the doing of His will--the doing of righteousness --they will ever stand ready to sacrifice everything, even life itself. This is what the Apostle meant when he declared that Christ pleased not Himself. Even though His will was a perfect one, He renounced His rights, privileges, liberties, that He might serve humanity, and thus lay the foundation for carrying out the Heavenly Father's glorious purposes respecting our race.

The present call of the Church is for those who have the "same mind which was also in Christ Jesus." It is a call for sacrificers. As St. Paul declares, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1.) This sacrificing is not to be done in a foolish or aimless way. We are not to sacrifice the things that are right and proper, simply that we may suffer. Right and proper things we may enjoy, except as God shall open our eyes to see privileges and opportunities for self-denial which would enable us to forward His cause, and to minister grace and truth to those for whom Christ died.

"NONE OF US LIVETH TO HIMSELF"

Let us first consider our lesson from the standpoint of the consecrated people of God, and afterwards from the standpoint of others who love righteousness, but who have not, as yet, joined the Lord and His faithful, self-sacrificing band of followers.

As for the world, they do live to themselves and die to themselves. That is to say, their own personal interests stand first with them. Only to Christ and the Church could these words apply; for none others than these have entered into such a Covenant of self-renunciation, giving up the present with all of its privileges and interests in exchange for a promise of a spiritual life hereafter, in the resurrection.

All these, by the terms of their Covenant, are to live unto the Lord--to do His will and not their own will, to serve Him and not to serve self, to lay down their lives in fighting a good fight against sin. All these, when they die, will be dying unto the Lord, in the sense that they are counted as members of the Body of Christ, every member of which must die to the flesh before the entire Body complete can be glorified beyond the veil. To these, therefore, apply the words, "Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

This being true, the Christian is to have no will of his own as respects his living or his dying, or any of his affairs. Everything is to be fully committed and submitted to the great Head of the Church. Christ's death on behalf of all is efficacious, not only for the dead, but also for the living. All who recognize Him, and are fully consecrated to His service, trust Him fully, in life and in death.

The Apostle proceeds to show that we who constitute the Church which is the Body of Christ are not judges one of another, that all judgment is vested in the Head, the Redeemer of all. Each one now accepted as a member of the Church must ultimately stand the inspection of the Head of the Church; for our present membership in His Body is a probationary one. Loyalty, faithfulness to the Head of the Church now, will bring to us eventually membership in His glorious Body, the Church beyond the veil--His joint-heirs in the Kingdom--His Bride.

The Apostle's argument, then, is that we should avoid condemning one another, and content ourselves with encouraging each other in the good way. Since it is written that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to God, this proves that our final accounting as members of the Church of Christ will be to God, or to our Lord Jesus as His Representative.

LET US, THEN, JUDGE OURSELVES

The Apostle's argument also is that, instead of judging, condemning, fellow-members of the consecrated Body, we should be full of sympathy for them. We should realize that we do not know thoroughly their trials, their difficulties, their environments, their heredities. This should make us very sympathetic towards all the brethren. Our keen sense of justice, our love of righteousness, our hatred of iniquity, should find its principal exercise in self-criticism, and in watchfulness not to do anything that would stumble a brother--not to do anything that would discourage a brother or cause him to fall away from the faith and the works which the Lord requires.

What a wonderful lesson is this in battling against self, rather than against enemies! How many find it easy to excuse their own weaknesses while they are very captious and critical as respects the shortcomings of others! How the Lord warned His people against such an attitude saying, "With what [soever kind of] judgment ye judge [a brother], ye shall be judged" [yourself of the Lord].--Matthew 7:2.

If you are hypercritical and wish to measure others up to the full standard of perfection, you are thus recognizing a high standard, and that recognition on your part will make it proper for the Lord to measure you by that high standard. If we could but remember this--that the merciful will obtain mercy--how glad we all would be to be extremely merciful to others, extremely lenient in our judgments and reproofs, hoping that the Lord would be correspondingly lenient with us!--James 2:13.

The Lord is not in this establishing a low standard, and wishing His people to think lightly of their own weaknesses and failures, and those of others. He is, on the contrary, setting up a high standard of love, sympathy, and kindness. Love is the principal thing, in God's sight. Whoever, therefore, has love and sympathy most highly developed, the Lord may well esteem as highly developed along the lines most essential in His sight, most essential for a place in His Mediatorial Kingdom.

NOTHING UNCLEAN OF ITSELF

"I know and am persuaded of the Lord Jesus, that [R5324 : page 299] nothing is unclean [unholy] of itself," writes the Apostle. The Apostle is referring not to filthiness of clothing or person, but to foods which were to the Jew made improper, ceremonially unclean. In other words, while the Jew was forbidden the use of swine, rabbits, oysters, etc., it was not that these foods would make him actually impure or evil in God's sight, but that the restrictions were imposed as tests of his loyalty and obedience to God, just as the forbidden fruit of Eden was thereafter unclean to Adam and Eve.

The Apostle's argument is that to the Jew who died to all hope of attaining eternal life through keeping the Law Covenant, and who became united to Christ, the restrictions of the Law Covenant would no longer be binding. And, of course, to the Gentile, who never was under the Law Covenant, its restrictions would have no application when he accepted Christ.

Having stated this broad ground, the Apostle admits that if any man had his reasoning faculties so twisted on the subject that he thought himself under obligations, he would be responsible according to his mind or judgment on the subject. If, for instance, a Christian thought that he was obliged to avoid eating pork, that thought in his mind would constitute an obligation; for for him to violate his conscience would mean that he had willingly, knowingly, committed sin; for he would be wrong in doing what he thought was wrong, however harmless the matter might be in itself.

But now comes the final argument: Anybody realizing his own liberty, as the Apostle did, might eat freely, according to his convenience, without any reproof from his conscience or in the sight of God. But the brother still in the dark respecting his liberty should have consideration --should not be urged to violate his conscience. Rather, the brother of enlightened mind should yield to the other, and abstain from using his liberty, lest he should tempt his brother to violate his conscience.

This question of eating ceremonially unclean meat, or meat theoretically unclean because it had been first waved before an idol, is a question which no longer is a live issue among Christians; for general intelligence on the subject has gained the mastery everywhere.

The special application of this lesson to Christians is along a still different line. For instance, suppose that one brother had from childhood been accustomed to drinking beer, ale, etc., and that in his estimation it did him no injury. But suppose a number of brethren, less strong than he, physically and mentally, could not touch intoxicants without harming themselves; and suppose that the example of the drinking brother would continue to be a temptation to the others. What should be his course?

The argument of the Apostle would seem to be that the brother who is strong, mentally, morally and physically, should gladly abstain from anything that would stumble his brother, or anybody else upon whom he exercised an influence. "Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." (Romans 14:15.) If Christ loved the world so much as to leave His Heavenly riches and glory to die for sinners, should not we, in proportion as we have His Spirit, be glad to lay down our lives for the brethren, as the Apostle elsewhere exhorts us? And [R5325 : page 299] if so, should we not be much more ready to abstain from the use of comparatively trifling liberties for the sake of our weaker brother, for whom Christ died? This is a strong argument. Who can deny it?

"Let not then your good be evil spoken of." Your knowledge, your appreciation, of your liberties is a good thing, a desirable thing; nevertheless, you should so govern your exercise of that liberty that none will misunderstand it, and think you an evil-doer. Rather restrain yourself of your liberties, preserve others from the temptation too strong for them, and increase your own influence by faithfully abstaining from everything that might appear to be an evil in the sight of others, however right it might be in your own sight, and however correct your own judgment of the Divine Law on the subject might be.

"NOT MEAT AND DRINK"

The Apostle adds another argument (v.17). He remarks, For the advantages connected with our membership in the embryo Kingdom of God consist not in the greater privileges and liberties we have in eating and drinking, but consist rather in the righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit which are ours because we are probationary members of this Kingdom Class. He who thus serves Christ is well pleasing to God and is approved of men. "Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace and things whereby we may edify one another. Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; but evil for that man who eateth with offense. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth."

The application of the Golden Rule on the part of the world would seem to be a settlement of many questions of the present time. Do unto others weaker than yourself, in precept and example, what you would have them do for you in precept and example, if you were the weaker and they the stronger.



[R5327 : page 299]

OBLIVION NOT ANNIHILATION

Question.--Is it correct to speak of the condition in Hades as being a condition of oblivion, or of annihilation?

Answer.--The word annihilation would be a very improper one to use in respect to the condition of a man in death, except it be the Second Death. The thought connected with annihilation is that of being absolutely wiped out of existence. Hence annihilation would be an improper term in respect to the Hadean condition. The word oblivion is not the same as annihilation. Oblivion means the condition of absolute unconsciousness; for instance, when a man falls into a sound sleep he goes into oblivion. He might say, I was wholly oblivious for an hour. He was ignorant of the things taking place.

It is well for us, so far as possible, especially in speaking along the lines of the Bible, to use the right term, to avoid any possible confusion. The Bible is written in very good form. Our Common Version contains very beautiful language. It is a marvel in the purity of its English. We do well to keep ourselves within the terms of the Bible and to use the language which the Bible uses, and thus we shall not be in danger of misunderstanding or of being misunderstood. And if any one thinks we have not a wide enough range, we shall know at least that we are avoiding misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Word of the Lord. In the case of Hades, Sheol, these words are not in the Common Version Bible, but they have been brought into the English language during the past few decades. Therefore it is proper that we should use these words, because they have become naturalized --common words.

Question.--What would be the difference between the expressions used in the Old Testament: "They shall be as page 300 though they had not been," and "They shall be utterly destroyed," and the word annihilation?

Answer.--We would understand them to have the same meaning. These Scriptures have reference to the Second Death only. They might be used as showing what the first death would have been, had there been no redemption from it. But God's proposition was otherwise from the beginning; and the Redemption-price has been given. But the expression, "They shall be as though they had not been," is used in connection with certain systems of the present time, which shall utterly fall, shall go down completely. The same expression might be applicable to humanity. Those who sin wilfully now and die the Second Death, and those who will sin wilfully during the Millennium and die the Second Death--these will be blotted out of existence, annihilated.

But to use any of these terms in respect to the first death is a mistake. The most we can say is, that as it is with the brute, so would it be with man, if God had not provided something better. God assured our first parents that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Thus early He gave a vague promise of a future redemption. There is no recovery from annihilation; it is the end of all hope.



[R5325 : page 300]

ARE WE ACTUAL OR RECKONED NEW CREATURES?

"If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."--2 Corinthians 5:17.
OUR information on this subject of the New Creature comes from the Word of God. It is the Spirit of the Truth that bears the witness. "If any one be in Christ, he is a New Creation; the old things have passed away; behold! they have become new." [Diaglott Translation.] Apparently, then, if old things have passed away from us, and we are New Creatures in Christ, we are now receiving the blessings. There is nothing said about being reckonedly New Creatures. The change is actual, bona-fide. When God accepts the human will, He does not hold the New Creature responsible for any of the deeds done previous to consecration. The whole account is a new one.

We are New Creatures in the sense that God has begotten us of the Holy Spirit. God has given us Heavenly promises instead of earthly promises. We are no longer striving to see whether we can attain a higher position in the world. We have new ambitions. Our aim is to live pleasing to God. And in every way this change of sentiment indicates a transformation of mind.

Transformation means to form over again, across, different, in an opposite way. So we have been changed by reason of this change of our will. God has made us the promise that, if we make this change, or transformation, He will no longer count sin to us, that we shall have standing henceforth no longer as sinners, but as holy ones. The world does not know that we are children of God. They do not realize how fully we have given up the earthly hopes and are seeking a different prize from that which the world seeks.

The fact that this change is merely in the mind and not in the body does not alter this matter at all. According to science, every seven years a complete change takes place in our bodies, the new matter coming on as the old matter sloughs off. But one is not a new man because his body has changed. If this were so, we would have had several changes by this time. So far as the mind is concerned, personality is not changed. If we had lost a hand, we would still be the same personality; or if we were to lose a hand and a foot, the loss would not change our personality.

Our personality would not change in this event, because the personality is the mind, the ego. And so when the ego, the mind, is changed, that New Creature is distinctly separated from the other. The fact that it does not yet have a spirit body does not matter. The New Creature is the New Creature, only now he is the New Creature under adverse conditions; whereas by and by he will be the New Creature who has entered into that condition which God has promised--the Divine nature and everlasting joy--and in which he will abide forever.

OUR STANDING FROM GOD'S VIEWPOINT

We are now spirit beings in human bodies. The Apostle says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." It is not the body that is risen, but the New Creature. It was not the New Creature that died, but the old creature. It is not the life of the old creature that "is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3), but the life of the New Creature. The Apostle declares, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." He says also that we are not only to reckon ourselves dead, but to reckon ourselves as though we had been raised from the dead. "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"--Romans 6:11.

