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VOL. XIII. APRIL 15, 1892. NO. 8
ZION’S WATCH TOWER
HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE.
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SPECIAL ITEMS FOR REGULAR READERS
The Convention for Bible Study and for commemorating our Lord’s death, recently announced to be held in Allegheny from April 7th to 14th, is just closed. It has been one of the most interesting of the kind ever held here or perhaps anywhere; for we may scarcely except the gatherings of the early Church in the days of the Apostles.
In numbers the meeting was greater than any of its predecessors—about two hundred attending from neighboring cities, towns and states, in addition to about the same number of home residents. And all these we may safely count as interested ones, because others were invited to stay away.
The visitors came various distances, and represented the following states: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Manitoba Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa and Michigan.
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This meeting seemed to surpass its predecessors in spiritual tone, if that were possible—but the last always seems to be the best.
The meetings began at six o’clock on the morning of the 7th, in the various bedrooms where the friends were billeted, and continued during breakfast until nine o’clock, the hour of the public meeting—from which the time until ten o’clock was devoted to prayer, praise and exhortation. The morning session for Bible study began at ten o’clock and lasted until one. The afternoon session began at three o’clock and lasted until six. Then came a luncheon and chat followed by evening session for testimony, praise and mutual rejoicing. The latter we endeavored to close at nine o’clock, but sometimes they continued until after eleven. Even after retiring some could not restrain themselves to sleep and let others sleep. And at and between all of these meetings, the topic was the love and plan of God, the centre of that love and plan—the cross of Christ, the blessings already ours through it, the blessings yet to flow from it to the world, and the consecration of heart and every talent to the service of this loving God, this gracious plan and this mighty Savior.
All seemed to show on their faces what they attested with their voices—that their hearts were full and overflowing with the love of God and Christ, resulting from the fact that the light of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord had shined into their hearts. The Bible study sessions lasted for five days and were followed by two days of conference by and with the Colporteurs relative to their important part in the harvest work. Five new workers decided to give their time in this blessed service which the Master has so signally blessed. Each pledged himself to earnest service to our Redeemer and King during the year beginning, and promised to remember one another continually at the throne of grace.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT SENDING MONEY
A number of letters containing money have recently been lost in the mails. Do not send us money. The postoffice clerks are not all honest, although many of them are so. Thieves can feel the money in the envelope and are tempted thereby to steal. Send Bank Drafts, Money Orders or Express Orders, if you would make sure of our receiving what you send.
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WAS IT NOT NECESSARY?
“And he said to them, “O thoughtless and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Messiah to have suffered these things, and to enter his glory? And beginning at Moses, and through all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”—Luke 24:25-27
The occasion of this utterance will be remembered: our Lord thus addressed two of his disciples on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus after his resurrection. They were discussing the strange and wonderful event of the few days previous, when a stranger suddenly drew near and, walking with them, said, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another as ye walk and are sad?” And, not recognizing the stranger as the Lord himself, one of them said, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” And he said unto them, “What things?” And they said unto him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre, and when they found not his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. And some of those with us went to the sepulchre and found it even as the women had said; but him they saw not.”
Then follow our Lord’s words, “O thoughtless and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Messiah to have suffered these things, and to enter his glory?” The necessity of those things was the great lesson which he endeavored to impart to these confused and bewildered, but earnest, disciples.
From the standpoint of Christians to-day the necessity of those things is much more easily discerned than from the standpoint of the early disciples, in close proximity to those marvelous events. But, nevertheless, there are some to-day also who thoughtlessly stumble into very erroneous conclusions drawn from a reckless and heedless interpretation of the Master’s plain teaching. They say, Yes, it was necessary for Christ to suffer because the path of suffering is the only path to glory. Christ had to suffer and so all must suffer; and the glory will follow as a natural consequence, as these words of the Lord teach. This is a very plausible argument to many who lean too much to their own understanding. A more reflective mind would say, No, that is not sound logic; for the glory of Jehovah was not attained through suffering; nor was that of the angels, nor was that of the Son of God in his pre-human existence thus attained. And a more attentive mind would say, No, that was not the ground of necessity for his sufferings to which the Lord referred; for he called attention to
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the divinely inspired prophecies which of necessity must be thus fulfilled. The suffering was necessary, because it was a feature of Jehovah’s plan for human redemption, and was so expressed by the prophets; and we know that unless it were a feature of that plan, Jehovah would not have required it. The Apostle Paul tells why it was necessary to the plan, saying that it was in order to manifest Jehovah’s righteousness in remitting the sins of the already condemned world, showing that he is just, and yet the justifier of the condemned ones who believe in Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation, a satisfaction, a substitute for them—who also freely gave his life as a man, his humanity, a ransom for the many—for the numerous posterity of Adam who had inherited his sin and condemnation.
Hear again the significant query of the Master, “Was it not necessary for the Messiah to have suffered these things?” The query is designed to awaken the thoughtless to a close observance of the justice and wisdom of Jehovah’s course in this matter. Suppose for a moment that God had promised mankind salvation from death without this, which our Lord terms a “necessary” provision, what would have been the result? Thoughtful minds will at once see that such a course would have proved (1) That God is a changeable God, declaring at one time that the wages of sin is death, and afterwards reversing his decision and granting life to the condemned; (2) That either in the first or in the second case he was unjust—either that the penalty of death was too severe and therefore unjust, or else, if it were not unjust but a righteous penalty, that he was unjust in reversing such a righteous decision; (3) Such a variable course would unsettle all confidence in God. We would be continually led to question his righteousness and wisdom, and could never feel assured against a sudden and unaccountable change of his attitude and dealing toward us. If he promised us life and happiness today, we could not know that to-morrow he would not take back his word and consign us to misery or death.
Such would have been our sad condition had not this necessity to which our Lord referred been fully met by the sufferings, even unto death, of “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all,” in compliance with the wise and just plan of God for human redemption. (1 Tim. 2:6.) By this means mankind is justly released from the just penalty which God pronounced against us; for a loving, benevolent Redeemer took our human nature and then sacrificed it in our behalf—thus bearing, in our room and stead, the exact penalty due to Adam and inherited from him by all his posterity. Thus our debt was paid, and all who have faith to believe in the promise of life through Christ are now legally free from the condemnation under which they were born, though the appointed time for their actual release has not yet come. They hold in their possession a promissory note—the sure covenant of Jehovah—sealed with the precious blood of Christ, and payable at the “time appointed,” the Millennial Age. Thus they are free men in Christ, they are saved by faith, though they still walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And, comforted by the rod of divine discipline and the staff of divine counsel and favor, they fear no evil, knowing that in due time the promise of lasting life shall be fully verified to them.
