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VOL. XXVII AUGUST 1. No. 15
A.D., 1906—A.M., 6034
Views from the Watch Tower……………………243
Change in Churchianity’s Methods…………..243
The Bible Becoming Obsolete……………….243
The New Idolatry…………………………244
Recent One-Day Conventions……………………244
Report of the London Convention……………….244
Berean Bible Study on Love……………………245
“It Is High Time to Awake Out of Sleep”………..245
The Great Teacher’s Table-Talks……………….246
The Slighted Invitation………………………249
The Blessing of Thorns (Poem)…………………252
The Father of Mercies………………………..252
“Blessed Are Your Ears, for They Hear”…………254
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
CHANGE IN CHURCHIANITY’S METHODS
The Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer says:—
“The churches of the country enter so largely into the character and direction of its growth, and accomplish so much that is helpful in various ways in the uplifting of society, that information as to their progress is of interest to readers outside as well as inside their varied folds. No one can fail to notice how much in a general way their teaching and aims have changed with the times, and to how large an extent sectarian differences and angularities are disappearing and being disregarded. Fifty years ago churches were looked upon chiefly as divinely constituted organizations, insuring their members safe passage to and first-class accommodations in a better world, and their teaching was mostly along theological and doctrinal lines. Every sect, while doubting the efficiency of the insurance provision in the tickets of all rivals, was wholly confident of its own, and missions to the heathen were urged on the ground that unless converted they were all doomed to everlasting punishment for not accepting what they had never heard of. This world was not worth thinking about; the worse off we were here the better it would be for us in the next, and vice versa.
“It is wonderful how complete and rapid the change has been. The churches now are trying to emphasize points of agreement, rather than of difference, and are working harmoniously together for moral and humanitarian ends. Theology and doctrine have been sent to the rear, and it is recognized that the true work of the Church is here and now in making this world a happier and better place for everybody to live in, on a basis of unselfishness and brotherly love. In this effort agnostic and churchman, Jews and infidels, are working together, and what a man believes is regarded as of comparatively little consequence.”
* * *
How clearly those whose eyes are opened to the true teachings of the Bible can see that the difficulty of the writer of the above and the general difficulty of Christendom is that the Truth of divine revelation has been buried under nonsensical human traditions which make the gospel an absurdity to them.
There are two views of this matter. (1) If Christianity be merely a human contrivance, then no doubt it
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is safer and saner to disregard doctrine entirely and turn to fighting graft and political corruption, etc. (2) But if Christianity is a divine institution which calls for the submission of plans and schemes and teachings to the divine eternal purpose, then the present movement is a repudiation of God and Christ from Christianity. Hence we prefer to speak of the present institutions as Churchianity.
The Editor, above, surely voices the sentiment of nearly all of the worldly-wise, and we who differ appear to his class as “fools.” Let us, however, stick to the Lord and his promises. Let us still believe that all the woes of earth came as the penalty of “original sin,” and that Christ has redeemed the world and is about to roll away the curse and uplift and restore all the families of the earth to the extent that they will accept his favors, in due time. Let us preach that coming uplift as his work and acknowledge that all that selfishness will permit under present conditions will be as nothing compared with the real uplift coming in God’s own appointed way, and in no other. By and by the collapse of present institutions will discourage others, but will more than ever convince us that God is moving in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
Meantime let us give special heed to the message and work given us by our Lord, however foolish it may appear to others. We see that the present is the time for finding and polishing the Lord’s jewels; the time for selecting, electing, the Royal Priesthood and schooling them for their coming service in glory—blessing all the families of the earth.—Gal. 3:29.
THE BIBLE BECOMING OBSOLETE
President G. S. Hall of Clark University declares:—
There have been within the last few years a number of questions printed and sent broadcast to high schools and Sunday schools to test the knowledge of the Bible of high school and Sunday school students. All the questions have shown the school students to be amazingly defective in their knowledge, and particularly of the Old Testament. The reason has been discussed a great deal, and it seems to be that the Sunday school and home influence is diminishing. The Bible
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is less read in the home than it was a few years ago, and the number of children who have a fair knowledge of it is growing less and less. This shows the Bible is becoming obsolete.
“Professors of literature, even in colleges, have complained that students who have matriculated show an amazing lack of knowledge of the Bible. The Bible is becoming obsolete, and this fact has been exploited many times in the last ten years. In my opinion a knowledge of the Bible should be made a requirement in English of all colleges.
* * *
This speaker merely referred to the Bible as literature. Those of us who recognize it as the divine revelation must see to it that it does not become obsolete with us. The world can do without the Bible: indeed it was not given by God to the world, but “once delivered to the saints.” To those actuated by faith and consecration the Bible is now and growingly the greatest of all books. Thank God for the “key of knowledge,” by which its riches of treasure are now coming more than ever to our view.
THE NEW IDOLATRY
BY REV. WASHINGTON GLADDEN
To a very large extent the worship of Mammon has supplanted the worship of God. It is not a mere lip service, it is a living allegiance. It is by their works that the devotees prove their faith. We know that they believe in Mammon more than in God, for their lives give clear and abundant testimony. The evidences of this devotion are visible on every side. To what other cause can we attribute the evils that infest the government of our cities and that fill many of our State capitals with the stench of rotten politics; that turn many of our railway systems into gigantic instruments of extortion and build up a mighty enginery of finance with power to exploit the savings of a nation for the enrichment of a few?
Their actions prove that the real object of their faith and allegiance is Mammon. In their hearts they believe that Mammon is stronger and greater than God; that he is a better protector and friend than God; that he can do more for them than God can do. When the claims of Mammon and of God conflict their conduct makes it perfectly clear in whom they put their trust.
But these instances which I have mentioned are not exceptional. They are striking illustrations of tendencies which we see at work on every side. They are symptoms of a constitutional malady. Love of money, faith in money, devotion to material things has become the prevailing distemper of the time. It was doubtless true when the Apostle said it, but it is probably ten times truer now than it was then, that the love of money is the root of every kind of evil.—Kansas City Star.
