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VOL. XXVII. MAY 1, 1906. No. 9
Views from the Watch Tower……………………131
The New Psychology……………………….131
The Memorial Celebration……………………..132
The Convention at Akron, O……………………135
Pilgrim Requests Yearly………………………135
Neither Male Nor Female in Christ Jesus………..135
Berean Bible Study for May—Evil Speaking and Evil Surmising….137
The Sowing and the Reaping……………………137
“Clothed and in His Right Mind”……………….140
A Timely Warning to the Classes……………….143
London, Eng., Convention……………………..144
Reading Six Dawns in One Year…………………130
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LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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TERMS TO THE LORD’S POOR AS FOLLOWS:—
All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each June stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
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READING SIX DAWNS IN ONE YEAR
A sister recently wrote us that herself and daughter had begun the year with the resolution to read at least eight pages of the DAWNS each day, and remarked that by so doing they expected to reread the entire six volumes during the year 1906. The statement astonished us and we figured it out and sure enough the 3000 pages of the DAWNS can all be read in one year at the rate of eight pages per day. Even beginning now at twelve pages per day the entire six volumes could be mastered during 1906.
It is wonderful what a blessing there is in watching the minutes—how much can be accomplished by system. We know of nothing so likely to be helpful to our WATCH TOWER readers as a fresh study yearly of the entire DAWN series. Besides, those who reread most assure us that they get an increase of blessing with each reading, and an increase of knowledge, too, because as their minds expand they are able to grasp more surely the depths of the divine plan. It is our experience that those who keep up their study of the DAWNS are not only the most thoroughly furnished in respect to the armor of God and the use of the Sword of the Spirit, but that they are thus kept by the power of God from snares of error which entangle others. And thus they are qualified to instruct others.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY
BY PROF. EDGAR L. LARKIN
The discoveries now being made in the great psychological laboratories of the world are of the highest possible interest. The leading psychologists now assert that the only difference between the minds of the lower animals and man is merely one of degree only. That is, the minds of men are of the same kind as those of all other animals, only many times stronger.
Careful and long-continued experiments have demonstrated that even low types of animals have reason that differs only from that in man in degree.
All organic beings are mere colonies of cells—i.e., cities of individual living entities. At present it is unknown what life is, but each cell is a center or source of life. Ganglia are nodes or collections of cells into smaller communities; and in the human brain different combinations of the same kinds of cells may produce different faculties of mind. For differing associations of the same kind of ultimate corpuscles—there is but one kind—give rise to all the phases revealed by ordinary chemistry, and by the spectroscope. The universe is made up of varying combines of life corpuscles into infinite diversity; and variations in thought, from late analysis of mind and brain, seem to be caused by varying clusters together of one kind of brain cells into ganglia.
Mind is now known to be a product of brain activity—that is, mind is a result. Mice, birds, insects have been shown to be possessed of reason. Animals learn by experience and store this experience in memory for long periods of time. Love, affection, veneration, love of the beautiful, gratitude, conscience, consideration, contrition, sorrow, trouble, care, mercy, pity and many other attributes for long deemed to be human only are now known to be possessed by animals, in many cases to a high degree.
Several books giving thousands of instances are published. The most rigid scrutiny made by careful and conservative scientific psychologists during the last twenty years has been totally unable to detect any trace in body or brain or find any analogy in nature concerning the existence of what is popularly called the soul. Blood cells build flesh, stomach cells digest and brain cells evolve mind. Psychologists are incapable of finding any difference between the three processes. In the present state of psychic science it is not known what mind is, but whatever it may be it is known that it is caused by the action of brain and nerve cells. When this activity ends all traces of mind come to an end. Cells that originate mind are far more complex than those that perform the office of secretion in glands. The secretion of mind is of greater complexity than the secretion of bile or gastric fluids. But all are developed by the work of cells.
Perhaps the world is now ready to receive this generalization, thus: The human mind contains no faculty that cannot be found in the minds of animals, in less degree.—”New York Journal.”
* * *
Thus science is concluding with the Bible that man is “of the earth, earthly”—not a spirit being but “a little lower than the angels”;—an animal soul in the image of God. As the head of all earthly creatures his faculties are on a far higher plane than theirs. Hence his joys and his sorrows, his pains and his pleasures are more intense.
SPIRITUAL UNREST—THE WORLD’S VIEW
“The signs of spiritual unrest abroad in the land multiply daily.
“The enlightenment of the age is dissatisfied with dogmas which were accepted without reservation a generation ago and wants the creeds amended to conform to the liberal spirit of today.
“The Episcopal Church sees in higher criticism a way to meet this demand. In brief, this criticism is to harmonize the contradictions in the Bible, to expunge miracles which have dubious claim to the supernatural and to retain those which are supported by reason and the strongest proofs.
“Presbyterianism is gradually dismissing doctrines
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long held sacred, the most repugnant of which is predestination, which is abhorrent to the rising generation of the communion, and is otherwise setting itself abreast of modern thought.
“Methodism is relaxing its devotion to beliefs long dear to its heart. The latest evidence of this is that its oldest and most conservative university, Depauw, at Greencastle, Ind., has ordered the study of the Bible to be optional where heretofore it has been obligatory. No denomination has exceeded the Methodist in devotion to the good book or been more insistent upon its reading wherever possible. This departure has awakened widespread attention and proves that in the most orthodox of denominations unrest is at work upsetting long-cherished doctrines.
“The Baptists find their adherence to close communion prevents the Church from allying with itself a large following who are not members and who believe the sacraments should be open to them by virtue of attendance upon and belief in the Church, and, further, in aiding in its maintenance.
“The Lutherans, like the Catholics, are so satisfied with ceremonials that the agitation for a modern interpretation of Scriptural pronouncements has made only slight headway.
“Even intellectual churchmen look upon evangelical adherence to revelation as being the great and primary cause of backsliding and of swelling the millions outside of pulpit influence. They believe its most repellant doctrine, that of endless punishment after death, is the largest contributory cause in driving people toward infidelity and in fortifying the position of those who have long defied the invitation to come into the Church.
“Higher criticism has a large clerical following, strange as it may seem. The men who have studied the subject more than any other class, who are actuated by the highest motives, believe that the time is at hand when something must be done to check the growth of unbelief, to present doctrines which can be conscientiously accepted by the enlightened and which in turn will prevent thousands from lapsing into indifferentism or worse—the complete rejection of the message from on high.”—”Utica Press.”
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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION
ANOTHER celebration of the Memorial of our dear Redeemer’s death has come and gone;—one less intervenes between the full end of the sufferings of the Christ and the glory which shall surely follow. Each one in its turn seems more precious than the former ones as we grow yearly in grace and in the knowledge of all that the Memorial signifies,—of the great ransom for all, our dear Redeemer’s sacrifice, and of our wonderful privilege of being accepted as his “members” to share his cross and ignominy now and by and by to share his glory, honor and immortality.
The gathering at Allegheny was one of the most enjoyable we have ever held, and by far the largest. The company was estimated at 800, nearly all of whom partook of the symbolical body and blood of Christ, a conservative estimate being 750. At a preceding meeting twenty-three adults symbolized their consecration unto death by water-immersion. The discourse preceding and introducing the “Supper” set forth the meaning of the institution, tracing it back to the original Passover of the first-born of Israel in Egypt down to the antitype Christ and his members or body, “the Church of the First-born.” We saw that as only the first born of Israel were in danger in the type, so only the Church of the First-born are now in danger as respects the Second Death,—though all must later be tried for life everlasting or death everlasting.
As we broke the unleavened bread we remembered our Lord’s words, “This is my body.” We discerned that he meant, This represents or symbolizes my body,—that he could not have meant that the bread had been turned into flesh, because he had not yet been crucified, but still had his body of flesh. We partook of the symbol, meditating in our hearts that only by reason of our Lord’s sacrifice could we be justified from sin-and-death condemnation. By faith we appropriated our Lord’s pure manhood, sacrificed for us and for all.
