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VOL. XXVI. AUGUST 1, 1905. No. 15
Views from the Watch Tower……………………227
Union of Churches………………………..227
Seventeen Million Church Members to Federate……227
The Newer Unrighteousness…………………228
Luther’s Suppressed Utterance……………..229
The New Christianity……………………..229
Berean Bible Study for August (Brotherly Love)….230
“Full of Mercy and Good Fruits”……………….230
The Great Company in the Court………………..232
“Lord, Choose My Cross for Me” (Poem)………….235
A Good Son of a Bad Father……………………235
“Thy Word Was Found, I Ate It.”……………….237
Thanks Be to God for Deliverance………………239
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NEW MOTTOES AND OLD FAVORITES
We have just received a large line of new Mottoes, of designs never before shown, and also duplicates of some of the best patterns of former lots.
The prices on these are gauged so as to cover cost, customs duty, packing and postage, and no more. We again have arranged them in assorted $1.00 packages, marked:
Am, for packages containing some old styles, which some may have had before.
Bm, for packages all strictly new and different, medium sizes.
Cm, packages new mottoes, chiefly medium and large.
Dm, packages of large new mottoes.
Those who want $3.00 worth or $5.00 worth can thus select several packages. If no designation is made we send the Am assortment.
We have some 25c and 50c packages also—all of the smaller sizes, so as to afford variety. They are all choice mottoes and beautiful. They should be on the walls of all Christian homes—if possible in every room. They exercise a quiet but powerful influence for good.
The variety is too great to catalogue satisfactorily. The prices range from 1c each up to 25c and are about one-half the usual retail rates.
We can supply German mottoes also, though the delivery will be slower, as we order them sent direct from our German branch.
Our British friends can order mottoes best from our London office—saving customs duty, freight, etc. Our mottoes all come from London.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
UNION OF CHURCHES
A MOVE toward the formation of a federation of the Protestant Churches of Cleveland, O., was taken yesterday morning at the Ministers’ union meeting.
A paper was read by Dr. Paul F. Sutphen of the Second Presbyterian Church, in which he presented an argument in behalf of unity among the churches on the basis of a federation similar to the relationship between the United States government and the States, the denominations to retain their names, but be members of a federation. Dr. Sutphen said that he thought the time was now ripe for the organization of such a federation.
The paper was followed by a discussion. The views expressed by Dr. Sutphen met with approval and the ministers selected a committee of five, of which Dr. Sutphen is chairman, to look over the situation in Cleveland and ascertain whether or not an organization can be formed.
The movement in Cleveland is similar to the movement which has been started to form an organization including all the Protestant denominations in the United States. At a meeting in New York next November delegates will meet to discuss the situation. It is expected that there will be 600 to 700 delegates at the meeting, over which President Roosevelt has been invited to preside.—Cleveland Plaindealer.
* * *
This is precisely what we suggested as the probable outcome of the “Union” movement,—a federation on the plan of the union of the several States in the United States of America. Denominations of kindred creeds and spirit may indeed unite absolutely, but federation alone will bring opposing creeds into accord. This is really a revival of “The Evangelical Alliance,” but it will include the Episcopal Church and thus get the “life” mentioned by the Revelator. (Rev. 13:15). The proposal to have the chief executive of the nation preside at the meeting for proposed federation is significant of the close political alliance which will result.
SEVENTEEN MILLION CHURCH MEMBERS TO FEDERATE
We clip the following from the North American:—
Long strides have been taken towards the practical federation of the Protestant churches of the United States. Fourteen denominations have already agreed to participate in the great conference to be held in New York city during November of this year. It is understood that the synods of the Lutheran Church will vote to participate, and the Protestant Episcopal Church, through its Committee on Unity, will do likewise.
If these two denominations’ assent, seventeen millions of communicants will be represented. It will be the first time in the history of Christianity since the Reformation that such a unity has been realized.
There will be no union along the lines of rules of faith or church organization, but there will be consolidation of effort in all the matters pertaining to the broad moral and national questions upon which all sects can meet on a common basis.
It will be a great church “trust,” in fact, if not in name. The leaders of the movement prefer to say they are adopting the national spirit; forming a union of denominations similar to the union of the States. But the spirit of consolidation of energy is predominant.
One of them said yesterday:
“In many of the general charities, and in scores of other ways, we are dividing our energies; we are accomplishing a minimum of good with a maximum of energy. It is clear that by such a federation as is proposed we can reverse the proposition.”
An eminent clergyman, who has done more, perhaps, than any other person to bring this church unity, for which all sects and denominations have so earnestly prayed, yesterday gave the following statement to The North American:
About a year ago a number of gentlemen representing different churches, officially connected with movements for Christian union and co-operation, met in the City of New York and decided to undertake a movement whose purpose should be the bringing together of regularly appointed representatives of the American Christian and Protestant churches, with a view to considering their common interests in connection
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with the moral and religious welfare of the American nation.
A committee was constituted, with the Rev. Dr. W. H. Roberts, of Philadelphia, as chairman and the Rev. Dr. E. P. Sanford as secretary.
Dr. Sanford has been for years the secretary of a voluntary organization, with headquarters in New York city, known as the National Federation of Christian Workers, and Dr. Roberts is the stated clerk of the Presbyterian General Assembly and American secretary of the Pan-Presbyterian Alliance.
THE NEWER UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
“Our forced-draft pace relieves us of the super-abundance of energy that demands an explosive outlet. Spasms of violent feeling go with a sluggish habit of life, and are as out of place today as are the hard-drinking habits of our Saxon ancestors. We are too busy to give rein to spite. The stresses and lures of civilized life leave slender margin for the gratification of animosities. In quiet, side-tracked communities there is still much old-fashioned hatred, leading to personal clash; but elsewhere the cherishing of malice is felt to be an expensive luxury. Moreover, brutality, lust, and cruelty are on the wane. In this country, it is true, statistics show a widening torrent of bloody crime, but the cause is the weakening of law rather than an excess of bile. Other civilized peoples seem to be turning away from the sins of passion.
“The man who picks pockets with a railway rebate, murders with an adulterant instead of a bludgeon, burglarizes with a ‘rake-off’ instead of a jimmy, cheats with a company prospectus instead of a deck of cards, or scuttles his town instead of his ship, does not feel on his brow the brand of a malefactor. The shedder of blood, the oppressor of the widow and the fatherless, long ago became odious; but latter-day treacheries fly no skull-and-crossbones flag at the masthead. …
“How decent are the pale slayings of the quack, the adulterator, and the purveyor of polluted water, compared with the red slayings of the vulgar bandit or assassin! Even if there is blood-letting, the long-range, tentacular nature of modern homicide eliminates all personal collision. What an abyss between the knife-play of brawlers and the law-defying neglect to fence dangerous machinery in a mill, or to furnish cars with safety couplers! …
“The stealings and slayings that lurk in the complexities of our social relations are not deeds of the dive, the dark alley, the lonely road, and the midnight hour. They require no nocturnal prowling with muffled step and bated breath, no weapon or offer of violence. Unlike the old-time villain, the latter-day malefactor does not wear a slouch hat and a comforter, breathe forth curses and an odor of gin, go about his nefarious work with clenched teeth and an evil scowl. In the supreme moment his lineaments are not distorted with rage, or lust, or malevolence. One misses the traditional setting, the time-honored insignia of turpitude. Fagin and Bill Sykes and Simon Legree are vanishing types. … The modern high-power dealer of woe wears immaculate linen, carries a silk hat and a lighted cigar, sins with a calm countenance and a serene soul, leagues or months from the evil he causes. Upon his gentlemanly presence the eventual blood and tears do not obtrude themselves.”
