VOL. I. December 1, 1918 No. 1
VOL. I. December 15, 1918 No. 2
VOL. I. December 1, 1918 No. 1
THIS JOURNAL is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE, chartered A.D. 1918, for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Institutes Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives, and refreshed with reports of its Conventions. Our treatment of the International Sunday School Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defense of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,-- Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to-- "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"-- "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."-- Eph. 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;-- according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"-- peculiarly "His workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age-- ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of his Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessing shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.-- 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing of consecrated believers in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.-- Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."-- Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.-- I John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be kings and priests in the next age.-- Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ's Millennial Kingdom-- the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church-- when all the willfully wicked will be destroyed.-- Acts 3:19-23; Isa. 35.
We affirm the pre-existence of Jesus as the mighty Word(Logos-spokesman), "the beginning of the creation of God," "the first born of every creature," the active agent of the Heavenly Father, Jehovah, in all the work of creation. Without Him was not anything made that was made." Rev. 3:14, Col. 1:15; John 1:3.
We affirm that the Word (Logos) was made flesh-- became the Babe of Bethlehem-- thus becoming the Man Jesus, "holy harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." As we affirm the humanity of Jesus, we equally affirm the Divinity of Christ-- "God also hath highly exalted him, and given Him a name which is above every name."-- Heb. 7:26; Phil. 2:9.
We acknowledge that the personality of the Holy Spirit is the Father and the Son; that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, and is manifested in all who receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit and thereby become sons of God.-- John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:3.
We affirm the resurrection of Christ-- that He was put to death in flesh, but quickened in Spirit. We deny that He was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.-- 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 26:13-15.
PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE
262 FULTON STREET BROOKLYN, N. Y. U.S.A.
SONG OF SOLOMON 2:14
Whom think'st thou, meaneth He?
"The Dove is gentle, mild
my soul, that thou mayst see,
Dove hath neither claw nor sting,
the poor Dove, before the Hawk
soul, of native power bereft,
soul, now hid within a rock
"0 happy Dove! thus weak
NOVEMBER 8-10, 1918
Welcome, In the Name of the Lord
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5, 6.
T HE General Convention held at Providence, R. I., November 8-10, proved to be one of the most, if not the most blessed occasion that the Lord's people have, experienced in several Years. About three hundred of the friends assembled at this time for fellowship, worship and praise. The gathering being made up principally from the following States: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and New Jersey. Thus constituting a very good representation of the Lord's people in general.
As the friends met in this city they were reminded of certain interesting historical features in connection with the location. It was recalled that early in the seventeenth century Roger Williams, together with a few associates, founded a settlement to which he gave the name of Providence; doubtless out of grateful remembrance of God's providence over him and his associates in their distress. Driven apart from the Massachusetts colony by religious persecution they fled to the wilderness where they could exercise their religious liberty and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness according to the dictates of their own conscience.
It was therefore a pleasant thought that now, nearly three hundred years later, faithful followers of Christ were once more assembling to worship the same Lord and Master in a city that deserves special distinction in the roll of honor, because of the devotion to the spirit of Christ, and the ardent love of liberty, on the part of those who founded the City of Providence.
The earnest zeal and loving spirit of devotion on the part of the dear friends of the Providence Class, in making such ample and complete arrangements for the comfort of all, was clearly noted and greatly appreciated by all. All of the sessions of the Convention save one, were held in "Andrews Assembly Rooms," an ideal meeting place. At the rear of the speakers' platform a magnificent chart of the Divine Plan of the Ages was suspended while above this the words, "Welcome in the name of the Lord" appeared, painted in large letters. To the right and left of the chart were to be seen the Convention texts, as printed at the head of this article.
After the opening services Friday morning, a letter of welcome addressed to the Convention, by Brother R. E. Streeter on behalf of the Providence Class, was read by Brother I. I. Margeson, Chairman. Following this, the proceedings of the Convention, with few exceptions, were carried out according to the regular program. The discourses were all of an encouraging nature, spiritually ennobling and uplifting in their general influence. As the different speakers, each in his own characteristic way, reviewed the wondrous plan of salvation, revealing more and more of "the breadth and length and depth and height" of the love of the Heavenly Father through Christ our Lord; and as they in the spirit of love and meekness, admonished and encouraged all to renewed efforts in the "Narrow Way," traversed by their Redeemer, the Convention hall seemed filled with the presence of the King Himself.
Forgotten for the time were the things of this world and its affairs; the sufferings, trials and perplexities of the daily life, all seemed to fade away before the glories and the splendors of the heavenly things so clearly presented.
Throughout the sessions of the Convention many expressions of joy and thanksgiving, and hymns of worship and praise ascended to Him from whom all blessings flow. Many earnest prayers were offered in behalf of the Lord's people far and near, known and unknown to us, that in this stormy time of trial and perplexity, all might experience the needed supplies of grace and strength wherewith to battle on in the cause of truth and righteousness.
Even the business session on Saturday afternoon was no exception along this line of peace, harmony and love, for the brethren were so filled with the Holy Spirit, of the Lord, that this feature of the Convention turned out to be a veritable "love feast." Not a single discordant note was heard throughout the session, while nearly all participated in the joyous proceedings., It seemed that the dear friends were vying with one another to see which could show forth the largest amount of consideration and brotherly kindness.
Just previous to the regular business session in the afternoon a special meeting of the Elders and Deacons, about forty in number, representing several Ecclesias, was convened for the purpose of informally considering what would seem to be wise to recommend to the General Convention, in the afternoon. At this session of the representative brethren, several interesting discussions, in which a number took part, were opened up. Matters were considered pro and con, in the spirit of meekness and love. The advisability of forming a simple business arrangement with which to conduct the affairs of the Church and to provide for the issuing of a regular journal, were the principal features debated upon. An informal vote was taken which was unanimously in favor of proceeding with the work of forming an organization to conduct the various branches of the ministry.
In the opening of the business session in the afternoon special prayer was offered for divine blessings and guidance during the conference. The Chairman, Brother I. I. Margeson, in his remarks stated that it seemed wise that this Convention should have a business session, that the Lord's people were anxiously looking in the direction of some more organized effort to herald the message of the great King.
The minutes of the business session of the Associated Bible Students' Convention, held at Asbury Park, July 26-29, 1918, were then read and approved.
A motion was carried that the Committee's Secretary render a report to the Convention then in session, outlining the Committee's activities in the service of the Lord and the Truth.
The Secretary stated that he was very glad to report that the Committee had been laboring together most harmoniously during the last three months; that several meetings of the Committee had been held, during which thirty to forty motions and resolutions had been unanimously passed, that at no time was there disagreement or a divided vote.
The Brother reported that the Committee had earnestly endeavored to carry out the wishes and instructions given at the previous Asbury Park Convention more than three months previous. He reminded the friends that as the time did not seem ripe for the general organizing of the work at Asbury Park, the Convention at that time authorized the Committee to publish for the purpose of setting forth exchanges from the different Ecclesias and to contain matters of general and profitable interest to the friends, including announcements of Conventions, etc. Three issues of the bulletin had been mailed. The friends were reminded of the fact that certain limitations had been placed upon the bulletin regarding the omission of Bible teaching, doctrinal matter, etc.; and for this reason the bulletin had not contained as many letters and other profitable matter as the Committee wished might be printed.
It was explained that the Committee had not specially urged or invited the friends in general to express themselves with regard to starting a publication and organizing the work for the reason that earlier in the year, about March 1, a circular letter of considerable length had very widely circulated in which the friends had been asked to state what 'Seemed to them to be the Lord's leading with regard to these matters, and that a very large majority had emphatically declared themselves as in favor of organizing some substantial ministry in behalf of the Lord's faithful people, and that these friends were still anxiously looking forward to the realization of their expectations along these lines.
The Brother said further that the bulletin did not seem to the Committee to be a satisfactory arrangement, nor to the friends in general; that while it, to a certain extent, satisfied the need of the friends, it was very manifest from the communications received, that the friends wished something more substantial in the way of a regular periodical in which the Truth in general might freely published.
As to advancing the Pilgrim work, reference was made to how the recent widespread epidemic, necessitating the closing down of meeting places, had prevented very much development along this line. However, since the ban on meetings had now been lifted in many places, the friends were requesting Pilgrim visits and the way was opening up for increased activity in this direction. It was set forth that the Committee had in mind sending forth several traveling Pilgrims as soon as circumstances permitted. One extensive trip had been taken by Brother Rockwell covering territory as far as the middle West, (luring which a good number of Classes have been visited and excellent meetings held. Report of this trip had already appeared in the October Bulletin.
The Secretary also made encouraging report as to Conventions. There seems to be a general desire among the friends to assemble together for mutual fellowship and, encouragement; the latest request having come from St. Louis to hold a Convention there December 6-8. The Committee had accepted the invitation and the prospects were that this Convention would be well attended, as the location is central and easily accessible to the friends throughout the West.
As to the financial status of the Committee reference financial report contained in the August was made to the Bulletin. Brother L. Greiner, the Committee's Treasurer', not being able to attend tile Convention, report to date was not available.
At the conclusion of this report a motion was carried that it be approved and accepted with thanks.
Following this the Chairman reviewed the discussions which had arisen during the informal meeting of the Elders and Deacons, and referred particularly to the matter around which seemed to gather special consideration - that of bringing before the Convention the two recommendations of the Committee which had been placed on the table at the Asbury Park Convention, July 26-29, 1918. These recommendations read as follows:
No. 5. "That the Committee be authorized to issue the long looked for periodical."
No. 6. "That the Committee be authorized to form a non-profit corporation; the members of the Committee to be constituted Trustees of the same. This corporation to be similar in form to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, such as are known in New York as 'Membership Corporations.'"
The Chairman then related how these recommendations had been discussed from every point of view and that an informal vote indicated the brethren were practically of one mind, that the time was most opportune to take up these recommendations and consider them afresh.
By a unanimous vote, the Committee's recommendations No. 5 and No. 6, tabled at the Asbury Park Convention, were lifted and acted upon separately; the matter of forming an organization being considered first, and the advisability of issuing a regular journal discussed afterward. Both recommendations were unanimously adopted, after a loving and harmonious discussion. All present agreed that it was an ideal business session, an enjoyable time for all.
Thus the Committee, composed of seven brethren appointed by a representative gathering of the Lord's people Park convention, held July 26-29, 1918, were empowered by this representative body convened at Providence to organize and incorporate under the laws of the State of NewYork and to issue a religious journal devoted to the interests of the "Present Truth," the service of the brethren, and to the honor and praise of the great God, our Heavenly Father.
