this is txt file this is txt file Z1915 September
page 257
September 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. XXXVISEPTEMBER 1No. 17

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


CONTENTS

Christian Duty and the War259
War's Demoralizing Influence259
Ministers as Recruiting Agents260
The Ultimate Design of the Law of God261
Definition of "Good Conscience"262
Honesty Respecting Faith Essential262
Full Deliverance Promised to God's Saints264
Human Works vs. Works of New Creature265
God's Part a Great Work265
Elijah's Work Before Ascension266
Lesson Taught by the War266
Why God Permits War266
"Yet Will I Rejoice in the Lord" (Poem)267
Obedience and Kingship268
Messiah's Kingdom Begun268
Restitution Blessings in Kansas268
The Two Parts of the Harvest Work269
The Plowman Overtaking the Reaper269
Promote the World's Peace270
Interesting Letters271

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 258

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.

I.B.S.A. CONVENTION, HERSHEY, PA., SEPT. 5-12

Hershey is described as a delightful, quiet place, exactly suitable for an I.B.S.A. Convention. It is a new little city, whose chief enterprise is the manufacture of the Hershey Chocolates, etc. The I.B.S.A. have been invited to have an eight-day Convention there and are promised every possible convenience for the comfort of the gathering. Board and lodging can be had at from One Dollar per day upward.

We are not expecting delegates from far-off places, but we believe Hershey will be a very convenient place for quite a good many residing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. There will quite probably be a thousand in attendance. Those who can afford it should count on $1.50 a day for expenses, besides railway fare, although, as stated, $1.00 would be a possibility.

Railroad Rates.--All roads in the Trunk Line Assn. (Middle Atlantic States) have granted a special rate of 2c per mile, in each direction; tickets on sale Sept. 3 to 5, with final return limit Sept. 15. Where ten or more travel together, a still greater saving may possibly be effected by the purchase of a common ticket on the theatrical plan. Confer with your local agent, mentioning I.B.S.A. Convention.

Those desiring to attend will please advise the Convention Committee, 13 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., at once.


PASTOR RUSSELL'S SERMONS IN SPANISH

Sermons in Spanish will appear in La Prensa of Los Angeles, Cal., weekly. A clubbing rate of $2 per year has been arranged for, through H. A. Varro, 755 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, Cal.


CURE FOR PYORRHEA DISCOVERED

Doctors and dentists are elated over the discovery of a cure for pyorrhea. This disease affects the teeth, gradually producing slight inflammation and pus. Since learning what pyorrhea is and how to cure it, doctors declare that it has been responsible for many other diseases--indigestion, bowel trouble, etc.

The medicine is Ipecac. Expert dentists and physicians inject the Ipecac at the roots of the affected teeth--sometimes hypodermically into the veins. For those who cannot have the service of a competent dentist we recommend tincture of Ipecac, to be used twice a day on the gums, letting it soak to the roots of the teeth. Also we recommend that Ipecac be taken internally, one drop of the tincture in a little water for a dose.


[R5758 : page 258]

THE GENERAL WORK NOT INTERRUPTED

A notice in THE WATCH TOWER to the effect that a goodly number of the friends had left Bethel has been misunderstood. Those who left are quite competent to earn their own living, and more. They left Bethel in as good financial condition as they came to it, because all expenses were met while here.

The general work is not interrupted, but proceeds as usual. Only the Drama Department and the Newspaper Department were particularly affected by the curtailment of expenses. The pilgrim work progresses as usual; also the Colporteur Work and the Tract Distribution. In the latter case, however, we are making one change; we prepay postage or express or freight charges only on regular volunteer matter and on small sample parcels of mail. We have learned with regret that some who have ordered free literature have not been careful of their stewardship, but have allowed the literature to lie idle, unused. If now they pay the express charges, it will make them more careful not to order more than they will use. In the case of volunteer matter supplied to classes, it is our understanding that the Class Secretary takes responsibility. Free literature for the announcement of Pilgrim visits will be classed in with the regular volunteer matter to be sent express prepaid.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR OCTOBER

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 October follow:

(1) 149; (2) 282; (3) 114; (4) 105; (5) 22; (6) 273; (7) 112; (8) 160; (9) 261; (10) 166; (11) 128; (12) 313; (13) 50; (14) 325; (15) 104; (16) 279; (17) Vow; (18) 145; (19) 199; (20) 245; (21) 130; (22) 168; (23) 267; (24) 235; (25) 222; (26) 305; (27) 303; (28) 19; (29) 324; (30) 283; (31) 119.



[R5754 : page 259]

CHRISTIAN DUTY AND THE WAR

AS THE war progresses a bitter, partisan spirit spreads. The people of each of the warring nations are convinced that right is on their side, and that everything to the contrary is wrong. The sense of justice seems more and more to go blind. Any attempt to consider matters justly, equitably, is resented as disloyalty, stupidity, etc. The best elements of the natural man seem to be paralyzing under the influence of the war. Germany and her allies claim that they have maintained the world's peace for thirty years, during all of which time their jealous neighbors, noting their prosperity, have sought to hinder it and have awaited only a favorable moment for attempting their destruction. To them their commercial progress and attempt to build a navy proportionate to their population have aroused the jealousy of their neighbors already entrenched commercially on the sea.

They claim that Belgium was not neutral, but conniving with their enemies, and that, any way, the passing of German armies through Belgium was a military necessity. Similarly they claim that the protection of their national life against the European combination makes necessary their submarine warfare and blockade and other things which they do not prefer. They claim, too, that necessity knows no law, that this is the hour of their necessity, and that the object of war is success--to be obtained as honorably as possible, but to be obtained.

Britain and her allies take the contrary view. They declare that for forty years they have noted the progress of the Germans and considered it a menace to their rights. Accordingly, the French maintained an army of equal size with Germany; Russia, an army of double the size; while Great Britain has striven to have a navy stronger than that of all the remaining nations of the world. If Germany be not crushed now, her spirit of progress will ultimately put her at the head of the nations, commercially and financially. This would mean that all the other nations would be less powerful proportionately. They see in this a terrible nightmare of militarism. Germany must be crushed at any cost, not only for the sake of the present, but also for the sake of future generations.

The Bible declares, "God is not in all their thoughts." (Psalm 10:4.) Although all the nations of the Continent, except the Turks, style themselves Christian nations, not one of them manifests any faith in God. They all feel that the entire responsibility, both for the present and for the future, rests altogether upon themselves.

"FEAR HATH SURPRISED THE HYPOCRITES"

Convinced of having a Divine commission and with sundry forms of godliness, but without any of its power or faith, many of these nations are only now awakening to the fact that this war is not like other wars--that God has let loose the winds, is no longer restraining them. The time has come for Him to allow the angry passions of men to bring the whirlwind of trouble, which shortly will lead on to revolution and then to anarchy, and will thus prepare the way of the Lord and His Kingdom.

What a sad spectacle the war presents--twenty millions of soldiers engaged, at a cost of over forty million dollars per day for their maintenance! Twelve millions of men in the prime of life have already been wounded, captured or killed. The consumption of ammunition is astounding. One of the British ministers recently declared that in one battle in Belgium the British forces used more ammunition than in the entire Boer War!

National debts were already enormous, and British consols (bonds) were selling at twenty-five per cent. less than their face value before this war began. Can any rational person suppose that the debts of the warring nations represented by their bonds will ever be paid? And when the people shall realize the meaning of all this and of the crash of financial institutions which this will involve, the discovery will be terrible. The only logical result to be expected of the discouraged people will be as the Bible predicts--so great an earthquake as was not since man was on the earth--social earthquake, revolution, gigantic in its character.--Rev. 16:18.

WAR'S DEMORALIZING INFLUENCE

Professed ministers of Christ of various denominations seem to be vying with each other in leaving the Great Captain of our Salvation and His standard of peace and love in order to associate themselves more and more with militarism. Appealed to by the representatives of the Government, these professed representatives of the Prince of Peace are making themselves popular with their governments by preaching war. We hear only a little from Great Britain along these lines, but the suggestion of the Bishop of London is quite sufficient on this point. His suggestion urges boys and girls to marry early and to raise large families, presumably for mortal combat--not to be soldiers of the Cross of Christ and followers of the Lamb, but soldiers of the Cross of St. George which marks the British flag.

Recently in Canada the Editor was astounded by the activity of the preachers there--especially those of the Church of England. One was out in Khaki uniform [R5755 : page 260] marching through the streets with the volunteers. Asked by a college friend, "Did I see you in the ranks?" he answered, "Yes; I wanted to encourage the boys." "And did you think of going to the front, to the trenches?" "Not a bit of it!" He was merely acting as a decoy to get others to the front; just as a bull they have at one of the Chicago stockyards which meets the animals about to be slaughtered and, tossing his head in the air, becomes their leader up the gangway leading to the slaughter. There he knows his little niche, into which he glides and is sheltered; while the others drive and press one another forward to the slaughter. But it is in the pulpit that the minister has his opportunity to address the mothers--"Why not have your boy go to the front?"

MINISTERS AS RECRUITING AGENTS

To give the matter a religious coloring, some of these ministers have taken texts from the Bible, which certainly have no application whatever to the subject in hand. The text of one in preaching about the valor of the Canadians who lost their lives in war was, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth." (Revelation 14:13.) The text of another, intended to encourage enlistment, etc., was, "These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth."--Rev. 14:4.

What a terrible perversion! And for what a purpose! To inflame the passions of humanity, to deceive people, to get them to do the very thing which Christ has directed shall not be done. Such ministers may gain favor and influence with their earthly king and his ministers and representatives in the government, but how will they stand with the other King, whose Empire is to be inaugurated with the great Battle of Armageddon, to which this present war is leading? We tremble to think of their responsibility, if they know what they are doing.

It is quite possible that they do not realize the true situation. Ninety-five per cent., probably, of all the educated ministers in all the great cities have confessed for years that they do not believe the Bible. Indirectly they have admitted that they merely use it as a book from which to select texts because the common people have a sort of superstitious respect for it. They have gotten so in the habit of selecting texts without any reference to the contexts--so in the habit of deceiving themselves and their trusting flocks--that they probably do not realize what they are doing and how they are misrepresenting the Word of God. We know that the Lord's judgment in all cases will be just; we defer to it.

The ministers of Toronto, to show their patriotism and their confidence that the war is of God, that all the holy angels are applauding the recruits and that they will all go to Heaven at death, etc., etc., we suppose, have raised a purse of money for the purchase of a Gatling gun, to be carried across the seas and used to kill German Christians--in whose Christianity they have no confidence and evidently believe that God has none. The viewpoint of Bible students is that the fact that both British and Germans claim ninety-five per cent. of their population to be Christians is no proof that they are such really. Hence the Toronto preachers, in purchasing the Gatling gun to kill Christians, are quite right, probably, in supposing that they will not be killing real Christians, just as Bible students feel doubts that all Toronto ministers are Christians, in the true sense of the word.

THE CHRISTIAN'S PROPER ATTITUDE

Meanwhile, where do the true followers of Christ stand, and what is their duty? Bible students more and more are awakening to a realization of what the present war is, and are conscientiously inquiring respecting their own responsibility. Some have inquired in respect to the situation in connection with the manufacture of war ammunition. Our advice to them has been to avoid engaging in such work as this, except as the money would be absolutely necessary to provide food and shelter for their families and themselves. And then, taking such a situation merely as a matter of necessity, we recommend that it be vacated as speedily as something else can be found, no matter how poor the pay, if it will provide life's necessities.

We are not unaware that this is a far-reaching subject, and that many would class us as narrow in the giving of such advice. Some would tell us that we carry this matter to an extreme; that on the same principle an employee of a railroad or steamboat should avoid loading such war munitions, the bill-clerk object to his part of the matter, the stenographer to his, etc. We would say that so far as reasonably possible we should avoid having anything to do with these implements of destruction, but if compelled from necessity, should hold our situation only until one for a better cause could be obtained.

In SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. VI., we have set forth a suggestion that the followers of Christ seek by every proper means to avoid participation in war. We there suggested the possibility, but that in the event of conscription the Lord's followers should use all their influence toward obtaining positions in the Hospital Corps or in the Provision Department of the Army, rather than in the actual warfare. We suggested further that if it were impossible to avoid going into the trenches, it would still not be necessary to violate the Divine requirement, "Thou shalt do no murder."

We have been wondering since if the course we have suggested is the best one. We wonder if such a course would not mean compromise. We reflect that to become a member of the army and to put on the military uniform implies the duties and obligations of a soldier as recognized and accepted. A protest made to an officer would be insignificant--the public in general would not know of it. Would not the Christian be really out of his place under such conditions?

"But," some one replies, "if one were to refuse the uniform and the military service he would be shot."

We reply that if the presentation were properly made there might be some kind of exoneration; but if not, would it be any worse to be shot because of loyalty to the Prince of Peace and refusal to disobey His order than to be shot while under the banner of these earthly kings and apparently giving them support and, in appearance at least, compromising the teachings of our Heavenly King? Of the two deaths we would prefer the former-- prefer to die because of faithfulness to our Heavenly King. Certainly the one dying for his loyalty to the principles of the Lord's teachings would accomplish far more by his death than would the one dying in the trenches. We cannot tell how great the influence would be for peace, for righteousness, for God, if a few hundred of the Lord's faithful were to follow the course of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and refuse to bow down to the god of war. Like those noble men they might say, "Our God is able to deliver us, if He chooses so to do; but if He does not choose to deliver us, that will not alter our course. We will serve Him and follow His direction, come what may."

Those Hebrews of the past cast into the fiery furnace because of their faithfulness to God, but afterwards delivered, are a noble example. Indeed, the millions of soldiers enduring terrible privations through loyalty to [R5755 : page 261] earthly kings during the present great war are wonderful examples and illustrations. May not the soldiers of Christ well say to themselves, "If the Ancient Worthies knew God only partially, yet were so faithful to Him, and if these earthly soldiers are so faithful to earthly kings, what manner of persons ought we to be who have come into the family of God by the Spirit of begetting, who have entered the School of Christ, who are being guided and led by the Captain of our Salvation, and who have His exceeding great and precious promises in respect to our eternal future! How should we stand for Him and for His teachings? Could we lay down our lives in a better way than by faithfulness to the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Redeemer and Head?"

We are not urging this course. We are merely suggesting it. The responsibility fully belongs with each individual. We are discharging our responsibility toward many Bible students who are inquiring of us respecting the mind of the Lord on this subject. We gave them our best thoughts previously, but now fear that we were too conservative. We always advocate conservatism, in the sense of not rushing into difficulties simply because they are difficulties and would mean trouble. But we do advocate that, while seeking to avoid trouble and to live peaceably with all men, where duty calls, or danger, we should not be wanting there.



[R5755 : page 261]

THE ULTIMATE DESIGN OF THE LAW OF GOD

"The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and an undissembled faith." --1 Timothy 1:5.
WE HAVE in the above text the summing up of the Divine Law in the word "commandment." As a matter of fact, there are various commandments, all of which were in a general way represented in the Decalogue. Our Lord divided these commandments into two parts, declaring that these two parts were a synoptical statement of the entire Law of God. A law is a commandment, imposed by rightful authority--a rule of conduct which we are bound to obey. The children of Israel did not appreciate the commandments given in the Law. To them it consisted of merely so many statements of what they should do and what they should not do--no more. They did not get the proper scope of the matter. Even the Christian Church has largely failed to get a comprehensive view of the Divine Law. [R5756 : page 261]

We are not to think of the Law as imperfect, for God, being perfect, could not give an imperfect law. God's Law, or commandment, then, is perfect. Speaking of the Law the Apostle Paul writes, "The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good." (Romans 7:12.) The reason why the Israelites could not keep the Law was not that the Law was imperfect, but that they were sold under sin, as the Apostle declares. (V. 14.) We recognize the Law as being the standard of perfection. Our Lord, when He came, "magnified the Law and made it honorable." He showed how grand and far-reaching the Law is when fully comprehended.

It is impossible for any of the fallen race to live up to the requirements of God's perfect Law, because of the imperfections and weaknesses of the flesh. In the case of the Church, this impossibility is removed by Christ. "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us," because God has made this arrangement for us, that the merit of Christ shall cover our imperfections and shortcomings. This enables us to live in full harmony with this Law; for we can keep it in spirit, though not fully in letter, and the blood of Jesus makes up for all the rest--our unwilling imperfections.

PURE, UNSELFISH LOVE

The Apostle speaks here of "the end of the commandment." The expression seems somewhat obscure. The thought seems to be this: the ultimate purpose of the Law, that which it is designed to produce, is love--to bring us to the place where we shall be in full harmony with the One who made the Law, and who is Himself the embodiment of Love. This will be the final result of God's Law to all who receive it. He wishes that those who are perfect shall remain perfect, and that those who are imperfect shall see the proper standard for all Jehovah's creatures to be a just standard, a loving standard; that God is to be obeyed, not from compulsion, but from love for Him and for the principles of righteousness. It is His ultimate purpose that all His intelligent creatures who will be granted eternal life must be perfect, in full harmony with their Creator.

The Apostle proceeds to point out that this love required by God's Law must be of a certain quality. We can understand the love of a parent for a child, the love of a person for an animal--quite proper if not carried to an extreme. There might be more or less selfishness in such love. A person might love a dog because it was his dog, or love his child because it was his child. This love, therefore, would have a selfish feature and would not be the disinterested kind, the benevolent kind, not the highest form of love. The love that would fulfil all the requirements of God's Law would be "love out of a pure heart."