Then we took the further view brought to our attention by the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 10:16,17), that the consecrated members of Christ are reckoned in with him as members of one greater loaf, which is being broken throughout this Gospel age, and will be the bread of life of which the whole world will partake during the Millennium if they would have everlasting life.
We partook of the “fruit of the vine” as a remembrancer of our Lord’s cup of self-sacrifice and of our pledge to share it with him. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ?” He is the vine, we are the branches, and every branch must bear the fruit of sacrifice. “If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him.” We who hope for immortality by a share in “his resurrection,” we who hope thus to have inherent life, life in ourselves, do well to remember that our Lord has specifically stated the terms to be that we must drink of his cup, his blood (consecration), as well as eat of his flesh (justification).
We again reminded the dear flock that this season of the year seems to be one of peculiar testing; and that this will probably be increasingly the case as we near the final Memorial on this side the vail. We reminded them that noble Peter almost fell at the same time that the ignoble Judas sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver. We reminded all of the Master’s words, which, if heeded, would have spared Peter so severe a test—”Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation!”
The fiery trial is necessary for the separating of the gold of the New Creature from the dross of the old creature. The “wheat” must not only be separated from the “tares,” but then it must be threshed and winnowed ere it
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is fit for the garner. All of our experiences in connection with these harvest siftings accord with the Apostle’s words: “Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock [self-seeking ones who never were true sheep], and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”—Acts 20:29,30.
The safe course is to watch and pray, lest we be ensnared by the Adversary either by old or new methods. If our hearts be full of loyalty to the Lord it will hinder “man-worship” of every form, including idolatry of self. If additionally we are “filled with the spirit” of meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness—Love—it will prevent barrenness and unfruitfulness, and drive out every vestige of anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, and all other works of the flesh and the devil. Thus doing, dearly beloved, very soon the Chief Shepherd will grant us an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.
GENERAL REPORTS FAVORABLE
As we write (April 24) we have before us reports from 337 Memorial celebrations on April 8th. Quite well indeed—improving in promptness every year. Ten of these reports are from Great Britain. The numbers in attendance ranged from two up to the largest number, which met at Allegheny. The average of all was 20 plus: the total reported is 6,267. Although this total is far beyond that of any previous celebration it leaves much to be desired. We are now issuing 30,000 copies of the WATCH TOWER twice a month, and two readers to each would show 60,000 earnest Bible students. Of that number, surely many more should feel a deep interest in celebrating their Redeemer’s death in harmony with his injunction. We hope to hear from a much larger number next year.
We here give the names of the gatherings reporting 20 and over participating:
New Brighton, Pa., 20; Carbondale, Pa., 20; Johnstown, Pa., 21; St. Petersburg, Fla., 21; Olive Branch, La., 22; W. Medford, Mass., 22; Springfield, Mass., 23; Canton, O., 23; Worcester, Mass., 23; Milwaukee, Wis., 23; Danbury, O., 23; Omaha, Neb., 24; Tampa, Fla., 24; Pasadena, Calif., 24; Newark, N.J., 25; Tiffin, O., 25; Cohoes, N.Y., 25; Atlanta, Ga., 25; Cedar Rapids, Ia., 25; Schenectady, N.Y., 25; Dallas, Tex., 25; Reedy, Va., 26; Hayne, N.C., 27; Youngstown, O., 27; San Antonio, Tex., 27; Richmond, Va., 30; Wheeling, W.Va., 30; Decatur, Ills., 34; Louisville, Ky., 35; San Francisco, Calif., 35; Binghamton, N.Y., 36; Buffalo, N.Y., 37; Lynn, Mass., 39; Altoona, Pa., 40; Dayton, O., 43; Kansas City, Kan., 44; Valdosta, Ga., 45; St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn., 49; Toledo, O., 55; Scranton, Pa., 56; Providence, R.I., 58; Cincinnati, O., 58; Toronto, Canada, 61; Columbus, O., 74; Indianapolis, Ind., 78; St. Louis, Mo., 88; Cleveland, O., 99; Washington, D.C., 103; Philadelphia, Pa., 108; New York, N.Y., 140; Los Angeles, Calif., 155; Chicago, Ills., 170; Boston, Mass., 176; Allegheny, Pa., 750.
In Great Britain: Leeds, 22; Seven Oaks, 30; Bristol, 32; Luton, 39; Manchester, 80; Liverpool, 148; Glasgow, 153; London, 248.
In Germany: Barmen-Elberfeld, 90; Wanne, 40.
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A FEW INTERESTING REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
In Philadelphia last evening 108 partook of the emblems of bread and wine in memoriam of our Lord’s death. We rejoiced in our justification and renewed our consecration to be broken with Him and partake of His sufferings. We had a blessed time. The evening previous, eleven—five brothers and six sisters—symbolized their consecration by water baptism.
With Christian love, E. D., Philadelphia, Pa.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
For the Church at Brantford, I have the pleasure to inform you that 16 souls met last night to memorialize with bread and wine our Lord’s death for us and our death with him, the meeting being conducted as nearly in the prescribed order as we were able. May God so bless this feast for us that we may be strengthened in the great race.
The meeting was led by Brother A__________ S__________, who gave us a very good discourse on the Memorial Supper, showing clearly how, why and when it was instituted and who can partake of it without condemnation.
We think that this anniversary of our Lord’s death has been the most precious of any that we have yet observed, because the spirit of love has been growing among us during this last year. It seems that all of the little company here have been drawn closer together lately than ever before.
In our prayers we counted it a privilege to remember the joint-sacrificers who were everywhere participating in the same service. All join me in love to you and the other beloved members at Allegheny.
L. W., Brantford, Ont.
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In accordance with the suggestion in the WATCH TOWER I send you a report of the Memorial gathering of the little company at New Bedford last evening. Every one present seemed to appreciate the meaning of the Memorial perhaps as never before. The article in WATCH TOWER of April 1 was read, giving all a clear idea of the Supper as instituted by the Savior. An unusual feature of the meeting was the presence with us of seven Portuguese brothers and sisters, with their leader, one of our number, who read I Cor. 11:20-29 in his own language and offered prayer, after which they “sang a hymn.” Not one of our company could understand a word, but it was inspiring and uplifting, giving us the happy thought that our Father understands all languages and we are all one in him.
Eighteen were present. All send greetings to the Allegheny Church. With love,
M. B., Massachusetts.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
The Memorial was observed by four of the brethren at the Penitentiary last Sunday evening. We are all rejoicing that we had the opportunity to meet together and again renew our pledges to the Lord. We feel that it is a wonderful privilege that we should be permitted to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. The recurrence of the Memorial season is attended with great blessings to each one, as it strengthens us to meet the trials and testings which are necessary for the developing of our character, joyfully. I ask an interest
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in your prayers that we continue faithful in the narrow way until the end.
I remain, your brother in Christ,
G. E., Columbus, O.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
The friends of St. Paul and Minneapolis met this evening together in celebration of the Memorial. To me, and I believe to all of the friends, this was a solemn occasion. Our simple service was a reminder of the first one conducted by our Lord the last night of his human existence. We felt near to him, felt keenly our own personal unworthiness to partake of his sufferings, and a realization of his exalted worthiness which he has so freely applied on our behalf. Praise be to God for such a Savior!
There were 43 present, while the emblems were sent to six, three brothers and three sisters, who were unable to attend on account of sickness.
In the forenoon a meeting was held, when a lesson on baptism was given, after which eight—three brothers and five sisters—symbolized their consecration unto death by immersion into water. It gave us all joy to witness this.
Mention was made to the Lord in your behalf, that he would continue to bless you in his service and bear you over every trial to the end. We feel so thankful for the Truth and for the continual “meat in due season” which the Lord is sending us through you.
