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VOL. XXXVII AUGUST 1, 1916. No. 15
A. D. 1916—A.M. 6044
How We Attain Development as New Creatures . . . . . . . . . 227
Operation of the Holy Spirit in Us . . . . . 227
How the Husbandman Deals With His Vine . . . 228
Mortification of the Deeds of the Body . . . 228
Divine Recompense to Those Who Sacrifice . . 229
Re Partially Wilful Sins Before Consecration . . . . . . . . 229
We Reap What We Sow . . . . . . . . . . . . .230
The Thought of God (Poem) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .230
Sowing to the Flesh—The Result Death . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
The Riot at Ephesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .232
Reformation Costing Sacrifice . . . . . . . .232
Journeying Toward Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234
Especial Dangers Amongst Elders . . . . . . .235
“Day and Night With Tears” . . . . . . . . . 236
Munitions-Militarist Conspiracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .237
Minneapolis—Winnipeg—Sioux City—Newport Conventions . . . . .237
Interesting Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.—Aug. 19-22. For assignments address A. Fosbraey, 727 Pine Ave.
NASHVILLE, TENN.—Aug. 24-27. For assignments address Milton E. Confehr, 1516 McGavock St.
LOS ANGELES, CAL.—Sept. 2-10. For assignments address F.P. Sherman, 808 Figueroa St.
SEATTLE, WASH.—Sept. 14-17. For assignments address H.G. Backbock, 2410 First Ave., W.
MILWAUKEE, WIS.—Sept. 16-24. For assignments address C. Hilton Ellison, 2704 Wells St.
DAYTON, O.—October 5-8. For assignments address Dr. Chas. E. Kerney, 475 S. Broadway.
SPECIAL RATES TO NIAGARA FALLS CONVENTION
Many of the Railroads sell special Excursion tickets to Niagara Falls. We recommend inquiring of your Ticket Agent respecting Excursion rates before purchasing.
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company offers a $7.50 excursion rate, round-trip from Pittsburg. Whether other Railroads have a cheaper offer, we do not know. Bible Students going from nearby towns can buy to Pittsburg and there purchase the Excursion ticket mentioned.
DOCTOR JONES’ PACIFIC COAST EXCURSION
All considering attendance at Los Angeles Convention, Sept. 2 to 10, or Seattle Convention, Sept. 14 to 17, or both, are advised to consult W.L. Jones, 4100 Mich. Ave., Chicago.
“SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE”
We learn that amongst Bible Students there is a division of sentiment in respect to some of the newspapers publishing Pastor Russell’s sermons. Surely each person is at liberty to patronize whichever paper he finds most convenient in price, etc., and, in his judgment, most likely to be helpful in scattering the sermons amongst people who are not acquainted with the Truth! Each should consider the Lord’s will in the matter, and each has a perfect right to express his judgment to others. We counsel that all papers publishing the sermons be considered as friendly, and advise that the Brethren in expressing their views use logic and not bitterness, and that the Lord’s will and not personal prejudice shall prevail—”Speaking the Truth in Love.”
The Society’s thought is that the Truth is best served by the encouragement of newspapers which reach large numbers of outside readers.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR SEPTEMBER
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of “My Vow Unto the Lord,” then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for September follow: (1) 164; (2) 12; (3) 328; (4) 114; (5) 300; (6) 107; (7) 145; (8) 149; (9) 1; (10) 191; (11) 4; (12) 19; (13) 228; (14) 139; (15) 111; (16) 100; (17) 109; (18) Vow; (19) 279; (20) 307; (21) 333; (22) 165; (23) 113; (24) 66; (25) 71; (26) 208; (27) 105; (28) 226; (29) 119; (30) 313.
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STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE “BIBLE KEYS.” PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION.
SERIES I., “The Plan of the Ages,” gives an outline of the Divine Plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man’s redemption and restitution: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
SERIES II., “The Time is at Hand,” treats of the manner and time of the Lord’s Second Coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., “Thy Kingdom Come,” considers prophecies which mark events connected with the “Time of the End,” the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter on the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES IV., “The Battle of Armageddon,” shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord’s great prophecy of Matt. 24:1-51 and Zech. 14:1-9: 688 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., “The Atonement Between God and Man,” treats an all-important subject—the hub, the center around which all the features of Divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 640 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., “The New Creation,” deals with the Creative Week (Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-25), and with the Church, God’s “New Creation.” It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 750 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
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HOW WE ATTAIN DEVELOPMENT AS NEW CREATURES
“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”—Romans 8:13.
MORTIFICATION of the deeds of the body through the Holy Spirit of God is here declared by the Apostle Paul to be essential to the attainment of everlasting life. But to some who had become His disciples, the Lord said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” (John 3:36; John 5:24.) The Apostle John in his first Epistle says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren”; and “He that hath the Son hath life.”—1 John 3:14; 1 John 5:12.
We must not understand St. Paul to contradict our Lord and the Apostle John. Our Lord Jesus and St. John were speaking from the standpoint of God’s reckoning—from the legal standpoint. Those who have accepted Christ, and have received of His atoning merit, have come out from under the Adamic death condemnation. Their present imperfections, as well as their past sins, are covered by this merit. Through consecration and begetting of the Holy Spirit they have become New Creatures in Christ. Hence the everlasting life provided for such is already considered as theirs, while they abide under the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness. They are now “saved by hope.”
The Apostle Paul is here speaking of the matter from the standpoint of its full accomplishment, when the Church shall have obtained their spiritual body and are absolutely perfect, and have received the actual fulness of unending life. This will be attained only in our resurrection. No life can be everlasting, in the strict sense, unless it is to last forever; and this is not determined until we have made our calling and election sure. But it is reckoned to us so long as we are faithfully meeting God’s terms and conditions. Life could not last forever under present earthly conditions, even though the penalty of death were entirely removed; for these conditions are not favorable thereto. Conditions and environments must be radically changed before life could last eternally and be enjoyed in its fulness.
The embryo of life that we have received from our begetting as New Creatures is perfect so far as it has progressed; but it must continue to grow and develop, to make progress, until we are finally born perfect, complete, New Creatures in the First Resurrection. “Blessed and holy are they that have part in the First [chief] Resurrection. On them the Second Death hath no power.”
OPERATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US
The many exhortations addressed to this class of spirit-begotten ones would not be at all applicable to the world in general. The Apostle Paul is telling us as God’s spiritually begotten sons how we are to make ourselves ready for our birth in due time. He says that we are to accomplish this great preparatory work through the Spirit, through the power of God. The Spirit, or power of God, operates in various ways. For instance, God’s Message of Truth is given to us, embodying the different features of God’s great Plan, showing us what is the will of the Lord for us. The more we study and understand this Plan, the greater will be the operation of this holy power of God in our hearts. The deeper our consecration, the more sympathy shall we have with all the purposes of the Lord and the more fervently shall we desire to do the Divine good pleasure.
God through His Holy Spirit is not operating at present upon any but this special class. Whatever there is in the world of nature is all the result of the operation of God’s Power, His Spirit, in a general way; but the Apostle in our text is referring only to the influence of the Spirit of God upon the soul. In the New Testament writings the work of the Holy Spirit refers only to those who have become God’s people under the terms laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ. All such are under the Lord’s special care. God began this good work in us. It is not of men nor by men. Therefore we must look to God to complete this work which He has begun, and must give Him our full and hearty cooperation.
We are to go to God’s Word, and are to study it prayerfully, using all the helps which His providence has furnished thereto, seeking thus to learn the meaning of that Word, seeking to put it into expression in our lives. Just as it is necessary to partake of natural food that we may have our bodies strengthened and sustained, so God has given us spiritual food, that we may get spiritual sustenance and strength and may understand His will. This operation of God upon us and in us through His Holy Spirit is a gradual work; that is, after we have been begotten. Many of us have been so beclouded with the errors of our former beliefs that we are unable to see the deep things of God at the first glance. Therefore we need to study, and to meet together with those of like precious faith. If this is not possible for some, because
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of isolation, they can at least meet with the brethren by means of the printed page.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CONSECRATION
As we come to understand more clearly all that full consecration to God signifies, our thought on the subject gradually changes. When first we came to God, many of us had the thought that God’s will for us was to accept Christ as our Savior, and then to live a good, decent, moral life, to enjoy ourselves in any legitimate ways, to take good care of our bodies, and to attend church on Sunday, and perhaps other meetings. We thought that all who did not do this would be lost, that there would be no future hope for them. But this is not God’s Plan at all. We have learned better now. God has shown us that the only way by which the Church of Christ can ever attain to the Heavenly inheritance is by the destruction of the human nature and its interests, by the relinquishing of all earthly hopes and ambitions.
At first this is a new thought to us, and the question presents itself, “Does God wish me really to mortify, kill, my human nature? Am I not to seek to cultivate all my natural talents and make the most of them? Am I not to
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live a natural life, so long as I do not sin?” One not begotten of God’s Holy Spirit would say, “Why, certainly; follow the cravings of your nature, so long as you keep within bounds. If you would enjoy a good theatre, or a game of base-ball, go; and have a good time. If a glass of liquor does not hurt you, take it. If you have a natural talent for music or painting or whatever, it is your duty to make the most of it.” This is worldly counsel.
