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VOL. XXIX JULY 1. No. 13
A.D. 1908—A.M. 6036
Views from the „Watch Tower”………………….195
See Things Coming………………………..195
Methodists Want Creed Restated…………….195
Giving Life to the Image………………….196
The Choice of a King…………………………197
„Little in Thine Own Eyes”………………..198
God’s Choice of Saul Indicated…………….198
The Sin of Ingratitude……………………….200
God’s Love for Them Not Quenched…………..201
„Forbid That I Should Sin Against The Lord”…202
The Lord Hath Done Great Things for Us……..203
The London (Eng.), Convention…………………204
„She Hath Done What She Could”—(Poem)…………205
Some Interesting Letters……………………..205
Letters Commending the „Vow”………………….206
Berean Studies on the Atonement……………….207
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GENERAL CONVENTION—AUG. 29-SEPT. 6
Arrangements have been made for the Convention to be held in Put-in-Bay Island (Lake Erie), Ohio; headquarters at Hotel Victory, where exceptionally low rates for rooms and meals have been arranged. The prospects are that this will be the largest and best convention we have ever held.
PITTSBURGH, PA., JULY 5
Immersion service 10 a.m., at Bible House Chapel, N.S., 610 Arch St. Friends desiring to be immersed would confer a favor by signifying their intention. Afternoon session in Alvin Theatre, Sixth St., Pittsburgh: Subject, „Where are the Dead?” Evening session, Question Meeting, 7:30 o’clock, Bible House Chapel, N.S.
OLEAN, N.Y., JULY 26
BROTHER RUSSELL’S SERMONS WEEKLY
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SEES THINGS COMING
„GIGANTIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN LABOR AND CAPITAL”
SECRETARY Taft made an address before the Order of Railway Conductors in which he said:—
„Men who control capital, as well as men who work for wages, must combine,” said Secretary Taft to the conductors. „Combinations of capital within the bounds of the law are necessary for business expediency and for cost reduction. And because of these combinations among employers, the laboring men must combine also in order to obtain that independence to which they are entitled.
LOOKS FOR GIANTS’ STRUGGLE
„Every man who understands welcomes the lawful combination of capital and the combinations of the laboring men. Yet there is no denying the fact that we must look forward to a gigantic controversy between labor and capital, hoping and trusting that it will be settled peaceably. That controversy, when it comes, will decide once for all how capital and labor shall share the joint-profits which they create.
„For the past three years we have been doing some house-cleaning. We needed it. President Roosevelt was the chief of those who called a halt and convinced the people that no one in this country is above the law. I do not say that all rich men are wicked. We take pride in those who by energy, intelligence, and honesty have accumulated wealth. But there are men in this country who by means devious and contrary to law have become multi-millionaires. These must be made to know that their lawless methods cannot be successful in the future.”
* * *
How evidently our Lord’s teachings and those of his apostles were not to the world, but to „the called according to his purpose.” To those he said, „Ye are not of the world, for I have chosen you out of the world.”
The purpose of their call is also made clear: That they should be holy, and, as his consecrated „little flock,” learn important lessons and be developed to the full in love and loyalty to God and to each other and to all the principles of righteousness to the intent that being thus qualified for the service they may be made members of the Royal Family, the Kingdom class, which shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, wielded by a hand of love, during the Millennium.
Surely no other explanation fits the facts of history and the records of the Bible. Blessed are the eyes of all who see these things and still more blessed are those whose hearts respond fully and who thus by the Lord’s assisting grace make their calling and election sure to a place in that Kingdom.
LONDON GONE MAD OVER OCCULTISM
The London correspondent of the Toronto Globe says: „Mayfair’s great army of clairvoyants, soothsayers, table-rappers and seventh-day sisters have been greatly encouraged by Sir Oliver Lodge’s declarations concerning communications received from beyond the grave by the Psychical Research Society. The police prosecutions of a few years ago caused a genuine stampede from the luxuriously-appointed temples of mystery in the fashionable streets of the West End, but most of those who ran away have returned or are returning—bolder and more mysterious than ever.
„It is declared on good authority that dabblers in the occult among fashionable society are numerically greater than ever before, and this statement is borne out by the rushing business being done by the men and women of mystery. In Oxford Circus and Piccadilly are daily to be seen sandwich men in large numbers bearing advertisement boards telling of the wonderfully accurate predictions made by Mme. X., and how Mme. Z., by timely warning to a lady of high title, prevented a dreadful domestic catastrophe.
„Quite a separate division of the futurity-reading industry is that of the sporting ‚prophets,’ who are doing so well financially that they are able to spend large sums for advertisements in the newspapers. A special crusade against this form of clairvoyance has been started by the Bishop of Hereford. He has used his influence to have a committee of the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury appointed to deal with the subject, and wholesale prosecutions, both of newspapers printing the advertisements and of those placing them, are threatened.”
METHODISTS WANT CREED RESTATED
Presbyterians are having great comfort from their restatement of their Faith for the public. They claim that it is just the same in meaning as their Westminster Confession. The new creed states so little and so vaguely that it mates well with the „new theology,” which denies the Atonement, the pre-existence
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of Jesus, etc. But now Methodists are feeling their need of a similarly colorless creed, as is shown by the following from the Portland Evening Telegram:
At the meeting of the Methodist Episcopal ministers today at Taylor Street Church, Rev. C. E. Cline read a paper on „Restating the Articles of Our Religion,” which was in line with the general movement of that Church to restate the present articles, which were originally taken from the Episcopal creed.
Rev. Clarence True Wilson, D.D., said he found the articles needed restating, as he had often been embarrassed by the inadequacy of the present Discipline.
„Why, the other day,” he said, „a Unitarian wrote me for information about our belief, and do you think I could send our Discipline? No, indeed not. Had I done so every minister present today would have criticised me. I happened to meet a Presbyterian minister who was in receipt of a letter from this same Unitarian and I asked him what he was going to do about it. ‚Why, send him our Articles,’ said he. I then said, ‚Sign my name to it, too.’
„We don’t believe in the idea of Christ’s atonement, yet we have it in our Discipline, and several other things, such as Original Sin being inherited. There can be no such thing, and no minister of our Church believes there is.”
A CANDID CONFESSION TRULY, FROM A PROMINENT MAN
The Rev. Dr. Day, Chancellor of the Syracuse University, recently, in an address to the Y.M.C.A., is reported by the public press to have voiced sentiments
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which we have reason to believe are shared by vast numbers of humanity, though seldom expressed. We quote from the New York Press:
„Wouldn’t you rather live in America than in heaven? I would. I’d like to go to heaven when I can’t be here. In fact, I think I’d be rather discontented in heaven till I got adjusted. You can get anything you want here. You can live under forty odd governments, meet all the nations of the world, eat all the fruits of the world and get any kind of climate that you choose. So America is the best place to live; but I think when a man can’t stay here any longer he ought to steer for heaven.
„For my part, I’ve never been much fascinated with the idea of corner-lots and mansions in the skies, and songs and harps and such things. I like a place because it’s busy, and the more business there is the better I like it. Give me lots of work and lots of people to oppose me and then I’m happy.
„The business of the country isn’t going to stagnate, or wither. It is going on. There’s too much wealth in the interior, too much property on the surface, too much harvest on its broad acres, too many factories, too much money that’s got to be invested to be safe for us to halt long. We’ve had a little scare, it’s true, but nothing more.”
* * *
Such a truthful expression will doubtless do good. Hypocrisy is never advantageous nor commendable. If all spoke out their true sentiments, Christianity would be rudely shaken and surprised, but the result would be good; the few really energized by the heavenly promises would be manifested and separated from the nominal mass to their great advantage.
The Apostle Paul spoke of such as „loved the present world” (2 Tim. 4:10), as thus giving evidence that they had departed from the faith and departed from all relationship to Christ as his disciples. We remember also the inspired Word, „Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”—I John 2:15.
Those who have really „tasted of the heavenly gift and the powers of the world (age) to come, and been made partakers of the holy Spirit,” possessing this illumination of the eyes of their understanding, can never be satisfied with present conditions under the rule of the Prince of Darkness, can never be satisfied by the present „reign of sin and death,” under which „the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain.”
Dissatisfied with all that the present evil world can offer, they are content, nevertheless, because of their faith in God’s promises of future blessings to the Church and the world; content because of God’s assurance that the present evils will ultimately work out blessings under divine guidance—helpful both to the Church and the world. We will be satisfied when our polishing as the Lord’s jewels is completed—when we awake in his likeness in the resurrection. And the groaning creation—the poor as well as the rich—will be satisfied when the Millennium shall have blessed and uplifted all from sin and degradation and selfishness and shall have established amongst men equity and love, the fulfilling of the divine law. And all not then satisfied will be utterly destroyed.—Acts 3:23.