The body is not the New Creature, but it belongs to the New Creature. It is the servant of the New Creature. The New Creature is the only one that God recognizes at all; for He knows us not after the flesh. And we should live in the Spirit, and view ourselves and all of our affairs from this standpoint. We should "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:4.) Our viewpoint should be this: As New Creatures, we merely inhabit these bodies for awhile.

These bodies are our slaves and we are to use them as our slaves. The environment is unfavorable for the New Creature at the present time. But it is the New Creature that God is looking at. "If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creation; the old things have passed away; behold, they have become new." If he now fails to make good his consecration, fails to be an overcomer, he will have no resurrection; for all his earthly rights have been abrogated.

"Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit." We do, as New Creatures, have the fleshly bodies. But the flesh is not we; that is, not our kind, not our nature. It is only as the New Creature that we can inherit the Promise. Jesus was put to death in the flesh; that is to say, He sacrificed the flesh--He gave up His claim on the flesh at His consecration. And it was on the basis of His giving up His rights that the Father begat Him to the new nature. Therefore He said, My will is to do My Father's will. The Cup that My Father hath poured for Me, I will drink!--John 18:11.

Jesus would not stand for His earthly rights. His dying was not merely at Calvary. It was begun at Jordan three and a half years before. In the type, the high priest slew the bullock, which represented the Man Jesus. Our Lord gave up His life completely--His human life. [R5325 : page 301] The High Priest was another person. He went inside and ministered in the Holy while His human nature was sacrificed upon the altar, and His body burned outside the camp, but in sight of the camp.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOUL AND NEW CREATURE

Every New Creature is a soul. The word soul is used in the Scriptures, in a very broad manner indeed, as signifying any sentient being, any being that has sensibility, intelligence. A fish has intelligence; therefore the Bible describes a fish as being a soul (See Genesis 1:20, margin). A dog, a cow, a horse, is each a soul. An angel is a soul, or being. God is a soul, or being--the Bible says so. The Scriptures say that "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38) --this means God's soul.

This broad use of the word, therefore, in connection with any kind of sentient being, assures us that as New Creatures all of us are souls--intelligent beings. We might be understood to be double souls in the sense that we were human souls to begin with, but that God has through Christ made a special arrangement for us whereby we are begotten again to be New Creatures. This begettal is of the mind; and only in this way are we New Creatures now.

This New Creature is not yet perfected. This new soul has not yet reached that condition which God intends that it shall have. The Apostle tells us that we have this treasure of the new mind in the old body--the earthen vessel. The new mind must do the Father's will, irrespective of the will of the body, or of the friends of the body, and what they might desire it to do. The new mind is to do God's will under all circumstances.

A spirit-begotten child of God may speak of himself as already possessing eternal life, which he does possess by faith. But the New Creature, the new soul, is not yet [R5326 : page 301] completed. God's promise is that when this new soul shall have been completed, we shall have a body like Christ. We shall be like Him. We shall see Him as He is and share His glory. We shall be souls on the Divine plane, whereas formerly we were souls on the human plane; now we are reckoned as in the transitional state.

DUAL SOULS--NOT DUAL MINDS

When we speak of being dual souls, we do not mean that we are dual-minded; for that would be a reprehensible condition. We are single-minded. Our duality consists in the fact that we have the mind of one nature and the body of another. A perfect soul results from the union of life-principle with an organism. It is thus with a fish, a dog, a horse. There is an organism, and there is vitality, a spark of life, before there can be a soul. The Lord's people were human souls, or had the powers common to all mankind, to begin with. Then they were begotten again. And the new will, the new mind, has at present an organism not adapted to its needs.

In the resurrection the New Creature will have an organism fully adapted to its requirements. But now it is a soul that is neither perfect in the flesh nor perfect on the spirit plane. And since the nature goes properly with the mind, the will, therefore the flesh is counted as being that of the New Creature, and the New Creature is held responsible for this flesh.

The Apostle suggests to us that not only our old minds, or wills, are dead, and that we reckon also our bodies dead, but that we go further, and reckon our bodies quickened, or made alive, from their dead and sin-disposed condition, that they may be fully our servants as New Creatures, that they may serve our purposes--"quickened by the Spirit of God that dwelleth in you." That is to say, so long as the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit is ruling in our hearts and minds, it controls and energizes the physical body.

THE SECRET OF SELF-CONTROL

God deals with us as New Creatures from the time we are begotten of the Holy Spirit. He has no dealings with the flesh. The flesh is under condemnation. God dealt with the flesh of Father Adam, condemning it to destruction. Then He provided a way in Christ by which the race may be rescued from destruction. The Church's relationship to God is purely as New Creatures. From the time, then, that we become New Creatures, accepted of God, He takes these mortal bodies of ours, which are consecrated to His service, as a part of the New Creature. So if we suffer, it is the New Creature that suffers. And in this sense God takes cognizance of our flesh from the time of our consecration. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

Because our human bodies are vehicles for His service, God takes note of them. In proportion as we become strong in the Spirit of the Lord, we have the power to make the mortal body do what the new mind wills. But we are weak in ourselves. We cannot properly control our mortal bodies. God, therefore, gives us of His Truth. And the more we receive of the Truth, of the Spirit, the more fully sanctified we should be, the more fully in harmony with the Father's will, and the greater control we should have of our mortal bodies.



[R5326 : page 301]

ACQUAINT YOURSELF WITH GOD

"Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."--Heb. 5:14.
IN THIS text the Apostle uses a well-known physical truth to illustrate an important spiritual truth. As human babes would be choked or have their digestion ruined by the stronger kinds of food which they could when older use to advantage, so, as the Apostle says, spiritual babes have need of the simpler truths, that they may grow thereby and develop character, as well as learn to appreciate the Divine Plan. That strong meat belongs to them that are of full age is an unquestionable fact. Adults may exercise discretion as to which foods would be expedient for their use--which would be palatable, which would be productive of the best results--that they may choose wisely. We all find that certain foods that agree with one do not agree with another. The food that is palatable to one would not be palatable to another.

In proportion as one appreciates and uses the food that is best for him, he will find development and gain strength. So with those in Christ. There is such abundance spread on the table of the Lord that when we come to the table each may find the food adapted to his particular need at the time. Some may need faith; some, patience, some perseverance, etc. As each one comes to a considerable development in Christian knowledge and Christian experience, he should be able to determine which features of the Word of Truth are necessary for the supplying of the deficiencies of his own character. At the beginning of his Christian experience one is unable to discern clearly good and evil. A childish mind might misinterpret Scripture, or might combine texts so as to [R5326 : page 302] arrive at erroneous conclusions, separating them from their respective contexts. But a mature mind would see that such putting together of Scriptures would do harm.

DEFICIENT APPRECIATION OF GOOD AND EVIL

Some Christian people stumble over Bible Truths, and make evil out of them. For instance, our good Brother Calvin evidently did not have a sufficiently clear appreciation of good and evil. As a result, instead of getting good out of the doctrine of the Election of the Church, he brought out of it a very evil doctrine, namely, that all those who are not elected are damned. His new mind was not sufficiently developed to rightly divide the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15.) Any one who appreciates God's character sufficiently would have known, in spite of wrong teachings, that God would not deliberately doom our race to eternal torture before they were created.

Many people of today have not their senses sufficiently exercised by reason of use. They charge the Almighty with something that no human being would even think of doing. This expression, "have their senses exercised," does not refer merely to minds, but includes the heart also. Brother Calvin had a very able mind, apparently; but the thing lacking was a proper heart-fellowship with the Lord; for if he had known the character of the Lord, he would have known that the doctrine of everlasting torture was contrary to every element of the Divine character. --See Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5.

So far as we can judge, Brother Wesley must have been considerably developed along the line of spiritual appreciation of the Lord's character. We doubt whether Wesley was any more logical than Calvin--perhaps less so--but evidently he was in heart-harmony with God. Wesley very properly concluded that it would be impossible for God to make any such plan as that set forth by Calvin. In our own cases, we know that we might have a surface knowledge, and yet not have this spiritual development --the heart knowledge of God. We are to seek not only to have an intellectual knowledge of the Bible, or a familiarity with the words of the Bible, but also to appreciate the sentiment, the spirit, that lies behind the words--the character of our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ--the spirit that They are of, and that we also would be of.

DEEP STUDY PROFITABLE

When the people of our day speak of Bible study, they very rarely mean a study and appreciation of the deeper spiritual truths there presented. Rather, they seem to be content with a study of the geography, the history, the psychology, etc. As we see these conditions, we are forced [R5327 : page 302] to the conclusion that the majority of Christian people of today, just as in the Apostles' day, have need that some one teach them again what are the first principles of the doctrine of Christ.

The Apostle Peter (I Peter 2:2) says also, along the same line, "Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." We all have need of the simple things. But the spiritual babe that does not grow will never reach manhood's estate. He will never be a king and priest. We need a real acquaintance with God. "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent!--not merely know about God, and know about Jesus Christ, but that they might know Them in the sense of being personally acquainted with Them--know Them by having the same Holy Spirit, and growing therein--know them by a study of "the deep things of God."



[R5327 : page 302]

THE EDITOR'S FOREIGN TOUR

(CONCLUDED.)
THE evening following the close of the London Convention found us at Plymouth, where we had the pleasure of addressing an assemblage of eleven hundred, who manifested deep interest in the Message.

The next evening (Wednesday, August 6) we were at Exeter, and addressed an audience numbering about six hundred and fifty. Of these, seventy-two handed in their addresses for further literature, and otherwise manifested an interest in the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Next came Cheltenham (Thursday, August 7), eight hundred being present at the public meeting, seventy-four of whom gave their addresses for additional literature along the lines of our discourse.

The following Sunday (August 10) found us again with the London Tabernacle Congregation, morning and evening. The attendance was good and the interest deep, as usual. No attempt was made to reach the public, as the capacity of the Tabernacle is only about twelve hundred. During this trip abroad the efforts for the public were in the smaller cities.

Lincoln was our next appointment for a public service. A large auditorium had been secured, and the number present was estimated at fifteen hundred. Of these, one hundred and sixty-eight handed in their addresses for further literature.

Next came Hull, where the public meeting drew out one thousand, of whom one hundred and seventy-nine left their addresses for further reading matter.

On Wednesday evening, August 13, a public meeting was held at Wakefield, the attendance being estimated at nine hundred. Seventy-eight gave their addresses for further literature.

Next came York, Thursday, August 14--attendance fifteen hundred; addresses for further literature, two hundred and seventy-two.

Friday, August 15, we visited Tunbridge Wells. There we were greeted by an audience of six hundred, seventy-four of whom handed in their addresses after meeting, requesting further literature.

Sunday, August 17, we again had the pleasure of meeting the London Congregation at the Tabernacle, and again had two enjoyable services, breaking to them, to the best of our ability, the Bread of Life.

Monday, August 18, found us at Walsall. Here a public gathering to the number of nine hundred and fifty gave earnest heed to the Message of the Kingdom. One hundred and forty-one of the audience gave their addresses after the service for further literature.

Chester was next on the list, Tuesday, August 19. The hall was small; but about five hundred were present, one hundred of whom left their addresses for literature.

Blackburn came next, August 20--a larger hall, eleven hundred present, and one hundred and ninety-six addresses given in for further literature.

Bolton came next, the splendid Town Hall of which was secured. A deeply interested and intelligent audience of sixteen hundred were present. Of these, four hundred and twelve left their addresses and requests for further literature.

We visited Preston Friday, August 22. Again we had a good hall and an attentive audience of fifteen hundred, [R5327 : page 303] four hundred and fourteen addresses being left, requesting further literature.

The Glasgow Three-Days' Convention opened August 23. It was a fine crowd, numbering about eight hundred to nine hundred--chiefly from Scotland, with visitors also from Ireland and England. We always enjoy our visits to Glasgow. Our Scotch brethren and sisters manifest a warmth and zeal of Christian love, which is impressive and inspiring. We addressed the Convention four times on things pertaining to the Kingdom--how we shall make our calling and election sure to a share therein; also respecting the value of Bible Study as an aid to character-building, etc., etc.

The Sunday evening meeting at Glasgow was for the public. St. Andrews Hall, the largest in the city, had been obtained. It is said to seat forty-five hundred. Every seat was taken and some stood. In a nearby hall an overflow meeting, addressed by Brother Hemery, had an attendance of about nine hundred. The amount of interest may be judged to some extent by the fact that seven hundred and fifty-nine addresses were handed in at the larger meeting and sixty-nine at the overflow meeting.

Following the Glasgow Convention, we visited Sterling, there addressing an audience estimated at one thousand. Two hundred and two requests for literature were handed in.

