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PERSECUTION--Re Living Godly.
QUESTION (1909)--1--"They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Who, the old man, or the new man?
ANSWER--I think that they both suffer some. Their interests are so closely related that if one suffers they both do.
PHOTO DRAMA--Re Exhibiting in Theaters.
QUESTION (1915)--2--Is it manifesting the spirit of Babylon to have the Photo Drama of Creation exhibited in a theater after the theater manager has just shown his regular production?
ANSWER--It would not seem that way to me. If so it would be wrong to talk to a man about the Truth after he had been hearing some bad talk. This would seem like reasoning in a circle. Each one has a right, however, to use his own judgment. If any of you are in the photo drama work, do not do anything to hurt your conscience. As for me, I would be glad to show the drama to 5,000 after they had attended a regular theater, if I had the opportunity.
PILGRIMS--Re Local Pilgrim Work.
QUESTION (1910)--3--Where a brother starts out to do a similar work to the Pilgrim work on his own account and he reports to various classes, making dates, aud asking them to arrange meetings, etc., I would like to ask what the attitude of the class should be in that respect?
ANSWER--The Society, wishing to be entirely free and to leave everybody else entirely free, has no means of doing other than it does, namely, to try to send forth as pilgrims only such as it believes would be especially qualified for the work. We do not doubt there are other brethren that have many of the qualifications for the work, and it is not for us to decide they have not, and that they could not do any good; therefore, we do not attempt to assert authority over any congregation, but leave the matter entirely to the congregation. The fact that the Society is not sending out the brother, implies that it has not seen him to be one that it believes to be especially favorable as a representative of the Society. Now that does not reflect against any one. I think of two cases. One is the case of a brother who is a very nice brother, as far as I have any knowledge of him, and believe he is very loyal to the truth, and a very good brother, but the brother has a deficiency of education; and while we do not claim at all that education should stand in the way of his serving, yet we believe it would not be wise, not be to the glory of the Lord, that we should send forth as a pilgrim a brother, even if he had other qualifications, who lacked ability to speak the English language with a fair degree of correctness. That is the only objection to that brother; nothing against his character at all. Another brother, who has opportunity of doing some service, and who is a very nice brother, and whom we would be very glad to have in the pilgrim work, if his family and home affairs permitted, but his home affairs are not in such shape that he can give his time to the service. We are very glad if he finds opportunity to run out on Sundays and serve the friends. All cases are not just like these two, but I am giving these two favorable illustrations so that you may have them before your minds. Our thought would be that each congregation [Q535] must judge respecting any such person, and use their own judgment as to whether it would be to their profit to have these serve them or not. If they think it is, then notify them; if they think it would not be to their profit, let them not invite them. The Society merely says, those whom we send out we hold ourselves responsible for, and if they do not conduct themselves morally, and intellectually, and religiously, according to reasonable lines, the Society wishes to be informed respecting the matter. We believe that those who are sent forth have special qualifications for this ministry and that is the reason they are sent; but that is not saying anything against others; it leaves the congregation free to do whatever seems to them best.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Should a Church which for various reasons cannot entertain Pilgrims in their homes, entertain them at a hotel, or withdraw their request for Pilgrim visits?
ANSWER--I think that would be the proper thought, if it is impossible for the friends to entertain the visiting brethren, either at their homes or at a suitable place--not necessarily a hotel, a good boarding house; Pilgrim brethren are not fastidious; something comfortable and reasonable is all that is expected you know; anything you would give the Master if he had been here would certainly be good enough for any of his followers, and I suppose most of them get as good as the Lord had. But it would be the thought, my dear friends, that the invitation is for those who are willing to entertain the Pilgrims. If therefore you are not able to entertain the Pilgrims in either of these ways, that statement should go to the office so that the office would be rightly informed, and advise the Pilgrim brother in harmony therewith.
PILGRIMS--Proper Course for Entertainment, Etc.
QUESTION (1913-Z)--2--Is it wise or proper for a Pilgrim en journey to be entertained by those who are out of sympathy with the Vow and with the work of the Society in general, even though he be an Elder of the Class?
ANSWER--Most decidedly not. Furthermore, the Pilgrims should make clear to the Class that they had greatly erred in selecting such a one for an Elder, and should help them to rectify the matter as quickly as possible.