The Committee as at present constituted is compose of the following: Brothers J. D. Wright, I. I. Margeson, P. L. Greiner, F. H. McGee, H. C. Rockwell, E. J. Pritchard I. F. Hoskins.
The Convention further authorized the Committee appoint five brethren to be constituted an editorial staff for the editing of the new journal; and that with the first appearance of the paper, the bulletin, authorized at Asbury Park, should be discontinued.
A resolution was adopted instructing the Committee further-to arrange for the publication of literature for free distribution for use as volunteer matter, etc., the same to be compiled from the writings of our former Pastor.
The Pastoral work was brought to the attention of the Convention, and the Committee was instructed to revive this branch of the service as far as possible, and to proceed with all of the arrangements necessary to carry it forward, it being understood of course that the Committee would be enabled to advance this branch of the ministry as well as the others, only as the friends may cooperate with heart and hand and as the means will be provided.
A further consideration involving much kindly discussion was the selection of an appropriate name foe the new institution authorized to be formed. A number of titles were proposed after which it was suggested that those who wished might forward their choice of a name, in writing to the Secretary, for the Committee's consideration.
The final action taken at the business session was the adoption of the following resolution:
"Resolved, that this Convention expresses its confidence in and love for the Committee and desires it to "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward."
It is here noted that the action of the Convention at this business meeting, authorizing the reorganization of the work, was considered most significant, coming as it did at almost the identical hour when peace was being declared, and the nations of the earth were laying. down their arms at the conclusion of the world's greatest war; for in less than twelve hours after the closing of the Convention the whole world seemed to awaken and to rise in one long and fervent hosanna of praise and thanksgiving for peace, finally declared. It seemed as though all the peoples were giving expression -to the joyous sentiments which filled the hearts of those who were privileged to attend this peaceful Convention at Providence.
The closing day of the Convention, Sunday, Nov. 10th, was one which will long be remembered by those who shared in the spiritual joys and fellowship of that time. From the opening exercises to the close of the love feast there was a continuous outpouring of all that was required to make it a season of special communion with the Heavenly Father, and with those who are prospective Kings and Priests unto God. The latter part of the day's Manna text, "Rejoiceth in the Truth," (1 Corinthians 13:6), aptly expresses the main sentiment and spirit which controlled the sessions throughout, and which, indeed, was the key-note of the entire Convention.
The various speakers re-echoed the sentiments of the hearts of all, by exhorting to. renewed devotion to the Lord and the service of the Truth; and above all, admonished that perseverance in the development of, fortitude and strength of Christian character is all important and necessary to the attainment of a place in the Kingdom of -Heaven. All seemed to rejoice in the prospect that the Church may once more be honored with privileges in the Lord's work this side of the veil.
The different lines of endeavor are to be resumed as the way opens up, and advanced all along the line. The words of our dear Pastor, after detailing the future mission of the Church, "Let us be ready," were particularly applicable as expressing the convictions of the friends relative to the service which may yet be the privilege of the Lord's people to accomplish.
The "love feast" in the close of the day was an occasion of bidding Godspeed to one another on the way to the heavenly city, where the Great Convention-the general assembly of the "First born ones" will be held. With fervent hand clasps and with words of love and encouragement, the desire was expressed that all might be found faithful and have the glorious privilege of attending that last and final gathering of the saints, beyond the " veil" in the "Holy of Holies," in the presence of the Heavenly Father, our dear Redeemer, and all the holy angels.
A CHRISTMAS LESSON:
THE BIRTH OF JESUS -LUKE 2:8-20.-- DECEMBER 22.--
Golden Text.-- "There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."-- Luke 2:11.
CHRISTMAS (or Christ's festival) by general usage is celebrated on December 25th; and since its commemoration is not enjoined in the Scriptures, but is merely a voluntary commemoration of a great fact rather than of a particular date, we do well to celebrate it decorously at the usual time; notwithstanding the fact that we disagree with the date, and hold, according to the evidences, that our Lord was born about October 1st, and that December 25th, nine months previous, was probably the date of the annunciation. Luke 1:30, 31.
Our subject does not take us back to the beginning of God's creation when Christ as a spirit being became "the first born of every creature;"-- the Word that was with God in the beginning of creation, and by whom all things were made, and without whom not one thing was made. (John 1:1-3, 10.) Our Master at that time was "the beginning and the ending, the first and the last," of Jehovah's direct creation: all subsequent creations being by and through Him as Jehovah's honored agent. (Revelation 1:11; 3:14; Colossians 1:15; John 1:1-3.) We come to the time when He who was rich for our sakes became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9) and left the glory which He had with the Father "before the world was." (John 17:5.) Then, without dying, our Master underwent a change of nature and "humbled Himself," "was made flesh" (Philippians 2:8; John 1:14), "took upon Himself
the form of a servant" and was "found in fashion as a man;" "a little lower than the angels;" and then still further He humbled Himself even unto death, and yet more even unto the shameful death of the cross-as a culprit, as a sinner. (Hebrews 2:9, 16; Phillipians 2:6-9.) This lesson, appropriate to the season, calls our attention to the birth of "the man Christ Jesus."
Our confidence in Jesus that He was the sent of God, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Deliverer of His people, rests not merely upon the testimony of the Apostles in the New Testament records, wonderful and convincing as these testimonies are: they gain nine-tenths of their weight and importance from the fact that they evidence the fulfillment of promises, types and prophesies given by the Lord with more or less explicitness from time to, time throughout the preceding 4,000 years. He who does not discern something, at least, of the divine plan of the ages in connection with our Savior, His birth, His three and one-half years' ministry, His sacrificial death, His resurrection, His ascension, etc., fails to get the real strength of the divine revelation, designed by the Lord to be the firm foundation for, His people's confidence in Him and in all the glorious things which He has promised He would yet accomplish through this great Savior'
Note the original promise of the Savior shortly after sin had wounded our first parents and brought them under divine sentence. (Genesis 3:15.) Note the promise made to Abraham respecting Messiah that He should be of his posterity. (Genesis 22-:18.) Notice the same to Jacob. (Genesis 28:14.) To David. (2 Samuel 7:12-16.) Through Isaiah the Prophet, His coming and His greatness are foretold. (Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11 :1-9.) Daniel, the Prophet, also refers to the importance of His work of making an end of sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness, and thus sealing the visions and prophecies which the Lord had just given respecting Him and the favor to come through Him. (Daniel 9:24.) We recall also how He was typified in Isaac, who was not only the heir of the promises made to Abraham, but who was also in a figure put to death and received again from the dead. We remember also the types and figures of the Mosaic arrangement, and how Moses himself was declared to be like unto the greater One to come after him.
Had the hopes of Israel been merely concoctions to deceive the people, we may be sure that the deceiver would have been careful to have marked out some remarkable line of parentage for the coming Messiah; free from blights, scandals, etc.; but this was not done; instead, the weaknesses of the flesh amongst our Lord's progenitors are fearlessly noted. Judah, the son of Jacob, the head of the tribe from which our Lord sprang, was not above reproach and his general character was faithfully portrayed; his son, Phares, through whom our Lord's lineage runs, was born of an unlawful union, Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, a foreigner who became an Israelite indeed, was amongst our Lord's progenitors; so was Ruth, the Moabitess, another foreigner adopted as an Israelite. The line even through David is compromised by coming through Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah, the Hittite. The New Testament writers are similarly candid and make no hesitation in recording the genealogy. All of this is in full accord with the scriptural presentation of the matter; namely, that our Lord's virtue, His sinlessness, His separateness from sinners, was not through the flesh, not through His mother, but through His Father, God.
According to the flesh, Jesus Christ took hold of the seed of Abraham, as the Apostle explains; but as we have already seen, through various circumstances He was indirectly related also to the outside world. All of this is interesting to us, but nothing to be compared to our still greater interest in the fact that our Lord Jesus, although born a Jew under the Law, and redeeming those who were under the Law, did more than this, in that His death as planned by the Father and accepted by Himself was a propitiation "for the sins of the whole world." He died for Adam and on account of his sin, and thus purchased from condemnation not only Adam, but his entire posterity involved through his transgression; hence, as the Apostle points out, "He is able to save (deliver) unto the uttermost all who come unto God through Him." (Hebrews 7:25.) Not only so, but our Lord's circumstances of birth and early experiences in compartive poverty as a working man, impress us with the thought that He is indeed able to sympathize with mankind in every station of life; having passed from the glory of the Father to the lowest condition of humanity and back again, He is surely able to appreciate and to sympathize with all conditions and classes.
GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY
The narrative of our lesson is so simple as to require few comments; our chief interest centers in the message which our Heavenly Father sent us through the angels at the time they announced the birth of Jesus: "Fear not"-- the angel understood well that through sin and degradation a fearful apprehension comes over man when he finds himself in contact with spirit beings; he is apprehensive of certain further condemnation or punishment; his acquaintance with man in influence, authority and power, leads him to dread the still greater authority and power of the Almighty, lest it should be injurious to him. Only the true Christian, having the eyes of his understanding opened to appreciate the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God, can have that perfect love toward the Heavenly Father which is built upon an intimate knowledge of His Word, and which casteth out all fear. We are reminded of the Prophet's words respecting the Lord's people of today, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men." (Isaiah 29:13.) The Lord would have His people free from this fear, though not free from a proper reverence toward Him.
The message continues, "I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." How slow the Lord's people have been to believe this message and to accept the Savior at His full worth!. How prone they seem to be to suppose first of all that He was to be a Savior merely for the Jews; or secondly, a Savior merely for a Special elect class; or thirdly, a Savior only for those who under present darkness, ignorance, prejudice, superstition and devilish influences, manifest a special love for righteousness! But how broad is the statement -- great joy-- for all people! Our faith is not broader than the positive declaration of the Scriptures, when we hold firmly that our God graciously has arranged that every member of our poor fallen race shall yet be blessed with a clear understanding not only of his own weaknesses and imperfections through the fall, but also by a clear understanding of the great redemption price paid by the Savior, and a share in the glorious opportunities thus secured to return, if he will, back to full harmony with God and to full blessings and everlasting life.
The angels did not declare that our 'Lord came to bring universal and everlasting salvation to all people; but they did declare that the good message of joy, of privilege, love, hope, shall extend to all people. The explanation of this is that a Savior had been born-- a deliverer of the weak, the helpless, the dying, able to succor to the utmost all who would come to the Father through Him; able to open the blind eyes and to unstop the -deaf ears that all may come to an appreciation of the goodness of God shining toward them in the face of the Lord Jesus.