In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, the talents given by a certain lord to his several servants represented opportunities of service for that master. The master placed an opportunity in the hands of each servant and expected him to improve it. So our Heavenly Lord and Master places before His servants certain opportunities to be improved to His glory, and to be used as each has ability. These opportunities are given in harmony with natural ability and not in violation of it; but this does not mean that every ability we may possess, whether its use would glorify God or not, must be improved and employed. As New Creatures we are to employ all our powers to God’s glory. If they cannot be so used, we are to sacrifice them and spend ourselves in directions that would be in harmony with our Covenant of Sacrifice.
HOW THE HUSBANDMAN DEALS WITH HIS VINE
To each consecrated one who has entered upon this Heavenly way we would say, You have placed yourself in God’s hands. You have asked the Lord to transform you, to renew your mind, to make you entirely over, that you may be fitted and prepared for the glorious position He has promised. So all your powers are to be turned in the direction toward which you are to be trained by your Master. If the grape-vine under the husbandman could reason and speak, it would probably say, “It is natural for me to develop an abundant supply of foliage and to throw out branches and tendrils in every direction to support me.” But the wise husbandman vigorously prunes off these superfluous branches and tendrils that dissipate the strength of the sap, that develop only wood and leaves, and that cause the vine to cling to improper supports. The husbandman seeks for fruit, rich, abundant fruit; and everything which would hinder this attainment must be sacrificed. The vine would tend downward. The husbandman trains it to grow upward. So does our great Heavenly Husbandman train His spiritual vine, that we may bring forth abundant fruitage to His praise.
We no longer belong to the world. Our course now is to be that which God has marked out for us in the Scriptures. If we do not mortify, kill, the deeds of the body, we shall never gain the eternal life promised to the faithful overcomers alone. In order to attain eternal life, the life now held out to us—glory, honor, immortality—we must conform ourselves to the instructions given us by our great Training Master. We are not to do this in our own unaided strength. This would be impossible. But our Heavenly Father has promised to work in us while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
MORTIFICATION OF THE DEEDS OF THE BODY
The real thought of the words, “Mortify the deeds of the body,” is not what some have thought—to mortify our body. According to history, and according to some present practices, we learn that some have imagined that they must torture and punish their body. They use whips upon their flesh until they draw blood. Then they wear hair jackets. Sometimes their bodies fester from the pricking hairs that torture the raw flesh. Some mortify their bodies by actually lying down for others to walk upon them and to wipe their feet upon them. We cannot question that those who do these things have a motive in so doing; and we could not think it a bad motive. But they have entirely misapprehended what is the Scriptural mortification.
The Apostle tells us that it is the deeds of the body we are to mortify—the natural practices of the fleshly nature. “It is my nature to do so and so,” says one. But the Bible says we are not to go in the way in which we were born; for we were all born sinners. We now have the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in the way in which we should go. We are to mortify everything in us which is not fully endorsed by our new mind, everything that would hinder the death of the old creature—already reckoned dead—and hinder the growth of the New Creature. Certain elements of the mortal body are to be destroyed, warred against at all times. Other qualities of the human body are to be utilized in the service of righteousness. We were once sold under sin. But we have been purchased back, and now we have the mind of Christ.
We are now to treat our human body as an earthen vessel to be used to the glory of God. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit we are to know how to use this human vessel. We are to remember, first, that it is reckoned dead as a human body, having been sacrificed with Christ when we made our consecration to be dead with Him; second, that while reckoned dead, this body has actually been stimulated, quickened, revivified, to serve the New Creature, as its property, its servant, in lieu of the spirit body which we are to have, but have not yet obtained. Every property of this body which can be used in the interests of the New Creature, is to be utilized.
We are not to say, “If I use a certain natural talent which I possess, I can bring comfort or pleasure to others, or can promote some work of reform.” The question for us is, “Will the use of this natural talent or power assist me as a New Creature or assist in the work of gathering out and preparing the Bride of Christ for her future work?” This is our present mission. There are those who can do the other things. So we find that the process of developing ourselves as New Creatures and of assisting in the building up of the brethren in the most holy faith requires our undivided attention, and means a continual warfare of the new nature against the old. The Apostle calls it the warring of the spirit against the flesh. Our development into the likeness of Christ requires that we do good unto all men as we have opportunity—where it will not interfere with our consecration vows—but especially
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to the Household of Faith, as the Apostle tells us.
As our flesh is only reckonedly dead, and not actually, we are to be continually on guard. Our tongues are liable, unless carefully and prayerfully guarded, to speak slanderously or perhaps to make cutting remarks. All of our members are to be brought into harmony with God and His will. We are to have the sentiment of the hymn we often sing:
“Let mine eyes see Jesus only.”
We are to continually look to Him to be directed. We are, by thus seeing Him, to become more and more conformed to His glorious likeness. We are to endeavor to see everything from the Divine standpoint. We shall never become perfect in the flesh; but so long as we are tabernacling in this body, it is our duty and privilege to compel the body to do the will of the New Creature.
Our human body was once a slave to sin, a slave to the things of this present evil world. Now we are to say, “This body belongs to the Lord. I must control it to His glory. I am determined to increase day by day my power over this body, that I may use it more and more fully in the service of my King. I am not to do foolish things. I am not to leap from the pinnacle of a temple to see if God will not protect me while I am trying to show that I am a special favorite of Heaven. But under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am to get the most out of this body that I can, in the service of Him whom I have accepted as my new Master.
All this is necessary to our development of the character required for our great future work, not only for the coming Age, but for all eternity. We are called to joint-heirship with Christ. We can scarcely grasp what this means. We would never be prepared for such an exaltation if we did not prove overcomers. And this means that there is something real to overcome. Overcoming means the development of character, growing strong in the Lord. He declares that He is calling for only such as do thus overcome.
DIVINE RECOMPENSE TO THOSE WHO SACRIFICE
The world will have a thousand years to bring their bodies into perfect harmony with the Lord’s will, and they will not be required to sacrifice the legitimate desires of their flesh. But we are required, after we have accepted the present Call, to sacrifice the interests of the flesh; and we have but a very limited time in which to develop the necessary character. God is now selecting and directing those only who of their own will wish to lay down their lives with Christ. They love Him supremely; and He is pleased to call these holy ones His jewels. No good thing will He withhold from these. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard what God has in reservation for these who love Him.” These are going on from grace to grace, living not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
To the world it looks as if these are having a hard time. Moreover, the Bible says, “Through much tribulation shall ye enter into the Kingdom.” And again, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12.) Unless a man deny himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus, he cannot be His disciple. But, on the other hand, all true Christians will agree with the Apostle that it is possible to reach that degree of development where they will rejoice in all these experiences, rejoice while the flesh is being mortified, deadened. It is not that we are naturally so different from other people that we would enjoy what they dislike, but that we see a reason why we should rejoice. We know that this is God’s plan for us; and that
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by this mortification of the will of the flesh, of the things of the flesh, we are growing in God’s favor.
“Great peace have they that love Thy Law, and nothing shall offend [stumble] them.” So these have the peace of God ruling in their hearts. They have the knowledge that all of their affairs are under Divine supervision. The world have their troubles and fears. Some who are rich in this world’s goods worry for fear they will die in the poorhouse. Many misers have been found dead with a large amount of money secreted about them, having feared all their lives that they would come to poverty and want. Some have had various other forebodings. But those who have put their trust in the Lord have a peace that the world cannot know and cannot take away. It is superior to anything the world can offer.
But we cannot explain this to the world. They would be unable to comprehend it. The world sometimes say of the Lord’s consecrated people, “Is he a fool?” They cannot understand our hopes, which are so blessedly real to us. Those who have entered the School of Christ, and who have learned of Him, know. We all know that for everything which we deny ourselves now our God gives us abundant compensations in our spiritual blessings and joys even here; and then we have all the unspeakable glories promised to His saints awaiting us just beyond the veil.
“Then let our hearts be surely fixed
Where truest joys are found;
And let our burning, loving praise
Yet more and more abound.
And gazing on ‘the things unseen,’
Eternal in the skies,
From glory unto glory,
O Savior, may we rise!”
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RE PARTIALLY WILFUL SINS BEFORE CONSECRATION
SIN is to be viewed from two different standpoints. The Bible declares that all are sinners; for in Eden the whole race was judged and the whole race was condemned. These sinners may more or less sear their own consciences by doing things which they know are wrong, and may thus further degrade themselves mentally, morally and physically; or they may strive against sin and their own weaknesses and try to improve their character and their life. To whatever extent they do either the one or the other they are advancing or deteriorating.
But with the world God is not at present taking account of either of these courses. He has provided that all who will come back into harmony with Him shall have the favorable provisions of the Millennial Age, restoring them fully to God’s image and favor. That will be their trial time. It is not what mankind do now that will determine their eternal destiny, although their present course will affect their character, making them more or less likely to respond to the opportunities of the next Age. The present lives of some seem to be so hardening them that many stripes will be necessary in the Age to come before they can be brought into an obedient and teachable attitude, if, indeed, they ever respond and come into heart-harmony with the Kingdom arrangements. What men do now may degrade or elevate them, but will not bring them either eternal life or eternal death; for the world are all under sentence of the first death, all under the Adamic penalty.
God has plainly declared that there is to be a future life, a future hope, and why this is so and how release
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from this sentence is to be brought about. Moreover, He has given a special Message during this present Age to which some of us have gladly responded. We have determined that if God thus graciously designs to offer eternal life to every human being, and will now receive those who desire to be in harmony with Him, we will turn away from sin and live contrary to it, and will be servants of God and of righteousness. All who take this stand are directed of the Lord through His Word and His providences to the terms and conditions upon which they may become members of the Christ company, the Church company. God’s provision is so broad that it has made ample arrangement for all their necessities.
