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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
A prominent point of interest now engaging the minds of all, is the Egyptian War. War has commenced—Alexandria, the capital, is in ruins—the rebelling Pasha of Egypt is fortified at Cairo, and it is reported that a Mahometan Messiah has arisen, and is marshaling numbers of Mahometans, and marching to the defense of Cairo. It has but begun, and no one can tell where, or when it will end.
„Second Advent” papers abound with exciting comments on this war, claiming that it is the battle or war „of the great day of God Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14.) Many of our readers doubtless sympathize, to some extent, with this view. It is but natural that expectation should make haste to reach fulfillment; but we suggest to all—have patience, this is not the war of Rev. 16:14. It may, indeed, have some bearing on the future, not at present discernable; but it is not the war which closes the great day of God Almighty. That battle is the seventh plague, and is brought about as a result of the six plagues which precede it.
In our next, we expect to show that the first six plagues will be upon the nominal church—Babylon—the results of which will be to „gather,” or array the people and their rulers against each other, and that this general conflict between priest and people, rulers and ruled, capital and labor, is the „battle” or conflict represented by the seventh plague—the conflict of the great day of God Almighty, in which all oppression and bondage shall cease, by the overthrow of the great and mighty in church and state; (Rev. 19:18-21) a preparation for the true King of earth to exercise his authority. This will not be fully accomplished, as we read prophecy, until A.D. 1914.
But our part in the conflict of this „great day of God” has already commenced. We fight not with flesh and blood, but with gigantic systems of error, with spiritual wickedness in exalted positions, against falsities honored by time and wealth and earthly learning—against great Babylon, mother and daughters. Are we each fighting a good fight—are we overcoming and getting the victory
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over the symbolic Beast and Image—or are we being overcome and kept in bondage by them? (Rev. 20:4.)
To be an overcomer now, requires close application to the one thing in hand—the conflict. Hence, it is necessary that our time and attention be kept as much as possible free from the thronging cares of life, which, if permitted, would swallow us up. It is to this special time that Jesus directs our attention, saying: Take heed, lest your hearts be over charged with the cares of this life. (Luke 21:34.) To overcome, we need the armor which God has provided. We obtain it from the Word of God, and it requires time and care to fit it and learn to use it. We cannot, therefore, spare our valuable and needful time to attend to worldly things, plans, and speculations; but only the things needful. All else must be laid aside—every weight—while we take to ourselves the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the conflict of this evil day. (Eph. 6:13.)
During the warm weather some of the preaching brethren are finding open-air meetings very advantageous, and the minds and hearts of some are thus being reached. We commend the plan to all others. Get a shady lot, or park, or market place, as the Master did, and thus speak to the people. The common people now, as then, will hear gladly the „Glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” Tell them why you thus come to them—to bring them joy and peace, through the knowledge of the real character and plan of God. Tell them why you are not and cannot belong to any of the sects or divisions, and can recognize only the ONE CHURCH of Christ. Point out how their teachings are confusion, Babel, contradiction. Show the contradictory teachings on „Election” and „Free Grace”; and show the proper position of both of these doctrines in the true plan of God from the Word. Show up the errors of the sects in all their naked deformity, by which they distort the truth of God, and turn it into a lie; but do it all in the spirit of love, showing that the systems, and not the true Christians bound by those systems, are denounced by the Word of God, and condemned to overthrow. (Rev. 18:2,3.) Show that the call of the Lord to all who are truly his is to come out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4) into joy, peace, and liberty in Christ. Let your speech at all times be seasoned with grace (favor), and as ye go, preach—the kingdom of God is at hand.
A St. Louis brother writes that he purposes, while off on a vacation, to hold some public meetings, and read sundry WATCH TOWER articles. This is a good suggestion for many who have no practice in preparing sermons. The suggestion is offered, also, that at evening meetings, when twos and threes and dozens assemble, it would be far better to take up and discuss with the Scriptures bearing thereon, one and another of the articles in the TOWER. It would be vastly better to thus study God’s Word, than to spend so much time, as some do, in vain repetitions and telling of „experiences.” Try it, brethren and sisters; and let all take part in the search for truth, and seek diligently till you find it—clear, beautiful, and invigorating.
Precious letters still come, showing that others of our Father’s children are coming to rejoice in the light, and to be refreshed by the truth. God be praised: He is his own Interpreter, and he will make it plain to all who have an ear for the voice of the Lord, our Shepherd. We are glad to see how much some are trying to spread the glad tidings, and we are sure our Father is well pleased also. Freely we have received; freely let us give. We subjoin extracts from a few of the letters received.
OAKLAND, CAL., June 29, ’82.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—
I would like to have those outline notes for six sermons, with the chart. I am doing what I can for the truth. One brother in my class has embraced the truth, and is rejoicing in it, and is hungering for more; others are inquiring the way. My heart burns within me as the Lord opens to me the Scriptures. I see new light and new beauty in his Word as never before. My wife has been reading the „Tabernacle,” and rejoices with me in the truth. I want to instruct my children in the right ways of the Lord. Please send eight or ten more of the „Tabernacle,” also ten „Food.” I enclose $5 for Tract Society.