“The same qualities that lull the conscience of the sinner blind the eyes of the onlookers. People are sentimental, and bastinado wrongdoing not according to its harmfulness, but according to the infamy that has come to attach to it. Undiscerning, they chastise with scorpions the old authentic sins, but spare the new. They do not see that boodling is treason, that blackmail is piracy, that embezzlement is theft, that speculation is gambling, that tax-dodging is larceny, that railroad discrimination is treachery, that the factory labor of children is slavery, that deleterious adulteration is murder. It has not come home to them that the fraudulent promoter ‘devours widows’ houses,’ that the monopolist ‘grinds the faces of the poor,’ that mercenary editors and spellbinders ‘put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.’ The cloven hoof hides in patent leather; and to-day, as in Hosea’s time, the people ‘are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ The mob lynches the redhanded slayer, when it ought to keep a gallows Haman-high for the venal mine inspector, the seller of infected milk, the maintainer of a fire-trap theater. The child-beater is forever blasted in reputation, but the exploiter of infant toil, or the concocter of a soothing syrup for the drugging of babies, stands a pillar of society. The petty shoplifter is more abhorred than the stealer of a franchise, and the wife-whipper is outcasted long before the man who sends his over-insured ship to founder with its crew.”—Atlantic Monthly.
LUTHER’S SUPPRESSED UTTERANCE
A Council of the Lateran, held A.D. 1513, under Pope Leo X., pronounced the immortality of the soul to be an orthodox article of Christian faith. The following is a translation of the rule which was adopted by this council, as given by Caranza, p.412, 1681.
“Whereas, some have dared to assert concerning the nature of the reasonable soul, that it is mortal; we, with the approbation of the Sacred Council, do condemn and reprobate all those who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, seeing that the soul is not only truly and of itself and essentially the form of the human body, as is expressed in the canon of Pope Clement the Fifth, but likewise immortal; and we strictly inhibit all from dogmatizing otherwise, and we decree that all who adhere to the like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished as heretics.”
Martin Luther visited Rome during the reign of Leo X., and the profligacy, corruption and licentiousness that he witnessed at the Papal court destroyed forever his former reverence for the sacred authority of Popes and Councils. For the decree of the Lateran Council he seems to have entertained a special contempt. In his Defense, prop. 27, “Adversus Execrabilem Antichrist Bullam,” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 2, folio 107, Wittenberg 1562) published in 1520, he said:
“I permit the Pope to make articles of faith for himself and his faithful—such as ‘the soul is the substantial form of the human body,’ ‘that the soul is immortal,’ with all those monstrous opinions to be found in the Roman dunghill of decretals.”
SPIRITISM’S ONWARD MARCH
The day is near when the world will accept the belief that spirits importantly participate in terrestrial life and exercise influences on our minds and acts. I am giving the
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study of spirit possession or obsession of insane persons most profound attention.—Bishop Samuel Fallows.
I often see the spirits who cause insanity in my patients and at times I even hear their voices. Persons who are spoken of as helplessly insane are frequently simply lost under the overwhelming control of a spirit or, at times, a crowd of spirits. We frequently find by post-mortem examinations that no physical disorder exists in the brain or nervous systems of such insane. A large percentage of the insane are persons who have attempted to become spiritualistic mediums and who, by laying themselves open to spirit influence, have found the wrong or an evil spirit taking advantage of their susceptibility for the purpose of giving vent to spiritual desires and ideas through an earthly medium.—Dr. Edgar M. Webster, member of the Mental Section of the American Medical Association.
THE NEW CHRISTIANITY
The Rev. Dr. Francis L. Patton, President Emeritus of Princeton University, addressing the students of Washington University Medical Department, said:—
“Some of the symptoms of the new Christianity are found in the studied avoidance of doctrinal statement, in the disposition to deal very prominently with sociological topics and to treat even doctrinal subjects exclusively from their ethical side.
“Underlying the movement is a new conception as to what Christianity is.
“The old view of Christianity, of course, is that it is a piece of supernatural information respecting the way of salvation through a crucified Redeemer.
“The new Christianity is the direct denial of this. According to one form of that denial, Christianity is simply a stage in the great progress of development. This form of denial has been, in a measure, superseded by another, which looks upon Christianity as the revelation of God in Christ and claims attention as being a return to the historic facts of the gospels. It is a return, however, which is distinctively associated with the repudiation of metaphysics in theology and an uncertain attitude with reference to the real deity of Jesus Christ.
“The logical result of either form of the new Christianity is the elimination of doctrinal statement, and the placing of the emphasis altogether upon the ethical teachings of Jesus. It must, however, be constantly remembered that Christianity must be more than ethical in order to be even ethical. If we are to uphold the ethics of Jesus we must uphold the authority of Jesus, and to uphold the authority of Jesus, we must maintain the supernaturalism that enters into his life.
“The tendency to reject the teachings of Paul is one that
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has its logical expression in the thoroughgoing subjectivism of Sabellius, and the way to escape from the blighting influences in morals and religion which result from this subjectivism is to rehabilitate the Pauline theology.”—St. Louis Republican.
POPE TOUCHES TRUST QUESTION
The “trust” question is dealt with in an encyclical letter from the Pope. Among other things it says:—
“There are to-day vast numbers, continually being recruited by fresh accessions, who are utterly ignorant of the truths of religion, or who at most possess only such knowledge of God and of the Christian faith as to lead the lives of idolators. In consequence of this ignorance they regard it as no crime to cherish hatred against their neighbor, to enter into the most unjust contracts, the most unjust speculation, endeavor to possess themselves of the property of others by enormous usury and to commit iniquities not less reprehensible.”
HUMANITY IS SAVAGE
Count Tolstoy, in an interview, reiterates at length his views on the inefficiency of the proposed government reforms in Russia. He says:—
“This striving for a renewal of the state is impossible until the people have within themselves the image of the living God. Civilization has become savage. When the war with Japan is finished there will be war with India for Thibet. Human happiness is only attainable when such individual will do his utmost, one in the workshop, another in the field and another to compose sonatas; it only matters that each fulfils his duty, creates something. Positive rest will come of itself. Reform is of little value when humanity is savage.
HEBREW CHILDREN EXPELLED FROM MOSCOW
The Russian authorities have ordered the expulsion from Moscow of all Jewish children living with their parents. The order is issued on the ground that while permission has been granted to a limited number of Jews to live in the city the privilege does not extend to their children. The order therefore has been issued that the children must leave the place.—Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“BE READY TO RECEIVE THE TRUTH.”
Rev. John Robinson was the pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers. Below we note his memorable “parting charge” to the Pilgrims who came long ago to settle in America:
“I charge you before God and His blessed angels, that ye follow me no further than ye have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of His Holy Word. I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the Reformed Churches who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no further than the instruments of their reformation. Luther and Calvin were great shining lights in their time, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God. I beseech you remember it—’tis an article of your Church covenant—that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written word of God.”
LIVING AT OUR BEST
Do not try to do a great thing; you may waste all your life waiting for the opportunity which may never come. But since little things are always claiming your attention, do them as they come, from a great motive, for the glory of God, to win His smile of approval, and to do good to men. It is harder to plod on in obscurity, acting thus, than to stand on the high places of the field, within the view of all, and to do deeds of valor at which rival armies stand still to gaze. But no such act goes without the swift recognition and the ultimate recompense of Christ.
To fulfil faithfully the duties of your station; to use to the uttermost the gifts of your ministry; to bear chafing annoyances and trivial irritations as martyrs bore the pillory and stake; to find the one noble trait in people who try to molest you; to put the kindest construction on unkind acts and words; to love with the love of God even the unthankful and evil; to be content to be a fountain in the midst of a wild valley of stones, nourishing a few lichens and wild flowers, or now and again a thirsty sheep; and to do this always, and not for the praise of man, but for the sake of God—this makes a great life.—F. B. Meyer.