Only now, therefore, is there such a thing as sin unto death, wilful sin, that will decide their eternal destiny. The Apostle Paul says, as the mouthpiece of the Lord, that if we, the Church of Christ, sin wilfully after we have received the Spirit of God—after we have come to a knowledge of the Truth as it is in Jesus, and have tasted of the Heavenly gift—there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins—only destruction. (Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-31.) If we sin wilfully after we have left sin, then our course indicates perversion of mind, change of heart, a returning to a wallowing in the mire. None but the Church can do this; for only these have passed from death unto life. We made a bonafide contract with the Lord, and He will not ignore it. He will hold us to it; and we must either fulfil our covenant or meet the penalty—eternal death.
THE CASE OF SAUL OF TARSUS
But no sins that we committed before consecration are those wilful sins which will bring the Second Death. Such wilful sins are committed after consecration. Let us take the experience of Saul of Tarsus as an illustration. It would seem that Saul did not commit wilful sin when he persecuted the Church of Christ; for he said afterward that he verily thought he was doing God service. We can readily see how a strong character like Saul of Tarsus might think he was serving God in stoning St. Stephen and in other acts of like nature. He supposed that the followers of Jesus of Nazareth were violating the Jewish Law and trying to overthrow Judaism. He thought he was upholding God’s institutions. He had no intimation whatever that he was doing anything contrary to God’s will. When he was stricken down by the supernatural light and heard the Lord saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” he was astonished, and said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” It was a strange thought to him that he was persecuting the Lord; for he supposed that he was serving God. But as soon as he saw his error and realized that he was persecuting the Lord’s people, he turned about at once and came into full harmony with the Divine will. He evidenced by his sincerity of heart that he had not wilfully done wrong.
We cannot suppose that if Saul had been committing wilful sin in stoning St. Stephen, the Lord would have appeared to him and would have sent His servant Ananias to give him instruction. Nevertheless, Saul had done wrong, and he received a measure of stripes, of chastisement. His semi-blindness for life was in measure a retribution, a correction, as well as a means of keeping him humble in view of later revelations.—2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
As we understand the Scriptures, the merit of Christ’s death does not cover wilful sin of any kind, but only those sins which are done unintentionally by us. It would seem that those who love sin, who prefer sin, are not likely to be reached by the Gospel Message of this Age. Those who are not satisfied with themselves, but who are in difficulties merely on account of the weaknesses of the flesh, are the kind most likely to be reached. If at any time before coming to the Lord these honest-hearted ones have committed sins which had some measure of wilfulness, they probably had some later experiences that were in the nature of stripes, some sufferings therefor, either before consecration or subsequently.
WE REAP WHAT WE SOW
When one becomes a New Creature in Christ, we understand that all the affairs of the old creature are settled legally before God’s Law. Whoever comes into Christ becomes dead as a human being, in God’s reckoning. But if in his past life he has violated the laws of his being by a course of improper living, by committing sins that affected his health, the seeds of those sins will still be in his body; and he may throughout his entire life be obliged to suffer the results of this past wrong-doing. Or if in a moment of passion or under the influence of drink, for instance, he may before becoming a Christian have committed a crime, he may have to suffer to the end of his life because of this. But this would not mean that these sins had not been covered by the merit of Christ. It would be the natural retribution for wrong-doing, for violating Divine Law and perhaps human law. His sins would be the result of Adamic weaknesses and not purely wilful; and when he gives his heart to the Lord, they are no more remembered against him.
Our thought would be, then, that there are no sins of the Christian prior to consecration to be reckoned for after consecration, though the weakness or disabilities resulting from former sins may remain with him while he remains in the flesh, and he—or she—may always have these weaknesses or their results to contend with. “As a man soweth, so shall he also reap,” is a universal Law of God operating in our being, even though, through the Ransom-sacrifice of Christ, one may be received into the family of God and forgiven. Had it not been for the redemption through Jesus, all these sins would have meant death eternal. No one can indulge in sin without its making its impression upon the mind and upon the body, and the New Creature has that much more to struggle with. But he will have the Lord’s sympathy, and he has the constant application of the merit of his Savior as a covering
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for those sins and infirmities against which he is fighting. He has the Throne of Grace to which he may daily go for cleansing, through the precious blood, and to which he may go in every time of need.
The fact that sins indulged in will leave their effects in both mind and body which may require years to eradicate, should cause even those who are not consecrated to the Lord to live clean, pure lives, to seek to be in harmony so far as possible with the laws of their being. If all the world could realize the importance of this and would act accordingly, they would be greatly advantaged in the Age to follow this, when the whole world will be on trial for life or death eternal.
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THE THOUGHT OF GOD
“I look to Thee in every need, and never look in vain;
I feel Thy strong and tender Love, and all is well again.
The thought of Thee is mightier far
Than sin and pain and sorrow are.
“Discouraged in the work of life, disheartened by its load,
Shamed by its failures or its fears, I sink beside the road;
But let me only think of Thee,
And then new heart springs up in me.
“Thy calmness bends serene above, my restlessness to still;
Around me flows Thy quickening life, to nerve my faltering will.
Thy presence fills my solitude;
Thy providence turns all to good.”
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SOWING TO THE FLESH—THE RESULT DEATH
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”—Galatians 6:7 .
IN THIS text the Apostle seems to be emphasizing the fact that it is not enough that we make a consecration of ourselves to God, but we need to show by the earnestness of our conduct that we have received a transforming power into our lives. If we say that we are New Creatures and make a change merely in our profession, while still sowing to the flesh, the result will be not according to our profession, but according to our doing; and we shall reap the reward—corruption. Others may be deceived, and we may be deceived ourselves; but God will not be deceived. If we, on the contrary, to the best of our ability to understand the Lord’s will, lay down our lives, sowing to the Spirit, then shall we reap everlasting life.
The Apostle is addressing the saints, the consecrated people of God, those who have presented their bodies living sacrifices, and whose sacrifices have been made acceptable through the merit of Christ. Being made New Creatures by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, these are to go on to reach perfection on the spirit plane.
If we, then, who are of this class, live after the flesh—according to the desires of the flesh—we shall die. This does not mean that if any of God’s people should have some earthly desire or some wrong sentiment spring up in their minds they would die instantly, or that they would instantly be cut off from any hope of future life on the spirit plane. The thought is that if we live after the flesh—pursue the desires of the flesh, follow that course in life—the end will be death. And every seed thus sown tends toward death. If we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption.
CERTAIN CARE FOR THE BODY NECESSARY
It would not be necessarily true in such sowing that we would wish to sow to the flesh. The Apostle intimates that the class he is addressing do not wish to sow to the flesh, but wish to do otherwise. But if we do sow to the flesh—to sensuality or to any earthly desires contrary to the new nature—the crop will come by and by. We might like to have better clothes and delicious food; we might desire to live on a good street and in a fine house; and these would not necessarily be sinful things. All these things are of the flesh, but they are not what the Apostle has especially in mind here. He is thinking of things of the fallen flesh, which are always contrary to the Spirit.
If we practice those things which our understanding of God’s Word teaches us He would not approve, seeds are thus sown to the flesh. Every inch that we yield—whether in thought, word or action—means so much decrease of spiritual power; and the New Creature grows weaker. This might be done as respects our food and clothing, our home, our time, etc.; and this would be sowing to the flesh in such instances. If in accordance with our judgment of the Lord’s will, we follow a course with a view to keeping our body in condition for best service, and if then our body, our flesh, has a craving for certain things that would not be for our spiritual welfare, the New Creature is to say, “No, you cannot have it”; or “These things are too expensive for you.”
There are not many who have made a sacrifice of their flesh; but it is to those who have done this that the Apostle is speaking. I, as the New Creature, say to the Old Creature—the body—”I shall give you what I think is for your good. I do not understand that the Lord wishes me to kill you at once, for I need your service; but the Lord wishes me to have some practice in self-denial. You shall not have your desire now, because you do not really need it. I may, however, give it to you some time again, if I think that then you need it and if you are good.”
THE BLACKSMITH AND THE DONKEY
If the New Creature gives a free rein to the old creature about what he shall read, or eat, how long he shall sleep, at what time he shall get up, where he shall go and how long he shall stay, etc., the New Creature will have his hands full—will he not? The Spirit of the Lord is to actuate the New Creature in thought, word and action and decide what he is to do, what he shall eat, where he shall go—is to control everything. If we sow to the Spirit, if we walk after the Spirit, we shall be overcomers, we shall reap life-everlasting. We must not yield to the old creature. By yielding we are sowing seed to the flesh, and by and by the old creature will say, “You have been in the habit of giving that to me, and you must let me have it”; and the result is likely to be disastrous to the New Creature.
The matter reminds us of one of AEsop’s fables which many of us have read. On a cold, frosty morning, a donkey pushed his nose in at the door of a blacksmith shop, where it was warm from a glowing fire. The blacksmith said to the donkey, “Get out!” The donkey replied, “You are stingy! I am only getting my nose warm.” Presently the blacksmith looked around and perceived that the donkey had his whole head in. The blacksmith said, “Now get out, will you?” But the donkey pleaded that he was only getting a little breath of warm air, that his head surely would not trouble the blacksmith. After awhile the blacksmith looked again and saw that the donkey was half-way into the shop. Then he shouted, “Get out! get out!” But the donkey still insisted that he was only getting a little warm. So the blacksmith yielded. By and by he looked again and saw that the donkey was altogether in the shop. Then he sprang forward shouting excitedly, “Get out!” But the donkey said triumphantly, “Which of us will get out?” And thereupon he turned around and began to kick at the blacksmith. The donkey was in full control.