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RECENT ONE-DAY CONVENTIONS
AT Springfield, Ill., we had a delightful season on June 24. The friends had worked hard and the Lord had blessed the wide advertising, so that the public service was attended by 1400, a very large audience for the size of the city. Surrounding cities were well represented, and an excellent spirit was manifested at all the meetings, the morning one being a Rally and Testimony service, and the evening one a discourse to the interested, already reported to many of you through the public prints.
The Allegheny Convention, July 1, was well attended by friends from nearby towns, the local congregation and the public, to the number of about 700. At the evening service five were baptized. The spirit of the Lord was richly with us and showed in the faces of all.
Hartford, Conn., had a very successful Convention July 11. Friends from New York City, Boston, Springfield and various other nearer places were in good evidence and helped greatly as well as encouraged the little class at Hartford, which is growing rapidly. The Rally was good. The afternoon service for the public was attended by about 900 people, who gave excellent attention. The evening session for the interested at “City Mission” was attended by about 300, and about 50 accepted invitations to remain over for a Monday morning Question Meeting. The joys of the Lord were with us richly and we feasted on both temporal and spiritual good things.
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY ON LOVE
—SEE COMMENTS IN OUR JULY 1 ISSUE—
- Why is love called “the mark“? Z.’01-7 (1st col. par. 3) to 8 (1st col. par. 3).
- What are the four “quarter-marks” of the Christian race-course? F.187, par. 2, to 189, par. 1; F.369, par. 2, to 373.
- How does the Church’s experience differ from that of her “Forerunner”? F.187, par. 1.
- What is the significance of love as “the girdle”? Col. 3:14. Z.’99-142 (1st col. par. 2).
- How is love the ultimate “end of the commandment”? I Tim. 1:5; Z.’00-360 (2nd col. par. 1, 2).
- How is love the “fulfilling of the Law”? Rom. 13:10. Z.’05-121 (1st col. par. 3 to 2nd col. par. 1).
- How is love the “law of the New Creation”? F.364, par. 1, to 367, par. 2.
- Why is love called “the perfect law of liberty”? Jas. 1:25. F.377, 378; Z.’99-57; (2nd col. par. 2, 3); 58 (1st col. par. 1); Z.’03-43 (1st col. par. 2) to 45.
- How are the “fruits of the Spirit” but different manifestations of love? F.186, par. 1, 2.
- How may we discern the true fruits of the holy Spirit? Z.’05-123 (2nd col. par. 1, 2) and 124.
- How is “zeal the measure of love”? Luke 7:41-43. Z.’97-242 (1st col. par. 1 and 2nd col.); Z.’05-153 (2nd col. par. 3).
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“IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP”
“And do this knowing the season, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”—Rom. 13:11,12
PREVIOUS to this exhortation the Apostle had been giving some wholesome counsel concerning the proper course of the Lord’s people in the every-day duties of life. His advice seems to cover a wide range of the little vexing cares and trials that every one must meet, and shows us how to triumph in them through the mighty power of love. He evidently thought of the thin veneer of politeness in the world which so often covers deep-seated selfishness, and showed that our politeness and love should be only the genuine solid article, saying, “Let love be without dissimulation [pretence or hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil [abhor all shams and pretence]; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another.” He thought of the temptations and vexations of our business intercourse with the world, and of its natural tendency to engross time, energy and thought in worldly things, and therefore counselled, not that we should give up all business, but that, while we should be energetic and “not slothful in business,” we should be careful always to be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”
He thought of the depressing tendency of the ever-present cares of life, and of the persecutions in one form or another that are sure to come to those who will live godly; and so, while admitting that no trial can for the present be otherwise than grievous, he tells us that we may rejoice in hope; for the trial will not continue forever, and by and by it will bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness if we are rightly exercised thereby, and in the end the rewards of righteousness; and therefore he says we should be “patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer” for that grace which is promised according to our needs.
He thought of the poverty and losses of some and therefore counselled sympathy and hospitality—”Distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Bless [even] them which persecute you; bless and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
He thought of the numerous vexations arising from contact with those of undisciplined hearts and said, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. [You will thus make him ashamed of his own conduct in contrast with yours.]”
Finally, he says, “Be not overcome of evil [do not allow the trials of life to make you sour, or vindictive, or cold and unsympathetic; nor allow the more favorable circumstances to make you proud or highminded or wise in your own conceits]; but overcome evil [of every kind] with good.”
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Then he instructs us to be law-abiding and God-honoring citizens in the communities in which we live—”Rendering to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear ::Respectful deference or submission] to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” And after pointing to the several commandments of the moral law he adds, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Yes, love; supreme love to God and then to the neighbor as to self, is that disposition of heart that will make us victorious in every trial and temptation. In its operations toward God it lays hold by faith upon his mighty power; it trusts his wisdom and his guidance; it takes his standpoint of observation and patiently waits the outworking of his deep designs, rejoicing in hope; and is persevering and faithful through all the painful processes that lead on to victory. In its operations toward our fellow-men it is pure, peaceable, kind, forbearing, gentle, sympathetic, tender, and in strict conformity to the golden rule.
“Do this,” says the Apostle—cultivate this God-like disposition of love. And not only so, but he would have us be diligent in the cultivation, “knowing the season,” knowing that the time is short in which to build up in ourselves this God-like and Christ-like character. We have not a moment to lose if we desire to be finally approved of God as meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
If the Apostle could say to the saints of his day, “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep,” etc., because they had then entered upon the Gospel age with its privilege of running the race for the prize of our high calling, with how much greater force do his words apply to these closing days of the age. In the clear light of unfolded time-prophecy we see that we are now living in the latter half of the harvest period; that only eight years of the harvest time remain, and that before its close all the overcoming saints will have passed the vail of the flesh and entered into the joy of the Lord as co-workers with him in the great work of the Kingdom. Yes, “the night is far spent” and “the day [the glorious Millennial day] is at hand.” Even now the gray streaks of dawn appear. It is the day when the kingly Bridegroom shall receive unto himself his ready and waiting Bride, and the time is short in which to make ready for our gathering together unto him. It is high time indeed to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation, our glorious deliverance, very near.