Next came Coatbridge, with an audience of about one thousand, and one hundred and seventy-eight requests for literature--Wednesday, August 27. [R5328 : page 303]

Thursday, August 28, found us at Kilmarnock, with twelve hundred in attendance and one hundred and eighty-two requests for literature.

Southport was reached on Friday, August 29. The small hall available was crowded, some standing, about six hundred in all. We left on the night train for Paris, failing to learn the number of requests for literature.

Sunday, August 31, found us in Paris, France. Here we met the little Convention of about seventy earnest, zealous brethren and sisters, some of whom had come as much as a thousand kilometers--from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and various parts of France. They represented little classes of Bible Students, and were full of the same loving zeal manifested amongst other nationalities.

The intelligent interest of these dear friends was manifest in their faces and manner and in their testimonies, although we were not able to understand the latter, except with our eyes. We addressed the little Convention through one of the brethren, who acted as interpreter. Altogether we greatly enjoyed the Paris Convention. No public service was arranged for.

We arrived back in London September 2, attended to some affairs connected with the work there, and left for Liverpool on the 3d, embarking the same day on the steamship "Tunisian."

We had a pleasant homeward voyage, with good opportunities for literary work, reaching Brooklyn on Friday morning, September 12.



page 303

BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES

Series VI., Study XVI.

THE PRESENT INHERITANCE OF THE NEW CREATION

NOVEMBER 2
Read p. 671, par. 2, to p. 674, par. 4.

(21) What circumstances gave rise to this desire of St. Paul? P. 671, par. 2, 3.

(22) What alternative is suggested, if we refuse the foregoing explanation? P. 672, par. 1, 2, 3.

"OUR EARTHLY HOUSE" AND "OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN"

(23) To whom is the Apostle writing in 2 Cor. 5:1-10, and what does he mean by "our earthly house"? P. 673, par. 1.

(24) Why does the New Creature groan in this earthly tabernacle, and does it desire to be "unclothed"? P. 673, par. 2, 3.

(25) What is the "earnest of the Spirit," mentioned in 2 Cor. 5:5? And why are we "always confident," as expressed in verses 6 to 9? P. 674, par. 1 to 3.

(26) To what end, therefore, are we striving? P. 674, par. 4.

NOVEMBER 9
Read p. 675, par. 1, to p. 677, par. 2.

(27) What is the significance of 2 Cor. 5:10, and when must we "all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"? P. 675, par. 1.

(28) Do all mankind have a duality of nature? What other Scriptures refer to the New Creation as having an outward man that perisheth, and an inward man being renewed day by day? P. 675, par. 2.

THE TRANSFIGURATION SCENE

(29) How and when was fulfilled the Lord's promise to His disciples that some of them should not taste death until they had seen the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom? P. 675, par. 3; P. 676, par. 1.

(30) Was the Transfiguration scene an actual occurrence? How do we know that Moses and Elias could not have personally appeared on the Mount? P. 676, par. 2, 3.

(31) Explain the significance of this "vision." P. 677, par. 1, 2.

NOVEMBER 16
Read p. 677, par. 3, to p. 680, par. 1.

PRESENT JOYS OF THE NEW CREATION

(32) How does consecration unto death appear to those outside the household of faith, and to the consecrated, respectively? P. 677, par. 3.

(33) Upon what do the present joys of the New Creation depend? P. 678, par. 1.

"ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE, THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL"

(34) What is the relation between prayer and the perpetuation of our present joys? And what is the object of proper prayer? P. 679, par. 1.

(35) What suggestions with regard to prayer were given by our Lord Jesus as recorded in Matt. 6:7,8,25-34, and why did He so admonish His disciples? P. 679, par. 2.

(36) What are the two most important conditions of acceptable prayer? (John 15:7.) P. 679, par. 3; P. 680, par. 1.

NOVEMBER 23
Read p. 680, par. 2, to p. 682, par. 1.

(37) Does the world in general have access to the Throne of Heavenly grace? P. 680, par. 2.

(38) What was the position of Cornelius, and how does his experience illustrate the necessary steps to be taken by every person before he can use the privilege of prayer-communion? P. 681, par. 1.

(39) How does the Apostle Paul express this same thought in Hebrews 10:17-22? P. 681, par. 2.

(40) To what extent do the simply justified members of the "Household of Faith" enjoy the privilege of prayer? P. 681, par. 3.

(41) How shall members of the "Household of Faith" be admonished as respects their limited privileges of prayer and the greater privileges possible to them? P. 682, par. 1.

NOVEMBER 30
Read p. 683, par. 1, to p. 685, par. 2.

(42) Is it proper to recognize a distinction between the merely justified and the consecrated, and between believers and unbelievers? P. 683, par. 1.

(43) What would be the special advantage to these classes, if such distinctions were clearly recognized? P. 683, par. 2. P. 684, par. 1.

(44) What privileges of prayer belong to the children of believers? P. 684, par. 2.

(45) What is the one thing for which all the consecrated should specially pray? Quote Scriptural authority for your reply. P. 685, par. 1.

(46) Summarizing, in what manner and for what things should we pray in order that we should not "ask amiss"? P. 685, par. 2.



page 305
October 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. XXXIVOCTOBER 15No. 20

A. D. 1913--A. M. 6042


CONTENTS

Resume of the Ending of the Times of the Gentiles307
Noah's Day Similar to the Present Day307
"Strong Man" Must Be Put Out308
Church Glorified Before Lease Expires308
The Present Outlook308
Good Courage Required for Overcoming309
Different Kinds of Courage309
Courage Proportionate to Faith310
Test of the Apostles and Its Lesson311
Trial and Victory in Gethsemane311
Patience a Cardinal Grace of Character312
Purpose of Our Testing313
Fervency of Spirit Necessary to Overcoming314
Who Shall Be Able to Stand?314
God Buried Moses, His Servant315
Israel Under a New Leader317
Choosing Elders and Deacons318
Some Interesting Letters319

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 306

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 every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "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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CLASS DEPOTS FOR BIBLE STUDENTS

Some of the larger classes have found it very convenient to appoint one of their number as Literature stock Keeper. He is supplied from the local Treasury a sufficiency of money for such a stock of books as the class will probably use during a month or more. This he keeps under his charge, and supplies to anyone desiring literature at the same rate as though he himself ordered from Brooklyn or London. He also is usually given charge of the Volunteer matter, and special free literature, dealing with interesting subjects. From him, at meeting times, the class can supply themselves with literature, and thus often use much more than if they had been obliged to order from headquarters.

We recommend the plan as having some good features, and worthy of consideration by all classes.

We advise the selection of a brother or sister for this service who has some acquaintance with business, and, if possible, one who has access to a typewriter.

Keep a fair supply on hand. Order in good time, for express charges are much higher than freight rates--we should be economical in the use of the Lord's money. Supplies for "Pilgrim Meetings" should be ordered at least four to six weeks in advance, according to distance.


PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION

Unexpected difficulties have from time to time arisen hindering the presentation of the drama. Perhaps the Lord's time for it has not yet come. The present outlook for it is not favorable for public work before the first of the coming year.

We have on file the applications of those who desire to serve in this Department of the Harvest work. More applicants have already sent in their names than we shall probably be able to use for some time. Should more help be desired, mention of the same will be made in these columns.


[R5336 : page 306]

MORE ABOUT THE GREAT PYRAMID

Brother Morton Edgar has recently issued a very neat little book dealing with the Pyramid, and corresponding in size and shape to the Karatol and India paper STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. It is on India paper, cloth-bound, two shillings (fifty cents.) We are informed that it treats the passages of the Pyramid very critically and finds that many of the measurements are closely corroborative of the time features of the Divine Plan presented in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. We are advised that it gives seven different corroborative proofs that the close of the year 1914--namely, about October, 1914--will mark the closing of the Times of the Gentiles, and the beginning of the Messianic Reign. Many of the dear friends are rejoicing in these corroborations.

Any desiring to procure these books can send their orders to our office, or directly to Morton Edgar, 224 W. Regent street, Glasgow, Scotland.

We wish still, however, to reiterate what we have said from the first respecting the date of the close of the Times of the Gentiles; namely, that the calculations as we presented them in Vol. II, STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, are the Truth to the best of our knowledge and belief. Nevertheless, there is enough uncertainty about the matter of chronology to make it a matter of faith rather than of positive knowledge. We remind our readers that our consecration to the Lord is not to October, 1914, nor to any other time except that mentioned by the Savior--"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."--Rev. 2:10.


page 306

"SCRIPTURE STUDIES"--POCKET EDITION

We have the Karatol edition of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in stock, 25c. each, postpaid.

We have a new edition also on thin paper, red cloth binding, 35c. per volume--$2.00 per set of six, in neat cloth holder. The set with THE WATCH TOWER for one year, to any address, $2.65.

Colporteur rates the same as on our regular cloth bound edition.



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RESUME OF THE ENDING OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

WE THINK of October, 1914, as, in round numbers, the ending of the Gentile Times. As a matter of fact, however, the first day of October is not the end of the Jewish year, which varies at its closing, just as at its beginning. It is regulated by the moon, instead of the sun. The Jewish calendar can never depart from this fixed arrangement of regulation by the moon. The date 1914 is not an arbitrary date; it is merely what the chronology of the Scriptures seems to teach. We have never said positively that the Scriptures do so teach--that the Jewish favor will begin exactly at that time, or that the Gentile Times will end exactly at that time.

We say that according to the best chronological reckoning of which we are capable, it is approximately that time--whether it be October, 1914, or later. Without dogmatizing, we are looking for certain events: (1) The termination of the Gentile Times--Gentile supremacy in the world--and (2) For the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom in the world. The kingdoms of earth will come to an end, and "the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom." (Daniel 2:44.) The Scriptures do not say that the trouble will come in an hour, or in one day, or in one year. The intimation is that the catastrophe coming upon our civilization will be a very sudden one. (Revelation 18:8,10,17,21; I Thessalonians 5:3.) But it will be very sudden if it comes within twelve months. The Flood required many days to come, and many days to assuage.

NOAH'S DAY SIMILAR TO THE PRESENT TIME

Our thought in connection with the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom is that there is a similarity between the ending of "The world that then was," and the ending of this Gospel Age. It is not our thought that the events associated with the inauguration of Messiah's Kingdom will all be momentary, instantaneous--in a literal hour, or day; rather, we are to expect that it is to be a gradually increasing trouble. It is to be a culmination of trouble-- "such as never was since there was a nation."

Then it will take a certain time for the bringing in of God's favor--the peace, the blessing. It will be some little time before this peace will be developed, as represented by the dove's returning to the ark, unable to find rest for its foot. The dove was again sent forth, and this time it returned with an olive twig, indicating that the blessing of the Lord was bringing about vegetation again. Thus Noah knew that the waters were considerably abated. We do not undertake to say that the trouble will all be over in a year; but, with the kind of trouble that the Bible seems to picture to our minds, we cannot see how it could last more than a year, and yet any of mankind be left alive. There would be no flesh saved--all would be destroyed. The Lord intimates that unless these days be shortened such would be the fact.--Matthew 24:22.

LIGHT FROM THE PROPHECY

The Elect will constitute the Kingdom before that time. On the Divine plane they will then begin the work of blessing and Restitution; and this will have the effect of bringing the strife and trouble in the world to an end. Thus the difficulties will not be so prolonged. The olive branch will sprout, the dove will find a resting place, and the New Dispensation will be fully inaugurated.

When we look through the prophecies relating to the Times of the Gentiles, we find that there are two promises --one appertaining to the Jews and the other to the world. During this period of 2,520 years, known as the Times of the Gentiles, the Jew was to have more or less tribulation from the Gentiles. He was not to be free--he would be more or less under subjection to the "Powers that be." At the close of this period the Church will be glorified. The Kingdom will not be established until that time. At the end of the Gentile Times Messiah will appear and set up His Kingdom.

Referring to the last king of Israel, Zedekiah, we read, "Thou profane, and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end; thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem and take off the crown; ...I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him." (Ezekiel 21:25-27.) If this period of overturning be rightly understood to be 2,520 years, it would seem to end with the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of His Kingdom. The Gentile supremacy was to pass from nation to nation until the time of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom. That would prove that the treading down of Jerusalem would then cease-- it would not continue after the end of these Gentile Times.

The lease, or permit, to govern the world was given to the Gentiles at the time it was taken away from the Jews in the days of Zedekiah--606 B. C. And during the 2,520 years in which the Jews were to have no government of their own, the Gentiles were to have the privilege of maintaining such governments as they could. One nation after another has tried to govern the world--first [R5328 : page 308] the Babylonian, then the Medo-Persian, then the Grecian, then the Roman--including Papal Rome--which was the fourth to attempt universal empire. We are waiting for the time to come when the government of the world will be turned over to Messiah. We cannot say that it may not be either October, 1914, or October, 1915. It is possible that we might be out of the correct reckoning on the subject a number of years. We cannot say with certainty. We do not know. It is a matter of faith, and not of knowledge. "We walk by faith, not by sight."