“It is blasphemy to assert that the infinitely good God should plan a redemptive system for His children, and that the Son of God should give His life for its advancement, and the Holy Ghost His continuous, unwordable efforts for its carrying forward, and then have it fail, and the only other alternative should be to have the Judge come and destroy the whole race and world.”—Bishop H. W. Warren.
True. Much better is the Bible teaching of coming “times of restitution.”—Acts 3:19-21.
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR AUGUST
—(SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES)—
BROTHERLY KINDNESS (BROTHERLY LOVE)
What is the “new commandment” given by Christ to his disciples? Jno. 13:34; 15:10,12,17; 1 Jno. 4:21; Z.’00-183 (2nd col., par. 1,2); 1 Jno. 3:11,23; Jno. 15:12; Z.’05-125 (2nd col. par. 2).
What is brotherly love? Z.’02-197 (2nd col. par. 2,3); Z.’98-201 (1st col. par. 2; 2nd col., par. 1).
Who are our “brethren”? Matt. 12:50; Z.’97-311 (1st col. par. 1,2,3); Z.’00-180 (1st col., par. 5 and 2nd col. par. 1); Z.’03-207 (1st col. par. 4,5); E.120, par. 2.
Why is the manifestation of brotherly kindness so necessary? Z.’04-292 (2nd col. par. 2,3).
Is it important that we observe the spirit as well as the form of our Lord’s command? 1 Pet. 1:22; Rom. 12:9; Z.’99-216 (2nd col. par. 6,7), and 217 (1st and 2nd cols.); Z.’97-264 (1st col. par. 2); Z.’98-8 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.’05-118 (2nd col. par. 4,5); Z.’03-333, (2nd col., par. 4).
Why do the Lord’s “brethren” need no “outward passwords, grips or badges”? Jno. 13:35; Z.’05-139, 1st col. par. 2,3); Z.’05-164 (2nd col. par. 8).
How is our love for God measured by our love for “the brethren”? 1 Jno. 4:8; Z.’00-183 (2nd col. par. 3), 184 (1st col. par. 1); F.467, par. 3; F.600, par. 2).
Can we fellowship all “the brethren” alike? Jude 21,22; Z.’03-333 (2nd col. par. 1,2,3); Z.’02-198 (1st col. par. 1,2); Z.’03-207 (2nd col., par. 1).
Should we always expect to have our manifestations of brotherly kindness received in the same spirit? Z.’05-106 (2nd col. par. 7) and 107, par. 1.
How are the comfort and peace of the Church dependent upon the manifestation of this grace? Z.’04-296 (1st col. par. 2).
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“FULL OF MERCY AND GOOD FRUITS.”
ONE HALF of a year is gone, and we wonder to what extent the text selected as our year text for 1905 has been remembered by all the dear readers, and to what extent they have sought to secure the wisdom to which our text referred.
“Wisdom is the Principal Thing: Therefore Get Wisdom.”—Prov. 4:7
* * *
“The Wisdom that is from Above is First Pure, Then Peaceable, Gentle, Easy of Entreatment, Full of Mercy and Good Fruits.”—Jas. 3:17
These heavenly counsels have been in the Lord’s Word for centuries, they have been in our hands and before our eyes for years. We know them, we assent to them and yet how many—how few—seem to know how to apply them in the ordinary affairs of life. Surely as the Lord looks down upon us he must say, These people require line upon line, precept upon precept, instruction and repetition continually. Alas that it is so! We all might well be thoroughly discouraged were it not for the assurance we have that the Lord looks deeper than the outward conduct, that he is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and that according to what he sees to be our desires and efforts is his judgment respecting us. The thoughts and intents of our hearts are sometimes short of the standard that we ourselves approve, and O how short of any standard we could approve would be much of our conduct if we could but see ourselves as others see us and especially as the Lord sees us!
We are not writing with a view to discouraging any dear brother or sister who is painfully, laboriously, striving to climb up Zion’s hill along the narrow way. On the contrary, we have nothing but sympathy for them, and are assured that the Lord regards both them and us compassionately—”he remembereth our frame, he knoweth that we are dust.” The Lord recognizes
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that we are imperfect, fallen creatures, and he is not expecting perfection of us. He has made provision for the covering of such of our imperfections as we do not at heart assent to; he has also given us instruction respecting his will, and he is carefully scrutinizing us day by day to see to what extent our love for him and for the principles of righteousness, which he has enunciated and which we have acknowledged, are entering into and controlling the forces and conduct of our lives; for, after all, the words of our mouths are but the echoes of our hearts, and to whatever extent our hearts are clean our words will be pure, and to whatever extent our hearts are loving and gentle and kind our words and conduct will be in accord with these divinely approved qualities.
FIRST PURE, THEN PEACEABLE
Let us examine ourselves afresh to know the condition of our hearts, remembering the word of the Lord, that if we judge ourselves we would not require that he should judge us, but that if we neglect to judge ourselves he will chasten us, because we put our cause in his hand, because we are his. The word pure has in it the thought of innocent, without deceit; it has in it the thought of virtue and chastity; it contains the thought of clean, true and truthful. We cannot hope that any, either in the Church or out of it, are actually pure in the absolute sense of this word, but we do rejoice that our dear Master gave the key to a proper understanding of the matter when he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” So long as we are in this present, mortal, imperfect condition absolute purity is impossible; for us to be pure of heart is possible—purity of intention, purity of motive.
When we begin a self-examination to see whether or not we are using our time and talents and influence
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wisely, this is the first point for scrutiny, Are we pure in heart, in our daily course of life? Are we sincere in the prayers that we utter to the Lord, in our endeavors to please him? In our relationship toward the Father are we candid and honest? Do we love him with a pure love, heartily, fervently, or do we not? Let each decide this point for himself before proceeding to the next. If upon examination we find that our hearts have not been pure in respect to our covenants and relationship to the Lord and his Word and to the Father, let us go no farther until we have asked divine forgiveness and resolve that by the Lord’s assisting grace we will be nothing less than pure in heart, pure in endeavor.
If we can assure ourselves that our motives and intentions have nothing of selfishness connected with them, that our purposes are pure in the sight of the Lord, then, indeed, our hearts may rejoice whatever may have been our weaknesses and imperfections of the flesh, in our relationship toward the Lord or the Father or our neighbors or the world.
The next point is, Are we peaceable? Have we thus far in the year been seeking to cultivate peace, or, as the Scriptures put it, “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”? Have we lived thus far in the year as peaceable, as pure of heart toward God and his Word and his brethren as is possible for us? If so we have cause for rejoicing afresh and being of good courage; if not, here is another lesson and opportunity for going to the throne of grace to acknowledge our fault, to pray for more of this wisdom from above, which is first pure and then so far as possible peaceable toward all—peace loving, peace disposed.
“EASY OF ENTREATMENT.”
How has it been with us so far? Have we been hard-hearted, cold and repulsive, or have we been gentle, kind, sympathetic with those with whom we are in contact, easy to be entreated, willing, yes, anxious to do everything which in our judgments would seem to be in the interest and for the welfare of others—proper, reasonable and right to do? If so, happy are we, but let us not too hastily conclude, not too hastily congratulate ourselves along this line, until we have made close inspection of the pathway of the last six months. Have any appealed to us for forgiveness and been refused? If so ours is a very dangerous position. The Lord declares most positively that while that is our attitude we can expect no mercy from him. He insists upon this—”After this manner pray ye, Forgive us our trespasses as we also forgive those who trespass against us.”
Emphasizing the matter, we remember that the Master explained, “Unless ye forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.” What a thought! Do we need mercy? Do we need to have our faults and weaknesses of the flesh covered? Do we rejoice in the privilege of approaching the throne of heavenly grace to obtain mercy? Then, as a condition to those privileges and blessings, we must be in the attitude of heart where we not only will forgive those who trespass against us, but forgive them gladly, freely, heartily. Our Lord specially warns us against a forgiving with the lips which does not include a forgiving from the heart, saying, “Except ye shall from your hearts forgive,” etc.—Matt. 18:35.