The word Savior, otherwise rendered Deliverer, signifies in the Syriac language, literally Life-giver. What a wonderful thought is conveyed by that word 1 What is it that our poor, dying race needs? It needs deliverance from the sentence of death, and then it needs deliverance from death itself, into life complete and abundant. and everlasting., Our Lord has already become our deliverer in the sense that He has bought us with His precious blood, that He has settled our account with Justice. As a result of this work already done, since the Church which is the Body of Christ has followed in the footsteps of our Lord and has about "filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," (Colossians 1:24), very shortly 'now, under the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished-completed -and atonement for the sins 'of the world shall be proclaimed with a full emancipation proclamation to all people. Good tidings of great joy it will surely be! full of gracious opportunities for enlightenment, restitution and obedience, and for a full' return to all that was lost by father Adam, including life in perfect degree-lasting life.
No wonder after this message had been delivered, the Lord permitted an angel host to serenade the proclamation, and incidentally to prophesy also of the grand results yet to flow from the great work of redemption, which was then only beginning in the birth of the Redeemer 1 Properly the anthem begins with praise to Him that sitteth upon the Throne, to Him who devised the great and Wonderful plan of redemption and who sent His Son, our willing Redeemer; glory to Him in the highest-in the highest strain of heart and voice, with fullest appreciation of Him as a Savior! Next came the consequences on earth; namely, peace. Not such a peace as men might patch up between themselves and, between nations and parties, and that under present conditions would be sure very soon to be scattered to the winds; but a peace with God, a peace which comes from a restoration to the race of the divine good will. It was because divine justice could not spare the guilty, that the sentence of death, the "curse," has borne down upon Our race for now six thousand years. Under that divine sentence of death the dying race has become impoverished, not only physically but mentally and morally, and selfishness has become the rule, and, in its wake have come all our selfish' ambitions and pride and strife and vainglory and money love which have caused so much of the trouble that mankind has experienced.
But now, glory to God in the highest! because peace has been established upon a firm foundation-the lifting of the curse through the payment of our penalty by the Lord's own arrangement! As soon as the Body of Christ has suffered with the Head, the great antitypical day of atonement will be complete, and peace between God and man will be established, will be renewed, and as a consequence the Redeemer shall take to Himself His great power and reign for the purpose of blessing and uplifting those whom He purchased with His own precious blood. In their interest it will be necessary that the great peace shall be introduced by the breaking in pieces of present institutions with the iron rod of the new Kingdom, as the vessels of a potter they shall be crushed as henceforth useless; that in their stead may come the grander and perfect institutions of the Lord's Kingdom. He will wound to heal, to bless, to bring in peace on the basis of everlasting righteousness; for ultimately He will destroy all those who, after being brought to a knowledge of the Truth, will still love unrighteousness and tend to the corruption of the earth. He will destroy them, not in anger but in justice, in love, that an everlasting peace in full accord with that which is in Heaven may prevail upon earth.
Wherever the story of God's redeeming love has gone, even though confused by various falsities, it has carried in ore or less of blessing with it; even to neglectful hearers and not doers of the Word, it has brought blessing; and still more blessing to others who hear partly and obey partly; but its greatest blessing has been to the little flock, the royal priesthood who, entering into the spirit of the divine arrangement, have realized themselves justified through faith in the precious blood, and in harmony with the invitation of the Lord have gone forward, presenting themselves living sacrifices that they might have fellowship with Christ in the sufferings of this present time, and also., by and by, in the, Kingdom glories that shall follow. It is this class chiefly that is now rejoicing .in' a still fuller opening up of the divine Word so long beclouded by the falsities coming down from the dark ages; it is this class chiefly that is now rejoicing in the discernment of the length's and breadths and heights and depths of the divine love and of the divine plan which has purchased the whole world and will eventually recover from present degradation all who under the favorable conditions of the Millennial Kingdom Will develop the character which God demands of all who shall have eternal life-- a love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity.
-HEBREWS 11:8-22-- DECEMBER 29--
Golden Text.-- "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."-- 1 John 5:4.
REFLECTING upon the lessons to be drawn from the experiences of those living in a former age, even the most superficial reader must observe that the chief characteristics exemplified in the lives of the Patriarchs were that of their great faith in and loyalty to God. This faith, St. Paul forcibly brings to our attention in the 11th chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, cited at the head of this lesson.
Evidently God was seeking for and approving and encouraging and testing those of His people who exercised special faith in Him-to the extent of obedience, to the extent of their ability. Nor should this surprise us: what other quality could God seek in any member of the fallen race? Surely He could not seek for perfection; for His own Word declares explicitly that "There is none righteous, no not one." (Romans 3:10.) As He sought not the perfect in mind or morals or features, we ask ourselves what quality would especially commend any member of the race to the Lord, and our answer is, in harmony with the lessons of his word that "God seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth"-- in honesty, in sincerity. Such worship would be impossible except as it had a basis of faith; as it is written, "He that cometh unto God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him;" and again, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6.) True, the Apostle writes that love is the principal thing, but the Apostle is writing to those who already have been approved in their faith. In another sense of the word faith is the principal thing because it is the basis and only condition upon which any other of God's favors are now obtainable.
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD
Abraham-what did he do? What great exploits? How is it written? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Romans 4:3.) According to this, faith will hide a multitude of defects. Our respect for Abraham's faith rises higher and higher, as we behold the various manifestations of His confidence in God, and his obedience to the divine command. We say to ourselves, even as new creatures and partakers of spiritual favors, 0 that we might have in fullest measure this abounding faith, this willing obedience, this trust, resting securely in God, this assurance that He is able to accomplish all that He has promised, even though the accomplishment of it should make necessary a resurrection from the dead!* For the Apostle assures us that Abraham philosophized upon this matter-respecting the fact that Isaac was his legitimate heir, and had been so acknowledged of the Lord, saying "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." He could see no other way that God's word could be true; yet so strong was his faith that he trusted that the Lord was able to raise his son from the dead in order to fulfill the promise.-Hebrews 11:19.
This is exactly the kind of faith that the Lord desires to find in the spiritual' seed of Abraham, the Gospel Church-- a faith that will trust Him even where it cannot trace Him; a faith which recognizes His perfect wisdom, perfect love and perfect power. It is not a faith, however, that is a spontaneous growth, under present fallen conditions. It requires years for its development. Abraham had not this degree of faith when first he entered the land of Canaan as a pilgrim. It would have been vain for him to. have pleaded great faith in the Lord and to have said, The Lord is as able to bless me and to use me in Chaldea, Babylonia, as in any other place; and since what He seeks is to know my faith, He can just as well see that I have it here. Some who class themselves as spiritual Israel, seem to reason after this manner, but they make a great mistake. It is true that the Lord looks upon the heart, and that it is our faith, and not our imperfect works, which commends us to Him, but -He assures us that if we have the faith it will speedily manifest itself in works; and that if we have the faith and fail to act in harmony with it, to the extent of our ability, the faith will die out. Perfect works are not demanded of us because we are imperfect through the fall; but any who would maintain a justified standing before the Lord, through faith, must manifest works in harmony with their faith to the extent of ability, for faith without works is dead-has lost all its vitality, all its virtue, all its life. It is thenceforth dead, worthless.-James 2:17.
Justification is a free gift, "not of works, lest any man should boast"-- it is God's gift through Christ, based -upon the ransom. But as it is accounted unto us only for the purpose of permitting us to go on-to sanctification-- to self-sacrifice, such results or works must be forthcoming, or it will prove that we have received "the grace of God in vain." -- Ephesians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1.
After Abraham had thus proven himself obedient, showing his faith by his obedience, the Lord revealed His purpose to him much more specifically than at first, saying, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." This promise must have seemed quite improbable at that time, for the land was already peopled with strong nations, whose posterity would undoubtedly increase greatly, while Abram, on the contrary, had as yet no child. There was room for doubt in Abram's mind, but there was also room for faith. His faith accepted the promise, and he ratified it by building there an altar, on which we presume he offered sacrifices to the Lord, typical of the great sacrifice of Christ, through the efficacy of which all of God's promises will be fulfilled.
ISAAC, THE PEACEFUL
What was there in Isaac's experiences in life to mark him as one of the Lord's? Isaac did nothing great, nothing wonderful. He founded no colleges, he built no churches, he organized no great relief funds, etc., etc., praiseworthy as those things may be; but he had the approval of God because he also believed God. Doubtless it was his faith in God that caused him to be the great lover of peace that he was. And well may God's people today observe the lesson of peace exemplified in the life of Isaac. Blessed are those who are peaceable and who are peacemakers-blessed of God. They may not always prosper as well in outward and temporal matters, but they surely will be prosperous in their hearts, in their heart experiences, in their relationship to the Lord; they surely will make the better progress in the fruits and graces of the Spirit, and be the better fitted and prepared for the glorious opportunities soon to some, when, as the antitypical Isaac, associated as members of the Prince of Peace, they shall engage in the work of uplifting and refreshing and blessing all mankind. True, there are times when "backbone" is necessary, when principle is involved, and when: retreat would be absolutely wrong; but undoubtedly we can often yield, and, as Isaac did, in so doing may find a provision of the Lord for our prosperity. Had the requirement of Abimelech (Gen. 26:16-20) been that Isaac should renounce the worship of the true God we can readily see that the principle involved would have hindered Isaac from yielding; and so with us, we are to note carefully and stand by everything involving principle.
JACOB CHOSE THE LORD
What wonderful things did Jacob do to give him a place of such prominence in the history of God's people, and to make him worthy to be the father of, the nation of Israel? There is no record of any very wonderful works on the part of Jacob, aside from the fact that he had a wonderful faith in God. He believed in the Oath-bound, Covenant made to his grandfather Abraham -it saturated and filled his entire life. Everything in his entire course from first to last was shaped in accordance with that faith. It was Jacob's faith and trust in God's providence that led him to seek the better part, that he might be intimately connected with the fulfillment of the great Abrahamic promise. The Lord did not reprove Jacob's earnest coveting of the heavenly promise-which led him, first of all, to the self-denial of giving up his own dinner for its procurement; and, secondly, his willingness to desert all of his earthly interests in his father's house, and to become a pilgrim and a stranger in the world, forsaking all things for this divine promise.