And now, with much Christian love, I am, yours faithfully in Christ,
J. H., St. Paul, Minn.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Last evening the Cleveland Church held the meeting in commemoration of the Lord’s death. The event this year was very impressive and will long be remembered by all present. As Brother K__________ explained the significance of the emblems our hearts were filled with thankfulness to our dear Redeemer for this great sacrifice on our behalf. Though the occasion was a sad one as we thought of the ignominy and shame our Lord passed through, yet we rejoiced that he has gained the victory and is exalted to a glorious position. There were 99 participators, and we realized our Lord’s sweet presence with us as we partook of the emblems which represented his broken body and shed blood. We remembered you all, as well as the little classes of like precious faith everywhere and we felt we were remembered by you all.
A baptism service preceded the meeting, at which nine were symbolically immersed in water, thereby showing the immersion of the heart into the will of Christ. It was a solemn and affecting service, not for them alone, but for the rest of us who had already consecrated our lives and laid our little all at the Master’s feet. Oh, may we all prove faithful and rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for his sake, and by his grace may we reach the goal and receive the “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
May the Lord’s richest blessing abide with you and those who colabor with you in the grand harvest work.
Yours with Christian love,
M. S., Cleveland, O.
One hundred and forty-nine souls assembled here to partake of the symbols of the shed blood and broken body of our Lord and Redeemer, besides which number six, who were unable to leave their homes, were served there. It was indeed a solemn and blessed time and few eyes were dry as Bro. G__________ called attention to the meaning of the symbols and what was implied as we partook. It was an additionally solemn thought as we noted that some who were with us last year had passed to their reward, and that another season would find others missing from earthly scenes. Prayers of fervency were offered for every member of the one body wherever it might be; also thanksgiving for the privileges of the present time.
May the dear Lord continue to use you in ministering to the household of faith is our earnest prayer.
Yours in the one hope,
F. S., Los Angeles, Calif.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
It rejoices my heart to make the following report: There were two impressive services held under the auspices of the Scranton class to commemorate our blessed Lord’s sufferings and death; the one in Carbondale, being served by Scranton elders, for the first time enjoyed this glorious privilege of meeting on an occasion like this. With 20 present Brother G__________ appropriately called attention to the real meaning of the celebration. The other in Scranton, with 56 present, was conducted by Brother W__________, who fittingly led the thought along those lines which should bring out and forcibly impress the heart with the deep meaning of those events of Christ’s life coming down to us over a period of 1873 years.
The number present in Scranton has doubled since 1900, and, together with the Carbondale gathering, gives the encouraging total of 76.
Very sincerely your brother in Christ,
J. H., Scranton, Pa.
FROM THE GERMAN BRANCH
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
With thankfulness toward God and our Lord Jesus Christ I make this little report of the Memorial celebration in Barmen-Elberfeld. There were over 90 who partook of the emblems this year, as against 64 last year. In the afternoon preceding ten of the friends were immersed in symbol into Christ’s death. We may hope that many if not all hearts went out in worship in spirit and in truth toward the living and true God and our Savior. It is with much pleasure we notice this growth of interest, and our constant prayer is that the Lord might finish the work of faith and grace with power from on high, seeing it is God who giveth the increase. May this Memorial give us new strength for another year, or less, if it should be “unto the end” of our race.
Brother Kunkel served the friends in Wanne, quite recently interested in Present Truth. About 40 partook of the emblems there, which was a great surprise, for it is only a year since the interest began to take root and to spread, through the energies of a brother who himself had become interested through finding a Volunteer TOWER in which some coal miner had brought a lunch.
Your brother and servant in Christ,
O. A. KOETITZ,—Germany.
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THE CONVENTION AT AKRON, O.
THE Convention at Akron, Ohio, on April 15 was a joyful occasion for many of us. The Cleveland class chartered an electric car, and were present to the number of 77, with faces beaming with the light of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Others were from other nearby places. The Akron class of about 15 was thus encouraged by the presence of about 200 brethren from outside.
A Testimony Meeting came first. Many told briefly of their joy in the Lord since coming to an intelligent understanding of the Scriptures. Just at the close of the meeting a man arose who said: “I want to thank God for the blessing that has come through MILLENNIAL DAWN to myself and others who are striving to live manly lives, decent lives, clean lives from the world’s standpoint.” Educated for the ministry and for a time a preacher, he had lapsed into infidelity and irreligion for some years. He became a book-binder and noticing the quantities of DAWNS passing through the bindery he read some from curiosity. The first two chapters of Volume VI., he declared, lifted him out of infidelity by giving him fresh confidence in the Bible. This led to his study and acceptance of all the DAWN teachings—except that he had never consecrated his life to the Lord. He was glad to testify that what he had learned gave him higher aspirations toward a manly life.
The Testimony meeting was followed by a discourse on the Resurrection (the first of a series of seven) which many of you have read in the public prints, and to which we need not here refer more particularly. The Akron friends very generously had an excellent luncheon provided, which was heartily relished by about 125 of us.
The afternoon public meeting was held in Music Hall. The friends had evidently done their advertising, etc., “as unto the Lord,” and had done it well; for there was an immense crowd for a place of the size. The hall is said to seat 1430, and about 170 stood throughout, while about 100 could not get admittance because there was not even standing room for them. The Lord granted us great liberty in proclaiming his plan of salvation for our sin-cursed race, and the audience gave profound attention. We trust that some were helped nearer to the Lord in faith and obedience. After this service the bookbinder mentioned foregoing came forward saying that the love of God constrained him, and that he had given his little all to the Lord—henceforth, forever.
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YEARLY REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS
OUR “Pilgrim” service is becoming a very important factor in the “Harvest” work. While the brethren chosen for this service are not sent forth as perfect, the Society considers them worthy brethren everyway—ensamples to the flock in doctrine and practice. They travel continuously, as per announcements on the last page of the TOWER. All of their expenses, of every kind, are met by the Society: they do not solicit money or anything else, either for themselves or the Society. The service is free—the expenses being borne by the contributors to the Tract Fund. We seek divine guidance as to who shall be engaged in this service and where it shall be rendered. With the means put at our disposal we seek to do our best for the general welfare of the Lord’s cause.
The routine of the Pilgrims is in circuits arranged in harmony with the interest shown and requests received; and since many changes occur during a year we desire that REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS be made yearly, in May. Please answer the following questions, or as many of them as apply in your case. These responses are filed for our information for twelve months. You need not repeat the questions, but merely indicate them thus: (a), (b), etc. A postal card will serve our every purpose and be easy to file away. All interested classes please attend to this matter at once.
(a) How many “Bible Students” reside in your vicinity?
(b) Are weekly meetings held by you?
(c) How many are usually in attendance?
(d) Where do you now meet?
(e) At what hours are the Sunday studies held?
(f) Was a vote taken on the “Pilgrim” invitation?
(g) How many voted for the invitation to be sent?
(h) How many, if any, voted against the invitation?
(i) Would a suitable place be found for a public meeting?
(j) What attendance do you think could be secured for the public session by such notification and advertising as your class would give?
(k) Would a suitable place be found for semi-private meetings for the interested?
(l) Have the members of your class chosen leaders in accord with DAWN Vol. VI., chapters 5 and 6? If so, give names and full addresses of the two to whom notification of a Pilgrim coming should be sent, and please notify us of any changes.
(m) Give full name and address of the one who has volunteered to entertain the Pilgrim.
(n) If your town is not on a railroad give name of proper railroad station to stop at and tell how Pilgrim could get from station. Would he be met?
(o) Give writer’s name and address in full.
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NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE IN CHRIST JESUS
THE APOSTLE’S words above are often quoted to prove something that was far from his intention.
We do not blame those who misuse the quotation, nor charge that they are endeavoring to wrest the Scriptures; rather we give them credit for sincerity of intention, but presume that either they are not thorough Bible students or else that in the fall their reasoning faculties have been seriously injured, and that they
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have not yet ascertained the defect and learned how to rectify the same so as to have the spirit of a sound mind in an examination of this Scripture. The class we refer to seem to get the impression that the Apostle means that after we have become the Lord’s people, after we have made full consecration to him, there is no longer any difference between males and females, that amongst believers the ordinary sex distinctions may be dispensed with, that men may treat the women as though they were men, and women may treat the men as though they were women. This is very false reasoning, a total perversion of the Apostle’s intention in the words quoted. Wherever the sex distinctions are ignored there is danger to the morals of all concerned.