Your brother in Christ, __________.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
I have some good news to convey to you. For years my dear husband has been so opposed to churches and ministers, that I have had to endure a great deal on account of them, and I knew the greater part he said was true, but I never said anything one way or the other; and for some years I have felt that the Saul’s Armor of Creeds did not fit; the yoke chafed me very much. I never was that kind of a Christian that took in all I listened to without thinking for myself; and because of this, I have been considered peculiar; but thank God it is the peculiar people God is gathering to himself. I have been struggling to be free for some time, but yesterday I died the death, to Sectarianism. I sent in my resignation to both my Sunday class and church. I did not even ask for my certificate of membership. I counted the cost, and already it has been said I had accepted false doctrine. Bless God for such a doctrine!
I told my husband this morning, and I said, „Now, I would like to have a Bible-class in my own home, something I have wanted so long.” I knew if God would use me in that way he could bring his mind into accord with it. He consented, though once he said I should never have a prayer meeting in his house. Where shall I begin to praise God for his goodness. Now, I intend to use all my efforts in the good work; pray that God will teach me how.
Your sister in Christ, __________.
DANSVILLE, N.Y., July 11, 1882.
I returned home last week. While absent, I met with a few of the dear ones in their homes; and the result was renewed strength and more courage to „press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” O, what a privilege to be permitted to have part in the great work just dawning upon us.
Two sisters came in on Sunday, and we read the article on, „The Holy Spirit,” in last ZION’S WATCH TOWER. I would like, if I could, to express the feast it was to us; we forgot all else for almost five hours.
I was led to ask myself, Am I doing all I can? and the answer came, no. I resolved that a portion of every day should be devoted to a special effort in the Master’s work, either by word, deed, or pen. There are some dear ones near me I shall visit this week. My time, talents, and all I have are Christ’s, and he is mine. I desire, most of all things, to be in complete subjection to our Head.
Your sister in Christ, __________.
LOUIS, July 4th, 1882.
I am doing all I can to spread the „glad tidings”; perhaps have been the means of doing some good by talking, and use of the little books. For some time I have been attending Bible reading of the Y.M.C.A. I am seeking an opportunity to speak at some of these meetings. Many of these young men think they are doing a great work for Jesus. They seem very sincere; they pray and strive for what they are taught to suppose is the Spirit of Jesus. Their chief exercise is to pray and give what they suppose is testimony for Jesus, apparently without any correct understanding of it. Their practice is to stop
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persons on the street, and abruptly demand to know if they are Christians, or saved, as they call it. There is a wonderful power here, if it could be properly used. But patience! patience! it will come all right, just as soon as their eyes are opened. As soon as possible we will get a small society of the consecrated ones as a nucleus for extending the truth. In my own case, truth seems to develop wonderfully, and I have a strong desire to make it known. Yes,
„I love to tell the story,
It did so much for me.”
I expect to travel a couple of months, starting soon. If so, I will read in public some articles from the TOWER, in towns where I may stop a few days, and may do some good as the agent of our Father and our Lord Jesus. Your brother in the Anointed One. __________.
SULLIVAN COUNTY, MO., June 26, ’82.
Last Saturday I received a sample copy of ZION’S WATCH TOWER—I don’t know how you came to send it to me; I can hardly understand it, but in the supplement to it I see something grand. I am teachable, and if I get your meaning, that the restitution of all things means also the salvation of all men, I want to learn more about it. Send me the paper and other reading matter; I will carefully read them. I have been preaching twenty years, but I want to know all truth and God’s plans, etc.
Oh, how the church is wrapped in darkness! For fifteen years I have been trying to get the light, and how little do I know yet.
Yours, in search of truth. __________.
[As you read more, you will understand better how we anticipate a salvation of all men from the Adamic death. When saved, they may live forever if they will; or die the second death for their own willful sin against knowledge and ability.—EDITOR.]
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:—
We are here on the frontiers of Kansas. We have never regretted sending for the WATCH TOWER. It has brought light into our minds, and it has so perfectly explained some portions of the Scripture, that it seems as though the dark clouds are passing away, and the true light is shining upon us for the first time in our whole lives. We have been church members for forty years, but we have learned more from the WATCH TOWER than we ever learned from the pulpit. There are some here who are inquiring for the truth, and we think that if we had some pamphlets or papers to circulate through this country, it would be sowing the precious seed of God’s truth. This is the time when the true followers of Christ should work, for it seems to me that the churches are all asleep. They are starved to death. Please send some of the „Food for Thinking Christians,” and we will circulate them.
PHILADELPHIA, July 15, 1882.
Enclosed please find a small sum ($5), for the purpose of spreading the „glad tidings” of salvation from death, for all of our race. The more I read of the plan of salvation the better I like it. I am but a babe yet, but I am learning. I am doing what I can with tongue, papers and books. Hoping many may be enabled to see the light, and that I may be the means of doing some good, I remain,
Yours, &c., __________.
— August, 1882 —