Love can be entertained in a heart not altogether pure. There can be a mixture of love and selfishness, and this is very generally the case with fallen humanity. Even as Christians our love may be only partly pure at first, but gradually the spirit of the commandment, received into our heart, should purge out the selfishness. Godlike love would mean love for God's Truth, love for His holy Law, love for His creatures. It is an unselfish love, as is the love of God. God has nothing to gain by all He is doing for the Church or purposes to do for the world. He does it out of a pure heart, out of a good, benevolent, loving heart--not to see what He can get out of it.

A pure heart is one which has no selfishness in its motives; it has a desire to do good to all, to do evil to none, to see others blessed as well as itself; to love and serve God perfectly, with all its powers. Our Lord commended this condition of heart, saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." It is very evident, then, that such a pure-hearted person is not merely one who starts out in the Christian life with a good intention. All who start in the Christian life do so with a good intention; but they must be instructed and educated. They must develop to perfection this purity of heart. Hence the experiences of the Christian are for the very purpose of bringing his heart into this condition of pure, unselfish love.

At the beginning of the Christian way our hearts are pure in the sense of being sincere, truthful. We mean what we say, what we profess. We are not merely drawing near to God with our lips and not with our hearts. But [R5756 : page 262] love out of a pure heart, this purity of love referred to in our text, is attained by the putting off more and more of the things of selfishness and the putting on more fully of the Lord's Spirit. The Apostle is addressing these words to Christians, implying that they have some of these things to put off after they have become Christians. "Put off all these--anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife," works of the flesh and of the Devil. These things more or less attach to you. And put on all these--meekness, self-control, patience, faith, long-suffering, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, love. As we do these things, our hearts will be in the attitude the Apostle mentions. We shall have attained that which God purposes, designs; namely, "love out of a pure heart."

DEFINITION OF "GOOD CONSCIENCE"

The Apostle proceeds to say, "and a good conscience." Conscience seems to be that moral quality of the mind which admonishes in regard to right and wrong. Some persons have a keen conscience and can quickly discern as to what is right and what is wrong. Others have a very dull conscience and find it difficult to determine between right and wrong, or else are measurably indifferent as to the moral quality of their course. While God created man with a good conscience, ability to determine accurately what is right and what is wrong, sin has depraved this conscience. Hence it is the duty of every Christian to get his conscience made right, to educate his conscience to discern correctly. God lays down the principles of righteousness in His Word. It is through the Law of God that the Christian is able to discern these principles, to see what is right or wrong in principle.

The Golden Rule admonishes us, Do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you under similar circumstances. Consider what you would like to have your neighbor do unto you under certain circumstances and conditions, and thus help conscience to see what is the right thing to do. There are many things which are morally wrong, which are forbidden in the Law of God. These would be more readily discerned by the conscience, as there could be but one course of action possible in harmony with the expressed will of God on the matter. But there are other things which require a conscience trained to fine discernment. The Golden Rule is especially helpful here. As the principles of righteousness become firmly established in our characters, there is little difficulty in discerning the course of duty and of love.

One whose conscience has not been properly trained by the Word of God might be entirely honest and yet be pursuing a wrong course. A man might follow a certain course for years; he might have been doing so with all good conscience, that is, in all sincerity. Perhaps long after he has become a Christian he would come to see that something he had been practising was not wise or proper. He would say, "I see now that I have been taking a wrong view of this matter. Hereafter I shall be better able to see my proper course under such circumstances. I realize that the principle of justice needs to be thoroughly ingrained in my being in order that I may be more pleasing to God. Christian love goes beyond justice, but justice must come first." A properly developed Christian has a properly educated conscience.

A "good conscience," as used in our text, is a rightly educated conscience. It is not one which is always accusing its owner, making him feel that he is always doing wrong. There are morbid consciences which are constantly accusing, not able to get a proper balance. A truly good conscience is one which is well balanced. One may have a scale, for instance, that is perverted either one way or the other. A scale which is rightly adjusted will stand level. It is reliable. And so with a good conscience--it is one which can determine the slightest deviation from God's Law.

HONESTY RESPECTING FAITH ESSENTIAL

Lastly, St. Paul adds, "and an undissembled faith." An undissembled faith is a faith that is properly represented to others. It is not deceitful. To dissemble is to misrepresent. We are to have a faith which is not misrepresented, which is undissembled, as the Apostle says. We as Christians have a certain standard set before us in the Lord's Word. We are to go beyond the Law. We are under a still higher Law--the Law of sacrificial Love. Our faith takes hold of things not seen as yet, that portion of the Lord's arrangement for us which goes beyond what is now visible to us with the natural eye. Whatever the Lord has revealed to us that our faith has been able to accept as His will, must be held honestly and loyally. We must be honest with respect to our faith and in respect to our life.

There are many who may have a good conception of justice and who may be fine people in many ways, and yet they might dissemble as regards their faith. They might think more or less that the end justifies the means, and that they might profess something in regard to their faith which would be for the good of someone else, even though it would not be true. There are people all over the world who thus dissemble in respect to their faith. They misrepresent their faith. They do not believe what they are teaching or what they profess to believe.

Many are teaching eternal torment. If you ask them as to their belief on this subject, they will say, "I do not believe that doctrine, but it seems necessary to [R5757 : page 262] preach it." Others are teaching Higher Criticism, Evolution, New Thought, etc.,--deceiving and being deceived --yet still claiming to be Christians. All such people are in a wrong condition. Unless they speedily correct this they will not be fit for the Kingdom; for the purpose of the Law, Love, is to be fulfilled in those who will be accepted for that high and honorable station. This love requires, first of all, supreme loyalty to God, which means loyalty to His Word. What is the use of having an end of the Law, an ultimate object of the Law, if that end, that object, is never to be attained? Christ met this end, or object, of the Law. The righteousness of the Law was fulfilled in Him actually. The true Church now reach this in spirit. That is to say, their hearts, their minds, are in harmony with this Law; and they are striving day by day to more and more bring their lives--their words, thoughts and actions--into full accord with this perfect Law of Love.

THE LAW OF THE NEW CREATION

The Scriptures everywhere represent that in God's estimation love is the principal thing. Neither justice nor other qualities, other virtues, are ignored; but this quality is placed at the very top of the list of Christian graces. From the list which the Apostle Paul gives of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we see that at the head he places love, then come joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-restraint. (Galatians 5:22,23.) The Apostle Peter gives the list of fruits of the Spirit as cumulative--as a process of addition, leading up to the sum of all the graces. He begins with faith, the foundation. Then are to be diligently added, fortitude, knowledge, self-restraint, patience, [R5757 : page 263] brotherly love, then the broad love which includes all the world, even our enemies.

We are to remember, however, that love is not something which is instantly developed. It grows. Therefore those who have some love today, something of this Holy Spirit, may have more of it tomorrow, still more of it in a year; for it is a matter of development. Since God Himself is love, the implanting of the Divine likeness in humanity six thousand years ago when Father Adam was created signifies that God gave man the quality of love. Even in man's fallen condition we see this manifested more or less on every hand--natural love. This in many cases has become considerably perverted into self-love. But there are some very noble people who have a considerable degree of love naturally, who have much of original Godlikeness still remaining. They have much less to overcome in this direction than those who are more selfish. All the elements of sin seem to be more or less connected with selfishness--thus warring against the best interests of the individual.

The love which the Bible commends to us as New Creatures is the love which had its start in our spirit-begetting. Whoever has been begotten of the Spirit of God has some of this pure, unselfish love of which St. Paul speaks. In proportion as one grows as a New Creature, he grows in love--so that he may gradually be filled, his capacity for love increasing in proportion to his growth. At the beginning of our Christian experience, we merely have a beginning of love, as it were. This is to spread and fill our whole system. This love of God will make us more loving, kind, gentle, toward our friends, toward everybody, even toward animals.

But the Scriptures draw attention to the fact that as the love of God develops in us it will have a special interest in the brethren--those who have received the same Spirit. Therefore, wherever the Spirit of God is it will have a sympathetic flow toward others of the same spirit. Whoever has the Spirit of God at all will be sure to love his brethren, because he will see the mind of God in them; and this love will increase as he develops and as he sees development in the brethren.

All the brethren in Christ, however, have imperfect bodies, and therefore can give but imperfect expression to the spirit of love. And since the brethren are brought closer together through their common hopes and ambitions, they are likely to become more of a trial to each other than are the world. They are tempted sometimes to say to a brother or a sister, "Well, you do not show much of the spirit of love!" Thus the spirit of criticism is aroused, and love is put to the test. In proportion as we grow in love, this spirit of love will be ours and we shall take a kindlier view of the frailties of the brethren. Our daily experiences should teach us more and more of our own shortcomings. The discovery of our own faults and the battling with them should humble us. Whoever realizes his own shortcomings should extend the feeling of sympathy toward his fellow pilgrims in the Heavenly way, who are fighting similar battles. Unless we do so we shall not be pleasing to our God.

The fact that the brethren have this Spirit of God and are seeking to develop love, however much they may come short of their own ideals and of our ideals for them, demands that we love them. Our sympathy for them must broaden and deepen so that if we see them overtaken in a fault we shall seek to restore them in love, remembering ourselves, lest we also be tempted. As to the depth of love we should manifest, it is clearly laid down in the Scriptures. We should love the brethren as Christ loved us. This is very broad. Christ loved us to the extent that He was willing to lay down His life for us. We should be full of love, sympathy, for our brethren in Christ, desiring to be helpful to them. Whatever we do for them is a manifestation of our love for the Lord.

The Lord has arranged that our love for the brethren and our laying down our lives for them and in their defense is all done to Him; and He so esteems it. If the time should come when it would be necessary, there should be a readiness to lay down our lives for them. But more particularly, we are to lay these down inch by inch in their service, whether it be by cleaning off the snow from the pavement, or caring for them when they are ill, or cooking the dinner or the breakfast, or mailing papers to them to encourage them in the good way--no matter what the service. All these ways and many others are ministries to those who are the Lord's-- laying down our lives for them. We rejoice to have such privileges, such opportunities--using our time and strength as the Lord in His providence shall indicate, realizing that the only use we have for our present life is to lay it down in the service of the Lord's brethren and ours, and to do good to any as we have opportunity, giving the brethren the preference.

We may never attain to the place, while we are in the flesh, where we shall say no word, do no act, to hurt a brother. We all have imperfections that we are striving against. But "The Lord looketh upon the heart," and not at the imperfect execution. If He sees the earnest endeavor to do His will, He will cover the deficiencies and imperfections with the merit of our Savior. If we make a mistake, we are to be glad to rectify it and to make proper apologies and reparation--assuring the brother that we did not mean to hurt his feelings. Or, if under temptation we felt less concern than we should about wounding him, we should ask pardon, confessing our sorrow, and then confess our fault at the Throne of Grace, asking forgiveness in Jesus' name.

If, then, we hope to be of those who will be granted a place with Christ in His Throne, let us see to it that by His grace we attain the end of the commandment, the end of the Law, as given to the New Creation. Let it be "love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an undissembled faith"--a love which inspires to the willing, joyful sacrifice of every earthly hope and ambition, and which gladly lays down even life itself for the brethren, that we may be accounted worthy of the heavenly inheritance awaiting the "more than conquerors." --Romans 8:37.


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LOVE'S ALCHEMY
"Love is the filling from one's own
Another's cup.
Love is a daily laying down
And taking up;
A choosing of the stony path
Through each new day
That other feet may tread with ease
A smoother way.
Love is not blind, but looks abroad
Through other eyes;

And asks not, "Must I give?" but, "May
I sacrifice?"
Love hides its grief, that other hearts
And lips may sing;
And burdened, walks, that other lives
May, buoyant, wing.
Brother, hast thou a love like this
Within thy soul?
'Twill change thy name to saint when thou
Dost reach this goal."



[R5757 : page 264]

FULL DELIVERANCE PROMISED TO GOD'S SAINTS

"He shall call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him."-- Psalm 91:15.
WHEN considering the above text, we are naturally interested to know who or what class would be thus favored of God and whether or not we might become members of that class. The context seems to show that the Psalm is prophetic and refers to the Lord Jesus and the Church--The Christ as a whole. No doubt it has been true in a certain sense of some others. For instance, when Abraham called upon the Lord, God heard him in his troubles and blessed him. And the Lord will yet give him great honor, because he loved and trusted God. The same might be said of the faithful ones all through the Jewish Dispensation. But the Psalm seems to refer especially to The Christ. These are the ones who bear the closest relationship to God. Their love is manifested in a special sense by their faithfulness to the will of God, their faithfulness in honoring His name, their faithfulness in upholding His Truth, in being willing to die in God's service, in laying down their lives for the brethren, in developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit; for all this is included in their covenant.

It is this class, therefore, that the Lord will answer when they call upon Him; it is this class that He will deliver and honor, will care for in trouble. All who come to God, must necessarily, before they can be accepted, enter into a Covenant of Sacrifice with Him through Christ, giving up their will--loving the Lord and His will better than themselves and their own will or the will of any other. Of course, a large proportion of those who proclaim themselves to be Christians are merely nominal Christians--Christians in name only, who never made a covenant with God.

Of those who do enter into this Covenant, not many, judging from what we can observe, carry it out faithfully, submitting their lives and their every interest to God's will. Noticeable examples of the faithful ones of the past were our Lord Jesus and His Apostles. And there have been others, of course, of this faithful class throughout this Gospel Age, now closing. All these are styled by Jehovah His jewels, and are to be made by Him into a glorious diadem, the Lord Jesus being its brightest and choicest gem. These are to show forth during eternal ages Jehovah's Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Throughout this Gospel Age God has been working in these to will and to do His good pleasure.

CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THE PROMISE

But God works in no one contrary to that one's own will. If we wish to step out from under Christ's instruction, there is nothing to prevent us. God would that we remain, but is not willing to urge upon us, to press upon us, this matter. God wishes only such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in Truth, because they love Him. This class who seek faithfully to do the Lord's will because they love Him may call upon Him in every trouble and difficulty. His answer will not come in an audible voice, and may not come in the manner that we expect; but He will answer in the best way the petitions of His saints which are asked in harmony with His will, His Word. That is, as Jesus said, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you [if you remember and act upon My teaching], ye may ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you"; for those thus abiding in Him would ask only those things which God has provided for them, only such things as His providence has arranged for them, only such things as His Word authorizes His saints to pray for. The Lord has promised these that they shall have their requests. He has been blessing and caring for His people throughout the Gospel Age. Their needs are often supplied before they call. They are to have the Word of God clearly in mind that their prayers and endeavors may be in line with His will. Thus their disappointments will be His appointments, and will be accepted as of the Lord.

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIBULATION

"I will be with him in trouble," is the promise. The intimation here is that the Lord will not, necessarily, prevent our getting into trouble. We might see the trouble coming and pray to the Lord, but He might not deliver us from the trouble. And we should not ask that we might be spared the affliction if His Wisdom sees it is best for us to have it. The trouble might prove very beneficial to us.

The Lord has already told us in His Word that we are to rejoice even under tribulation; for tribulation, rightly received, will work out for us a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So while the Lord does not promise us that we shall escape trouble, He does promise that with the trouble He will give His children consolation of heart, sustaining grace, that will enable them to rejoice in the midst of their tribulation. (2 Corinthians 4:6-18; 12:9,10; Isaiah 43:1,2.) This was exemplified in our Lord Jesus and in the Apostles. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God in prison with their feet fast in the stocks and their backs bleeding from the whippings which they had received. They could rejoice in tribulation for Christ's sake.

The Lord is ever with His people; therefore they should not be discouraged. His children have the comfort and assistance of the letter of the Truth and the spirit of the Truth. But they have all these blessings only in proportion as they are willing to exercise faith; for the glories promised are not yet theirs in reality; these are theirs only by promise now.

OUR FULL DELIVERANCE

"I will deliver him and honor him." The deliverance of the Lord's saints, in the fullest sense of the word, will be by their participation in the First, Chief Resurrection. Our Lord Jesus was delivered from all His trials and afflictions when He was raised from the dead. The promise to the Church also is that we shall be delivered when our resurrection "change" shall come to us. "Sown in weakness," we shall be "raised in power"; sown an animal body, we shall be "raised a spiritual body." This will be the full deliverance, and with it will come the promised honor and exaltation.

There are deliverances, of course, for the children of God at the present time, according to our need. And the Lord gives us a certain kind of honor, but not usually the kind of honor that the world appreciates. This honor may come mixed with such tribulation as would make it not desirable in the world's eye. But the honor that will come to the saints in the end will be such as all will know and will appreciate. All the members of Christ will share in the Kingdom glories and honors with their Head. He and the members of His Body glorified will reign in the Father's Kingdom, and will be associated together throughout all eternity in the great work of God.


"Press on, beloved, in the race,
The goal is very near,
Faint not, thou soon shalt see His face--
Then, be thou of good cheer!"



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HUMAN WORKS VS. WORKS OF THE NEW CREATURE

"Beloved, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."--Philippians 2:12,13.
OUR text is not an exhortation to the world. The Apostle is not urging natural men to work out their own salvation. The exhortation is to the Church of Christ alone, the "beloved," as St. Paul calls them. According to many theologians this advice would seem strange, because of the commonly accepted belief that a person is saved as soon as he becomes one of the Lord's [R5759 : page 265] people. To this we agree in part--"we are saved by hope." But the actual salvation we have not yet attained. It will not be attained until we shall have experienced the "change" of the First Resurrection. Up to that time there is always a possibility of our leaving the faith, being turned away from the faith--away from seeking to follow on faithfully to the attainment of the Lord's ultimate will concerning us. This salvation to the High Calling is to be worked out by the development of character.