Let no one deceive himself—mercy is a prime essential to everyone who would be counted amongst the Lord’s saints, and who would count himself as having any of the evidences of acceptance with the Lord to a participation in the glorious high calling. If we have been derelict in this matter in the past, let us be the more zealous now to correct matters, and the more on our guard as respects the future that we may not err farther in this same direction.
“FULL OF MERCY AND GOOD FRUITS.”
Ah! Here we have the pith of the whole matter: Full of mercy does not signify that we are not wholly without mercy, merciless; nor does it signify that we should have a little tinge or coloring of mercy in connection with our thoughts, words and doings. On the contrary, it does mean that the Lord is very merciful, Love is his name, and that in proportion as we have received his spirit, in that proportion we are full of love and full of mercy. He that lacks mercy lacks the spirit of the Lord, as though when we read, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his,” we should substitute the word mercy and say, If any man have not mercy he is none of Christ’s. O, Merciful Lord, help us, we pray thee, that we may have more and more of thy spirit of compassion and sympathy and love, that we may more and more become copies of thy dear Son and thus copies of our Father whose mercy endureth forever, and obedient followers of him who said that unto seventy times seven we should be ready to fully and freely forgive from the heart those who transgress against us and repent!
Full of good fruits! Yes, mercy is one of the good fruits of the Lord’s Spirit, but there are others, and it is a consolation that being filled with mercy does not mean that we shall be unable to contain the other graces, but rather that the fuller we are of mercy the more of the other graces of the Lord’s spirit we may possess. Mercy is not one of the good fruits, although it is classed high. It is really a negative quality: it signifies merely that we do not resent the evils of others, that we are willing to forgive, to have compassion. Still more is necessary, we must also have the active traits of character that will reach out toward others, not to injure them, not to pull them down, not to slander them, not to backbite them, but to do them good. The fruits of the spirit of evil are anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife. Whoever finds any of these lurking anywhere in his heart should both labor and pray to have himself cleansed from the leaven of corruption that he might be completely filled with the fruits of the spirit, good fruits, meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love, that these things might be in him and abound.
If we have mercy towards a dear brother or sister who may have transgressed against us, we are not to feel boastful of the matter, but to realize that we also have
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been forgiven much and are objects of divine mercy, and we are to go on to cultivate in our hearts and to be filled with the other good fruits. We ought to learn to exercise patience toward a brother, to help him over his natural difficulties and weaknesses in a most kind, gentle, sympathetic manner, remembering ourselves also lest we should be tempted. We should be on the alert to exercise brotherly kindness, not merely toward those whose natural dispositions we admire because like or superior to our own; but rather our love for the Lord and love for the brethren should lead us to sacrifice our natural tastes and inclinations to some degree, that we might give aid and encouragement and assistance in the good way to those members of the body who are naturally less amiable or who have made less progress or whose weaknesses or shortcomings are more apparent.
This will be brotherly kindness, and it will also be God-likeness, for thus the Almighty and our Lord Jesus, while having the common fellowship with the holy in heaven, condescended to us and continually bow down to hear us, to sympathize with us and to assist us. Let us be more and more God-like then in our relationship and dealings with and toward each other, and finally these various elements of love will form in us more and more completely until, by the grace of God, eventually we shall be filled with his spirit, the spirit of love—until we shall have that perfect law in full control of all our words and thoughts and doings, and thus attaining let us stand fast, waiting for the glorious conditions of the first resurrection, which the Lord has promised to all such overcomers of the world and its spirit of sin and bitterness and evil.
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THE GREAT COMPANY IN THE COURT
SOME matters connected with the Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices and the typical services connected therewith seem still to be obscure to some of the dear friends who apparently are giving earnest heed to their study. To all such we recommend a fresh reading of the pamphlet published by our Society, devoted to this topic, and also a fresh reading of the references made to it in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. VI. pp.126-132. Matters of this kind require deep and careful study to be understood by any, and, of course, were never meant by the Lord to be understood by everybody. The Apostle clearly indicates that only those begotten of the Spirit can ever properly and correctly appreciate and understand spiritual things. Others may hear or read and partly understand and appreciate, but can never be expected to grasp matters fully. Amongst WATCH TOWER readers, however, we have hope that there are many who are spirit begotten, and our endeavors in this article and always are on behalf of these. The Lord’s time and way for reaching others are our time and way, and we wait patiently for the development of that feature of the divine plan in its “due time.”
THE ANTITYPICAL LEVITES
We have already pointed out that only the members of one tribe of Israel, the tribe of Levi, were permitted within the sacred enclosure outside the Tabernacle tent, called the “court,” and that of this tribe only the priests were permitted to enter the holy places. We have shown that those priests typified the Royal Priesthood, of which Jesus is the High Priest and his faithful ones the under priests, and that the Levites in general represented the household of faith—the justified. We recognize a difference between the priests of the present time and those of the future; for any now recognized as priests who do not perform the sacrifice will be cut off from that special privilege and honor, and will constitute what in Revelation is pictured as a “great company.” Those who have taken the step of consecration and been accepted of God and been made partakers of the holy Spirit, cannot ignore their covenant, they cannot return to human conditions. They must go on to perfection on the spirit plane or be hopelessly lost in the Second Death. There is no middle ground, because the terms and conditions upon which the Lord will receive them on the spirit plane are as reasonable as any he could make for them on the human plane.
When during the Millennial age the whole world of mankind will be granted an opportunity of coming into full accord with their Creator, it will be on condition of their absolute obedience to his law of love—not merely a perfunctory obedience either, but an obedience from the heart. Any who will not by the close of the Millennial age reach that proper condition will assuredly be amongst those who will die the Second Death, as pictured in Revelation 20:9 and Matthew 25:46. Nothing can be accepted of the Lord as righteous that is in any degree in sympathy with sin. And that same rule which will then apply to the world is during this Gospel age applicable to the great company. It will be required of them that when brought into straits they shall at least prove loyal to the principles of righteousness, that they shall not deny the Lord nor the principles of his government, whatever the cost—otherwise they will be unworthy of eternal life on any plane. The case with the little flock is recognized as being still different: the overcomers delight to do the Father’s will to such an extent that they make haste at the sacrifice of earthly interests to lay down their lives in the service of the King and his brethren and all the principles of righteousness.
ONCE CONSECRATED, ALWAYS CONSECRATED
The difficulty with some of the dear friends seems to be their unsuccessful attempt to identify this great company with the typical Levites. Let us, therefore, examine this point. They query, How can these, who have already made a sacrifice, be represented by the Levites who did not sacrifice? We reply that the great company do not sacrifice. Their covenant, their agreement,
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was to sacrifice even unto death, and had they faithfully carried out that agreement they would not be of the great company but of the little flock, the overcomers, the Royal Priests. From God’s standpoint they never carried out their covenant, and hence cannot be recognized as priests, and therefore, although for a time recognized as priests in a tentative way, their failure to perform the sacrifice hinders them from being ultimately received as priests—it separates them from their brethren and constitutes them a different class, a class who have consecrated but who have not performed in harmony with that consecration.