GIVING LIFE TO THE IMAGE
Many of our readers know that for years we have been waiting for a fulfilment of the symbolic statement about the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:15. Our expectation has been that the Church of England, represented in the two-horned beast, would give life to the Protestant Image of Papacy, viz., the Protestant Evangelical Alliance. Just what we have been waiting for may yet occur—Episcopal ordination may be granted to the „clergy” of other denominations; but possibly the action of the Episcopal House of Bishops some months ago is all that we should expect. By opening Episcopal pulpits to other Orthodox Protestant ministers it tacitly acknowledged their ordination and thus gave them sanction, acknowledgment, validity—life. This, at least, is the view taken by some of their own „clergy,” as the following will show:—
FOUR EPISCOPAL MINISTERS QUIT AND DENOUNCE THE OPEN PULPIT
Dramatic scenes marked the departure of the Rev. William McGarvey and his three assistants from St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, Philadelphia.
The four clergymen of the Church decided they could no longer remain in the Episcopal Church when the „open pulpit” canon was adopted.
THEY EXPLAIN ACTION
They distributed a circular letter in part as follows:—
„It is due to you that we should tell you plainly why we are leaving you and going forth to begin our lives anew. When we were ordained we were persuaded that the Catholic religion in its fulness was the faith of the Episcopal Church. Animated by this persuasion, we gave ourselves freely to her ministry and would gladly have laid down our lives in her service. Misgivings with regard to the legitimacy of our position were first aroused when certain of the bishops a year or two ago began to invite non-Episcopal ministers into the pulpits.
„Such action was not, of course, the action of the Episcopal Church, although its proceeding from bishops gives it a serious import. But when the whole house of bishops, without a dissenting vote, indorsed this practice by incorporating
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into the discipline of the Episcopal Church explicit provision for an open pulpit, it was manifest that either the non-Episcopal ministers had already the same ministerial status as ministers of the word with those ordained by bishops of the Episcopal Church, or that the Episcopal Church had by her enactment of the open pulpit canon seriously compromised the doctrine of holy order which we had supposed that she held in its integrity.
„Had such a canon been enacted prior to our ordination our consciences would never for a moment have allowed us to receive ordination in the Episcopal Church. And now that the canon was enacted it was plain that we must, as honest men, reconsider our whole position. We set a time for prayer and thought that we might know God’s will and might do nothing hastily.
„That time has now expired, and it has been made abundantly clear to us that the Episcopal Church, in making possible the admission of all sorts of Protestant ministers as teachers of her people, has rightly interpreted her own essential spirit. She now stands forth before the world in the character which belongs to her, and by which she desires to be known. She is as she calls herself, as in the last general convention she has demonstrated herself to be, and as most of her members regard her—a Protestant Church.”
„SUNDAY SCHOOL TIMES” TELLS THE TRUTH
„Sheol and Hades are respectively the Old and the New Testament words for the place of the dead—all dead, whether saved or lost. Gehenna is the name of the place of the dead who are lost.”—Issue May 2, 1908, p. 214.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM
„A streak of fire passing rapidly through the air would precipitate nitric acid. So would a bolt of lightning. A bolt of lightning moving for a distance of 200 feet without the zigzag breaks in its course would throw down nitric acid out of the air, for a territory a mile in diameter.
„Now, suppose a bolt of lightning did dart through the air in the immediate vicinity of what is now the Dead Sea. Suppose that bolt to have traversed a long distance, with its course unbroken by a common zigzag movement of lightning. Enough nitric acid would be thrown down to change all the surface of the earth for miles around to nitrates. And, in my opinion, that is exactly what did happen, causing not only the transformation of Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, but also causing the Dead Sea to become ‚dead.'”—Lyell M. Rider, professor of chemistry.
SOCIALISM VS. ANARCHISM
BERLIN—The police today discovered guns, ammunition and other material supposed to belong to Russian Terrorists in the house of the Socialist Municipal Councilor (member of the city council), Kerfien.
There were many pistols with so called dumdum bullets, and an electric apparatus for the igniting of explosives at a distance, double shirt bosoms for the smuggling of forbidden literature into Russia, etc. A whole dray load of such articles was being removed.—Translated from the German.
GATHERING NATURAL ISRAEL
The correspondent of the Jewish Daily News reports that the Hungarian Minister of the Interior ordered a thorough investigation of the status of Russian Jews who live in Budapest. Those who are unable to show that they have certain means of livelihood should be expelled from the capital. This order affects the fate of nearly 10,000 Jews, for the Galician Jews living in Budapest will be included in that edict, and most of these belong to the poorest classes. A cable dispatch received by the above journal announces that 1500 Jews have already been expelled from Budapest.
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THE CHOICE OF A KING
—I SAM. 10:1-27—JULY 12—
Golden Text:—”He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”—2 Sam. 23:3
SAMUEL informed Israel that God acceded to their request for a change in the form of their government; that they might have a king like the nations round about them. This lesson details the process by which God’s choosing of a king was indicated. Viewed from the standpoint of faith it contains lessons for us daily, indicating how divine supervision takes cognizance of human reason and operates in harmony therewith.
A well-to-do farmer named Kish, residing not far from the present site of Jerusalem, had a son named Saul; tall, manly, well-balanced mentally, but not specially religious. This son was God’s choice for Israel’s king. In the carrying out of the divine programme, a herd of asses, under Saul’s care, was lost, and, after vainly searching for them, he finally bethought him to consult God’s prophet, Samuel, who lived not a great distance away. We can see how this lesson itself would be helpful to the young man—drawing out his thought to the fact that all things are known to God, and that the prophet was God’s special representative. Samuel’s ability to locate the asses gave Saul an increased faith in him as a man of God, and in the message which he gave him, when later the prophet told Saul that he was God’s choice for king over Israel, and poured upon him the oil anointing him to that office. It was, doubtless, in harmony with the prophet’s advice, that Saul kept the matter of his anointing secret, and went about his business until such time as the Lord’s providence should make him known to Israel as the divinely chosen king.
Saul was well suited to the office in various respects. First, he belonged to the small tribe of Benjamin, whose territory lay between that of the two principal tribes, Judah and Ephraim; he would, consequently, be more likely to have the sympathy and cooperation of the people of the most influential tribes, who would have been more likely to have feelings of opposition and jealousy toward any man from an important tribe. We read that he stood head and shoulders above his fellows, and the intimation is that he was quite muscular. In olden times, when physical force had so much to do with military fighting, we can readily see that such a type of man appealed strongly to the sentiments of the people.
Various Scripture lessons convey to us the thought that God’s foreknowledge has much to do with many things that to men may appear accidental. Thus, for instance, with Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul. The Scriptures inform us that he was chosen of God to be a special vessel, or servant, from his mother’s womb, implying a divine supervision of the prenatal conditions, which affected the general caliber and balance both of his mind and of his body. We think it not unreasonable to assume similarly in respect to King Saul; that his noble stature and physique may have been the result of divine foreordination. However, this divine foreordination and interposition did not affect the free agency of either of these men, of the same name and the same tribe and born more than a thousand years apart. With the conditions favorable in both cases, the free will, free agency
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was untrammeled; as, for instance, King Saul, later in life, chose an evil way and was not hindered by the Lord from taking it; while Saul of Tarsus, when shown the right way, manifested his loyalty of heart most remarkably. The latter states, however, that notwithstanding the blessing conferred upon him from his mother’s womb and the honor that later came to him as an Apostle, he might still, by rejecting the Lord, become a castaway as respects a share in the coming Kingdom.
Another suggestion that may appeal to all the Lord’s people is that, while known unto the Lord are all his works from the foundation of the world, these are not known to us, and hence all of us should reverence the Lord and recognize his supervision in the affairs of his consecrated people; specially should they be on the lookout for divine providences and be prompt to follow them. A constant temptation is to view matters from the worldly standpoint and to conclude that our destiny is entirely in our own hands and to forget divine providence in our affairs. Every day this lesson should become more deeply impressed upon us. With each year of Christian experience we should learn to look into the facts and circumstances of life from the standpoint of faith, seeking to note the will of the Lord concerning us in things small as well as great. True, the Lord is not now selecting from amongst his saints a king for Israel, but he is making selections for the Body of the Great King, the Messiah, whose Head is the Lord Jesus Christ and whose members are the „more than conquerors” of this Gospel Age.
„LITTLE IN THINE OWN EYES”
Although Saul was tall and athletic, a wonderful man in his way, he was humble withal, as the Lord testified: „Thou wast little in thine own sight.” (1 Sam. 15:17.) This is another characteristic which belongs to those whom the Lord is now choosing to be kings and priests unto God under their Lord in the Millennium. They must really be taller than their fellows in respect to character as New Creatures, even if not according to the flesh; but they must be humble, „little in their own sight.” They must realize that they are not worthy of such honor, that it is only of God’s grace, and that the honor thus conferred upon them is not merely for themselves, but that they may be used of the Lord in connection with the blessing which he intends to confer upon humanity in and through the Kingdom of his dear Son.