God has promised that certain characters shall attain to the highest place in His gift, the chief place of exaltation and favor, to be partakers of His own Divine nature. The Scriptures indicate that there are others who will attain to an inferior place--vessels unto lesser honor. (2 Timothy 2:20,21.) So we see that we should be on the qui vive, on the alert, to win the very best offered, the attainment of which will be pleasing to God as well as being the best thing for ourselves. Those who have entered into a covenant with the Lord must attain spirit nature, either on the Divine plane or a lower one; else they will lose all and die the Second Death. We are called in one hope of our Calling--that of attaining the Divine nature. There has been no other call issued during the Gospel Age.

The question arises, Does this exhortation to work out our own salvation conflict with St. Paul's other statement, that our salvation "is not of works, lest any man should boast"? We reply, No; our salvation from death is entirely by faith. As men we have no opportunity of doing any works that would justify us before God. Until we have been accepted into God's family no works that we could do would be acceptable. God who is perfect, is not pleased to receive anything imperfect, either works or anything else. But when we have received the forgiveness of our sins--not by works, but by faith--and have become sons of God, through consecration and Spirit-begetting, then comes the time when we can do acceptable works; for we are then members of the Lord's family, and the Holy Spirit within us through this begetting now has an opportunity to show itself, to do some works. In other words, as imperfect human beings, we cannot work out our salvation; but as New Creatures we can do this.--Philippians 4:13.

OUR PART OF THE WORK

If after its begetting the New Creature never became active, it would never develop strength and character, just as a child would not develop if it never moved its limbs. We receive the Holy Spirit at the time of the Lord's acceptance of us, at our consecration. But this New Creature germ cannot long remain quiet. It must grow through nourishment, through feeding. At first we "desire the sincere milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby." We become strong by the exercise of ourselves as New Creatures. But it is God who started the new life in us. All our studying would not have made New Creatures of us; no amount of works would have done it. These things would never have brought us into the Lord's family; but after we have come into His family through the Lord Jesus, these good works will begin to show.

The New Creature takes over the old body as its possession, to be its servant. Legally, the old body is dead, having been slain as a sacrifice. But actually, we still have it in lieu of our new body, that it may serve us until the New Creature is sufficiently developed to be given its resurrection body, and until our work here is done. It is the possession of this old, imperfect body that makes it necessary for us to wear the robe of Christ's righteousness while we remain in the flesh.

The New Creature masters its old body, gets more and more control of the old disposition of the flesh. This may be more manifest to our neighbors and friends, and to our brethren, than to ourselves. The Father works in us as New Creatures, through Christ. And as we as New Creatures exercise ourselves in the control of the flesh, we become strong. Thus, as the Apostle says, we more and more become copies of God's dear Son. "It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do His good pleasure," and as we thus will and do, we accomplish our salvation. The Apostle is speaking here, not about the natural man, but of the "beloved" class, and is explaining that God wishes us to know that now, as we are His sons, He is working in us to accomplish His will.

GOD'S PART A GREAT WORK

There is a work that God did for us before we ever could have come into Christ--a great and important work. That work was the purchasing of us through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, and the arrangement by which the knowledge of this reaches us. Through the circumstances, incidents, affairs of our lives He showed us the way by which we might become His children through full consecration. All this is the work of God, and in the Scriptures is called drawing and calling. "No man can come unto Me except the Father which sent Me draw him," said the Master. It is the Father who draws, but by way of the Son. Then we are called with a "Heavenly Calling." After we have accepted the Call upon the Lord's terms, there is a work to be done in us-- a great work. And God is doing this work.

Elsewhere the Apostle says of this class, "Ye are God's workmanship." Our Lord Jesus says of these, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." The Father is the great Husbandman. It is for God to prune the branches of the Vine, to give them all the experiences requisite to their fruit-bearing. We all need pruning to develop the best of which we are capable as New Creatures, and to prove what we shall be qualified for.

So God's work in us progresses. He works through the world, through the brethren, through all the varied experiences of life, and through His precious promises. In proportion as we love God, we get the good out of our experiences. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purpose." If we know this, we shall receive in the spirit of submission and trust all that comes to us. The Lord continues to feed us upon His Word. Our progress is a matter of gradual development--a growing in grace, a growing in knowledge, a growing into God's character-likeness. Thus He works in His children to will and to do His good pleasure. He shows us more and more what His good pleasure is. Whoever becomes a child of God realizes later on more clearly than when he made his consecration what is the will of God, the mind of God. He comes to see things from an altogether [R5759 : page 266] different angle from his viewpoint when he first entered upon the narrow way.

As the Lord works in us through His various providences, etc., we are to accept these nourishments for the New Creature, appropriating them to ourselves, that we may grow thereby--grow in strength of character, and thus be prepared for the Kingdom, for the glory, honor, immortality awaiting us if faithful. Of course, these great blessings and honors will not be given us unless we become such characters as the Lord will approve. The Apostle exhorts us to remember that what is to be reckoned on is, How much as a New Creature have you done in battling against the weaknesses of the flesh, in overcoming unfavorable surroundings? How fully have you really developed the likeness of Christ in your character?



[R5759 : page 266]

ELIJAH'S WORK BEFORE ASCENSION
--SEPTEMBER 19.--1 KINGS 20:1-21.--

DEFEATS THROUGH DRUNKENNESS--SYRIA'S KING WARS WITH ISRAEL--ISRAEL'S CAPITAL IN DANGER--KING BENHADAD CONFIDENT OF VICTORY--HE CELEBRATES IT IN ADVANCE IN DRUNKEN ORGIES--ISRAEL'S SMALL ARMY UNDER DIVINE COMMAND DEFEATS THE SYRIANS WITH TERRIBLE SLAUGHTER--MODERN WAR'S CONTRAST--WHY GOD PERMITS WARS, CALAMITIES, SICKNESS, INSANITY, ETC.--WHEN WARS WILL CEASE--SHOULD CHRISTIANS ENGAGE IN WAR?
OUR lesson recounts the attack of the Syrians upon the Israelites, whose capital city, Samaria, is besieged and its king in fear of the necessity of capitulation. The Syrian king boastfully tells what he will do and commands a surrender. King Ahab, perplexed, considers resistance useless, until the Lord's message revives his courage, directing him how to proceed with the battle. Following this direction a great victory for the Israelites was gained--this partly because the Syrian king, Ben-Hadad, was very drunk, and many of his lords with him. They were thus incapacitated from using the vital strength of their large army, and suffered great defeat.

All the wars of the past, however, pale into insignificance before the present great struggle progressing in Europe. One of the British lords, addressing workmen recently and urging efficiency in the manufacture of war munitions, declared that the British had expended for ammunition in Belgium recently more money than during the entire Boer War. The rapidity with which modern guns are fired and the terrible slaughter which they accomplish are appalling. Authentic reports declare that twelve millions of the picked men of Europe have already been either killed, wounded or made prisoners; and we may safely assume that the armies now contending number ten millions.

When we consider that one man, armed with a rapid-fire [R5760 : page 266] gun, is more than an equivalent of twenty men, yea, than of a hundred men as in former wars, we get some conception of what a terrible war the present one is. The Scriptures seem to declare that it will bring no great victory to any of the contestants, but that eventually all the nations thus engaged will be terribly weakened, not only in the loss of their most able manhood, but also financially impoverished and embarrassed to the extent that their bonds will probably never be paid.

LESSON TAUGHT BY THE WAR

It is a sad reflection upon the boasted civilization of our day that such a war should be considered the only way by which the great nations of the world could come to an agreement on matters of mutual interest in respect to an earth which God has given to the children of men as their common heritage. When we consider that the nations at war are claiming to be Christian nations, the thought is all the more horrible. Our only comfort is in the thought that the poor deluded people do not understand the meaning of the term Christian, and that the great mass of them never were Christians. True Christians, saints, no doubt are to be found in all the armies of the countries where conscription is the law. Bible students from the different armies from time to time give us word of their welfare and of their endeavor to hold up the Light and to show forth the Lord's praises, even under such terrible conditions.

Surely the people of the world are beginning to awaken to a realization of the fact that the boasted four hundred millions of Christians are, for the most part, as far from God and from Christian ideals as are the twelve hundred millions of heathens. Their awakening should help them to realize what the true Church is, and that her mission is not to convert the world but to prepare herself to be Messiah's Kingdom class, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, Messiah's Joint-heir in His Heavenly Kingdom. If the war should teach this lesson to any considerable number, it will not have been in vain. And if these saints of God, learning the way more perfectly, shall carry out a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and thus make their calling and election sure to a place in the Kingdom, they will have a share in the First Resurrection to spiritual conditions. Then, associated with their Redeemer, they will bless the world of mankind on the human plane, uplifting the willing and obedient to human perfection.

WHY GOD PERMITS WAR

Many are inquiring, Why does God permit war-- yea, why do the Scriptures imply that God brings about wars? We reply that it makes little difference to the person dying whether his death comes as a result of a bayonet wound, a sword wound or a bullet wound, or whether it comes from consumption, pneumonia, smallpox or general constitutional breakdown. And if it makes little difference to the individual, we may say that it makes less difference to the Almighty. God's penalty upon our race is a death penalty--come how it may. For six thousand years the penalty has been in operation; and the entire race is going down to the tomb under that sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die."

The hope for all, then, is in Christ and through His death--by the resurrection of the dead which He will accomplish during the Millennium. His faithful Church, His Bride, who is to share with Him in the Kingdom, will be the first resurrected, and then to a plane of glory, honor and immortality. The remainder of the world will come forth, "every man in his own order," as the Bible declares. They will come forth that they may learn of the Goodness of God, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, the Love of God, and be enabled to contrast these with what they learned in their previous lifetime under [R5760 : page 267] the reign of Sin and Death. Meantime, the Bible declares, from the Divine viewpoint the whole world of mankind are falling asleep in death, to await the awakening of Messiah's Kingdom and the beginning then of the grand opportunity which He has secured for all, whereby they may escape from sin and, ultimately, from death.

"THERE SHALL BE NO MORE CURSE"

The Divine promise and provision is that under Messiah's Kingdom wars will be made to cease forever, and all other calamities will cease. Instead of mankind's going down into the tomb, the reverse order will be established--the resurrection of the dead. Instead of sickness, disease and insanity will come healing, strength, restitution. (Acts 3:19-21.) Speaking of the effect of His Millennial Kingdom, Jesus declares that the curse will be rolled away and God's blessing will come on instead, until there shall be no more sighing or dying or crying or pain. All these blessings are as yet only promises, and hence only for the Church to rejoice in or understand--and they according to their degree of faith in God and of understanding of His Word.

The Bible informs us that after Messiah's spiritual Kingdom shall have taken charge of the world's affairs, nothing will be permitted to hurt or destroy in all God's glorious Kingdom. This will mean that a spiritual police force will have humanity under absolute control. Every misdeed will be punished as soon as it is determined upon and before it shall have been put into effect. Likewise, every good act, good word and good thought will bring a blessing of restitution, health, strength--mental, moral, physical. Under such conditions the world will very speedily learn to differentiate right from wrong. They will speedily learn of the change of dispensation, and that thenceforth every sinful thought, word and act will be sure to receive punishment, while every good thought, good word and good act will be sure to receive a blessing. The Bible tells of this condition of things, saying, "When Thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."--Isaiah 11:9; 26:9; 28:17.

CHRISTIANS ENGAGING IN WAR

Many are perplexed to understand the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in respect to war, when they contrast these with the Lord's directions to the Jews and His blessing of their wars. This matter can be understood only from the one viewpoint--the Bible viewpoint.

The first invitation to fallen men to become sons of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, dates from the time of Jesus, and particularly from the time that He died for our sins, arose from the dead, ascended to Heaven to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, and as a result of that work shed forth on the waiting disciples the Holy Spirit of God and the begetting power to a new nature. None prior to that had ever been sons of God from the time that Adam sinned. At very most Moses was a servant and Abraham a friend. St. John assures us that the liberty or privilege to become sons of God came through our Lord Jesus at His First Advent to those who fully accepted Him.--John 1:12,13.

These sons of God, otherwise the Body of Christ, otherwise the Bride of Christ, are not of the world, but chosen and separated from the world by the Divine call and spirit-begetting. To these Jesus said, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." "I have chosen you [out of the world], and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." (John 17:14; 15:16,8.) Now the fruits of the Spirit, the Apostle tells us, are manifest--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. These things being in us and abounding in good measure will make us that we shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that we shall have an abundant entrance ministered unto us into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," and which we are to enter by resurrection change, in due time.-- Galatians 5:22,23; 2 Peter 1:5-11.

SCRIPTURES MISAPPLIED

Does God give special direction to this class of His spirit-begotten children in respect to war, or are they in this matter subject to the powers that be? We reply that all the Lord's people are soldiers of the Cross, and that the Apostle has forewarned us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. (2 Corinthians 10:4.) There is no commission anywhere in the Bible for God's consecrated people to war, to fight, to kill, to take from others either life or property. The present great war is merely a demonstration of the fact that if any considerable number of those participating in it ever were Christians, they have been merely babes in Christ and did not understand the teachings of the Lord.

Nevertheless, we perceive that in all the warring countries the professed ministers of Christ are acting as recruiting agents. All kinds of arguments are used to persuade the young men of the country, contrary to the teachings of the Master. The same men who are accustomed to laugh at the declaration that the Turkish soldiers in former wars were promised, in event of death, a sure passport to Heavenly Paradise--these same ministers are now urging all the eligible with whom they have influence to prepare to go to battle to lay down their lives. While the Germans have put upon their soldiers' belts, "God with us," the British ministers are quoting Bible texts to encourage enlistment of their young men and to throw a halo of glory upon the soldier dead.


[R5762 : page 267]

"YET WILL I REJOICE IN THE LORD!"
Though the fig-tree shall not blossom,
Though the olive's labour fail,
Though a murrain, sore and grievous,
Smite the herd on hill and dale,--
Yet my soul shall bless and praise Him,
And my faith shall still prevail!

Though the earth be filled with violence,
And the Dove of Peace hath fled,
While the land and sea are groaning
'Neath the burden of their dead,--
Yet, amid the awful tumult,
I rejoice and lift my head!

Though the vision seem to tarry,
And the waiting time prolong,
Though my faith be strangely tested
In the conflict fierce and strong,
Yet His Grace shall be sufficient,
And the burden of my song!

Though He slay me, I will trust Him,
Though my very heart He break,
For I know with loving wisdom
He hath planned the way I take.--
Thus my dying breath shall bless Him,
And I'll praise Him when I wake!
--G. W. SEIBERT.



[R5761 : page 268]

OBEDIENCE AND KINGSHIP
--SEPTEMBER 26.--PSALM 21.--

THE GLORY OF MESSIAH'S KINGDOM--THE REWARD OF HIS OBEDIENCE TO JEHOVAH--THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS FOES A NECESSITY--ARE WE FORTY YEARS INTO THE MILLENNIUM?

"The King shall joy in Thy strength, O Jehovah, and in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice!"--V. 1.
THE Jews took a practical view of the promised Kingdom of Messiah, in which they were to have a glorious place, and in which all nations were to be blessed. Two things they failed to realize: first, that a Redemption-price for the sin of Adam must be provided before Adam and his race could be returned to Divine favor and everlasting life in Eden; second, that Messiah Himself, before having so great an exaltation as Jehovah purposed, must demonstrate His worthiness to it by humility, obedience, loyalty, even unto death. St. Paul points out that Jesus the Redeemer did all this-- that He left the glory which He had with the Father, humbled Himself to become a man (though not a sinner), and then as a man further humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the Cross; that on this account God highly exalted Him far above angels, making Him partaker of the Divine nature and Inheritor of all the promises of glory, honor, immortality.--Philippians 2:8-11.

Many who see this much fail to get the Scriptural declaration that God's purpose equally included a Church class as a Bride to Messiah--as sharer of His sufferings and trials, and sharer of His exaltation and glory. Only when this is seen can we properly understand the delay in the establishment of the Kingdom. It has delayed in order that the entire Church, foreordained of God, might be completed, tested, proved, glorified in the First Resurrection, and then inaugurated with Messiah as the Heavenly Kingdom.

Many peculiar ideas prevail because of a failure to take the Scriptural proposition and because of a false theory that the Kingdom has already been set up in glory. Ridding our minds of these difficulties, Bible students are now discerning Messiah's Kingdom near at hand--even at the door. They are more and more realizing that the present terrible war is the beginning of a series of troubles which will wind up the present order of things and inaugurate the New Dispensation of Messiah's Kingdom, for which we have so long prayed, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven."

Although it will be a spiritual Kingdom, no less so [R5762 : page 268] than Satan's kingdom of the present time, and the Father's Kingdom--invisible to men--nevertheless it will be a real Kingdom, exercising power and authority more completely than any earthly kingdom could, because not handicapped by human limitations and conditions. Moreover, the Bible indicates to us that the Ancient Worthies of the Jewish line will be resurrected to perfection and in an earthly glory will become visible representatives to men of the glorified spiritual Christ, Head and Body. Jesus emphasized this thought to the Jews saying, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the Kingdom." (Luke 13:28.) But respecting Himself He declared, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." (John 14:19.) All will see Him, however, in the sense that eventually all the eyes of understanding will be opened, that all may see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God fill the whole earth.-- Revelation 1:7; Habakkuk 2:14.

MESSIAH'S KINGDOM BEGUN

Many Bible students are claiming that, according to the prophecies, Messiah's Kingdom began in 1878. They claim that while its chief activities have been in respect to the Church--the harvesting of the wheat, the separating of the tares, etc.--nevertheless it has had a worldwide influence also, in that during this time of the dawning of the New Dispensation God has been lifting the veil of ignorance and showing mankind mechanical and chemical secrets which have proved invaluable thus far, and which undoubtedly will increase in the near future, when the Messianic Kingdom shall have been fully inaugurated, at the close of the great Time of Trouble, already beginning in Europe and in Mexico.