The Apostle’s argument taken as a whole cannot properly be construed as countenancing any disregard of sex distinctions. The Christian man is to be no less chaste and reserved than when he was a worldly man. The higher ideals of his new relationship with the Lord should make him more discreet, more highminded, more careful everyway of propriety and true manliness in word, in thought, and in conduct. The Christian woman is to be no less pure in thought, in word, in conduct, than she was before she came into relationship with Christ. The Apostle uses the illustration of a chaste virgin. The word virgin signifies pure, and the word chaste implies a very special kind of purity, chastity, discretion—separateness from anything that could sully the spotless robe of Christ’s imputed righteousness.
We realize well the sentiment leading to this misunderstanding of the Apostle’s words. We concede that the pure love for the Lord Jesus coming into the consecrated heart tends to separate it more and more from the world and the worldly and the sinful, and that the tendrils of the heart’s affections naturally seek some other support, some other fellowship, and that the fellowship of kindred minds in Christ becomes the chief attraction. We well understand, too, that while this attraction is to all who are the Lord’s, male and female alike, there is necessarily a special sex attraction which is not destroyed by the transformation of our love and affection from worldly to heavenly things. Rather the heavenly mind operating through the human brain will still appreciate the attractions of the opposite sex. We agree, too, that the family relationship subsisting between the members of the Church, represented by the words brother and sister, signify very close and very dear relationship, and that the Scriptures authorize this—that we should regard our Lord Jesus as our elder brother and our Bridegroom, and each other as brethren and sisters in the Lord.
We are not arguing against the proper recognition of these terms of precious relationship; we are not arguing against the proper enjoyment of this spiritual relationship; we are merely cautioning against any tendency to ignore or set aside the differences and barriers which even nature enjoins upon us as between the sexes. Between brothers and sisters of blood relationship there should be indeed warm affection, but never an ignoring of sex distinctions. A sister should always be treated as a sister, a brother should always be treated as a brother, and modesty and purity should ever guard the happiness of the relationship. And this should be no less the rule amongst those who have become New Creatures in Christ Jesus, to whom “old things have passed away and all things have become new.” Rather these should be the more on guard, remembering that the relationship is merely spiritual and not a fleshly one.
This is indeed the consecrated key to the right understanding of the Apostle’s words. When elsewhere he declares, “Ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit,” no one understands him to mean that we have no flesh, and that the flesh must not be recognized and governed and kept under control. The very reverse is his thought, that we as New Creatures are no longer to be guided and controlled by the earthly interests, but especially by the spiritual interests. We have the two standpoints, both true:
(1) From the world’s standpoint and from our own actual standpoint we are still in the flesh; we still have its weaknesses and blemishes to contend with, to fight against, to overcome.
(2) From the Lord’s standpoint we are no longer human or fleshly beings but spirit beings—that is to say, he is dealing with us according to our new resolution, our new standing as newly begotten creatures in Christ. He is not judging us according to the weaknesses and frailties of the flesh, but according to the desires and intentions of the new mind. But the new mind will assuredly control the flesh to the extent of its ability, and nothing could be more unwise than for it to ignore the flesh and to expose itself to peculiar temptations of the flesh through a misunderstanding of the Apostle’s words, “There is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus.”
What does the Apostle mean? We reply: The teaching is that God accepts all those who come unto him through Christ without distinctions as to race or wealth or servitude or honor amongst men, or sex distinctions. In Christ we are one—that is to say, from God’s standpoint he treats us as one, and has blessings for each and for all in the divine arrangement. Take the remainder of the Apostle’s statement, “there is neither bond nor free in Christ Jesus.” He does not mean by this that the slave who comes into relationship as a member of the body of Christ is to be considered a free man, and that he is to use his time, etc., in disregard of his master’s wishes. On the contrary the Apostle says, “Art thou called being a slave, seek not to be free.” That is to say, Do not consider that freedom is necessary to your spiritual welfare; the Lord is as able to bless you and to bring you off an overcomer as a slave as though you were the master and wealthy.
In some respects indeed the slave position may be more favorable to the attainment of the character necessary to a share in the Kingdom than the position of the Master would be. The slave was to know, however, that the Lord would not take notice of his slavery as
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respects his hopes for a place in the future Kingdom; he would have as good if not better chance for honor in the Kingdom than if he were the master, because the circumstances of life are really against the rich, the wise, the noble, the great. Likewise the Jew and the Greek: The Jew was not to think that because of the favor granted to his nation in the past that he would still have a preferential place in the Church and in the coming Kingdom; the Greek was not to think that because the Jew had been cut off from favor that therefore he would be disfavored in the eyes of the Lord as respects a place in the Kingdom. Both were to know that God would ignore their natural differences of language, heredity, etc., and reward each according to his faithfulness as a member of the body of Christ, irrespective of birth or station or sex or nation.
We are not discussing the natural differences between males and females; we have discussed that question elsewhere, and shown that the Lord has adapted the one to the other, so that each is the complement of the other. We are not here discussing the public ministries of the Church, and to what extent these are open to males and females, according to the divine arrangement—the divine Word. That subject we have dealt with elsewhere. We are here endeavoring specially to demonstrate that the Apostle’s words in our text have no reference whatever to the earthly interests and associations of the people of God—that they merely relate to our standing before the Lord and our hopes and prospects as respects the Kingdom of glory, to which we have been called and for which we are striving to make our calling and election sure. The Apostle’s words comfort us all when rightly understood, assuring us that if we attain a place in the Kingdom it will not be on account of our sex, race or condition as human beings.
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR MAY
—FOR EXPLANATION SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES AND WATCH TOWER, MARCH 1, 1905—
EVIL SPEAKING AND EVIL SURMISING
IT is suggested that leaders of Berean Classes endeavor to hold the discussion of each question to its legitimate domain. Otherwise later questions will have been found partially discussed yet not thoroughly digested and much less satisfactory.
The leader should STUDY the entire lesson and each member of the class should STUDY the portion or question assigned to him or her, if the largest possible good would be derived. The DAWNS and booklets and TOWERS cited should be at hand, and so marked as to be readily referred to without a moment’s delay. The DAWNS are referred to by the first six letters of the alphabet, the booklets by initial letters and the WATCH TOWER by Z.
What is evil speaking? Jas. 3:8-10. Z.’99-68 (2nd col. par. 1, 2.)
How prevalent is this fault among even those who profess to be Christians? Z.’99-69 (1st col. par. 1).
What is the power of the tongue? Jas. 3. F.586-588; Z.’99-75 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.’97-156 (1st col. par. 2).
What is meant by a “tongue set on fire of gehenna”? Jas. 3:6. Z.’00-98 (1st col., par. 5, 6).
What are the baneful influences of evil speaking, and what are some of the excuses and subterfuges offered by the fallen nature? Z.’99-69 (1st col. par. 2) to 70 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.’99-72 (1st col. par. 2 to 5).
What is evil surmising and what is its relation to evil speaking? Z.’05-213 (1st col. par. 3 to 2nd col. par. 3.)
What are “secret faults,” and of what two kinds are they? Z.’98-22 (1st col. par. 1).
Is an evil suggestion a sin, and how does it become a secret fault? Z.’98-22 (1st col. par. 2 and 2nd col. par. 1); Z.’00-32 (1st col. par. 1).
What is a “presumptuous sin,” and when does a secret fault become a presumptuous sin? Z.’98-22 (2nd col. par. 1).
What is the “great transgression” to which these sins lead? Z.’98-22 (2nd col. par. 1).
How may we purify and keep our hearts pure from these sins? Z.’99-215 (2nd col. par. 1) to 217; Z.’98-22 (2nd col. par. 2) to 23 (1st col. par. 5).
How is the Lord judging us? Matt. 12:34-37. Z.’96-30 (1st col. par. 1, 2).