"STRONG MAN" MUST BE PUT OUT

But when these Gentile Times expire, we are not to expect that the transfer will come as a flash of lightning. For instance, about May 1, when it is moving day here in New York, the one whose lease has expired is to move out. Then the new tenant will move in. This requires a little time. So it will be with the great change now imminent. He who bought the world is going to take possession. The kingdoms of this world are going to move out. In the world, when moving day has arrived, some may say, It is time now to move. And they may move out in the morning of May 1. Some may have moved on the day previous. And there are some who may stay in until noon of the day of the expiration of the lease. Others, brazen in the matter, will say, This moving makes us a lot of trouble; and they make a great deal of fuss about moving; and when they go, they leave the house in bad order.

We rather think it will be so at the close of the Gentile lease of power. The putting out will not be done before the expiration of the lease. Suppose you were a landlord and your tenant were upstairs, and should refuse to get out. What would be done? You would have to get an officer to put him out. So the officer comes and puts him out, and sets all his things in the street. We think such a procedure is a picture of how the "Prince of the world," being slow to move out, will be put out--that he will have to be bound hand and foot. (Matthew 12:29.) We think there is going to be a great deal of trouble. But we shall know fully a little later.

"I will overturn, overturn, overturn it,...until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it Him." (Ezekiel 21:27.) The new King will not set up His Kingdom in a minute or an hour or a day. He has already come, and will take possession in due time. He is getting ready to take the House, and its present occupant is not quite sure as to whether he has to go out or not. We [R5329 : page 308] think he will have to be put out of the House. The Lord said that, if the strong man had known, he would have watched and not have allowed his house to be broken up.

CHURCH GLORIFIED BEFORE LEASE EXPIRES

As we understand this matter, the Church will be glorified before that time. When the lease expires, it would seem that the new tenants will be ready to take possession. And we cannot see how the new tenants could be ready to take possession unless they were glorified beforehand. If they were still in the flesh, they would not be ready to take possession. So if the Church is here in 1915, we shall think that we have made some mistake. We do not understand how they will all die between now and the close of 1914--how so many people, all over the world--people of one mind--will all pass beyond the veil in so short a time.

But we can see how the Lord might purposely leave us in a measure of ignorance in this matter. We do not know positively that the month of October, 1914, will see the Church all glorified, and the time of trouble ushered in. We merely say, Here are the evidences. Here are the proofs. Look at them for yourself and see what you then think. It is for each to accept or reject the facts. (See STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. II.)

So far as we can reason, this chronology is reasonably correct--a good basis for faith. "We walk by faith, and not by sight." God did not tell us that we should know the exact hour. But we have certain valuable information, and events seem to be fulfilling our expectations more and more as the days go by.

THE PRESENT OUTLOOK

When we began to publish information respecting these dates and began to describe what was to be expected in the near future--the fulfilling of Revelation 12 and 13, for instance--there was no sign of such things. We pointed out that there would be a Federation of Churches, a general union of all Protestants, and that the Catholics would not unite with them. And at that time nothing seemed less likely than that the Protestants would all unite. Years before, the Evangelical Alliance had been formed; but various denominations were urging that it was far better for these different denominations to exist. Competition is the life of business, they said, and was the life of the Church also. That was their argument.

Now, however, that sentiment has all gradually given way, and they are unifying. But, from politeness, they do not like to throw away the name, the door-plate, the coffin-plate, of the different sects; hence they hold on to the names. The Federation is coming nearer every week, every day. But it is true that we thought that the "fire would come down from heaven" much more rapidly than it has come.

The Federation is, however, not yet so well organized that it can do very much persecuting. In various cities it has hindered the publishing of the sermons in the newspapers. Some of the newspapers have been forced to give them up. This has been done by ministers going in a body to newspaper offices and saying, We will boycott your paper. Some editors have said, Go ahead and boycott! Other editors, however, have said, Well, we do not want to run against so many denominations. To these latter, this opposition movement looked large, because it represented so many ministers. These editors did not stop to think that comparatively few of the people think enough of these ministers, even to go to hear them preach on Sunday! But the preachers have been trying to exercise power--and are trying more and more.

The time is surely coming when every effort that we can put forth will be throttled. But we intend to keep pushing the door open at every step as long as we can. We are not going to lie down, are we? These conditions have been coming gradually--and are coming on time-- though not so rapidly as we were expecting. God's movements are usually very slow. But in this case we have expected something to come suddenly--something to indicate a very abrupt termination--an overturning of the present order of things. And we reason that, if this "Beast" is to have power (Revelation 13:11-17), it should be coming very soon.

Now, of course, all this can take place yet--it could easily be brought to pass, we see. There may be a temporary reign of prosperity, a co-operation with Catholicism. The Federation may continue to prosper for a year yet, and accomplish everything that they are to accomplish before October, 1914; and the fall of Babylon will follow shortly after that date. That is one of the things due to come to pass at that time.

Another thing we have been expecting is the return of the Jews to Palestine. There is more and more now [R5329 : page 309] being said about the Jews returning to Palestine, and more interest is being aroused in the matter. When we first began to draw attention to this subject of the return of the Jews to the Holy land, there was no movement at all of this kind. It has all come since. It has not as yet reached as great development as we might have expected, but it is coming. So when October, 1914, comes or October, 1915, or some other date (the Lord knoweth) and the Gentile Times terminate, it does not follow that there will be an outburst that will revolutionize the world, all in a day. But we believe that it will do so not very long thereafter.



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GOOD COURAGE REQUIRED FOR OVERCOMING

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."--Psa. 31:24.
THE Scriptures everywhere encourage the Lord's people to be full of faith, hope, confidence, trust. As we look out into the world we see particular reasons why this should be so. The majority of the world are full of fear, apprehension, distrust, worry. For this reason they fail to get the best out of the opportunities they have. They know of pitfalls of sin and trouble in different directions, and therefore they have reason to be distrustful, to be fearful.

But the Lord's people have come into special relationship with Him and He with them. He has assured them that He will have a supervision of their affairs, as would not have been their experience had they not come into relationship with Him. They are, therefore, to hope in the Lord, to trust in Him. They are to heed the things which He has said, and to take courage in the thought that their affairs are under His supervision.

God's people have stepped out from the world and joined the standard of the Lord Jesus Christ--the standard of righteousness, truth, holiness, opposition to sin and the Adversary. They will be beset by powerful enemies. Against them will be arrayed Satan himself, who will seek to oppose them, as he has opposed all of God's plans. He can make no direct attack upon the Lord, but he can attack His Plan and those who believe in God. He it is who instigated the riots, the tumults and the persecutions in the days of the Lord, and subsequently instigated the persecution of the Lord's people.

Satan has not done these things with His own personal touch, but through his deluded servants. He has ever opposed righteousness and all those who love righteousness. On this account the Lord's people need to have great courage; for if they allow the Adversary to beat their courage down, he will soon put them out of the battle entirely. A retreating soldier is of no more good than one who has not gone out to battle. Instead of losing courage we are to resign our earthly interests to our Father and trust Him that in the present life He will guide us, will overrule everything for good to those who are "the called according to His purpose."

Besides the Adversary, we have the general spirit of the world to oppose us. The world considers us foolish in thinking that we have any special Divine supervision-- that God loves us. They say to us, God has made all the worlds, the thousands of angels, etc. Do you imagine that He has any special interest in you? They tell us that if there is a God, He is so great and we so small that He cannot take any notice of us. Thus they would beat our faith down. And this is the sentiment of the world, even when it is not expressed. And whenever we come in contact with worldly people we find, as it were, a wet blanket thrown on our simple trust, even though they say not a word to us. We need to have good courage and to hope in the Lord, as our text enjoins.

Then, additionally, we have our own flesh. Each of us has in himself, in his own body, an opponent. The Scriptures represent that when we gave ourselves to the Lord and He gave us His Holy Spirit, we there passed through a transformation and became embryo spirit beings, the embryo having this mortal body in which to develop until the moment of resurrection, when we shall pass from the earthly to the Heavenly condition. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."--I Corinthians 15:42-44.

But while we are in the flesh, we have all the motions of the flesh. We as New Creatures have disowned these. We have turned our backs upon sin. We have exchanged the earthly interests and hopes for the Heavenly interests and hopes. By our daily experiences the Lord is testing us. We must be on guard to overcome the flesh. It requires a great deal of courage to fight down the tendencies to sin. And it requires still more courage that, after battling [R5330 : page 309] with the weaknesses and frailties of the flesh, and conquering it, we should additionally force our human bodies to sacrifice, to abandon the earthly things, and to serve the Lord. It requires a great deal of courage; therefore we are of ourselves insufficient.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF COURAGE

But we are exhorted to put our trust in the Lord, and assured that we "can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth us." (Phil. 4:13.) His is a power sufficient for us. It requires all our courage, all our hope-- every helpful element that we can put into the fight--in order to bring about the most successful issue. But the Lord supplies sufficient grace so that we may be overcomers. This does not mean that any one will live a perfect life; and he may not fully exercise this good courage. He may make partial failures from time to time. But our Lord is leading us on, and we learn valuable lessons from our failures.

Some, having stronger faith and hope, having their minds fully centered on the Lord, have gone forward courageously. This is called good courage in the sense of being strong courage, proper courage. We might also associate with our text the thought that this hope in the Lord is to be backed up by a good courage, a right kind of courage, a godly courage.

There is a courage that is born of pride, which would say: Do not back down. Do not let anybody get ahead of you. In a battle the soldiers will vie with one another, each having a desire to do something especially conspicuous, which will bring him the applause of his fellows. They need something to inspire them--desire for fame, love of country, music, etc.--in order to give them courage to run the risk of losing their own lives, or to take the lives of other human beings. And this is the kind of courage that will help them to gain the victory in their battle, even though it be an unworthy motive for inspiring courage.

But a courage from right principles, based on faith in the Lord, is not one of bragadocio, but a courage that is noble and pleasing to God. It has its source in a realization that God has promised, and that God is watching, and desires us to be joint-heirs with His Son in His [R5330 : page 310] Kingdom. He is merely testing us to see whether we will prove faithful. And this courage with us must also be to do things in the right way.

THE EXHORTATION APPLIES TO ALL STATIONS

This exhortation affects us in everything in life, whether we are in one station or another. It would apply to a king on his throne--that he should be courageous enough to do the right thing--the thing understood to be the Lord's will. Such courage would say to us, Do your duty, whatever may be the Lord's will for you. Hope in the Lord, even though your motive will be misunderstood. We should have the good courage to stand for what is right, whether our reward be in this life or in that life which is to come.

This exhortation is for the business man who is a Christian. His worldly friends may say, You will fail in your business. You cannot advertise your business. If you tell the truth, the people will not patronize you; they will go to a place where a host of lies will be told them. If he takes their advice, he will do a larger business, but he will make a failure of the chief affair of his life, he will lose the great Prize.

It will apply to workingmen--that they may advocate right principles, and be not faint-hearted and fearful to express the truth. This does not mean that a man should be cantankerous and take a different view of every question from that of others, but that, after conceding every point that may be yielded with wisdom, where there is a principle at stake he should take his stand and say, My thought is thus and so, and I shall be obliged to maintain my position. However, I recognize that each of you has a duty to perform according to his own conscience; and I will content myself with doing what I feel is my duty, not wishing to coerce the remainder of you. But at any cost I will be faithful to principle. I hope that you will not misunderstand me, and think that I am trying to oppose you and to turn the matter my way. I have my rights and my conscience, and you have yours. I am merely telling you what I must do according to my judgment and my conscience. You must do what you think right according to your judgment and conscience.

Thus even those who would think differently would know that the one speaking to them had a conviction, and that he was of good courage. This would apply to the humblest walk in life--to a day laborer, or to a washer-woman --any person.

COURAGE PROPORTIONATE TO FAITH

There are trials and difficulties in the life of each one, great and small. The right kind of courage finds an opportunity to exercise itself in each of God's children. And this is what the Lord is looking for. He is looking for this kind of courage, a courage such as must be found in overcomers. It is only to overcomers that any place will be granted in the Kingdom. Whoever has not good courage will not be in the Kingdom at all. Hence the lesson of our text is, BE OF GOOD COURAGE; for this is the way in which we shall demonstrate our faith in the Lord. He who hopes in the Lord and is loyal to the Lord will be courageous in proportion to his loyalty and his faith.

This kind of courage will stand by us in all circumstances. For instance, our Lord in addressing His disciples on one occasion said, "Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake;...take no thought [beforehand] how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." (Matt. 10:18,19.) The Lord's people, whatever circumstances may arise, will have such faith and trust in God that they will conduct themselves courageously, relying on God's power. The Greek here seems to give the thought: Do not be worried when you shall be brought before kings and judges.