God attested His appreciation of such a character by specially appearing to Jacob, and granting him a vision, in which He talked to him and confirmed to him the original promise made to Abraham and renewed to Isaac, saying, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest to thee will I give it and to thy seed; . . . and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Any man who receives such unqualified divine approval and blessing we shall most surely hold in high esteem, and shall commend to all of the spiritual seed of Israel today that they emulate the spirit of Jacob-that they be ready at all times to exchange the pottage of earthly advantage, and to become pilgrims and strangers; outcasts from home and property, and from all earthly things, for the sake of being inheritors of the same heavenly promises-- joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Indeed, only to this class will the divine blessings come. Our earthly neighbors and friends may speak slightingly of us, may charge us with ambitious designs, when they learn that we are seeking a heavenly Kingdom, and joint-heirship with our Lord. They may charge that this is selfishness on our part. But the Lord makes no such charges. He tells us that He is pleased to see us so appreciative of the heavenly promises that we will be ready and glad to give up to others, to yield our earthly rights in any and every particular; if by any means we may win Christ and be found in Him, and be sharers in His Kingdom.
Thus concerning faithful Jacob we are assured by St. Paul that God counted his faith to him also for righteousness, and his name has come down to us amongst others who had the grand testimony that they pleased God and are ultimately to have a share in the great work of God as a reward.
JOSEPH, THE FAITHFUL
Joseph accomplished more than his forebears as respects great and useful work in the world; in the line of God's providences he not only saved the nation of Israel, his father's house, but also the nation of Egypt from the famine which otherwise might have destroyed them all. But Joseph is not brought specially to our attention in the Scriptures because of this great deed. Rather the Scriptures lay as much emphasis upon some of the smaller transactions of his life, and recite all of his affairs as evidences of his faith in God. Without that faith Joseph would not have been anything. It was his faith that kept him in good courage and of restful heart even in the midst of trying circumstances and conditions; it was his faith and loyalty to the one in whom he believed that kept him from the hour of temptation while a member of Potiphar's household; it was his faith that triumphed in the prison and gave him opportunities for comforting and assisting others, and learning himself to sympathize with those in distress. It was his faith which prompted him to have that relationship with God which brought to him the interpretation of dreams and the exaltation to power and influence. It was his faith still that enabled him to use those opportunities without losing his head, that showed him to have the spirit of a sound mind.
Amongst the most pronounced demonstrations of Joseph's trust in God was his faithful endurance of indignities, malicious treatment and persecution from his immediate brethren. And are there not good lessons in -Joseph's experiences for all who are hoping to be heirs of the spiritual features of this same Abrahamic Covenant - joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord? (Galatians. 3:29.) We are to remember that the All-mighty is All-wise as well as All-powerful, and that He can select many ways to accomplish His purpose. Joseph's experiences illustrate God's wisdom, by which -He is able, not only to circumvent the machinations of evil men, but also to use their evil deeds to serve His purposes to carry out His. designs, and to bless those whom He is leading. Would that all of God's consecrated people, spiritual Israelites, indeed, might obtain a great impetus to faith from this lesson, and henceforth rely more strongly and fully than ever upon the Lord and the power of His might. What a peace, what a joy, what a comfort, it brings to be able, by faith to realize that the Lord is at the helm in respect to all of our interests and affairs, temporal and spiritual!
The promise is sure, and the privileges of inheriting is ours; but in order that we may be prepared for that service and its responsibilities it is needful that we should learn lessons of humility, patience, faith, endurance. Our Lord,, the head of this "Seed of Abraham," endured such contradiction of sinners, and trials and testings, and learned obedience to the Father's will even unto death although He was perfect, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Much more does it seem necessary that we who are called to be "members of His body" should pass through severe testings and trials, to be fitted and prepared for the glory that shall follow necessitating great faith as in Joseph's case.
It was his faithful obedience that brought him divine favor, and divine favor was the secret of Joseph's success, as it has been the secret of the success of all who have attained true greatness in the world. In previous ages true success was more or less identified with earthly prosperity, riches and power; but during this Gospel Age-the spirit dispensation-true success and divine favor stand related to spiritual prosperity, attainments and usefulness, as exemplified in our Lord Jesus, in the Apostles, and in the less prominent servants of the Cross from their day until now. - The principle is the same, though the mode of operation is different. Adversity is ,still the school in which the chief lessons in character building are to be learned-in which the correct ideals of life are to formed, and ultimately to be crytalized into fixed character.
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN:
We enjoyed so rich a blessing at the Lord's hand in our recent memorial service in respect to our late Pastor, that we believe a brief report of the same may be of interest to you.
Friends from several nearby classes joined with us in this meeting on the evening of October 31st-- the second anniversary of our Pastor's death. About 150 were present.
The program arranged included several short addresses by brethren who formerly lived at Bethel and had been closely associated with our Pastor in the Harvest work. As they recalled various incidents in the life of our dear Pastor we were reminded again and again of his noble Christian character and full devotion to the Lord and the Truth. In reviewing the years which have elapsed since his death we were impressed with the foresight evidenced by our Brother in his writings, and gave thanks for this God-given wisdom and his faithful ministry, which-, under the Lord's blessing, had such a large part in preparing us for the tests and trials experienced since he left us. But while thankful for the grace which has enabled us to stand loyal to the Truth and the principles of the Lord's Word, we were also reminded of the continuing and probably increasing severity and subtlety of the tests which doubtless await us, and the need for earnest attention to the putting on and keeping on of the armor, which we are assured will enable us to stand in this evil day and render service meanwhile to the Truth and the brethren.
Following the addresses about an hour was devoted to general testimonies, and these were indeed inspiring. Thankfulness to the Lord for the Truth received through our Pastor was expressed by almost everyone who took part, and the memory of his faithful service brought grateful tears to the eyes of more than one.
This season of fellowship served as a forcible reminder of our dear Pastor's devoted life, and inspired in us love and zeal, to press on toward that glorious day when we hope to hear the Master's "Well done," watching and praying, meanwhile, lest we enter into temptation.
Our hearts go out in love and sympathy of purpose and hope to all those who ire the Lord's brethren. We are glad to frequently remember you at the throne of heavenly grace' praying for you the Father's guidance and blessing during the remaining days of your pilgrimage, and finally an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We feel sure we are likewise in the minds and hearts of the Lord's dear people, and we much appreciate their loving interest and petitions on cur behalf.
With very much love to you all,
The Herald of Christ's Kingdom
VOL. I. December 15, 1918 No. 2
PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE
262 FULTON STREET BROOKLYN, N. Y. U.S.A.
The friends may assist us by sending in from time to time, such clippings and articles from newspapers and magazines as may have a bearing upon the trend of events in the world, which stand related to the interests of the Lord's people and the fulfillment of prophecy. We may not always print what is sent to us, but will have on hand a supply from which the selection may be made.
The present indications are favorable as pointing to a revival of this effective form of service. A number of Classes of Associated Bible Students are obtaining good results by this means. Our suggestions in relationship to these public meetings are that well-known halls or theaters should be secured wherever possible, and the lectures well advertised in newspapers. Additionally, by means of announcement cards, and by special invitations.
The Lecturers provided by this Institute are prepared to serve both the interested and the public, as may be desired. In making application for the services of these brethren, it should be specified as to the form of service desired. When public meetings have been arranged for, full particulars are desired at this office that we may be the better prepared to co-operate with the Classes in their endeavors to witness to the Truth in a public manner.
"YEARLY RECKONINGS -- SPIRITUAL ACCOUNTS"
"Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou has done, and thy thoughts which are to usward: they can not be reckoned up in order unto thee; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."-- Psalm 40:5.
BUSINESS men are at great expense to secure accuracy in their accounts. Millions of dollars are spent every year in details of book keeping, an important part of which is to enable proprietors to know definitely upon which items of their business there is a profit, and upon which there is a loss-to the intent that the profitable branches may be increased, and the unprofitable ones corrected. This is admittedly a wise procedure.
If the case be such with those who are seeking temporal wealth and its honors, how much more careful accounting should be attempted in connection with spiritual matters! The Lord's people are not merely seeking for wealth, which will last for a few years, and their must be parted with-at the tomb, if not sooner; they are seeking for the riches which perish not, and which thieves do-riot break into and steal. More than this,. with the heavenly riches they are assuredly seeking also heavenly honors and glories-even joint-heirship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, in the Millennial Kingdom, and in the glorious opportunities which it will bring in, connection with the promised blessing of all the families of the earth.
The general settlement day with the world is at the close of the old year, and the beginning of a new one, and with the Church this is an equally appropriate occasion, for us to review accounts-to sum up our efforts and experiences of the past year. Lei us see -how our spiritual accounts stand for the year past. Let us note whether or not the year's experiences have brought us nearer to the Lord, or have in any measure separated as from the warmth of His Love and fellowship, and from fellowship with fellow members of His body. Every year should find us nearer to the Lord, not only in the purposes of our hearts, but in the conduct of our lives nearer to the perfect standard. We should be making progress, growing in all the graces of the spirit, and growing also in our knowledge and appreciation of the Lord and of His wonderful plan.
We trust that each reader, as he takes a conscientious view of the situation, whichever way he feels that the balance stands (favorable or unfavorable, as compared with a year ago), can nevertheless thank God that by His grace we are what we are, and where we are-still His with hearts striving for things of the spirit, and not for things of the flesh. If any have slipped to some extent backward, let such thank the Lord that matters are not worse than they are, that they have not wholly I let go of His hand, and relinquished their share in the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word. Let them thank God that this day of reckoning and reviewing of accounts finds them desirous of being on the Lord's side, and. making a better record during the year before us. Let us look together at our text and see if we cannot join heartily with the Prophet in the sentiment expressed.
He divides the subject into two parts. (1) Thankfulness to God for His wonderful work of grace already done or accomplished; and (2) for His thoughts, His plans, His purposes, toward us, which are not yet accomplished, and which we have grasped by His promises, with our arms of faith.
Looking back at the things that God already has done for us, we see that the Prophet has defined some of these, saying, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." (Psalm 40:2.) If we can apply this heartily to ourselves, what a cause it is for thankfulness. As we look about us, and see the whole world lying in the Wicked One, without God and having no real hope-merely vague impressions-- and when we look back and see how the Lord has delivered us from the horrible pit of condemnation and sin, how he has had mercy upon us and delivered us, and established our feet of faith upon the rock foundation, Christ and His redemptive work, well may we give thanks, and tell His mercies all abroad. Looking back we may see that happy day that fixed our choice upon our Savior and our God, as being the time from which our goings have been established-- our courage no longer vacillating. It was there that we obtained a fixed purpose, a ballast which has prevented us from being upset when tossed, hither and thither, by the varying winds of philosophy and human speculation. Praise God for this which He already has done for us! No wonder, as the Prophet proceeds to say, we realize that "He has put a new song into our mouth, even praise unto our God." The new song is not one of doubt or of fear, nor concerning anguish of sinners; but a song of God's Justice and Mercy and Love -reasonable and harmonious in its every cadence. Thank God! It has brought a new life to us; a new pleasure in life, as well as new aspirations, and new hopes for others as well as for ourselves. We can never thank the Lord enough for the blessings which we have already received at His hands, for the things which He has already done for Us.