It is possible that some, even of the very dear and fully consecrated children of God, surrounded by the cares of this life, or weary in the struggle against sin and evil, or somewhat beguiled by the present things of time and sense, may have become more or less drowsy, and so stand in special need of the stirring exhortation, “It is now high time to awake out of sleep.” It is a time for earnest, searching self-examination, for a more diligent feeling after God, for a closer walk and more intimate fellowship with him, for more thorough self-abnegation, more diligent and persevering cross-bearing, and more faithful conformity in every respect to the whole will of God concerning us.
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The Apostle says, “Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light;” and again, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” A careful, prayerful searching of our hearts will make plain wherein we lack of conformity to the perfect will of God. And if we discover in us any perverse way we will want to correct it and the more fully to put on the armor of light—the armor of righteousness and truth. Thus we put on the Lord Jesus Christ—the mind or disposition of Christ, that spirit of love which Paul says “is the fulfilling of the Law”—that love that worketh no ill to its neighbor; that suffereth long and is kind, that envieth not, that vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, that rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; and without which, though we speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have it not, we are only as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; and though we have the gift of prophecy (teaching) and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though we have all faith so that we could remove mountains, and though we bestow all our goods to feed the poor, and even give our bodies to be burned, it profiteth nothing.—I Cor. 13:1-7.
How important, then, in the short time that remains to us here, that we awake fully and apply ourselves most diligently to the cultivation of this God-like and Christ-like disposition of love. “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love … and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”—I John 4:7,8,16.
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THE GREAT TEACHER’S TABLE-TALKS
—LUKE 14:1-1.—JULY 29—
Golden Text:—”He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
THE SABBATH was quite a feast day amongst the Jews, but in accordance with the requirements of the Law the dishes were served cold—cooked previously. Our Lord evidently made no objection to these Sabbath feasts, since we find that on several occasions he participated in them. The feast at Bethany just before his crucifixion was on the Sabbath, and likewise the one referred to in the present lesson. The invitation was from a prominent Pharisee, one of the rulers. It evidently included our Lord’s disciples as well as himself, and numerous of the
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host’s prominent friends, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law.
The fame of Jesus had spread considerably, and doubtless these men were interested in thus coming in close contact with him, with a view to judging according to their own standards respecting his character, teachings and miracles—whether or not he was a fanatic, whether or not he made great boasts of himself, why the common people seemed so attracted to him, and why he did not seem to specially seek the fellowship of the rich and influential—although, so far as we know, he never refused an invitation to a feast, always using such occasions as opportunities for the presentation of the truth, to glorify the Father in heaven, to help, to instruct, to benefit those with whom he was in contact.
The guests watched him critically rather than sympathetically. They were looking for faults rather than for virtues. But as with others, so with these—they found no fault in him. Perhaps by accident, perhaps by design, there was in the company a man who had the dropsy. He may have been a member of the household or family; indeed our Lord possibly may have been invited there with a view to proposing the healing of this one with the infirmity.
Our Lord seems to have had a special feeling of sympathy with the afflicted, and he quickly noticed the man with the dropsy. The Pharisees were no doubt interested in witnessing the miracle, as any others would be; and at the same time, according to their forms, such a miracle on the Sabbath day would have been a misdemeanor. Our Lord’s interest in handling the situation is apparent. He first inquired of his host and his learned associates whether or not it was lawful to heal the sick on the Sabbath day. The Doctors of the Law were expected to be able and willing to answer such questions propounded by the people at any time; yet in the presence of the great Teacher they all held their peace, made no reply; they wanted to see what course he would take. They did not wish to interrupt him—perhaps they wished to have an opportunity to find fault with him on this account. No objection to healing on the Sabbath day having been cited from the Law, our Lord performed the miracle—”He took him and healed him and let him go.” The implication is that in some manner our Lord touched the afflicted one, that thus it might be the more manifest that the miracle was of divine power through him.
THEY WOULD ASSIST DUMB BRUTES
After having answered his own question by the miracle, thus attesting that nothing in the Law forbade the healing of the sick on the Sabbath, our Lord justified his course before the company saying, “Which of you having an ass or an ox fall into a pit would not draw him out on the Sabbath?” Another reading is, “Which of you having a son or even an ox fall into a pit would not on the Sabbath draw him out?” The proposition was unanswerable. They all knew that, where their selfish interests were involved, they would decide that there was nothing in the Law to hinder lending assistance on the Sabbath. Thus our Lord clearly showed that their thought respecting the healing of humanity on the Sabbath was fallacious, unscriptural.
It will be remembered that our Lord was still under the terms of the Law Covenant, bound by every provision of the Law just as much as every other Jew had been from the time the Law was given at Mount Sinai. The Law Covenant did not pass away, as the Apostle points out, until Christ “nailed it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14.) Hence nothing that our Lord did on the Sabbath day, healing the sick, etc., could properly be esteemed a violation of the fourth commandment, or any other feature of the Law.
We have already shown (DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., chap. VII.) that the Law Covenant sealed at Sinai was not in force before that time upon the Jews, that it was not given to any other people, and that so far as those who accepted Christ were and are concerned the Law Covenant ended at the cross. Hence all the obligations of the Jewish Sabbath ended there also. The followers of Jesus during this Gospel age keep the higher Sabbath, the antitypical Sabbath, the “rest of the people of God”—rest from their own works, rest from fear, rest in hope of the glorious things which God has provided through Jesus for all who love him, rest in hope also for the world, that in due time all shall come to a knowledge of the Lord. This perpetual rest of peace abides with us every day alike.
“NO LONGER SERVANTS, BUT SONS”
Our celebration of the first day of the week as a Christian Sabbath should not be with the thought that it is a law or bondage, but rather an appreciation of the great privilege we enjoy of leaving the ordinary affairs of life on that day to give special thought to the spiritual things of the New Creature and to fellowship one with another, commemorating the day also as the one on which our Lord arose from the dead and began the work of the New Creation. We are looking forward also to the glorious rest that remaineth for the people of God, the eternity of blessed perfection into which we hope to be ushered by a resurrection from the dead, when we shall awake in our Lord’s likeness. During this Gospel age our heavenly Father addresses us not as a house of servants but as a house of sons—as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. It would not be appropriate for him to give to these New Creatures, begotten of his Spirit, such laws as he gave to the Jews, the house of servants.
