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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
Some of our dear readers in England and Scotland noting the statements of the „View” in our October issue, have written us stating that the work and interest there is probably much beyond our appreciation or the number of names on our list; because there it is quite customary among the middle classes for several persons to take papers in partnership and read by turn. One Brother who takes seven copies reports quite an interest among the numerous readers who have become interested, one after another as the light spreads. Quite a number in this country, too, hasten to report good results from efforts and sacrifices made, in the spread of truth and the awakening of some who were asleep in Zion.
The „new plan” for harvest work at the eleventh hour mentioned in our September TOWER is working successfully though some are discouraged because so few have „an ear to hear” what the spirit saith to the church in this, the Laodicean period. (Rev. 3:14-22.) These should not forget that nothing different should be expected; that according to God’s word only a few, „a little flock” can see the truth amid the surrounding darkness with which the God of this world has enveloped the hearts and minds of men. The time when truth will be popular and when all can see and enjoy the light, is the coming age when the prejudiced blinded eyes are opened, and the Sun of Righteousness shining forth shall dispel the darkness, error and misrepresentation. Now your labor and sacrifice are made possible and the trial of your faith and fidelity is effected through and by these unfavorable conditions. We must overcome if we would as overcomers sit on the throne of Millennial glory with Jesus the great overcomer, our Head and Pattern, as well as our Redeemer.
In our labor for any object we should labor wisely to procure the best results, and in this service of the truth wisdom is specially necessary, and in proportion as we see and realize its grandeur and importance, we shall seek to present it with the greater wisdom, if haply we might win some. Jesus’ words should ever be remembered and practiced, „Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” In the words of Paul we should „study to show” ourselves „approved unto God,” workmen needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, and wisely presenting it in such manner as to avoid choking the babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:4), and at the same time to give to them when and as they are able to receive it—”meat in due season.” Matt. 24:45.
If any consecrated one lack wisdom, let him ask of God, seeking it by prayer and study, and he shall grow in grace as he grows in knowledge and in love. We multiply our efficiency as we daily study to show ourselves approved unto God, and practice what we learn. Some incline to think that all of the truly consecrated ones in the various sects have been reached by these harvest truths; but this is not the case. We have fresh evidence of this daily as one and another receives the light with rejoicing and enters the service of truth heartily.
No, beloved; the truth will continue to reach other consecrated ones and to prepare them for the glory to follow.
Let none put his light under a bushel, or wrap his one talent in a napkin. To do so is to prove an unfaithful steward and to be rejected as unworthy to be the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
So surely as some fail under trial of being „OVERCOMERS,” some other one must be awakened and tested to take the place of the unfaithful one who puts his light under a bushel for fear of the reproach, the cost, and drifts into indifference and outer darkness. Hence the pointedness of our Lord’s words—”Take heed, let no man take thy crown.” Take heed lest being on the race-course with the goal and crown in view, you should allow ease or any worldly interest to hinder your full and hearty sacrifice, and thus fail under trial to be an overcomer. We should grow in faithfulness as we grow in knowledge.
The joyful mission given us is to spread the glad tidings. By our faithfulness we show our appreciation, and are given evidence in our own trial whether or not we love the Lord and the Truth more than all else. Thus God sifts and searches his children to prove the overcomers, to select those who shall be accounted worthy of joint-heirship with Jesus the great overcomer. Grace sufficient to keep us from falling and to present us blameless in his presence, even in this „Evil day” is provided, but in such manner as to fully test the thoroughness of our consecration.
As an illustration of the fact that others are still to be reached, we will mention the case of Bro. Otto von Zech of this city. For a number of years past, Bro. Z. had labored as a minister of the German Evangelical Lutheran church, and verily thought that he did God service, and his conversion from error to truth and from the service of error to the ministry of truth, have been almost as sudden, though not so miraculous as Bro. Paul’s.
The November TOWER was God’s instrumentality for reaching the eyes of his understanding and letting in a little of the eye-salve of truth, which soon brought distinctness of vision, because he applied it earnestly in the love of the truth.
About one year ago we concluded to send a copy of the TOWER regularly to ministers of all denominations in Allegheny, and Bro. Z. got a copy regularly with the others. Having much reading matter, however, and being very busy with the duties of his office, he let the TOWER go into the waste basket unnoticed until the last number, to which his attention was called providentially, he believes. Thoughts which it suggested were the entering wedge and the result illustrates the words of Scripture, „The entrance of thy truth giveth light.”