And yet the things that we already enjoy of the Lord's favor we are assured are but a foretaste of the blessings yet in reservation for them that love Him-blessings which eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man to see or appreciate, but which God hath lovingly declared, and which we grasp by faith, seeing through a glass only obscurely, as et, the glory, honor and immortality promised to the faithful. What we now have are not realities so much as promises and hopes. Present experiences being but the beginning of our comfort, we agree with the Prophet, that the number of God's favors cannot be reckoned, computed. We are exceedingly His debtors; we can never discharge the obligation. But then we are His children; He is pleased to give us these things, and His request in return is that we shall act toward Him in such a manner as will betoken our gratitude, and that we are indeed His offspring, begotten of His spirit.
Let us proceed in our calculation of present assets, id in our balancing of the year; and let us not be content simply with generalities in the balance. Let us retrospectively scrutinize the privileges and mercies enjoyed during the year, and the use we made of them and lie blessings derived. Let us carefully note which feature of our daily course have been most helpful to as, and which have to any extent retarded our spiritual progress, hindered our fellowship with the Lord, prevented our running with patience or with best results the race set before us in the Gospel. These items will necessarily vary with each individual-for no -two are alike in temperament or environment. Each in his counting should weigh the advantages derived from fellowship and communion with the Lord in prayer; and should determine whether or not this feature of his spiritual interests could be advantageously expanded during the beginning year.
Each should consider, also not merely how, much time he had spent in talking to the Lord, but also how much time he had spent in listening to the Lord's voice-- in searching the Scriptures;, in seeking to know the Divine mind, the Divine plan as it pertains to himself individually and to the Church and to the world. Included in this matter of listening to the Lord's voice, he should reckon the helps to Bible Study provided by the Lord through the brethren, the members of the family, the members of the one body of Christ; remembering the statement of the Apostle, that God Himself had set the various members' in the body as it hath pleased Him; and that He set these members for the very purpose of blessing one another, edifying the Church, building it up in the most holy faith. True, we are to consider that the Apostles were set first, foremost, and hence, that their teachings are paramount; and that all other teachings are to -be submitted to the test of harmony with the testimonies of the Apostles and Prophets.
If any, on reckoning up, shall find that they have not made such good progress, as they had hoped, or perhaps apparently less progress in the Narrow Way, than some others about them, let them consider to what extent this failure to progress was due to a failure to use the divinely appointed means for growth in grace and knowledge
and love; namely the Word and the brotherhood. If the progress has not been so great as could be hoped, let another point be examined: see whether or not you have been as active as was possible in serving the Truth. Consider that you have consecrated your entire life to the Lord, and that by His direction it is to be laid down, sacrificed. yielded up in the interest of His brethren, the Church. Consider, count, reckon, whether or not you
have been faithful in this matter of laying down your life during the past year-faithful in serving the Church, the body of Christ, to the best of your ability. Remember that it is a part of the Lord's provision, that He who watereth shall himself be watered, that he who serves the Truth to others, may appropriate to himself the more abundantly at the Lord's table of grace and truth.
EXAMPLES OF PROPER COUNTING, VALUATION, ETC.
In our counting let us take some hints and suggestions from the inspired apostles; let us note how they counted matters and things-Which matters they set down to the profit account, and which to the logs account. Hearken to the Apostle Paul's words: "Neither count I my (earthly) life dear (precious, valuable) unto me." (Acts 20:24.) Again, "I count all things (earthly) but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philippians 3:8.) Saint Paul's estimation was not merely that the future glories were worthy of some loss. in the present time, but that - even the knowledge of Christ (including the, knowledge of God's grace toward us through Him, and the knowledge and consequent opportunities of running the race for the great prize)-, was alone worth the price; he estimated that the loss of all things, in order to obtain this knowledge (and its opportunities), would be a great bargain. Let us thank God if we have this good asset-- a knowledge of Christ -a knowledge of His character, and a deep appreciation of it, a knowledge of the Plan which centers in Him, no matter what it has cost us of earthly good; if we have this knowledge, if to us He is precious, We are rich today, thank God! The same Apostle proceeds to say that already he had suffered the loss of all things and did "count them but dung," that he might "win Christ, and be found in Him"-- a member of His body.
A further suggestion as to how to count is found in the Apostle James' words, "Count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trial of your faith worketh patience," etc. (James 1:2.) no doubt, as each looks back a year, we see that there were numerous snares and temptations in our pathway. Over some, no doubt, we gained victories, 'readily; others perhaps we conquered with a severer struggle; and still others perhaps were only partial victories-they were partially reverses, partially victories for our enemies.
What did these temptations bring us? What has been their value? One value, as the Apostle suggests, is the lesson of forbearance. They proved to us that we are still in the schooling time, in the testing time; to demonstrate our loyalty to the Lord, and our worthiness, through His merit, to a share in His Kingdom. All wish frequently, no doubt, that the testings were all over, and that we were accepted to a place amongst the overcomers; but patience and faith and trust are to do a refining work in our hearts, making us mellow, willing and obedient to the Lord. Let the good work go on. Let us rejoice if our trials have brought us lessons of any kind that are profitable to us-that have tended to make us stronger in, character, more firm for truth and righteousness, more aware of our own weaknesses, and more on guard against the same. Even those conflicts which have resulted in only partial victories have possibly been to our advantage, Surely so, in proportion as we contended earnestly against our weaknesses or against the besetments of the Adversary. Even on points in which there may have been absolute failure, the result may be a strengthening of character, a crystalization of determination for greater zeal in that direction again; and a humility of heart before the Lord in prayer, which has caused us to remember the Throne of Grace afresh, and that thither we may flee in every moment of temptation and find the succor which we need.
The Apostle Paul summed up his account, and balanced it, as follows: "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us"-- the faithful. (Romans 8:18.) In our reckoning,. in our account for the year, let us similarly reckon the things which we have suffered, whether they be few or many, small or great-whatever we suffered for Christ's sake, for righteousness' sake, for the truth's sake-let us rejoice therein, and endeavor for the coming year, to be so much more faithful in all these respects, that it may be our high privilege of suffering something further for the name of Christ, for His cause, and for His brethren.
As we reckon the profit and loss sides of the account for the year, let us be thankful that amongst the shortcomings which all may have to deplore none of us find one item of evil which the Apostle mentions, viz., none of us "count the blood of the covenant, wherewith we were sanctified, an unholy (ordinary) thing." Thank God, we still appreciate the precious blood of Christ; we still appreciate the fact that we are accepted, not in any merit or worthiness of our own, but in I-rim who loved us and who bought us with His own precious blood. Oh, how much we have to be thankful for in this one feature of our experience, even if, as we look back, we find that there have been vacillations or slips or slidings in the pathway 1 How much we may thank the Lord, that by His grace we still are what we are, and still have the opportunity of persevering and running with renewed zeal and 'patience the race set before us-looking unto Jesus for our example.
HOW THE LORD IS ACCOUNTING RESPECTING US
Finally, in our account of matters, let us take courage from the Lord's statement respecting how He counts things, and let us count accordingly. The Apostle said himself, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." (1 Timothy 1:12.) Ali, yes, what a blessed satisfaction it is to us to know that while the Lord knows of our every word and every deed He is pleased to count us something different, even from our words and our deeds -something better! Our words do not always represent the full sentiments of our hearts; our conduct does not come up to the standard: after the words have been spoken and after the deeds have been done-perhaps to the very best of our ability-we realize that they have come short of the glory of God, and short of our own ideals, desires and efforts. How consoling it is to us, then, to know that our imperfect work shall be acceptable through Christ to God; that the Lord counts us according to our intentions, according to our wills. Praise His name! We would have no hope of coming up to any standard of perfection which He would approve, were it not for His gracious arrangement by which our imperfections are covered by our Redeemer's perfection and sacrifice, and our works accepted according to the intentions and desires of our hearts.
The Apostle rejoiced that by the Lord's counting him according to his intentions, and not according to his deeds, he was counted worthy a place in the ministry. Let us similarly rejoice, and let us remember that the word "ministry" signifies service, and the word "minister" signifies servant. Let us remember that all of the Royal Priesthood, all of the truly consecrated Church of God, are ministers, servants of God and of each other. The Lord has put us all into the ministry; and there is a ministry, a service of kindness and of -love toward the Lord, in honoring His name and declaring His righteousness; and a ministry toward the brethren, in opening the eyes of their understanding and enabling them to appreciate the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the Lord's character. A share in this ministry belongs to each one of us, and it is a great privilege. It is a ministry, or service which, if neglected, or in. proportion as neglected, brings us corresponding loss in spiritual progress and character. Let us count this privilege a valuable asset, to carry over into the new year, to be used with greater diligence than ever in the service of our King.
The Apostle, in writing to the Church at Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 1:5), says, "That ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom for which ye also suffer." Ali, yes; this is more of the Lord's counting. We are not worthy of the Kingdom of God. No human being is worthy; but the Lord purposes to count His faithful ones worthy. He will do this through the merit of His own great atonement-sacrifice which permits the acceptance of our wills, our intentions, as instead of the perfect works of righteousness. Thank God for this generous accounting! Let it encourage us, and let us remember the Apostle's statement that those who will be counted of our Lord thus fit for the Kingdom, will be such as suffer something for it. Let us then strive in a reasonable, rational manner, according to the Divine Word and Plan, to suffer for the Kingdom's sake.
We are not to seek suffering in a foolish way, by doing foolish things. We have no such example in our Lord's case, nor in the case of the Apostles. It is not even necessary that we should suffer martyrdom or physical persecution. Possibly the extent of our sufferings may be the wounding of our feelings, when-- "The workers of iniquity whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words, that they may shoot in secret at the innocent." (Psalm 64:3.) Perhaps bur sufferings, even, will be still less than this, as the Apostle explains (Hebrews 10:33-35): "Partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used." Let us resolve to carry this good asset over into the new year, rejoicing that we have been privileged thus far to suffer some little for the Lord's sake and for the sake of the Truth, and in companionship with the brethren; heeding the Apostle's words, "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." God wishes us to trust Him according to His promises, and will reward such faith.