Respecting Saul’s homeward journey we read: „And it was so that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.” (1 Sam. 10:9,10.) Verse 6 declares that he „was turned into another man.” Forthwith he joined himself to one of the schools of the prophets, which Samuel had established, through which the better education of Israel might be accomplished, especially with respect to religious truths and influences. We may be in doubt as to just what is meant by this statement of Saul’s change, but we can have no doubt that it would not signify that God’s holy Spirit came upon him as it came upon the Church at Pentecost and as it is with all of the consecrated from that time to the present; because this Pentecostal blessing is a seal of sonship and grants an enlightenment of the mind respecting the deep things of God’s Word and plan, such as was not granted to any previous to our Lord’s anointing with the Spirit. Respecting this Pentecostal sealing we are informed that the holy Spirit was not yet given, even to the disciples, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Not until Jesus’ glorification was the holy Spirit sent forth, because the penalty for sin being upon the race none could be fully accepted of God to the begetting of the holy Spirit to the heavenly nature until after the ransom price for sinners had been paid by our Lord’s sacrifice.
The Spirit of God upon Saul was more physical in its manifestation, controlling his words and actions rather than enlightening his mind in respect to the deep things of God. This was true of all the prophets who spake and wrote as they were moved by the holy Spirit, but who did not understand in full degree the things which they uttered.—1 Pet. 1:10; 2 Pet. 1:21.
Saul’s experience gave him practical demonstration of a divine power outside of himself, and thus tended to fix his mind upon the more sober things of life and God’s relationship to these. The result was that, returning to his duties as a farmer, he was thereafter a changed man, or had a new heart, a new purpose. The experiences through which he had passed led his mind out into new channels, new ambitions. The sports of life in which he had previously spent considerable time were unworthy of his attention now, because he had been lifted to a higher plane and had his mind full of conjectures and resolutions respecting the Kingdom; wondering, perhaps, how the Lord would bring it to pass that one so obscure as himself should come to a place of such political prominence in the nation.
Similarly we may suggest that those who believe God’s message and accept the anointing of the holy Spirit, typified by the oil poured upon Saul, also find new aims, new impulses, new hopes, new desires, and are also disposed to join themselves to a school of the prophets, to associate with those who are studying the divine Word and will. And similarly these in all of life’s affairs are changed men. Yet not similarly either, because the change to these is much greater and of a different kind, as we have already suggested. The Scriptures explain to us that the Lord’s people, now being selected for joint-heirship in his Millennial Kingdom, are changed in a most remarkable manner. All things become new to them, and things which they once loved now they hate, and things which once they hated now they love. The ambitions of these are too high to permit of waste of time and energy in the follies of life, which engage the attention of the worldly. The thoughts of the Kingdom fill their hearts and they study to make their calling and their election sure, requiring their time and attention to such a degree that previous pleasures are dead and unsatisfactory in comparison.
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GOD’S CHOICE OF SAUL INDICATED
When we read that Samuel called all the people together at Mizpeh, we should understand that it signifies that according to their national organization all the people were represented, not only as twelve tribes, but by persons representing the different tribes proportionate to the number of persons in the tribe. The proper persons to represent the tribes, we are informed, were chosen by lot; but no matter how, all the tribes were represented, and not all the people were expected to go to Mizpeh.
At the proper time the prophet Samuel stood forth and explained to the people afresh, that they had not done wisely in appealing for a king instead of continuing the Lord’s arrangement, but that the Lord was willing to give them an experience along the line which they had preferred, and that they were now come together to ascertain from the Lord who of the hosts of Israel should occupy the important position of king. Accordingly they first inquired of the Lord respecting the tribe in which was the person of his choice. The testing of the twelve rods, representing the twelve tribes, gave the answer that the expected one should be from the tribe of
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Benjamin. Next the testing as to the different families of the chosen tribe, and next as to which member of the chosen family, the choice falling upon Saul, the son of Kish, as Samuel already knew it would, and as Saul also knew because of Samuel’s words and the anointing oil. Thus the Lord dealt with the minds of the people to show them his choice and to teach them to look for divine direction in their various interests.
There is a lesson here for the Lord’s people in respect to the choosing of elders and deacons in the various ecclesias. Each of the consecrated should recognize that in doing his part in the election he should merely act as the Lord’s agent and that the Lord’s will should be done fully, completely. Personal preference should be ignored, wire-pulling and attempting to influence the minds of those who would vote should be merely along Scriptural lines in respect to character, and nothing should be done for strife or vain-glory, but all to the glory of God. Earthly relationships should have no influence in this question, as his people should speak as the oracles of God, recognizing that the matter is in their hands to be decided according to the directions of the holy Word and Spirit.
The record shows that when the announcement was made that Saul, the son of Kish, was to be the king, there was a general search and none knew his whereabouts. Inquiry of the Lord revealed the fact that he was hidden amongst the stuff, the baggage of these tribes. The modesty of Saul is commendable. He knew that he would be the choice on this occasion, for the Lord had indicated this by his anointing, but he modestly withdrew. As much modesty of heart, even though differently expressed, should be found amongst all the Lord’s dear people, specially amongst those who are chosen to serve the Lord’s flock in any capacity. The man should be hiding himself rather than aspiring to the position of service, however much he may appreciate the honor of being a servant of the Lord and of his flock.
Saul’s modesty is further evidenced by the fact that after being chosen he did not assume a dictatorial spirit and authority, but reasonably, properly went to his own farm to attend to its interest until such time as the Lord would indicate some forward movement on his part—until the Lord would bless him with the kingdom. And it is so with us; we are to do as the Apostle tells us: „Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called,” not necessarily forever, but until such time as the Lord’s providence should open the door and call him forth to service for the Lord and his people. If the matter is of the Lord at all, he will give the opportunity and the wisdom to use it properly. If it is not of the Lord, the service would better never be entered upon in any degree.
„WHOSE HEARTS GOD HAD TOUCHED”
Verse 26 tells us that a band of men accompanied Saul to his home—men whose hearts God had touched. And on the other hand the following verse tells us that there were other „sons of Belial,” who despised him, brought him no present, but said: „How shall this man save us?” Apparently the latter class were more numerous than the band who accompanied Saul. The whole account reminds us of our Lord after his anointing, when a band of the people were drawn to him, „Those whose hearts God had touched.” These became his disciples and followers, and the Apostle tells us that the number of them was about five hundred. There were certain sons of Belial who withstood Jesus, of whom the prophet tells us saying, „We hid, as it were, our faces from him; there was no beauty that we should desire him.” They said in effect, „How can this man save us?” There was nothing desirable in him in their estimation.
The same thing is true of the Lord’s people and cause ever since, and particularly true of those who occupy any place of prominence in his service. Some approve God’s dealings, recognizing his providences, and act in harmony with their faith. These are the ones whose hearts God has touched. God’s directings and touchings in the present time are mainly through the truth, „Thy Word is truth;” „Sanctify them through thy truth.” The sanctified are looking for the Lord’s leadings, and they are assisted in discerning them. On the other hand, as there were in Saul’s day and in our Lord’s time, so there have been since, sons of Belial, contentious, unwilling to be guided by the Lord’s providences and the words of his prophet. These sons of strife are not always dissolute either; as, for instance, in our Lord’s time they included scribes, Pharisees and doctors of the Law, who were moved, we are told, with envy and jealousy; those Satanic qualities which trouble the entire human family so much. The lesson to us is that we should never forget the Lord in our personal affairs, and specially in the affairs of his Kingdom. And the recognition of this should make us very careful respecting every step we take „Lest haply we be found even to fight against God.”—Acts 5:39.
PROMPT TO USE OPPORTUNITIES
In the Lord’s providence an opportunity came to Saul, and his promptness in seizing it endeared him to the hearts of the majority of the people. An enemy, the Moabites, made an attack upon the city of Jabesh, overpowering it. They then sent a message to the people offering to spare their lives, but on condition that their eyes should be put out. Saul promptly sent a message to all of the tribes to come to the help of their brethren, and with the recruits thus gathered drove off the enemy and delivered the people. May we not draw an illustration from this also as respects those whom the Lord anointed with the holy Spirit, with a view to their becoming ultimately joint-heirs with Jesus in the Kingdom. After being anointed of the Spirit we should expect some opportunity for divine service, and should be on the lookout for the same, even while, as the Apostle urges, we abide in the same calling wherein we were called. We also know of an enemy who has blinded some of the Lord’s people and who is threatening others with blindness. The circumstance should become to us a call, and we should go forth in the name and the strength of the Lord, and with all the assistance we can command in harmony with his arrangement for the delivering of our brethren from the power of the blinding forces. Whoever sees such an opportunity and fails to avail himself of it, gives evidence that he is not in a proper condition of heart for one of the royal priesthood; he needs more love for God and for his people.