The way in which God will give us a mouth and wisdom may vary according to circumstances--perhaps by suggestions from another; perhaps in the hearing of the testimony of some one else; or it may be that a text of Scripture that would be especially helpful would come to our mind. But the thought is that our trust is in the Lord, and that we are not to be in fear and trembling.

The Lord addressed these words to His disciples--the ignorant and unlearned. For them to be brought before kings and magistrates and judges would naturally cause them much apprehension. What should they say? How could they answer those men--those great, learned men! They were very humble, and they realized their ignorance; but the Lord guided them. Education was much less general then than now. Today, practically all are educated to some extent. The assurance of the Lord would, therefore, apply less forcefully to us today, than it would to the disciples then living.

But if we are in any straits, any difficulties, we are to remember that the Scriptures assure us that "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear [reverence] Him, and delivereth them." (Psa. 34:7.) This thought should tend to make us cool and collected in our minds, and should enable us to conduct ourselves courageously, feeling ourselves in this close relationship with Him, and having the confidence that this thought would give us. Furthermore, we realize that we are not wise enough to know just what God's purposes respecting us may be. We know not, therefore, just how the Lord may prefer to have this or that matter eventuate.

"FAITH CAN FIRMLY TRUST HIM"

The early disciples, thinking of Jesus and what He had said to them, thought: Jesus is certainly a good man; God would not allow any disaster to befall Him. Thus they pondered, as they thought of the things that Jesus had predicted for Himself. St. Peter said to Him, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" (Matt. 16:16.) And they thought, How could God allow any harm to come to Him? So the disciples concluded that these things He had said must be figures of speech, just as when He said, "You must eat My flesh" and "drink My blood." So now when He said that the Son of Man would be crucified, they thought it was one of His peculiar sayings that they could not understand.

Hence they were quite perturbed, wondering and astonished, when He was arrested and taken before the Jewish Sanhedrin, and when, instead of using His powers and His eloquence, He was dumb, and allowed Himself to be contradicted and maligned. Then He was taken before Pilate. Now, the disciples thought, Jesus surely will not hesitate before him! Hence the surprise and astonishment of the disciples again when things turned out so contrary to what they had expected. But such a course on our Lord's part was necessary in the Heavenly Father's Plan, not merely for the Lord Jesus, that He might suffer and then enter into His glory, but necessary also for the world, because the redemption price must be laid down, must be in the hands of Justice.

We see that the Lord has declared that His people shall not be especially protected along earthly lines; and if in His Wisdom it is best in any way to bruise us and put us to shame, as was done with our Master, we are to be of good courage, and He will strengthen our hearts, because we trust in Him, we have confidence in Him. We know that He is too wise to err, and that there must [R5331 : page 311] be a motive, a reason for the permission, whatever it may be. We know assuredly that the saintly ones are precious in the sight of the Lord--are as the apple of His eye; and thus we know that all things are working together for good to us.

So we do not necessarily anticipate that a certain form of words will be given to us, before either judges or princes. We are not necessarily free from worldly condemnation. We are to remember that these words of the Master were applicable to our Lord Himself and to the Apostles; that Jesus was condemned and crucified; that the Apostles were condemned and were put into prison and received stripes on several occasions. And later most of them were killed.

Whatever may be the outcome of any matter to us, we are to accept it as from the Lord, whether we are able to discern the reason for it or not. We are to have faith and hope, even though the way is rough, and even though things might seem to be the very reverse of what we expected. "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord."-- Psalm 27:14.



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TEST OF THE APOSTLES AND ITS LESSON

"Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."--Mark 14:38.
WE RECOGNIZE these as words spoken by the Master in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night in which He was betrayed. They were addressed especially, and with much force, to the eleven Apostles who were with Him, and more particularly to the three whom He had called apart to be a little nearer to Him, as He went a little further on in the Garden to pray. The Master seemed to realize that wonderful events were to take place that night. But the Apostles did not grasp the situation. Their ears were dull of hearing. They were not without loyalty--it was not a matter of indifference with them, but they did not comprehend.

We are to remember that at this time the Apostles were not begotten of the Holy Spirit, and could not, therefore, so fully watch with the Lord and pray with Him as if they had been spiritually enlightened. Jesus had told them that He would be crucified, but they had taken this statement as one of His dark sayings. They had heard very many of the parables which He had given to the people, which they were not able to understand. He had told them that when the Holy Spirit should come it would guide them into all Truth and show them things to come.

Amongst those dark sayings Jesus had told them that He was the Bread that come down from Heaven. This they did not understand, nor how He was like unto the Manna of olden times; neither did they understand how the eating of this Bread would give them life. These things had been so mysterious that they could not accept them, and, as a result, many of those once interested fell away from Him. They said, How could the whole world eat His flesh or drink His blood?--it is ridiculous! So they walked no more with Him. But the Apostles and a few hundred brethren continued to have faith in Him. They said, There is some deep meaning in His words, and some hidden reason for His strange course; perhaps, as Jesus says, we shall in time understand. We see so many evidences that He is the Son of God that we must not stumble over these things. Thus they continued to believe in Him, and to hold these obscure statements in abeyance in their minds.

IMPULSIVE PETER'S MISTAKE

So, when Jesus told them that the Son of Man must go up to Jerusalem, and that the Jews would crucify Him, and that the third day He would rise again from the dead, they could not understand. He had already intimated that all the glorious promises referring to Messiah were applicable to Him. How, then, could He be crucified? Accordingly Peter began to upbraid Him, saying, What strange things you speak! It shall not thus be done unto Thee. But Jesus said unto him, "Get thee behind Me, adversary; thou art an offense unto Me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."--Matt. 16:23.

Peter, of course, recognized the rebuke and knew that he had made a mistake. He had thought that some evil might happen to the Master, but no such thing as that He would be crucified. A few days before a multitude of people had cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21:9.) There were a million or more Jews in Jerusalem who had hailed Him as King. Therefore the Apostles thought that the chief priests would not dare to do anything against Him. And now they had partaken of the Passover Supper, and Jesus had said to them that He desired to eat the Passover with them before He should suffer. Peter had declared that, though all should deny him, yet would he never deny his Master. Evidently Peter said to himself, What would there be to make me deny Him? I could not think of doing such a thing!

The disciples had thought that everything was propitious --so much so that Jesus found them disputing amongst themselves as to who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. And they had been so engrossed with these things they were discussing that they could not think of washing each other's feet. Then the Master and the Apostles had walked across the brook Kidron and to the Mt. of Olives. After they had entered the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus took Peter and James and John with Him and said, "Tarry ye here, while I go and pray yonder." Then He had returned to them, and finding them asleep had said, "Watch, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." But they could not think of any temptation into which they could enter in that peaceful spot.

TRIAL AND VICTORY IN GETHSEMANE

Jesus had agonizing experiences in the Garden. He was fearful lest in some way He might have violated the Law. He feared lest He had made some mistake and had not come up to the standard--the full requirements of the Father, in respect to the new life which He had begun. In such case His whole human life would be a failure, not for Himself only, but for the world of mankind whom He had come into the world to save from sin and death. After the Lord had passed through His trial-experiences in the Garden, God sent Him special help. An angel came and ministered unto Him. We do not know the nature of this help; but if we can read between the lines, the angel gave Him the assurance that He had fulfilled His part--He had rendered full obedience to the Father's will.

Just as soon as Jesus received this assurance, He became very calm. If He had the Father's favor, the Father's blessing, He could pass through any experience, no matter what it might be! Then he returned to His [R5331 : page 312] disciples intimating that He had gotten the victory. He was no longer in trouble. He had said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death." But now confidence had come, in the assurance God had given Him. No longer would it be necessary to watch and pray, so far as He was concerned.

RESISTING TEMPTATION AUGMENTS STRENGTH

We note that to the disciples this exhortation was specially needful at that time. With such peculiar trials and testings before them, if they had been watching and praying to God for wisdom and grace, lest they should fall in their temptations--enter into them--they would have had help to resist them. They would have fallen into temptation the same, but they would not have entered into it. Temptations may be presented to us many times a day, and when they come we may be deceived and misled. But a temptation resisted makes us so much the stronger to resist the next. And so the Apostle James says that we are to "count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations." (James 1:2.) But no one could count a temptation a joy if, when it should come upon him, he would fall in it--enter into it.

St. Peter could never look back without regret to the moment when he denied his Master. If he had been watching and praying for guidance, he would have come off conqueror when Jesus was arraigned before the tribunal; he would not have thought of denying his Lord. He would have been stronger when the temptation came, and would have said, No, I will never deny the Lord! I will cast in my lot with Him! Afterward he might have said, I tell you, brethren, it was a tight place! But I am rejoicing that I fell into that temptation and was yet able to come off conqueror in that terrible hour!

But Satan was desiring to have him, to sift him out, as it were. If, after he had denied the Lord, Peter had said, I will not back down now, I will give the Lord up entirely, and pass right out! then he would indeed have lost everything. But, although he was caught in the temptation, he ultimately gained the victory. It was cock-crowing time, and Peter, hearing the cock crow, said to himself, There, that is just what Jesus said--that before the cock should crow I would deny Him thrice. So St. Peter went out and wept bitterly; and, after he had it out with God in tears and prayers, he started again in the good way. And so our entering into temptation may not mean our utter rout. But the more we resist temptation, not allowing it to overcome us, the stronger characters we will become.

TEXT NOW APPLICABLE IN A SPECIAL SENSE

The experiences of the disciples in connection with this text have been, in the broad sense of the word, applicable to all of God's people throughout this Gospel Age, but they are particularly so today. Now is the time for the Church to be specially on the alert, to be attentive, to fortify themselves against the wiles of the world, the flesh and the Adversary. As the poet Longfellow has expressed it,

"Be not like dumb, driven cattle;
Be a hero in the strife!"

We might be in the Lord's army and yet be like driven cattle. But we are to be intelligent. The Lord has given us an understanding of His Plan. In this we have at the present time an advantage over the Apostles, for they had not yet seen the great Divine Plan of the [R5332 : page 312] Ages and the significance of the sufferings of the Church. We have much advantage in this way. Jesus had explained to them about Himself: "Thus it behooveth the Son of Man to suffer and to enter into His glory." And He had opened the Scriptures to them as far as they were able to understand, and had indicated the necessity of His suffering. Still they could not clearly understand. But we have an advantage in that we know what the Lord's Plan is; and so the words of our Lord are more forceful in their application to us than to the early Church.

Let us be watchful, active, alert, and co-labor with God and with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to consider the offer made to us--the great High calling--the most wonderful thing ever known in all creation! We shall never have another opportunity of showing God and our Lord Jesus our zeal for righteousness and our earnestness of spirit. The present opportunity is a special one. God has made it possible for all of us, who are in harmony with Him, to grow in grace and in knowledge, and thus to be more intelligent in our service. And we are to pray in harmony with that intelligence.

What may be the character of the temptations which shall come upon us, we may not clearly discern in advance; for if we knew all about them beforehand, they would be but slight temptations and easily overcome. Watch, therefore, and pray always. The only safe way is to be always prepared; for our Adversary, the Devil, is seeking whom he may devour. He knows our weak points better even than we do, and is ever ready to take advantage of them. Each of us needs the Spirit of the Lord in his heart, as well as His "grace to help in time of need," if we would be overcomers. Our daily exhortation to self should be,

"My soul, be on thy guard,
Ten thousand foes arise;
The hosts of Sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the prize."



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PATIENCE A CARDINAL GRACE OF CHARACTER

"Ye have need of patience [cheerful endurance], that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the [fulfilment of] the promise.--Heb. 10:36.
THE Apostle is addressing the Christian Church --You who have left the world, who have accepted Christ as your Standard-bearer, as well as your Redeemer, and who are seeking to walk in His steps, and have made consecration of your life to the Lord--"Ye have need of patience." To a certain extent you did the will of God when you made your consecration to be dead with Christ. But that will of God was more deeply impressed upon you when you began to realize more than at first what this sacrifice would mean, and that only those who suffer with Christ shall reign with Him.

"After you were illuminated" you saw the matter clearly, and "endured a great fight of afflictions." This was well. But St. Paul goes on to show in the context that some, after having demonstrated their zeal for a certain time, become cold. They become weary in well doing. And he tells us that these thus cut themselves off from the favors, privileges and blessings belonging to the Church of Christ. His exhortation is that those who are still loyal to God at heart continue so and exercise patience, remembering that this is one of the cardinal graces of Christian character. Many have naturally a little love, a little gentleness, a little patience, a little meekness, etc. But after we begin to grow in the graces of the Holy [R5332 : page 313] Spirit, we need patience to control the flesh, the spirit of the world, the spirit of selfishness.