But there was another feature of necessity in the divine plan, to which our Lord referred—”Was it not necessary” also “for the Messiah to enter his glory?” The question is to you and to me as well as to those early disciples; and the fact of its being propounded implies our ability to discern the necessity. Yes, it was necessary. Why? Because we needed, not only a redeemer to assume and cancel our past indebtedness, but also an able teacher and leader—a prophet and king—to break the fetters of sin and death and lead us out of our bondage. If the promise of life and liberty were given alone, without such help, we would still be in the same sad state; for the prison doors of death are strong and securely barred and bolted, and we cannot burst them open; and the fetters of sin and sickness, of mental, moral and physical imbecility, are firmly clasped about us, and we have not the power to shake them off. And so we feel the necessity of a
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mighty deliverer as well as of a loving redeemer. And, thank God, in his only begotten and well beloved Son we have both. He is our Deliverer as well as our Redeemer, our Savior,
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our Prophet, our Priest and our King—strong to deliver and mighty to save; for though as a man he sacrificed all that he then had—his humanity—even unto death, God, accepting that sacrificed humanity as the price of our redemption, renewed his existence in a higher nature—even in his own divine likeness. And thus this second necessity of the divine plan is met in the provision of one who has “all power in heaven and in earth given unto him,” and who is therefore abundantly able, not only to awaken the redeemed race from the silence of death, but also to fully establish all of them who desire and will accept of his favor in everlasting righteousness and consequent worthiness of eternal life. Thus, through the blessings of his kingly and priestly office, he will, in due time, present all the willing and obedient faultless before the presence of Jehovah’s majesty, to receive his benediction and to enter fully into the eternal joys of his loving favor. In his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand—in his favor—there are pleasures forevermore.—Psa. 16:11.
Consider then, O thoughtless ones, how necessary it was that the Messiah should both suffer death, and also enter his glory. Both the humiliation and the exaltation meet our necessities in such a marvelous way that we clearly recognize the fact that only divine wisdom and love and benevolence and grace could have planned the wondrous scheme. “Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Not only was the death and resurrection and exaltation of Christ thus necessary to God’s plan of salvation as viewed from a philosophical standpoint, which the Lord would have us thoughtful enough to observe, but as viewed from the standpoint of prophecy the necessity is also clear; and we should not be slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
Beginning at Moses, the Lord traced this line of prophecies for the two with whom he conversed, showing how they had been fulfilled in himself; and though his words are not recorded we still have Moses and the prophets and can read them for ourselves. Moses said to Israel, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him shall ye hearken.” (Deut. 18:15.) And here, in the risen Christ, was the beginning of the fulfilment of that promise. Moses had also in the typical ceremonies of the Day of Atonement prefigured both the sacrificial sufferings and the subsequent glory of Christ. The sacrifice of the bullock (Lev. 16:11) prefigured the former, and Aaron—in his robes of typical glory and beauty coming out of the tabernacle after the sacrifice had been accomplished and the blood presented in the “Most Holy” as a typical propitiation for the sins of Israel, and lifting up his hands and blessing the people, till then lying prostrate on the ground to represent the whole human race in death—prefigured the resurrection glory of Christ and his coming out of the Most Holy presence of Jehovah to bless the whole world in the Millennial age. (See “Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices.”) Was it not indeed necessary to the fulfilment of these divinely instituted types, says our Lord, for the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter his glory?
Again, Moses testifies of Christ in recording the incidents of the typical sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham, who received him again from the dead in a figure (Gen. 22:1-18; Heb. 11:19), thus prefiguring Jehovah’s offering of his only begotten Son and receiving him again from the dead.
Again, there were all those prophecies which so particularly described the circumstances of his death—”He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth;” “He made his grave with the wicked [the sinful human race] and with the rich [in the tomb of the rich man, Joseph of Arimathea—Matt. 27:57] in his death” (Isa. 53:7,9); “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psa. 34:20); “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [sheol, the grave], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10);
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“They pierced my hands and my feet;” “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture;” “They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psa. 22:16,18; 69:21.) How minutely all of these had been fulfilled.
And Isaiah (53:5) said, “He was wounded [not for his own, but] for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” And Daniel (9:26) said, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.” And Zechariah (13:1) said, “There shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.” Then they told of his glorious reign, saying—”When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, … the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” “He will swallow up death in victory.”—Isa. 53:10; 25:8.
Yes, it was necessary to the fulfilment of all these prophecies that Christ should both suffer death and that he should also enter his glory; and in these blessed facts all thoughtful believers may rejoice. A little while and all the faithful, as members of his body, shall have filled up the measure of his sufferings and shall enter into his glory. Then shortly his glory will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.—Isa. 40:5.
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THE METHODIST REVOLT
The Baltimore American says:—”Methodism appears to be passing through a crisis which threatens to extend to all conferences in the United States. It is a revolt against the bishops and the presiding elders. Professor L. T. Townsend, of the Boston University, is a leader of the movement, and the fiery cross which announced the war was his recent public statement that church politics dominated the councils of the Methodist Church, that its elections were controlled by rings, and that those not in the cliques were pretty much out of every thing else, as far as the Methodist Church was concerned. The professor was bitterly assailed by the leading divines and elders, and his honor and veracity questioned. He returned the defiant answer that, at the meeting of the Boston Methodists to-day, he would produce proofs. The result was that many of the leading Methodist ministers of New England came to Boston, and Wesleyan Hall was crowded.
President Richardson presided, and opened the proceedings by announcing the hymn, “Rock of Ages,” as they might feel the need of its influence before the meeting adjourned; and they did. For two hours there was an exciting discussion. The President and the more prominent clergymen were decidedly anti-Townsend, and lost their temper when the vast audience greeted the professor’s appearance with a storm of applause. He had a manuscript of eighty-four type-written pages and a big stack of letters, which contained evidence backing up his statement with cited examples from Methodist clergymen all over the country, but he was not given a chance to read his documents.