Nevertheless, this great company class will not consist of persons who have repudiated the Lord, who have sinned wilfully, who have despised the covenant: on the contrary, at heart they are still in sympathy with righteousness, loyal to the Lord, but they do not develop that consuming zeal for righteousness which would constitute them overcomers in the Scriptural sense. They love righteousness and hate sin, and yet they do not deal with these principles in that thoroughgoing manner which would constitute them copies of God’s dear Son. So long as they hold on to the Lord, so long as they love him and love righteousness, they shall not be utterly condemned of him even though repudiated as respects a share in the Bride company, the little flock. Thank God, No! All who love righteousness and hate iniquity in any measure shall have fullest opportunity of demonstrating this, and shall be accounted worthy of life everlasting, and unquestionably this company is a “great company,” as the Scriptures indicate—far more numerous even than the little flock, as the Levites in the type numbered thousands in proportion to the five chosen from amongst them to be priests.
If, then, the Royal Priesthood were all originally of the household of faith (Levites in the type) before their covenant of sacrifice as priests was accepted of the Lord, what would they be if failing to sacrifice they were put out of the priesthood? We answer that they would still be Levites after they had lost their priestly privileges, after their names had been blotted out as respects membership in the body of Christ, after their crowns had been apportioned to others; as respects the Kingdom they would still be of the household of faith unless they had wilfully and deliberately repudiated the Lord and his grace. They would still, therefore, be represented in the tribe of Levi.
IF JUSTIFICATION WERE LOST
We have already pointed out that as our standing as members of the Royal Priesthood is at the present time tentative, subject to change if we do not sacrifice, so likewise our justification is in the present time tentative—dependent upon our continuance in a condition of faith and obedience. We see again that justification by faith, as it operates during this Gospel age, is merely with a view to bringing us into a relationship to God which will permit us to consecrate ourselves for the Royal Priesthood. Were it not the divine purpose to select the Royal Priesthood there would be no present call to justification by faith, but the whole world of mankind alike would share in the blessed arrangements of the divine plan for the future age, namely, an actual justification, an actual restitution, an actual making perfect, such as the world will experience during the Millennial age—a justification by works cooperating with faith. Thus it is written respecting the world’s judgment in the Millennial age that they will be judged according to their works.—Rev. 20:12.
On the contrary, we of this Gospel age are assured that our judgment will not be according to works impossible to us under present conditions, but according to faith, with which our works will cooperate to the extent of our ability. In a word faith is now the standard of test, and such works as we can present merely attest our faith: in the coming age works will be the standard and perfection will be demanded, while faith will cooperate and approve the works.
If, then, it be granted that the only object of justification by faith now is to permit the believer to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, his reasonable service, it follows that those believers who never reach the point of such a consecration receive the grace of God (justification) in vain. It does not accomplish for them the only purpose, the only object, for which it was intended. And it follows that such justification by faith lapses or becomes null and void within a reasonable time if it be not exercised, if the consecration which it was intended to make possible be not offered to the Lord. This being true, it would seem that those whose justification lapses because not used in consecration will at the time of the lapsing cease to be considered as typified by the Levites; they drop back from the Levites’ position to that of Israel in general, representing the world, just as those who do make the consecration and for a time are recognized as priests drop back from the priestly position if they fail to go on and complete the sacrifice.
Now, then, view the situation. See who ultimately will constitute the Royal Priesthood—that it will be only the little flock who have gladly and loyally laid down their lives in the service of the King and after the example of the High Priest, Jesus. Likewise note that the only ones who will ultimately constitute the antitypical Levites will be those who make consecration and fail to attain the priestly degree through their failure to make a proper sacrifice—”a great company.”
THE LORD’S GOAT AND THE SCAPE-GOAT
We have already set forth in Tabernacle Shadows that the work of this Gospel age, this antitypical Day of Atonement, began with the sacrifice of the bullock, which represented our Lord Jesus. The blood of the bullock being taken within the Most Holy by the High Priest, appropriation of its merit was made on behalf of the members of the High Priest’s body, the under priesthood, and on behalf of the entire household of faith, the antitypical Levites. Next in order came the
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two goats, both bound, consecrated at the door of the Tabernacle, representing all who consecrate themselves to the Lord, and how ultimately they would be divided into two classes—the little flock and the great company. The course of the little flock, the Royal Priesthood, was typified in what was done to the “Lord’s goat.” As that goat was sacrificed after the same manner as the bullock, its fat burned upon the altar, its hide, etc., burned without the camp, and its blood taken into the Most Holy and sprinkled, so with the entire company of the little flock: they pass through the experiences of the High Priest, they suffer with him, they are hated with him, they go to him without the camp bearing his reproach. But as a bullock has much fat and a goat is very lean, so our Lord had much love to offer upon the Lord’s altar, while his followers altogether have very little, and that little is acceptable merely because the High Priest’s previous sacrifice opened the way, covered its blemishes and made it acceptable.
It has required this entire Gospel age to do this sacrificing of the Lord’s goat, and its blood has not yet been presented before the Father by the glorified Christ,—Head and body.
Next we have to consider the scape-goat. It represents a consecrated class, because it as well as the other goat was tethered at the door of the tent, devoted to sacrifice. It represents a class, however, that does not go to sacrifice, that does not go without the camp and bear the reproach with the bullock, a class whose fat does not go upon the altar, a class whose blood will never be sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. It represents the great company of the consecrated who fail to make their calling and election sure, but whom the Lord’s mercy rescues from the second death because they also trust in him, because they love righteousness and hate iniquity, even though they did not display the proper amount of zeal in connection with their love of righteousness to merit their being classed with the overcomers, the Royal Priesthood.
THE SINS BORNE BY THE SCAPE-GOAT
The Scriptures show the priest laying his hands upon this scape-goat and confessing over it the sins of the people, and that then it was taken into the wilderness and left there under that load. This we have interpreted as the delivering over of the unworthy members of the Church to the power and control of the Adversary, that their flesh might be destroyed, that their spirits or life might be ultimately saved. In other words, the life which was not sacrificed was destroyed, the sufferings which were not voluntarily taken up in harmony with the consecration are nevertheless inflicted; and if those sufferings are rightly received and if as a result loyalty to the Lord is ultimately demonstrated, that spirit shall be saved “so as by fire,” coming through great tribulation—”a great multitude whose number no man knoweth” shall “come up out of great tribulation and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb”—the Levites, a glorious company, but occupying a lower plane in the divine plan for the world’s salvation, occupying a subordinate place to the Bride in the glorious work of uplifting the world of mankind during the Millennial age.
Some who do not grasp the matter clearly, who have not learned how to apply types and antitypes, may say that the scape-goat never went into the Holy and therefore could not represent the great company class. We answer that neither did the goat go into the Holy nor did the bullock go into the Holy. The bullock represented our Lord as a human being, not as a spirit being; the goats represented the Lord’s consecrated people as human beings, not as spirit beings. The point to be noticed is that the one goat followed the bullock to sacrifice and the other goat did not. The blood of the Lord’s goat, therefore, was sprinkled by the High Priest upon the Mercy Seat, while the blood of the scape-goat was not so sprinkled.
A TIME OF TROUBLE
As to the signification of the confessing of the sins of the people upon the scape-goat: the sins thus confessed upon the head of the scape-goat are assuredly not the sins for which atonement is made by the blood of the bullock and of the Lord’s goat. The atonement is made for original sin and all of its blemishes and imperfections as they affect the race of Adam. There are other sins than these for which atonement is not made, which are not to be forgiven, but on account of which divine wrath has been more or less manifest throughout the past six thousand years, and will be especially manifested in the great time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation nor ever shall be again, and which is now nearing. That trouble is spoken of as the pouring out of the vials of wrath upon the world because men have not lived up to their knowledge and opportunities and privileges. It will come as a natural effect from natural causes, and yet will be retributive punishment upon the world. In that, we understand, the great company will be given a special place, a special share. That will be the time in which every man’s work shall be tried “so as by fire,” this being applicable specially to the Church.