The will of God is in one sense of the word the standard of God--full perfection--that we should be like our Father which is in Heaven. But God remembers that we are fallen creatures, and that we cannot do perfectly. Our text does not mean that we must do the will of God in the perfect and complete sense; but rather, as the Apostle elsewhere says, ours is a reasonable service. When we present our bodies living sacrifices to God, it is our reasonable service. God does not expect us to do that which is impossible.

THE PURPOSE OF OUR TESTING

What is this will of God? Stated in concrete form, "This is the will of God [concerning you], even your sanctification." (I Thess. 4:3.) As the Apostle teaches, consecration is a full and complete setting apart. If we do such a setting of ourselves apart at the beginning, then the Father sanctifies us--begets us as New Creatures, and sets us apart. So we have, first of all, our setting of ourselves apart; and then God's acceptance by our begetting of the Holy Spirit as New Creatures, and His continued work in us.

We are doing the will of God when we fully consecrate ourselves to Him, and attain a place in the New Creation. But He wills to put us to the test. How much do we love God? How sincere are we? A soldier in an army might be loyal in time of quiet, but how would he be in time of stress? Would he desert the flag then, or would he prove himself a good soldier? He would need a great deal of patience. If he says he loves his country, his endurance and faithfulness will be tested in her time of need. He must go on picket duty; he must sometimes do menial work. He must endure wearisome marches, and many privations. All these things are required of a faithful soldier. If he is faithful, he is likely to be promoted, honored, for his faithful service.

So we are tested as to our loyalty. What are we willing to endure for Christ's sake? How fully are we submitted? How deep does our submission go? Are we wholly in harmony with the will of the Lord? Is our interest merely superficial, or does it enter fully into our hearts? The question is not merely, Shall we make the consecration?--but after the Christian has taken all of these preliminary steps, to what extent will he manifest patient endurance and obedience and loyalty?

God puts us to these tests because He has great honors to bestow on those who will be overcomers. They are to be a select company, and these will receive the Promise. As the Apostle says, it is after we have proved our loyalty to the very last, that we shall receive the Promise; i.e., its fulfilment.

THE ESSENCE OF THE PROMISE

When, where, what is the Promise? Undoubtedly the promise will be received in the resurrection. The promise includes all that God has in reservation for them that love Him--that love Him more than they love houses and lands, or children, or parents, or friends, or husbands or wives, or self, or any other thing.

The particular promise that the Apostle refers to here is The Promise. All our hopes and blessings are centered in the original Promise made to Abraham, when God brought him out of the land of Chaldea into the land of Canaan. God promised Abraham that in His Seed should all the families of the earth be blessed. That has been the great Promise for encouragement to the Seed, to give them patience and fortitude. This is the essence of the Promise--that those who receive the Promise shall be the Seed of Abraham to bless the world. The faithful in Christ will be associated with Him in His Kingdom-- will have the honor of blessing all the families of the earth under this Kingdom. Every creature of God shall then be brought to a knowledge of His Truth, and shall have the opportunity of being restored, if he will, to perfection, to all that was redeemed on Calvary.

Now the opportunity is different. Now the selection is being made of those who will inherit the Promise as the Seed of Abraham. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the Promise." The Apostle is in our text urging that we continue to be Christ's and to abide in Him. All those who thus remain in Him to the end will be glorified with Him. In order to remain faithful, we must have His spirit of devotion.

NOTABLE EXAMPLES OF PATIENT ENDURANCE

St. James exhorts the Church saying, "Take, my brethren, the Prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience." Those whom the Apostle addressed already knew of the sufferings of Jesus. They already knew of the faithfulness of the Apostles. And now he was calling the attention of their minds to something additional. He is urging, Look back into the past, and see that patient endurance has been characteristic of all who have lived holy lives. These examples should be lessons of encouragement to us, in addition to those we have in the living brethren around us!

Then there is always something to be gained in casting the mind backward. The things close at hand are too near to be seen in their proper light. It was fitting that the Apostle should call attention to those faithful ones of the past, so that we might be encouraged to note what God desires. In those who are His, He desires a willingness to endure patiently and loyally, thus manifesting true character, that which greatly pleases Him.

As we look back over the Old Testament record of the Prophets, we notice that many of them displayed this very quality referred to by the Apostle as loyalty to the Lord, a willingness to suffer afflictions for His sake, and not as experiences brought through chance upon them by the people. We see Moses--how willing he was to suffer [R5333 : page 313] affliction because of his faith in the Promise made to Abraham and his conviction that the Promise would come true. He preferred to suffer with the people of God rather than to live at ease in the royal family of Pharaoh, into which he had been adopted.

We see in Job another example of patient endurance of tribulation and of strong opposition for a considerable time. We see the same in Jeremiah--how much his faithfulness cost him of hardship, and how patient he was. We see the same in Daniel the Prophet--his faithfulness to the Lord, his patient endurance of whatever God permitted to come against him. And so with others of the Prophets. And we read that their experiences were written for our admonition, our instruction. Although they belong to one Dispensation and we to another, yet their experiences furnish us good lessons.--I Cor. 10:6,11.

PERSONAL APPLICATION OF THESE LESSONS

Applying these lessons to ourselves, we may say that to whatever extent we may be privileged to speak the Word of God and to suffer persecution therefore, if we take it with patience, it will bring us a corresponding blessing and commendation from the Lord. But we cannot think it would be pleasing to Him if, when we suffer, we think, Oh, how terrible, terrible, terrible! Such an attitude would not be taking His Word for it, that "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," [R5333 : page 314] and that all things shall work out for our good.-- 2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:28.

When Job was rich, prosperous, God tested him by taking from him all his family, all his wealth, his health, and even allowing his wife to turn against him. Yet in all this Job did not turn against God. He did indeed express wonder, but he looked to the Lord in faith and said, "Though worms shall destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." I shall yet receive the manifestation of His favor, and learn what He means by these experiences, these afflictions, coming upon me. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."--Job 13:15.

After his testings had been accomplished, God gave him back children, houses, lands, friends. And these coming in abundance shadowed forth the blessings of Restitution--how the tribulations of mankind will eventually work out for good to those who will love God. If those who are now suffering affliction because of their loyalty to the Lord, because of their trust in His arrangements, will take afflictions and trials joyfully, these will surely work out good to them--"a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."



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FERVENCY OF SPIRIT NECESSARY TO OVERCOMING

"Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."--Romans 12:11.
THIS text might very properly be transposed to read: "In serving the Lord, be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit." The primary thought, the central thought, is that the Lord is to be served, and on this account we are to be careful to learn what kind of service is acceptable.

We ask first, Why should the great Creator of all things, the Upholder of all things, need our service? And the Bible answers us that God needs no service whatever, that He is quite competent to carry out His own Plan, but that He is pleased to have the co-operation, the sympathy, of His own servants--not only of the human family, but also of the spiritual family--that God is not making an exhibition of His own power, but that all of His intelligent creatures are permitted to become more or less participants in the one Plan of which He is the Center.

This is particularly true of the earth. God permitted the Adversary to overturn things, and has permitted sin to have its course, in order to illustrate certain great principles that operate in the universe, according to certain laws. Whoever violates the principles of righteousness will have proportionately an unsatisfactory experience, as sin is contaminating and contagious. And so what might appear as God's inability to control sin and its evil influences will ultimately be seen from a different standpoint --illustrating His Justice, Wisdom, Power and Love.

As some great business firm might say, Now we do not need any capital, but we will hold the balance of stock, and allow some to go out amongst the employees, so that each one may be associated in the business--have an interest in the business; just so God makes use of capital, having plenty otherwise Himself. God therefore arranged the Plan just as it is.

In God's Plan, the Logos was to have the first opportunity of becoming man's Savior and of bringing everything earthly to a condition of full perfection. God so arranged the matter that it would require a death to redeem mankind. God could have imposed a different penalty. He could have put a penalty of ten years of disfavor, or what not, for the first act of disobedience. But He did not. He put the penalty of death. And then He made the proposition to the great Logos that if He would carry out His Plan of being the Redemption-price for Adam and his race, which would cost Him His life, He would be granted still greater honors.

So the Logos left the glory that He had with the Father and humbled Himself to become a man and to die, even the death of the cross. "Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him." In this way our Lord Jesus was permitted to be a co-laborer with God. He was required to be faithful, zealous in spirit, fervent in spirit. And we read of Him, "The zeal of thine House hath consumed Me." He was to be self-sacrificing and not self-seeking.

The pictures of these things were given aforetime-- before He came into the world. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so should the Son of Man be lifted up, etc. It required a great deal of fervency of spirit to carry our Lord through all the bitter experiences of His earthly existence. He needed to have a great deal of faith in the Father and a great deal of devotion to the Father. And the fact that He overcame the difficulties shows that He had the faith and the fervency.

WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND?

But our Heavenly Father's Plan is even broader than this. He planned that Jesus should have associates. And so the Apostle declares that God, who foreknew our Lord Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep, foreknew us also by Him--with Him. And if we partake of His sufferings in this present time, we shall also share with Him in the glories to follow. This was premeditated in God's Plan from before the foundation of the world.

This feature of the Plan began to operate at Pentecost. Those who had already believed in God as a Savior, and who had tendered their hearts to the Lord, could not be accepted until Jesus ascended up on High and made application of His merit for them--on behalf of all such. The Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. Immediately they were privileged to begin a service for the Lord-- a service that was made necessary in God's arrangement. He could have done without this service, but He did not --He arranged to have this very service. He purposed that a witness should be given to the world, to gather out a people for His name, and that those who should give the witness should show their faithfulness in the trials and tests that would come to them.

The Father is seeking such to serve Him as serve Him in spirit and in Truth. Therefore He allows the way to be made narrow by the opposition of the Adversary, the flesh and the world, so that none but those who are fervent in spirit will stand the tests. Others will not enter this work, or will fall out by the way. They will say that it is too hard. If you are God's servant they will say all manner of evil about you. They will say that you are a hypocrite, etc. God does not cause the Adversary to do this, but He permits it, not because He is limited in Power and could not cause it to cease, but because He is testing all who would be followers of Jesus. And He wishes to have no others in that Elect company than those who are fervent in spirit. Therefore are there such services and such tests.

THE CAUSE OF OPPOSITION

The great business in life of those who would honor and serve the Lord is to serve the brethren and the Truth. Everything that represents the Truth these [R5334 : page 315] soldiers of the cross are to uphold--everything that is right, just, true. They will give their approval to such things and their disapproval to other things. This is what causes the opposition of the flesh and of the world and of the Adversary.

So, then, Christians have become dead to the world and alive toward God. Having thus been received and counted in as a member of Christ, every such one has as his special business the service of the Lord, the brethren and the Truth. And according to his abilities and opportunities is he to engage in this business. And this is to be his mind or disposition--to serve the Lord. And he is to be fervent in spirit, not indifferent, not lukewarm. As the Lord Jesus was fervent in spirit, even so are we to be. The fervency of His spirit for God and His arrangements consumed His life. So it must be with all those who serve God--those who walk in the Master's footsteps. This must be, necessarily, the chief business in life for these people of God. [R5335 : page 315]

HOW TO REDEEM THE TIME

It is necessary for us to engage in some kind of occupation in order to secure a livelihood. God has so arranged in order to prove our faithfulness. Further, as other people are engaged in these same occupations, laboring for the comforts of life, we are compelled to compete with these to some extent. But as we see that we have a nobler business, we shall see to it that all these secular things in life are cut off, as far as possible, in order that we may have the more time for the Lord's service. The old ambition to gain earthly things would lead us to lay up treasures on earth. But the hope set before us in the Gospel leads us rather to lay up treasures in Heaven, "where moth doth not corrupt," etc.

So this class do with as few luxuries in life as possible, in order that they may lay down their time and strength in His service. And the more they do this, the more they become copies of God's dear Son. Thus, if any one is engaged in the carpenter business--the same in which our Lord engaged when He was a youth--he will say, How can I minimize the affairs of life so that I can give more of my time to the Lord and less to earthly matters? And so it will be his endeavor to cut off the desire for earthly luxuries. More and more he will count the affairs of this life as loss and dross in comparison with the glory of the life beyond.

In proportion, therefore, as we imbibe the Truth, in that same proportion will be our desire to be fervent in spirit--in that same proportion we shall be striving to sacrifice, to cut off, to devote to the Lord this time and talent and energy. We do not think that the Lord would wish us to be too particular regarding earthly things and waste valuable time. For instance, we might say, I will keep this house as unto the Lord. And we might give too much of our time and attention to different matters about the house. But the Lord is inviting us to choose the better part and not to give too much time and attention to procuring and caring for ornaments and bric-a-brac. Whoever would give too much time to the housework or to other earthly affairs would show that he did not appreciate the privilege of the Lord's service.