APPLYING OUR GOLDEN TEXT
After Saul had been indicated as the king the prophet „Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord”—probably in the ark. The book probably set forth the rights and prerogatives of the king and the rights and duties of the people with a view to having each recognize the responsibility. Nevertheless, this was merely a statement of how matters should be; and, as a matter of fact, we find that neither Saul’s kingdom nor any other kingdom was free from imperfection. God, however, in his book, the Bible, has set before us the laws of his kingdom, the laws which will be in force when the Millennial Kingdom shall be established and
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which, when rightly enforced, will bless all the families of the earth, instructing and uplifting them.
Our Golden Text is in harmony with this thought, declaring that „he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” This is the meaning of the Lord’s careful selection and instruction, and disciplining and judging and proving his people whom he is now calling to a position in the Millennial Kingdom. They must judge justly and they must rule in the fear of the Lord, and none will be selected or elected who are of a different disposition. The Lord makes this clear when he tells us through the Apostle that all of these who will have a share in the Kingdom must be copies of God’s dear Son.—Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:13.
However, while justice will be the rule of the Kingdom it is not the rule of those who are under instruction and preparation for the Kingdom. Justice is not the Lord’s rule for his people in the present time when they themselves are weak and imperfect and when their judgment of others would necessarily be imperfect also. He therefore tells us to „Judge no man before the time.” The time will come when we shall judge the world (1 Cor. 6:2), but by that time we shall be qualified by our glorious First Resurrection change, which will make us like our dear Redeemer and Lord. On
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the other hand, we must remember that the force of this Scripture is that we must do no judging in the present time; instead of seeking to execute judgment upon others we may strive to exercise it upon ourselves; but toward others we must exercise love, sympathy, compassion. This is one of the great lessons to be learned and whoever fails to learn it will fail to get into the Kingdom. Whoever does learn this lesson may understand that in proportion as he himself is forgiving in that measure shall he be forgiven, for, „If ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses,” „Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” As we prove every matter of doctrine by the touchstone of the ransom, so let us learn to prove every word and act and thought by the touchstone of love. Whatsoever is not of love is sin; will prove injurious to ourselves and possibly to others.
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THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE
—I SAM. 12:1-25—JULY 19—
Golden Text:—”Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.”
AFTER Saul had been duly anointed, accepted and installed in office came the time for his coronation. This is in full line with the custom of the present time. The present king of England was not crowned for nearly a year after he had assumed his office. The interim had given time for the development of an appreciation for their king on the part of the people by reason of his prompt action and good success in dealing with the situation at Jabesh, referred to in our last lesson. The people rejoiced much more in the coronation of their king than they would have done immediately after his choice under divine direction. If we carry out this thought and its application to the Christ, the lesson would be that the influence of the Church in the present time under the divine anointing and before the coronation, after the first recognition, will have a helpful influence upon the world. Mankind will then discover that the Adversary’s blinding influences upon them would have been still greater, still more pernicious, had it not been for the intervention of the Royal Priesthood, who laid down their lives in the service of the truth under the guidance of their Head.
Concerning the attitude of the world toward the new Kingdom of Messiah when established, we remember the declaration of the Scriptures, „Many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” „The desire of all nations shall come.” (Micah 4:2; Hag. 2:7.) All nations have been desiring the very blessing that God has in store for them during the Millennium; but the enemies of truth and righteousness have deceived them, putting light for darkness and darkness for light. When once they see clearly out of obscurity, the effects will be magical. Eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Immanuel.
Samuel chose the occasion of Saul’s coronation for a public rendering up of his own accounts. As God’s servant, he had occupied the place of a Chief Justice to the nation, but the choice of a king relieved the prophet of political influence and responsibility. He called upon them as a whole people to declare whether or not he had ever taken from them aught that could be construed as a bribe, aught that in any sense of the word could be said to influence his judgment or decision of their matters. With one voice, the people declared that he had been faithful; and he in turn called upon the king and upon the Almighty Sovereign to witness this declaration of the people as a safeguard against anything that could ever be said against him in the future.
The statesmanship of Moses and Samuel stand out upon the pages of history as noble examples of courage and faithfulness to God and to the people. While it is true that few if any of the saints of God of this Gospel Age have occupied or are occupying positions of special political influence, nevertheless, the principle here set forth should be appreciated by all of God’s saints under all conditions. Similar principles apply in the home, in the family. Every father ought to be able to make a similar appeal to his family as respects his nobility of purpose and honorableness in dealing with them. They should be able to witness that he had not been self-seeking in any sense of the word; that he had been faithful to his responsibility as a husband and as a father, seeking to use wisely the opportunities and responsibilities which were his by divine arrangement, caring for those under his charge, spending his life in considerable degree in their interest and certainly never against their interests. Every mother, every son, every daughter, in the family ought similarly to be able to call the fellow-members of the family to witness their faithfulness, their loyalty. The person who would be loyal in the family would be loyal to his nation, which is merely a larger family. Although Samuel had sons, he had not sought to put them forward for political preferment. His faithfulness to the interests of Israel meant primarily his faithfulness to God. So it is always with God’s people. They are not to trust in their own judgment merely in serving their family. They are to seek the wisdom from above; and this implies prayer and the study of the teachings of the Scriptures.
A SEVERE ARRAIGNMENT
In verses 6-12, the prophet recounted God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel, and their ingratitude in return. He reminded them that Moses and Aaron, those noble characters
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who had served them so faithfully, were of divine appointment; and that their success was because of their faithfulness to the Lord. He said, „Now, therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and to your fathers.” He rehearsed to them their sins of idolatry, forgetfulness of the Lord’s favor, and reminded them that chastisements were sent upon them not in anger, but in love, because the Lord desired to have them as his people, and because the chastisements were necessary for their good. He mentioned the names of a number of the prominent judges under whom the Lord had blessed them in recovering them from the power of their enemies. This is in full accord with the subsequent statements of the Lord on this subject. Through Isaiah the prophet, the Lord reminds the people that he used these enemies as „The rod of his anger” (Isa. 10:5); and through the Psalmist he reminds them of how he had cleansed them from their defilements and brought them back to himself, saying, „Moab is my washpot.” (Psa. 108:9.) Thus for several centuries Israel had been under divine supervision, blessed according to the Covenant which God had made with them through Moses, when between the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim he caused to be pronounced upon them the blessing that would be theirs if they would be faithful to him, and the evil that would befall them if they forsook the Lord—evil that would be not only retributive but also purgative, intended to retrieve them from their evil tendencies.
The Israelites had not been rightly appreciative of the favor they enjoyed, rather they forgot, ignored the Lord in their affairs; and taking worldly wisdom on the subject, they concluded that their disasters had not been punishments from the Lord and blessings in disguise, but merely the result of their failure to be organized as a kingdom under an earthly head. This, Samuel related to them, saying, „When ye saw that Nahash, the king of the children of Ammon, came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us; when the Lord your God was your King.”
Fallen human nature is considerably the same at all times and in all places; and so we find that amongst those who have named the name of the Lord during this Gospel Age, there have been similar tendencies to overlook the Lord as the great Head of the Church, the great protector of its interests, the great Governor of its affairs. Two centuries of the Gospel Age had not passed when the worldly spirit called out for more organization than the Lord had established through Jesus and the apostles. First it was the partizan spirit, whereby the people in various parts sought headship for their bishops, contrary to the arrangement which the Lord had made for them. This was the very spirit which the Apostle had reproved, saying, While ye say, I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, and I of Peter, are ye not carnal? Is not this sectarian spirit an evidence that you are not in the proper relationship to the Lord? Paul did not die for you; neither did Peter; neither did Apollos. (1 Cor. 1:11-13.) Your Redeemer is the only Head which should be recognized in this particular way. Though Paul and Apollos and Peter, and all of the Lord’s faithful ones may be recognized and appreciated for their work’s sake, it must be remembered that they are nothing more than the Lord’s mouth-pieces and representatives, and that he alone is to be considered the Head of the Church. Such are to be appreciated only as they are faithful and loyal to him. Repeatedly during the last thirty years we have reminded the Lord’s faithful of the
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experience of John on the Isle of Patmos. When receiving revelation of divine things, he fell down before the angel that showed him these things, to worship him. The Apostle John in a measure represented the faithful of the Lord’s people in the end of this age. The more wonderful things of the divine plan are being revealed; and some might be in danger of worshiping the angel through whom the enlightenment was sent. It is well that all should remember the lesson given in that connection, in which the angel of the Lord rebuked anything that would be in the nature of personal idolatry, saying, „See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, … worship God.”—Rev. 19:10.
This same spirit of forsaking God as the real ruler and protector of all the interests of his people was further emphasized in the third century, when the rivalry of the bishops became pronounced, ultimately leading to the recognition of one of these as Primate or Pope. The Lord did not interfere to hinder the establishment of the papal views in the Church, even as he did not interfere to hinder natural Israel from choosing a king. Although they had chosen unwisely and contrary to divine instruction, the Lord would still be gracious to such as would seek to keep his way even under the new arrangement. He would be faithful, even though his people were not faithful. He would still do them all the good possible, but they would find that those conditions which they had made for themselves were injurious to their better interests, and thus might ultimately learn a lesson as respects the wisdom of God and its superiority to the wisdom and desires of their own fallen judgment.