If the Class likes that Elder who is out of accord with the Society's work, it should not make a request for Pilgrim service. Some of the Lord's dear sheep are very stupid. Meekness and gentleness are commendable; but there are times when they would mean disloyalty to God.
POPE--Re Peter Being the First.
QUESTION (1911)--3--Was St. Peter the first Pope of Rome? If so, was his presence ever mentioned in the English Bible? Also please say if Roman Catholicism is Christianity?
ANSWER--St. Peter was not the first Pope according to any history we have. Our Catholic friends may have some way of stretching their minds to imagine he was the first Pope, but I know of nothing on which they could base the claim. I do not think they can produce any evidence on which to base it. That St. Peter was in Rome and that St. Paul was in Rome, I think goes without saying, but they were there suffering, not as popes. They were not attempting to rule anybody. You know the Pope claims to be the Viceregent [Q536] of Christ, to be reigning instead of Christ. Now the Apostle Peter never claimed to be reigning instead of Christ.
Is Roman Catholicism Christianity? Yes, it is Christianity; that is, it claims to acknowledge Christ, and to be a system of religion based on that knowledge of Christ. And the Catholic Church has some doctrines which are very good. And the Methodist Church has some that are very good, and the Presbyterians have some that are very good, also the Baptists. And the Catholics have some that are very bad, and the Methodists have some that are very bad--and so on through the list. What you and I want to do is to throw away all these creeds and get right back to what Jesus and the apostles and prophets said.
POUND--Meaning Of in Parable.
QUESTION (1911)--l--In the parable of the pounds what does the pound represent? If your answer be that justification is meant by the pounds, please explain what is meant by ten pounds at the end of the way, and the fact that the ten-pound servant was given the pound of the one-pound servant.
ANSWER--There are two parables that are alike in many particulars; the one describes the giving to the servants of a pound apiece, and the other describes the giving of various talents, some more and some less, one talent, two talents, five talents. And they gained various pounds. The parable of the talents, we might remark, seems to fit very well to the different talents which God's people possess. For instance, some might have a talent for private conversation. Another might have a talent that would be in the same direction, and also another talent for public service. And another might have a talent for writing. So you see one might have a number of talents and another have only one talent, in any conspicuous degree. At least that is what we think the Lord had in mind when he gave that parable. This would represent you and me in our varied conditions of mind and body, and opportunity, and the reward of the talents would be that everyone who is faithful in using whatever he might have, whether it was one, two, or five talents, if they have been faithful over the few things, some more and some less, all equally faithful would get the same general reward.
Now the parable of the pounds was different, in that each servant got a separate pound--one pound, no more, no less; the Lord did not explain what a pound meant, therefore you and I are left to try to understand from the facts and circumstances; etc., what they might refer to. I have suggested in the Watch Tower that these pounds represent justification, that each gets justification whether he has many talents, or a few talents, and that justification means the making of the individual right, or acceptable with God. Now after he is thus made right or acceptable with God through this one blessing that comes to him, justification, that justifies his entire being, and whether he have more abilities or less abilities, they are justified by that one blessing of the pounds in the parable. So then if you had many talents, there would not be any of them counted unless you are first justified. This gift of the Lord, justification, is a particular gift that he gives us, and it has really made you his servant. Justification covers all the natural talents you have, whether it be few or many, and at the end of your course you are to present all that you have to the Lord as his servant, and he [Q537] will call you to an account at the end of this age for all the talents you possess, all of which comes through justification, and would not be counted at all without justification.
The question inquires further as to how the one talent would be taken from one person and given to the person who had made use of the matter. And this seems to apply to both parables. If one fails to use his opportunities and privileges, they will be given to another. St. Paul gives us an illustration along that line. In St. Paul's experience you remember he found some of the brethren who were not exceedingly or extremely careful to be used in the Lord's service, and he strove all the more to do what he could; if there was any brother that was short in any way here was another opportunity for St. Paul to come in and do that much more. He intimates in some places if they had been up to their responsibility they would have been looking out for his temporal welfare, and he mentions it after he had gone to another place. He did not tell them while he was there. Now if you had chosen to contribute to my expenses I could have served the cause much better while with you, but as it was I was obliged to labor in making tents, that I might not be chargeable to any of you. But they lost a great privilege. Now he intimates that if he found anybody who was losing an opportunity, and that if he could work overtime and get that opportunity he would be glad to do that much more. So you and I have so many talents of our own that naturally belong to us, and we are to be faithful in using those talents and pounds in the Lord's service, and if there is any failure on the part of any other one we are not to stop to quarrel with him and fail to use our own, but to go ahead and use our own, picking up this opportunity the brother is neglecting and carry on that much more, so that we will get a great blessing even if he is losing one.