He started by saying he came not to retract, but to prove. Here he was interrupted by Mr. Rice, of Lominster, who said all the professor’s correspondence was anonymous, and should not be submitted. He was upheld by the president, whereupon the audience yelled and hissed and said many unkind things.
The president declared the meeting had been packed by Prof. Townsend, which the latter denied. The meeting was on the eve of being declared closed then and there, when the threatening attitude of the audience caused the chair to appeal to the clergy present to sustain the motion to debar the letters. The meeting did exactly the reverse and shouted for the letters to be read. Dr. Dearborn, of Roslindale, managed to get a hearing, and asked the professor if his letters and proofs were anonymous or not. The professor said none were, except some five letters of which he was not sure whether the writers wished their names used or not. He would write and ascertain. The rest he would name now. Mr. Dearborn suggested that he wait until he could produce all the evidence unrestricted, which he agreed to do. After a stormy discussion the majority, who wanted to hear the letters read at once, consented, and the president adjourned the meeting until this day three weeks, for the professor to hear from his correspondents. Then there promises to be a lively time.
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Through many a lovely landscape
My pilgrim-staff I’ve brought,
From many a rocky em’nence
My gaze the valley sought.
But far above all mountains
I’ve ever seen, give me
The quiet, lonely hillock,
The Mount of Calvary.
It towers not with forehead
Ice-crowned into the clouds.
No sunny Alpine glacier
Its shoulders bare enshrouds.
But ne’er in all my wanderings
Seemed heaven so near to me,
And earth so lost in distance,
As there on Calvary.
On its bald summit never
A crown of forest stood—
No gently waving oak-tops,
No precious cedar-wood.
But all the royal cedars
That Hermon once did see
Their lofty heads are bowing
Before Mount Calvary.
Go thither, earth-worn pilgrim,
There seek thy rest at last;
And at the feet of Jesus
Thy heavy burdens cast.
Then come and praise with gladness—
How much was done for thee!
Know this: the road to glory
Leads over Calvary.
—From the German.
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TRAVELS IN THE HOLY LAND
AUGUST, 1891—EDITORIAL NOTES—NO. II
We now enter the orphanage kept by the Sisters of Zion (Roman Catholic). It is a new and commodious building, but seems to have but few orphans. It interests us because there seems no room to doubt that it is built upon the site of Pilate’s Judgment Hall. In the new building they have preserved quite a large area of the old Roman pavement, which had long been buried under rubbish, some seven feet below the present street level. How interesting to look at the very stones upon which our Master stood and walked! “Pilate therefore brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat, in a place that is called the Pavement.” (John 19:13.) Here, too, remains a portion of the arch upon which it is said that Pilate exhibited Jesus to the people, saying, in his final effort to have them relent—”Behold the man!”—as though he meant, would you crucify such a man, like to whom there is not another in your nation? Here, too, Pilate washed his hands as indicating his innocence of the death of Christ.—John 19:5; Matt. 27:24.
Now let us enter the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre.” The building is under the control of the (Mohammedan) Turkish government, which holds it to preserve the peace and to secure liberty of entrance and freedom of worship to the Christian sects represented—Roman, Greek, Armenian and Coptic Catholics—each of which has its own chapel for services under the one roof. Here are pointed out the place of the crucifixion, the sepulchre where our Lord was laid, also the place where the crosses of Christ and the two thieves, and the crown of thorns and the nails, etc., are said to have been found by Queen Helena’s workmen. But we take but little interest in these things since, from the location in the city, it seems as improbable that this is the real site of the crucifixion and the tomb of our Lord as that his cross and crown of thorns were found there centuries after.
Let us go outside the gates: let us seek the real Mt. Calvary. Ah! This is more like it. We see no holes such as the crosses were set into, nor should we expect to find them after so many centuries; yet here we see the face of the hill with hollows which in the distance resemble a skull, and which probably gave rise to the name, Golgotha—the place of a skull. (Matt. 27:33.) We linger for a moment on the spot made so sacred by him who died for
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our sins, and mentally behold the bleeding Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. Gladly we accept of a share in his sacrifice once for all, and rejoice in spirit as we reflect that the hour is not far distant when, his Church having been selected, the Redeemer shall begin his great Millennial work of blessing all the families of the earth—for all of whom he had poured out his soul into death—a sin offering.
Here we see a crevice in the rock—perhaps a result of the earthquake which occurred when our Lord died. (Matt. 27:51.) Below the top of the hill is a garden, and near the garden a tomb hewn in the rock. The place where our Lord was laid was somewhat like it, though the description of the door does not correspond with this. Doubtless, however, the tomb was near Calvary, as it was about sunset when the body was taken from the cross, and but little time remained for burial, as the next day was a Sabbath (holy day) and began at six o’clock the same evening. The garden, too, corresponds; for we remember that the Marys came to the garden and at first mistook the Lord for the gardener. What blessed memories cluster around that garden and that morning of the resurrection; for if Christ be not risen, all our hopes are vain! (1 Cor. 15:17.) (1) His resurrection is the
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evidence to us that in him was no sin, and therefore the Father raised him from death a new creature, with power to bless and restore those whom he redeemed by his death. (2) We can see how this one who sacrificed his life in the service of God and his plan for human salvation had a merit in God’s sight, by reason of that sacrifice, which merit the Scriptures assure us he presented on our behalf when he ascended up on high (Heb. 9:24), a full equivalent and offset, in God’s sight, for the penalty which came upon Adam and all his race because of his disobedience. (Rom. 5:19.) (3) Our Lord’s resurrection becomes the pledge or assurance that in due time God will accomplish through him all the gracious promises of restitution, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.—Compare Acts 17:31 and Acts 3:19-21.
Next let us visit the Mount of Olives. Its olive trees are fewer and doubtless less cared for than in our Lord’s day; yet no other place, probably, remains so much the same as then; and no other place, perhaps, was more frequented by his sacred feet. On the way, as we ascend the slope, is the Garden of Gethsemane. It is no longer an open garden: a Roman Catholic society controls it and preserves it by an enclosure. Visitors are welcome, however, and we enter and meditate. A gardener is watering the plants, to whom we thankfully give a small coin for a few flowers and a sprig from the oldest olive tree in the garden—centuries old, at least.