Why should we render to God a daily account of any “idle” (pernicious) words? Z.’96-32 (1st col. par. 4) to 33 (1st col. par. 1, 2).
How are words the index of our hearts? Luke 6:45. Z.’96-22 (1st col. par. 4 and 2nd col. par. 1); Z.’96-32 (1st col. par. 1).
What does purity of heart signify? Z.’02-358 (2nd col. par. 3); Z.’05-230 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.’98-25 (2nd col. par. 3).
What is the importance of a pure heart? 1 Sam. 16:7. Z.’04-22 (2nd col. par. 6) and 23 (1st col. par. 1 to 3); Z.’01-325 (1st col. par. 4 to 2nd col. par. 1) Z.’99-140 (1st col. par. 2).
How may purity of heart be attained? Z.’00-359 (2nd col. par. 1) to 360 (2nd col. par. 2).
How do we know our motive is pure, since “the heart is deceitful above all things”? Z.’00-359 (1st col. par. 1 to 3).
What is the relation between our conscience and purity of heart? Z.’00-360 (2nd col. par. 2).
(To be continued for June.)
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THE SOWING AND THE REAPING
—MATTHEW 13:24-30,36-43—MAY 6—
“Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”—Gal. 6:7
OUR LORD followed his parable showing the four kinds of hearers of the Word (illustrated by the wayside, the stony ground, the thorny ground and the good ground) with the parable of the wheat and the tares, which is the center of this lesson. An intimate connection between the two parables is to be observed. The majority who heard the Lord’s message opposed it directly or indirectly. The parable of the sower represents the four
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classes willing to hear at all, and shows us that but one class of hearers could possibly bring forth the good fruit. The present parable shows some of the difficulties which interfere with the best hearers, the best hearts, some with the best seed.
The parable as a whole is a picture of the Kingdom of heaven—not in its complete and glorious Millennial reign, but in its embryo condition, in process of development. The Kingdom of glory will be the Church in glory, as the Kingdom in embryo is the Church under present conditions, called to glory, honor and immortality, but first experiencing trials and difficulties which must be battled against by those who would make their calling and election sure to a share in the glory that is to follow. This Kingdom class did not begin with Adam nor with Noah nor with Moses, but with Christ. There was no Kingdom seed, no Kingdom promises and hopes planted, until Christ came, who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. (2 Tim. 1:10.) As the Apostle declares, this great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by our Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. (Heb. 2:3.) It was the Son of man who sowed this good seed, and the members of his body from his day until now have continued the work——the apostles being most prominent therein.
SATAN SOWED THE TARES
“While men slept his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.” This enemy our Lord explains is Satan—”the enemy that sowed them is the devil.” On this statement Dr. Abbott wisely comments thus, “Observe that here, as elsewhere, the personality of the devil is recognized by our Lord in unmistakable terms. This is no parable, but the interpretation of a parable; it is no concession to popular prejudice, for it is uttered to his own disciples alone.”
The statement that this was done “while men slept” may be interpreted, first, as signifying that while the Lord and the apostles lived the enemy did not have the opportunity for introducing the tare element; that it was done after their death, when they had fallen asleep. It is equally true that Satan did this sowing of tares while the entire Church slept, in the sense of not being wide awake to their duties and privileges. Such a period of drowsiness and slumber, non-alertness as respects the Truth, prevailed amongst the Lord’s people for centuries, which are known to the civilized world as the “dark ages.” Even yet the same thing is true in large measure, and the Apostle’s words are appropriate, “Let us not sleep as do others.” (1 Thess. 5:6.) Many of the Lord’s true followers have been dreaming about the conversion of the world, while the great enemy, Satan, has been sowing tares with liberal hand in their very midst—or, as the Apostle Peter explains it, “bringing in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.”—2 Peter 2:1.
DARNEL COUNTERFEITS WHEAT
There are various kinds of tares in Palestine, but the
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most troublesome kind and the kind evidently referred to in the parable is known as “bearded darnel.” It looks exactly like the wheat when springing up, and not until the maturity of the head is the difference discernible. Then the wheat, weighted with golden grains, humbly bows its head, while the tares stand straight, the heads having little weight and the seeds being black. At this time the difference between the tares and the wheat becomes clearly discernible.
Passing from the parable picture to the reality, we find the good seed, the gracious promises of the Kingdom, which the Lord showed has brought forth the children of the Kingdom—true Christians who appreciate the Kingdom, who have thankfully accepted the Lord’s proposition of their becoming heirs with him in that Kingdom and who heartily lay hold upon the terms of joint-heirship, that they must suffer with him if they would reign with him. (Rom. 8:17.) These Christians as they develop bring forth much fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some an hundred grains, representing the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit—representing them as New Creatures in Christ Jesus, “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works”—begotten of the Spirit through the Word of Truth. (Eph. 2:10.) Contrarywise the darnel class are those not begotten of the Truth but of error—misled into forms of godliness without its real power.
THE DEVIL SOWED THE DARNEL
Who planted the seeds of error which have developed this class? The Scriptures answer, Satan, the devil. But why should he plant or develop any teachings that would bring forth imitation Christians, those who are outwardly godly? Would he not rather plant seeds of immorality, etc.? We answer that he already has a large part of the field, the world, under cultivation along the lines of ignorance, superstition, etc., as the Apostle declares—the heathen worship devils. (1 Cor. 10:20.) The work of Satan as represented in this parable is one of expectancy. He is not so anxious for the development of the tare class as he is anxious to choke the wheat. This purpose can better be accomplished by the sowing of tares than by other sowings, which from the first would show widely in contrast and could be exterminated. It is the fact that the darnel-tare exactly resembles the wheat for a considerable time, which makes it the more dangerous, the more troublesome to eradicate. And so it is with the tare class of Christendom: respectable, educated, influential in outward morals and demeanor, closely resembling the Lord’s consecrated ones, there is no means of discerning their different character at first.
GATHERING OUT THE TARES
In the parable the servants inquired of the Master whether or not they should pull up the tares, but his answer is that the tares are so abundant that this procedure would be unwise, impossible. In eastern countries a certain amount of tares spring up with the wheat anyway, and these the servants gather out as soon as discerned, because the darnel seed is poisonous. So with the Church: the parable would be true if the Lord had left out all reference to the enemy sowing the tares amongst the wheat, and if then he had proceeded to say that certain tares sprang up with it. Naturally there would be some imitation Christians with the true anyway, just as darnel is usually found amongst the wheat in that country. But our Lord wished to show an abnormal condition—that the tare seed was specially sown for the very purpose of choking the wheat. This is in harmony with the Apostle’s statement,
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“We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in high positions.”—Eph. 6:12.
We have today not merely the natural downward tendency of the human heart toward forms of godliness without the power, but, far worse than this, the wicked spirits—Satan and his associates, fallen angels—have been plotting against the divine plan and operating with a view to thwarting the same all through this age. The Master in this parable showed that he foreknew all this and that it was a part of the divine plan to permit it. In permitting it the Lord does not endorse it nor make himself responsible for it, but he will eventually so overthrow it as to bring out of the evil certain valuable lessons for all eternity.
One of the lessons most difficult for the Lord’s true people to learn is that the masses of Christendom are tares, having merely the form of godliness but knowing nothing of its inward power. As they see the wheat-field overrun with these they are inclined to think that the majority must be the wheat, and the comparatively few stocks that are real wheat they are inclined to consider fanatical extremists. Only those who are themselves begotten of the Spirit through the Word of truth, the good seed of the Kingdom—only these as they ripen are prepared to properly discriminate and to note the difference of fruitage, and, looking backward, to draw their comparisons as between the Lord, the apostles and the early believers, and the true wheat of the same class and character today. The entire parable fully attests this.
OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE TARES
(1) They were not merely such as usually sprang up amongst the wheat. The parable declares that they were sown in the same systematic manner as the wheat, and with the deliberate intention of ruining the wheat-field—choking the wheat.
(2) It shows that the tares were too numerous to be dealt with after the ordinary fashion of pulling up—that such a procedure would have unsettled everything as respects the interests of the true wheat in the present time.