True, some of this great company class have been turned “over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved [that they might be saved as spirit beings] in the day of the Lord Jesus” all down through this Gospel age. But the proportionate number of these has probably been small as compared with the number who to-day, under the greater light and opportunity and privileges which we enjoy, have consecrated themselves, yet hold back from the completion of their sacrifice. The portion of this Day of Atonement picture which relates to this great company class is not different from that which relates to the other classes. For instance, the sacrifice of the Lord’s goat is not represented as being accomplished until the very last member of the body of Christ shall have suffered with the Head, until the final work in that connection, the sprinkling of the blood of the Lord’s goat upon the Mercy Seat shall have been accomplished, and until the last member shall not only have consecrated but shall have finished his sacrifice.
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LORD, CHOOSE MY CROSS FOR ME
“It was a time of sadness, and my heart,
Although it knew and loved the better part,
Felt weary with the conflict and the strife,
And all the needful discipline of life.
“And while I thought on these—as given to me,
My trial test of faith and love to be—
It seemed as if I never could be sure
That, faithful to the end, I should endure.
“And thus, no longer trusting to his might
Who says, ‘We walk by faith and not by sight’—
Doubting, and almost yielding to despair,
The thought arose: My cross I cannot bear.
“Far heavier its weight must surely be,
Than those of others which I daily see:
Oh, if I might another burden choose,
Methinks, I should not fear my crown to lose.
“A solemn silence reigned on all around,
E’en Nature’s voices uttered not a sound;
The evening shadows seemed of peace to tell,
And peace upon my weary spirit fell.
“A moment’s pause, and then a heavenly light
Beamed full upon my wondering, raptured sight;
Angels on silvery wings seemed everywhere,
And angels’ music thrilled the balmy air.
“Then one more fair than all the rest to see—
One to whom all others bowed the knee—
Came gently to me, as I trembling lay,
And ‘Follow me,’ He said—’I am the Way.’
“Then speaking thus, He led me far above;
And there, beneath a canopy of love,
Crosses of diverse size and shape were seen,
Larger and smaller than mine own had been.
“And one there was more beauteous to behold,
A little one, with jewels set in gold;
Ah, this, methought, I can with comfort wear,
For it will be an easy one to bear.
“And so the little cross I quickly took,
But all at once my frame beneath it shook;
The sparkling jewels—fair were they to see,
But far too heavy was their weight for me.
“‘This may not be,’ I cried, and looked again,
To see if there were any here could ease my pain,
But one by one I passed them slowly by,
Till on a lovely one I cast my eye.
“Fair flowers ’round its sculptured form entwined,
And grace and beauty seemed in it combined;
Wondering, I gazed, and still I wondered more,
To think so many should have passed it o’er.
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“But O! that form so beautiful to see,
Soon made its hidden sorrows known to me:
Thorns lay beneath those flowers and colors fair,
Sorrowing, I said, ‘this cross I may not bear.’
“And so it was, with each and all around,
Not one to suit my need could there be found.
Weeping, I laid each heavy burden down,
As my guide gently said, ‘No cross—no crown.’
“At length to him I raised my saddened heart,
He knew its sorrow, bade its doubts depart.
‘Be not afraid,’ he said, ‘but trust in me,
My perfect love shall now be shown to thee.’
“And then with lightened eyes and willing feet,
Again I turned my earthly cross to meet;
With forward footsteps, turning not aside,
For fear some hidden evil might betide.
“And then, in the prepared, appointed way,
Listening to hear and ready to obey.
A cross I found of plainest form,
With only words of love inscribed thereon.
“With thankfulness I raised it from the rest,
And joyfully acknowledged it the best;
The only one of all the many there,
That I could feel was good for me to bear.
“And while I thus my chosen one confessed,
I saw a heavenly brightness on it rest,
And as I bent, my burden to sustain,
I recognized my own old cross again.
“But O, how different did it seem to be,
Now I had learned its preciousness to see,
Yes, now no longer will I say,
‘Perhaps another is a better way.’
“Ah! henceforth my one desire shall be,
That he who knows me best shall choose for me,
And so whate’er His love seems good to send,
I’ll trust it’s best—because he knows the end.”—Unknown
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A GOOD SON OF A BAD FATHER
—2 CHRONICLES 34:1-13.—AUGUST 6.—
Golden Text:—”Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”—Eccl. 12:1.
WE CANNOT treat this lesson from the standpoint evidently intended by those who selected it. We cannot base upon it and plead for “good citizenship” amongst the Lord’s consecrated people of spiritual Israel. We cannot make it the groundwork of an exhortation to social, political and moral public reforms, because while commending the course followed by Josiah we cannot concede that it is a proper illustration for the Lord’s people of spiritual Israel to-day. A failure to recognize the times and seasons in the divine plan, and the different features of the work apportioned to those different times and seasons, have greatly beclouded the judgment of many good people in their endeavors to expound the Word of the Lord and to draw lessons therefrom.
Coming to the throne at eight years of age it is remarkable that, instead of having his head and heart turned to foolishness and vanity, Josiah at the age of sixteen began to seek earnestly to know and do the will of God in respect to the kingdom which he governed as an absolute ruler. By the time he was twenty years of age his convictions were crystallized and he began a thorough reformation of the kingdom of Judah, extending the same beyond the lines of his own particular dominion into the territories of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and Naphtali. He was in earnest, and not only
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gave the commands for the destruction of the images and various paraphernalia associated with the idolatry established in the land, but he gave the matter his personal supervision,—he went with the officers whom he commissioned and saw to it personally that the destruction was thoroughly accomplished. This work of reform had been prophesied for him years before, even to the declaration that he would burn the bones of the priests of Baal upon the Baal altar at Bethel.—1 Kings 13:1-3; 2 Kings 23:15-17.
The course of Josiah and that of other reformers of the Jewish epoch—as, for instance, Elijah, who caused thousands of the priests of Baal to be slain—are a source of confusion in the minds of many earnest Christians, as apparently sanctioning acts of violence public or private, totally out of accord with the spirit of this Gospel dispensation. In order to have a right conception of the matter it is necessary that we remember that the Jewish nation by divine arrangement represented God’s judgments in the world, and that under the Law there was a certain responsibility resting upon every king of Israel, and also in some respects upon the individuals of that nation, to oppose idolatry with violence, because the kingdom typically represented God and his reign of righteousness. With the end of the Jewish era, when fleshly Israel was cast off from divine favor as a nation, all the laws and regulations given to that people governing such matters ended, were abrogated, made null and void. As our Lord declared unto them, “Your house is left unto you desolate.”—Matt. 23:38.
With the establishment of Spiritual Israel at Pentecost a new covenant, a new relationship and new regulations have accordingly gone into effect. The spiritual Israelites are not to war with carnal weapons. Their warfare is to be each within his own heart, fighting the good fight of faith against the desires of the flesh, the wiles of the Adversary and the spirit of the world. Each heart has its own dominion to conquer, to clear of idols; each heart is expected to establish in all the realm of the natural body which it controls the worship and reverence and service of the Lord our God. As for worldly affairs we are distinctly told that we have nothing whatever to do with them—”Ye are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” The world at present is under the control of the Gentiles and that by divine permission. The New Creatures, spiritual Israel, are to keep themselves separate from the world, and, so far as their consciences will permit, to be subject to the powers that be because these powers are permitted of God. This does not signify that they endorse all the doings of the powers that be in their hearts—they may be seriously grieved thereby; but whatever they may experience of grief or opposition or suffering or trials of patience and of faith are to be esteemed as so much of the Lord’s fitting and polishing process, making them ready for the kingdom conditions of the future, making them the more humble and patient and loyal to himself and to righteousness, and the better qualified for the great work they will be engaged in in the future of blessing, ruling, judging, uplifting and encouraging the world in the right ways of the Lord.