Amongst the other indications of the operation of the Kingdom influence in the world, Bible students point to the wonderful progress made as respects reform along the lines of intemperance. The wonderful wave of prohibition which has spread voluntarily over many of the States of the American Union has been supplemented by the necessities of the war in foreign countries. We must not expect too much along these lines. We must expect more or less of reaction, especially in the case of so sudden a turn as the war brought upon Europeans.

Indeed, evidence is not wanting that the first fervor of prohibition in Europe is reacting. We had similar experiences in America, but we perceive that as a whole the world is moving onward in this respect in a right direction. The movement against opium and other narcotics also tends in the right direction, as do the many exposures of vice and the lessons being given as respects the terrible penalty of vice, as witnessed in the now well-recognized fact that syphilis stops brain development and generally in a few years leads to insanity.

While continuing to pray, "Thy Kingdom come," let us as God's consecrated people continue to labor in character-preparation, that we may be found worthy of a place in that Kingdom, making our calling and election sure. And let us continue to note evidences on every hand that we are in the dawning of the Kingdom, even though its Sun of Righteousness cannot fully arise until the Church shall have passed beyond the veil. In this connection we call attention to an interesting report in respect to one of our States, which, having passed prohibition laws, is said by its Governor to be enjoying grand blessings of prosperity--Kansas. The following extract is from the "North American."

RESTITUTION BLESSINGS IN KANSAS

Recently the Governor of Kansas issued a public statement, saying that he hoped no one would waste pity upon the people of his State. We quote:--

"'With more than $200,000,000 on deposit in our State and National Banks, we could weather a worse storm than this without hardship.' This money, equally divided among the men, women, children and babies of Kansas, would give each of them $118 in cash, not to mention the tidy sum of $1,684 each is credited with as his or her share of the State's assessed wealth. Kansas last year produced $325,000,000 worth of farm products.

"In eighty-seven of her one hundred and five counties there are no insane. In fifty-four of this number are no feeble-minded. Ninety-six counties have no inebriates, and in the other nine they are as scarce as hens' teeth. Thirty-eight county poorhouses are as empty as a last year's locust-shell, and most of these have been so for the best part of a decade.

"The pauper population of the State falls a little [R5762 : page 269] short of 600. That is one pauper for each 3,000 of the kind making a living, and a good one--the kind that now own $255,000,000 worth of live stock and in the last twelve months have added more than $45,000,000 to their taxable personal property. Her own people this year hold more than $67,000,000 in this form of wealth, an increase of over 500 per cent. in five years.

"At one time not long ago the jails in fifty-three counties were empty and sixty-five counties were on the roll as having no prisoners serving sentence in the penitentiary. Instead of being hampered by a large mass of illiterates--thirty years ago 49 per cent. of her population came under this head--her present ratio of two per cent. is next to the lowest in the land and two-thirds lower than Massachusetts, including Boston.

"It is the combination of sense and solid muscle that has kept her growing stronger and richer through extremes of climate which soon would decimate a less fit lot. These people have made good in a zone once declared to be unquestionably unproductive. In the last twenty years they have made this 'unproductive' soil yield corn and wheat worth $2,517,902,640.

"SO SOMETHING WOULD SEEM TO BE THE MATTER WITH KANSAS.

"SOMETHING IS THE MATTER WITH HER. That something, we believe, can be boiled down into these first fourteen words constituting an amendment made to her constitution in 1881:

"'THE MANUFACTURE AND SALE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR SHALL BE FOREVER PROHIBITED IN THIS STATE.'

"It is this fundamental provision, fought and evaded in some localities as it was for a quarter-century, and strictly enforced in all parts of the State only within the last five years, that has helped Kansas to flaunt a two-hundred million bank-account in the face of a partial crop failure; that relieves her of spending much time, strength and money on paupers, criminals, insane and feeble-minded; that gives her people the best of chances for living and the fewest excuses for dying."



[R5761 : page 269]

THE TWO PARTS OF THE HARVEST WORK

SOME of the dear people of God have wondered what relationship the PHOTO-DRAMA and the Colporteur work have to the end of the Harvest. One's knowledge of the DRAMA would necessarily be limited to his contact with it. There are some who have heard of it, but who have not much knowledge of it. The general reports received since its production have been very satisfactory. In some parts the Classes have been largely increased in number. In certain places the friends at first felt disappointed; but these reported later that after a few Sundays, when the people had had time to let the Truth sink more or less into their minds, a number came out of the churches, where they could not get satisfactory food, and began to attend our meetings. As a rule, wherever the DRAMA has been shown the Classes have been increased. Some very remarkable characters have come into the light of Present Truth--some of the Lord's people who before were in the darkness through prejudice and superstition, and others from the world. These who became thus interested have been started to investigating and reading the STUDIES, through the Colporteur work.

Similarly, the 42,000,000 copies of BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY put out this last year, while they have not brought millions into the Classes by any means, have no doubt been doing a good work, a work of stirring up the minds of the people, awakening them to think, and reaching some of the Great Company class. Others, perhaps, have been brought directly to full consecration through our free literature. All of these works seem to belong to the Harvest; for they did not belong to a previous time.

THE PLOWMAN OVERTAKING THE REAPER

The Harvest work has been increased rapidly to its consummation. We are not to understand that the Harvest is yet wholly finished; for there are two parts to the work--the gathering of the wheat, and the burning of the tares. We might have thought that the gathering of the wheat has been accomplished; that if our expectations are true, with the end of the Gentile Times the number of the Very Elect would be complete, so that no more could enter. We are not positive of this, and we must not go by guessing. The latter part of the Harvest work is to be the burning of the tares, and the waking up of the Great Company class and preparing them to go out and purchase the oil for their lamps. Now seems to be the particular time, if we have the right focus on the matter, in which the Great Company class would hear-- when the foolish virgins would get the light, get the oil, and the time when the wise virgins have gone in, or are soon to go in, to the Marriage.

In the text of Scripture which speaks of the plowman overtaking the Reaper, we are to remember that the Reaper is the Lord, and that the plowman is the great Time of Trouble. This Time of Trouble will overtake the reaping work, and bring it to a close. But the Time of Trouble will go on, the plowman will keep on plowing, after all our efforts have ended in respect to the reaping. But meantime, before this dark night fully sets in, we are to go right on with the work which the Lord has put into our hands. The Truth is designed, not only to perfect the "Bride" of Christ, the Chief of the First-borns, but to develop the Great Company class, and also to be a witness to the whole world. Any carelessness on our part, or any cessation of activity in the service of the Truth while opportunity yet remains, would in our estimation be a great mistake. If we are loyal, the Lord will give us far greater opportunities in the future--the blessing of all the nations, all the kindreds, all the families of the earth.--Galatians 3:8,16,29.

THOSE CONSECRATING BETWEEN THE AGES

It is our thought that with the closing of the "door" of this Gospel Age there will be no more begetting of the Holy Spirit to the spirit nature. Any afterward coming to God through consecration, before the inauguration of the Restitution work, will be accepted by Him, not to the spirit plane of being, but to the earthly plane. Such would come in under the same conditions as the Ancient Worthies who were accepted of God. The Ancient Worthies came in, no call being opened to them--the High Calling not being yet open, and the Restitution opportunities not open. But they freely gave themselves up to God without knowing what blessings their consecration would bring, except that they had the intimation that they would, in the future life, have a "better resurrection" than would the remainder of the world.

Our thought is that whoever under such conditions as these will make a full consecration to the Lord, to leave all to follow in His ways, and will live up faithfully, [R5761 : page 270] loyally, to that consecration, may be privileged to be counted as a similar class to those who preceded this Gospel Age. We know of no reason why the Lord would refuse to receive those who make a consecration after the close of the Gospel Age and its High Calling and before the full opening of the Millennial Age.

THE BURNING OF THE TARES

Whether the overcoming saints will have a part in the burning of the tare class is a thought not very clear at this time. "This honor have all His saints, to execute the judgments written." All the saints would include, then, those who would be living in the world when the judgments are executed, as well as the resurrected saints. Just how any living here would have a share in executing the judgments written we do not see; but we are keeping our eyes open, with the thought that this may be so.

It would seem that the burning of the tares has now been going on for some time; that is, some who have professed that they are Christians and have thought that they are Christians, but have never entered into true relationship with the Lord and become of the wheat class, are to be destroyed as tares, shown in their true light. If questioned now as to their consecration, these will say, "I am no saint, but I wish to be right and just in my dealings so far as possible." Thus such demonstrate that they have not understood what it is to be a real Christian.

This great war in Europe is waking up people to think in a way that they have never thought before; and now is the time when the real Christianity and the counterfeit will be differentiated. Many people will come more or less rapidly to recognize this. But there is a large proportion of tares that have not yet been burned. Emperor William of Germany, King George of England, the Czar of Russia, the Pope, etc., have not yet learned the difference between the true Christianity and the imitation. So it is with many others. But the burning will progress to its completion, and the true and the false will be completely manifested to all.



[R5762 : page 270]

PROMOTE THE WORLD'S PEACE

[From editorial of New York American, Aug. 11, 1915.]

THE people of this nation are either in favor of peace, or they are not. If they are in favor of peace, they should be against war and against the supplying of arms to the nations engaged in war, when they know that those arms are to be used to increase the murder and destruction of that war. If the people of this country are not in favor of peace, then they should continue to supply arms to the murdering nations and make all the money they can out of the murder. But in that event [R5763 : page 270] they should stop prating about peace. If we cannot be conscientious let us, at least, be consistent. We should cease assuming a virtue which we do not possess, and go coldly and boldly out to acquire any blood money which may be "coming our way."

We have that right under international law, but have we that right under moral law?

We have that right under the law of nations, but have we that right under the law of God?

The Lord God has said, "Thou shalt not kill." Does that mean also, "Thou shalt not help to kill?"

If it is criminal to be a murderer, is it not just as criminal to be an accessory before the fact? In the case of two accomplices in murder, is he who murders for hate any worse than he who murders for profit?

These people of ours are sincerely devoted to "principle," and they do not care whether the operation of that principle embarrasses Germany and benefits England, or whether it embarrasses England and benefits Germany, as long as it is a just and righteous principle. We are not partisan in our "principle," President Wilson. We are not pro-German or pro-British, Mr. President. We stand for abstract principle and for its concrete application in a neutral, impartial and absolutely just and righteous manner.

We speak thus directly to you, Mr. President, because we have the grateful testimony of your own words that you yourself view this matter as this newspaper views it. We find these words in your message upon the subject of Mexico, which you delivered to the Congress in August, 1913:

"I deem it my duty to exercise the authority conferred upon me by the law of March 14, 1912, to see to it that neither side of the struggle now going on in Mexico receive any assistance from this side of the border. I shall follow the best practise of nations in the matter of neutrality by forbidding the exportation of arms and munitions of war of any kind from the United States--a policy suggested by several interesting precedents, and certainly dictated by many manifest considerations of practical expediency. We cannot in the circumstances be the partisans of either party to the contest that now distracts Mexico, or constitute ourselves the virtual umpire between them."

It seems to us, Mr. President, that you could not possibly have better stated then, and could not possibly better state now, the high and solemn obligation of this country to "follow the best practise of nations in the matter of neutrality by forbidding the exportation of arms and munitions of war of any kind from the United States," not only to the Republic of Mexico but to any and to all republics, kingdoms and empires which are engaged in this dreadful and frightfully destructive war across the Atlantic.

Sir, is there any "manifest consideration of practical expediency," or any consideration of duty and of humanity which applies to the Mexican conflict that does not apply far more weightily to this other vastly greater and more deadly and destructive European conflict?

The miserable plea that some Americans are making money out of this traffic can have no more weight with you, Mr. President, than it has with the millions of your fellow citizens who abhor blood money. The suggestion that we should sell arms and munitions of war in order to make up for the gigantic losses inflicted upon our peaceful, legitimate commerce by Great Britain doubtless meets with the same disapproval from you, Mr. President, that it meets from all self-respecting American men and women. Nor do we think that you, Mr. President, attach any importance to the preposterous argument that it would be unnatural for us to discontinue the sale of arms to the warring nations, since one side could not perhaps carry on the war many more months without a steady supply of arms and munitions from this country.

NEUTRALITY, as you, of course, well know, Mr. President, DOES NOT ACTIVELY AID either belligerent to overcome the other, in any war.



[R5763 : page 271]

INTERESTING LETTERS

LOVE SUFFERETH LONG AND IS KIND

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

For some time I have felt that I should write you about the results of THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION in this vicinity and of the strenuous opposition which this, together with our work, has brought about.

At Manchester, Iowa, a permanent Class of eight or ten has been established by the service of the Dubuque Elders, holding regular meetings. The Baptist minister fought every inch of the way until he met with a misfortune which prevented further action on his part. He used all kinds of methods to bring the Truth and yourself into disrepute, continuing this for possibly two months, when he made a final effort for as large a crowd as possible to hear him "expose Russellism," as he termed it.

Two of our brethren "faced the music" and heard a terrific onslaught which was generally accepted by the audience, although some expressed disapproval of his language and methods. The next morning the poor man was stricken with paralysis of the face and did not preach another sermon for about three months; he is now able to talk only a very short time. Many people in Manchester and vicinity assert that this affliction was a judgment sent upon him. The Methodist minister at this place is friendly and has attended a number of our meetings.

At Warren, Ill., we rented the Orpheum Theatre. At our first exhibition the manager of the house became so enthusiastic that he went out during its progress to bring in others to hear the "good tidings of great joy." During three exhibitions the opposition was very busy, and by the time of our fourth exhibition we were refused the use of the theatre because of the pressure the local ministers brought to bear upon the owner. They also intimidated the editor of the local newspaper so that he refused our paid advertisements.

The Methodist minister here, who was the real instigator of the opposition, was so bitter that he not only made special attacks from his pulpit every Sunday, but even accosted people on the street--including the brethren from the Dubuque Class, threatening to drive them from the town, etc.

We then rented a small hall owned by a man who had become much interested, but the intense opposition forced us from this place also. One of our brethren then leased the Opera House for five Sundays, paying part down and securing contract from the owner, who was friendly to the Truth. The ministers turned their attacks upon this man, three of them calling at his store. He replied that we should have his Opera House as often as we wanted it, even though he should lose every dollar he had; that WE were the only people who had ever preached the Gospel in Warren. At the same time another friend offered his home for our meetings, where a Class of ten or twelve meet regularly.

The Presbyterian and Baptist ministers joined the Methodist in a special sermon on the same Sunday, on "Some Facts Concerning Russellism"--word for word alike, indicating a stereotyped attack.

The owner of the Opera House attended the Methodist service and, in the midst of the attack, arose and challenged the minister to prove the things he was saying.

During all this we have endeavored to manifest a spirit of love. We have continued preaching the Truth and have won the approval of all the fair-minded people of Warren, and are also recompensed by the organization of a Class of earnest Bible Students, who are rejoicing with us in the glorious prospects that await those who patiently endure.

With love to all of like precious faith, we are

Faithfully yours,
THE DUBUQUE ECCLESIA.--Iowa.


DEATH BLOW TO CLERGY ORDINATION

DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I have today read Vol. 6, No. 8, of THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, and have been deeply impressed by the article under the heading, "Clergy Ordination Proved Fraudulent," appearing therein. The text from Isaiah, "Cry aloud, spare not; show My people their transgression," is most appropriate. I unhesitatingly agree with every word in the article.

In my opinion there is absolutely no Divine authority for ecclesiastical titles. I am happy to know that such a personage as yourself is living in this Age. This article of yours is, I believe, the death-blow to "Clergy Ordination"; it is bound to go to oblivion hereafter.

May you, by the grace of God, continue to expound the Scriptures in this straightforward manner for many years. With every good wish for your future happiness, I am

Yours cordially and fraternally,
A. VANIER.--British Guiana.


THE PROMISED ESCAPE PROVIDED

DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

Your recent letter has been read with much interest, as I had been passing through a siege of testing doubtless permitted to see if I would tolerate evil thoughts. Your kind and sympathetic letter struck the proper chord. The thought that possibly the Adversary had been touching me awakened the impulse to call at once upon our dear Lord for relief, remembering the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13.

He has answered my prayer, has granted me release, and has given me that peace of mind which those only can know who dwell "in the secret place of the Most High."

Although this has been a very severe test, the one which I had soon after making consecration was more so. It began in thoughts of hatred toward every one I met. This continued about two days, when I commenced continually repeating the sentence, "I LOVE EVERYBODY!"

Having a very sensitive nature and an abhorrence of evil which is highly developed, it is possible that my self-examination is too critical. My daily and oft-repeated prayer is that everything not in harmony with the Divine will may be rooted out of my heart, making it a fit temple of the Holy Spirit.

I have never let slip an opportunity to witness for the Truth, either by handing out literature or by word of mouth. This activity has resulted in my business being boycotted. I was notified that this would result if I persisted. But I rejoice in the persecution, which I experience also in my own home. It only stimulates me to further zeal for the Lord.

Again thanking you for your sympathy and brotherly love, which I appreciate more than words can express, with much love, I remain

Your brother and fellow-servant,
H. C. KEITH.--Ind.


BRITAIN'S SOLDIERS STUDYING THE TRUTH

WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY:--

I have a brother who has been twice wounded in the war. I wrote and told him some Truth and sent some tracts while he was in England. (He is still there at Belfield Park, Weymouth, County Dorset.) He wrote and told me that to forgive your enemies is not in a soldier's creed, and that they must take revenge on the Germans.

I received a letter again a day or two ago, and he said he was pleased with the tracts I sent, and that he was beginning to realize the Truth. He says he got some of the men to read them, and now they have a class of fourteen, and their officer has allowed them a tent for study. They sent for books to the London Tabernacle, and received them. He says their officer drops in occasionally. He asked for more tracts on the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, so I sent some, together with other tracts. I ask your prayers for these poor men, should any have the qualifications for the Truth. I told my brother to write again to London Tabernacle to see if they could not get somebody to go down to teach them. It would, indeed, be well if this could be done. I pray that your good work will bring forth fruit. Pray for me!