(3) It shows the same preponderance of the tares in the picture of the harvest, when it is the tares and not the wheat which is gathered and bound in bundles, the wheat evidently in smaller proportionate quantity being taken directly to the barns unbundled—precious, scarce.
This parable pictures what we are to expect as the result of the entire work of grace throughout this Gospel age. The results will be a tremendous harvest of tares and a comparatively small gathering of the precious wheat.
Spiteful enmity, such as is represented in this parable as moving the devil to injure the wheat-field, to choke the wheat, is not without its parallel in human affairs. As, for instance, not long since the public prints told how a tenant in Ireland, having been evicted from a farm property he had long rented, felt spiteful toward the owner and sowed the fields with wild oats. In the case of Satan we can see that his course in the matter has been in full accord with his entire procedure from the time of the beginning of his rebellion against God. He deceived our first parents by malicious representations of the divine character and by falsehood, telling them that God had forbidden the eating of the fruit of the trees of knowledge of good and evil because he desired to keep them in ignorance, lest they should become competitors with him in knowledge, again assuring them that the Almighty was unable to execute the sentence against them, “Dying thou shalt die.”
All the way down the history of the world shows Satan’s opposition. Amongst heathen nations today, everywhere, he has planted the seeds of error and blasphemy against God, misrepresenting his character and his plan and making them to appear adverse. And these same seeds of error he has planted in the wheat-field of Christendom, scattering it so that it would intermingle with the truths of the Lord’s Word. This evil seed is represented in all the false doctrines of the “dark ages,” which misrepresent the divine character and plan. Those influenced by the errors of Satan are begotten of fear and not of love, not of the spirit of truth with which the Lord begets those who are truly his, the wheat; and only in the latter can perfect love cast out fear and bring the fruitage and graces of the holy Spirit in heart and in character, in word and in deed. The error brings merely outward forms of Sabbath keeping, Church going, decency and morality, but does not affect the heart so as to bring forth the fruitage of consecration, self-sacrifice, etc., which are the essential qualities of the wheat class which the Lord is now developing.
“THE HARVEST, THE END OF THE AGE”
Neither in this parable nor elsewhere does the Lord intimate that the present order of things is to continue—the strife between truth and error, between righteousness and sin, with the latter predominating in every way. Quite to the contrary, the Scriptures everywhere teach that the present age had a particular beginning and that it will have as positive and particular an ending. Unfortunately the translators of our common version Bible have used the word “world” here and in other places instead of the word “age” or “epoch” or “dispensation.” Nothing could be further from the Scriptural teaching than that the earth is to be destroyed in the harvest time when the wheat will be gathered.
On the contrary, the wheat class now being selected will be glorified and, as this lesson shows, “Then will the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43.) They will shine forth for the blessing of mankind, to bring order out of present confusion, to scatter present darkness and ignorance and superstition, to cause the knowledge of the glory of God to fill the whole earth, to enlighten every man that has ever come into the world, to cause all to know from the least to the greatest of the love of God and the abundant provision which he has made, which guarantees that none shall die the Second Death except the wilfully, intelligently disobedient.—John 1:9; Hab. 2:14; Jer. 31:34.
To our understanding we are already living in this harvest time, and this accounts for the wonderful commotion and changes which we are anticipating in the wheat-field, in Christendom. The time of separation has come, and the Lord will make no mistake: not a single tare will be gathered into the barn—beyond the vail into the heavenly condition and glory; and as respects the wheat, the harvest is to ripen, and not a ripe head of wheat, whether it bear thirty or sixty or a hundred fold, will be left in the field or burned with the tares, but all will be safely garnered—gathered to the Lord.
The angels are already at work—the Lord uses various
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human instrumentalities as his servants, messengers or angels. The bundles of human organization are tending more and more to combination, federation. Not only those institutions styling themselves churches, including Christian Scientists, but other institutions, orders, etc., are combining. The harvest time is specially favorable to the ripening of the wheat, and the Lord’s true people everywhere are finding assistances in the growing in grace and knowledge and the fruits of the Spirit such as they never have enjoyed before, because we are in the harvest time, and because the Lord is providing these angels, messengers of Truth and Grace, for our assistance and development.
“CAST THEM INTO A FURNACE OF FIRE”
With false fears already in their hearts there is a disposition to interpret this statement about the tares being cast into a furnace of fire and all other similar statements of the Scriptures as literal, as signifying eternal torment. We notice, however, that the parable strictly limits this furnace time to the harvest of the age: there is no such furnace for the wheat and tares all down through the Gospel age—they are to be gathered in the end of the age and to be burned in a furnace. This certainly is very contrary to the ordinary conception of the matter, that immediately at death many pass to an eternity of torture. If this statement had any reference to a torture time, either for eternity or for a shorter period, it certainly limits the time of its beginning to the harvest time, the end of this age.
But let us look at the figure and we will see more particularly what this feature of the parable signifies. The field is the world, the wheat are the Lord’s people who rise up out of the world and bring forth fruit to his praise, the result of the good seed, the gracious promises and arrangements of the Kingdom which inspire them with hope, faith, perseverance to the end. This is the class which the Lord seeks, the only class. He is not dealing with the field, the world in general, but merely with the corner of it which he has planted with the good seed. The other parts of the field, the world, are not in the parable at all. When the farmer gathered his crop to the barn it was his custom to burn the tares, so that the seed might not propagate further and thus cause additional trouble; hence it was the usage to burn the tares in bake-ovens, to use them as we would use kindling wood, for heating the oven for the baking of bread.
Everything in this figure of the burning of the tares, therefore, would signify nothing approximating torment; it simply illustrates destruction. When the tares are burned they are reduced to dust and become again a part of the field, the world. So we understand it will be in the end of this age: the Lord will permit various agencies to enkindle a great fire of trouble—”a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1.) With this fire the tare class will have terminated, for so-called Christendom will be the great furnace. True, there will be trouble in the outside heathen nations also, but the trouble will specially affect civilized nominal Christendom—Churchianity. By the time that trouble has ended imitation Christians will all have disappeared, there will be no more. The true Christians, the Kingdom class, the elect, will have been changed in the First Resurrection to heavenly conditions; the remainder of mankind will all be of the earth earthy and make no pretensions whatever to be called-out ones of the heavenly order.
WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH
There will surely be great disappointment, sorrow, pain, trouble and anguish throughout Christendom in that “day of trouble.” Already, as our Master predicted, men’s hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after the things that are coming upon the earth (Luke 21:25-28); but their fears and their anguish will not be eternal. When the trouble shall have accomplished its work of mellowing society and preparing mankind for the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom, when it shall have burned itself out, it will be no more, and instead of trouble blessings shall come in—not upon the tares, but upon those who once were tares, yea, upon all the families of the earth shall the blessings come through the seed of Abraham, the glorified Christ, Head and body. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” All cannot understand or appreciate, or receive this message, and this our Lord clearly foresaw and declared, saying, “He that hath an ear let him hear.” Neither should we despise those who cannot hear, but rather we may sympathize with them and be thankful to the Lord for the hearing ear which permits us to appreciate these and other features of the divine plan.
OUR GOLDEN TEXT
Our caption, our Golden Text, is true enough and carries with it a very valuable thought, but one totally out of accord with the lesson of this parable. The parable represents the Lord as the sower, the Truth as the seed and true followers as the result. The Golden Text pictures a totally different matter, and points us to the fact that the seeds of today will bring forth fruitage by and by, whether they be good seeds of kind words, gentleness, meekness, patience, helpfulness, or evil words and evil conduct, backbiting, slandering and evil doing. Every act, every word, every look, every thought is a seed, and will bring its results in our own minds and hearts and conduct, and have to do with whether or not we shall bring forth thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold or no fruitage whatever, or an evil fruitage, which the Lord declares he will utterly destroy in the time of reckoning in the end of this age. All who are the Lord’s true people can profitably apply both lessons, but they must not be confounded or confusion will result.