Bro. Z. was rejoiced to find that our office was in his own city and hastened for further reading matter, which being received into a good and honest heart, quickly germinated and brought forth the fruit of sacrifice. Bro. Z. explained that for several years he felt an interest in the Scriptural teachings relative to the Millennial reign of Christ, but was hindered by the fact that he could see no way of harmonizing the general view concerning the Millennial reign, with other facts of reason and Scripture. He saw that to suppose that Jesus would come again in the flesh—a man, and sit upon an earthly throne, etc., would be at utter variance with the general spirit and tenor of God’s Word, and this together with the barriers thrown about him by the strait-jacket rules and doctrines of Lutheranism, had been sufficient to put a stop to progress in that direction.
When he came in contact with the truth set forth in the WATCH TOWER publications it furnished the very connecting links which he had so long sought in vain, and one coil after another of the formerly tangled and knotty cable of truth became straight and strong and useful.
The key which seemed to set all things straight came in his seeing the distinctions between the Church and the World, and God’s provisions for both, and the two natures which these two classes will have even when each is perfected. He then could see the earthly Jerusalem with its earthly splendor, composed of the first-fruits of humanity, and the spiritual Jerusalem, much higher, the spiritual government with its glory that excelleth earthly and visible splendors—composed of the Christian Church of overcomers, the first fruits of those who shall attain to spiritual being.
What will he do? you ask. Will he leave all his old-time fishing tackle and become a follower of the Lord alone and be made by him a fisher of men? No, he will never leave the Lutheran Church, for he has already done so. Like Paul, immediately he conferred not with flesh and blood, but acted promptly on his convictions, recognizing in Christ the only Head and Ruler of the true Church which is his body, as against the false heads and laws which men ignorantly and deludedly place themselves under—Luther, Wesley, Synods, Presbyteries, etc.
He saw that he could no longer sprinkle unbelieving babes, and call that the baptism into Christ referred to in Rom. 6:3,4. He could no longer teach nor in any way sanction the teaching of errors which for long years had bound his own heart and hindered his growth in the grace and knowledge and love of God, and on the contrary he felt, if he would prove himself worthy of the light, he must let no moments go to waste, but use every talent to offset his former influence and teaching, and to bring to others the blessed truths to which his own eyes have recently been opened.
In considering what he should do, he concluded that he could not, like Luther, step out and boldly announce the truth to his congregation or nail his articles of faith to the church door to be read; because the Lutheran daughter had learned a lesson from the Papal mother’s
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experiences at that time, and tied its ministers more closely and carefully, so that whereas Luther’s oath was to teach the SCRIPTURE, Bro. Z’s oath as a minister, like that of others serving sects instead of serving God only, bound him not to teach the Scriptures, but to teach
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only such doctrines as Lutheranism has endorsed. Bro. Z’s only course, therefore, was to resign his office to the HEAD of the Synod to which he belonged. This he did, and took a commission to preach the good tidings from a far higher authority than Presbyteries, Councils, Conferences, or Synods and their heads; even from him whom God gave to be head over the church which is his body. He gave to all his consecrated followers authority to preach the good news of a new covenant, another chance to all mankind to gain everlasting life. Their first chance having been lost by their father Adam, the second is secured by the death of Christ. This new covenant, sealed by his blood, all the followers of the Lord Jesus are commissioned to preach, „Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.
Bro. Z. prepared a brief statement of his course in leaving the Synod and his present views, which has been printed and sent to his ministerial associates in the Lutheran Church and given to his congregation. It is in German, and as we have printed twenty thousand copies to be used as a tract among our German-speaking friends, we invite those who can use them judiciously to write to us for them at once, stating how many they can use to advantage—wisely. This may be the Lord’s movement in preparing for an issue of the TOWER translated into German. Where he leads we will endeavor to follow, as he opens the way.
Our brother’s dear wife willingly shares the sacrifices which this step involves, and together they are anxious to make their calling and election sure. In thus promptly following the good Shepherd whose voice they both recognize, they resign all visible means of support for themselves and five young children, relying simply and only on the Lord’s promise and their own honest hearts and willing hands to supply their necessities in whatever way he may indicate, assured that his promises never fail.
May the Lord give grace and strength to these and all the anointed ones, that they may be enabled to run with patience to the end of the brief course of sacrifice, and afterward crown them with eternal glory.
— December, 1885 —