The Lord would not insult the New Creature by even suggesting the various things stipulated in the Ten Commandments. The New Creatures in Christ Jesus have no sympathy with profanity, idol worship, the unrest of disbelief, with dishonor to parents, with murder and adultery, false witness, covetousness. Those whose hearts run in these directions have not been begotten of the Spirit, have not the Spirit of Christ, are none of his. The Lord’s command to those who are New Creatures in Christ Jesus is that, being begotten of the spirit of love, they shall grow in grace and in knowledge and in love, seeking daily to bring into subjection all the weaknesses of their mortal bodies, reckoned dead at the moment they were begotten of the Spirit. True, the apostles do urge upon the Lord’s people to put away anger and malice and envy and strife, etc., works of the flesh and of the devil; but even then they address the New Creature, not as though it were in sympathy with these wrong doings, but on the contrary, urging the New Creature to put away, to mortify, to put to death, these deeds of their flesh, already reckoned dead.
Our Father’s dealings and commands are never to the
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flesh, but to the New Creatures. From this standpoint, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwell in you.” (Rom. 8:9.) Therefore, “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now, henceforth, know we him [so] no more.” (2 Cor. 5:16.) We are “judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 4:6.) We are reckoned as fulfilling the highest demands of the divine law to God and to man, because we are not walking after the flesh but after the Spirit.
THE HUMBLE TO BE EXALTED
It was probably in answer to some question that our Lord propounded the parable of the guests bidden to a marriage feast, warning against the custom of seeking prominent positions, and the danger incurred that a more honorable person might come in later, and thus they might get the least honorable seat in the company. Our Lord noted this mark of selfishness in those who were gathered with him at the table of his host, but we must suppose that he did not rudely intrude the matter as a reproof at such a time without having a question or some reasonable cause for bringing the matter forward.
The entire lesson of the parable seems to be an illustration of the proper course amongst men as viewed from the divine standpoint, and hence an illustration to all of the way in which God will deal with those whom he invites to the antitypical marriage-feast. The chief places will not be given to those most bold, most inclined to usurp authority; but, on the contrary, the Lord will not forget the man or woman of humble mind who, thinking little of himself or herself, would thankfully and gratefully seek for and appreciate the very humblest place in the divine presence.
Ambition is a very necessary faculty of the human mind, without which the world would make comparatively little progress; but it is a very dangerous element as respects the formation of Christian character. We may be sure, from all the Scriptures set forth, that God’s principle of dealing with us in the distribution of the glories and honors of the Kingdom will be along the lines laid down by the Master: he that humbleth himself shall be exalted, he that exalteth himself shall be abased.
LOVE OF POWER TO DO GOOD
We are frequently charged by those who, from blindness or other reasons, would disparage the glorious Gospel of the Kingdom, that those “of this way” are seeking selfishly for the glory and honor and immortality of the Kingdom as something superior to what others will receive at the Lord’s hand. This as a whole is an unfair and an unjust charge, for as far as we know the majority of those who are interested in “Present Truth” are not so much ambitious for the dignities of the Kingdom as they are for any place in that great marriage feast, any membership in the glorious Bride company, any opportunity to share with the heavenly Bridegroom in the great and wonderful work of blessing all the families of the earth. It would not occur to any of us to think of ourselves in connection with such high honors and dignities, glory and immortality, except as we find it plainly stated in the divine Word, but finding it there, it is the duty of faith to accept whatever we may be deemed worthy of, and to allow it to work in us to will and to do the Lord’s good pleasure, as he intended.
The chief difficulty, so far as our experience goes, is not a mere ambition as respects glory, honor and rank in the Kingdom, but rather an ambition as respects the present life—a seeking who shall be greatest on this side the vail. Our observation is that some of the most talented, most able, most conscientious of the Lord’s followers are in danger along this line, and it is a part of our duty to call this matter to the general attention, that each of the Lord’s dear people may do all in his power to help any who are in such a position to see that an ambitious striving for glory and honor and dignity and position in the present time would surely mean a loss of the Lord’s favor and the ultimate attainment in the Kingdom of a much humbler position, if indeed pride did not hinder them entirely from being accepted as members of the “little flock.” Let us remember the Apostle’s exhortation, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”—1 Pet. 5:6.
REMEMBER THE POOR AND THE FRIENDLESS
Perhaps it was in answer to some other question that our Lord gave his dissertation respecting the making of a feast and who should be invited to it, the conclusion of our lesson. He set forth a new proposition: The custom was to invite to a feast those whom you would expect and desire to ask you in return to a feast at their home. The thought of recompense was thus associated, a selfish thought. But our Lord’s suggestion would not necessarily, we think, mean that it would be wrong to invite a person to a feast at our homes if we thought it at all probable he would ask us to his home. His thought rather is that, while this would be a pleasant and profitable interchange, there would be no merit in so doing in the Lord’s sight—each would get his reward in such a reciprocity.
Perhaps the Lord wished to show his host that in inviting himself and his disciples, who were not so situated as to be able to invite the others of the company in turn to their homes, he had really done a gracious act, provided he had the gracious motive back of it. In making a feast for the poor, the helpless, the maimed and the blind, a work of charity and mercy would be done, and, no recompense coming in the present life, they might be sure of a blessing in the future life. In other words, our Lord intimates that every good deed willingly, intelligently done from the right motive, may be sure to have a blessing, as surely as will every evil deed, every injurious matter done with a wrong thought and evil sentiment, be sure to have some kind of punishment either in the present or in the future life.
Our Lord declared that such a good deed will be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, but since he was not addressing his disciples, not addressing justified ones, we feel that his words should not be understood to mean that such a feast to the poor, etc., would secure the highest place in the First Resurrection among the blessed and holy who shall be kings and priests unto God and reign as the kingly class, the Bride class, with the Bridegroom. This would not be a reasonable view to put upon the words, because other Scriptures intimate that not only faith in Jesus
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as the Mediator is necessary, but a travelling faithfully in the narrow way in order to attain a share in the First Resurrection.