“THE END OF THAT WAY IS DEATH”
So it will be with us if we begin a course of yielding little by little to the desires of the fleshly mind. The end of the way which the flesh craves, the Apostle teaches us, is death. St. Paul does not say that the beginning of that way is death; but that the beginning of that way leads toward death. If the old creature has gained a leeway,
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every step that is taken must be retraced, or the case is hopeless. The New Creature is to say to the old creature, “You are not to be my master!” The old creature is to be made to know that the New Creature is the Master. The New Creature develops at the expense of the old creature, the old nature, which must be put to death.
These things are not true of the world now, but will be true of them as respects their sinful flesh, by and by. If any during the Millennium shall yield to the fallen flesh, gradually becoming more and more alienated from the Lord, the end of that way will be death. But they will have every assistance in their efforts to resist sin and to develop righteousness. To the Church of Christ our text is applicable now and in the fullest sense. Let those of us now on trial for life or death eternal, watch and pray!
“Thou seest our weakness, Lord!
Our hearts are known to Thee;
O, strengthen Thou the weary hand,
Confirm the feeble knee!
Let us in life—till death—
Thy steadfast Truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath
Thy love and guardian care.”
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THE RIOT AT EPHESUS
—AUGUST 20.—ACTS 19:29-41.—
COMPLETION OF ST. PAUL’S SECOND MISSIONARY TOUR—HIS THIRD TOUR BEGUN—APOLLOS AT EPHESUS ASSISTED BY AQUILA AND PRISCILLA—BAPTISM UNTO REPENTANCE NOT BAPTISM INTO CHRIST—THE GOSPEL PREACHED IN EPHESUS—OPPOSITION BY DELUDED AGENTS OF THE ADVERSARY—BUSINESS DEPRESSION CHARGED TO CHRISTIANITY—TOWN CLERK A MAN OF REASONABLY SOUND JUDGMENT—REAL SECRET OF OPPOSITION TO THE TRUE GOSPEL.
“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”—1 Timothy 6:10. R.V.
AFTER leaving Corinth, St. Paul completed his second missionary tour and returned to Antioch. En route he stopped at Jerusalem, where he greeted the Church and doubtless gave them an account of the Lord’s blessing upon his recent ministries in Europe. Aquila and Priscilla went with the Apostle as far as Ephesus. The vessel upon which he sailed remaining at the port, over the Sabbath, St. Paul improved the opportunity to speak for Christ in the synagogue of Ephesus. His discourse was in the nature of a preparation for a future work which he hoped to do there. Doubtless he spoke along the lines of first principles—respecting the glorious Messianic prophecies, the fulfilment of which should now be expected. His discourse was well received, and he was urged to remain longer, whereupon he gave his promise of a later return.
We are not informed how long the Apostle remained at Antioch; but “after he had spent some time there, he departed and went over all the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, establishing all disciples.” While he was energetic in the establishment of new companies of the Lord’s people, he was not slack in looking out for the spiritual welfare and growth of those which he had already established, as is evidenced in the fact that this was his third visit to these Churches.
When St. Paul returned to Ephesus, he found that during his absence a Christian brother named Apollos had come there and had preached in the synagogue, using such close, logical and convincing arguments that he had secured twelve converts to Christianity. Apollos was a Jew, born at Alexandria, one of the chief cities of that time, especially noted for its schools and its extensive libraries. The Common Version says that Apollos was eloquent; the Revised Version, that he was learned. As the Greek word seems to be translatable either way with equal propriety, in all probability he was both learned and eloquent. However, he was not as far advanced in the knowledge of the Truth as were Aquila and Priscilla, who had for a time companied with St. Paul. As soon as they heard Apollos in the synagogue, they recognized him as a Christian brother, and invited him to their own home, where they had good opportunity to communicate to him “the way of the Lord more perfectly.”
Having heard from Aquila and Priscilla the glorious work which the Apostle Paul had accomplished at Corinth, Apollos went thither, taking with him a letter of introduction from his newly found friends at Ephesus, who had very recently left Corinth. Incidentally, we are told that his going to Corinth proved a blessing to the Church there. Because of his thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures and his ability in expounding them, Apollos could “forcefully confute the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus is The Christ.” (Acts 18:28.) That the Corinthian brethren were greatly pleased with his masterful ability as a teacher of the Truth is evidenced by the fact that some of them were disposed to say that they were followers of Apollos; while others, also sectarian in spirit, claimed to be followers of St. Paul, and still others of St. Peter—all of which sectarianism the Apostle subsequently reproved in his letter to them.—1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 1 Corinthians 3:3-7.
ST. PAUL’S MINISTRY AT EPHESUS
While Apollos was at Corinth, the Apostle Paul came to Ephesus and began a ministry which lasted for two years. St. Paul speedily found the twelve persons whom the ministry of Apollos had reached. Our Common Version seems to give the inference that the Apostle was surprised that these believers at Ephesus had not as yet received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But not so. He merely wished to bring to their attention the fact that such gifts were possible to them; for only an Apostle could convey the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17.) The preaching of Apollos had been merely along the lines of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, represented in the baptism of John to the Jews; while these believers were evidently Gentiles.
Apollos had explained to these Ephesians the Gospel merely to the extent of repentance from sin and faith in Christ as the Redeemer. He had no knowledge of the deeper meaning of baptism as explained by St. Paul (Romans 6:3-5)—a baptism of consecration, to suffer with Christ—to be dead with Him, to participate in His resurrection to the new nature and ultimately to be sharers with Him in the Heavenly Kingdom. The Apostle explained to them this “mystery” of fellowship with the Messiah—participation in His sufferings now, and by and by in His glory. (Colossians 1:26,27; Philippians 3:8-11.) When the Ephesian converts heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus—as members of His Body, to fellowship in His sufferings, even unto death.
There are many believers today who, like these Ephesians, are members of the Household of Faith, but who are not members of the Body of Christ—who have gone so far as a baptism of repentance and reformation and faith in the Redeemer, but who have not been instructed respecting the great privileges which belong to the Gospel Age. They know not that we may become “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”—Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:11,12.
Wherever we go, let us each seek by the grace of God to explain the way of the Lord more perfectly to these already partially indoctrinated ones. So long as there are any such with whom to labor, it would be unwise, yea, contrary to our commission, for us to devote our lives and energies to the world. Although we are to do good to all men as we have opportunity, it is to be “chiefly unto the Household of Faith.” (Galatians 6:10.) All around us, in the churches of the various denominations, are thousands who are in the condition of those mentioned above, knowing only the baptism of repentance, but not the baptism into Christ—the baptism of full consecration, the baptism into His death. Let us be diligent in this highest department of the work of the ministry, feeding, instructing, the Lord’s flock.
REFORMATION COSTING SACRIFICE
St. Paul continued to present the Truth in the synagogue until opposition to it became quite marked, and certain of the Jewish adherents began to speak evil of both the teachings and the believers. Then the Apostle and those who believed withdrew from the synagogue, and began a separate meeting, apparently in a rented hall, called “The School of Tyrannus.” St. Paul probably labored at his trade during the forenoon, and during the afternoon
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preached the Gospel Message to such as had hearing ears, not only in the public hall, but also by visiting those whom he had reason to expect would be amenable to the Truth. Apparently this was his usual manner of life.—1 Thess. 2:9.
During his ministry the Lord performed through the Apostle many marvelous healings of the sick and other miracles, amongst which was the casting out of demons. We may reason that the manifestation of Divine power here was necessary to the establishment of the Church and to the general influence of the Gospel in that region—as an offset to the blinding influences of Satan’s agents and power. From the earliest dawn of history Satan’s arts, employed in all parts of the world, have been in the nature of wonder-workings, of magic, black art, witchcraft, etc. The Scriptures call attention particularly to the magicians of Egypt, to the soothsayers of Babylon, and in the Book of Acts show us that the same wily arts of the Adversary were general throughout the Roman Empire, and especially in the wealthy city of Ephesus.
Perceiving the Apostle’s power to be greater than their own, certain magicians essayed to use the name of Jesus as a charm or magic word, just as they were in the habit of using other magic words in their incantations. The efforts of some of these, sons of one of the principal priests, resulted disastrously to them, but beneficially to many others. This matter becoming widely known, many who long had had confidence in such wonder-workers became convinced that the Apostle’s teachings were correct—that the black arts were of Satan, while St. Paul’s miracles were of Divine power.
The sincerity of some of these converts was manifested by the public burning of the books in which were recorded the various magic words and recipes by which incantations could be made, affecting and counteracting various of the ills of life. At that time all books were precious; for they were made of skins instead of paper, and were pen-printed instead of printed by type. These books of magic were especially high-priced because each possessor of a copy was interested in restricting the information, and hence was unwilling to permit any one to make a copy of his book. Viewed from this standpoint, the number of books would not necessarily be very great in order to amount to fifty thousand pieces of silver—about $8,500, a piece of silver representing about 17 cents of our money. But, when we remember that each piece of silver represented a day’s wages, it might be considered equivalent to at least one dollar in our day. Thus the total value of the books burned would be at least $50,000.
Everything throughout the Scriptures indicates that the Lord especially loves and appreciates those who are thorough-going, not only in their zeal for righteousness and truth, but also in their opposition to unrighteousness and error. We believe that the same principle applies to the sale of books which inculcate Satan’s lies; and we recommend that if the Lord’s people have books of this kind, black with false doctrines, misrepresenting the Divine Character and Plan, they would do far better to burn them than to sell them and give the money to the Lord’s work.