Standing upon the Mount of Olives, we do not wonder that our Master oft resorted thither for meditation and prayer and to give instruction to his disciples. We recall that here our Lord sat when he uttered the great prophecy of Matt. 24:3-51 and the parables of Matt. 25, just two days before his crucifixion.—Matt. 26:1,2.
Although two thousand six hundred and eighty-two feet above the sea, Olivet is but one hundred and fifty feet higher than the hills upon which Jerusalem is built, and four hundred feet above the intervening valley of Kedron. It affords a splendid panoramic view of the surrounding country for many miles, and from a tower erected upon its summit, to memorialize the spot of the Lord’s ascension, one can see, far to the east, the Jordan valley and the Dead sea, and beyond these the mountains of Moab as well as the intervening village of Bethany, and to the south, Bethlehem and Hebron.
Riding upon donkeys, we descend the farther slope of Olivet, passing over the old road—quite probably the same that our Lord and the disciples often took—going to the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus. We recall that this is the way the Master journeyed on the ass just five days before his crucifixion, and yonder is the site of the village of Bethphage, where Jesus sent the disciples for the ass upon which he rode into Jerusalem as King. (Matt. 21:1.) We are upon the very ground where the multitude cried, “Hosanna to the
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son of David!” while they strewed his way with palm-branches and with their clothing.
Here is Bethany, and near us, to the right, is the site of the house of that Simon whom Jesus healed of leprosy. Here they made the feast for our Lord at which Martha served and Mary anointed him with the precious ointment. (Matt. 26:6,7; John 11:1,2; 12:3.) Yonder is the traditional site of the home of Lazarus and his sisters. The town in Arabic is called El’ Azireyeh, or the town of Lazarus. What thoughts these scenes and associations awaken!
Within the city of Jerusalem are several items of interest which we have not yet visited. We will go now to the Jew’s “wailing place.” Through by-ways littered with rubbish and garbage we pass, holding our breath to avoid the heavy odors and commenting that only the pure mountain air prevents pestilence from breaking out in a place so inviting it. We reach finally the “wailing place.” It is what is supposed to be a fragment of the Temple wall, and near it is what is known as Robinson’s Arch, a remnant of the arch or bridge which once connected the Temple (on Mt. Moriah) with the city (Mt. Zion). Here are some immense stones, one of them measuring 38 feet 4 inches in length, 7 feet in height, and 3-1/2 feet in width. Here Jews, both rich and poor (especially the latter), and speaking various languages, are coming and going. Some kiss the stones while praying; others touch the stones with their fingers and then kiss their fingers; they chant in a plaintive tone some prayer or prophecy which we could not understand, and occasionally a group gathers around one who leads in a sort of litany. We give below what purport to be translations of two of these—
Leader. For the place that lies desolate, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For the place that is destroyed, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For the walls that are overthrown, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For our majesty that is departed, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For our great men that lie dead, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For the precious stones that are buried, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For the priests who have stumbled, Response. We sit in solitude.
Leader. For our Kings who have despised Him, Response. We sit in solitude.
Another form runs as follows:—
Leader. We pray Thee have mercy on Zion. Response. Gather the children of Jerusalem.
Leader. Haste, haste, Redeemer of Zion. Response. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem.
Leader. May beauty and majesty surround Zion. Response. Ah! turn thyself mercifully to Jerusalem.
Leader. May the Kingdom soon return to Zion. Response. Comfort those who mourn over Jerusalem.
Leader. May peace and joy abide with Zion. Response. And the branch (of Jesse) spring up at Jerusalem.
Our hearts are touched, especially for the poorer classes of Jews, who seem to be very sincere. We visit several of their synagogues on their Sabbath, and wish that we had the knowledge of their language, which would enable us to tell them the good tidings of great joy. Beginning with Israel’s double and showing when and why it began and that already the due time has come to “Cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished and her iniquity is pardoned, because she hath received of the Lord’s hands double for all her sin” (Isa. 40:2), we feel sure we should have close attention. As we pass into the synagogue many of the faces of the poorer ones seem to ask inquiringly, Have you no message for us!
Ah! were it not that the Lord has favored us with a share in the work of gathering out the Bride and helping to make her ready for the marriage of the Lamb, we would be here in Jerusalem and, by the grace of God, would do a part in the great work now due of turning away blindness from Jacob. (Rom. 11:25.) We must surely write to John and Peter, the sons of Brother Joseph Rabinowitsch, and urge them to lose no time in getting into this fruitful field, so ripe for the true gospel of the Kingdom, which none here seem either able or willing or worthy to give to them.
Next we will visit the site of the Temple on Mount Moriah. The Mosque of Omar and its court now cover the site. It is surrounded by a wall, and the space enclosed is nearly
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twice the size of Solomon’s Temple and courts. The mosque is a fine one and is surmounted by a most graceful dome. The building has fifty-six elegant windows in Mosaic glass. At one time none but favored Mohammedans were permitted to enter this mosque, but now it is accessible to all nations, though with some formality and at a trifling expense for guards, etc.
This is a remarkable spot. Here it was that Abraham proved his faith in God and showed his obedience by offering his son Isaac—whom he received again from the dead in a figure. Here it was, too, that, when the plague was among the Israelites, King David purchased of Ornan the Jebusite a threshing-floor as a place for an altar of sacrifice. (2 Sam. 24:18-25.) And it is written, “Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mt. Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”—2 Chron. 3:1.
The original rock-top of Mt. Moriah is to be seen in the mosque, and a cave under it may be entered. A hole connects the top rock with the cave, and an aqueduct thence leads to the brook Kedron. Hence it is supposed that upon this rock the sacrifices were killed and that the aqueduct or sewer connected by the hole and the cave was used for carrying off the blood, and the water used in flushing and cleansing the altar. When we remember that the brook Kedron is in the valley of Jehoshaphat, “the valley of dry bones” (the general burying ground of the city), and then reflect that this valley was typical, as well as the blood of the sacrifices, we may read it thus—The blood of Christ the antitypical sin-offering, in a way unseen by the world in general, reaches unto all that are in their graves and secures for all mankind an awakening from death and an opportunity for life everlasting.—Rom. 5:9.