What then did our Lord mean? We answer that the First Resurrection, which will include only the “blessed and holy,” the saints, the Bride of Christ, the Bride with the glorious Head and Bridegroom, will mark the beginning of the Kingdom which our Lord preached and which he taught us to pray for, saying, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” Those who will have part in the First Resurrection are to be the kings and priests and judges of the world. (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 20:6.) Surely after that First Resurrection the blessing of the world, the times of restitution of all things, will begin! Then the whole world will stand before these judges during the thousand years to be helped up, if they will, to the full of human perfection, or, failing to respond to their glorious opportunities, they will be destroyed in the Second Death.
In that day of their judgment every deed of kindness to the poor will be found to have wrought some blessing in the character of the individual which will have to do with his station, with his starting-point on the highway of holiness. The most degraded, those who have accomplished nothing in the present time in the way of character development, must begin at the very start of the road and have the longer journey to its farther end of perfection; while those who in the present time have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and have sought to comfort and benefit their fellows, especially those who would give even a cup of cold water to a disciple of the Lord because he was his disciple—all such would be found to be benefited proportionately in that day of glorious possibilities. Thus the Lord’s words would signify that any who would give a cup of cold water or who would bless the maimed and the blind and the poor would experience a reward and blessing in that future time which would follow the resurrection of the just—in the Millennial age.
VALUE OF TABLE TALKS
The example set by our Lord in the matter of table-talks we have followed for many years at the Bible House with great profit. We find that much advantage accrues from the observance of order and regularity. Every morning promptly at 7 o’clock we have praise and prayer (Sunday 8 A.M.). Then we gather at the table, and after giving thanks for the food and praying that a blessing may be derived from our fellowship together, one of our number reads the text for the day from the Heavenly Manna. Questions are called for as breakfast proceeds and the text is thoroughly discussed. Later, before leaving the table, the comment following the text in the Manna is read as a conclusion of the lesson. Our dinner and supper-table talks are upon whatever questions may suggest themselves to any of those present, with opportunities for general expression—
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the brethren being asked for an expression, then the opportunity thrown open to anybody. The one occupying the head of the table is expected to give the final answer to the question. These table-talks are a schooling of themselves, ranging as they do on all parts of the Word of God, and refresh the memories of those present respecting what they have previously learned. We commend this method to all the dear people of God. Food partaken of under such circumstances seems to do one more good than otherwise, and the spiritual refreshment is almost certain to be advantageous. We do not favor disputings or replies of one to another, but merely the statement by each one of them of his own understanding of the question or the Scripture involved. Our minds cannot help being active, and it is profitable to us to have them directed into useful channels. Anyway, the example set by our Lord is surely a good one.
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THE SLIGHTED INVITATION
—LUKE 14:15-24—AUGUST 5—
Golden Text:—”They all with one consent began to make excuse.”
THIS LESSON is a continuation of our Lord’s table-talk at the home of the Pharisee. He had given suggestions along the line of humility on the part of guests, then to entertainers as to how their hospitality might wisely be dispensed: following this came a remark from one of the guests, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” This was doubtless uttered in a reverent spirit, possibly by one of the apostles, with a view to turning the attention of the company to the message which the Master and his disciples were proclaiming—the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The Jews for over sixteen centuries had been waiting for the Kingdom of Messiah, which God’s promise to Abraham indicated should come in connection with his seed—Israel. Moses, their Mediator and lawgiver, had declared that Messiah would be like unto himself as a leader for the nation, but greater. Through the prophets, all the way down through Israel’s history, God had told his chosen nation of the great blessings in store for them. The grandeur of the Millennial Kingdom had been portrayed, and the wonderful opportunity for divine favor and refreshment had been pictured, with the assurance that it should extend from Israel to all the families of the world. In a vague manner the Jews had looked forward to this Kingdom with a mixture of hope and pride, combined with a fear that the changed conditions might in some particulars put any restraint upon their liberties as respects sins, etc. The reference to eating bread in the Kingdom, viewed from the oriental standpoint, would signify to be on good terms with the King, and a new regime, and to be a participator in the blessings of that glorious epoch.
PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER
Our Lord was quick to turn the remark so as to point out a valuable lesson to all present who had the hearing ear. He gave, especially for the benefit of his disciples, but incidentally for the benefit of others of the company who were entertaining him, a lesson showing how those who might have been expected to appreciate God’s favors would
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fail to do so, because of lack of faith and because too closely wedded to the affairs and interests of this present evil world. He likened God’s Kingdom blessings to a great feast. This is a common illustration throughout the Scriptures—a feast of fat things with wines well refined, is the Prophet Isaiah’s description of the Millennial blessings and glories which the Lord has in reservation for the world of mankind. The Prophet declares that the Lord will in this mountain spread a feast. (Isa. 25:6.) The mountain is the Kingdom, the dominion of Christ when it shall be set up, his Church being glorified with him in power, and blessings of very rich and choice kind will be set forth for the whole world of mankind.
The Jews usually ate two meals in a day: the first might be termed breakfast, and was usually very simple, very plain—bread, olives, milk, etc.; the second and principal meal of the day was called sometimes dinner and sometimes supper, and consisted of more elaborate dishes, according to the ability of each family. The great feasts were usually made about sundown. Our Lord’s parable pictures such a great feast, for it speaks of oxen and fatlings being killed, which implies hundreds of guests. In these great feasts it was customary to send out the notifications long in advance, without specifying exactly the time, which would depend upon contingent circumstances. On the day of the feast, when it was assured that there would be no miscarriage of the arrangements, servants were sent to those already notified or bidden that they might come promptly to the feast.
Our Lord represents the host of his parable as getting ready the supper on a grand scale, and then sending word to the previously bidden ones to come. Contrary to all precedent these guests declined, literally “begged off,” asked to be excused, did not appreciate the honor done them, and sought for one or another excuse to avoid going to the feast. Such great feasts were made by princes or very wealthy men, and it was considered a high honor to have an invitation and to attend. Our Lord purposely made the parable the very contrary to the custom. One excuse was that the invited guest had recently purchased property and must examine it; another had purchased five yoke of oxen and needed to inspect them, test them; another had married a wife, etc. When the servant returned and reported that the bidden guests had declined to come the host was indignant, as he had every right to be. It was indeed a shameful procedure from any standpoint to accept an invitation, to allow the host to expect the invited one and to make elaborate preparations, and then at the final moment for the latter to make some trivial excuse.