Yours very sincerely in Christ,
EDWARD H. CLAY.--Toronto, Can.


FAR-OFF TASMANIA HEARD FROM

DEAR FRIEND:--

I must tell you what a blessing the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES have been to me, and what joy and peace they have given me! Although a believer for years past, yet I was dissatisfied and unwilling to consecrate myself. But now the Lord has seemed to meet me as He met the Prodigal in our Lord's parable.

The "Vow unto the Lord" I have recently taken, and I would like to be baptized; I suppose, however, that none of the Pilgrims visit this place, as it is isolated and the people are generally indifferent to spiritual matters. I have met but one interested person--a humble, simple woman--grieving over the loss of a child, the sorrow opening her heart to the things of God. Talking with her, she begged me to come again; she is eager to know more. I think others like her can be found here.

I should like to tell Pastor Russell fully what his books have done for me; but although I cannot do this, I do pray for him and his coworkers.

I hope soon to send a contribution for the work; I hope also that a Pilgrim will make his appearance up this way. I occasionally attend a monthly religious service and would like some Withdrawal Letters if you will kindly send them.

Your Sister in Christ,
MRS. BLANCHE JOHNSON.--Tasmania.



page 272

International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION



page 273
September 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. XXXVISEPTEMBER 15No. 18

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


CONTENTS

Views From The Watch Tower275
Rev. Dr. Gordon's War Views275
Sorry Plight of the Clergy276
Results of One Year of War277
The Miraculous Birth of Jesus279
St. Peter's Testimony279
St. Paul's View of the Subject279
St. John's Statements280
Apostolic Injunction Never So Significant280
No Clear Chronology Until Our Day281
Day of Christ Now on Hand281
The Armor Over the Robe282
Ahab's Sin--Covetousness, Murder284
Elijah's Fiery Chariot285
Elijah Not in Heaven285
Gilgal--Bethel--Jericho--Jordan286
Interesting Letters287
From the Battlefield of France287
Things Once Dark Now Clear287
B.S.M. in Letter-Box Did It287

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 274

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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[R5764 : page 275]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER

REV. DR. GORDON'S WAR VIEWS

THE Toronto Globe publishes the following stirring article from the pen of Rev. Charles W. Gordon, D.D., widely known under the pen-name of Ralph Connor. Rev. Gordon, as Chaplain of the Forty-third Battalion Cameron Highlanders, has returned to Canada, bringing back his wounded brother, Lieutenant A. R. Gordon. His article in the Globe follows:

BRITAIN SEES SPECTRE OF DEFEAT

"Every one has been dutifully saying that this war is a serious business, but no man living, not even Kitchener himself, knew till three months ago just how serious it was. Kitchener knows now. Asquith knows. Lloyd-George knows. Bonar Law knows. The labor leaders of Britain and the labor unions know just how serious, how deadly serious, this war is. And on London streets and in London offices, in the drawing-rooms and at "week-ends," men are asking each other in whispers, questions they would not dare to ask aloud, and are getting answers that sometimes give a queer feeling at their British hearts.

"A serious business indeed is this war. The issue of it the cheerful and irresponsible Optimist, with his eye on the past, when wars were waged by men and not by machines, and when valor, not explosives, won fights, declares to be assured--only one issue is possible--victory to our arms. A pleasant man this Cheerful Optimist, till you notice that his eye is upon the back trail or in the clouds. When you know him, you damn him for being a misleading fool. Every man in the Empire that ought to be listened to sees no hope of victory, absolutely none, and little hope of a drawn battle, unless conditions be changed, so as to be utterly different from those under which the war has been hitherto waged.

"The first impression one got on reaching London, about two months ago, was that the traditional British cocksureness had been shattered and had been replaced by a paralyzing sense of uncertainty. You caught it everywhere; on the streets, in the hotels, at dinners, in the House of Commons and in the press--even in the press! It was not so much what people said, but what they refused to say. It was the determined and obvious effort to be cheerful that depressed and disturbed one. Everybody was saying to his neighbor, 'Cheer up, things will improve.'

"BLAMES WAR OFFICE FOR STATE OF THINGS

"But everybody, when by himself, refused to cheer up. He was mostly engaged during those lonely moments in blaming in his own particular way, something or somebody, and not the Germans either, but very largely those in the War Office.

"What was wrong? The fact was simply this: That the British people were standing and looking with newly-opened eyes at the spectre of Defeat looming up through the channel mists; a spectre unlike the traditions of our dreams, sleeping or waking, in that it refused to disappear, and wore a shiny helmet. That spectre, unless conditions were changed, could not be laid, but would take on a reality of hideousness and permanency for their children to contemplate for successive generations. There are people doubtless reading this line who pause to say 'Rot.' But the British people are not saying 'Rot' any more, and did not say 'Rot' when their eyes were opened some two months and a half ago. Then the British people sat up broad awake, and with that superb cool courage that faces men up to unpleasant and terrible facts, looked the situation in the eye and began forthwith to change things.

"ASQUITH MET THINGS IN CHARACTERISTIC WAY

"The Government showed the way. With that fine power of sacrifice which is the characteristic of the British statesman Asquith met the crisis, for crisis it was. It was a bitter, hard day for the Premier, the bitterest and hardest day of his whole career, but he was equal to the demand made upon his patriotism. A coalition government was formed. Then the housecleaning began. Among other things the War Office was reorganized. A new department was created with Lloyd-George, that wonderful, great, little man at its head. Up to this time the call had been for men, men, and more men. Now to the nation's ears came a new cry: 'Munitions, munitions and more munitions.' That 'wonder-working little Welshman' was onto his job.

"One question still remains to be answered: 'What is to be the issue of this serious war?' The answer is plain, so plain that even the erstwhile Cheerful Optimist can see it. And the answer is this: If the change in conditions so splendidly initiated be not continued, and with ever-increasing acceleration, the issue is, DEFEAT.

"APPEAL FOR MUNITIONS

"What then is the immediate duty of Canadians? To raise large sums of money? Not so much. Old John [R5765 : page 276] Bull may be safely trusted to look after the financing of this war. But for Canada two things lie in her hand. Listen to the insistent iteration of Lloyd-George: 'Munitions and machine guns, munitions and machine guns!' Let every Canadian wheel that can turn on a shell be set a-going. Let every Canadian workman and workwoman that can get to a munition factory or gun factory get there and with all speed. Shells and more shells! Machine guns and more machine guns!

"Where British soldiers have two machine guns Germans have forty. Shells spent with prodigality--even wasted--mean battalions saved. We have tried fighting machine guns with men, and have learned our bitter lesson. Canadian shells and Canadian machine guns mean the saving of Canadian men. Seriously, soberly, solemnly let it be said, that unless the Empire can furnish in overwhelming quantities munitions of war, and in overwhelming numbers men of war, the bitterness and humiliation of defeat will be our portion, and the shame and slavery of an infamous and tyrannous militarism will be the portion of our children."

SORRY PLIGHT OF THE CLERGY

Ministers of the nominal churches are finding themselves in a tight place. They are expected to be faithful to their country, right or wrong. They are expected to preach the War as the will of God and the going to war as a meritorious matter that will have Divine reward and blessing. They must encourage recruiting, in obedience to the commands of their earthly king, and in violation of the commands of the Heavenly King, who has directed them to be peacemakers, and to follow peace with all men and to do no murder, either under legal sanction or otherwise.

WHEN THE MISTAKE WAS MADE

Long centuries ago a wrong step was taken by the bishops of the Church in claiming that they were Apostolic Bishops--with apostolic powers, the same as the original Twelve. Later these self-styled "Apostolic Bishops" (Revelation 2:2) concluded that the people need not have the Bible, and that they could simplify matters for the masses by giving them the creeds. They made their first creed in A.D. 325, and afterwards they continued to make "worse and more of it," until the Sixteenth Century. Meantime the Bible was tabooed. At one time it was almost a sure sign of heresy to be found reading the Bible; for this implied that the reader was not fully satisfied with the creeds which the "Apostolic Bishops" had made for the world. It was during this time that the horrible doctrines of the Dark Ages were introduced by our great Adversary.

Then came a change, when the people began to demand the Bible and to doubt the infallibility of the "Apostolic Bishops" and their creeds. Early editions of the Bible were burned publicly, by both Protestant bishops and Catholic bishops, until the Bible triumphed and became too thoroughly entrenched in the minds of the people for this. The period of darkness lasted over twelve hundred years, the Lamp of God's Word being absent. Then came various attempts at Bible Study, all more or less handicapped by the insistence of the bishops that the Bible must be interpreted by the creeds they had made. Nor are many out of the darkness yet. We all feel like saying, with Cardinal Newman:

"Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark and I am far from Home,
Lead Thou me on!"

Only within the past forty years are Bible students really ignoring all creeds and going straight to the Bible itself for the light of Divine Truth; and correspondingly their blessing is increasing. The present great war, as everybody knows, has been held back for forty years. The Lord's object in holding it back in the past has been to favor Bible study. Thus we read: "I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth...and another angel... cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads."--Rev. 7:1-3.

It was during that long period of darkness, when the Lamp of Truth was hidden from the people, that the "Apostolic Bishops" exalted themselves and separated from the remainder of the Church--calling themselves the Church, the Hierarchy, the Clergy, and denominating the masses the Laity, contrary to the Master's words, "All ye are brethren," and to St. Peter's words to the whole Church, "Ye are a Royal Priesthood."

The clergy, having exalted themselves, took another step, claiming power as well as authority. The claim went forth that the time had come for the Church to reign. Accordingly, a chief bishop was named Pontiff, or Pope, and he and all of his successors were decreed to be Christ's vicegerents--reigning over the kingdoms of the world as Christ's representatives. As such, they commissioned the various kings to rule their people in Christ's name, thus identifying the various governments of the world with the Church and making a combined reign, spiritual and temporal--two parts of God's Empire on earth, they claimed.

For centuries the Popes had such power that kings dared not dissent, but found it to their advantage to uphold the claim of Papacy, submitting everything to Papal direction. A king might not divorce a wife and marry another without a special dispensation from the Pope. The Pope did not respond quickly enough to the wishes of King Henry VIII. of England in respect to approval of his marriage to his second wife. Then the king broke off relations with the Papacy and started a church of his own--himself the head--authorizing and sanctioning his bishops, and giving them places in the House of Lords; they authorizing and sanctioning him, in return, as the head of the Church of England. Luther did a similar work for German kings and princes, for the Swedish, Danish, Finnish, etc. The Greek Catholics, also dissenting from the Papacy, sanctioned the Russian Government.

Thus we have the fact that present governments of Europe have been told by the religious systems that they are God's kingdoms--sanctioned by the Almighty through His earthly representatives--in some cases the Papacy; in some, Lutheranism; in some, the Church of England; in some, the Greek Church.

WHAT A TERRIBLE MUDDLE!

"But," we are told, "that is ancient history. No educated people believe those things now!" We agree to this. We doubt if King George really thinks of himself as the head of Christ's Church on earth and the Divinely-appointed Defender of the Faith. We doubt if Kaiser Wilhelm seriously thinks that he is God's special representative to Lutherans. We doubt if the Czar takes seriously his claimed relationship to Messiah's Kingdom. We doubt if Francis Joseph of Hungary takes seriously the thought that he is the representative of Christ's Kingdom [R5765 : page 277] under Papal appointment. Nevertheless the theory is there. It is in the mind of the people.

The preachers of all denominations, in tacitly accepting these conditions and not reproving them and not denying them, have in fact approved them; and they have not told the people that a great mistake was made--that Christ's Kingdom has never been established in the earth, but that it is the next thing in order to be expected. Hence the people are in perplexity. German Christians are fighting as a part of Christ's Kingdom against Russian Christians as a part of Christ's Kingdom and against British Christians as a part of Christ's Kingdom. What a terrible muddle! And who is responsible, if the preachers are not, for such ignorance, blindness, superstition?

Meantime, God's Kingdom is coming, just as the Bible has foretold. The great Time of Trouble is about to inaugurate the new Reign--Messiah's Reign of Righteousness. But is not this latter coming as a thief and as a snare upon the whole world? Is it not true that as the Apostle foretold, only "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief"?

Meantime also, are not the preachers of the world, Catholic and Protestant, in a terrible plight? Their forefathers told humanity that the present governments are Christ's Kingdoms. These learned men, knowing well the fallacy of that teaching, have not corrected it. Now they are in the position of hypocrites. These earthly kingdoms call upon them to raise the money and the troops to defend what they have told the people is Christ's Kingdom. But the Word of God calls upon them to be peacemakers instead, and to so teach the people.

The people themselves are perplexed. But we may be sure that when they come to their senses--and they soon will, in the terrible trouble coming--they will not only feel incensed against the earthly princes who got them into the war, but they will doubtless also feel incensed against the spiritual princes who deceived them into thinking that they were fighting for Messiah's Kingdom --when in point of fact, they are opposing it.

The spirit of war and contention seems to be in the very air that we breathe. The attitude of all Christian people, and especially of all Bible students, should be that of peacemakers, in the home, in the shop, in the store. Let us keep our own heads cool, and thus be able to assist others to think and act coolly, calmly, in accord with the Lord's Word. Everything akin to wrath, anger, evil-speaking and bitterness should, as the Apostle [R5766 : page 277] says, be put far away from us who seek to be followers of the Lamb. These same principles apply in very marked degree to our relationship with brethren in the Church of Christ. With the brethren, especially, we should be very long-suffering and willing to surrender our preferences in the interests of peace, particularly where no vital principles are involved.


RESULTS OF ONE YEAR OF WAR

In the New York American (August 2nd) B. C. Forbes summarizes the effects of the present European War as follows:

"Look on these two pictures--what one year of war has done for Europe and what one year of peace has done for the United States:

"One year of war has cost Europe 2,600,000 of her best human stock, has maimed over 5,000,000 more and has entailed over 10,000,000 casualties among the men in the field--the 'casualties' among homes are beyond computation.

"One year of war has added $18,900,000,000 to national debts, actually, though not admittedly, bankrupting every belligerent.

"One year of war has paralyzed Europe's trade and turned some twenty millions of productive workers into twenty millions of destructive workers, while the greater part of each warring population is engaged in catering directly or indirectly to the war gods--devils, rather.

"EUROPE PROSTRATED

"One year of war has laid waste vast territories of Europe and ruined and rendered homeless perhaps fifty million human beings, to say nothing of the destruction of much of the world's most hallowed architecture.

"One year of war, in short, has prostrated and bankrupted Europe.

"One year of domestic peace amid the horrors of Europe's war has raised the United States to the forefront of the nations of the earth.

"One year of peace has won for us first place in moral influence.

"One year of peace has won for us first place in financial power.

"One year of peace has won for us first place among the industrial nations of the world.

"One year of peace has transformed us from a borrowing into a lending nation.

"One year of peace has sped us along the path toward becoming the financial centre of the world.

"One year of peace has enabled us to feed and succor millions and millions of innocent, helpless victims of the war--this last not the least notable of America's achievements during the blackest year the earth has ever known. One year of peace, in short, has brought the United States an infinity of blessings, just as one year of war has brought Europe an infinity of horrors and disasters."

WILL THE UNITED STATES BECOME INVOLVED?

The article proceeds to query the future and the possibility of the United States becoming involved. How strange that such a possibility should be even considered, in the light of the fact that all of the nations now at war would be glad to get out of it honorably at almost any price! The danger is seen along the lines of international laws and the rights of neutrals. Armed air craft and submarines have brought new factors into this war not considered in the laying down of rules of warfare, not dealt with in the international laws. International law provides that neutral nations and their commerce shall not be disturbed, except in the case of blockaded ports. Any ship entering such a port may be examined. If owned by the enemy, the vessel and cargo are subject to confiscation. If owned by a neutral nation, they should be exempt as respects munitions of war.

Great Britain has violated the rights of the United States and other neutral nations in respect to these matters. She has not blockaded the ports actually, but has declared them blockaded and has seized neutral vessels anywhere on the high seas and taken them into British ports, regardless of their cargo not being contraband of war. American shippers have complained greatly of detention and loss. They are sure, however, that ultimately they will get justice--probably when the war is ended.

Great Britain excuses these violations of international law and agreement by declaring that conditions have changed, and that it is to her interest to change her mode of operation. When in the arrangement of international law she agreed to the provision that food-stuffs would be free, she had in mind the fact that she needed to import food-stuffs herself. But later, perceiving that [R5766 : page 278] the Germans might be starved if free shipments were not permitted, she concluded that her warfare against the Germans might be more effective if food supplies were stopped and the Germans were partly starved.

In the international agreement, cotton is not included as war material and is not subject to seizure as such. Great Britain and Germany both agreed to this, because neither produces cotton. Both purchase it from America for manufacture of clothing, hosiery, etc. However, conditions have changed to such an extent that a large portion of the ammunition used in this war is made of cotton. Hence the British refuse to allow American shipments of cotton to go to Germany, either directly or through neutral countries, and have seized cargoes of it --contrary to international law, claiming the right to do this because she has the might--the most powerful navy --and because she considers it to be necessary to her speedier crushing of Germany.

The Germans also have violated international law, to which they agreed. They have announced a blockade of British ports without having their navy blockading these ports. This is called a "paper blockade," in the sense that it is merely announced in print, just as the British have announced the German blockade in print, without having vessels actually blockading the German ports. Germany declares that new conditions (submarines and air-craft) justify her in violating the laws of nations and destroying vessels which her submarines cannot take as prizes into her ports. Her attention has been called to the fact that this jeopardizes the lives of non-combatants and neutrals and their proper pursuits. She has been asked by the United States Government to desist from this violation of law.