We conclude this exhortation to spiritual accounting, by calling attention to the Apostle's words: "We pray always for you-that God would count you worthy of this calling and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power." (2 Thessalonians 1:11.) This is our prayer for you, beloved in the Lord; and we trust also that this is your prayer for us. What more could we ask than that the Lord would count us worthy of the great high-calling of this Gospel Age -to joint-heirship with His Son in the Kingdom? We have His assurance respecting the terms on which He will count us worthy. We realize that the terms are very reasonable indeed, and that what we do sacrifice in conforming to those terms would be really only as loss and dross to us, so long as we were filled with a proper zeal for the Lord and His cause. Let us note the words of Saint Peter, that these good things which our heavenly Father has called us to receive-to prove ourselves worthy of receiving, according to His gracious terms in Christ-are not things which He offers us grudgingly, but things which He is well pleased to bestow-an entrance shall be administered unto you abundantly. (2 Pet. 1:11.) There was a time, perhaps, with each of us, when, under misinterpretations of the Lord's Word, we supposed that coldly and heartlessly, our Heavenly Father preferred not -to give many blessings, and would give them to but few, and to them in a grudging manner, because impelled thereto by Jesus; and that for the great majority He had determined, beforehand, that they should be delivered over to devils for an eternity of misery. Thank God for a clearer opening of the eyes of our understanding, by which now we may know Him as our Father, and appreciate to some extent His wonderful Plan!
And, as respects our own share, let us settle it in our hearts that these gracious things to which we are called are "all the good pleasure of His goodness." Let us start into the new year with good courage, remembering that if God loved us while we were yet sinners, strangers, aliens, foreigners, much more does He now love us since we have come into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord; since we are seeking to walk, not after the flesh , but after the spirit; since we are seeking to be copies of His dear Son, our Lord; since we have been begotten by His Holy Spirit. Truly, faith may confidently exclaim, "All things are ours, for we are Christ's and Christ is God's!"
ECHOES FROM THE ST. LOUIS CONVENTION
"Serve the Lord with gladness.; come before His presence with singing."-- Psalm 100:2.
WE BELIEVE that all will be interested in learning that an excellent season of fellowship was had at St. Louis, December 6-8. Though the number in attendance was small, there were several states represented, some coming from as far away as Colorado Springs. The occasion was one richly blessed of the Lord.
Owing to the fact of the continued severity of the epidemic throughout the West, some who planned to come were prevented from so doing. Additionally, there seemed to be a sudden return and spread of the influenza in St. Louis, so that the authorities found it necessary to repeat the order and again place a ban on midweek gatherings. This occurred only two days before the Convention, and of course decided some not to attend. However , the Lord was indeed good to us, for we soon succeeded in securing a meeting place in E. St. Louis, where there was no order prohibiting such gatherings. All the sessions of the Convention for Friday and Saturday were held there. On Sunday, the last day of the Convention, there being no ban on regular Sunday meetings in St. Louis, the friends returned to the hall, as originally planned, for the remaining sessions of the Convention.
These outwardly discouraging features, however, seemed to cast no shadow over our gathering nor to interfere to any extent with the purposes of the Convention. All the services were indeed rich in the spirit of the Lord and in such blessed harmony and fellowship as we believe is rarely experienced by God's people. This evidence of the Lord's presence was prized above everything else. The little band of noble defenders of the faith in St. Louis indeed deserve our praise for their patience and zeal, and loving consideration in rendering every assistance to make all comfortable. May the Lord reward their work and labor of love.
In their testimonies the friends told of how, notwithstanding sore trials, perplexities and persecutions suffered during the recent months, the peace of God ruled in their hearts, and they were filled with rejoicing and praise to the Lord that by His grace they had been led and kept 'neath the shadow of His wing thus far in the evil day. Others expressed rejoicing and gladness of heart in realizing that the light of the Word and of the Savior's life was growing brighter and brighter in their pathway, while their faces were radiant with hope and confidence that He who had begun the good work in them is able to complete the same, and give, them a share in the First Resurrection. All rejoiced together in the signs and evidences that pressage the close proximity of the Kingdom of God and the gathering together of the faithful unto their glorious Head.
The brethren in their addresses reminded the friends that they had nothing startling or new to present from the Lord's Word, but called attention repeatedly to the various phases of the old, old story of gracious heavenly love, and especially endeavored to impress upon all the importance of giving heed to the developing of the Christ character and of bringing forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit preparatory to union with the Master in the glories of the heavenly Kingdom.
As the friends bade each other farewell at the love feast, the ardent desire was expressed that if it was the Lord's will we might be permitted to meet again this side at another Convention in the near future, and they admonished one another that above all, each so strive to please the Master that an abundant entrance might be realized, and the joy of greeting one another in the Kingdom of God.
In connection with going to and from the Convention, four of the brethren were able to make several stops, holding meetings en route, among these was that of Chicago, where, December 10th, three of the Brethren who had addressed the St. Louis Convention met, and. during the two days of their sojourn in that city, there was another veritable Convention; during which time there was a continuous season of precious fellowship which seemed to renew the courage and confidence of all. Other Classes visited by the Brethren were: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Dayton, Kansas City, Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo and New York City, at each one of which most profitable meetings were held-the friends all expressing assurance that they were greatly blessed. At all of the places visited the friends were found to be rejoicing in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, even though that liberty had cost them severe trials and heartaches; they were glad to thus suffer because of the courage of their convictions, counting not their earthly lives dear unto them.
Moreover, it was indeed encouraging to the Brethren who served at St. Louis, as well as other places en route, to learn that the friends in attendance at St. Louis, as at all places visited, unmistakably indicated their hearty approval and unanimous support of the efforts of the Brethren who are endeavoring to institute the various branches of the ministry in accordance with the wishes of the Church at large.
YOUR` "'GOOD'' HOPES" 1919
[The plan here proposed we designate "GOOD HOPES," because nothing is actually promised-only your generous hopes expressed, based upon your future prospects as they now appear to you. The plan proved not only so beneficial to the cause of truth, but also so blessed to the hopers, for some years past, that we again commend it to all as Scriptural and good. Those who desire to make use of this plan can fill out both of these memoranda. One should be kept for the refreshment of your memory; the other mail to us.]
To the "PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE."
Dear Friends:-- I have read with interest of the privilege and opportunities that are opening up for the spread of the truth. I need not tell you that I am deeply interested in the spread of the Glad Tidings of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of redeeming love expressed for us in God's great Plan of the Ages.
I am anxious to use myself-every power, every talent, voice, time, money, influence, all-to give to others this knowledge, which has so greatly blessed, cheered and comforted my own heart and placed my feet firmly upon the Rock of Ages.
I have been considering carefully, and praying to be instructed, how to use my various talents more to my Redeemer's glory and for the service of his people-- those blinded by human tradition who are, nevertheless, hungering for "the good Word of God," and those also who are naked, not having on the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness, the unjustified, who stand at best in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. I have decided that so far as my "money talent" goes, I will follow the rule so clearly laid down for us by the great Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 16:2), and will lay aside on the first day of each week, according to my thankful appreciation of the Lord's blessings during the preceding week. Out of this fund I wish to contribute -to the several parts of the Lord's work specified on the back of this letter. Of course, I cannot in advance judge or state particularly what the Lord's bounty may enable me to set apart weekly, and hence you will understand the sum indicated to be merely my conjecture or hope, based upon present prospects. I will endeavor to contribute more than I here specify; and should I not succeed in doing as well, the Lord will know my heart, and you, also, will know of my endeavors.
My only object in specifying in advance what I hope to be able to do in this cause is to enable those in charge of the work of publishing and circulating the truth, etc., to form estimates, lay plans, make, contracts, etc., with some idea of what I will at least try to do in the exercise of this my highly appreciated privilege.
My present judgment is that during the coming year, by self-denial and cross-bearing, I shall be able to lay aside on the first day of each week for Home and Foreign Mission Work (to assist in the general circulation of the truth, and in publishing free literature in various languages, and in supplying these gratuitously to Brethren who have the heart and opportunity to circulate them widely, and in meeting the expenses of Brethren sent out as "Pilgrims" to preach the Divine Plan of Salvation, and in general to be expended as the officers of the Institute may deem best), the amount of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . per week.
To comply with United States Postal Laws, all or any portion of my donation may be applied as subscription price for The Herald or free literature sent to the Lord's Poor or others, as the Institute's officers may deem advisable.
That the work be not hindered, I will endeavor to send you what I shall have laid aside for this cause at the close of each quarter. I will secure a Bank Draft, Express Order or Postal Money Order as I may find most convenient, and will address the letter to
THE PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE,
262 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
(Post Office) (State)
-ON GOOD HOPES ACCOUNT.
The friends who contribute to the "Good Hopes" (described on the reverse of this sheet) at times desire to send The Herald to friends who are not yet interested enough to subscribe for themselves; or to deeply interested friends who are too poor to subscribe and backward about accepting our Lord's Poor offer. They are invited to give us such addresses below-the expense to be deducted from their donations. Give full addresses, and write very plainly please, mentioning the length of the subscriptions.
The desire for special printed' matter for use in a public way is being earnestly expressed by many of the friends far and near. Acting on this evident indication of the Lord's will, preparations are going forward with a view to republishing some of our Pastor's sermons, which would be the most timely and suitable as a message of hope and comfort to the distressed peoples of the world today.
To approximate the required number, that may be used with wisdom and discretion, it will be necessary to have statements from the Secretaries of the Classes of Associated Bible Students as to how many are desired for judicious use in their districts. Kindly furnish detailed information with reference to this matter. Notice will appear in The Herald when the literature is ready.
Never before in the history of the Church has the need for the "Glad Tidings" been so great as at the present time. Who among those having a clear knowledge of the Truth, is not thrilled by the wondrous possibilities involved in the heralding of the message of the coming Kingdom during whatever time there is before us, ere the Church is fully glorified! Our day is replete with privileges and opportunities beyond that of any other. The world. is appalled at the extent of the sorrows and grief prevailing among the nations because of the horrors and disasters of the recent war. The loss of loved ones; besides the afflictions resulting through destruction of property and business and otherwise, have stirred the people mightily, and in their confused and perplexed state of mind, they are seeking for consolation, some avenue of hope, by means of which they may escape from discouragement and despair. What is there in all the earth that will "bind up the broken-hearted and comfort all that mourn," as our message, the "glad tidings of great joy!" It is the message of the hour! And have not all the members of the Christ been divinely ordained for this ministry? Isaiah 61:1-3.