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“CLOTHED AND IN HIS RIGHT MIND”
—MARK 5:1-20—MAY 13—
Golden Text:—”Go home to thy friends and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee.”
THOSE who deny the personality of Satan must logically also deny the personality of demons, so frequently referred to in the Scriptures, including this lesson. The Scriptures clearly set forth a prince of devils, Satan, and his subordinates, and as clearly refer to them as individuals possessed of intelligence and reason. We are aware of the subtlety of the arguments by which those who disbelieve in spirit beings invisible to men deny intelligences that cannot be recognized by the five human senses; but surely they find it hard to “kick against the pricks”—to deal honestly
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with the divine records and yet hold to their position.
The people of God will find it best to be humble, not to attempt to be wise above what is written, to admit that their knowledge is limited and to accept the divine testimony without wresting it, subverting it, misconstruing into harmony with their own ignorance. Their objection is that these people were simply insane and not possessed by demons—that if demons possessed mankind then we should expect similar possessions today. We answer that in our judgment a large proportion of the so-called insane are in that condition because they are obsessed or possessed by demons—wicked spirits—the one-time angels who kept not their first estate.—Jude 6.
OBSESSED BY DEMONS
The picture of this poor man’s condition is most vividly given. There are many similarly possessed in our day confined in asylums, in padded cells, where they can harm neither themselves nor others. Very few are aware to what extent insanity has a hold upon humanity even in civilized lands. If the comparatively small State of South Carolina has 1247 inmates in its Lunatic Asylum, imagine how many there are in the asylums of the most populous States and throughout the world. Alas, poor creatures! would that we had the power to bid the demons come out of them! How glad we are that it will not be very long until he who has the power, the rightful authority to deliver mankind from the power of sin and Satan and death, will exercise it—when Satan shall be bound and the judgment of the fallen angels shall proceed as the Apostle has foretold. (1 Cor. 6:3.) It is not for us to guess how many or how few of those debauched spirits will under favorable influences be rescued from their infamous condition, but it is for us to rejoice that the Lord has provided for their judgment, their trial, their testing, and that his grace is sufficient for the delivery of all who under full opportunity shall demonstrate a thorough conversion to righteousness.
As there were no asylums at that time, the maniacs, demonized, were subject to the private care of their friends, and the one of our lesson, we are informed, had been frequently bound hand and foot, but manifested a wonderful strength, breaking his cords and fetters, and, leaving his home, roamed wildly in the mountainous places and caves
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and open tombs of the limestone formation of that country.
Verse 6 tells us that he saw Jesus from afar and ran to meet him. He must have seen the boat coming across the lake of Galilee, heading for the coast near where he was, because we have the statement that he met Jesus immediately upon the landing of the ship (v. 2). Quite probably the disciples were considerably alarmed to see the maniac thus come running toward them as the ship landed, and doubtless they were surprised when he fell upon his knees and worshiped Jesus, crying out in a loud voice, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God that you torment me not.” Apparently Jesus had already begun to command that the unclean spirit should come out of the man, and this entreaty not to be tormented was apparently a plea for extension of time, not too great haste. Another account says, “Art thou come to torment us before the time?” Another similar statement is, “Art thou come to destroy us before the time?”
The thought apparently would be that the demons understood that God had a time appointed which would mark the limitation of their liberties and opportunities in connection with the tormenting of mankind by obsession, as in this case. The false reasoning exhibited in this expression, this implication that an interference with their tormenting of mankind would be an injury to their rights, their liberties, seems peculiar; yet we know that there are many amongst men who have similarly perverted notions of what are their rights, their liberties—to impose upon the rights of others, to defraud others, to mislead others to their injury. It is common today for men to claim that their rights and liberties are interfered with when they are estopped from pillaging and variously injuring their fellow-creatures. When great corporations, affecting to be public servants chartered by the Commonwealth, use their opportunities to the public injury, contrary to the public welfare, they also cry out, Let us alone—you are interfering with our vested rights.
WHAT HAVE WE IN COMMON?
The expression, “What have I to do with thee?” might be more literally rendered, “What have we in common?” Truly there is nothing in common between the Son of God and his mission and the demons and their work; and all Christian people who recognize the work of these demons through spirit mediums, hypnotism, mental science, Christian Science, etc., should be on guard; none should have anything whatever to do with them. They should remember that there is nothing in common between the Lord and these powers—that to have anything to do with these is to neglect the divine counsel and to jeopardize their peace and all their best interests.
The plea of the demon apparently arrested the Lord’s command and he made inquiry as to his name. We may not unreasonably suppose that the Lord knew that the man was possessed of a legion, a great number, of fallen spirits, but that he took this method of bringing out the answer for the sake of his disciples and the others who crowded around. Everything we know on the subject goes to corroborate the thought that the evil spirits do not have special pleasure in their own company, and that they are debarred from all intercourse with the holy angels, and that therefore they are specially solicitous of being in contact with humanity and of gaining possession of human beings whom they may use as their agents, through whom they may operate and come in contact with others.
Apparently God has so arranged the human mind that it is invulnerable to the attacks of these evil spirits except as some special condition may give them opportunity: apparently the will of the individual must consent in some measure to their cooperation. We may see that none would consent did they possess full knowledge of what they were doing, but the entertainment of evil thoughts, the practice of vicious habits, seems to a considerable degree to break down the will and to give admittance to these evil spirits to have control of it, and, through the will, the mind and the body.
From what we see and from what the Scriptures declare we have every reason to expect that there will be a greater onslaught of these evil spirits upon humanity in the near future. To our understanding hypnotism, mind cure, etc., are already operating in large degree toward this end—toward the bringing of the human will into that condition
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where it will be amenable to the influences of these evil spirits. The influences of Spiritism and Christian Science and Theosophy are all, we believe, cooperating in the same direction. Terrible will the harvest be! Thank God, the reign of Satan and his minions will be brief! We are nearing the time when Satan shall be bound for a thousand years that he may deceive and obsess humanity no more until the thousand years be finished.—Rev. 20:2,3.
THE DEMON-POSSESSED SWINE
Scholars are of the opinion that this part of the country was largely inhabited by foreigners, the owners of large herds of swine. While the Jews did not eat swine’s flesh the foreigners did, especially the Roman soldiers, and doubtless the swine industry of those parts must have been a very lucrative one, on which account, perhaps, the Jews of that vicinity were favorable to it, being more or less interested in its prosperity, just as many farmers are interested in the prosperity of breweries, distilleries, etc., because through these they find a market for their crops, and other advantages through the money thus put into circulation.
There was a herd of swine numbering about two thousand near by. (From this we have the intimation that it was quite a swine-producing country, and that there may have been numerous herds as large or larger.) The demons possessing the man besought Jesus that they might not be sent away, that they might not be condemned to the abyss—to the Second Death, to utter destruction, but that they might be allowed to remain in that country even if he should demand that they should leave the man. They asked permission to go into the herd of swine near by and the Lord permitted it.
Swine were condemned under the Jewish Law, and may therefore have been considered contraband and their destruction authorized. At all events we may know that our Lord violated no principle of justice in permitting the demons to take possession of the swine. But here we would ask those who admit the truth of this narrative but deny obsession, deny that the man was afflicted with evil spirits—we ask them in what way they would attempt to account for the transfer of a disease of the mind from a man to a herd of two thousand hogs? It cannot be accounted for except on the hypothesis that a legion of evil spirits possessed the man, and that these evil spirits took possession of the swine instead, a spirit for each hog.
Whatever may have been the hopes of the demons in respect to these brutes they evidently were disappointed. Man, with his higher organization, is able apparently to stand much more mental torment than the brute creation. The effect upon the brains of the swine was such as to make them crazy, and in their insanity the whole herd rushed down a steep embankment and were choked in the sea.
This miracle of healing as well as the permission of the demons to enter into the swine was doubtless intended and permitted to be a demonstration to the people of those parts of the power of the Lord over evil spirits, a demonstration also of the fact that they were evil spirits as made clear by the conduct of the swine into which they entered. And this lesson, we believe, was intended more particularly for the Lord’s people of the Gospel age than for those who were witnesses of the miracle and its results.