PRAYER--Moses Prayed to Be Blotted Out.
QUESTION (1907)--1--Moses said, "And if not, blot me I pray thee out of thy book, which thou hast written." What book is it that Moses referred? Is it the one referred to in Rev. 3:5?
ANSWER--I would say yes, the same book; evidently the book of God's remembrance, the book of life. God is represented as having one special book in which only the names of the Bride of Christ are written. We are not to understand that Heaven has a large bookkeeping department. That is not the thought. We are not told how He keeps the record. We do not suppose that it is kept with paper and ink, but God has His own way of keeping in knowledge. The Lord knows them that are His, and they are in His book of remembrance, and that is all we need to know. What did Moses mean then, when he said, "If not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book?" We understand Moses here as the mediator for Israel, and representative of Israel, was very patriotic. He had been appointed of God to represent that nation, and he was so fully imbued with patriotism that there was not a particle of selfishness on his own part. He did not want anything to interfere with the interests of Israel; and you remember God, in order to quiet him, said, "Now, Moses, you see this is a disobedient people and they are continually backsliding; let me alone that I may blot them out of existence, and I will take you and your family and make [Q538] of you this great nation who will inherit all of these promises." And you remember Moses' prayer. It shows a very noble, high standard of patriotic feeling, and brotherly kindness that very few could appreciate. Moses was evidently a very noble character, and in that respect very worthy to be compared to our Lord Jesus Christ who took practically the same point of view, and as our representative risked the blotting out of His own life on our behalf.
PRAYER--Re Sisters Leading In.
QUESTION (1909)--1--Is there any Scripture to show that the sisters should lead in prayer and take any active part in the public worship, or is there any Scripture to the contrary?
ANSWER--The answer to this question would lead to quite a lengthy discussion of many Scriptures, and I think I will answer the question best by referring you to the 6th Volume of Scripture Studies.
PRAYER--Making Personal Mention.
QUESTION (1909)--2--Do you think it advisable to mention Brother Russell frequently when offering prayer in public, or is it the thought conveyed in the vow that these supplications should be included with our more private petitions?
ANSWER--My thought would be, dear friends, to leave each to the dictates of his own conscience. If it is proper to ask one to pray in public, let him pray according to his own heart's desires. If there is anything lacking, he will find it out, and then we will let the Lord direct the work, otherwise we may forget the Lord is attending to it.
PRAYER--Re Testimony Meeting.
QUESTION (1911-Z)--3--What would you suggest as a topic for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting?
ANSWER--We have had many suggestions relative to the advisability of unanimity of topic for these meetings. We take this opportunity of reiterating the counsel in Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VI, namely, that we know of no meetings more helpful than the testimony meetings, where they are properly conducted, and after the friends have had about a month's experience with them. Testimonies as to one's conversion years before, or as to how one first received the knowledge of the Truth, may be very good in General Conventions, etc., but such testimonies we certainly believe very tedious and tiresome in a weekly class. It would be tiresome also for the friends to tell you what they ought to do and what experiences they ought to have. What is desirable and refreshing is crisp, up-to-date testimonies touching the events and experiences of the preceding week. Such meetings tend to make all of the classes holding them more attentive to note the providences of God and the lessons of life daily and hourly. Thus more valuable experience is gained daily than when such things are passed by with little or no attention.
We recommend this plan for Wednesday evening and that Thursday's Manna text becomes the topic for each new week ending with the Wednesday night meeting.
There is nothing in the nature of a bondage in this suggestion. But those who approve might accept it, and those who do not approve may do otherwise. It is the affair of each class. It would be, however, very nice to know, not [Q539] only that the Vow and its prayer daily draw all of the Lord's people close to the Mercy Seat, but also it would be pleasant to know that all are thinking of God's providences along the same lines each week.
QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--In Matt. 6:7, our Lord tells us, "when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church (Col. 4:2), exhorts that they "continue in prayer;" again we read of the widow who was heard for her importunity. (Luke 18:2-5.) Is this a suggestion that we should importune? How could we importune without repetition?