In other words, as the Israelites were far better under such leaders as the Lord raised up from time to time—Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah and Samuel—he would, nevertheless, bless them as much as would be possible according to their course under the new arrangement which they desired. He would overrule the further experiences they would have under their kings, so that they might from these learn a great lesson in respect to the wisdom of God. So, too, in Spiritual Israel, the Lord has not forsaken Israelites indeed, even in the midst of spiritual Babylon; but as related in the parable which foretold present conditions, the Lord said, Let both wheat and tares grow together until the harvest; in the time of harvest shall be the separating; so now the Lord, still mindful of his true saints in Babylon, sends forth the call, „Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4.) Those desirous of being under the Lord’s direction have constituted a little flock, for whose shepherding and care the Lord himself has always been responsible, sending assistance and messages from time to time through undershepherds who were never recognized by the great systems, but merely by those who had an ear to hear and the right condition of heart to appreciate the message of truth and grace.
GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM NOT QUENCHED
From verses 13-18, the Prophet reviews the present situation of the people. They had rejected the Lord from being their King, but he had not rejected them and would not do so. They had not chosen the best, but the Lord did not cross them in this matter. He, therefore, had anointed their king as his representative, and their future blessings would depend now upon how truly they and their king would remain in accord with the Lord. Under the new arrangement, the king of their choice represented them, and a sin on his part, a deflection from obedience to the Lord would mean a national sin, for which the people as well as the king would be punishable; whereas, before, under the judges whom the Lord had raised up, if the judge was faulty, he was the Lord’s agent and was punished as such; and, if the people
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were faulty, the punishment was theirs. Thus they had run a great risk in choosing a representative, in placing power in his hands, because the weakness and selfishness of humanity is such that the one thus exalted would be the more liable to transgress the divine statutes. In harmony with this, note how the sin of David was esteemed a national sin and brought a national penalty.—1 Chron. 21:12-27.
In summing up by the Lord’s direction, Samuel gave a sign to corroborate his declaration that their calling for a king was a rejection of the Lord as their king, and a sin on the part of the people. There should be a thunderstorm in the midst of their harvest-time, an occurrence said to be very rare in southern Palestine. Coming promptly as a fulfilment of Samuel’s prediction, it appealed to the people, convincing them for the first time that their course was a reprehensible one and a sin of gross ingratitude. They said to Samuel, „Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not; for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.”
THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE
Of all crimes, ingratitude appears to be one of the most inexcusable, and has so been esteemed amongst all people and at all times. Lycurgus, the great law-giver and statesman of Greece, wrote, „I make no law, perhaps, punishing ingratitude; I leave that for the gods to punish.” Amongst the Athenians, if a slave, being freed, was afterward convicted of ingratitude toward his liberator, he was sent back again into slavery. Someone has written, „Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul; and the heart of man knoweth none more fragrant.” Shakespeare wrote:
„This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stabbed,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor’s arms,
Quite vanquished him; then burst his mighty heart.”
Gratitude not only is a fragrant flower, but is indigenous to the soul of every true and noble heart. Accepting this standard, we are bound to conclude that comparatively few of the human family are noble in this respect. Even amongst the Lord’s people the grateful seem to be comparatively few in number. This agrees well with the Apostle’s statement that amongst the called are „not many noble”—chiefly the mean things of this world.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29.) But this describes what we were when we were called. Who shall say that amongst those who have accepted the divine call and been made partakers of the divine favors granted to all the sons of God, begotten of the Spirit—who shall say that these will remain ungrateful? Who shall say that the grace of God would not have a transforming influence on their hearts, so that however ungrateful they might be by nature, they would be so changed by grace that gratitude would be one of the chief elements of their disposition?
We believe that this is true; and that the Lord’s people may in considerable degree measure their spiritual growth and development in this manner. If they find in themselves a spirit of murmuring and complaining against the Lord, it is a sure sign that they are ungrateful; for we know that he is faithful, and faith tells us that it is surely true that all the experiences of life permitted to come to us are working for our good. (Rom. 8:28.) Whoever has this faith can give thanks to the Lord and can rejoice even through his trial and sorrow. And if we have gratitude to God for his blessings and favors, if we cultivate the true nobility of heart which is impulsed by love and appreciation of divine care, it will make us appreciative of all the affairs of life and of all those with whom we have contact. We shall appreciate their good qualities, even if we cannot endorse all of their course; and whoever may do us kindness in the least degree must have our gratitude, our appreciation. Yea, with the Christian the standard must be still higher than this; for this should be the world’s standard; as our Lord expressed it, „For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.” (Luke 6:32.) The standard for the Lord’s people is still higher than that of gratitude, though it must include this. Our standard is benevolence, a forgiveness of those who transgress against us, and who say all manner of evil against us falsely. Such as attain this degree of character-likeness to their Lord receive an extra blessing from him in proportion, and are bidden to rejoice and be exceeding glad, and to know that they will have a reward in heaven.
Gratitude is therefore a keeping power in our hearts, there to repel the suggestions of the evil one, and to stop our imperfect fleshly mind if it attempts to assert itself. Gratitude is closely akin to love; and where they dwell together in the heart, there is little room for the Adversary to get in his work. On the contrary, ingratitude signifies a blindness of the mind in respect to justice. It speaks a low standard of character, in which the fruits of the Spirit of the Lord have not been well developed. Surely in any heart in which the love of God has been „shed abroad,” ingratitude to him or anybody would be an impossibility. But where ingratitude gains a foothold, it admits its relatives—selfishness, pride, anger, malice, hatred, strife, evil surmisings, slander, backbitings and other qualities which the Apostle enumerates as „works of the flesh and the devil.” The Lord’s consecrated people should daily search their hearts for any manifestations of selfishness or ingratitude, and should look well to the growing development therein of love and thankfulness and appreciation toward the Giver of all good, toward the brethren of the Household of Faith, yea, toward all with whom we have to do.
„FORBID, THAT I SHOULD SIN AGAINST THE LORD”
After assuring the Israelites that they need not fear the Lord, that he is gracious, and that if they should follow him
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faithfully under a king or otherwise, he would surely never forsake them, the prophet proceeds to answer their query respecting his praying for them. He said, „As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” What a sublime character is thus brought to our view! It is the more remarkable when we note that Samuel did not belong to the Spirit dispensation; that he therefore had not all the advantages which we, the Lord’s people of this Gospel Age since Pentecost, enjoy, and yet, alas! how few of the Spirit-begotten ones manifest this spirit, this same degree of likeness to the Lord’s character and Spirit! In how many would the natural mind rise up and say, You have a king now, I have foretold you that it was a sin of ingratitude against the Almighty and against me, now go your way and see if what I have told you does not come true, and that you will be worse off.
On the contrary, notice the prophet’s words. They show that he felt that he had a duty toward the people of Israel as his brethren, whether they felt similarly toward him or not. Although they had rejected him after his faithful service of many years, he assured them that he would pray for them and consider their very highest welfare, and that he would consider the matter from the very best standpoint, viz.: that it was a part of his duty, if he would be in harmony with the Lord, and that he could do nothing less than pray for them and seek their every good. How is it with those who slight us? Has the new spirit, the new mind of
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Christ, gained sufficiency of foothold for us to say as Samuel did, „God forbid that I should sin against the Lord and cease to pray for you.” Our Master’s words instruct us even upon this, and say, „Love your enemies, … pray for them which despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44,45.) Oh, yes! Those whose hearts are loving to their enemies, and loving to the Household of Faith, and above all, loving to the Lord, these would indeed be exceedingly sensitive if their hearts got into any attitude in which they would not be seeking the welfare of others, and praying for them. In such hearts there would be no room for anger, bitterness, strife, envying. In such hearts the love of God is shed abroad as represented by the holy anointing oil, the unction from the Holy One, which lubricates all of the sensibilities, smoothing not only the countenance, but also the tongue and the heart; for „out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and bitter water cannot come from a pure fountain.—Luke 6:45; James 3:11.
„THE LORD HATH DONE GREAT THINGS FOR US”
After assuring them of his prayers on their behalf, Samuel told that he would continue to instruct them in the good and right way, and that he would do all of his duty toward them so far as their attitude of heart would permit. Then he urges the words of our Golden Text, „Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.” It is well that we note the distinction between the outward service and that of the heart, the mind, the affections. Outward service that does not spring from the heart will soon wither away, whether under adversity or prosperity. Hence the Lord always appeals to our hearts, „Give me thine heart.” (Prov. 23:26.) So long as our heart is loyal to the Lord, it will control all of the products of life, because it will lead us to seek to know the Lord’s will in everything. This will take us to the Lord in prayer. It will take us to the Word for instruction, and it will assist us in understanding the Word, giving us more and more the spirit of a sound mind.