When we look about us, we find that all men need so much and the Household of Faith need so much. "What do they need?" They need the Truth. "Is the Truth, then, to go now to the world?" Yes, to all who have the hearing ear. There is a satisfaction and a blessing in having the mind properly sustained. We would rather be without all the luxuries of life, and have this Truth. We would rather suffer the loss of everything else than suffer the loss of our being.

If everything else in life were taken from us, and we were without a penny in the world, we would still be rich toward God if we had the Truth. And so we all are needy in respect to this intelligence, this knowledge. When we perceive this, how could we be indifferent to the telling forth of the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! So, then, God has so arranged this matter that all those who believe and become children of God may have a share with Him in His great work. And since we know these things, they become a test of our loyalty and our love. And the Lord seeing or not seeing this character in us will determine whether or not we shall be associated in the honorable work on the other side of the veil.



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GOD BURIED MOSES, HIS SERVANT
--NOVEMBER 16.--DEUTERONOMY 34:1-12.--

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."--Psalm 116:15.
MOSES is one of the grand characters on the pages of history. His nobility looms up as a great patriot, general, judge and ruler of his people; and still more grand does he appear in his relationship toward God. He was the personification of obedience and loyalty as a servant of Jehovah. In this he typifies the "greater than Moses," Messiah. As we read, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up from amongst your brethren like unto me" (Deuteronomy 18:15)--I am a diminutive picture or representation of that great Teacher, Leader and King whom Jehovah will anoint to be the real Deliverer of Israel and the world from the bondage of Satan, sin and death.--Hebrews 2:14,15.

Any one may discern something of the greatness of Moses from the records. Any one may perceive that it required great patriotism to forsake the courts of Pharaoh to cast in his lot with his brethren, the Jewish nation, and to become their leader out of bondage to the Land of Promise. Any one can note the patriotism of the man when, as mediator for his people, he pleaded with God for the forgiveness of their trespasses, declining the proposal that the nation be cut off and that he and his family inherit the promises instead. Any one can see that great faith in God was necessary for the position occupied by Moses. But only comparatively few see the real depths of Moses' character; for only a few grasp the real situation and realize the Divine call to the nation of Israel and the work of Moses as their mediator.

MOSES, THE SERVANT OF GOD

We cannot help feeling sympathetic toward this grand servant of God--"the meekest man in all the earth"--in respect to the particular cause which, as a penalty, barred him from entering Canaan with his people and made him, in a typical way, a representative of those who die the Second Death. After so many years of patience and longsuffering and loyalty to God, in an unguarded moment Israel's great mediator failed in meekness and in loyalty. Directed by the Lord to speak to the rock, which on a previous occasion he had smitten, Moses petulantly smote the rock the second time, saying to the people, "Ye rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?"

The rock whence came the life-giving stream represented [R5333 : page 316] the Rock of Ages--Messiah, who was to be smitten once more. Compare Hebrews 6:6.

The fact that Moses was used as a type of the Second Death class in no sense implies that he experienced the Second Death, nor that he cut himself off from Divine favor. The punishment which he received merely helped to complete the typical picture--he might not enter Canaan--he might not enter the Promised Land.

CANAAN VIEWED FROM MT. PISGAH

Pisgah is one of the peaks of Mount Nebo. From it Moses got a considerable glimpse of the Promised Land, toward which his eye of faith had looked for eighty years and toward which he had laboriously guided the nation of Israel for forty years. This grand old servant of God, fully resigned to the Divine will and arrangement, was put to sleep by the Lord whom he served. The Jews have a saying that the Lord kissed him there. His place of sepulchre was hidden--doubtless to prevent anything of the spirit of idolatry. The New Testament declares that Satan strove for possession of the body of Moses, doubtless with a view to using it in some idolatrous way, but Jehovah forbade.

MOSES DIED AND WAS BURIED

We are not to overlook the fact that Moses died, and that he will not live again until the Divinely-appointed time when, under Messiah's Kingdom, he will be resurrected. Meantime he has slept with his fathers, as the Bible generally records of all who died.

The account of the transfiguration of our Lord and the appearance of Moses and Elias with Him in that vision must not be made to contradict the statement that Moses died, and that the only hope for anybody is by a resurrection from the dead. (I Cor. 15:13,14.) We have Jesus' own word for it that neither Moses nor Elias went to Heaven. He declared, "No man hath ascended up to Heaven." (John 3:13.) Jesus explained that what the disciples saw on the mountain was not a reality, but a vision--just as the trumpets, beasts, etc., of Revelation are not realities, but visions. "Tell the vision to no man." (Matthew 17:9.) St. Peter, who witnessed the vision, declares that it was a representation of Messiah's Kingdom. (2 Peter 1:16-18.) Moses represented one class and Elijah another, as participators with Jesus in His Messianic glory--in the Kingdom which is to bless the world, the Kingdom which, established on earth, will quickly correct wrong and effect the accomplishment of God's will as completely as it is done in Heaven.

GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM

At the foundation of all of God's dealings with Natural Israel and with Spiritual Israel lies His great Promise made to Abraham and bound with an oath--"In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

God purposed from the very beginning that the curse of death should not be an everlasting curse on the race. From the beginning He purposed in Himself the healing of sickness, sorrow and pain, and that the time would come when He would roll away the curse. From the beginning He premeditated sending the Lamb of God, who by redeeming the world should take away its sin, lift the curse and bring in a blessing to mankind in its stead. Yet the first clear statement of this Divine purpose was made to Abraham--that himself and his posterity should be associated with God in the great work of human uplift and blessing.

Although God knew that no member of the human family could perfectly keep the Divine Law, nevertheless it was expedient that this matter should be exemplified. Hence, before God was ready to bring in the Messianic blessing, He made a proposition to Abraham's posterity through Jacob--suggesting to them that if they would show their loyalty by keeping the Divine Law God would be ready to use them as the promised Seed of Abraham for the blessing of all nations. Israel's sixteen centuries of endeavor under the Law are summed up by St. Paul, saying, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight."--Romans 3:20.

PREPARATION OF THE SEED

This led up to Messiah's time. The Logos, by virtue of a special birth, became Jesus and sacrificially laid down His life, in harmony with Divine foreknowledge. To Him were gathered such of the natural Israelites as were saintly at heart, to be His disciples--to share in His sufferings [R5334 : page 316] and death and to be made partakers of His glory and exaltation to the Divine nature. These Elect, or select, ones are with Jesus to constitute the antitypical Moses. To this end they were called, or raised up from amongst their brethren, as Moses prophesied. Not enough of such "Israelites indeed" being found, Divine Wisdom has been calling and selecting others throughout this Age from amongst the Gentiles--from every kindred, nation, people and tongue.

Thus gradually God has been preparing the great Prophet, Priest, King and Judge, who during the thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom will be the Mediator between God and all who desire to draw near to Him and to receive His blessing. These will be related to the repentant world as the priests of Israel were related to their nation; but their work will be efficacious, and not a failure, because based upon the "better sacrifices" for sins (Heb. 9:23), and therefore backed by Divine Power in the forgiveness of sins and the deliverance of the willing and obedient out of bondage to sin and death into the glorious liberty of the children of God. This grand antitype is before us and will, we believe, soon have its glorious accomplishment.

The Messiah whom God is thus preparing, composed of Jesus the Head and all the Elect of Israel and of the whole world, the Body of Messiah, will, like the type, be very faithful, loyal, patriotic toward God and toward the people. Indeed, it is one of the tests of these that they shall be willing to lay down their lives for the brethren and be faithful to the principles of the Divine character even unto death.

MOSES' MESSAGE TO ISRAEL

The Book of Deuteronomy may in a general sense be said to be the dying message of Moses to Israel. It is supposed to have been uttered within a few days of his death.

The first address begins with Chapter 1:6 and concludes with Chapter 4:40.

The second address begins with Chapter 5 and extends to the end of Chapter 26.

Third address, Chapters 27, 28.

Fourth address, Ratification of the Covenant, Chapters 29 and 30.

Joshua appointed to be the successor of Moses, Chapter 31:1-8.

The Song of Moses, Chapter 32--"The Rock of Israel" --delivered on the very day in which his summons came.

The Blessing of the Tribes, Chapter 33, on the same day.

The tenor of these addresses was hope toward God, faith in the promises and loyalty to their Covenant engagements.



[R5335 : page 317]

ISRAEL UNDER A NEW LEADER
--NOVEMBER 23.--JOSHUA 1:1-9.--

"Be strong and of a good courage."--V.9.
ISRAEL spent thirty days in mourning for their great leader, Moses, yet with one accord accepted Joshua as their new leader by Divine appointment through Moses. Like other Bible heroes, Joshua was renowned for his faith and his loyalty to God. At the time of taking Moses' place he was in his eighty-third year, yet full of vigor, and evidently the best qualified man for the position. He and Caleb only had been of mature years when the Israelites left Egypt. They only had been witnesses of God's marvelous dealings with His people. They two had been the spies who brought an encouraging report of Canaan, which the people refused and on account of which refusal the adults died during the succeeding forty years of wilderness journeying.

The fact that Moses was vigorous at one hundred and twenty, and Joshua at eighty-three, speaks loudly to us in confirmation of the Bible's teaching that Adam was created perfect, and that the entire race has since been fallen in sin and death--sharing Adam's penalty, "Dying, thou shalt die." The intelligence of these men, as well as their vigor, quite contradict the Evolution theory; for this very Joshua had been one of the slaves in Egypt.

ISRAEL'S REAL LEADER--GOD

Not for a moment are we to lose sight of the fact that God had adopted the nation of Israel and entered into a special Covenant with them; and that, therefore, He was their real Captain and Leader--Moses, Joshua and others being merely His representatives and mouthpieces. We have already referred to the reasons for the adoption of Israel by the Almighty, and in a subsequent lesson will consider them more fully.

THE NEW LEADER'S NAME

Joshua's name was originally Hoshea, the same as that of the Prophet Hosea, signifying salvation. To this was prefixed (Numbers 13:16) Je, an abbreviation representing the word Jehovah. Thus the name became Jehoshua, signifying Jehovah's salvation. This was shortened to Joshua and Jeshua. (Nehemiah 8:17.) The Greek form of this word in the Septuagint is Jesous--Jesus.

For twenty-seven years Joshua was the leader of Israel, faithful to God and to the people. He not only led them through Jordan and directed in the conquering of city after city, but he divided the land amongst the tribes and governed the people with great acceptance, dying at the age of one hundred and ten.

It would not do for us to contrast Joshua with Moses as a leader; for they were men of totally different types. Indeed, any one contrasted with Moses would be disadvantaged, so high did that great statesman tower above the average of humanity then or since. But while Joshua could not be Moses, the leader, commander, law-giver, he was faithful as a follower of Moses, as one who obeyed the Divine Law, and whose faith and influence with the people were helpful to them. He was just what God wished him to be, and whoever is worthy of such a testimony is truly great.

The Lord's command to Joshua was, "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel....There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee....Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

THE LAND OF PROMISE

That Joshua and Israel in conquering Canaan should take forcible possession of it is called in question by some. They ask, By what right might one branch of the human family destroy another and seize their land? Where is the justice of such a course, not to mention the absence of love? How could the Golden Rule be applied to such a course--do unto others as you would be done by?

There is but one answer to this query; and, rightfully seen, it is a satisfactory answer. The Lord declares that the earth is His, that He gave it to the children of men, as represented by Father Adam. (Psalm 115:16.) But the gift was conditioned upon obedience and loyalty-- disobedience, disloyalty, being punishable by death. Adam incurred this penalty; and his children, under the laws of heredity, shared it with him, because born in sin and shapen in iniquity. Thus all human right in the earth was abrogated by the death sentence upon the sinner.

God purposed in Himself the recovery of Adam and his family from the curse of death--through Messiah-- through His death and by the power of His Messianic Kingdom, not yet established. In preparation for these blessings to come, God laid hold upon the nation of Israel and blessed them by making a Covenant with them. Although they could not fulfil the terms of the Covenant and obtain the choicest blessing of God, nevertheless the Israelites were greatly blessed by their Law Covenant, and many of them were fitted and prepared by it for cooperation with Messiah in His Kingdom in due time. Meantime, the experiences of Israel were overruled by the Almighty, to make of them types and symbols illustrative of the Divine Plan as it will be finally outworked on a higher plane.--I Corinthians 10:11.

In carrying out this arrangement with Israel, God promised them and gave them Palestine. He explained to them, nevertheless, that this gift was not because of their worthiness, but because of His favor toward them in pursuit of His own great plans previously outlined to Abraham. He further explained that the people of Canaan were not making progress, and that their further continuance would be neither for their good nor for the [R5336 : page 317] Lord's glory--as with the Sodomites, whom God took away as He saw good.--Ezekiel 16:49,50.