“Solomon’s Stables” were under the Temple courts, and were vast ones indeed. Probably
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one-half of the space has been appropriated to use as cisterns, but the remainder would still accommodate twelve hundred or more horses. Thus was the natural slope on one side of the mountain utilized by the wise man when he desired a surface on the level of the mountain top for the Temple and its courts.
Passing what is termed the Golden Gate, believed to be the location of the “Beautiful Gate,” where Peter and John healed the cripple, we gather a few wild flowers as mementoes and proceed to the reputed Pool of Bethesda, where the blind man, whose eyes were washed and anointed with the spittle and clay, received sight. Our hearts instinctively remember that this, like our Lord’s other miracles, was to show forth in advance the coming glorious work of his Millennial Kingdom. As we think of the multitudes morally and spiritually blind, we rejoice in spirit at the remembrance of the anti-type, the opening of the eyes of the understanding foretold by the Prophet.—Isa. 35:4,5; 42:7.
There! see! we have a practical exemplification of the Lord’s remark about the measure being pressed down, shaken together, heaped full, etc. (Luke 6:38.) Such an effort to give good measure we never before saw. The salesman fills the bushel, then jars or shakes it down solid and fills to the top, then puts in his hands and presses it, then spreads out the top so as to pile on as much as possible and then, running over, empties it to his customer. (To be Continued.)
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“WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR”
“‘There is no Jewish race,’ is the somewhat startling declaration of ‘The Jewish Tidings.’ ‘We insist that in this declaration we fairly represent the great majority of the intelligent Jews of America. They do not wish to be separated from the rest of the citizenship of the countries in which they abide by such distinctions as ‘Jewish race’ or ‘Hebrew nation.’ The Jews are a religious community, having the same hopes and aspirations possessed by Christians, and differing from them only in their belief. The Jews of to-day believe there is but one God, and no other. They repudiate the doctrine that a Messiah has come or is coming, but they accord to every one freedom of conscience. They want to be treated upon equal terms with their neighbors—no better, no worse. The only evil which now remains to be fought is the popular idea that Jews are a separate body of people, of different manners, customs, minds and character from other people.”
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STUDIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
—INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS—
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES, WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
THE LORD MY SHEPHERD
LESSON IV., APRIL 24, PSALM 23:1-6
Golden Text—”The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.”
In the precious and true sentiments of this Psalm, David doubtless took great consolation in the midst of his temptations and trials, and of the realization of his own infirmities and short-comings. As he looked back to his early shepherd life and remembered his own care for the dependent sheep of his flock, the thought of the Lord’s similar care over his people came to mind. And, doubtless, with this realization of the Lord’s goodness and care, came also a renewed determination on David’s part to be henceforth a true sheep, that he might always remain under the shepherd’s care.
While such was the significance of these words to David, to us, the Church under the care of the Anointed Jesus, our Good Shepherd, they mean more; for, as the Lord’s inspired prophet, David puts these words into the mouth of all of the Lord’s “little flock” of consecrated followers who obediently hearken to his voice and who in meek humility take comfort both in his chastening rod and in his blessed staff of promise and hope.
To those who are not in this attitude these words do not apply. The Lord is not a shepherd of wayward goats (however, he may permit the common blessings of sun and rain to come to all): the proud and the self-willed have no part in his tender care; and those who are truly his sheep and who can therefore claim his care and leading are, as he tells us (Luke 12:32), only a “little flock,” to whom “it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom.” And it is to the kingdom—the Millennial Kingdom of God, to be established over all the earth—that the Good Shepherd is thus leading his consecrated flock. Such may truly say—
Verse 1. “The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.” They shall have all needful instruction, all needful grace and comfort and discipline and training and care, and such measure of temporal good as will be most conducive to their highest spiritual and everlasting blessing. In fact, all things shall work together for good to the sheep of the Lord’s pasture—to the called according to his purpose.—Rom. 8:28.
Verse 2 assures us that our hunger and thirst after truth and righteousness shall be satisfied—that we shall be bountifully fed and sweetly refreshed with the meat in due season and the water of life.
Verse 3—”He restoreth my soul,” etc., refers to our present justification through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ; for we are therefore now reckoned as having passed from death unto life, although the times of restitution have not yet begun. And being thus reckoned righteous, we are led by the Good Shepherd in the paths of righteousness and peace “for his name’s sake”—because we are his, and because we trust in his name, in his merit, the merit of his sacrifice freely given for our sins.
Verse 4—”Yea, [although I am not actually so restored, yet by faith in the promise, through Christ, I do so reckon myself, even] though [like all the rest of the dying world] I [still] walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [I was born in this valley and shall die in it, yet] I will fear no evil [no failure of thy sure covenant]; for thou art with me, [even here, and] thy [chastening] rod and thy [faithful] staff [of promise and hope], they comfort me.”
Verse 5 refers to the bountiful supply of soul-satisfying truth—the meat in due season, and the full cup of joy and gladness—prepared and spread before the household of faith even here in the midst of this valley of the shadow of death and in the presence of our enemies—Satan and his messengers, who vainly seek to stumble the feet of Christ and to subvert our faith. It refers also to our anointing with the holy spirit as members of the body of Christ.
Verse 6. In view of such present bounty and blessing, well may we rest in the assurance that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life—both of this present life and also of that which is to come; and that if, as obedient sheep, we continue to follow the leading of the Good Shepherd we shall eventually dwell in the house of the Lord forever, as members of the royal, divine family, as the bride and joint-heir of Jehovah’s dear Son.