OPPOSITION BASED ON SELFISHNESS
After St. Paul had spent nearly three years at Ephesus, he purposed going again to Jerusalem, but first would visit the Churches of Macedonia and Achaia—Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica and Corinth. Evidently it was this visit to Corinth to which he referred in his letter to them. (1 Corinthians 4:17-19.) He proposed to take from them a contribution to the poor in Jerusalem—not as seeking a gift, but as an evidence of their love for the Lord, manifested in their desire to help the brethren at Jerusalem, who were chiefly poor and greatly disadvantaged by their loyalty to the Truth.
About this time occurred the riot described in today’s Study, which probably would have determined the Apostle to leave Ephesus, if he had not already purposed so to do. The Lord permitted persecutions to drive St. Paul out of every place—thus seemingly indicating the proper time for terminating his ministry at each point. The record says, “There arose no small stir about that way.” (Acts 19:23.) Very evidently the way of the Lord’s people differed decidedly from the ways of others, not only as concerned their future hopes, but also regarding their course in the present life. And the way is the same to this day, as concerns those who are faithfully walking close to the Lord and to the teachings of His Word. The difficulty with many professed Christians is that they have gotten out of the way. As a result, nominal church ways are, alas! too much like those of the world, with very similar hopes, aspirations and endeavors.
Ephesus was one of the great cities of that time. Just at the head of its harbor stood one of the “seven wonders of the world,” an immense temple of “Diana of the Ephesians”—the deity of Asia Minor. To her shrine came thousands of people, believing that they received from her a special blessing, which affected favorably the prosperity of their homes. Her blessing was supposed to increase greatly their flocks and herds and the birth of children. Unlike the Greek Diana, this one was represented to be the mother of all things living.
Of course the fame of this great idol attracted general attention; and those who could not go to Ephesus to worship at the shrine of this image were pleased to purchase from merchants certain charms or amulets, which consisted of small copies of her shrine wrought in silver. In the Apostle’s day the business of making these shrines was immense, employing thousands of men.
A man named Demetrius was the representative of the silversmiths’ guild, or union. Becoming incensed at the propaganda of the early Church at Ephesus, he aroused his fellow-craftsmen by a stirring speech, in which he painted a black picture of the business depression that would result if this man Paul were permitted to preach much longer in their city. He called attention to the fact that not merely at Ephesus, but throughout all Asia Minor, this new religion was spreading, and that it opposed the worship of Diana. He reasoned that if the people in that region lost respect for Diana and her temple, they would no longer purchase her shrines; and that the falling off in demand would mean loss for all engaged in the manufacture of these shrines. With a wonderful cunning he combined the thought of their duty of supporting the religion of their city with that of looking out for their pocketbooks. That he was successful in arousing prejudice and in creating a riot causes us no wonder.
THE OVERRULING OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
Soon the city was in an uproar, touched to the quick on humanity’s very tenderest spots—religion and worldly prosperity. Doubtless the Adversary helped on the matter, with the result that shortly the people were in a frenzy of despair, as though the anticipated collapse of their religion and their business were already upon them. The home of St. Paul was known; and thither the mob rushed, seeking the chief factor in the impending troubles. In the Lord’s providence, St. Paul was absent. Aquila and Priscilla, who kept the home, were there and, although not arrested, evidently were loyal to the Apostle to the very last degree. (Romans 16:3,4.) As working people and home-keepers they were not molested; but two of the
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Apostle’s assistants were taken by the mob, and hurried to the theater, whose capacity, we are told, was 56,000 people, thus indicating that Ephesus was an immense city.
Learning of the commotion, St. Paul would have courageously entered into the thick of the trouble in defense of his friends and, above all, of his Master and His Message. But wiser counsels prevailed, and he remained away. The brethren suffered him not; for they concluded that his presence would have accomplished nothing with people in so unreasonable a state of mind.
The Lord, however, did not neglect the two brethren who were arrested—Gaius and Aristarchus. The town clerk came to their assistance, and with words of wisdom dispersed the mob. This official was not interested in the Gospel of Christ and its service. But he was interested in the doing of his duty as an officer of the city. He pointed out to the mob the fact that they had become unduly excited, that everybody knew the greatness of the goddess Diana, and that neither one Jew nor many Jews could injure her fame. Then he declared that if the disturbance were not merely a quarrel between the silversmiths and the propagators of Christianity—if the assembly had any other charge against St. Paul and his associates—the matter should be brought before the law courts in the lawful manner. He showed that the meeting was nothing short of a riot; and that if it were to be reported to the imperial government at Rome, it would greatly reflect to the discredit of Ephesus. With this he dismissed the assembly.
PRINCIPLE AND LACK OF PRINCIPLE
Notice the contrast between the two groups whose acts are recorded in this chapter. In the first case, many people, realizing that they had been working in conjunction with the powers of evil—the demons—burned their books of magic, etc., as a result of the influence of the Gospel Message upon their hearts. After they had come to a knowledge of the situation, they were willing and glad to suffer financial loss and be thought foolish by their neighbors rather than to do injury to others by the sale of the books of magic, black art, etc.
On the contrary, the chief actors of the second group were moved to frenzy and to riotous conduct by their love of money—their fear of financial loss. Evidently it was not their respect for religion, but their love for filthy lucre, which prompted their actions. Moreover, the worship of Diana was demoralizing. Hence we perceive the strong contrast between those who raised a riot in order to perpetuate idolatry and to bring money into their own purses, and those who, on the contrary, were ready to sacrifice their earthly interests rather than do harm and in order to do the more good. Verily, there is a wonderful power in the religion of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!
Be it also noted that the Apostle and his associates were not guilty of the charge made against them—blaspheming the goddess of Ephesus. Here we have a point of importance and a valuable lesson. St. Paul’s commission was to preach the Gospel, not to quarrel with false gods or their worship. The persecution was therefore for right-doing. So it is with us. It is not necessary for us to do or to say anything unkind toward our friends in Babylon. Nor is it necessary for us to tirade against their systems or doctrines. We have plenty to do in setting forth the Gospel Message.
Of course, St. Paul did not fail to call attention to the fact that Diana was the work of men’s hands and not, as claimed, a divinity. So we may properly enough set forth to our friends the fact that there is but the one true Church, organized by our Lord and established at Pentecost; and that all other churches are, therefore, merely human systems. But we are not commissioned to tirade against these churches. The command, “Speak evil of no man,” may properly be applied also to religious systems, particularly those that recognize the redeeming merit of Christ’s death as the foundation of Christianity and that teach morality. Undoubtedly the Lord has permitted sectarianism for some wise purpose, even as He has permitted the Gentile governments to hold sway until the end of “the Times of the Gentiles.” Let us not interfere with the fulfilment of the Divine purposes. Let us be content to fulfil our mission of assisting the brethren by building them up in the most holy faith and telling the Good Tidings to whoever may have an ear to hear.
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JOURNEYING TOWARD JERUSALEM
—AUGUST 27.—ACTS 20:16-27.—
ST. PAUL’S ADDRESS TO THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS—A BRIEF REVIEW OF HIS OWN EXPERIENCES—THE KINGDOM OF GOD THE THEME OF HIS PREACHING—THE DOUBLE RESPONSIBILITY UPON ALL ELDERS—WARNING AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS—”WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING”—DECLARING THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD.
“I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace.”—Verse 32.
WHEN St. Paul fled from Ephesus, after the rioting, he made a tour of the European Churches which he had founded. Passing through Macedonia to the city of Corinth, he came by vessel again to Miletus, about fifty miles south of Ephesus. He was accompanied by representatives of several of the Churches of Greece and Asia Minor, and was en route for Jerusalem, for whose poor he had suggested that collections be made in the four provinces where he had been preaching. The vessel on which the party were to go to the Jerusalem port was detained indefinitely at Miletus. Word was then sent to the Elders at Ephesus, and they came to Miletus.
Today’s Study calls attention especially to the Apostle’s address to these Elders. We are not to think of it as a boastful statement, but rather as a plain rehearsal of matters which his hearers would fully concede and of which he boasted nothing. It was given, not for his own sake, not as indicating personal vanity and self-praise, but with a view to quickening the memory of his hearers and making the lesson of the hour the more impressive upon them. He reminded them that for the space of three years they had known him intimately—his manner of life, his devotion to the Lord, to the service of the Truth and of the brethren. He also reminded them of his humility of mind—that his conduct had not been haughty and overbearing, that he had not sought to lord it over the Church, but that on the contrary he had endured amongst them many trials and difficulties with the Jews, with “false brethren.”
The Elders knew of his work, of his endurance and of his holding nothing back from them that would be helpful to them; they knew that he had taught them publicly and privately, as circumstances had opened to him opportunities of service. He had testified to both Jews and Greeks that there is only the one Gospel of Christ, to be accepted through faith and turning away from sin. By calling attention to these elements of his own character, he was
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laying the foundation for his subsequent exhortation to them that they should copy his zeal, his fidelity. He had been a faithful overseer, or bishop, watching over their interests. He had been a faithful pastor, guiding their welfare and seeing to their nourishment in spiritual things. Knowing the truthfulness of his presentations and having the whole situation in mind, they would be the better prepared to hear from him his parting exhortation—the great lesson which he had to give them.