ANSWER--We are to recognize a distinct difference between the "vain repetitions" of the heathen, which our Lord condemned, and the "continuing instant in prayer," "in everything giving thanks," in "praying and not fainting," acts which our Lord and the Apostles enjoined. (Rom. 12:12; Luke 18:1, etc.) This difference the Lord illustrated in the case of the woman who came to a judge repeatedly, asking that he avenge her of her enemy. Although the judge was not a man who would act justly, yet he did her justice on account of her persistence. In commenting upon her course, our Lord said that if an unjust judge be moved on account of importunity to do justice, how much more a just judge!
The thought illustrated in the parable is that of a person who cries to the Lord that injustice is being done--as with the Church at the present time. We all realize that we are suffering injustice. We cry, "O Lord, deliver us! deliver us from the Adversary!" Will God never deliver the Church? For eighteen hundred years the Church has been praying thus; and God has not answered this prayer. Will He never answer? Our Lord intimates that we should not lose faith. We are to have full confidence in His promises. Injustice will not forever obtain. The time will come, we are told, when Satan shall be bound and deceive the people no more.--Rev. 20:2,3
Therefore we do right to pray, "Thy Kingdom come," week after week, year after year, century after century. To grow faint or grow weary in prayer would not be right. The proper course is to believe that God will fulfill what He has promised; and that all will come out in harmony with His will.
On another occasion our Lord gave a parable wherein one asked his neighbor for food and was refused. (Luke 11:5-8.) He asked again. Finally the neighbor gave it to him on account of his importunity, on account of his patiently persisting. This parable, also, emphasizes the thought of importunate prayer. God has the blessing, and not only is able to give it, but has promised to do so. The delay in granting the request is because His due time has not come. Hence we are not to give up nor to become weary, but to be constant in our prayers.
This is all very different, however, from the "vain repetitions" which our Lord condemned. But we do not think that our Lord desires us to use repetition in our prayers. Some people use the words, "Our Father," or "Our God," or "Heavenly Father" more frequently than would seem to be good form--even using them in every fourth of fifth sentence. [Q540] Their prayer would sound better on earth if they did not use these repetitions; though, no doubt, the repetitions would be understood in Heaven; for these people seem to be as earnest as others.
Sometimes, after we have had morning worship and prayer, the one called upon to ask the blessing at table practically repeats the morning prayer. This course would imply that the person had forgotten that the general blessing had been asked in that prayer, and that he should be asking a blessing on the morning meal. To ask a blessing on the meal is not to pray in the ordinary sense of the word. Whoever "asks the blessing" should ask something in connection with the food and not attempt to pray for neighbors, relatives, etc.
But the repetitions which our Lord had in mind and which are specially reprehensible in the Lord's sight are formal prayers merely. To illustrate: the Chinese are said to have a praying wheel, which enables them to make many "vain repetitions" without the trouble of speaking a word.
It would seem that our Catholic friends also are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. They repeat, "Hail, Mary!" and believe that God will save them from suffering in purgatory for their repetitions. Some of the poor creatures say, "Hail, Mary!" as often and as fast as they can.
So with the Mohammedans. They say, "Great is Allah! Mohammed is His Prophet! Great is Allah! Mohammed is His Prophet!" again and again. We do not know what good they are doing, for they are surely wasting a great deal of valuable time to no purpose. We do not wish to make light of these people nor of their conduct. But we are bound to think that with those who are intelligent such prayers are only form. With those who are not intelligent it is different. We believe that they are sincere; and so our course is to think sympathetically of them, but not to do as they do, not to pray as they pray. Prayer in private, in our own room, may be as long as we please; but prayer in public should be short and to the point.
PRAYER--Should We Pray to Jesus?
QUESTION (1912)--1--Are there special instances in which we should appeal to the Lord Jesus?
Answer.--I cannot think of any circumstance in which the Lord Jesus could do more than the Father. But in my own mind and prayer I think of the two being one because their wills are one, and therefore I never make any mistake. I find myself thinking sometimes of one and sometimes of the other, but it is Thy will and not My will, and so I try to blot out any distinction.
PRAYER--In Whose Name?
QUESTION (1912)--2--How must we pray in the name of the Father?
ANSWER--Upon the basis of His name.
PRAYER--To Whom Do You Address Yours?