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THE PRAYER OF THE PENITENT
LESSON V., MAY 1, PSALM 51:1-1
Golden Text—”Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
This draws our attention to the darkest stain
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upon the history of the Prophet David—the matter of the murder of Uriah and the taking of his wife. Skeptics are wont to point to that great, double sin and to sneer: “And that was the ‘man after God’s own heart,’ according to the Bible’s grand standard of morality.” But the fact is that it was when David was a young shepherd just coming to manhood that he was after God’s own heart. And yet in connection with this very matter of this, David’s greatest sin, there is something which shows forth his better character which was “after God’s heart:” and this is brought before us by this lesson. The commendable features are: (1) He did not attempt to justify his course by saying that all the kings around about did such things and worse, and that it was generally conceded by their subjects that a king had a right to do as he pleased; (2) he not only did not deny the wrong, but he did not even try to see what he could say in self-defense; he did not plead his peculiar temptation nor that it was above that of others, from the power he exercised as king; but he confessed fully and heartily in such a manner as convinces all that his heart was really better than his evil conduct had seemed to indicate. We have no right to
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condone David’s crimes, but we have the privilege of noting those other qualities in him which to some extent were an offset to his weaknesses.
And it is well, too, that the Bible attests its own truthfulness in thus faithfully preserving the record of the sins of its great characters alongside the records of their faith and service. Of no other book which stands as the foundation of a religion is this true. Others tell only the good and leave the evil untold; but the Bible tells of the weaknesses of its greatest heroes except our Lord Jesus: of Paul’s persecutions; of Peter’s denial and blasphemy; of David’s sins; of Abraham’s errors, etc.
Yet this, which worldly wisdom would consider a serious drawback, God saw to be the proper thing; and many of God’s people have been greatly blessed by these very records of human weakness and sin. They but corroborate God’s testimony that all have sinned; that there is none righteous; that all need the grace of God to forgive the past and to lift them out of the miry pit of sin and its consequences. And many a sinner has thus been taught to have hope toward God for forgiveness and to realize that God who offers him his grace has had compassion upon others who were out of the way when they turned to him with true repentance.
Verses 1-3. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is continually before me.”
David thus plead for mercy; and although he realized finally that God’s favor was restored to him, he knew nothing of the real philosophy of the matter—how God could be just and yet be the justifier of those whose sins merited wrath. Ah, yes! the standpoint of the sons of God, during this Gospel age, is much more blessed. Our Father in heaven not only tells us of our forgiveness and reconciliation to his favor, but he gives us the particulars so that we may see how he has done it without sanctioning our sins or excusing them and without violating his own just law on the subject. He shows us that Christ our Lord was the Lamb of God whose death as our substitute and sin offering taketh away the sins of the world; that by his stripes pardon and healing may be granted to whosoever accepts the grace offered through him. Indeed, David’s sins were not blotted out nor forgiven; for although the Lord restored to him divine favor and communion, he punished him severely for his sin, as he had foretold by Nathan the Prophet (2 Sam. 12:11,12), Absolom’s rebellion being the means employed.
True, the penalty exacted was not the full penalty of sin, for that would have been lasting death. God showed mercy on David (as to all Jews under the Law Covenant established upon the basis of the typical sacrifices) in that he made allowance for his fallen condition and hence punished his sin, not with everlasting death, but with trouble, etc., in connection with Absolom’s rebellion, as above stated.
And as with David and others under the typical Law Covenant, so, too, it is with God’s children under the New Covenant in Christ. The death of Christ as our ransom-price cancels the original sin of Adam, and also such portion or degree of our sins and shortcomings as are involuntary and contrary to our real sentiments. But whatever proportion of a sin is wilful, designed and agreed to by us, has a penalty attached to be inflicted in either the present or the future life. And in the case of all who shall be members in the Anointed body, God declares that such sins shall be punished in the present life—saying through the Apostle “Some men’s sins go before to judgment [during the present life], others they follow after” into the next life, when some shall be beaten with many and some with a few stripes. And again it is specified that in the cases of all accounted worthy to be of the glorified Church,
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they are chastened now in order that they may not have part with the world in the condemnation (trial) of the world in the next age.—1 Tim. 5:24; Luke 12:48; 1 Cor. 11:32.
Verses 4 and 5. David’s confession here is to God—the wronged Uriah was dead. Anyway, in that day it was esteemed a king’s privilege to have the bodies and lives of his people subject to his will; and doubtless other kings habitually did as bad. But David had been enlightened and knew better, and although his offenses would have been lightly passed over by others, David realized his guilt before God and besought his mercy. He confessed his sin that others might know, when the chastisements of the Lord should come, that God’s judgments and the king’s troubles were just punishments and not violations of God’s covenant promises.
Verses 5-12. After confessing in verse 5 his original sin—his impairment through the fall—he shows in verse 6 his clear appreciation of the divine plan. Although fallen and weak in the flesh, and therefore unable to do perfectly, God looks for and demands purity of heart (purity of motive or intention) and this David realized he had not manifested. Hence his prayer in succeeding verses is not that the Lord shall excuse him in sin, but that his heart may be cleansed and brought into harmony with God’s character and plan. Alas! how strange that some living under the still clearer light of the Gospel dispensation fail to see what David so clearly expresses, and instead some even charge God with inspiring and causing all sin and crime and wickedness. But David was right, and these would-be wise ones have become darkened and foolish in their vain imaginations.
Verse 13. What a grand principle is here set forth. It is eminently proper that those who would be used of the Lord as teachers to instruct transgressors, whether in this or the coming age, should be fully consecrated to God—clean—pure in heart. And the only way to get to this condition is to lay hold by faith upon the merits of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, and to have our sins blotted out by him, and then, too, to be renewed in spirit, sanctified through the truth.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM EARNEST WORKERS
DEAR BROTHER:—I herewith enclose one dollar in payment of ZION’S WATCH TOWER for this year. Was sick last year, and have earned no money since last June, but I wish the TOWER continued. I rejoice that God is raising up everywhere some to help in this work. We have entered the time of trouble, pestilence, famine, and, in time, war will ensue. The people of God are fast approaching the final conflict; and I think small shot, grape and canister, as brought to view in your S.S. Lessons, are very telling at this time, and will be in the future, when we come at short range with the enemy!
In other words, theological paragraphs, explaining at a glance the true significance of the doctrines of election and free grace, and kindred subjects, as we understand them, are very convincing to new readers. May health and prosperity attend you and yours. Your brother in Christ, L. J. HARPER.