St. Paul informed the Elders that although possessed of his physical liberty he felt a mental restraint which he could not shake off; that he must go to Jerusalem; that this was the Lord’s providence for him; and that he had received assurances from others through the “gifts of the Spirit” that bonds and imprisonment awaited him at Jerusalem. Then he added these encouraging words: “But none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom, shall see my face no more.”
The Apostle had become more intimately acquainted with the Ephesian Church, apparently, than with any of the others. By the Lord’s providence he had spent more time with them; and apparently the results procured had justified his prolonged stay. Partings between friends are always grievous; and parting with no hope of seeing each other again on this side the veil is a doubly severe ordeal.
“PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
Incidentally we note the Message which the Apostle delivered, and which he here particularly emphasizes as the Gospel of Christ—”preaching the Kingdom of God.” It is right that we should recognize that this is the same Gospel which we are preaching today. If otherwise, then we are not preaching aright. The grace of God was manifested in the gift of His Son, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. The grace of God was further manifested in an outline of the manner in which the death of Christ was designed to bring blessings to our race:
(1) By ultimately establishing a Kingdom under the whole heavens for the rule of mankind, for the suppression of Sin and Death, for the uplifting of those who have been bound by these enemies.
(2) As a precedent to that general blessing to the world, for which we pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven,” the Divine proclamation first calls out a Little Flock to be joint-heirs with their dear Redeemer in that Kingdom.
Thank God that these precious truths respecting the grace of God and the Kingdom of God, so long covered and hidden from our sight by the traditions of the Dark Ages, are now being revealed to our eyes of understanding by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, in order that we might know the things that are freely given us of God, and that thus we might be assisted in making our calling and election sure!
No wonder the Apostle could add the forceful words, “I testify unto you this day that I am pure from the blood of all men; for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” What he preached to the Church at Ephesus during his sojourn of nearly three years amongst them is surely the same Message which, by Divine arrangement, has come down to us in his Epistles addressed to the various Churches. We note that St. Paul’s Message contained not even one word respecting eternal torment, which is no part of the Divine Plan. Surely from these Epistles we now perceive that St. Paul was very patient in reproving, instructing and encouraging the Lord’s dear people! He was much used of the Lord because he had given himself so thoroughly to the Lord.
RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL ELDERS
The Apostle’s thought in calling the Elders was to impress upon them the fact that, like himself, not only were they consecrated to the Lord, but, as teachers in the Church, they had a double responsibility—in respect to themselves and in respect to the Church of which the Lord had made them overseers. Notice his words, “Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers [Greek, episcopos—bishops], to feed the Church of God, which He purchased with blood of His own [Son].”—Acts 20:28.
(1) They needed to take heed to both themselves and the flock. Whoever attempts to do shepherding in the Church will need, first of all, to watch lest he fall into temptation; for, as the Apostle declares, those who accept the position of Elders in the Church—pastors, overseers—are exposed to especial trials, especial difficulties. They need primarily to take heed to themselves lest, having preached to others, they themselves become castaways.
(2) “Those who accept the ministry, or service, of the Church as Elder Brothers under the Divine regulation should realize that they have assumed a weighty responsibility, respecting which they must give an account to God.” This does not mean fault-finding with the brethren. It does not mean merely preaching to them, nor merely visiting the sick and counseling the troubled. It means a spiritual oversight, a care of all the interests of both the congregation and the individuals composing it. Those who are overcharged with the cares of this life are not in a condition, in any sense of the word, to accept the responsibilities of this service in the Church of the living God. Only those who seek first the interests of the Lord’s Kingdom and the righteousness which it inculcates are in any sense or degree properly suited to such service in the Church.
Several points in Verse 28 (Acts 20:28) are worthy of careful attention. The Revised Version, quoted above, says, “In the which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops,” thus agreeing with the general Scriptural statement that the Elders of the Church are NOT OVER THE CHURCH in the sense of being a superior class, or “clergy” class, but are IN THE CHURCH—members of it—overseeing members, assisting members, by the appointment of the Lord through the channel of the Church. They should consider it a part of their responsibility to notice how the other members are progressing, especially in their spiritual interests. They should feel it a part of their duty to warn, to encourage, to assist all of the other members, as opportunity may offer.
ESPECIAL DANGERS AMONGST ELDERS
It is not the prerogative of all the brethren and sisters in the Church to endeavor to set each other right, unless it be in some personal matter especially related to themselves. In such cases the advice given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 should be strictly followed. An Elder, however, by his very election to his office, has been asked to take such oversight of the affairs of the congregation, to give such advice, to administer such reproofs, as the nature of the case may demand—in meekness, remembering himself also, lest he should be tempted, if not along the same lines, then possibly along some other line of temptation. He, too, of course, should practice Matthew 18:15-17.—Galatians 6:1.
By way of impressing this duty of oversight upon the
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Elders, St. Paul reminded them that the Lord had purchased this Flock with the precious blood of the Lamb of God, and that this value in the Lord’s sight should be so deeply impressed upon their minds that they would be willing to lay down their lives for the brethren in any service which they could render.
Emphasizing the caution already given, the Apostle prophetically declared that there would be great need of their taking heed to themselves, because of their own selves, of the Flock itself, and especially amongst the Elders, men would arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Desirous of being leaders, they would not hesitate to produce a schism, or division, in the Church, in order to help along their ambition. The word rendered perverse in Verse 30 (Acts 20:30) signifies, in the original, distorted, twisted. The thought is that those who begin to lose the Spirit of the Lord begin also to lose their clear appreciation of the Truth. As personal and selfish ambitions cloud their vision, they see the Scriptures more and more vaguely, and feel free to distort these so as to support their own ambitious sentiments.
How true are the Apostle’s words! How great a danger there is along these lines, especially to the Elders, the overseers of the Flock! Evidently selfish ambition is one of the greatest of foes with which they must contend. Nor do these ambitions suddenly germinate, bloom and bear fruit. The process is a gradual one, and hence the more dangerous, the more deceptive, the less likely to have our notice. How important, then, it is that all of the Lord’s Flock, and especially the Elders, take heed to themselves and scrutinize their conduct, and particularly the motives lying behind their deeds! Let us remember that absolute purity of the will is essential. Every admixture of selfishness, however little, is a poisonous virus which, if unchecked, would lead to the Second Death.
“Grievous wolves” are ferocious wolves. For a time they may deceive the sheep by an outward manner and an outward profession, covering their wolfish nature. They and the outward conduct by which they deceive the Flock are Scripturally designated, “Wolves in sheep’s clothing.” (Matthew 7:15,16.) The Shepherd knows their character long before it becomes manifest to the sheep. But the docile, innocent sheep are deceived until these wolves begin to bite, to devour and to scatter the Flock. The howls of anger, malice, hatred, envy and strife are noted in the Scriptures as “works of the flesh and of the Devil”—not works of righteousness, peace and love, the Spirit of the Lord. The wolf does injury with his mouth; and so do these “grievous wolves”—slandering, back-biting and doing every evil work. The Apostle warned the Elders of Ephesus what to expect, and his words were true. The same principles are still at work. The same warning still needs to be heeded. Indeed, the Scriptures imply that the severest experiences along these lines would come upon the Church in “the evil day” with which the Gospel Age would close, the time in which we now are living.
“DAY AND NIGHT WITH TEARS”
In Verse 31 (Acts 20:31) the Apostle sets two points before us. First, the Elders are to watch against these evils so graphically portrayed. They are to watch for the interests of the Flock as against the wolves. They are to watch to give the wolves as little opportunity as possible to tear the Flock and to backbite them. They are to warn the sheep lest any of them, becoming inoculated with the rabies of the wolves, should display signs of hydrophobia and begin to backbite one another, with the usual symptoms of hydrophobia—with an apparent thirst for water, symbol of Truth, yet refusing to drink it—turning against it.
Second, the Elders are to watch also against those sure to arise “of your own selves.” Proper watching begins with our own hearts, saying, “Lord, is it I?” And proper watching will in time discern such characters and expose them—not from any bitterness towards them, but for the protection of the Flock.—1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 2:17.
St. Paul reminded the brethren that such had been his own course—one of great watchfulness, interest, care, over them and over all the Churches of Asia Minor. The expression, “Night and day with tears,” shows us clearly that he felt properly the weight of responsibility resting upon him as a servant of God, an ambassador of the King of kings, an over-shepherd, an overseer, of the Lord’s Flock, a “minister of the New Covenant,” delegated by the great Head of the Church to assist in calling out and preparing those who will be members of the glorified Body of Christ, to reign with Him a thousand years.
DIVINE ASSISTANCE PROVIDED
In the closing words of his exhortation the Apostle’s thought seems to be that he desired his words, his earnest address, might not only awaken the Elders to a keen sense of their responsibilities, but might lead them to inquire as to what defenses could be depended upon for the crisis thus pointed out. He draws attention to the fact that God, the great Center of all our blessings, from whom comes every good and every perfect gift, is on our part, is on the part of all who are seeking to cooperate with His arrangements.
By way of further explanation he mentions the Scriptures, the Word of God’s grace, the Gospel Message. He tells them, and us also, that the Word of God is able to build us up, to give us the necessary development of character and to give us ultimately a share in the great inheritance which God has in reservation for all those who are sanctified by this Message. Let us lay this well to heart. Neglect of God’s Word, neglect of His promises, means a deficiency of strength to bear the trial which is our portion. It means also the opening of the door for Satan to put darkness for light and light for darkness, to our confusion. Let us make no mistake. It is a question of inheritance or no inheritance, amongst them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.