QUESTION (1912)--3--Are you addressing your prayers only to the Father in the name of the Son?
ANSWER--Usually I follow that form of addressing the heavenly Father--only in the name of the Lord Jesus; but I have found myself in prayer addressing the Lord Jesus himself, for I find nothing in the Scriptures to contradict that, for they say to honor the Son even as we honor the [Q541] Father. Nearly all the Scriptures follow that course of addressing the Father and I think of only one that is different "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
PRAYER--Re No Blessings for Others Without Our Prayers.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Does the Bible teach there are blessings which we may not receive except through the prayers of others?
ANSWER--The Lord has many blessings at His disposal, and from certain Scriptures we might infer that He is pleased to grant some blessings in response to prayer. Therefore the Apostle said to some in his day, "Brethren, pray for us." He did not mean he could not pray for himself; he did not mean that the other Apostles could not pray for themselves; he did not mean they could not pray for each other; he did not mean he had lost fellowship with the Father and the Father would not hear him. He said, Brethren, pray for us that a door may be opened unto us whereby we may have opportunity of spreading the Gospel of Christ. Do you suppose the Apostle meant that merely as a formality and he thought it did not make a particle of difference, but just said, Pray for us, pray for us, as meaning nothing but merely a form? No, we prefer not to suppose that the Apostle was merely using a form; we would rather prefer to suppose he is teaching a certain lesson, that a certain blessing would come through remembering the Apostles in prayer. I presume that God who is rich in mercy, and has plenty of blessings to give, is pleased to encourage His people to pray, is pleased to have us pray. Why would God be pleased to have you pray? Is He just sitting there watching to see whether little you or little I kneel down to pray or not? Oh, no, that is not the thought at all! But God sees it will do you a great deal of good if you will exercise faith in the matter of prayer, and it will do me a good deal of good if I will exercise faith in prayer. Therefore He arranges as part of the means by which He would bless you and me that He will be inquired of concerning these things that He desires to do for us. He would thus encourage us to pray. As, for instance, when St. Peter was in prison and the Angel of the Lord came to him and waked him up, he was not praying. The Angel smote off the shackles from his hands and led him out, the doors opening before them, and the keepers being asleep, then the Angel sent him on his way rejoicing, and Peter, hardly realizing whether it was a dream or what it might be, walked down the street; he knew the street very well, and presently he came to the door where there was a meeting being held; it was late at night, but the meeting was going on; they were praying for Peter, and saying, Oh, Lord, the Apostle James is slain and now the authorities are threatening our beloved brother Peter. What will we do if all the Apostles are taken from us? They were having an all-night prayer meeting. And when St. Peter got to the door and knocked and the little maid came and looked out and saw St. Peter there, she did not know whether she had seen a ghost or not. Of course she heard about ghosts and she ran back to say that St. Peter was at the door. Why, nonsense! Peter is in prison! Their prayers had been answered. Do you not think that God gave them a great blessing in [Q542] answer to their prayer? Do you think if they had not prayed they would have had as much blessing? The Lord might have set St. Peter free, but when in answer to prayer it meant such a blessing to those dear disciples, such a strengthening of their faith, and such joy and blessing. So whoever falls in line with the Lord's arrangements and prays and remembers the Lord's work in various places is getting a blessing in his own heart, and the Lord intimates indirectly that this will have some effect. I cannot understand the philosophy of it at all, I do not pretend to, but somehow we are given to understand that God will be pleased to not change His plan for your prayers and mine--no, no, God is not going to change the Universe around to suit us; we are not wise enough to tell Him in our prayers what He should do, but He is so wise He can hear our prayers and give us blessings. So He has arranged in proportion in which we have loyalty, faith, etc., we are to have prayer. The Lord's people who have not learned the power of prayer are weak Christians. So the Scriptures everywhere encourage the Lord's people to pray always; to be in the spirit, the attitude of prayer at all times, and full of thanksgiving to God.