DEAR BRETHREN:—Enclosed please find $3.25 subscription to the Tract Fund for the quarter ending April 1, 1892. From what I have learned of the truth, and from facts stated from your office, I know of no place where I could send this, and accomplish as much good as it will in your hands. The last few numbers of the TOWER seem to be par excellence. If you are sending out any food, or bread, newly made, I would like to scatter a few crumbs to my neighbors. It will be better than my own talk. Yours, joyful in the promises,
C. M. RICE.
MY DEAREST BRO. RUSSELL:—I have been a long way from you in distance, but always near in love and thought. Last April I was at the Memorial Meeting at Allegheny, and you, dear brother in Christ, immersed me; and I was so very happy. It symbolized my death to self, my burial to the world and my resurrection in Christ—to walk with Christ and Christ with me. Dear Jesus has been and is now with me. Oh, joy complete! it is Christ in me the hope of glory.
Dear Brother Russell, I do love you and all so much, and will do all I can for my precious Saviour. I pray God that I may be so kept that I will meet you with the elect, to help in the Millennial work and now in the “harvest” work. I have read Vols. 1, 2 and 3 of MILLENNIAL DAWN through four times, and will read them again. I would love to be there at the next Passover Supper, but do not expect to now. My sister writes me she will attend.
I pray God that you may all be kept by the power divine. Yours in Christ, A. C. BEACH.
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DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:—Enclosed please find postal-note for one dollar for the TOWER. I can not tell you how much mother and myself enjoy the TOWER; and we are so glad that its visits will be more frequent in future. To those in Allegheny, who are privileged to attend the weekly meetings, the TOWER may not be so much of a necessity; but to us who cannot meet with those of like precious faith, or hear the words of comfort and instruction the church at Allegheny feasts upon, the coming of the TOWER is looked forward to, and its contents devoured, with a pleasure you can scarcely imagine.
We are so glad of your safe return from Europe, and of the good accomplished by your going, and, feeling sure you are led of the Lord, we believe it will prove an increasing good. How any one can read the different volumes of DAWN and not see the truth is a mystery; but so we find it: “their eyes are holden.” We have enjoyed Vol. III. so much and in some respects think it better than either of the others. I can do so very little in the harvest work. Would gladly respond to the “Good Hope” invitation, but do not see that I can do so at present. May God’s blessing be upon you both, and upon each one who makes an effort for the spread of the truth. Yours in the one hope, MRS. W. H. FULLER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have been thinking whether I could afford to attend your annual meeting, and also whether I could afford to stay away: and have concluded that (D.V.) I will attend.
Last year I stayed with my aunt in Pittsburgh, but she will not be able to accommodate me this time, so that I will have to place myself at your disposal. I will be thankful for even a floor-bed. I hope and pray that the meeting will prove as interesting as the last one. How grand it will be when we shall meet to part no more in His glorious kingdom.
The dear old WATCH TOWER in its semi-monthly visits is very refreshing indeed. I watch for it as eagerly as I would, when hungry, for a good meal. I have enjoyed very much “Views Abroad” from Sister Russell’s pen, and anticipate something equally good in “Travels in the Holy Land” from yours. May the dear Lord’s richest blessings rest upon you as you labor so earnestly in the Master’s vineyard. With Christian love to yourself and Sister Russell,
Your humble servant and brother,
W. J. THORNE.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—Enclosed please find $1.55, which please appropriate to the spread of the glad tidings as the Lord may direct you. It is my savings of three Mondays. I am glad that you suggested this way of serving the Lord, for all can do something; and I am sure all true servants are always glad to have an opportunity to assist in the harvest work. I pray that the Lord may accept and bless this mite. Your brother, J. K. CONNER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The brethren here are very much delighted to have the TOWER semi-monthly, and we all think that the treating of the S.S. Lessons is one of the strongest weapons against error and the nominal system that could be brought forth. While most of the readers here are out of the systems, a number are holding on, and these lessons will show them the errors so plainly that they cannot help seeing the importance of coming out. I rejoice that we are allowed to eat from a clean table. Yours in the Lord, C. ARNER.
DEAR SIR:—I sent you some money sometime ago to pay up arrears, and now I take the opportunity of sending you the remainder of the subscription price for this year. Before closing, I wish to say that I am still a firm believer in the truth. The trials of which you gave warning have come to me overwhelmingly; and although they have taken strange and unexpected forms, I thank God that they did not find me unprepared. I know in whom I have put my trust. Very sincerely yours,
MRS. H. BULLIS.
DEAR SISTER AND BROTHER:—I have read with great interest and delight your three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and think that your interpretations of prophecies are excellent. The prophecies have always been a favorite part of divine revelation with me; and I have been unable to understand why people in general give so little attention to them. I am fifty-four years old to-day, and have been in the ministry of the Episcopal Church nearly thirty years. It seems to me that Daniel’s prediction of the “seventy weeks” is enough of itself to establish the faith of any reasonable man in the supernatural authorship of the Bible.
I would be glad to have you send the three volumes of your able and instructive work to my sister, and also to a friend of mine in a former parish. I enclose the money and their addresses. Sincerely yours, H. VANDYNE.
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DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:—I know that you have not much time to read letters; but I must tell you that I receive more joy and real happiness from the Bible teachings of the TOWER than from all other sources combined. I used to be weighed down with sorrow, but I quite forget my troubles now, for the shepherd is with his fold. Yours in love through Christ,
MRS. S. SHINKARD.
GENTLEMEN:—”The Plan of the Ages” came this morning. Have been reading it and your “Tracts” considerable of the time for the last forty-eight hours, and believe I have gotten more knowledge—that I understand—of the teachings of the Bible, out of them in that length of time, than I have learned in all my life put together before, and I am forty-three years old. I was taught to read the Bible as soon as I learned to read anything. When I was a boy I used to compete for prizes, given at Sunday School, by committing to memory whole chapters, not understanding a word I learned, but given to understand by my teacher and parents, that, if I were not good, I would be tormented in unquenchable fire forever and ever, and, knowing that I was not good, the thoughts of this future “torment” kept me in constant fear and dread, until I was grown and began to think for myself. Years ago I discarded the belief that there was such a thing as “Eternal Torment,” but with my weak understanding I could not post myself from the Bible, so that I could explain my belief satisfactorily to others.