Verses 33 and 34 (Acts 20:33,34) are a noble testimony. The Apostle had used his trade as a tent-maker not only for his own support, but for the financial assistance of those associated with him in the Gospel work. Praise God for so noble an example of devotion! Although the Apostle did not, could not, endure as much as did our Redeemer, nevertheless the illustration of a full devotion which his life affords does us all great good; for we remember that he had like passions with ourselves, as he himself declared. He was imperfect, and was obliged to keep his body under—in subjection to his new mind, the will of God in Christ.—1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
In Verse 35 (Acts 20:35) he reveals the secret of his success as a servant of the Lord. He constantly remembered and put into practice the Master’s words. The art of GIVING HIMSELF is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life. He first gives his will to the Lord, then his time, his energy, his talents, to the Lord’s service and for the Lord’s people. He has pleasure in the giving and a blessing, whether others know it or not. By and by his time will come for receiving his full reward. To such the Lord will give eternal life, eternal glory and association with Himself in His Kingdom.
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THE MUNITIONS-MILITARIST CONSPIRACY
BY HON. W.J. BRYAN
THE real fight before the country at this time is to defeat the munitions-militarist conspiracy—a conspiracy which has for its object a revolutionary change in the nation’s character and policy. It is a conspiracy organized with deliberation and supported by unlimited means. The conspirators are men of prominence and influence. The manufacturers of munitions are selling war supplies to Europe at the rate of more than three hundred millions worth a year, and they are selling at an enormous profit. The Du Pont Company recently declared a dividend of 23 per cent. on powder, and the stock in the Bethlehem Steel Company has risen beyond the dreams of the speculators. Among the stockholders in the munition companies are many of our big financiers, and these men largely control the metropolitan press. These manufacturers and their influential stockholders know that their dividends will dwindle when this war is over unless they can fasten themselves upon the taxpayers of the country, and grow fat as the people grow poor. Hence the newspaper crusade for frenzied preparedness, such a crusade as we have not seen in a generation.
The second group in the conspiracy is made up of professional soldiers—militarists who stand with the militarists of other countries. And the militarists of all countries stand today where the militarists stood two thousand years ago; they know no way of correcting a mistake of the mind except to cut off the head—no way of curing an error of the heart except to stop its beating—no way to settle a dispute between nations except to take human life.
To judge the militarists of the world by their program, they have never learned that nineteen hundred years ago a Prince of Peace was born, and brought into the world a Gospel of Love which is destined to supplant the bloody doctrine of force and violence.
These two groups, one working for money and the other magnifying the profession of arms, have joined their forces in an effort to commit this government to the European plan of trying to preserve peace by terrorism. Although the plan has written history in characters of blood and has led the warring nations into the present conflict, we are asked to adopt this policy and join the “pistol-toting” nations in the worship of brute force.
The big corporate employers of labor are aiding and abetting the conspiracy because they want a large army—not made up of state militia, but of regulars—to keep their workmen under subjection.
And how much are we asked to invest in this false philosophy? Two billions to “get ready,” with one thousand and seventy-nine millions a year to keep ready! We are now spending two hundred and fifty millions a year on the army and navy—the most we have ever spent in time of peace. During the past fifteen years we have spent more on our navy than any other country in the world except Great Britain. We are now spending on the army and navy more than ten times as much as we are spending on the department of agriculture, and yet the army and navy experts, taking advantage of the excitement of a foreign war, demand that we multiply our war appropriations by four! The navy experts want A BILLION AND A HALF for new ships and SEVEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLIONS a year thereafter to keep the navy in fighting trim. The army experts want FIVE HUNDRED MILLIONS to put the army in a respectable condition and THREE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLIONS annually to keep it up to the requirements of their program.
Eight hundred and twenty-nine million dollars per year, the sum which the army and navy experts ask us to add to the annual appropriations for the army and navy, is so large that the mind cannot comprehend it. As the body becomes insensible to pain after a certain degree is reached, so the mind to ciphers after it has taken in a certain number. We can only understand large sums by comparison. Here are four comparisons:
(1) The farmers of the nation collected a little more
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than FIVE AND A HALF BILLIONS from all their crops last year—the banner year in our history. If we compute the farmer’s NET income at 8 per cent. of his gross income, we find that the net income of all the farmers from all their crops was about $440,000,000. THE ARMY AND NAVY EXPERTS WANT TO ADD TO WHAT WE ARE NOW SPENDING ON THE ARMY AND NAVY NEARLY TWICE THE ANNUAL NET CROP INCOME OF ALL OUR FARMERS. And they question the patriotism of those who protest against the demand.
(2) The cost of a macadam road, 16 feet wide and six inches thick is, according to agricultural department statistics, a little more than six thousand dollars per mile. If we estimate the average length of the United States at three thousand miles, and its average width at twelve hundred miles, it can be gridironed with macadam roads twelve miles apart, east and west, north and south, for less than $4,145,000,000—the amount which the army and navy experts would, IN FIVE YEARS, add to the army and navy appropriations.
(3) This sum, eight hundred and twenty-nine millions per year, would in five years duplicate every bank in the country, capital and surplus, and thus double the amount of bank capital and surplus available for borrowing.
(4) It costs the nation about $800,000,000 a year to educate the 25,000,000 school children of the land. Think of making an ANNUAL increase in our army and navy appropriations equal to the ENTIRE ANNUAL COST OF EDUCATION, FROM KINDERGARTEN TO UNIVERSITY! And yet the army and navy experts, backed by the munition manufacturers, demand this and resent any opposition as if they had a vested right to decide for the people the amount to be expended. They are attempting to perpetrate an outrage upon the taxpayers of the country, and their conspiracy, if successful, would menace the peace of the world. No party can afford to stand for such a policy—least of all the Democratic party, the champion of the masses and the friend of peace. —The Commoner.
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MINNEAPOLIS—WINNIPEG—SIOUX CITY—NEWPORT CONVENTIONS
We had a very enjoyable time at this little Convention, which served about four hundred of the friends, many of whom will not be able to attend any of the larger Conventions. July 6th will long be a bright page in our experiences. We had a delightful meeting and fellowship with the friends to the number of nearly four hundred, and at night a public meeting attended by about one thousand. The attendance and attention were splendid, especially when the extreme heat of the weather is remembered. At the conclusion of the evening meeting we took the train for the
WINNIPEG ONE-DAY CONVENTION, JULY 7:
When our train reached the Canadian line a representative of the Canadian Government announced to the Editor that under instructions from the Government he was
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obliged to prevent our entry into Canada. This, of course, was quite a disappointment, and yet we realize that nothing can happen to us or to the Lord’s cause without His knowledge, and there being nothing we could do, we cheerfully submitted to the arrangement and wired the brethren at Winnipeg not to expect us.
We understand, nevertheless, that the Convention was a splendid success, and the Auditorium in which we were to have spoken was crowded to overflowing and some turned away, and that one of the local brethren took the opportunity for giving an address on the subject that had been advertised for the Editor’s public meeting.
It seems quite probable that the result may be for good rather than for ill. The Canadian brethren attending the Convention, some of them coming hundreds of miles, felt greatly disappointed, of course, but as the news reached the public it apparently brought sympathy for our side of the question from some who otherwise might have paid little heed. Anyway, the Canadian people and many in the States were put on notice that the Bible Students Association believes that they are taught by Jesus and the Apostles not to participate in human carnage, but to follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no one shall see the Lord.
The following letter to the Editor, signed by 204 of the Winnipeg Conventioners, is much appreciated, and will be of interest to all of our readers, we are sure:
TO OUR BELOVED PASTOR:—Greetings in our dear Master’s name!
We, Associated Bible Students, assembled in convention, desire in this message to convey to you our heartfelt sympathy and deep Christian love, while feeling that our dear Lord’s overruling has been that we may not greet you face to face, and hear your kindly words of Christian love and helpfulness at the present time.
We are realizing that the Lord under the existing circumstances is pouring out to us a great blessing. By receiving His appointment in the proper spirit, and with this additional indication before us that “the night wherein no man can work” is rapidly closing in, we do the more firmly resolve that we each will be loyal to the Lord, the Truth, and the Brethren.
It is already manifest that the action that has, for the present, prevented our sweet fellowship face to face, is another mark of the further accomplishment of the great work of the Harvest. We rejoice with you Brother, and, as admonished by the Master, lift up our heads with rejoicing, seeing that our deliverance draweth nigh.
We are praying that the dear Lord’s blessing shall abide with us all, till we are assembled beyond the veil, to bring the long-promised blessings to the poor world.
With much Christian love, and great appreciation of the honored position our dear Lord has called you to in this great work of the Harvest, we the undersigned, tender to you, not only the love of those in Convention here, but of the dear ones in this portion of the Harvest field unable to meet with us.
Your brethren by His Grace,
THE WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA CONVENTION.
SIOUX CITY CONVENTION, JULY 6-9:
The attendance at this Convention varied from three hundred to four hundred, but the interest was splendid and the spirit manifested by those in attendance was very loving indeed. The four days were filled with spiritual feasting, the evenings being given over to the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. On Sunday morning, July 9th, the Editor’s topic was “The Good Shepherd,” who gave His life for the Sheep, and who when He puts forth His own Sheep goeth before them, and who has other Sheep of a different fold who also, in due “Times of Restitution,” will be brought into Harmony with the Divine arrangements, and have a share in the blessings of the Lord for all who love Him and who seek to walk in His way. After the discourse, the Love Feast followed, participated in by about four hundred.