May the Divine blessings attend our united efforts to advance the cause of the "King of kings and Lord of lords"-- the great Prince of Peace.
OUR MOTTO FOR 1919
Following the custom adopted by our Pastor for some years, of having a helpful text which should be held in special remembrance throughout the year, the words of St. Paul have been selected: "Watch you! Stand firm in the Faith! Be manly! Be strong! Let all your deeds be done in love!"-- 1 Corinthians 16:13, 14. (Diaglott.)
The illustration used as the frontispiece for The Herald, has been suggested as appropriate for use in connection with the motto. It is to be printed in colors on good cardboard, with a small calendar, appearing in the space usually devoted to the table of contents. We believe they will be excellent and in every way satisfactory.
The price is 25 cents each. Lots of six may be had for $1.20; or $2.00 per dozen, postage prepaid
PHARAOH OPPRESSES ISRAEL
-EXODUS 1:1-14; EXODUS 2:1-25
-- JANUARY 5 --
"He will save the children of the needy, and break in pieces the oppressor."-- Psalm 72:4.
EXODUS is a Greek word meaning "Exit," or "Departure." As the name of the second book of the Bible which carries on the narratives of the fortunes of God's chosen people after the death of Joseph, it is employed for the description of Israel's departure from Egypt. In the last regular International lesson, Joseph was Grand Vizier or prime minister of Egypt, as well as director of the royal granaries. Early in his Egyptian career his father and the whole family came down into Egypt to live there, and were settled in Goshen, which was situated in the northeastern part of Egypt toward the desert. We have seen that Jacob and his family, servants, herds and flocks, were received graciously for Joseph's sake, and located upon the grassy plains known as the land of Goshen. Pharaoh evidently in this matter was controlled by a spirit of benevolence, and by an appreciation of Joseph, and by a realization that his brethren though not his equals, were men of ability, and likely to make good neighbors. He probably also recognized that as the Egyptians were not a pastoral people the Israelites would not be serious competitors in business, but on the contrary would probably help along the general interests of the kingdom. Moreover, he perceived that the land of Goshen, being toward the East, would serve as a measure of protection against invaders. But whatever his conjectures, he evidently could not have imagined so rapid a development, so great an increase of numbers in that people. That their increase was phenomenal is fully attested by vs. 7 of the lesson. "The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land (of Goshen) was filled with them." Here are five different expressions used to indicate their phenomenal growth. And when we remember that these all sprang from Isaac, and that he was the only son of his mother, and born when his father was over a hundred years old; and when we remember, further, that Jacob also, was born only after repeated prayers, and that Rachel his wife .similarly was long unfruitful, it seems the more evident that the Lord's providence had much to do with the change which came over Jacob's family after it was transplanted to Egypt.
The seventy souls mentioned in verse 5 were all males, except two, Dinah, Jacob's daughter, and Sarah, his granddaughter. (Genesis 46.) It is reasonable, therefore, to infer that the females of the company, not included in the count, were about as many more. Neither is it unreasonable to infer that since Abraham's household represented many servants and helpers, Isaac's also, and Jacob's, these may have accompanied Israel to Egypt and have been merged into the nation under the law of circumcision. It is well that we have these facts in mind when considering that from the time of Jacob's death to the time of the Exodus was a period of only 215 years; and yet in the meantime the Israelites were so fruitful, increased so abundantly, multiplied and waxed exceeding mighty to such an extent that at that time the male representatives of the nation numbered 600,000; which, counting four to a family, would imply a total enumeration of 2,400,000.
The statement of verse 8 doubtless applies to some period after the death of Joseph. Since Joseph ruled Egypt for eighty years, it is quite probable that there was more than one Pharaoh on the throne, and it is the general supposition amongst scholars that. the new king of verse 8 signifies a new dynasty-- a change in the royal family through insurrection or otherwise. Possibly the very fact of the general peace and prosperity of Egypt, during Joseph's term of office, led to a general abandonment of the affairs of state on the part of the royal family, and thus paved the way to such a rebellion and change of dynasty-- an ambitious family grasping the reigns of power after the death of Joseph, and at a time, probably, when matters were not running so smoothly in the kingdom's affairs, by reason of the loss of the divinely guided governor. -Scholars are quite united in the belief that Rameses II was either the first or second ruler of this new dynasty, antagonistic to Israel. His mummy was found in 1881, and has since been exhibited in the museum located near the Great Pyramid. Of the identity there can be no reasonable doubt.
The kings of the: new dynasty did not recognize Joseph, nor any indebtedness on the part of Egypt to him, and the Israelites, his people. On the contrary, the new ruler, less ready than his predecessors to look for the leadings of Divine providence, cast a suspicious eye upon the Hebrew people, noted how rapidly they were increasing in numbers and prosperity, and reasoned that they had no ties to either Egypt or its throne, and that therefore their further growth would be inimical to the empire's welfare; because, in the case of wars, they might espouse the cause of the enemy, or might attack the government and seek to make themselves the rulers of Egypt. The new king put into execution plans intended, not to destroy the Israelites, nor to drive them off, but merely to hold them in check-to prevent their further marvelous increase. He sought to discourage the ambitions of the people by overwork under discouraging conditions, hoping that this rigorous treatment would impair their virility or possibly cause them to feel that they would not wish to bring forth children to so burdensome a life as their own. But the record is that the repressive measures were unsuccessful, and that the people of Israel increased more and more. The new king did not take Divine providence into account.
THE BLESSINGS OF ADVERSITY.
It would seem that slavery is too strong a word to use with reference to Israel's condition in Egypt. We are not to understand that the Israelites as a whole were compelled to leave their industries and engage in brickmaking and the construction of treasure cities, palaces, highways, etc. On the contrary, we are to suppose that drafts were made from time to time upon the people, much after the manner of the conscriptions for the army practiced by the governments of the earth in modern times. This same method of dealing with the people was in vogue in Egypt until quite recently, when the British government took control there. It is known as the Corvee system of enforced labor. We recall that Solomon introduced such a system in Israel, compelling each individual to serve so many months upon public works. The same system is in vogue to some extent in Various civilized countries, where the farmer is permitted to pay such a proportion of his taxes in money, and another proportion in labor-or, instead of the labor, he may pay it all. in money. The system, rightly operated, of course, would be no -more of an injustice to the people than an ordinary tax, but evidently the object of Rameses, the oppressing Pharoah, was to injure the people under the guise of public works and necessary taxation.
A lesson which we spiritual Israelites may learn from Israel's experience in Egyptian bondage is that our God is abundantly able to make all of life's experiences -work to our advantage; and that His word is sure of fulfillment in its due time, regardless of what man may propose. Had Rameses adopted a different policy in dealing with Israel they might have forgotten the promise of God, which indicated the exact time in which their deliverance from Egypt would come-they might have become so interested in Egypt and its affairs, and in their land of Goshen, etc., etc., and so intermingled with the people of Egypt, that they would have forgotten the promise of their deliverance, and that the land of Canaan should then be theirs. In this we see another illustration of the fact that sometimes we receive greater blessings through adversity than through prosperity. As the adversities of fleshly Israel drew them together, and separated them from the Egyptians, so the trials and adversities of the spiritual Israel tend to draw them nearer to each other, and nearer to the Lord, and to separate them from the world, leading their hearts more and more to an appreciation of the goodly heavenly Canaan which God has promised us. As the Israelites were more fruitful under the persecutions and oppositions, so we frequently find it to be with the spiritual Israel, that not only the zeal increases, but numbers also increase, as well as "fruits of the spirit," under persecutions and difficulties.
Thus it is seen that the Hand of Providence was over Israel in Egypt so that the oppressions they suffered had the designed effect of weaning them from their surroundings and making them ready for their deliverance in due time to be accomplished at the hand of Moses.
A DELIVERER BORN
Our information respecting the birth and childhood of Moses is very meager. We know that his father's name was Amram, which signifies "Noble people." His mother's name was Jochebed, which signifies, "Jehovah is glorious." Though they were Hebrews, and as a race in bondage to the Egyptians, these names imply that this family of the tribe of Levi were persons of moral and religious sentiments-noble people in the proper sense of the word. This is implied also in the Apostle's statement, that they acted from faith.-Hebrews 11:23.
Every child is not born a Moses, and no amount Of training would make him his equal as a man. The foundation for greatness must be laid before the birth. It 'is a great mistake made by many-- and one to which they are assisted by false theological views-that each child is a special creation of God, so that, if an idiot, God may be blamed; and if well endowed and balanced mentally and physically, God receives the credit. The Scriptural proposition is to the contrary of this, viz., that all God's work is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4)-- that Adam was His workmanship, and that He is not responsible for the defects and imperfections which more or less mar every member of our race. In a sense, of course, all that we have, even though imperfect, is of God, since He is the author of all life and indirectly our Creator.-- Exodus 4:11.
But our defects are explained to us in the Scriptures to be the results of sin, and the natural development of its death penalty, working in the race under the laws of heredity. We are all born in sin, shapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us. (Psalm 51:5.) But we are not all born in the same degree of degradation. While fallen parents cannot bring forth a perfect offspring they can, and sometimes do, produce types higher than themselves. This is accomplished by a law of nature affecting the mental conditions of the parents, and especially of the mother (and she is always susceptible to favorable or unfavorable mental and moral influences from her husband) during the period of gestation.
According to this Divine law, therefore, parents are to 4 considerable degree responsible for the prominent traits of character in their children. If this matter were more thoroughly understood, more fully appreciated by parents the result would be a great improvement in the natural quality of the children born. The husband would endeavor to make the surroundings favorable to the highest emotions and sentiments and aspirations on the part of his wife; who, in turn, would co-operate and set her affections on noble and good and pure and generous things, with meekness; and the result would surely be the birth of children much more resembling Moses than the majority do-in nobleness of character combined with humility.
The Egyptians did not wish to lose the Hebrew people, as their efficiency as laborers had been demonstrated, and as they were profitable to the Egyptians in the way of trade. They neither wished to drive them away nor to kill them off. What they did desire was that they should not increase so rapidly. To hinder this phenomenal increase various expedients were tried, none of them effective; and finally, as a repressive measure, an edict went forth that all the male children of the Hebrews should be put to death, the intention evidently being the curtailment of the race for a time only, permitting children to be born liter on.