“THEY THAT WERE BIDDEN”
As the parable refers to Jehovah’s invitation to the blessings of the Kingdom, so those in the parable who originally were bidden, but who began to make excuse, were the Jews. To them God had given notice respecting the coming feast. They as a nation had declared that they would be very glad indeed to accept the high honor which he had conferred upon them in bidding them first to the special favors and privileges of the Kingdom. The feast had been in preparation for more than eighteen centuries from its first announcement. Our Lord with the apostles was the servant of Jehovah to inform his chosen people that all things were now ready, to come in prepared condition of heart to enter into the Kingdom, to enjoy its bounteous feast of rich blessings in their own hearts and lives, to be changed, begotten of the Spirit, that they might become New Creatures and heirs of God and joint-heirs with Messiah in that Kingdom. What a wonderful offer! How we should have expected that the whole people of Israel would have joyously hailed the message, and cried Hosanna to God in the highest! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah—the Messiah.
But no! the guests on the contrary looked at the servant and said, “We do not believe that this will be so grand a feast as we had supposed. The servant looks so meek, so gentle, so lowly of heart, that we feel it indicates that the feast will be a very tame affair; and now, separated as we are, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, we do not believe that we would very much enjoy the feast. We will not say this in so many words, we will preserve an outward form of godliness, and instead of confessing the truth on the subject we will merely make excuses to ourselves or to the servant of being too busy, etc. We will send our regrets instead of attending, although really we have no regrets. Indeed we feel that we will be happier pursuing our usual course of selfish ambition rather than get too close to the Lord, to his supervision, and the rules of righteousness which must certainly obtain in connection with those whom he would honor.”
The parable represents that the entire company of those who were bidden refused—failed to hearken to the servant or to come to the feast. Those who did receive our Lord and his message were so few, as compared with the entire Jewish nation, as to leave them almost unworthy of being mentioned, but, additionally, those who received Jesus were in large proportion the publicans and sinners, who in their day were considered rather as moral and social outcasts, and not at all recognized as the ones eligible to the Kingdom which God had promised to the holy. The Scribes and Pharisees counted themselves the holy people, and claimed for themselves the blessings, the invitation to the feast. Practically none of these received the Lord or came to the feast.
The host, who had made so great provision for the Jewish nation, “was angry”—not mad, not in a rage, but indignant, and with perfect propriety he decided that “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” The supper of this parable, therefore, is not the only parable mentioned in the Scriptures, is not the supper mentioned by the Prophet Isaiah, which would be a feast of fat things for all nations. Because other Scriptures clearly show us that when that secondary feast for all nations shall be spread, Israel will have the first opportunity of participating in it. (Rom. 11:25-32.) The feast here spoken of is evidently the marriage feast of another parable. Its blessings are not the general favors and mercies that are coming to the world by and by, but the special blessings and favors of God which, in the beginning of the Millennial age, will be bestowed upon the glorified Christ, our Lord, the Head, and the Church his body, the Bride.
Natural Israel had the first opportunity for attaining the spiritual blessings to which spiritual Israel now aspires.
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The Apostle explains this in Rom. 11:7-26, where he pictures the favored ones of God as an olive-tree, and informs us that the branches of that olive-tree at the Lord’s first advent represented the Israelites, and that nearly all of these branches were broken off because of unbelief, because of failure to accept the invitation to the feast, because of a lack of appreciation of the spiritual blessings to be bestowed because of lack of faith. The Apostle tells us that God has accepted the believers in Christ of every nation, and that these are by faith engrafted into the olive-tree to take the place of the natural branches, the Jews broken off from relationship to this blessing through unbelief.
THE MAIMED AND HALT GATHERED
As the Scribes and Pharisees, the more devout of the Jewish nation, constituted the class to whom the Kingdom was primarily offered, so the class whom they rejected, the publicans and sinners, constituted the class described in this part of the parable as the poor, the halt, the maimed and the blind. When the better educated, the less morally lame, the less spiritually blind, rejected our Lord and his message respecting the Kingdom, he at once began to seek out the publicans and sinners, and to these his teachings were chiefly directed—they were invited to come to the feast which their more educated, more outwardly religious and pious brethren of the Scribes and Pharisees did not appreciate. But the servant could not find enough of this class to furnish the feast with guests according to the original arrangement of the host. The explanation of this part of the parable is that God, knowing the end from the beginning, had determined a definite number to constitute the Church, the Bride class, to be joint-heirs with his son in the bounties and blessings of the Kingdom, represented by this great feast.
We understand the Scriptures to teach that this elect number is 144,000. Jesus and his disciples, as the servants of Jehovah, gathered as many of these poor, halt, lame Jews as were willing to come to the feast. About 500 accepted the invitation in our Lord’s time and several thousand more at Pentecost, under the ministration of the Spirit, while several thousand more responded to the same glorious message further on, and ultimately the message reached those of every country. But in all we are assured that only a remnant of Israel was found worthy of the Kingdom honors. How many in all we could only guess, but we see no reason for placing the estimate higher than ten thousand. Even if some one would estimate that double this number more or less accepted of Christ, we should think it strange, as compared with present conditions, if more than ten thousand became footstep followers of our Lord Jesus in the narrow way of self-sacrifice even unto death, through which narrow way only can any attain to this great feast.
“GO YE INTO THE HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES”
Suppose that a remnant of ten thousand Jews did accept the divine favor in the very spirit of it, this would leave 134,000 short of the furnishing of the feast with the predetermined number of guests. Would the householder abandon his original arrangement? Nay: he determined that the full complement of guests should be there, as this parable shows, and hence the servants were found outside that city, the Jewish nation, to which belonged the promises by divine favor. Those servants were sent into the byways and hedges, into various parts of the world, to find guests for this great feast. They were bidden to urge all that they met, up to a certain number, to come to the feast. As the Lord of the feast had prescribed the number of his guests, they were not to cease inviting until the full complement had been found, nor were they to invite any more than the fixed number. This part of the message had been going out to the Gentiles ever since Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, heard of the blessed opening of this door of opportunity to the Gentiles.