THE MOTHER’S INFLUENCE
In a previous lesson we saw something of how a good father might have a bad son, and how in a general way at least it implied dereliction, unfaithfulness to his duties as a father, no matter how zealous and faithful he might have been in other respects and whatever excuses might be possible as respects his own lack of parental talent. Our lesson to-day reverses the matter, showing us the good son of a bad father, and we think it entirely reasonable to suppose that this implied a good mother. For a bad father and a bad mother to have reared a good son would appear almost impossible. Hence we feel safe in assuming that Josiah’s mother was a godly woman.
The divine arrangement by which the mothers of the human family are considerably separated from the selfishness and strife of business and politics, so that if the mother will she can expend her energies in the training of her children according to the highest ideals before her mind, has undoubtedly been a great blessing to the race in various ways. Undoubtedly it has prevented a more rapid decline into extreme selfishness and sin, and wherever this arrangement of nature is interfered with more or less of disadvantage to the children is almost certain.
O, that the mothers of the world could appreciate the great power for good which the Lord has placed in their hands! O, that they could realize that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world! To realize this and to use the opportunity thus providentially placed in their hands would be a proper response to the divine arrangement, and would entirely remove from such the ambition to have a share in politics, business, etc. The trouble is that the counsel of the Lord’s Word and the arrangements of divine providence
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on this as on other subjects pass measurably unheeded. The poor world is doing perhaps as well as it knows, some better and some worse proportionately as the instincts of nature are acknowledged and followed with a lofty sentiment.
Christian mothers, especially those whose eyes of understanding are opening to a larger appreciation of the divine character and plan, should be swift to avail themselves of their privileges in the training of their children—their responsibilities. Let none think that the work is small and insignificant and without its influence. Every son and every daughter properly trained to reverence and obedience to God and his Word and to their parents, and to the Golden Rule in respect to their dealings with playmates and neighbors, and to order and regularity and punctuality and system and truthfulness, is not only prepared for his and her own blessing in life, but prepared also to be a blessing and example to other boys and girls and men and women. Thus every mother’s influence extends and multiplies as days and years go by.
Even if there were no such desirable influences to
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be exercised outside the family circle, the proper training of the children means so much to the home—so much to the general peace and comfort and love constituting a home. While the father should not shirk his responsibilities as the head of the family, the mother as his efficient co-worker and helpmate earnestly cooperates, and to her must fall the major part of the responsibility for the training of the children, the breadwinner of the family being necessarily less in contact with them. And when the mother only is a child of grace, the whole responsibility, so far as her husband will permit, falls upon her shoulders, with only the assistance and guidance which the Lord provides. Alas, that so many homes are anarchous, lawless, therefore not really homes at all. Many parents, with false conceptions of kindness and indulgence, allow the children to grow up devoid of the proper respect for God, for parents and for the rights and interests of others. This is the secret of much of the lawlessness and growing spirit of anarchy everywhere manifest in the world. The wonder indeed is that, with homes devoid of law and order and love and kindness, the world is not in a worse state than we find it.
“IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH”
The Golden Text of our lesson should be made prominent in every family. The child who learns to remember and reverence his Creator, who learns also of his own imperfections and how they were incurred, and that the death penalty is the curse resting upon himself and all the world, blighting every earthly prospect, will be in a fair way to receive the message of salvation from the curse—to learn of how God in his love has provided Jesus as the great Redeemer, and that the deliverance secured through his death will soon extend to every member of the human family. Reverence to parents follows naturally as a result of reverence to God.
The Editor of this journal had the good fortune to be born of Christian parents and to be reared under Christian influences, and thus in God’s providence, quite early in life, was led to see the privilege as well as the blessing of consecration to the Lord. Looking back he can see with increasing clearness the many pitfalls and snares and sad experiences which were thus averted and the great blessings which were thus secured. His sympathies go out toward all who by the grace of God flee from sin and lay hold upon the great Life-giver and seek to walk in his steps, holding fast his hand. He rejoices with all such, but he feels specially interested in those who seek the Lord early in life, before the evil days draw nigh, before passing into the sowing of wild oats and the reaping of the crop of bitter experiences which this implies. He feels a deep interest, therefore, in all the younger readers of this journal, especially of those who have felt the love of God constraining their hearts and who have responded to that drawing influence and have made a full consecration of themselves to walk in the steps of the Captain of our Salvation—steps of self-denial, self-sacrifice, steps which lead from glory to glory. To all such he extends earnest greetings and salutations in the Lord—congratulation on the steps already trod and best wishes for those which are to come.
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“THY WORD WAS FOUND, I ATE IT.”
—2 CHRONICLES 34:14-28.—AUGUST 13—
Golden Text:—”I will not forget thy Word.”—Psa. 119:16.
KING AHAZ, in his wicked rebellion against God’s authority, had caused the manuscripts of the Law to be burned—presumably all of them. However, in God’s providence, perhaps with the cooperation of some of the faithful priests, one copy of the Law was buried under a pile of stone and rubbish in one of the little rooms surrounding the court of the Temple. There it was found by the priest Hilkiah in the process of the cleaning up and restoring of the Temple services commanded by King Josiah in connection with the reforms he instituted, considered in our last lesson.
Shaphan was the name of the king’s scribe, his position corresponding somewhat to secretary of state at the present time. He, as the king’s representative, had general charge of the Temple repairs, the collection of moneys donated by the people for the repairs of the Temple, and the re-institution of its services. Not to the king, therefore, but to Shaphan his representative, Hilkiah the high priest delivered the sacred manuscripts, and he in turn reported them to the king. Whether they included all the books of the Law, the five books of Moses and possibly the book of Judges, we cannot surely know, but evidently from the context they included the book of Deuteronomy.
“SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH.”
The Lord predicates two things respecting his Word of truth: First, it is intended only for those of an honest heart and who are seeking the truth; and, secondly, it is intended to still further enlighten and thereby to still further sanctify this class for whom it is intended. It was so with Josiah. Devoted to righteousness and seeking to serve the Lord, the message of the Law tended to deepen his every conviction and stimulate him to still further endeavors in the Lord’s service. The reading of the Law alarmed the king greatly, for he was in a condition of heart to believe every word of it. He realized that the nation of Israel had committed the very sins recorded in Deuteronomy, the twenty-eighth chapter (See 2 Kings 22:19), and that, therefore, they were subject to the very penalties therein specified. He rent his clothes—the tearing of the loose outer garment in olden times being a symbol of distress, perplexity or fear.
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At once the king sent commissioners, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for them that are left in Israel and Judah concerning the words of the book that is found, for great is the wrath of the Lord poured out upon us because our fathers have not kept the commandment of the Lord to do all that is written in this book.” The commissioners inquired of the Prophetess Huldah, and brought to the king the answer that all the evils, “curses,” declared in the book as the punishment for such sin would surely come upon the people because they had forsaken the Law. The punishments must be inflicted, but the king, who had shown such a loyalty to the Lord (and presumably others who manifested a similar spirit), would be preserved from the trouble. That is to say, it would not come at such a time and in such a manner as to involve them.
LOYALTY TO GOD, SYMPATHY FOR MAN
The king was doubtless comforted in a measure by the assurance of his own escape from the fiery troubles predicted, but the right condition of his heart was evidenced by the fact that he was not content merely with this, but sought as far as possible to bring the priests, the nobles and all the chief people of Israel, and incidentally, of course, all who were under their influence, back into harmony and fellowship with the Lord. The work of destroying idols throughout the land, which was accomplished in a considerable degree six years before, was renewed and thoroughly accomplished; the Temple services were established also in good form.