And I think while I am right at this point I must take the opportunity of saying that any home that has no prayer regularly offered in it is not a proper home--is not the one that should be your home or my home. Wherever you live, wherever I live, wherever any of the Lord's consecrated people live, there the family altar should be reared and should be regularly served--just as regularly as the breakfast is served. This does not mean that you shall force your grown children to participate in worship which they do not appreciate; or if your husband or wife is out of sympathy and unwilling to participate that you should insist on it, and raise a row in order to have the worship there, for God would not be pleased with such conditions. But the child of God should have that attitude of prayer that would be inclining his heart always to have the prayer anyway, and then at a proper time the wife might be quietly inquired of if she would like to join in the prayer service. It might be put in as nice a way as possible. Or, on the other hand, it might be the husband who was not in sympathy, and the wife might approach him and say, "Husband, wouldn't you think it would be very nice if we might have a prayer altar in our home and honor our Creator and our Savior?" And many a worldly man would say, "Why, yes, I guess it is all right." And if the Christian wife did not make some such suggestion the worldly husband would probably say, "Well I don't know, if I professed to be a Christian like my wife does, I think I would want to have prayer at home." Likewise, the wife, if her husband didn't say anything about it, would quite likely say, "If I were in my husband's place and claiming to be a Christian, I would like to have prayer at home." The wife would not like to say that. The husband would not like to say that. Therefore the one that does appreciate the matter should take the initiative, and in a quiet way and not at an inopportune time, but at a time when there is a good opportunity--not when there is something of haste going on and there is not time to consider it, just going away or something--but when there is time. Seek [Q543] wisdom as to how we shall present the matter to husband or wife or to children. Do it in the wisest way--be wise as serpents. On every occasion use wisdom, and pray to God as to how you shall take any important step in respect to your life or your home. Ask God if you may have the altar in your home before you ask husband or wife for co-operation. Then suppose she refuse and say, "No, I don't want any altar to the Lord in this house." Not many are disposed to put it that way. And in mentioning the matter there is a nice way to do it. You can say, "Wife, I know you do not look at matters exactly as I do, but for all of that you believe also as I do in the great Creator, and that it is proper for every creature to worship the Creator, and I would suggest that it would be very nice for us, especially when we have children, that we should set an example of reverencing God, and having our home a model home. What do you say, wife? Shall we make that start? Say we take three minutes at least of every morning to approach the Lord, or if possible have it five minutes or more, or without limitation, and perhaps have a hymn of praise before the prayer is offered." But if it is a case where any objection is made, say, "Would you object to our having just three minutes? Would you co-operate with that?" I would not say, "Would .you object?" I would infer he would not object. I would say, "Would you be willing to co-operate to the extent of joining in if we should establish such a little altar of prayer to the Lord in this home? I believe it would be a blessing to us both, and the children. I believe our hearts would thus be drawn to God better, and we would have more of His blessing on our home." I think that would work well. I know there are some who feel, Oh, there is no use asking my husband, or my wife, they are bitter against it. Perhaps the bitterness sometimes comes in our not being wise enough in the way of presenting it. There are very few people who are really bitter against God. As a rule, people usually respect the Creator, and especially in proportion as we seek to be ourselves kind, gentle and loving; and as they can see we are trying to be considerate of their interests and their rights, and to deal justly with the family, in that same proportion they will have respect to our religion, and respect to our God, and respect to our worship. But suppose they would object and say, "No, I would not have anything to do with it at all." "You won't, of course, object to my having such an arrangement and I will just ask the children. I thought I would mention it to you first. Maybe you will think differently of it, and perhaps you will join with us; it would be so much nicer." And then go ahead. Do not consider there is a prohibition, or do not put it in that form as though there would be. We have a right to take for granted that all reasonable people would be willing that we should exercise our consciences and our rights. That would not mean that your husband should get up and have to make his own breakfast while you stopped and prayed; that would not be the right attitude at all; that would bring disgrace on religion; but while careful to attend to all the duties and proprieties in your case, as husband and wife; if you pray, do it wisely.
And then as to the children; if they are grown children, [Q544] they should be differently approached. Many parents, I think, make the great mistake of forgetting that their children do grow. They always think that it is "little Annie" and little Annie gets taller, and taller, and taller, but still she is "little Annie" until she gets up so big. And so it is "little Harry." And they always think back somehow to the time in which they talked as children. No child enjoys being treated as a child. Every child that is properly balanced in mind would rather be treated as a little man or a little lady, and the parent can do that, and not by flattery, but in a very proper way. They can say, "Now, Harry," or Mary, "I want you to be a very model little gentleman, or lady. No matter how rude the other boys and girls may be, I want you to be a regular little gentleman, or lady." The child will like that; they may affect that they don't like it, but way down deep they do.