Throughout the Gospel age the Lord has directed his servants and guided in the work, so that at no time would more than the elect number be even invited. This accounts to us for much of the opposition and persecution which the Lord has permitted to come from time to time upon his servants and upon those who are willing to accept his invitation. He not only wishes to have guests at his feast, joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom, but elsewhere he has shown that he has predetermined that these only are the ones he will accept as copies of his Son. This signifies, then, that those who hear this invitation and are inclined to respond favorably will be tested by opposition and persecution, which in various ways will test and prove them and discourage and hinder any who are not of the stamp, the character, which our Lord has predetermined will be satisfactory to himself. He assures us that faith and zeal are amongst the characteristics necessary, and he has provided for the covering of every blemish and defect where these acceptable characteristics are found.
“VIRGINS HER COMPANIONS”
To our understanding other Scriptures show that many more than the 144,000 have accepted Christ and have made a consecration, agreeing to follow the great servant of God to the feast. Many of these, a “great company,” although following in a measure, and in that measure satisfactory to the Lord, are not up to the divine standard of love and zeal. Nevertheless, since they exercised a sufficiency of faith to leave the world behind with a view to accepting God’s favors, he will not permit them to suffer loss, but will give them also a share in the feast, though not in the chief seats of honor and distinction with the heavenly Bridegroom and the 144,000 constituting the Bride. The “more than conquerors,” we are assured, shall in this feast sit with our Lord in his throne and share his glory, honor and immortality; but to the great company, after a certain purifying and washing, tribulation, there will be granted the honor of association, not in the throne but before the throne, not wearing crowns but bearing palms, not constituting pillars and living stones in the Temple but doing service in the Temple in humbler positions. All of these are represented in Revelation 7, and again in Revelation 19 we have the intimation that although this feast is specifically the nuptial feast of Christ and the Church, nevertheless the “great company,” (Rev. 7) the virgins, the Bride’s companions, will be invited to share in this nuptial feast—”Blessed are they that are invited to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.”—Rev. 19:9; Psa. 45:14,15.
It will be later on that the feast of fat things for the
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world will be spread out, and the intervening time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation shall so plow up the fallow ground of the human heart that the masses of mankind will indeed be ready to hail the blessings of that day. And hence we read of it that there the Desire of all Nations shall come. The bread of life will be provided to whosoever will accept it, the water of life to all who are thirsty, the Spirit and the Bride shall say, Come, and whosoever will may come and partake freely.
How wonderfully grand and broad are the divine provisions, the feast which God has prepared! What a grand privilege we enjoy in that our ears already have heard of this special feast, to which the invitations have been going forth throughout this Gospel age—this nuptial feast by which we all will celebrate our union forever with the heavenly Bridegroom in the glorious estate of the Kingdom which is to bless the world. Let us not be like those of the parable who disesteemed the offer. Let us, on the contrary, following the example of the Apostle and his exhortation, lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us—one weakness or difficulty in one person, another weakness or difficulty in another—and let us run with patience the race set before us.
Let us be so enthused with the glorious possibilities of this great feast that we will not be content to walk or to meander slowly, toying with the affairs of this world or the flowers or attractions beside the way, which would lure us from the way, but let us press along. The way is rugged, and has been purposely so arranged by the Lord that only the zealous, the earnest, the faithful, the loyal, will be able to attain to the prize. Let us not be discouraged either, as though it were an impossibility to attain the blessing to which we have been called. The fact that the Lord has called us implies that he has made it possible for us to attain, and this possibility we see centers in our dear Redeemer: not merely in the work which he accomplished for us in the past when he redeemed us, but also in his gracious assistances which he renders us all along the journey. Let us remember his assurance that he is able and willing to make all things work together for good to them that love him, to the called ones according to his purpose.
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THE BLESSING OF THORNS
When we thank our heavenly Father
For the blessings of each day;
For the flowers that are strewn
O’er the roughness of the way;
When we thank him for the roses
That we gather day by day,
Do we ever see the blessing
Of the thorns along life’s way?
Oft we thank him for the sunshine
That he sends us from above;
Do we ever in the shadow
Recognize his tender love?
When our feet grow worn and weary,
And our crosses hard to bear;
Oft the way seems long and dreary,
Knowing not his tender care.
When the clouds that round us darken
Change to night our radiant day,
Oft we murmur that the sunshine
Has been hidden from our way.
But our Father in his wisdom
Sends the dark as well as light;
Can we doubt his loving kindness,
In whose keeping all is right?
If no shadow veiled our pathway,
And we knew no ill to fear,
Would we cling so closely to him?
Would our Father seem so near?
As when darkness gathers round us,
And our faith in self is lost,
We but trust him, and the Savior
Gives us strength to bear our cross.
In our path if all were sunshine,
Would we look to him for light?
And if all below were brightness,
Then would heaven seem so bright?
When we meet beyond the shadows,
In that land of endless day,
We will thank our heavenly Father
For the darkness of the way.
Oft we cannot see his kindness
Through the darkness, pain and loss;
But we know the crown is dearer
For the sharpness of the cross.
And when in his throne we gather,
And our dear Redeemer meet,
We will thank our heavenly Father
For the thorns that pierced our feet.
—Eugenia M. Doyle.
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“BLESSED ARE YOUR EARS, FOR THEY HEAR”
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I have wished for a long time to tell you my own experience in coming into the Truth, but feared to trespass upon your valuable time. However, as my experience is (I hope) very different from that of most other people, I am going to tell it that you may know how marvellously I have been blessed of the Lord through his servant, Brother Russell, but in order to fully understand the extent of the blessing you must know of the rebellion that once possessed me.
I was born of Universalist parents and brought up in that faith, and at the age of fourteen I united with that Church. When I was fourteen years old I began to sing in a quartet choir in one of the churches in this city, and from that time until fifteen years ago, when I was compelled to give up my music on account of growing deafness, I was a member of a quartet choir in some Church in town. For the last eight years or so before I was obliged to give it up, I was a member of a local concert organization, whose services were in large demand for entertainments and public installations of the various secret orders, Masons, Odd Fellows, etc., and a great many other occasions, besides our regular concert work. During the few years we were associated together we furnished music at over 300 funerals. Taking it all together my music was a large part of my life, and my greatest pleasure outside my home.