The prophet gives us a lesson in the statement, „Consider how great things he hath done for you.” Oh, yes! The difficulty generally is that consideration of these favors of God are crowded out of our hearts by other considerations, often selfish ones. The Israelites had passed through several centuries of divine guidance under the judges, and we have comparatively little knowledge of their progress during that time, the history of that period being much less ample than that which followed their organization as a kingdom; but we may be sure, nevertheless, that their spiritual interests were really forwarded more under the judges than under the kings. Centralization of government does not always mean greater blessing and progress. It usually means less in individuality and personal progress. A similar condition of things is noticed in the history of the Church. We have no history whatever of that period which followed the days of the apostles for more than a century, for the same reason that we have no history regarding the real Church, which is unrecognized of men. „The world knoweth us not.” That the rule of the judges was superior to that of the kings is evident from the Lord’s promise to Israel, „I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning.” (Isa. 1:26.) The lawgivers as at the first will be the greater than Moses—the Christ, Head and Body. The judges as at the beginning will be the Ancient Worthies, in full authority as the prophets or teachers and judges amongst men, under the supervision of Immanuel’s heavenly Kingdom.
Samuel appealed to fleshly Israel to remember the great things that God had done for them, as a ground for thankfulness and faithfulness—their delivery from Egypt, their guidance through the wilderness and their entrance into the land of Israel; but if we apply these words to Spiritual Israel, with what greater force do they come to us! The Lord has delivered us from Egyptian bondage, the bondage of sin and death. He has led us out of darkness into his marvelous light. He not only lifted our feet from the horrible pit and the miry clay, but he placed them upon the Rock, Christ Jesus; yea, more! he has put a new song into our mouths, even the loving kindness of our God. He not only forgave our sins, but accepted us in Jesus, and invited us to joint-heirship with Christ. He not only gave us exceeding great and precious promises to cheer our hearts in the wilderness journey, but has in reservation for us things exceeding great and precious, of which he has given us a glimpse or foretaste through the holy Spirit, an earnest of our inheritance.
Who that has gratitude of heart to the Lord for these blessings, who that is appreciative and thankful, would not be indeed seeking to serve the Lord in truth with all his heart! Who that is of this attitude of mind would fail to remember the Lord’s Word and to seek divine assistance in complying with its requirements, remembering the statement, „If ye love me, keep my commandments.” To such daily the commandments of the Lord amplify, enlarge. Daily he sees new forces, new meanings in these commandments. If he be thankful, if he be appreciative of the Lord’s providence toward him in the past, the depths of meaning to God’s commands would not be grievous to him; but he will still rejoice to go on day by day in sympathy with our Lord’s words, „I delight to do thy will, O my God; Thy law is written in my heart.” So it will be with us. As the Apostle says, We shall do his commandments, and they will not be grievous unto us, and this will be the evidence to us that we love God and that we are loved of him, and being sealed, impressed more and more by his Spirit, the spirit of truth.—1 John 5:2,3.
„YE SHALL BE CONSUMED”
Of course there is an alternative. Those who do not enter into the Lord’s service of a truth, with all their heart, those who do not continually and repeatedly consider how great things God has done for them, those who lack appreciation of his kindness and are resentful of his arrangement and leading, will be esteemed of him as wicked and as unfit for the glorious things which he has in reservation for the faithful. The Lord has made provision for the forgiveness of all of our inherited imperfections and weaknesses, and he has also made provision for our growth in grace and knowledge and love. While he is willing to cover our blemishes from his sight through the merit of the precious blood, he insists that we under that covenant shall develop the character which he has delineated and exemplified, the character of which love is the essence, and he rejects those who refuse to come to this standard of perfect love, or refuse all the provisions of divine grace; for it is not the Father’s proposition to associate with his Son in glory any except those who shall be copies of his character. This he has predestinated.—Rom. 8:29.
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THE LONDON, ENG., CONVENTION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
The Convention just closed has been one of the most helpful seasons of refreshing we have been permitted to enjoy. From the first meeting to the last there was a deep and calm feeling of sweet communion, and the consciousness that we were to meet with the Lord as we met with each other; and already there are many evidences that the windows of heaven have been opened and the abundant blessings received. Besides the quickening of those who have long been consecrated to the Lord, there has been in the hearts of several who attended a decision to consecration, and we rejoice in having new brothers and sisters walking with us in the Narrow Way. The Psalmist said, „O taste and see that the Lord is good,” but here we have had such abundance out of the storehouse of heavenly grace, that we have been feasting at the Divinely provided table, and surely our Lord has been fulfilling Luke 12:37. We thought that your recent visit to the various centers might cause a diminution as to the attendance, but though we know
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some were prevented through local activities the Convention came up to the general average. Indeed, owing to growth of interest in London there was a rather better average attendance than last year—so, at least, it seemed to us. About 650 were in attendance, though some meetings had many more than that number.
The Convention was opened by a word of welcome from Brother Hemery, representing the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. He expressed the hope that all would look out for one of the best times we could expect to have; that each should prepare his heart and mind to receive much from the Lord, and to be as ready to seek the good of each as he was to get good for himself. Brother F. W. Williamson also spoke briefly, carrying a message of love from yourself, and making us long for a renewal of the sweet fellowship we had with you so recently. Brothers Bull and Bilsbrough led us away into thoughts of the fulness of the Divine Plan—Brother Bull by a talk on the „Oneness” which is desired now and to which God is working, when all things shall be brought into subjection to Christ; Brother Bilsbrough by reminding us of the „Glory-Filled Earth” soon to be. In the evening Brother Hemery spoke on „Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord,” and surely the Lord helped us to see the need of the work yet to be done in each heart. Sunday was a happy day, spent in Testimony and Praise and meditation upon the Word. Brother Edgar gave a helpful address on „Humility,” and in the evening Brother Williamson spoke to a crowded house on „Which is the True Gospel.” On Monday there was an immersion service in a fine chapel kindly lent to us for the occasion. We rejoiced with 72 brothers and sisters who symbolized their consecration to the Lord, in this manner testifying to their death and resurrection as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. There were many wet eyes in the meeting, though the tears were mostly those which came from joy rather than sorrow; though we know tears were shed by some because they had not then given themselves to the Lord and could not share in the immersion. How gladly we would wipe these tears away by helping the weepers into the Kingdom, and into the joy of the Lord!
After the baptismal service we had a long afternoon and evening; more testimonies were given. That was a short but particularly blessed part of the day, for we were just a large family talking of the common love for our Head. Profitable and helpful talks by Brother Guard and again by Brother Williamson brought the afternoon to a close. In the evening Brother Hemery talked on our present privilege of „Fellowship with God”—our fellowship is (now) with the Father and with the Son. We parted with a love-feast of hand-shaking, bidding one another „good-bye” and wishing each other a real „fare-well,” of which, indeed, we are confident, since our Father’s hand provides for us! and since we are under his special care. Some present had never before attended such meetings, and the loving interest which the brethren showed in each other’s welfare, and the fulness of experience in the Lord which so many had, were sources of surprise; but these soon proved to be of the best helps of the Convention.
We were very glad to have dear Brother F. W. Williamson and Sister Williamson with us, and they go on their visit to other friends with many prayers that they may be used of the Lord and that they may be fitted in all ways for the Master’s use.
This year we had only three days of Convention, but many of the visiting friends have spent some days in getting a closer acquaintance with the London brethren, and such times have been spent in helping each other to a closer walk with God. All the evidences seem to show that there is a great work for the Lord waiting to be done; many are asking after the Truth, and of this „Way.” A Christian brother unknown by sight to us, writes asking how he and others with him can cooperate in the work of Harvest, for they are interested in this clearer knowledge of the Christian’s hope. Since the beginning of May we have sent out from here over 700,000 of the 1908 Volunteer matter and already many inquiries are coming in. Surely there are thousands of hearts waiting for the cheer of the only „hopeful” message. Continue to pray for us, dear brother, as we pray for you, that we may be faithful to our calling and to our opportunities of service.
With loving remembrances and good wishes, I am, dear brother, yours affectionately, in the Lord,
* * *
As already expressed, we have great expectations respecting the harvest-work in Great Britain. The fact that the Colporteur work there is less successful than we had hoped must not deter us. We must look for other doors also. We rejoice to learn that the Volunteer Tract distribution progresses so well and is yielding results. This should lead to increasing zeal in that department of service. The Society is prepared to supply all the tracts you can use—FREE and freight paid. Let us by word and example double the output.
We fancy that Sharp-shooting would do much good to all of the dear friends, as well as do much to spread the Truth. „Sharp-shooting” is the circulating of DAWNS and booklets amongst your friends and neighbors, accompanying the introduction with a word of testimony respecting their effect upon your own head, heart and daily living. The effect will be beneficial to yourself as well as to your friends.—EDITOR.
