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THE CHATAUQUA SALUTE
Question.—To our surprise a “Brother” found fault with our giving the Chatauqua salute when Brother Russell appeared at the Denver Convention. I ask for information whether or not any evil significance attaches to such a form of salute?
Answer.—There is no evil significance to the “Chatauqua salute.” It is one of the most decorous and civilized salutes known. It was started as an offset to hand-clapping, foot-stamping and cheering; and surely it is much more polite. An audience must have some method of expressing its greeting, and a less objectionable form surely could not be imagined by anybody. True, the Scriptures do not command or even mention the “Chatauqua salute”; but then neither do they commend handshaking, which is merely a private salutation as the other is a general one. However, let us recognize each other’s right to shake the hand or the head or the handkerchief or not, as each may choose.
Let us remember, too, that “Your Adversary the devil goeth about as a ferocious lion, seeking whom he may devour—whom resist,” says the Apostle. We may be sure that he attends all the Conventions; and that his influence is continually exerted to sow discord, strife and every other work of the flesh and of the devil. He works upon our imperfect heads and hearts. “We are not ignorant of his devices,” writes the Apostle, and we well know that wrong-heartedness is far more dangerous than wrong-headedness. The latter the Lord has promised to protect us from, but not from the former: we must be “pure in heart,” else we will not long be reckoned amongst the branches of the True Vine, but be cut off; for Love is the fruit of the Spirit—the fruit of the Vine. And “herein is your Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Oh! then, how we should watch and pray against the spirit of envy, malice, wrath, strife, contention; and cultivate meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, Love. Thus, as directed, let us keep our hearts in the love that is of God; keep them with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life—the decision as to our everlasting future of Life or Death eternal. Let us all be on guard. And let those who have on the whole armor and who know how to use the sword of the Spirit assist the weaker to overcome the Tempter’s snares and wiles.
— September 1, 1907 —