"I want to play with the other boys."
"But, my dear son, how rudely some of these boys act; you would not like me to think of you in that way--you see how rudely they play. You see some girls romp like that-- you won't enjoy that. You can cultivate good manners and grow up nice in a polished way and become a little gentleman or little lady, or you can grow up and always be rude. If you do not grow up in refinement you will not be fit for good society. Now I would like to see you the most polished boy or girl in this neighborhood, so that wherever you go they will say, 'Notice that little boy! Notice that little girl!' Now, my child, I want you to pattern after this. I am not trying to fill you full of pride, so you would strut around. A proud boy and a proud girl will bring upon them the odium of their little playmates. You are not to be proud, but simply be kind, and gentle, and cleanly and tidy no matter how poor your clothes are they can always be kept tidy; and wherever you go see that you do not get them covered with mud and dirt. Be ashamed if anyone says you are proud, or look proud, but make sure you always look like a little lady or gentleman." The children will like that, and if the parents would only get next to their children and have them feel that the ones most interested in them is father and mother, they will remember that when they grow up. Train up a child in the way it should go, and when old it will not depart from that way. It will have more influence than most people seem to realize. What we see in the world in respect to children is nearly a shame. They seem so uncouth, it looks as though they had no parental training at all. Anybody in the truth should know better than to have their children that way. I think of a time when I was in Pennsylvania and took dinner with a brother there. He was a Pennsylvania German, as we say, and after dinner he said to me as we went in the parlor before going to meeting: "Brother Russell, you met my boys and girls at the table."
"Yes, and they seemed to be very nice, respectful and quiet: nothing rude about them; I was pleased to know that."
He said, "I am proud of my sons and my daughters, Brother Russell; I do feel they are above the average, but they are not what would have been if I had had the sixth volume when they were little. But, as you say, after the tree is grown you can twist it all out of shape and get kinks [Q545] out, and I have straightened them up all I can. But I cannot, without having trouble, do any more, and I know that would not be wise, and we are to act wisely. So they are pretty nice, but not as nice as they would have been if I had known how to train them as you say from the cradle, or before they were born."
Do not forget the training that comes in before they are born, the most important of all training, but the next is to begin when they are babies and keep up the training. Never laugh at your children. Many parents injure their influence by laughing at a child. The child is sensitive. "If my father makes fun of me when I tell him something I won't tell him anything any more." You want to keep the confidence of your son and daughter so that when they come to the age when they are having beaux, etc., they will still want to come to father and mother and say, "I have a beau." They do not generally want to do that, but it ought to be that way. Your influence with them should be such they would love you and could not keep it back, and would say, "I have a beau, what do you think of him?" They would want your opinion of him. And they would not think of marrying anybody except one the father and mother would say is a suitable companion, for they would have such confidence in your judgment. But in order to have that influence you must be wise as a serpent and follow the directions of the Lord's Word. I tell you if we had our lives to live over again, or if we had lived all the way down, when we were 100 years old we would know something; but we must be thankful for the light and knowledge that comes and make the best use of it when it does come, and if you have made mistakes, do the best you can. If before you knew the Lord yourself and understood His Word you had children and they grew up like wild weeds, you have every reason to be sorry, but you cannot help it. Be kind and patient, be generous, be as helpful as possible, be a real father and mother, and remember they have their failings that you helped to give to them, and be that much more sympathetic with those failings in the sense of giving much more time and assistance to overcome their weaknesses.
PHYSICAL PERFECTION--Re Medical and Surgical Discoveries.
QUESTION (1913)--1--Will restitution, physical perfection, any way be helped by medical and surgical discoveries, or will restitution be wholly brought about by the power of Jesus to the willing and obedient?
ANSWER--I can tell you about that, I hope, in about two years. I could not more than guess now, and I would always want a difference between what is written and what is guess work. Some people put their guesses and Bible so much together you cannot tell when they are guessing and when they are telling about what the Bible says. Whenever it is a pure guess I want to say that it is. Now I guess that the Lord will allow certain things to come about partly by surgery and medicine at the beginning; I should not wonder at all if there would not be some wonderful discoveries. It would seem as though they are leading on to better things, and yet everything might in another way be viewed from a different standpoint. Jesus did not use any medicine when He healed the sick, and those things Jesus did were illustrations of coming blessings of the Millennial day. So the result of it is, I don't know.