Germany declares that circumstances have altered cases; that it is necessary for her success and self-preservation that she shall establish a blockade against Great Britain as nearly parallel as possible to the one Great Britain has established against her; and that her only means of accomplishing this end is in the destruction of British vessels, which are carrying volunteers, arms and war munitions of various kinds to Great Britain, intended for the destruction of Germans and their homes. Germany regrets her inability, under the circumstances, to follow international law, to which she has agreed, and claims justification in the fact that the British have violated the same law. Germany has agreed, however, to respect the vessels of neutrals, if assured that they do not carry munitions of war. She calls attention to the fact that she notified vessels of neutrals (in her paper blockade) to keep out of the war zone; and says that if neutrals travel on ships of the Allies their lives and property must be at their own risk.

PROPER COURSE OF UNITED STATES

Regardless of where our sympathies would naturally rest, either by our parentage or by association in life, all must admit that both parties in this great struggle are in dire straits, and therefore under great temptation to violate, as they have done, international law. But how should the United States meet the situation? Would it be the wise, the proper, thing to get into an altercation with any of these nations because of their violation of the law? If not, how can we protest effectively?

We reply that a dignified and proper course would be to refuse to have any commercial dealings with the nations at war so long as they violate the international law to which they have agreed. We believe that this would bring both of the great powers to time and put a stop to the interference with neutrals and their affairs. Why should the portion of the world that is at peace be upset and inconvenienced by those at war? It would be permitted only because the nations at war are powerful. If the breaking off of commercial dealings with the entire war zone were accomplished, and Americans and their goods were kept outside those zones, trouble would be saved, even if the warring nations did not acquiesce and give guarantee of the observance of international laws.

Business interests cry out against such a dignified course, such a fair policy. They exclaim, "This would spoil the whole business!" We have orders for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of war materials at splendid prices, and we would lose all this. Therefore the suggested policy would never do."

We admit that according to international law the people of a neutral country may privately manufacture for warring nations. We admit that such trade is profitable. Nevertheless it is a permission, and not an obligation, that subjects of neutral nations may, according to international law, thus deal with belligerent nations. But that there is no compulsion in the matter is evident from the fact that our Government has already exercised its discretion in stopping the sale of war materials to [R5767 : page 278] Mexico, for instance. It has the same right, and without infringing neutrality, to stop the sale of war materials to every nation at war. Such a penalty upon the violation of international law would be, apparently, the only way of bringing belligerents to time.

Besides, our overtures to the warring nations and the prayers of many on their behalf and the sending of supplies, physicians, nurses, etc., to assist in caring for their wounded, all have the appearance of pitiable mockery in the light of the assistance we are rendering for the continuation of the war through permitting American manufacturers to sell war munitions to the warring nations, which are interfering with the rights of all neutrals and violating international law.

In any event, how foolish it would be that these United States should get into a controversy with any of the warring powers, when the whole world is witness to their folly and when they themselves are wishing most earnestly that they had kept out of the war.

We cannot appeal to our nation as a nation of Christians, along the lines of the commands of Jesus; but all consecrated children of God should remember that there are but two sides, two banners, two captains. Christians have enlisted under the banner of the Prince of Peace, who is opposing the Prince of Darkness, whose fall will be accomplished in the great time of revolution and anarchy which the Bible predicts will follow this war, and which, thank God! will be the doorway to the Millennial Kingdom and the great blessing which will then come to the world through it. "For the Elect's sake, those days [of strife and anarchy] shall be shortened"-- interrupted (Matthew 24:22); for when men shall have learned the great lesson of what the outcome of selfishness would be without Divine interposition, God's Power through Messiah's Kingdom will promptly take control; and the blessing of the Lord will cause the winds of strife to cease, as did the Master's words on Galilee cause a great calm when the storm was at its height.

Meantime, regardless of the course of the world, it is the duty of the Lord's consecrated people to preserve unbiased, neutral minds--to look at matters from God's viewpoint, as far as possible--to sympathize with all and to join with none--to stand for peace in action, in word, in thought. "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."



[R5767 : page 279]

THE MIRACULOUS BIRTH OF JESUS

IT IS not strange that men should question the teaching of the Bible respecting the miraculous birth of Jesus. Voltaire, Paine, Ingersoll and others have denied it. Nor do we question the right of Rev. Dr. Aked and others of today to take up the same arguments. We live in a free country. Candor in our day need not lead anybody to the stake. We rejoice in these liberties.

But we are surprised that Dr. Aked should still claim to be a Christian, and still retain the pastorate of a Christian Church, while denying the very foundation of the Christian religion. Our amazement grows when we learn that after he had frankly acknowledged his unbelief he was elected to be the head of the Church Federation in San Francisco.

Think of the meaning of the votes of more than three-fourths of that Federation (78), agreeing that Jesus was not supernaturally born! Less than one-fourth of these Federationists (22) believe the fundamental doctrine of Christianity!

We can hear these learned gentlemen remonstrate, saying, Pastor Russell, you should realize that there are two Christianities in our day. We belong to the newer and larger one, which has the backing of all the colleges. We therefore have first right to the name Christian. The old view, which you uphold, has doctrines of human depravity --of a Divine sentence, which must be met by the death of a perfect, sinless Savior. We "Modernists" still hold to Christ, but as a great Teacher--not a Redeemer. Your old view deals with personal sin. Our newer, broader view deals with national and civic sins and their cure and a gradual evolution of the race to perfection and everlasting life--only the fittest surviving.

A RESPONSIBILITY UPON THE MINISTRY

Were numbers and influence the sole criterion by which Christianity is to be discerned, we might be forced to concede the point. But they are not. Christianity was established by Jesus and His Apostles. The unbelief of few or many cannot change Christianity. If we shall prove our points, we shall hope that the seventy-eight believers in the Christianity (?) of the colleges will realize that in retaining the name of Christian and holding pastorates in Christian churches, they are sailing under false colors; and they should resign or induce their congregations to unite with them in some new name, such as "Humanitarians."

Merely to endorse a few of Jesus' teachings, such as the Golden Rule, while rejecting His other teachings, would not give any one the right to the name Christian. Plato, Confucius and other sages uttered some teachings which we approve. Why not adopt their names? Is it because they are less popular in our day?


***

Dr. Aked admits that St. Matthew gives the line of Joseph, who adopted Jesus as his foster-child--the son of his virgin wife by Divine Power. He admits that St. Luke gives the genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He admits, also, that St. John's Gospel tells of the pre-human existence of Jesus.

But Dr. Aked challenges proof that Jesus Himself claimed a supernatural birth. He boldly declares that St. Peter never refers to it. He exultingly points us to the Epistles of St. Paul, as not teaching that Jesus was a supernatural Person. One might suppose, when reading Dr. Aked's statement, that he fully believes and endorses all the teachings of Jesus, St. Peter and St. Paul; and that if they had told of the miraculous birth he would be a hearty believer in it and an advocate of it. Let us see! Let us give Dr. Aked and his seventy-eight supporters the proof of their error and accept the Bible. "Charity hopeth all things!"

The Bible stands or falls as a whole. Its Plan of salvation, made up of the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles and the Prophets, cannot be accepted in part and rejected in part. If Jesus and His Apostles taught that He had a special birth for a special purpose, and this were not true, they were wicked deceivers. Then not one word of theirs should be accepted or trusted. To call Jesus the Great Teacher and then to say that the basis of His teaching is falsehood, is inconsistent, would imply sympathy with falsehood.

ST. PETER'S TESTIMONY

The teaching of Jesus was chiefly by induction. He had been with His disciples working miracles for probably two years before He asked them, "Whom say ye that I am?" When St. Peter declared, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus replied, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven."--Matthew 16:15-17.

Did not St. Peter thus declare his faith that Jesus was the Son of God--not the son of Joseph? And did not Jesus approve this, and refer to the Heavenly and not to an earthly father?

What did Jesus mean when He declared, "Before Abraham was, I am?" By induction He told of a pre-human existence--or He deceived! Similarly He prayed to the Father, "Glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." (John 8:58; 17:5.) If He had no previous existence, but was born like others, His words were deceptive. Was the great Teacher the great Deceiver?

Again Jesus told His disciples about His ascending up where He was before. If He had no previous existence, if He had not a special birth, how could we understand these words except as deceptive? Similarly Jesus referred to Himself as "the Bread which came down from Heaven."--John 6:62,32-35,41.

Surely Jesus was miraculously born, or else He was the greatest and most successful of all deceivers, and therefore the worst of all deceivers. Let each take his choice. There is no middle ground.

ST. PAUL'S VIEW OF THE SUBJECT

Having heard from Jesus and from St. Peter, let us hear from St. Paul. What is the force, or significance of St. Paul's statement that Jesus is "the Firstborn of every creature," and that "by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible...all things were created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist"? (Colossians 1:15-17.) These words by the Apostle are surely not in accord with the theory that Jesus began His existence the same as others--that He was the son of Joseph.

Again St. Paul writes, "Our Lord Jesus, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor." (2 Corinthians 8:9.) Again he declares, "Who, existing in a form of God, counted not equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men."--Philippians 2:6,7.

Again, what is the meaning of St. Paul's declaration that Jesus was "Holy, guileless, undefiled and separate from sinners"? (Hebrews 7:26.) If Jesus was the son of Joseph, He was not separate from sinners, but belonged [R5768 : page 280] to the same stock with all others and would also have needed a Redeemer.

ST. JOHN'S STATEMENTS

The early Church all believed Jesus' declaration that He was the Son of God, whom the Father had sent into the world to be the Savior of men. (John 3:17.) Indeed, this feature of the Master's teachings especially angered the Jews; for they declared that in claiming to be the Son of God He was establishing Himself upon a pedestal of honor, dignity, glory, in competition with Jehovah. To this Jesus replied, "Say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest! because I said, I am the Son of God?"-- John 10:36.

The Gospel by St. John was written later than the other Gospels; hence it was not necessary that the writer should take up the miraculous birth of Jesus. But it was eminently proper that through him God should give us a glimpse into the pre-human condition of the Savior. Mark well the particularity of the Apostle's words: "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not one thing made that was made...And the Logos was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."--John 1:1-14.

BASIS OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE RANSOM

Separated from the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus, the theology of the Bible would not hold together for one moment. Its claim is that the Divine sentence following Adam's sin was a death sentence. The basis of that Divine judgment is that no sinner is worthy of life everlasting. The six thousand years of the world's history, from Adam's time until now, demonstrate that man is unable to regain perfection, and unable to resist the curse of sin and the sentence of death--"Dying, thou shalt die."--Genesis 2:17, margin.

The teaching of the Bible is that God arranged this death sentence purposely, so as to make necessary the death of Jesus. St. Paul so declares, saying, "As by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, every man in his own order." (1 Corinthians 15:21-23.) In other words, if God had not provided a sinless Redeemer, and if that Redeemer had not died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and risen from the dead for our justification, then there would have been no future life for humanity--the death of mankind would have been like that of the brute, a hopeless one. There would have been no resurrection. Death would have been an eternal sleep.

St. Paul emphasizes this thought, declaring that if there be no resurrection of the dead, then all faith is vain, all hope is vain, all preaching is vain. (1 Corinthians 15:13,14.) No one will question the declaration of the Scriptures that all humanity are misshapen in iniquity, and that in sin did our mothers conceive us. Father Adam and Mother Eve gave us, as their children, a legacy of imperfection of mind and body and of sinful tendencies. God's provision is that Christ shall make good for the transgression of the first Adam, and that eventually He shall be the Second Adam, who will be successful, who will give life everlasting to all those who will exercise obedient faith in Him.

BASIS OF THE DOCTRINE OF RESTITUTION

The first offer of everlasting life through Christ has been going out for nineteen centuries; but few have hearing ears and understanding hearts. It is to these few that the call now comes to leave the world and to become associates with Jesus in the glory, honor and immortality to which He has attained. He attained the glorious station which He now occupies, "far above angels, principalities and powers," at the right hand of the Majesty on High, as a reward for His obedience to the Father's will--obedience in coming into the world, in enduring faithfully the trials of His earthly ministry, and finally in dying a sacrificial death. St. Paul writes of Him, "Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2.) The invitation of this Gospel Age to all who have the hearing ear is to follow in the steps of Jesus, to become joint-sacrificers with Him, and to be sharers of His Heavenly glory and His Messianic Kingdom.

When the Church shall all have been gathered, then Messiah's Kingdom will be established, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." For a thousand years Christ and His glorified Church will bless mankind, uplifting them to human perfection, mental, moral, physical. Whosoever will may then attain to the everlasting life secured for all by the sacrificial death of Him who was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," by virtue of His special birth.



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APOSTOLIC INJUNCTION NEVER SO SIGNIFICANT

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."--Romans 13:12.
FROM a careful study of Bible chronology it seems very evident that each of the six great Days in which Jehovah prepared the earth for man, ending with man's own creation, was a period of seven thousand years. After man was created, God "rested from all His work"--as related to the earth. His rest period began with the commencement of the great Seventh Day, and has continued ever since. This Seventh Day is also to be a period of seven thousand years, ushering in at its close the glorious Jubilee of Earth, 49,000 years after the beginning of the ordering of Earth.

This great Rest Day of Jehovah has been man's Work Week, each Day of which has been a thousand years long. When the Apostle Paul wrote the words of our text, more than four of these thousand-year Days were in the past; they were then in the Fifth Day. Practically all of this time had been a reign of sin, darkness and death, due to man's fall. So St. Paul could truly say, as he looked back, that this great night of darkness was then far spent and the day was at hand. From the Old Testament prophecies and from the wonderful revelations which he himself had received from the Lord he was assured that, through the sacrifice for man which had been made by the Lord Jesus Christ, a glorious Day [R5768 : page 281] of emancipation from the bondage of Sin and Death was to come--the Seventh Day of man's great Week. It is of this glorious Sabbath Day that the Apostle here speaks.

For one-half of the long period since the fall of our first parents, there had been but a very obscure light as regarded any deliverance of man from the curse of death pronounced upon the father of the race for his disobedience. There was the mere glimmer of a promise that God would at some future time do something for mankind. First there had been a declaration to the serpent who had brought about man's downfall, that the Seed of the woman should bruise, or crush, his head, while he would but bruise the heel of this Seed. Then the clothing by the Lord of the nakedness of Adam and Eve with the skins of slain animals suggested a future covering provided by the death of some unknown Redeemer-- the Seed of the Woman. Later, God manifested His acceptance of the animal-sacrifice of Abel. A little later came a suggestion to Enoch (Jude 14-16), and still later, a promise to Abraham, that God would yet bless all the families of the earth through his Seed.

Then came a gradual working out of a feature of that Promise to Abraham, through the Hebrew people, to make of them, if they would prove worthy, a nation who would be light-bearers to all other nations and peoples. Still with all the disciplinary experiences which Israel received, when our Lord Jesus came, those who had been under such special Divine instruction were, as a nation, totally unready to receive Him as the Messiah of God. And they crucified Him. Yet they were in advance of other nations. God had not given instructions to other nations, but had given Prophets, Laws, etc., to the people of Israel. (Amos 3:2.) But while this especially favored nation was quite unready for the light, as represented in the Lord Jesus and His teachings, there were some among them who were ready to receive Him as the Sent of God, Israel's long-looked-for Messiah. These were the "Israelites indeed."

THE CALL OF THE "BRIDE" CLASS

"He came unto His own [nation], and His own received Him not." At the time of the crucifixion of Christ, after John the Baptist had done his work and after our Lord's three and a half years of ministry among them, only a little more than five hundred had become Jesus' disciples and had remained true. Yet at Pentecost and onward a considerable number were awakened, and came into the light of Truth and accepted the Gospel Message and received the Holy Spirit. About twenty-five thousand, so far as we are able to estimate, received this transformation of heart. It is a wonderful thing that so many of that little nation were found to accept Messiah! No other nation would have made so good a showing. As history has proven, more than 1800 [R5769 : page 281] years have been required to select the remainder of the 144,000 Elect from among the Gentiles.

At that time the Message was given forth that the Gospel Call was designed to select a "Bride" class, to be associated with the Messiah in His glorious Kingdom. It was not designed for all, but only for those who had the ears to hear and the heart to respond. If we place ourselves back in the days of the Apostles, we can think of them as preparing themselves for their great, coming glory and as thinking that the foreordained number to constitute this honored company would soon be completed. They probably thought that these thousands gathered from all the Jews in Palestine and other countries, and especially when augmented by some from the Gentiles whom they perceived were later received, would make up the "little flock" which would compose the "Bride" of Christ. Hence the Apostles were continually speaking as if the Kingdom was at hand. They thought it imminent--were expecting it every day.

NO CLEAR CHRONOLOGY UNTIL OUR DAY

But the Apostle Paul pointed out that certain Scriptures had not yet been fulfilled, and that there must be a great falling away in the Church before the great Day of the Lord could come. The early Church probably had no particular method in which they could have reckoned definitely the number of years since Adam. The matter of counting years, as we have it, is comparatively a modern affair. In olden times each nation had its own chronology. They merely reckoned that it was so many years since this dynasty or that dynasty began; so many years from a certain notable event to the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, of Cyrus, etc.

And so with the Israelites. They would say, In such a year of the reign of David, or of Hezekiah, etc., such and such an event took place. But it was not easy to get these things connected up so as to have any accurate chain of chronology. There were certain broken links, which our Lord has since supplied for us in the New Testament, to be noted and connected up "in due time." Today we have more advantage every way than they had. The Hebrew Scriptures were written on parchment and kept in certain places. And it was difficult to handle them because they were written on great rolls. One had to roll the parchment this way and that way to get to the place where he wished to read certain prophecies, etc. Today, not only have we Bibles neatly printed, but many of them have convenient marks of reference by which we can turn from page to page. We have suggestions, also, as to chronology which enable us to get a clear, connected chain from the creation of Adam to the present year.