We can imagine the swine-herders barely escaping with their lives from the rush of the crazy beasts toward the sea. We can imagine their fear and perplexity and their haste as they ran to tell the owners of the herd what had happened—to clear themselves of responsibility and to tell them that the man who caused the difficulty was still near the spot. It took but a little while for the owners and herdsmen and, one account says, all the people of the city to come to where Jesus was. On their arrival they saw the demoniac sitting at Jesus’ feet, “clothed and in his right mind.” In his insanity he had torn off clothing and everything, but now peace and serenity reigned.
THEY IMPLORED HIS DEPARTURE
What was the effect of the miracle upon the people? Did they rejoice and glorify God that a fellow-creature had been delivered from the power of the demons? This certainly would have been the proper course, the natural course for people in the right attitude of mind, which these were not. On the contrary, selfishness reigned in their hearts instead of love and sympathy; hence they did not hail Jesus as their friend and deliverer, nor say, “Come on, Master and Teacher, we have other poor people here afflicted of the devil, cast out from them the evil spirits also. We have others who are sick and who need your healing; we all need your instruction that we may put off the works of darkness and put on the garments of light and righteousness.” Instead of thus reasoning they thought on the opposite side, the selfish side of the question. Two thousand hogs are lost, several thousand dollars worth of property has been destroyed. If this man remain and should cast out any more devils and allow them to go into other herds of swine it might wreck all the business of this prosperous country.
This is exactly the reasoning of a large proportion of mankind in respect to the liquor traffic and its manufacture. Selfishness reigns; evidently the world will not vote for the new dispensation and the reign of Christ and the binding of Satan, and because they are unwilling to cooperate for their own deliverance, their help must come in another way—by
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the fall of present institutions and the establishment of the Kingdom of God’s dear Son in power and great glory, the binding of Satan and the uplifting of all the debased ones and the enlightening of the whole world.
What further evidence do we need that those people, professing to be the chosen people of God, professing to hope for the coming of Messiah and his Kingdom, were making such professions only with their lips and that they did not come from the heart? They loved better the ways of sin than the promised ways of righteousness. Our Lord did not force himself upon them—with his disciples he again entered into the ship to leave their shore. The time had not yet come to establish the Kingdom by force. That was deferred until the election, the selection of the faithful ones, should be accomplished—the selection of the Israelites indeed from amongst natural Israel, and eventually, by the begetting of the Spirit, from among all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues, to whom the message of God’s love and grace will be sent. Soon the selection will be accomplished and the reign of Messiah begin.
While it would not be true to say that all mankind are possessed of devils, possessed of these evil spirits, these demons, and we thank God that it is not so, yet it would be
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true to say that through the influence of evil all mankind has become more or less possessed of the spirit of demons, the spirit of selfishness, the spirit of sin, alienation from God. From this standpoint the whole world is slightly insane, some more, some less so.
The Apostle corroborates this thought, saying of those who have accepted Christ and who have received of his Spirit, the new mind, that they have “the spirit of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7.) He thus implies that previously they did not have a sound mind, and that the world in general does not have a sound mind, but unsound. The poor man out of whom a legion of devils was cast is an extreme example of all out of whom the spirit of evil is cast through the power of the Truth. We are not so bad as he, thank God! No! Nevertheless it was not until we had received the new mind of Christ, not until the old things were done away and all things became new that we really stood at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in our right mind. (2 Cor. 5:17.) Thank God for the clothing which we have in Christ’s robe of righteousness, covering our blemishes and imperfections, the bruises of sin and the injury which we did to ourselves! Thank God that this is stopped, that we can now see things from the better standpoint, from the only true standpoint.
The healed man alone appreciated Jesus of all the people of that country. They wished him to depart, but this poor man entreated the Lord that he might go with him, that he might become one of his disciples. How touching! What a picture we have of those who receive the spirit of a sound mind, who now long to be with the Lord, who now long to be his disciples, to proclaim him to others, who now appreciate him as others do not. As the Apostle declared, “To you, who believe, he is precious.” (1 Pet. 2:7.) The man may have been fearful of being left lest the demons should take possession of him again, or he may have been ashamed of his previous course in life and of his old associates, and thought to find new ones; but more probably we think he desired to be a witness to the Lord respecting the great blessing which he had received through him.
“GO TO THY HOME AND THY FRIENDS”
While Jesus refused the request he did not spurn the consecration, but sent the man back to his home and his friends, saying, “‘Tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.’ And he departed and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done to him: and all men did marvel.” We know not how many of the people as a result of that preaching ultimately became the Lord’s disciples—after Pentecost, after the Spirit dispensation had been ushered in, under the power and guidance of which all the Israelites indeed were found and sealed by the Truth as followers of the Lord. We may reasonably suppose that there was some fruitage of the labor. Indeed our Lord’s journey on that occasion seems to have resulted in the conversion of but the one person, the demoniac, his subsequent work there being done through him.
We thank God that the proportion of those possessed by evil spirits is comparatively small, and we thank him also that amongst the whole of unsound minds we and others who have heard his message have been reached by it, reclaimed, and that we have come to the feet of Jesus clothed and in our right minds. Has he not a work for us to do? If we cannot be the apostles to follow his footsteps we can at least follow the example of this one freed from the demons: we can go to our own homes and to our friends and there confess the Lord and his mighty power in us. We can thus sound forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light; we can thus be co-laborers together with God in the ministry of the Truth, in the ministry of reconciliation, telling how great things the Lord hath done for us. Moreover, we are glad that he has had compassion on us, forgiven our sins, and, when we consecrated, accepted us and adopted us into the heavenly family and made us partakers of his holy Spirit and commanded us to proclaim the good tidings of his grace.
Truly it would appear that none who have received God’s favors thus should receive them in vain—that all so honored should be awakened to newness of life and energy in the service of the Lord. One of the best testimonies we have ever heard as respects the power of Christian living and its influence upon others was from a lady who asked to be remembered in prayer, that she might be enabled to see clearly and to follow the Truth. Subsequently we asked her why she had been anxious to see the Truth, and her reply was: “I have a sister-in-law who has received this Truth, and her course in life since has convinced me that there is a power in the religion of Jesus that I did not previously recognize. For years I have been an agnostic, an unbeliever, and my friends and associates are of this class. I thought there was nothing to religion but merely ignorance and superstition, but when my sister took up with the MILLENNIAL DAWN views it made such a great change in her life, all her conduct seemed so transformed, that I said to myself, ‘There is a power, there must be truth in the religion of Jesus, for I see it now demonstrated in the life of this woman, and I desire the same for myself.'”
O, that we all might be diligent to be thus faithful stewards of the grace of God, and faithful representatives of our great Redeemer—not only witnessing with our lips, but in all the departments of life testifying that we are now sane, that we have now the spirit of a sound mind, that we love the things that are right and true and noble and good, that we hate and are living in opposition to the things which are sinful and contrary to the mind of the Lord and the ways of righteousness.
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A TIMELY WARNING TO THE CLASSES
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
There is a little matter I thought might be well to mention to you. And that is: A smooth, clever “confidence man” is extensively “working” the Truth people, in these parts at least. He has a number of very clever stories and schemes by which he is very successful in gaining the confidence of the unsuspecting and securing good sums of money and other favors. He is well posted about our religious affairs and talks glibly about Brother Russell, the Pilgrim brethren and others; also about conventions, etc. He gave his name here as James Marshall Stuart of Troy, N.Y. He is short of stature, smooth face, and is easily identified by a badly deformed right eye.
He tried to “work” us but failed. A close study of his countenance made me suspicious, and so I made investigation and found him to be a fraud. As the Truth people are generally guileless and easy of entreatment he has a good field, and it makes the matter rather serious where he is entertained, as it affords a good opportunity to rob.
Yours in the best of bonds,
G. B. IMHOFF,—Iowa.