Now your “Old Theology Tracts” have come to give me new light. I have given some of them to my friends, and want more. Please send one copy of “The Plan of the Ages” to my Sister, and to me one copy of the “Wonderful Story,” also please send me sample copy “ZION’S WATCH TOWER.” Yours Truly,
A. A. POST.
DEAR BROTHER:—I ship to you to-day, by express, a box containing some mottoes for your place of meeting. You are indebted to Sisters Erlenmyer and Clark for the materials, which they kindly furnished. I regret that I could not give sufficient time to finish them as they might be, but trust they may be accepted by the dear saints as a slight token of our love for the brethren and the Master, whose servants we are. It has indeed been a labor of love to do them, and I trust the good taste of the sisters will hang and arrange them in a better manner than I can suggest.
Sister G. and I consider ourselves fortunate in having met Sisters Erlenmyer and Clark early in their canvass of O__________ and vicinity. They are the first ones (in the Truth) whom we have met, and we have enjoyed many pleasant and profitable hours with them. My dear brother, I can not tell how much we would like to join you all at the Anniversary, believing it would be of great benefit to us; but as it is impossible, we have decided to hold it ourselves, with faith and trust that the good Lord will be present with us. Remember us, will you not, dear brother, when you approach
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the throne of grace? Oh, how often have I longed to write you, but, feeling my own unworthiness and knowing how very busy you are in the Master’s cause, I have hesitated to trespass on your time. But we have appreciated, and do appreciate, how much we can not tell, the gratitude we owe to God and to you and Sister Russell, that through you we have been able to learn what the “Gospel of the Kingdom” really is. Although we have read the TOWER for over eight years, we feel that we have grown more in grace and the knowledge of the truth in the past year than in the seven preceding; and we pray that we will be led into all truth. I have striven for several years, as the Master alone knows, to lead others into the truth, but apparently without success until recently, when I found some interested ones. I thank the Lord for so much.
I must say, before closing, that, while we have always thought each number of the TOWER could not be improved, each succeeding number is still better. With a prayer that you may be so filled and moved by the Holy Spirit, throughout the meetings, as never before, joined by Sister G., with much love to all the saints, I am your unworthy brother in the faith,
HIRAM P. GANOUNG.
[The mottoes were received in good order and are very beautiful. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness,” “Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven,” and “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day.” All appreciate them greatly. We extend to the donors thanks on behalf of all.—ED.]
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—Enclosed find Money Order to renew my subscription for the WATCH TOWER. I can never express the gladness I feel that the TOWER and the MILLENNIAL DAWNS ever came to my notice. I am sixty years old, and have been groping since a little child amid the shadows of the sects, thirsting, but never satisfied, until I purchased of a Colporteur Volume I., and secured the WATCH TOWER. Since then I have read all the DAWNS.
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This is the greatest blessing that I ever received; for a great flood of light has not only illumined my own soul, but my children and some of my friends to whom I have loaned books and papers have been brought to a knowledge of the truth. Respectfully yours,
MRS. C. W. GARDNER.
DEAR BRETHREN:—I send you herewith 80 cents, for I don’t want to miss a single number of the TOWER. It and the DAWNS together have made the Bible an intelligible book to me and have lifted me from the level of a rank skeptic to that of a firm believer in the atonement of our Lord and Savior. May the Lord bless you. Truly Yours, B. F. BANKS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Your esteemed favor was duly received; also the DAWN and tracts.
I have not had a doubt for several years that we are in the “harvest” of the Gospel age. I have been studying the Scriptures, especially upon this point, for some time; and in a quiet way have been teaching the same as I have had opportunity. But never until I commenced your publications did I see that the principal object of this age is to select the Church, and the distinction between the nominal and the real Church. I have also been led to see that my mission is chiefly to the Church, to emphasize the importance of entire consecration and holiness to the Lord; and I am happy to be able to say that while it has been positively offensive to the larger portion of the Church, I have found some prepared ground in which the seed has taken root, and is bringing forth fruit unto holiness. I invariably preach the speedy coming of the Lord, and that we are already in the last days, the transition period between the departure of the old and the coming of the new; the closing of the Gospel age, and the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom.
The Methodist Church here, in which I have preached for twenty-five years, occasionally has virtually been closed to me, because I have preached these truths so plainly and earnestly. But I have held a week-day service in the vestry and we have had some glorious meetings. We have a number of precious souls who have come out fully on the Lord’s side, and are looking with joy to the coming of the Lord. Recently I have been preaching in the Advent church here, which has been opened to me, through the sickness of their pastor; but I found them as dead and formal as our own church, though, bless God, some have been quickened. Their pastor is a good man, but has been away from them for years and but recently returned.
I had you send him Vol. I. of DAWN about two years ago, and I find it has borne fruit. He is converted, and I have been permitted to lead him out more clearly. I want you to send me, for him, volumes Two and Three, and I enclose you $5 in payment of mine and these.
God bless you and yours. In Christ,
W. H. FORMOSA.
DEAR MR. RUSSELL:—I have been favored with the loan of the volumes on “MILLENNIAL DAWN,” and the reading has been indeed profitable. I thank God for having seen them. They have made clear to my mind many difficult passages of Scripture. The Word of God is precious to me, and I can appreciate and drink in greedily anything that helps me to understand it, persuaded as I am that God has more light to break forth from his blessed Word.
The Lord has been preparing me for years for these Millennial truths. In 1874 I left (resigned) the Primitive Methodist ministry in England, where I had been for nine years, on account of sympathy with the doctrines of the Kingdom and conditional immortality. Since then I have been led to the study of prophecy; and your volumes afford me a richness, a fulness, in this branch of study, beyond anything I have before seen. Reading them is indeed to me as sitting down to a banquet of “meat in due season”—predicted truths on becoming due being just this to the household of faith. The Lord must be invisibly present, as you say, being proven by the time prophecies and emphasized by the Master when he said, “The Kingdom cometh not with observation or outward show,” and referred to the days of Noah before the flood as a type of the day of the presence of the Son of Man.
I wish I could be of help to the watchful, consecrated ones; but here in the bush am afraid I cannot do much. I would like to know what the arrangements of the Tower Tract Society is with Colporteurs and whether they know of any field where there is urgent need of such. Yours in the love of revealed truth.
JOHN L. LAWSON.