It is true also that the Jews have a chronology that is called Anno Mundi--the year of the world. But it was not arranged until long after the days of the Apostles. They thought it was a long, long way back to the time of Adam. The Apostle Peter declares that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Jews had no means by which they could accurately reckon chronology from the beginning; no means for availing themselves of information on the subject. It is not surprising, then, that they were not clearly informed. The Lord, undoubtedly by design, left matters in this uncertain condition until His own "due time" for their revealment.

THE DAY OF CHRIST NOW ON HAND

In the days of the Apostles it was truly declared by them that the Day of the Lord was "at hand." The Apostles perceived that a great Light had come into the world, that a turning-point in the history of the world had arrived. But it was not the shining of the Sunlight of the great Millennial Day. St. Paul declared that the darkness still covered the earth and gross darkness the people. The Lord Jesus Himself had explained that the light that then shone from Him was not the great "Sun of Righteousness," which would later shine out upon the whole world. Neither did the disciples of Christ shed a light as the light of the sun upon the world of mankind. Our Lord told His disciples that they should put their light upon a candlestick, that it might give light to those in the House.--Matthew 5:14-16.

But it would require the light of the "Sun of Righteousness" [R5769 : page 282] to enlighten the whole world--Christ and His Church in glory. Our Lord pointed out that this would come at the conclusion of the Age then just begun--the Gospel Age, as it is generally called, the Christian Dispensation. At the beginning of this Age He sowed the seed which would produce the "Bride" class, the class which was to reign with Him over the world in the Age to follow. But He forewarned that the enemy, Satan, would sow the seeds of error in the Lord's wheat-field, and that he would be successful in producing a large crop of tares. Our Lord also declared that at the end of this Gospel Age He would Himself be present and would, as the great Chief Reaper, gather the tares in bundles to be burned, and would gather the wheat into the garner. Speaking of that time the Master says, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father."--Matthew 13:43.

That time has not yet fully come. But this glorious Day is now breaking. The majority of the members of Christ are now with their Lord on the other side of the veil, and the dawning light is increasing, and the Day will soon be here in all its glorious effulgence. This dawning light draws our attention more particularly to the chronology, and helps us to see mistakes that were made in the past by those who attempted to arrange a chronology before the time was ripe for it to be seen clearly. It shows us that a mistake of a hundred and twenty years was made, and still later lesser mistakes.

Tracing the Scriptural chronology down to our day, we find that we are now living in the very dawn of the great Seventh Day of man's great Week. This is abundantly corroborated by the events now taking place about us on every hand. The Millennial Age has already begun, the Day of the Lord is now on hand--now present. So we should not sleep, but should be wide awake. Some terrible things were to occur as the Day of Christ drew on, before the full shining forth of the Sun. For instance, this present mighty war, which is truly a terrible thing, was long ago foretold. (Jeremiah 25:15-38; Joel 3:2,9-16.) Daily is it increasing in volume and intensity, and will soon merge into revolution, to be swiftly followed by the chaos of anarchy. The great Adversary is able to put darkness for light--and these warring nations verily think they are doing God service by killing one another.

Now the question is, Will the United States become involved? This may come, or this country may receive its share of retribution in the coming revolution and anarchy. We attribute all this terrible condition to the darkness that is upon the world through the Adversary's blinding delusions. But God will overrule human affairs to His own glory and to the ultimate good of man in the overthrow of the Rule of Selfishness and the establishment of His glorious Kingdom of Righteousness and Love.

"Cast off the works of darkness," urges the Apostle. This injunction was appropriate in St. Paul's day. Those who saw Jesus to be the Light of the world, those who became enlightened with His Light, and themselves became burning and shining lights, were able to realize that the great darkness prevailing around them was largely the result of ignorance, superstition, misunderstanding. The whole heathen world were in gross darkness. The Jewish nation were in darkness, except the minority who received the light. What darkness were the Jews in? They were in darkness in respect to God's Plan and the meaning of the Promise to Abraham and his Seed respecting the blessing of the world.

"THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN THE WICKED ONE"

All those who became children of the light, who received the light from the Master's teachings or from His chosen Apostles and came into Covenant relationship with God through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, became members of the special Seed of Abraham, who are to bless the world during the incoming Age. But the nation of Israel was set aside, as respects the chief favor. In the year 70 A.D., their national polity was entirely destroyed, and the Jews were scattered far and wide. What was the condition of other nations at that time? We perceive that while Israel had been in darkness, the other nations were in still deeper darkness, though many of them were "feeling after God, if haply they might find Him." The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who see not. Consequently he has blinded the minds of the majority of all nations with ignorance, superstition and "doctrines of devils."

The Devil has men in such a condition that they cannot think of God as being good. "The whole world lieth in the Wicked One." The only ones who are not in the Wicked One are the true Church of God, the Church of Christ. The children of the light are the only exceptions. It is from the Word of God that His true people get their light. They are to have oil in themselves --the oil of the Holy Spirit. But many of these have not been faithful to the light and are in confusion; some are merely babes in Christ; some are weak in various ways for lack of the spiritual food which the Lord has provided.

It is God's people who have been addressed in the Scriptures all the way down these nineteen hundred years. We come down to our day and see that the light of the Word is fully corroborated by the work of the New Dispensation now beginning. The light of the Dawn is fully corroborating the Bible. St. Paul says that we should "cast off the works of darkness" and "put on the armor of light." The works of darkness are those things which are done in the dark. The works of darkness are the works of sin. These works are not [R5770 : page 282] done out in the open, as a rule. They generally hide away from the revealment which the light brings. If they are done in the open, it is when they are posing as works of light. Wherever the true light of Jesus Christ comes it reproves these works of darkness.

The Scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus' day were money-lovers. Jesus condemned their works because these were mere pretense. While they prayed in street corners, etc., they privately devoured widows' houses-- took advantage of widows and swallowed up their property. But it was true of the public in general--of the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The Apostles enumerated a number of the evils that were generally practised in his day--adultery, lasciviousness, covetousness, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, strife, heresies, evil-speaking, idolatry, etc. All these things are works of darkness, works of the flesh and of the Devil; and they are still practised everywhere today.

THE ARMOR OVER THE ROBE

We are to put on the "armor of light." Consider the light you have now received--the light of the knowledge of God, of His will, of what to live for, and of what kind of characters they are to whom the Lord will be pleased to grant the reward of eternal life, even the highest form of life. Having all this knowledge, put it on as an armor to protect you. Knowing what God requires, put all this on, not as a robe, but as an armor [R5770 : page 283] over the robe. Put on the breastplate of righteousness covering the heart. Realize that nothing but heart-purity and absolute loyalty to God may be considered. Realize that God is for us. Take the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and all the various pieces enumerated by the Apostle. These constitute the "armor of light," so called because it is obtained from the light of Truth.

In this our day it is surely as important that we should put on this armor and should put off the works of darkness as for the Church of the Apostle's day. Surely if ever the whole armor was needed, it is needed now. The Lord's dealing with us is individual--both as to the putting off of the works of darkness and as to the putting on of the armor of light. All who put on this armor will find themselves in accord with the Lord and with those who are truly His. As God's faithful children get farther and farther into this Day of the Lord, more and more will they see eye to eye. We believe there never was a time when so many of the Lord's people have seen eye to eye regarding the things to put off and the things to put on. We believe there never was a time when so many of the children of the light were wearing the whole Armor of Light. Therefore we have so much the more responsibility to "walk as children of light" and not as of the night.

DANGER TO EVEN THE FULLY CONSECRATED

It is possible that some, even of the fully consecrated children of God, surrounded with the cares of this life, or weary of the struggle against sin and evil, or somewhat beguiled by the present things of time and sense, may have become more or less drowsy, and so stand in special need of the stirring exhortation which the Apostle in this connection gives to the Church--particularly appropriate today: "It is now high time to awake out of sleep!" It is time for earnest, searching self-examination, for a more diligent watching to see that we do not allow the things of this "present evil world" to absorb our thoughts and energies to the imperiling of our Heavenly hopes, so soon to be realized if we remain wholly faithful to the end. It is highly important that we seek for a still closer walk with God, a more intimate fellowship with Him, a more thorough self-abnegation, a more diligent cross-bearing, a more faithful conformity in every respect to the whole will of the Lord concerning us. And this will of the Lord, we know, is not unreasonable, and His grace sufficient is promised for every day, every hour, every moment!

A careful, prayerful searching of our hearts will make plain wherein we lack in conformity to the perfect will of God. And if we discover in ourselves any perverse way, we shall correct it. Thus we more and more "put on the Lord Jesus Christ"--the mind or disposition of Christ, the spirit of love and loyalty which characterized Him. How important it is, in the very short time which yet remains to us, that we fully awake and apply ourselves most diligently to the cultivation of the Godlike, Christlike disposition of Love, the love which seeks above all else the glory of God, which is kindly-affectioned toward the brethren, which rests in the precious promises, which trusts fully in the dark as well as in the light, and which has no shadow of doubt that all the good things promised in God's Word shall be fulfilled!

LET US "WALK AS BECOMETH SAINTS"

In the context St. Paul urges, "Let us walk honestly, as in the day." He was speaking of certain vile practises then common--drunkenness, rioting, chambering, wantonness. We are not necessarily to suppose that he meant this as a reproof to the Christian believers at Rome, but as a pastoral exhortation that they should be on guard against these sins, and as a reminder that the principles which they had adopted as Christians were in direct contrast to those which generally prevailed. Very different standards of morality were current among the heathen. Quite a large number of the believers at Rome had been heathen and accustomed to immoralities. Hence the Apostle's words were words of caution; for we would not suppose that saints would be guilty of these things.

The Apostle's words above shed a warning light in saying, "Let us walk honestly, as in the day." Most of the rioting and drunkenness is done at night--such is the custom even to this day. Works of darkness and sin thrive best at night, for some reason. People have other things to attend to in the day-time, and evil-doers take the night for frivolity or carousing or crime. Vice then stalks abroad. Darkness seems to favor such works, by hiding them more or less. The Apostle points out that this is the great night of darkness, sin, but that those in Christ are not in darkness; for they have been brought into the light of God. We are looking for the full dawning of the Morning of the New Dispensation--we are seeking to live in harmony with it. So here he says, Let us walk honestly, above-board, so that everybody will see and know our lives--let us be honest in every way, not be preaching one thing and practising another.

Considering the day here mentioned to be the Millennial Day, we may well say that nothing in the nature of sin will then be allowed. "For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Micah 4:2.) "Judgment also will I lay to the line," says Jehovah, "and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the water shall overflow the hiding-place." (Isaiah 28:17.) Whoever in that Day shall attempt to live riotously and in drunkenness or in any sin will be promptly punished. The Apostle's exhortation is that we, as saints of the Lord, should live as those will be living when the Day shall have fully come--when the Sun of Righteousness will be shedding its beams over the whole earth.

It is a part of our overcoming to live as though the Day were fully ushered in, as though everything had been fully manifested. Whoever will take the Apostle's advice in this matter will certainly have a rich blessing. In fact any other course would be sure to be disastrous to us as New Creatures in Christ! page 283

ONLY A LITTLE WHILE
"Only a little while to walk with weary feet,
Only a little while the storms of life to meet,
Only a little while to tread the thorny way,
Only a little while, then comes the perfect Day.

"Only a little while to spread the truth abroad.
Only a little while to testify for God,
Only a little while, the time is fleeting fast,
Only a little while, earth's sorrows all are past.

"Only a little while, then let us do our best,
Only a little while, then comes the promised rest.
Only a little while, oh, what a word is this!
Only a little while, then comes the perfect bliss."



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AHAB'S SIN--COVETOUSNESS, MURDER
--OCTOBER 3.--1 KINGS 21.--

KING AHAB'S IVORY PALACE--HE COVETED LARGER GARDENS --NABOTH REFUSED LARGE MONEY--AHAB WAS VEXED--HIS QUEEN EFFECTED NABOTH'S MURDER--GOD THROUGH ELIJAH REPROVED KING AHAB, PROMISING PUNISHMENT--MODERN APPLICATIONS AND LESSONS.

"Be sure your sin will find you out."--Numbers 32:23.
KING AHAB had concluded a great war victoriously, defeating the Syrians, who had attempted an invasion of Israel's land. The fame of the king had gone abroad. He was feeling his own greatness, perhaps. Indeed, Ahab is rated as one of the great kings of Israel. Although not truly great, he had certain progressive elements of character. While King Solomon had the distinction of being the first king to have a throne of ivory, for King Ahab has been claimed the distinction of having a palace of ivory. His gorgeous palace needed a large and handsome garden. His neighbor Naboth had a vineyard adjoining, which would make the surroundings of the palace ideal.

Messengers were sent to Naboth to negotiate the purchase; and a goodly sum of money was offered for the vineyard. Naboth, within his rights, refused to sell. As the sequel shows, however, he would have been the wiser not to have stood for his full rights. The Jewish Law forbade, indeed, the selling of family inheritances; but he could have given a lease for a time to the king's pleasement and to his own profit.

The Bible suggests to Christians the wisdom of being accommodating in every manner not in violation of conscience. While they have as great rights as others (or greater, perhaps, on account of being God's children), nevertheless it is part of their covenant with the Lord that [R5771 : page 284] they will not live for themselves merely, but chiefly for the service of the Lord and their fellows. They are forewarned also not to expect full justice--although always to seek to give justice, in harmony with the Golden Rule, full measure pressed down. They are to realize that in taking this course they will have more and more the Lord's blessing, and that the experiences of character development under such conditions will be helpful to them as respects the coming Kingdom.

QUEEN JEZEBEL FEARED NOT GOD

Of all the characters on the pages of history Queen Jezebel, Ahab's wife, stands out prominently as one of the most conscienceless. Noting that King Ahab appeared despondent, she asked the cause. On learning it she promised the king that she would give him Naboth's vineyard, and advised that he should, therefore, cheer up. Immediately she wrote letters in King Ahab's name, using his royal seal. She instructed some of the officials that on an appointed fast-day, on which the people would be in mourning to the Lord for their sins, Naboth should be given a seat of great honor. Two men were to be bribed to rise up then, suddenly in the midst of the meeting, and denounce Naboth as a slanderer of God and of the king. The rulers thereupon were to hear the evidence and to put the penalty promptly into execution. The Jewish Law provided that any blasphemy against God's name should be punished by stoning. The hired witnesses promptly denounced Naboth and corroborated each other's testimony. Forthwith a company arose, and stoned the man to death outside the city.

The hypocrisy of the proceedings astounds one. The proclaiming of the fast was seemingly in honor of God's laws and His justice. The Queen's perfidy matches anything on the pages of history. The servility of the governors to her behests evidences what a low state of morals prevailed.

King Ahab seems to have been the passive beneficiary of all this wickedness. He was, nevertheless, the accountable person. His course proves that he was not truly great. Riches and station cannot make greatness, but character only can do so. The king was very willing to profit by his wife's shameful course. Upon hearing through her that Naboth was dead, he went over to look at Naboth's vineyard and to consider how it might be adapted to his purposes as a part of the palace garden.

Just as he was entering the garden he was met by Elijah, who had been sent by the Lord with a message of reproof. The king saluted the Prophet, saying, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" Elijah answered, "I have found thee; because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord." Then he informed the king that Divine judgment was that in the same place that the dogs had licked the blood of Naboth, dogs should also lick the king's blood, and that Queen Jezebel would have a similar fate.

PRESENT WAR RESULT OF SELFISHNESS

It should be remarked that at present, as in the past, God is not serving as a policeman to safeguard the world against its own fallen conditions, appetites, covetousness, etc. For six thousand years the Lord seems to have contented Himself with letting mankind learn their own lessons, except so far as their course of sin might interfere with the outworking of God's great plans. In such cases the sentiment of the Lord seems to have been, "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther."

Undoubtedly the permission to mankind to do great injury to themselves is a very practical way of inculcating important lessons. God seems to be bidding the angels to no longer restrain, but to let loose the four winds of heaven--to allow mankind to engage in universal strife-- unhindered. The result is the most stupendous of wars, impoverishing all nations engaged therein, costing millions of lives in the flower of manhood, and entailing debts, to pay interest on which will impoverish the people for long years to come--debts which probably never can be paid. The Bible indicates that following the war will come a great revolution and that following it may be expected anarchy. The winds of strife, now let loose, may be expected to injure the world unrestrained by the Almighty until, in man's extremity, God's opportunity will come, and the Kingdom of Messiah will be established for the blessing of the world.

With the establishment of God's Kingdom everything will be changed. No longer will sins be permitted and the punishments follow; but instead, punishments will be inflicted upon those who attempt to do evil--before they shall have done the evil. For the Lord has promised, saying, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My Holy Mountain [Kingdom]." (Isaiah 11:9.) In that glorious time all good intentions and good endeavors will have God's blessing and will bring uplift mentally, morally and physically to those participating. Thus will be fulfilled a Scripture which declares, "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."--Isaiah 26:9.

THE SIN OF COVETOUSNESS

Sin and selfishness are, practically, synonymous terms. When Adam was perfect, in the image and likeness of God, he was unselfish, just, generous, kind, benevolent; [R5771 : page 285] for these are elements of the Divine disposition, and man must have had these when in God's likeness. The first of all sins was committed by Satan. It was to forward his ambitious, selfish designs that he misrepresented the Divine message, contradicted the Almighty, became the father of lies and the murderer of Adam and his race. Mother Eve's course also was prompted by an acquired selfishness. She thirsted for knowledge, which, the serpent told her, she could get by disobeying God. Father Adam's disobedience was not of ignorance, but because he believed that his life would be happier by disobeying and sharing Mother Eve's experiences.

