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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
It is written in the Word: „My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Students of science expect to study assiduously the scientific textbooks and to put their knowledge in practice. And thus it should be with those who come to the study of the greatest of all sciences—God’s Revelation. Our text-book, the Bible, inspired by the Great Creator, should engage our profoundest thought and most diligent study.
While the readers of the TOWER are, perhaps, more studious of the Scriptures than most Christian people, yet we cannot but feel that the special tests and trials of faith in this Day of the Lord, in which we are living, would be much more easily withstood if each saint would study both the Word and plan of God about four times as much. The trial of your faith is much more precious than that of gold, and if you are building with other than truth every such beam or support of error is a real weakness of your faith-structure, and will assist the enemy in his attack upon you. Every error held is weakness, every truth clearly and firmly held is a power—a part of the power of God unto your salvation. Hence when we pray for power and strength to overcome the world and its spirit, we should eat and thoroughly digest the spiritual food which God has provided for this purpose. Thus God answers our prayers. Just as in the natural things we receive strength from God by eating of natural food which he provides.
We desire again to mention the helps to study—the pamphlets Food and Tabernacle—and suggest that if you have not read them within six months, you would, doubtless, be profited by re-reading them—especially chapters 6 and 8 of „Food.” We know this, from the many questions contained in your letters which are fully answered in those chapters.
Oh, how needful the panoply provided by our Captain, but we must needs put it on and use it, or it will be useless to us. Bear in mind that „We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12); and that every effort to veil and obscure the truth, whether done by a willing, or deceived and unwitting agent, is the device of our unseen adversary to retard our progress in the narrow way.
Our adversary not only makes the attack more fiercely in this Day of the Lord, but also increasingly surrounds us with „cares of this life,” and presents deceitful views of earthly allurements, that thus he may engage our every moment and talent, and hinder our putting on the armor, and weaken us for the conflict with error. Realizing this, well shall it be with us if we profit by our knowledge.
Truly the hour of his judgment is come—Who shall be able to stand?—He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. And how can this condition be reached except under the influences of the Word of God and its exceedingly great and precious promises. Hence the indispensableness of a true and well-founded faith to a saintly life.
We almost tremble as we realize that, in this hour of trial, it begins with the house of God. (1 Pet. 4:17.) It has begun with us, and error after error is being promulgated, and our adversary seeks to appear as an angel of light—a messenger of truth. Who shall be able to stand? It shall deceive, if it were possible, the VERY ELECT. But, no; they shall stand, having their loins girt about with truth—having on the breast plate of Christ’s righteousness—the helmet of his salvation—the shield of faith in his blood by which we have redemption, even the remission of sins. They are shod for this narrow path with the preparation which comes from a proper appreciation of the glad tidings. They are, also, armed with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Yes, these shall stand—the elect through the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of spirit (mind) and belief of the truth. (1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thes. 2:13.) This implies that God foreknew and forearranged that those should be chosen to this high calling who, believing the truth, were sanctified by it. This implies the searching for truth as for hid treasures. Let so many of us as would be perfect, be thus minded, and stand complete in Him.
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Hold fast that thou hast: let no man take thy crown. If you are one of the sanctified in Christ Jesus, there is a crown laid up for you until you may finish your course; but if any man draw back he shall lose his crown; for the Lord shall have no pleasure in him, neither delight thus to honor him—and the Lord can find another to wear his crown.
We have been struck with this thought recently. There seems to be so many consecrated ones coming into greater knowledge of the truth, and prepared, seemingly, for crowns, we have wondered if any others were in danger of losing theirs through the wiles of our adversary.
Letters are constantly coming to hand, from out of way places, telling how truth has been recognized and appreciated and is feeding the consecrated ones wherever they may be. We cannot doubt that every consecrated child will be brought in contact with the light now shining on the sacred page. During the past month we have heard from two deeply interested Indians, one of them a preacher; also, from a missionary in China. It is glad tidings of great joy to the ends of the earth, wherever God has children unfettered by traditions of men.
There are many inquiries for preaching—many from out of way places where we could not send. All should remember that, the fact of a necessity for preaching, is a call to those who have truth, to freely give what they have freely received of God. It is a call to preach, of the genuine sort, and each child of God is a witness—a light bearer. Let your light so shine as to glorify your Heavenly Father.