The afternoon session was for the public, the topic being, “The World on Fire.” The attendance was excellent, about 1,200 being present, on an extremely warm day. One very interesting feature noticed by nearly all the brethren is that never before has the public given so close, thoughtful and intelligent attention to subjects related to the Truth.
NEWPORT, R.I., CONVENTION, JULY 9-16:
About one thousand Bible Students attended the Newport Convention, although not all of them found it convenient to remain during the entire eight days. Newport is a delightful summer resort of high class. The days were given to the Convention Program, and the evenings to the presentation of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. As we expected, the public did not give any great heed to the Convention, but we were pleased to note that they crowded the DRAMA and apparently took great interest in its presentation. The final public meeting, addressed by the Editor on Sunday, July 16th, was the only one in which the public to any great extent participated. The attendance at that meeting was approximately twelve hundred. We trust that the interest manifested and the large number of cards requesting literature may eventually lead to a considerable dissemination of the knowledge of the Truth, and ultimately bring some hungry hearts into closer relationship with the Lord and His Word of Truth, and that the latter may be more digestible and helpful than anything they have yet enjoyed, even from the same source.
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RE MEETINGS AND DISTRIBUTING TRACTS
In addition to information in accompanying weekly report I want to add a few observations of some Kansas conditions—not because these conditions are general throughout the State, but sufficiently prominent to impress me.
I do not know of any State containing a larger proportion of brethren who will go almost any distance to attend a Pilgrim meeting or a Convention, and yet will not make the little effort necessary to have a regular class meeting, even when there are several interested. If such brethren could realize that they are disregarding the admonitions of St. Paul
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in Hebrews 10:25, concerning “not forsaking the assembling.” etc., it might make them more faithful upon this point. “Not forsaking” means the keeping up of attendance at meeting with some regularity. And it seems to me that if we ignore this word of advice it will make it easier to neglect other Scriptural suggestions.
Quite a number use their automobiles for country volunteer work, but the character of this service is very discreditable. Instead of nicely folded tracts they are sometimes twisted into a shape that makes them unreadable when straightened out. Friends have seen newsboys do this with their newspapers, but they forget that a large newspaper has so much body to it that such treatment does not harm it, whereas the same procedure ruins a little two-leaf paper.
Then as the auto is going twenty-five miles an hour they pitch a tract at each mail-box on the road. Probably one in ten lands somewhere near the box while the rest fall from five to fifty feet away. Some tracts land in the mud in the middle of the road. A week later you can find mud-covered literature for miles. These brethren reason that the work is the Lord’s and He will overrule it all for good; they make this as an excuse for not doing their best. Such ought to know that fifty tracts conscientiously distributed will accomplish more than five hundred distributed in the other fashion. On account of confusion caused by literature getting mixed with mail intended for carrier, money for stamps, etc., I find there is a general order against putting literature in mail-boxes; some carriers even throw it out. However, if it is laid squarely on the ground under the mail-box it will almost always be picked up by the person coming for the mail. But
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such distribution should be avoided in windy or wet weather.
An even better plan is to carry a supply of pins, and pin each tract near its corner to the post supporting the box. A pin is easily pushed into the post sufficient to hold the tract, and its unusual position is sure to attract the person collecting from the box. It takes a moment’s time, but results are better.
Another successful way to waste tracts is adopted by some brethren. These go through a train and whenever they come to an empty seat they place one on it. In a few moments the porter comes through and, gathering the literature from unoccupied seats, proceeds to destroy it. Besides, this course embitters the railway employees; and they are more likely to stop the next brother who attempts to distribute tracts. Hundreds of thousands of tracts have been wasted as a consequence of thoughtlessness.
I continue to enjoy the opportunities for service, waiting actively and patiently for the Kingdom.
Yours by His grace, B.H. BARTON.
DO THEY ABOUND?
MY BELOVED BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
I believe it is nearly a year since last writing you; and while realizing how much there is to take up your time, yet I feel I cannot put off longer sending you my Christian heart-love and affection, sympathy in trial, and rejoicing in faith and hope. I have been endeavoring to follow your suggestions in respect to developing Love, and wish to say that I have received a blessing thereby, with some good results, I believe; even though I can hardly specify any great thing, yet a general flow of help has come to me, and I hope by God’s grace has gone out to others.
One thing that has impressed and helped me much is the thought of the Apostle Peter, “If these things be in you and abound.” Yes, perhaps they are in me but do they abound? I have a great desire to abound in the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, and try to think daily, “Am I abounding in love now, in this act or word? Am I abounding in faith, trust and hope? Do I abound in sympathy?” and so on. Dear Brother, I want to abound toward you now in love and appreciation and sympathy and to send you much from my heart. The words “More than conquerors” have also impressed me much, and an article of yours about Lot and Sodom. So with regard to sin, I want to keep a thousand miles from Satan. Dear Brother, I want your prayer in respect to the above mentioned desires. I must add a word of gratitude for THE MORNING RESOLVE. Its words have become very precious, and a great help to me.
I know that you will be interested to hear that by God’s grace the work in British and Dutch Guiana continues prosperous; and much interest is manifested by the public, even though, as ever, true wheat is scarce. We hope to give a public lecture here Thursday on “Control of the Earth.”
The brethren in these parts love you dearly, and would more than rejoice to see you in the flesh some day, if such were possible—God’s will! With much love.
Yours by grace, in our dear Redeemer’s Name,
ADDISON B. BLAKE.—British Guiana.
A RECOMMENDED CURE FOR PELLAGRA
Frequently I have seen in THE WATCH TOWER little helpful hints to the Lord’s children about their health and various similar things. It prompts me to write you concerning an affection, pellagra, which seems to be very wide-spread and is taking a large toll of death every year, especially among the poor. I have been making a special study of the disease for two years, having had its early symptoms myself, and can highly recommend a most simple treatment which I believe will relieve every case, unless the patient is practically dead, and which is easily available to every household.
As you know, pellagra is beginning to rank with tuberculosis as a scourge to the poor, and it may be that the Lord has led me to use my medical knowledge in His service in lieu of my deficiency in Truth knowledge. It might be more in keeping with the spirit of humility to omit my name in telling the brethren of this, though I have stood sponsor for it publicly by reading a paper on the subject before the meeting of the Texas State Medical Society held at Galveston on May 9th last. Trusting for your continued favor in the Lord, I am
Very sincerely, GEORGE D. FAIRBANKS, M.D.
[This formula we will be pleased to mail to any of our readers or their friends suffering from pellagra. Address WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, Health Dept., Brooklyn, New York.]
FROM WAR-FRONTED GREECE
MY BELOVED BROTHER:—
I feel ashamed because for so long a time I have not written to you, yet I assure you, my Brother, that all the while you were in my heart; and I always remember you before the Throne of Heavenly Grace—that the Lord strengthen you and bless you abundantly.
I have seen, beloved Pastor, in the pamphlet, “A great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens,” about your trials and the assaults of the Adversary and the fiery darts of slander; and this deepens more and more my love toward you and my appreciation of your work of love and faithfulness to our dear Lord. Believe me, dear Brother, that these darts pierced my heart as well, and I wished I could stand between these darts and you.
I again express my deep appreciation of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and THE WATCH TOWER, and humbly thank the Lord for His great blessing and abundant food, which are before the Church. Never before were these books so precious to me as in the past year. This is the seventh time that I have read them, and I find them as fresh as they were the first time I read them. I more and more appreciate the Chronology as found in the 2d Volume, and rejoice because our salvation draws near.
I still try to walk in the narrow way; and day by day the Lord guides my feet and gives me grace to help. These last years I have passed through many painful experiences, because two of my little ones have fallen asleep, waiting for the Voice of the Lord to call them forth. Even in these experiences the Lord blessed me and led me, and gives me grace to trust Him still.
Remember me, beloved Brother, in your prayers that I may stand faithful to the Lord and prove worthy of the highest blessing. With deep Christian love,
Your Brother in our Blessed Redeemer, ATH. KARANASSIOS.
PURIFYING INFLUENCE OF THE “PAX” PIN
Should like to tell you briefly an incident in connection with the purifying influence of even the little PAX PIN:
A working man of our city who attended and greatly enjoyed THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, was wearing the PAX PIN. He had been in the habit of stopping for a glass of beer on his way home from work. On looking down at the Pin he thought, “I can’t disgrace that Pin by taking it in the saloon!” So he put it in his pocket. But, on further reflection, he could not even enter the saloon with the pin about him, though hidden, and he went home.
Realizing he felt better able to work next day without his accustomed drink, he decided he would not drink any more, but wear the Peace Pin in peace of mind. Some eighteen months have elapsed and he has not taken any liquor in all that time!
This has impressed me that we do not fully realize how much good the DRAMA and all connected with it may have done in such ways as this!
Trusting the Lord will assist us to live up to our great privileges in the spread of the Truth, I remain
Your sister in Christ, MAUD HODGSON.—Md.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I am just wondering if it isn’t an opportune time for sending tracts pertaining to the War (Time of Trouble), such as “Armageddon,” “Distress of Nations,” “End of the World in 1914,” etc., to the soldier boys of our vicinity, now on the Mexican border. If each class would engage in this work, serving their own regiments, the entire National Guard of the United States would be quickly served, and indirectly through this channel many in the standing Army might be reached, thereby permeating the whole Army with the Truth upon subjects which would be interesting to them at this particular time.
Praying the Lord’s richest blessings upon you in your labor of love, I remain
Your brother and servant in the Lord, A.B. DABNEY.
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