Today, wherever we look, we can clearly trace all sin back to its fountain, selfishness. Covetousness is selfishness --sin. It is very prevalent because all are sinners. Our laws indeed seek to protect us in our just rights, yet how unsuccessful we often are in securing our rights, and in defending ourselves against those who would unjustly violate the Golden Rule.

The lesson for all is that nothing short of the Golden Rule is acceptable in God's sight from any professing to be of His children. A second lesson is that while we are to render justice and the Golden Rule's requirement to all, without exception, we are not always to demand justice, the Golden Rule, etc., from others. Rather, God's people are to consider themselves His representatives and ambassadors in a land and amongst people alienated from Him and His Government. The Lord's children, always just, are to be also generous and to "show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light." As their Heavenly Father is generous as well as just, so are His children to be partakers of His character-likeness and to be helpers in everything that makes for righteousness.



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ELIJAH'S FIERY CHARIOT
--OCTOBER 10.--2 KINGS 2:1-12.--

ELIJAH, ELISHA AND SCHOOLS OF PROPHETS--ELIJAH'S CHARIOT AND ASCENT TYPICAL--ELIJAH AND ALL THE PROPHETS STILL SLEEP--THEY CANNOT RECEIVE THEIR REWARD UNTIL AFTER THE CHURCH HAS BEEN GLORIFIED IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION--THE TRANSFIGURATION SCENE--THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ELIJAH'S JOURNEY AND FOUR STOPS--THE TYPICAL LESSON INTERESTING, PROFITABLE.

"In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore."--Psalm 16:11.
SINCE Bible students have recognized that Elijah's life was a prophecy--that he typed, or represented, the entire Church in his earthly experiences--his history has become the more interesting and the more intelligible. He was a faithful servant of God; but his greatest prophecy, that of his life, was not understood, even though the Lord declared, subsequently, "I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord." (Malachi 4:5.) This antitypical Elijah, beginning with Jesus in the flesh, has been coming and giving his message to the world for now more than eighteen centuries. We believe that the taking away of Elijah in the chariot of fire, narrated in today's lesson, is about to be fulfilled as respects the Church of Christ in the flesh. Soon they shall be no more in the flesh; for the Lord will take them, will glorify them with Himself. As the Apostle explains, they will meet the Lord in the air, in the realm of spiritual control of the earth--in Kingdom power and great glory. --1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Elisha had the opportunity of becoming Elijah's successor, and appears to have been guided by a proper spirit of zeal in his desire to accompany Elijah and to serve him. When Elijah was taken in the fiery chariot, his mantle bequeathed to Elisha represented that the latter had become Elijah's successor, to receive a special blessing of the Elijah spirit. While we are certain that Elijah typed the Church of God in the flesh, we may not be quite so positive that Elisha was also a type and represented [R5772 : page 285] a secondary class of God's people, referred to in the Bible sometimes as the "foolish virgin" class, sometimes as the servants of the Bride class who will follow her, sometimes as a Great Company whose number no man knows, who will come through great tribulation and attain a place before the Throne, failing to attain with the Elijah class a place in the Throne as joint-heirs of Christ.-- Matthew 25:1-13; Psalm 45:14,15; Revelation 7:9-17.

The sons of the prophets may also be types. If so, they would seem to represent a third class, acquainted with Elijah and Elisha, yet not particularly associated with them. The fact that the sons of the prophets discussed with Elisha the going of Elijah does not necessarily signify that they believed the matter. They knew that Elijah expected to go, but their own doubts on the subject are intimated by the fact that they subsequently made a search of the land to see if Elijah had not really fallen somewhere, dropped by the whirlwind. Their search and final conviction represent that for some time certain classes of Christian people may doubt that the Church has really gone to glory, but that afterwards they are thoroughly convinced. Possibly the three days of search may be symbolic, representing three years.

ELIJAH NOT IN HEAVEN

Much of the Bible study of the past has been superficial. Certain teaching and creeds of the past being accepted as true, the Bible has been studied with a view to confirming the traditions of the past rather than to challenging their accuracy. Careful study now brings to light the fact that throughout the entire Old Testament not a word is said about anybody going to Heaven--except in this case of Elijah and in the statement that "Enoch walked with God, and was not for God took him"--somewhere. The Bible indicates distinctly that no offer of Heavenly life was possible until after Jesus had died as man's Redeemer. Thus the Scriptures assure us that life and immortality were brought to light through Jesus' Message--nothing clear or definite was known on these subjects previously.--2 Timothy 1:10.

Jesus Himself was the first to pass from earthly condition to Heavenly condition by His resurrection change --"put to death in flesh, He was made alive in spirit." (1 Peter 3:18.) The Church has the promise of a similar glorious change, awaiting all the faithful who walk in the Master's footsteps. Their change is to come at Jesus' Second Advent. They as the wise virgins, as the Elijah class, will pass beyond the veil from earthly conditions to Heavenly conditions. The change will be necessary to their entrance into the Kingdom, for "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 15:50.) A little later, tribulations will develop the Great Company class, represented by Elisha. Later still, the blessing of the Lord will come upon all the human family through Messiah's Kingdom. [R5772 : page 286]

While the Old Testament says nothing about any invitation for anybody to go to Heaven, the New Testament does assure the Church of a "High Calling," a "Heavenly Calling." (Philippians 3:14; Hebrews 3:1.) St. Paul points out that a different blessing has been provided by the Lord for the Gospel Church than for others. Even the Ancient Worthies, including Abraham, the Prophet David, Elijah, Elisha, Moses, etc., cannot be of the Church class, even as they could not follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Their loyalty to God and to righteousness is to be abundantly rewarded, but theirs is to be an earthly blessing in the Paradise to be established by Messiah's Kingdom throughout the entire earth.

St. Paul, after enumerating the worthy characters of the past, declares, "All these died in faith, not having received the things promised them, God having provided some better thing for us, that they apart from us should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:38-40.) In other words, the Church must receive her Heavenly inheritance first; for she, as St. James declares, is the First-fruits unto God of His creatures.--James 1:18.

Jesus very positively declares that Elijah did not go to Heaven when he said, "No man hath ascended unto Heaven." (John 3:13.) St. Peter corroborates this, declaring that the Prophet David had not gone to Heaven, but was still in his sepulchre at Jerusalem. St. Peter thus implied that none of the Prophets had gone to Heaven. (Acts 2:34.) Our great interest, therefore, in Elijah's experiences, lies in the fact that his literal ascent into the skies was a part of his general typical career as a prefigure of the Church in the flesh.*

*For a detailed explanation of the Bible proofs that Elijah was a type of the Church, address "Bible Students' Monthly, Brooklyn, N.Y."

ON MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

Jesus gave to three of His Apostles, Peter, James and John, a special vision of His coming glory. What they saw was not actuality, but a vision, as Jesus subsequently declared. (Matthew 17:9.) The persons in glory were no more actual than the glories and voices and persons seen by John the Revelator. St. Peter, one of the three, declares that what they saw was a representation of Christ's coming glory. Nevertheless, he declares that the word of prophecy was still more sure than the vision. (2 Peter 1:16-21.) In the vision Jesus was the central figure, Moses representing the Law Dispensation, which ended with Christ, and Elijah representing the Gospel Dispensation, which began with Christ.

GILGAL, BETHEL, JERICHO, JORDAN

Elisha knew of Elijah's expectation of translation; and, with that in view, they had traveled to Gilgal. But the Lord did not take Elijah there, but sent him on to Bethel. Elijah's suggestion that Elisha should tarry at Gilgal implied that Elisha was discouraged and had lost faith in the journey. But no! he went on. The same thing occurred at Bethel, and they went on to Jericho. The same thing occurred at Jericho, and they went on to Jordan. Crossing the Jordan they still went on, but thereafter with no definite place in view. However, from the time they came to Jordan a multitude of the sons of the prophets, deeply interested, watched them.

Let us apply these matters antitypically to the Church. Gilgal would seem to represent the beginning of the Harvest time--October, 1874. That date, prominently marked in the Bible (Daniel 12:12) was looked forward to by many Bible students with deep interest as the possible time when the Church would be completed--although nothing in the Bible so declares. The inference was clearly deducible, but there was no positive statement as to the Church's change being accomplished then. Some measure of disappointment was felt when expectations were not realized. Nevertheless, the Elijah class started to the next point, accompanied by so many others as were worthy of being accounted of the antitypical Elisha class.

The experiences at Bethel were very similar. The Spring of 1878 corresponded to Bethel. It was clearly seen to be the time parallel to the Lord's assuming His kingly office in the end of the Jewish Age and saying to the Jewish nation, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Luke 13:34,35.) It was not unreasonable to think of that Scripturally-marked date as the time for the Church's glorification, although the Lord did not directly promise this. Nevertheless, a blessing came to all those who received their disappointment in a proper spirit.

On they went to the next date, which corresponded to Jericho; namely, 1881. Considerable interest attached to that date on the part of many Bible students because it was the parallel date to the time when the door was thrown open to the Gentiles, and Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was received into the family of God. We assumed that this might mean a change of dispensation here, and that the glorification of the Church was typed. We were mistaken in that supposition, but received great blessing and went on.

The next point of time Scripturally marked was October, 1914--the close of the Times of the Gentiles, corresponding to Jordan. Many Bible students are thoroughly convinced that the 2520 years from Zedekiah's day to October, 1914, ended there--that that date marked the end of God's lease of world power to the Gentile nations. They are convinced that the present war is the result, and that its ultimate conclusion will be the complete overthrow of all the kingdoms of the world and the full establishment of Messiah's Kingdom in the control of earth.

The Lord did not say that the Church would be glorified before the conclusion of the Gentile Times; yet such a thought was not an unreasonable one, in view of many Scriptures. Not disconcerted, Bible students are going on, even as Elijah and Elisha went on after crossing the Jordan. They are not, however, headed for any particular date, even as Elijah was not directed to go to any other place. Simply they went on, waiting for the Lord to fulfil His promise of taking Elijah in His own time and in His own way.

CHARIOT OF FIRE AND WHIRLWIND

It was while the two went on, with no knowledge of how far they would go, that Elijah said to Elisha, "What would you like as a reward for your faithfulness in journeying with me?" Elisha responded that he would most prefer a large measure of the Spirit of the Lord, which so notably was manifest in Elijah. The reply was that he could get this great blessing only under special conditions; namely, that he would continue faithful in cooperation until the last--until Elijah would be taken. This would be a hard matter; for, if Elisha's attention were permitted to wander, he would not get so rich a blessing.

As they two went on, behold, a chariot of fire parted them asunder! In symbolic language, this seems to signify that the Elijah class will be involved in very fiery trouble, persecutions, and will thus be separated from their fellows. The next symbol of a whirlwind taking Elijah to Heaven also implies further trouble. Prophecies are generally understood after their fulfilment--and only vaguely before. It was thus at our Lord's First Advent in respect to the prophecies then being fulfilled.

We may not hope to clearly understand in advance the [R5773 : page 287] full import of the fiery chariot nor of the whirlwind. To some the thought of being taken away from the present life suddenly, violently, in fiery troubles, etc., would be a terrible prospect; not so will it be with the members of the Elijah class. Waiting for their change, and living in daily readiness of heart, therefore, they go on without trepidation. On the contrary, in whatever way they shall be taken, it will be the culmination of their hopes for which they so long have waited and prayed--their deliverance.



[R5773 : page 287]

INTERESTING LETTERS

FROM THE BATTLEFIELD OF FRANCE

BELOVED IN THE LORD:--

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Often has it been my desire to write you of my experiences at the front, but the time has always been very limited, especially in the last weeks.

My first experience was in France, where I had copies of the French BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY sent to me. I distributed these as I had opportunity and they were received with gladness. At first the people were very much surprised that a Prussian soldier should hand them these papers, but hearing my brief explanation and after a perusal of the literature, they received it joyfully, many even offering to pay for it, which I declined.

My supply of literature having been exhausted, I was about to order more when we received instructions to break camp for transfer to the Eastern frontier--Galicia.

Sunday I was on night duty [baking dept.], therefore utilized the afternoon for a trip to the city. There I experienced much joy, for I met many Jews, to whom I could speak of their hope. I asked them if they believed all that I was telling them. "Yes," said they, "we believe it." One replied, "I thank you. We believe in a Messiah, also that the time of redemption is near at hand." Another remarked, "God will help, and it will all come about." I called on a third in his shop, where two others joined us. Much joy has come to my heart through calling on interested people, but I have never witnessed such joy as these Jews manifested. With tears in their eyes they declared, "May God grant it; may God grant it! We have already heard of it." All were rejoicing, but one who was made specially glad invited me to visit him soon again. I would have been only too glad to have done so, but on the next day our superior officer forbade us to enter the city.

A great battle is raging here; many Russians were taken prisoners. Six thousand have passed through here. Oh, what misery! One could see wounded refugees from all parts; wagons with women and children, and men driving cattle. I never saw such a sight. I am often reminded of the Second Psalm. And with all these things we know it is only the beginning. Yes, thanks be unto God that these days are to be shortened! I have distributed many BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLIES amongst our troops. May the Lord add His blessing!

On our next march we passed through a battlefield. The pitiful sight reminded me of the many promises and I thanked our Heavenly Father that I did not have to take an active part. What sorrow and misery sin has brought into the world, but what a blessing awaits humanity! All long for peace, and how they will rejoice when Micah 4:1-5 and Isaiah 2:4 are fulfilled! We often hear it asked, "Why is this war?"

I thank you very much for the last WATCH TOWER. The first article, "The Ministry of Angels," was a special blessing to me. The grace of our Lord be with you. Remembering you and all in fervent love before the throne of Grace, I am
Your faithful brother,
W__________ H__________.

Carpathian Mts., May, 1915.


SOLDIERS ENTREATING FOR THE TRUTH

BELOVED IN THE LORD:--

Thank you for your letter to the brethren in the field, and for THE WATCH TOWER.

I also wish to inform you that I have repeated opportunities to discourse to my comrades. Out of 11 or 12 men there are six especially who, as often as time permits, come to me of their own accord and entreat me to give them another little discourse. When I want to close after talking two or three hours they plead, "Please continue; it is so grand." Often do I hear them say, "Why do not our preachers tell us these things? Why do they mislead us so?"

I am also frequently asked for literature. I give them THE WATCH TOWER and the sermons.

With hearty greetings, from
Your brother in Christ,
F__________ K__________.

France, June, 1915.


THINGS ONCE DARK NOW CLEAR

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I hesitate in consuming any of your time, but I have long wished to write you of the great change in my life since being led into the Truth by a close study of your writings. How earnestly I had sought to understand God's Word and to love the Savior for His great sacrifice for mankind! I felt it was my duty to do so, but could not with the fervency I desired. Since coming to a better understanding of God's wonderful Plan of Salvation, and laying hold of the "exceeding great and precious promises" in His Word and appropriating them unto myself, in my heart I am constantly exclaiming, "Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

I began reading your SCRIPTURE STUDIES some six months ago and they have been my constant companions ever since. Daily the Light has been breaking; things that were once so dark to me have now become very clear.

I began with the "Hell Pamphlet" and was "caught" by it. I concluded that if so noted a place as a "burning Hell" could be reasonably and Scripturally done away with, and my mind be satisfied about the matter, I would pursue the same studies further. Next came TABERNACLE SHADOWS. Portions of the Bible that in my reading I had hitherto skipped over as too dry for anything were made just beautiful to me! I could verily say with the poet:

"'Tis the Song of the Lamb once by Moses foretold
In the symbols and types of God's Law,
As the dawn of the Day doth those symbols unfold,
We behold what we ne'er before saw."

What a wonderful privilege to be living at this time, and still more wonderful to be favored with even a partial understanding of God's great Plan; surely, by far the greater portion of the world is in darkness!

I have just read your discourse on "Love of the Father and the Son our Pattern." It was indeed a feast, and has strengthened me in several points where I am sure I was weak. May the Lord continue to use you until He shall say, "It is enough, come up higher."
MARY HOOVER.--Georgia.


A WONDERFUL DELIVERANCE

DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

I wish to let you know of the great deliverance I have obtained, by God's grace, through the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which was shown here last fall. At that time I was a believer in Theosophy and was possessed by evil spirits, being both "clairaudient" and a "writing medium"; but, thank God, I am now free.

I thought I had the Gift of the Holy Spirit, but the sight of the picture of the Witch of Endor convinced me that I had a "familiar spirit," and when I prayed God to release me and make me His child again, He did so at once.

My husband went with me afterward to see the pictures, and we then obtained the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We are now fully consecrated and are rejoicing in the Truth.

We feel we can never express our thankfulness, dear Brother, but we daily pray our Heavenly Father to bless and guide you. It was such a wonderful deliverance that I can never forget the wonder of it, and my heart rises in gratitude to God, who could seek me when I had gone so far astray!

With best wishes from my husband and myself,
ELIZABETH PEARSON.--Eng.


B.S.M. IN A LETTER-BOX DID IT

DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

As I am changing my place of residence and should be sorry to miss a copy of THE WATCH TOWER, I am enclosing my new address. A few months ago I was so fortunate as to find one of your papers in my letter-box, and I thank God I was interested enough to read it.

In view of the many creeds I had often asked myself, Which is the Truth? Surely they cannot all be right! I thank God today that I am enjoying your STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and THE TOWER. They seem more reasonable than anything I have seen. I have said to myself, At last I have found the Truth, and I have not changed my mind.
E. COLBY HARRIMAN.--Mass.



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International Bible Students Association Classes

STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION

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