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„SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD”
The Feast was spread at Simon’s house, and as they sat at meat, A woman came and silent stood within the open door—Close pressed against her throbbing heart an alabaster box Of purest spikenard, costly, rare, she held. With modest fear, She dreaded to attract the curious gaze of those within, And yet her well-beloved Friend was there, her Master, Lord. With wondrous intuition she divined that this might be Her last, her only opportunity to show her love; She thought of all that he had done for her, the holy hours She spent enraptured at his feet, unmindful of all else, If only she might hear those words of Truth, those words of Life. She thought of that dark hour when Lazarus lay within the tomb And how he turned her night to day, her weeping into joy. Her fair face flushed, with deepening gratitude her pure eyes shone. With swift, light step she crossed the crowded room. She bravely met Those questioning eyes (for Love will find its way through paths where lions Fear to tread); with trembling hands she broke the seal and poured The precious contents of the box upon her Saviour’s feet, And all the house was filled with fragrance wonderful and sweet. She could not speak, her heart’s devotion was too deep, her tears Fell softly, while she took her chiefest ornament, her long And silken hair and wiped his sacred feet,—when suddenly A rude voice broke the golden silence with, „What waste! this might Have sold for much, to feed the poor!” She lower bent her head—To her it seemed so mean a gift for love so great to make! Again a voice re-echoed through the room, her blessed Lord’s. (He half arose and gently laid his hand upon her hair)—And how it thrilled her fainting heart to hear him sweetly say, „Rebuke her not, for she hath wrought a good work, what she could; Aforehand, to anoint me for my burying she hath come, And this her deed of love throughout the ages shall be told!”
* * *
How oft since first I read the story of this saint of old, My own poor heart has burned with fervent, longing, deep desire, That I might thus have ministered unto my Lord and King—”The chiefest of ten thousand, altogether lovely One.” And now, to learn—Oh! precious thought, ’tis not too late, I still May pour Love’s priceless ointment on „the members” of his Feet! Dear Lord, I pray, Oh! help me break with sacrificial hand The seal of Self, and pour the pent-up odors of my heart Upon thy „Feet!” Oh! let me spend my days and nights in toil, That I, perchance, may save from needless wandering, and help To keep them in the narrow way that leads to light and life. Oh! let me lay within their trembling hands a rose of love, A lily’s pure and holy inspiration on their breast! Dear Master, let me kneel with them in dark Gethsemane; Oh! help me boldly stand and meekly bear the scoffs and jeers Of cruel, mocking tongues! Oh! may I count no cost, e’en life Itself, too great to serve, to bless, to comfort thy dear „Feet,” And when the last drop of my heart’s devotion has been shed, Oh! may I hear thy sweet voice say, ‚She hath done what shecould!” —G. W. Seibert.—April, 1908.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
I had in mind for some time to unburden to you some of my experience with some of our friends in the Nominal Churches in dispensing Tracts, TOWERS and DAWNS to them; that we often meet with the remarks that they cannot observe any changes in the general conditions, everything going on as usual. We say to them, we agree with you in this; but how about the worship to God, and walking in his precepts; the faith in general of Jesus Christ, who said, „When the Son of Man cometh will he find faith on the earth?” and we call their attention back to about twenty years or more, when in the Christian home we would hear the singing of hymns or reading a Psalm, or expounding the Gospel or the apostles’ letters; how the evening and the morning worship was regularly conducted, and how Saturday evening was the beginning of the rest day, to give thanks unto God for blessings received during the past week, and that this was a custom since Reformation times, to which books and periodicals attest. And further, a visit to the same homes now, and what do we observe in the majority of them? Is it not card playing, dancing, and beer drinking and other worldly affairs, of which the Christians in former years kept aloof?
To these existing conditions all older people agree with me, that a very great change has taken place, that the sowing time is past, and the harvest far advanced. The churches receive almost anyone for membership, with almost any kind of baggage. Recently a Baptist minister returned from a heathen land, where he had been doing missionary work for over twenty years, and, preaching one of his old-fashioned sermons to a flock of his believers, he was requested to remain with them and start a new church, to which he assented, with the remark, that he had observed since coming back that they were more in need of the Gospel than were the heathen.
Let us pray to the Lord to send more servants into the field, and give thanks for the Light we have received.
I will close my few remarks, as my letter may become too lengthy, although much more could be said in regard to these changes. Yours, W. H. GRUHL,—Wis.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I am sending herewith an order for WATCH TOWER and Diaglott for Mrs.__________, to whom I delivered a set of Studies in the Scriptures three weeks ago today. She has fairly devoured the first three volumes, and said to me last night on our way home from the meeting, „You cannot comprehend what those books have been to me, for I was utterly without faith of any kind, but now I have committed all to the Lord and am trusting him entirely and worry about nothing, for I possess nothing to worry about any more. All belongs to him.” She had never professed Christianity but attended Christian Science meetings, and thought that belief more reasonable than anything she had ever heard, as her husband had been healed by it. She says she wonders now how she could ever have thought there was anything in Christian Science.
My heart overflows with gratitude to our heavenly Father for having used me as his humble messenger to bring such joy into the life of this dear sister and I pray that I may prove faithful even unto death, that he may use me in like manner in the coming age to assist in bringing joy to the whole „groaning creation.”
Praying the Great Chief Reaper’s richest blessing to continue to rest upon you, and asking your prayers that I may prove faithful, I am, your humble sister in our Redeemer, S. L. G. CHAPMAN,—Maine.
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A CORRECTION:—Several earnest friends of the Truth, residing in or near Birmingham, Eng., have written us that they think we were misinformed respecting Bro. B. C. Hughes; that in their opinion he was a most exemplary Elder. We are glad to make note of their testimony in his favor. However, nothing in our report was intended unkindly; we have always thought of him as conscientious.—EDITOR.
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LETTERS COMMENDING THE „VOW”
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I am just in receipt of June 15th TOWER, and so far as read have been much edified by it. It is my pleasure to inform you promptly that the „Vow to the Lord” which you suggest, is very earnestly and readily made to him; in fact, it is but a renewal under different language of a vow very understandingly (on my part) made some years ago, and in which I have been very abundantly blessed. No doubt a fervent recalling and renewal will bring further blessing, and I am rejoiced at the opportunity of so doing and in a more open and public manner. I shall make a similar statement to our Waukesha and Milwaukee classes, to both of which I expect to minister the coming Sunday.
Surely the article was very timely, and may it, and the blessed vow, be but „stepping-stones” to all. We know they will prove only so to the „very elect.” The truth, and complete information as to how to serve it in detail, are always a „savor of life unto life, or death unto death.” Those who „stumble at the Word, being disobedient,” are „appointed thereunto,” and while we for a time may be in sorrow through such and other „manifold” trials, we remember that they are for the testing of our faith, which is of much more value than gold that perisheth, even though it be tried by fire, and which will „be found unto praise, and honor and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” So let us „endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
Since the topic is up, the occasion seems to be appropriate for a suggestion that I want to make, knowing you will accept it in the spirit of love in which it is made, and use it so far as wisdom indicates to be proper. The dear Colporteurs are going out in groups of mixed sexes and unmarried. Owing to inexperience, ardentness of spirit, inherent fleshly defects, and unfeigned brotherly love, it is easy for these—in fact, almost impossible for them not to overstep the bounds of prudence in apparent or surface fleshly relations—which the sound judgment of the world on this subject has established—while every thought and word and deed is pure. To the pure all this will be pure; but the world is not pure, and readily speaks and imputes evil. Therefore, the Church of God must avoid all appearance of evil, and do nothing, make no arrangements that seem to abet evil. The point is, cannot these groups or camps when arranged, be wholly male and wholly female; no groups of both sexes being sent to the same places?
A little incident occurred at Madison, Wis., at the time of your recent visit there which I believe will interest you.
Sister Hanson, of Kansas City, writing Sister Rutherford, who is summering here, makes statement as follows:
„I wrote my nephew, who was a student in Madison, about Brother Russell’s being there; he attended both services and thought them fine. He believes the Truth. He tells me that some of the students that were there, and had intended to jeer and make fun, said that if the Bible is true, that is the truth.”
Knowing the quality of the students at the large Universities, and recognizing that they would be more or less stirred up to mischief by the title of your discourse, I had rather anticipated that a united attempt would be made to interrupt your address. It seems that the Great One who is overruling our affairs, is able also on occasions like this to overrule for benefits, and I know that you as well as we, who already know of this instance, will be cheered and edified by the outcome.
I rejoice, dear brother, to attest again to you my full appreciation of your labor in the Lord, my fullest confidence and my earnest, warm and unfeigned brotherly love. I hope ere long to see you again face to face. Give all the Bible House household our warm love and greeting. Yours in him, W. E. PAGE,—Wis.