TO SHEOL, NOT TO TORMENT

It is well that we should remember that the Bible hell, to which the Canaanites went when they were slaughtered, is not the hell of torment pictured to us in the creeds. Their destruction by the Israelites sent them to Sheol, to Hades, to the tomb, where "there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device." (Eccles. 9:10.) There they sleep with their forefathers--just as we read of all the good as well as of all the evil ones of that time. Abraham slept with his fathers, who were heathen men.

All through Bible history we read that both good and bad, dying, were gathered to their fathers--slept with their fathers. There they are still, waiting for the glorious resurrection Morning, when Messiah's Kingdom, having inaugurated a reign of righteousness, will bring the earth to its Edenic condition and bring back eventually every man in his own order--all that sleep in Hades, in Sheol, in the tomb.--I Corinthians 15:21-29.

Death with humanity is totally different from death with the brute, because of the Divine promise that there shall be a resurrection of the human dead, the just and [R5336 : page 318] the unjust; and because in fulfilment of that promise God has already sent His Son. Jesus already has died for human sin, thus opening up the way for the resurrection-- that God might be just and yet be the Justifier of those accepting Jesus.

True, few have accepted Him as yet, because few have come to a knowledge of the Truth. The great masses of the world are still blind and deaf, and know not. The glorious promise is that in Messiah's Day not only shall all be awakened from the tomb, but the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth. Then all the blind eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped. All will have the opportunity of returning to Divine favor under Messiah's Kingdom. Those refusing to come into harmony will be classed as wilful rebels, and will die the Second Death.

The nation of Canaan, like all other nations, will have a share in that glorious time when Jesus, the Light of the world, will lighten every man which shall come into the world.--John 1:9.

From this viewpoint, the taking of Palestine from the people who were using it to no profit themselves, and the giving of it to Israel for the enactment of types of good things to come, was not injustice, but wisdom. And taking away by the sword the people already condemned to death was just as proper as if they had been taken away by famine and pestilence. In any event, the Divine provision for them all through Christ is a blessing, which will reach them in Messiah's Day, when the earth shall be free from the curse. Then the curse will be rolled away and the blessing of the Lord shall be rolled upon them, when the enlightened will love righteousness and hate iniquity. To all such there will be no more sighing, no more dying, no more crying. Wilful evil-doers will be destroyed; and all the earth having been brought to perfection, God's will shall be done on earth as perfectly as it is done in Heaven.



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CHOOSING ELDERS AND DEACONS

NUMEROUS inquiries have come to us indicating that some of the brethren have difficulty in applying the suggestions given in Vol. VI, on the subject of election of servants for the Classes--elders and deacons.

It was not our thought there to lay down an invariable rule on the subject. The Bible gives none, and no one else has a right to establish such a rule. Our suggestion was that wherever possible the election should be unanimous, and unless seventy-five per cent. of the Class, or more, favored a brother's election, it would be rather unwise for him to accept the office--the service. We did not by this mean that a minority of twenty-five or thirty per cent. should be encouraged to obstruct the Class and hinder an election.

Strictly speaking, a majority of one in a Class would decide any matter except as love might come in to urge a consideration of the sentiments of others. If, for instance, a Class numbered one hundred, fifty-one of these would have a right to decide respecting who should be the servants of the Church, and the other forty-nine should very quietly acquiesce, recognizing the fact that they constitute only a minority, and should loyally strive to support the will of the majority.

Only the spirit of love and the best interests of all in the Class suggests more than fifty-one per cent. Love should strive for a unanimous vote. But how might this be obtained? We will offer a suggestion.

Suppose that in a Class of one hundred six Elders were considered necessary for the service. A, B, C, D, E, F would represent available candidates of more or less ability. A might have a hundred votes; B, ninety; C, eighty; D, seventy; E, sixty; F, fifty. Under a strict voting on the lines of preference only two would be selected on a ninety per cent. basis; but our thought would be that the entire six might be unanimously elected, if they were on the average as good material as the Class possessed, and if nothing were known derogatory to their moral characters.

It is a mistake to think that the standards established by St. Paul are to be taken literally, for no one would be found fully up to all the requirements. The Apostle has stated what the ideal Elder would be. Each voter should have this ideal before his mind in thinking of the will of the Lord; but the Class is not to be left without an Elder unless there are serious blemishes.

Our Lord similarly set a perfect standard before us when He said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48.) Who is perfect in the sense that God is perfect? "There is none righteous; no, not one." (Rom. 3:10.) The Master evidently meant that we should not measure ourselves by a low standard, but by the perfect standard, that thus we would be assisting ourselves up to the grandest ideals in respect to our own lives and characters and in respect to those chosen to be Elders and ensamples to the Flock.

Be it always remembered that none are to vote except those professing full consecration, manifested by the usual symbol--immersion in water. Such as have not symbolized their consecration are not to be disowned as brethren, but should be considered so immature as not to be competent to express an opinion in respect to who would be qualified to serve the Church, and, of course, would not be qualified to be servants themselves.

Another question which here and there is obtruding itself is, Should any one be chosen as a servant of the Church who has not taken the special Vow which so many of us have found very helpful, and which has been recommended to all? We cannot make the Vow a test of brotherhood, for, even though we believe that the Lord has specially brought it forth at this time, and that to a certain extent He intends it to serve as a test amongst the consecrated, nevertheless the Bible does not authorize us to make this a test of brotherhood. It is a matter of judgment rather than of Divine direction, just as the candidate's misuse of the English language, or uncouthness of manner might properly enough be taken into consideration, although not mentioned in the Bible amongst the qualifications for eldership.

It would rejoice us greatly to know that all the dear Elders and Deacons amongst the Lord's people everywhere could see eye to eye with respect to the reasonableness of the Vow, and its harmony with the Divine Word and with our consecration Vow, to which it is, as it were, a blue fringe, or border and finish. One can scarcely refrain from wondering what objection any Christian brother or sister could have to that Vow. To some of us it seems as though it would imply either something wrong as respects their heart intentions or something defective in their reasoning faculties. However, we are not competent to judge so closely. The Master said, "Judge not."

Our thought is that in selecting Elders or Deacons a preference might well be given to those who have taken the Vow and who see eye to eye on this subject. Nevertheless, if the brethren who are competent to lead Classes [R5337 : page 319] are acceptable in every other way and are not opposers of the Vow, they might be chosen. This would be especially true of those who declare that they are living up to all the requirements of the Vow to the best of their ability, and merely decline to take it because of fear that somehow or other the taking of this simple Vow might injure them while it helps others. We may not understand the processes of their reasoning, nor the attitude of their hearts, but we may under such circumstances pass over what we cannot understand nor appreciate.



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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS

PROSPEROUS MEETINGS IN GERMANY

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Brother and Sister Rutherford have just left for Zurich. The eight public meetings were quite a success:

                                               Addresses recd.
Hamburg ....2,500; hundreds turned away............  616
Berlin .....3,000; 500 of these in a second hall...  620
Dresden ....1,600; 750 turned away.................  700
Leipzig ....1,500; several hundred turned away.....  442
Elberfeld ..2,500; ................................  740
Siegen .....  800; 200 turned away.................  288
Coln .......2,000; several hundred turned away.....  346
Stuttgart ..4,000; ................................1,232
           ------                                  -----
           17,900                                  4,984

Together with the 16,000 addresses received in the last few months in connection with my discourses this makes 21,000. We will do what we can to feed these through our few able Colporteurs. They all received a copious supply of literature. Where it seems impossible to canvass these addresses soon, we will send them a handsome little circular illustrating the volumes.

Surely, the hungry ones can have food for thought and heart! We are much encouraged.

We are having a local convention here today and another public meeting tomorrow evening. I will do all I can to encourage the friends in the work and to show them the great privilege of service.

With much love in the Lord,
O. A. KOETITZ.


THE WORK IN HUNGARIA

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

The work in Hungary is much more difficult than in America, because the friends, with few exceptions, are very poor, and the work must be done on a much smaller scale. All would gladly work if they could find work to do. (This evidently refers to labor conditions.) We were obliged to give a number of the books free, and we were glad to be privileged thus to serve the Lord.

Last year I had 50,000 PEOPLES PULPITS and also 400 volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in Hungarian. These are all out now, and more are ordered.

There are at present forty-two small classes in various counties, in which we are received with gladness, and they rejoice with us in the revelation of Present Truth. The eleventh and twelfth of May we had a little convention, about 100 being present. How good and how pleasant it was to be there! (Psa. 133:1.) Some strangers were among us that gave evidence of being interested.

Seven brethren were elected as workers and servants of the Truth--Brother Kis, myself and five others. We have conventions semi-annually, and spend the time in building one another up and studying the Divine Plan. We rejoice in spirit with the brethren at a great distance, with whom we seldom come in contact. We had a baptism service, at which seventeen brethren and ten sisters symbolized their consecration into Christ's death. About 1,000 people were present at this service, even the police, and it was a blessing that they were there, for somebody wanted to create a disturbance, but the police quickly restored order. Praise the Lord!

We believe that none of these blinded men will be able to destroy the work of the Lord, but rather that all things will be done after the counsel of his own will. One of those who are now opposing the Truth was with us for two years and was very zealous in spreading the Truth; he gave up a paying position to be more fully used in the service, and because of his activities was cast out of the Baptist church. I received much help from him financially, and through his efforts I was privileged to lecture in the Baptist church. Now, however, he has turned against us.

There is great need at present for a brother who can speak both Roumanian and Hungarian, to help the friends and to aid in building them up to the full stature of a man. (Eph. 4:13.) Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send more laborers into the vineyard.--Matt. 9:37,38.

The pastors and priests of various denominations have sought to stop our work in a legal way. We were haled before the court. We have been able so far to defend our course. We hope also in the future to be able to hold high the Divine banner, going forth and following the living Captain of our faith, as well as his honored servant, our beloved Pastor C. T. Russell, and say with the Apostle Paul, "We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ."
KARL SZABO.--Hungaria.


SOBERNESS, DIGNITY, REVERENCE

DEAR BRETHREN:--

My attention was attracted by a peculiar little laugh that accompanied a brother's effort to lead a meeting. This "little" laugh kept up through all his talk, but seemed to be more pronounced when he seemed to feel he had given a "deep" thought, when he would "heh-hah, heh" in a very peculiar way. This was about three years ago. I have noticed it in different brethren and upon many occasions since, and more particularly during the past year. To me it seems very undignified and has got to where it is very disgusting to me. The serious thing about it is, it seems to be "catching," often involving several in the class, and the meeting is made peculiarly strange. Even with strong resistance I find myself indulging to my shame, sometimes. Even other brethren who seem to be more dignified and modest than I are often affected and I notice they seem to realize it. Those who practice it don't seem to realize it, but seem to use it as a kind of emphasis to what appears to them to be a very deep thought or explanation.
__________.


LITTLE POLISH CONVENTION

DEAR BRETHREN:--

Thinking that news of the welfare of the Polish friends would be gladly received, as well as of all of the saints, I desire to mention something of the results of our efforts to be built up in the most holy faith and in fellowship and in love.

The two classes of Polish friends (one in Milwaukee, Wis., and one in Chicago) arranged for a two-days' convention, or union meeting, which was held August 31 and September 1, 1913, in Kenosha, Wis., midway between the two localities. A program was arranged for, calling for nine discourses and two symposiums and a testimony meeting. Two of the discourses were for the public in the same hall; one, "The Plan of God," and the other, "Baptism." There were also symposiums on the "Fruits of the Spirit," and on the "Attributes of God." All the friends were much refreshed and encouraged to run on in the narrow way. A good time spiritually was had. It was hard for the friends to depart, and nearly all of the faces expressed a desire to continue the convention and special fellowship with God, for our Heavenly Father blessed our meeting wonderfully.

Arrangements were made for the giving of an opportunity, to those desiring, to symbolize their consecration unto death to do the Heavenly Father's will and to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. There were twelve immersed, six brethren and six sisters. The immersion took place in the lake. Although the lake was quite rough, the friends, and especially the sisters, who would never venture into the water under other circumstances, went bravely and yet with a dignity that characterizes all immersion services of the true saints of God, showing under a picture their death with Christ. While the friends were being immersed the remainder stood on the shore and sang in Polish, spiritual songs prepared for the occasion, such as "Happy Day," and "Our Best Friend," to the tune No. 134 in the hymnal, and several others which made the service very impressive and [R5338 : page 319] upbuilding for the singers and the immersed ones. That moment of witnessing will be long remembered by all present. A love feast was arranged for on the order held at the general conventions of the I.B.S.A. After this all went back to their duties, filled with the Lord's Holy Spirit. Such a wonderful blessing was realized that it would be almost impossible not to say something about it.

Praying for further blessings on these and the saints of God everywhere and with Christian love, I am,
Your brother in the One Hope,
W. K.--Ill.

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