There are a number of ways of preaching. Among the most telling methods is private conversation, backed up with well chosen articles marked for their reading and study. One sister writes us from Virginia that she began to tell what she had recently been learning to a few neighbors privately, and so many came that presently a schoolhouse was needed to accommodate them, and it even was crowded. So, each one willing and anxious to labor in the vineyard, will find the master ready to use his service, and a door of some sort will open. Make use of small opportunities, and greater ones will come in due time. Only, be sure you do all in the love of the truth, and not in a spirit of combativeness. Then assuredly you will be blessed while blessing others.
We append extracts from some letters which will interest you:
DEAR BROTHER:—The copies of „Food for Thinking Christians,” also copy of „The Tabernacle and its Teachings,” duly reached me, and I am now endeavoring to feed the „Heavenly Food” to my hungry fellow-christians. Two others and myself are meeting three or four times per week to make ourselves more thoroughly acquainted with these great truths, and to satisfy ourselves that these teachings are based on the Word of God. As soon as we get through this, we intend to begin a systematic course of teaching out of „Food for Thinking Christians” for all in this place whom we can interest and who are hungering and thirsting after the precious truth of God.
Hoping I soon may be able to report good progress in our teaching, and praying that the Lord will greatly bless you in your glorious work.
I am, very gratefully, your brother in Christ, __________.
EDITOR OF ZION’S WATCH TOWER:
DEAR SIR:—A few days ago a number of your paper was brought in to me as a curiosity. I am somewhat out of the orthodox ruts and fancy I may read your paper with profit and pleasure. If you will send me the paper I will try and get the subscription to you in some way—for, though a self-supporting missionary, I cannot quite call myself one of the „Lord’s poor” to whom you offer the paper gratuitously, for Our Father has bountifully supplied all my needs, since I gave up my salary, three years ago. I think I can get a few subscribers among my friends in China, for I find not a few who are trying to reconcile the „mercy that endureth forever” with the final irrevocable doom of all who, since the fall, have died without a knowledge of the Redeemer of the world. We have no „Post-Office Order” arrangements here, else I would send the subscription at once. __________.
C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR—Dear Bro.: The papers I sent for came all right, for which you have my thanks. I have already distributed some of them, but am careful not to place them where they will not be appreciated. I am glad to tell you that I find among church members, when seriously conversing on the matter of the old theology, a growing sentiment of being tired of it, having out-lived it, and thought ahead of it. They boldly say a reformation must come, and soon, or the Church is dead. Several are carefully studying the TOWER, Tabernacle, and Food. I tell them all to test them by the Bible. As a beginning, we are about to start a Bible class, to study with your papers and books. None of us have as yet left the Churches of which we are members (Methodist and Baptist) but shall not hesitate as soon as we can properly master these views of God’s plan for man’s salvation. For thirty-three years I have been a member of the Methodist Church, and a worker, but for years have been restive. My heart is with you in the work. Yours in Christ, __________.
BRETHREN OF ZION’S WATCH TOWER: I have been a Bible student for many years, and for more than a quarter of a century I have been trying to show my fellow-men the way to life in a public capacity. Many a time I have been at a loss to make one passage of Scripture agree with another. I am done with human creeds forever, for I consider them an unmitigated curse, a greater plague than any that fell upon the Egyptians; but the light begins to dawn. The other day I came across your little book, „Food for Thinking Christians.” It is a rich treat and food indeed to my hungry soul.
My only ambition for years has been to know what the Bible teaches—Now, brethren, if so I may call you, as you have set my soul athirst for solid, sober, study of the sacred Word. I look to you to supply the want. You say, „ask and ye shall receive.”
I can find a place and use for anything you send me that will illustrate and explain the Scriptures. I leave the matter with you as to what you send—anything you may think I need the most.
Yours in the truth, __________.
Later from the same Brother:
BROTHER RUSSELL:—Your letter of a recent date has been received. To say I thank you for the favors you have sent is poorly to express my feelings. I am learning at the age of sixty what I ought to have learned forty years ago. Well, never mind, the past can’t be recalled, and I am thankful that your book fell into my hands even now. I have literally devoured both „Food” and „Tabernacle,” and while reading them, find myself exclaiming with wonder and astonishment, „strange,” „strange” indeed that I could not have seen all this long ago.
I have been a student of the Bible for more than forty years, can read the Hebrew, Greek and Latin Scriptures, yet the creeds of men blinded me for
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many years. Well, I will rejoice and be thankful that light and comfort has come at last.
I wish that others may see and feel what I have seen and felt—”The Truth” that makes us free indeed.
Yours truly, __________.
— May, 1883 —