* * *
[IN REPLY:—The Society has similarly advised the dear Colporteurs, and at the risk of being misunderstood, has adhered to its rule of not making mixed assignments. However, we consider that our duty on this subject ceases there. Where the dear friends, for reasons of their own, work on each other’s assignment we do not feel it incumbent to object further, knowing well that their heart-desires are of the very best.]
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MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I am thankful for the privilege of informing you that the vow published in the last TOWER has been registered with our Father as my vow. It already has impressed me as being necessary to this evil hour, especially as we are convinced of the increasing necessity for „circumcision of the heart.”
The Lord has dealt graciously with me, and I do love him and want to please him in carrying out my consecration, of which I consider this vow now a part. I ask your prayers on my behalf.
May our Father continue his blessing upon you, dear brother, and upon us through your willing service. Praise to him. With much love, A. M. SAPHORE,—N.J.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
In accordance with your request, I drop you a line in reference to vow of June 15 TOWER.
I made the vow to the Lord, dear brother, then, and rejoice in the privilege, for it has been along these lines that I have had to keep a constant guard since I have come to a knowledge of the Truth—nearly seven years ago. In my petitions to the Lord, I appealed for strength constantly, and in due time I received the strength needed, which I consider a miracle.
Dear brother, you probably do not know how much good and how needful those articles in the TOWER are! But surely the Lord saw the need. May the dear Lord continue his favored blessings with you, and all associated with you in the harvest work.
Your brother in the dear Redeemer,
THE FOLLOWING ADVISE THAT THEY HAVE TAKEN THE VOW
R. H. Bricker, J. H. Blackmore, C. E. Reed, John G. Kuehn, S. J. Arnold, W. E. Page, Henry Hoskins, Sr., R. E. Streeter, Paul S. L. Johnson and wife, Sister H. O. Henderson, Dr. S. N. Wiley, Dr. W. D. Pelle, Ray Domerandwife, C. D. Welborne, Mrs. J. M. White, Emil H. Herrscher, F. Brown, Bernice Mc Naught, W. H. Spring, W. W. Blackandwife, J. F. Emmersonandwife, C. E. Myers, Mrs. E. M. Detwiler, Mrs. F. P. Van Amburgh, Mrs. A. M. Weber, Ed. H. Wilhelm, SamuelS. Jacobs, M. H. Myers, C. M. Utzler, Virgil C. Haviland, C. H. Dickinson, J. W. Watts, H. E. Whitenut, J. A. Seip, Ethel Halstead, J. O. Faulk, Wm. Lowry, Mrs. M. Mc Ginnis, B. F. Boyer, Springtown, Pa.; Mrs. C. C. Stone, Worcester, Mass.; L. M. De La Mater, Catskill, N.Y.; G. M. Hunt, Colorado Springs, Col.; Geo. W. Harner, Veedersburg, Ind.; J. F. White, Chelsea, Mass.; Brotherand Sister Merrow, Kittery, Me.; Granville Houchins, Huntington, W. Va.; W. E. Richards, Toledo, Ohio; Mrs. Carrie Beatty, Kansas City, Mo.; A. O. Ogston, Everett, Mass.; E. S. Mason, Bloomington, Ill.; H. P. Gleason, Hyde Park, Mass.; Viola E. Imhoff, Mrs. A. Hamilton, Brother Moran, Beth Wikof, Ella V. Dyer, J. A. Hodges, Brotherand Sister Woodley, C. E. Fellow, Lydia A. Mc Mier, John M. Lathwell, B. F. Payen, H. S. Blankenship, Roy G. Ratcliff, J. Marriot, Alex. M. Graham, Mrs. Alex. M. Graham, Carl F. Hammerle, D. V. Haymes, C. E. Frost, J. E. Starks.
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ANOTHER INTERESTING LETTER
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
It is now about five years since I came into the light of Present Truth, and the Lord has blessed me with the privilege of having the six volumes of DAWN, and the TOWERS from 1890, all of which I have carefully gone through, and from which I have received a course of Bible Study, a knowledge of our heavenly Father, and our dear Lord, and the plans and purposes and my relation thereto, sufficient thanks for which would indeed be hard for me to put in words. But I have the privilege of thanking you for the service rendered unto me, for I knew nothing of the Bible, although a reader of it from boyhood, until the Lord in his own due time placed in my hands the „meat in due season” from your hands.
I have in these past years learned to go to these helps (TOWERS and DAWNS) for all points that have perplexed me, and with very few exceptions have always received a reasonable Scriptural explanation that made things plain to my mind. Until now if a point comes up that I do not grasp I go for help, using the assistance the Lord has provided in them for me and for all the watching ones. The exceptions I have written to you about, and you know they have been few, and in thanking you I am thanking our dear Lord and Head, who „has girded himself” and is „now serving the table.” Our heavenly Father I also thank.
I have practised medicine here since 1889 and had quite an extensive practice up to the present time, and since coming into the Truth Sister Senor and I have used up in the Truth, one way or another, as we thought the Lord would have us use it, all above our living expenses (and a provision for those dependent upon us, a reasonable one we hope, until 1914), by sending TOWERS, DAWNS, etc., over the counties near by.
Your brother in Christ, S. D. SENOR,—Missouri.
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BEREAN STUDIES ON THE ATONEMENT
THE TEXT-BOOK USED FOR THIS COURSE IS SCRIPTURE STUDIES, SERIES V. (E)*
*Five years ago DAWN-STUDIES, VOL. V., was reset, and unfortunately the type was not exactly the same size as before; and hence page for page they differ. The references given in these Berean Studies apply to the present edition, a copy of which postpaid will cost you but 30c. But keep your old edition, for unfortunately the New Bible helps refer to its pages.
Questions on Study V.—The Author of the Atonement
(78) Is it the Father or the Son that is styled the King of kings and Lord of lords? P.78.
(79) Does this refer to the Father or how otherwise shall we understand it? P.78, last par.
(80) Cite and explain other similar passages. I Cor. 15:27; Col. 2:10. P.79, par. 1.
(81) Would the passage „thought it not robbery to be equal with God” prove the trinity doctrine? If both were one how could one think of robbing himself? P.79, par. 2.
(82) What did our Lord Jesus testify respecting his equality with the Father? And did he not tell the truth? P.79, par. 2.
(83) What appears to be the Apostle’s argument—what point is he proving in Phil. 2:6? P.79, last par.
(84) Is there any evidence that this verse is improperly translated? If so, what? P.80, par. 1.
(85) Give, in order, different translations of the verse: By Clarke, Wakefield, Stewart, Rotherham, Revised Version, American Revision Committee, Sharpe, Neeland, Dickenson, Turnbull, and the Emphatic Diaglott. Pp.80, 81.
(86) In view of all this array of scholarship, what must we conclude that the passage teaches? P.81, last par.
(87) What great spirit being took a very different course? Give proof-text. P.81, last par.
(88) What quality in Jesus shines out preeminently in contrast with what quality in Satan? P.81, last par.
(89) What reward was bestowed on the Son by the Father? and on what account? Cite the Scriptures. P.82, top.
(90) Can such rewarding be harmonized with the idea of oneness of person or with original equality between the Father and the Son? Page 82, par. 1.
(91) Are we enjoined nevertheless to honor the Son whom the Father exalted, even as we honor the Father who exalted him? P.82, par. 2.
(92) Quote a Scripture passage showing the distinct separateness of the Father and the Son as persons, and also the relationship of their work. P.82, par. 2.
(93) Does the Scripture, „Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” favor the thought that Father and Son are one in person? Note the entire passage. Ephesians 1:2-18. P.82, par. 3.
THE MEDIATOR OF THE ATONEMENT
THE ONLY BEGOTTEN ONE
(1) Who is the Great One whom Jehovah has exalted to so high honor? What has he done to merit it? What is he yet to do in his high exaltation? P.83.
(2) Did our Lord Jesus have a preexistence? What was he before he was „made flesh”? P.84, par. 1.
(3) Was he then „a good” or mighty one? And if so, what was his name? P.84, par. 2.
(4) In that pre-human existence, was the Son in some sense „before” all creatures in time as well as in rank? P.84, par. 3.
(5) Why did the Son stoop to human conditions? Was it of compulsion? P.84, par. 4.
(6) Was his humiliation to human conditions intended to be eternal? Explain fully. P.84, par. 5.
(7) Did Jesus’ resurrection restore him to the spirit plane? P.84, par. 6.
(8) Of what station is our Lord Jesus now? P.85, par. 1.
(9) Why was our Lord in his prehuman existence known as The Word or The Logos? P.85, par. 2.
(10) What does Dr. Alex Clarke say of this word Logos? P.85, par. 2.
(11) Show the fitness of the name to the Son, and give an illustration of a King’s Logos? P.85, par. 3.
(12) Does the Greek text of John 1:1 show two persons and refer to both as God? P.86, par. 1.
(13) Is there anything in the Greek text to differentiate these two persons who are both styled God? What and how should the verse be translated to show its Greek value? P.86, par. 1,2.
(14) What beginning is here referred to? P.86, par. 3.