In this connection the king ordered the observance of the Passover as directed by the Lord, and the record seems to be that there had never been a more notable one in the history of Israel: the reformation seems not only to have been an outward one but one that reached the heart, and the desire to please and serve the Lord seems to have extended to all classes. Nevertheless we may be sure that then, as at all other times, there were both deep and shallow natures, and that the majority of the Israelites were swayed by the example of the king and nobles, without having any clear moral and religious sentiments of their own on the subject. It is always so in every nation; only the comparatively few seem to really hear and appreciate the Word of God. Thus our Lord said to those whom he addressed, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” The majority neither saw nor heard nor appreciated with their hearts, although the multitudes said, “Never man spake like this man,” and great crowds appeared to listen.
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I WILL NOT FORGET THY WORD
The golden Text is the key to all proper living. It was because David did not forget the Word of the Lord that he was the good king, the prototype of the great Messiah. David’s prophetic words, however, relate more particularly to the Christ than to himself. Many of his prophecies were written from this standpoint—as speaking for Messiah. We are reminded of our Redeemer’s sentiments as expressed in another Psalm, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: thy law is written in my heart.” (Psa. 40:8.) The Apostle applies these words directly to our Lord.—Heb. 10:7.
What was true of our Lord, the Head of the Church, must be true of every member of his body. Not a member can be indifferent even to the Word, the testimony, the will of God. And the attitude of each must not merely be a willingness to do the Lord’s will under restraint, but it must be of a willing heart, “I delight to do thy will.” To this end the Word of God must not only be appreciated as so much of literature and history and divine direction, but it must be so thoroughly appreciated as to be received into the heart, or, as the Apostle states it, it must be written in our hearts. This reminds us of the fact that Adam in his perfection was an image of God—that God’s law was written in his heart. Indeed in his nature, being, he was created in harmony with God, in his image, his likeness, as was also our Redeemer by his immaculate birth. The followers of Jesus, however, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, are far from having the divine law written in their hearts—with all of them it has become more or less obliterated through the fall. A part of the Christian’s daily business is to engrave in his character, in his heart, more and more deeply, the laws of the Lord; and the more earnestly he gives attention to this discipline and schooling, necessary to all the disciples of Christ, the more he prepares himself for the Kingdom condition and joint-heirship with the Lord, promised to all those who love and obey and follow him.
“MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE.”
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psa. 19:7-9.) How true are these prophetic declarations may be comprehended only by those who have learned to appreciate the Word of God. It deters from sin, it encourages toward righteousness, it gives consolation in trouble, it gives strength and courage in a time of general fear and quaking, it gives wisdom in times of perplexity, and the result is that the people of the Lord have much advantage everyway through it as respects the present life, besides the hope, the encouragement and the preparation which it gives for the life which is to come.
The Prophet, representing the Lord’s people of a future day, cries, “Thy words were found and I did eat them,” and this represents a double thought: first it implies that the Word of the Lord would be lost and would need to be searched for; secondly it implies that when found it will avail us nothing unless it be appropriated to our needs, unless its testimony be received into good and honest hearts and be put into practice. The Word of the Lord was lost in a most important sense during the dark ages. Forms and ceremonies and the decrees of councils took the place of the testimony which the Lord declares to be sure. The result was increasing confusion and deterioration of spiritual vitality amongst those professing the name of Christ. Not only was the Word of the Lord lost in the sense of not being followed,
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but in a very important sense it was also lost by not being studied. The writing of the Scriptures was generally discontinued and the old manuscripts were lost sight of.
The finding of the Word of God seemed to begin afresh with the introduction of the art of printing, at a time when certain of the Lord’s people were aroused to inquire more particularly for the “old paths.” (Jer. 6:16.) In Luther’s day, when printing was considerably advanced, history tells us that although he had been in a religious college for years, and was a professor and teacher, he never saw a copy of the Word of God until he was twenty years of age. Thank God, conditions are so changed now that his Word is found in the sense of being easily accessible to the whole people, and in the sense, too, that, under his providential care, in this time of the end knowledge has been increased so as to be universal in Christian lands. (Dan. 12:4.) Thank God that to-day his Word is abundantly distributed in all civilized lands and is obtainable in all heathen lands and in all languages.
BURIED UNDER TRADITIONS
Nevertheless the Word of the Lord is in one sense still hidden. It is covered with a thick coating of false teaching and human tradition, so that in the homes where the book is to be found there is often so much blindness upon the eyes of the understanding that the truth of God cannot be appreciated. It is still necessary for us to pray with the Apostle, for ourselves and for others, that, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, we might be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God, which passeth understanding. It is only as our eyes of understanding open that we really see the wonderful things of God’s book, and that we really get the wonderful blessings which he intended only for those who seek in truth and in sincerity, only for the saints.
The prophet speaks of a famine in the land, not for bread nor for water, but for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. There was such a famine in the dark ages, and to a large extent the reformation movement was a supply of the heavenly food and drink, spiritual nourishment. But, as we have just seen, there is still a famine though of another kind. Although there are churches in every direction, Bibles in every home, many are beginning to find that they are starving—that with the Word of God in their hands they are famishing, because they have been feeding upon the husks of human traditions, creeds and theories of men, which will not stand the tests of present-day enlightenment. Some are feeling lank and hungry spiritually. We wish there were more of these, for the Lord to-day, as ever, is as good as his word, assuring us that they that hunger and thirst after righteousness [truth] shall be filled. To all who now come into the right relationship to the Lord and to his Word there is refreshment never before known by his people. His Word, always precious, is a hundred-fold more precious now than ever before; its beauty, its true meaning, its reasonableness are more and more manifest to those who have the hearing ear and the eyes of their understanding opened, to those who are freed from the bondage of human traditions and are seeking the Bread from heaven, the testimony of the Lord that maketh wise the simple, the humble.
Now is the time for those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious and who have found his Word to be meat indeed, who realize that the Lord is present and has girded himself, and is serving the household of faith with meat in due season—now is the time for these to seek for and to assist those who are coming to an appreciation of their lankness and their hunger and thirst. May the Lord more and more give us wisdom and grace in presenting his Truth, that we may testify not only with our lips, but with all the conduct of life, the power and grace of the Word of Life.
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THE LONDON, ENG., CONVENTION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I have much pleasure in giving you a short report of the third London Convention. The three days of last weekend the 10th, 11th and 12th of June, were, to the brethren who gathered in London, as a holy convocation unto the Lord. We had indeed a time of rejoicing with each other for all his goodness, and a time of solemn waiting upon him, that we might offer our praise and gain further strength. The result is according to his gracious promise: the windows of heaven were opened and his love was poured out upon us. It has been a memorable time for all, and with one consent there were expressions of gratitude for the privilege of attending and for the encouragement and stimulus gained. It was specially good to hear from some who are learning the value of the Truth that the Convention has been as a seal to their faith, and that full assurance had come.
All the meetings were well attended and all were larger than last year. On the Sunday night there were about 600 present, while the average of the other meetings was about 350. We had with us Brother Luttichau from Copenhagen and Brother Lundborg from Stockholm, and it gave pleasure to hear of the growth of the Truth in their countries. Then there were, as usual, brethren from Scotland and Ireland.
The addresses were helpful, but a large proportion of the value of the Convention was plainly in the assembly of the brethren and encouragement through the mutual faith. The testimonies were good, indicating a fervent desire to be found pleasing to God, and to be faithful stewards of the treasure committed to us. On Monday 32 brothers and sisters symbolized their consecration to the Lord by immersion.
At the close of a Colporteur meeting for testimony, etc., on the suggestion of a brother, a message of love was sent to you and I have very much pleasure, dear brother, in conveying this to you. In support of this all the people rose to signify their feelings. We look forward to the time when we may have you with us again and when the love may be spoken to you and shown in the face. We were also desired to express the gratitude which the friends have for the meetings held under the auspices of the Society.
We pray for you, dear brother, that you may ever be found faithful to the great things committed into your hands, that your joy of the Lord may ever increase and that you may walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being spared to do all his will may have for you.
With much love in him, I am your brother,