I was during most of those years a teacher in the Universalist Sunday school, and one of the chief workers there; was always willing to do anything in my power to help in any good cause until my hearing utterly failed, when it seemed to me that I was of no further use to anyone or anything after that.
Soon after my 20th birthday I was married to one of the best of men, and it was about three years after our marriage that my hearing began to fail, gradually growing worse until about eight years ago, when I became stone deaf. Since that time I have been able to converse with people only when I have been able to “read their lips,” or by writing or finger-spelling. So you see my husband has been a patient sharer of my
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affliction for twenty-seven years, during which time he has spent hundreds of dollars in having me try different so-called “cures for deafness.”
We have one child, a daughter of almost sixteen years, but previous to her birth we had similar hopes three times—the little ones living but a few hours each. The loss of my babies, then the loss of my hearing, with all that implies, made me very bitter against our heavenly Father, and even caused me to doubt at times the very existence of such a being.
One day a few years ago, when a very dear old school-friend was visiting me, I was bemoaning my fate and she was trying to cheer and comfort me. Among other things she said, “It may be, Tena, that God has something better in store for you, and some time you will see that, although he has permitted this affliction to come upon you, it was in love, and may lead you to a still greater blessing.” That aroused all my fiery indignation, and I replied, “I don’t want any other blessing. I want those he has taken away! and don’t you talk to
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me of the love of God! If there is such a being—which I sometimes doubt entirely—he has shown anything but love for me! He took away my babies as soon as they had breathed a few times. He has robbed me of my hearing and thus taken away my greatest pleasure in life, my music, etc., and at the same time raised a barrier between me and the world which I can never overcome. He has isolated me from all the world while still leaving me in it, and he would have shown more love for me if he had taken me out of the world entirely; and all this he has done notwithstanding the fact that I have always been a worker in his Church and cause, have always praised him with my voice, was ever ready and willing to serve him with hand and voice in any good cause, and this is the way he shows his love for me! Oh, to me he seems a good God to be hated, but not one who is worthy of my love and confidence or reverence.”
My friend, with tears rolling down her face, clasped me in her arms and said, “Poor child! I am so sorry for you. It does seem hard, but still I can’t help feeling that the time will come when you will feel differently and see things in a better light.”
Was ever anyone so wickedly rebellious as I? I continued to feel the same for years, during which time, on the rare occasions that we met, my friend would drop some word, principally concerning events which were likely to soon take place in the world’s history, and about three years ago she sent me some tracts which I was tempted to at once throw into the waste basket; but it occurred to me that after she had taken the trouble to send them to me, the least I could do was to read them before destroying them. I did read them, and one of them at least I kept, thinking it might come handy to refer to. So I put it where I saw it daily, and naturally read it over frequently. After a while I began to wonder what those DAWN books really contained. My curiosity very gradually increased until I sent to my friend for the first two volumes and began to read them.
But the “eyes and ears of my understanding” still refused to open and I was nearly through the first volume before my interest was fully aroused. As I now recall it, it seemed like awaking from a night’s sleep: we begin to be conscious it is morning and soon will be time to get up; then we close our eyes for another nap, until we suddenly find it is broad daylight and we must be up and about our business. Then we get fully awake. So it was with my reading the DAWNS. At times in reading Vol. I., my interest would be aroused, but I soon relapsed into that dreamy, half-conscious state, until toward the last of the volume I found myself fully awake and was eager to begin the next volume. Before I was half through that I sent for the other four volumes to have them at hand as soon as needed.
The little tract that awakened my interest was “Do You Know?” and I intend to scatter that seed wherever I think there is a chance of its doing good. I wish I could express in words my thankfulness for the blessing received through reading the DAWNS and the study of God’s Word in connection therewith, and also the TOWER publications. Right here let me thank whoever is responsible for sending me recently a package of six of your discourses published in a Pittsburg journal. I am so grateful for them, for I need all this “meat.” So far as I know there are but two other people in town who believe in MILLENNIAL DAWN, and they, unlike myself, seem not to care to run for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, and I have no one in full heart sympathy with me to talk with, so it is a real feast to me to get the TOWERS and all such reading upon the subject now so dear to my heart.
As for me, I feel that I am indeed a “new creature.” I cannot recognize myself today as being the same person who once was so ready to “curse God and die,” and to think that, after all my sinful rebellion against him, he should permit me to see this wonderful revelation of his plan and receive the blessing far beyond anything I should ever have dared to hope for, teaches me a lesson in humility that I shall never forget. Now in days of trials and perplexities I can say, “Be still! It is the Lord. Let him do what seemeth to him good.” I can even thank him for bringing me through these devious paths of doubt and despair, sorrow and suffering—rejoicing in tribulation, since it has brought me to his feet, humbled and ashamed, but now ready and anxious to do his will wherever it may lead me.
Last spring I withdrew my membership from the Universalist Church, although less than a year before my only child united with the Church. Then was a trial for me. I felt if I was to belong to the one true Church of the living God I should “come out of Babylon,” yet I knew not what influence my doing so would have upon my child. But since I took that step in obedience to what I believed to be the Lord’s will, I felt that no harm to my child should result.
My daughter has since come to see this “Present Truth,” and wishes now that she had not joined the Universalist Church, yet does not quite want to withdraw from it, and I do not urge it. The seeds of truth are sown in her heart, and she says she “can’t believe anything else since she has seen this,” so I am content to trust the outcome to the Lord. She is really but a child yet, and, living the pleasures of youth, does not seem to want to sacrifice much for the Truth’s sake. Later on she may, for she is a good girl, very bright and intelligent, and, with all her fondness for the good times usually enjoyed by young people, she has an undercurrent of sober, serious thought and a deep reverence for those things which so greatly interest me—and herself, too, only in less degree.
Pardon this lengthy letter, which I hope has not proved uninteresting to you, and now may the Lord’s blessing be upon you and all co-workers in his cause.
In deepest gratitude, I am, your sister in Christ,