It was about this time that Moses was born; evidently there had been no such restriction at the time Aaron, his elder brother, was born. Moses was the third in the family; his sister, Miriam, the second, was the little maid mentioned in our lesson. The babe Moses was secreted by his mother for three months, in violation of the king's command, and at the risk of her own life as well as his-, and the reason given is that she perceived that he was a goodly child-fine looking, giving promise of the great man which he afterward became. The Apostle declares that the parents had faith-not faith in the child, nor yet in themselves, nor in the king; but faith in God, that He would bless and preserve the child; and we cannot doubt that this faith was accompanied by prayer to the Lord. We cannot doubt that even, before the child was born, under such peculiar circumstances, the godly, faithful parents consecrated it to the Lord, to be trained for Him, and instructed to the best of their ability, and to be the Lord's servant to whatever extent He would be pleased to use him. Without some such hopes and prayers the faith which the Apostle mentions would be inappropriate. Faith and prayers and consecrations usually go together, hand in hand, anyway-- both as respects ourselves, our children, and all with which we have to do.
DIVINE PROVIDENCE OVER MOSES
It was a very shrewd device which the parents adopted for the child's preservation, and it either shows a Divine guidance or an inventive mind, with a good knowledge of human- nature, or all of these. Moses' parents read human nature- well when they. concluded that the princess of Egypt, if she found the babe at the time of the taking of her bath (perhaps a religious rite), would be sure to be touched, and her heart appealed to by any child, and especially by so "goodly" a boy. It was a cunning arrangement, too, to have Miriam, his sister, nearby, at *the time of the finding of the babe in the bulrush basket, and to have her suggest the getting of a Hebrew woman to nurse the child, and then getting his own mother. Undoubtedly the Lord's hand and wisdom were behind the entire matter, but even so, it teaches us the lesson that God is pleased to use human instrumentalities in the accomplishment of his purposes. The parents did right to exercise their ingenuity for the preservation of their child, at the same time that they exercised faith in the Lord, And so with us: our faith is not to be of the indolent kind which refuses to act, and would thus fail to be in the way to be used of the Lord; but 'rather ours also is to be a faith manifested by works. It is such faith that the Lord is pleased to bless.
The princess is supposed to have been Nefarari, the wife of Rameses II, and daughter of the preceding monarch-- all Egyptian kings being called Pharoah. She adopted the waif as her own son, yet was willing that he should be nurtured in a Hebrew home for a time-it is presumed, until he was either seven or twelve years of age; after which she had him brought to the royal palace, and instructed in all the wisdom and learning of the Egyptians. How apt the thought of the poet in respect to Moses' case when he says:
How appropriate it was that the leader of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, as a type of the great Messiah, should be an educated or learned man; and yet how still more necessary it was that he should first have well fixed in his mind, in infancy and childhood, the basic principles of religion; and how marvelously the Lord arranged for both of these elements -of his education. We cannot doubt that the parents, whose faith already had been manifested, would instruct the boy in respect to the Abrahamic promises, in which they trusted; viz., that as the seed of Abraham they were ultimately to be great, and to be used as the Lord's channel for blessing all the families of the earth; and that, as foretold to Abraham, the time when the Lord would, bring His people forth from Egyptian bondage with a high hand and an outstretched arm of power was well nigh up. He was no doubt, thoroughly informed respecting his relationship to the Israelites, and no doubt not only faith in the promises, but a patriotic feeling of devotion to his people was liberally inculcated-because these qualities stand out nobly throughout his entire life, as they could not do unless they had been thoroughly implanted and cherished.
Comparatively few parents seem to realize the privileges and responsibilities placed within their hands in connection with their own offspring. The Christian mother who has a growing family has certainly a wide scope for the use of all her talents, if she will but use them, in giving instructions in righteousness and in the reverence of the Lord, to her little ones. And it is a mistake frequently made, to suppose that children cannot appreciate religious principles, and that therefore they should not be given even "the milk of the word," or primary lessons along the lines of the Divine law. We believe, on the contrary, that while children are born with a certain amount of depravity and predilection to evil, nevertheless, their little minds are in a large measure blank pages, upon which principles either for good or for evil are sure to be deeply engraved. If their minds be not directed in the lines of justice and mercy and love and patience, and if they be not taught that these are the Divine requirements, and their reasonable service, we may be sure that they will be taught the reverse of these, as they come in contact with the various depraving influences of life-- the world, the flesh, the devil. Those parents who consider their children to be each a little garden spot, and who faithfully plant in these the seeds of justice and love and patience and meekness and gentleness, and all the fruits of the spirit, to the extent that they may be able, will be sure to find a rich reward in the graces of character that will result, under the Lord's blessing especially if the children have been consecrated to Him from infancy, or better, before birth.
On the contrary, those who do not take the time to implant the seeds which would produce these graces, these mental and moral flowerets, will find, even as with an earthly garden, that it will not stay vacant until maturer years have come, and a more convenient season; but, instead, noxious weeds of evil disposition will grow, flourish, go to geed repeatedly, and bring forth bitter fruitage, to vex not only the individual himself, but also the parent, and society in general. Let each parent, therefore, so far as possible, see to it that any children he may bring forth will be "goodly," well-favored, by helpful pre-natal influences; and let him see to it also that having assumed the responsibilities of a parent he does good work in these little gardens, which are under his care that the weeds of error are promptly plucked, and that the seeds of good are liberally sown.
Although Moses was born over thirty-six hundred years ago, and therefore comparatively near to the time when the evolution theory claims that man was only "one step above a monkey," we find that not only was he a wonderful child and a wonderful man-even before the Lord especially blessed him in making him the leader of Israel. and putting His power upon him-but we find also high standards of mental and moral attainment amongst His people-the Hebrew Joseph, for instance. We find, additionally, that in Moses' time there was a distinct and well-advanced civilization amongst the Egyptians. For instance, the city of Zoan, one of the capitals of Egypt, near which Moses was born and reared, is shown by modern research to have been a most wonderful city - as compared with modern times. Of it a celebrated writer says: - "The ruins show it to have been a marvelous city, the Athens of Egypt. An Egyptian poet of that day says of Zoan: 'She is beautiful, beautiful! Nothing like her is found amongst the monuments of Thebes - the very secret of pleasures of life. Her bowers bloom with gardens. Each garden is perfumed with the smell of honey. Her granaries are full of wheat. Flowers for nosegays are in the houses. Her ships come and go every day. The joys have fixed their seat there."' And con
cerning the development of literature and arts in that day our quotations further on will show that they were far advanced.
THE VALUE OF MEEKNESS
If as a child Moses was remarkable and attractive, so that Stephen calls him "exceeding fair" or margin "fair to God" (Acts 7:20), signifying refined, elegant; and if it be true, as Josephus says, that those who met him as he was carried along -the streets forgot their business, and stood still to gaze at him, we may well suppose that his early training by pious parents, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and his subsequent instruction "in all the learning of the Egyptians," as the adopted son of the monarch-the result must have been a very noble, refined and handsome man. And yet, strange to say, that with all these accomplishments by nature and education, he is described to us as having been "the meekest man in all the earth." Who can doubt that this very quality of meekness was largely inculcated by -the poverty, of his parents, and their subjection to bondage, and the humble sentiments inspired by their consecration of Moses to the Lord from the time of his begetting. Certain it is that very rarely are those who are the natural children of princes and rulers humble-minded. Yet this meekness was another of the qualities essential to Moses as the leader of God's people. As it was, we find that his forty years' dealing with the Israelites in the wilderness, as their leader and the mediator of their covenant with God, so far overcame the meekness of Moses that he was hindered from entering the promised land, because he took to himself, instead of ascribing to God, some of the credit of bringing water out of the rock, saying, "Ye rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?"-- smiting the rock.
Under all circumstances we must think it very remarkable that a man so really great, and occupying so exalted a position for such a length of time, should have overcome the haughty "spirit of princes" in which he was reared, and have maintained his meekness with so slight an exception down to the very close of his career. We may well ask ourselves what would have been the result had God chosen for the leader of Israel a man who was naturally haughty and proud, or any other man than one who was very meek indeed. No other than a meek character could possibly have stood such a strain as Moses so grandly and so faithfully endured. There is a lesson for the Lord's people here. The Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus, was also meek and lowly of heart, and those whom God is now calling from the world to be joint-heirs with Jesus, members of His body-- as the great anti-type of Moses, to lead mankind out of the bondage, of sin and Satan-these all must have likeness to their Lord and Head in this quality of meekness, if they would attain to His general character in other respects. We do well to remember continually the Apostle's injunction, that we "Humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt us in due time"-- so that we may be meet (fit) for the inheritance, the Kingdom.
Though Moses had all that this world could offer, yea with a profusion rarely experienced, the records clearly show that the charms of the Egyptian court were not allowed to interfere with his faith in the sacred promises made to his fathers, nor to quench the fire of patriotism that burned in his heart. He perceived the injustice heaped upon his brethren, and in his sympathy for one of them he smote a taskmaster so that he killed him. He buried him in the sand, thinking that nothing further would come of this, that his brethren the Hebrews would be helped to that extent, and that they would surely keep the secret of his favor and defense. In this, however, he found himself mistaken, for when endeavoring to correct a dispute between two Hebrews the fact that he was the murderer of an Egyptian was flung in his face by the one who was at fault. Soon the word reached everywhere, even to the king, who began quietly, as the Hebrew word signifies, to seek an opportunity for slaying Moses-not so easy a matter, however, as the latter was very popular; but Moses wisely, in the beginning of the second forty year period of his life, fled into the land of Midian, where he remained for forty years, returning for the deliverance of his people when he was eighty years of age.
No marvel that St. Paul paid a most glowing tribute to the life of this great leader: "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."
Applying the lesson from these things that were written aforetime for our admonition, it is noted that the antitypical Pharaoh and his hosts (Satan and his minions) still hold in slavery, to the great taskmasters sin and death, the millions of humanity, travailing and groaning in pain until now, waiting for the greater Deliverer than Moses-the Christ, Head and body, to lead them forth into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
A further lesson for us to bear in mind in this connection is, that God has His own way of preparing for all the various features of His own great Plan. He knew the praying people who, at the proper time, brought forth their son. He knew how to direct so that the child, the youth, the man, should be an instrument ready for His own purposes; and yet in all of the Divine dealings, here as elsewhere, we notice that God does not coerce those whom He uses for His work; but that rather He uses instruments ready, willing, desirous of being used. Lei us, each, therefore, seek by humility, by zeal, by love for the Lord and for His cause, by faith in His power, to be in that condition of heart and mind which will make us ready to be used, and useful in any department of the Divine service to which the Lord may be pleased to call us.
'Up then, and linger not, thou saint of God,
Clear hath the voice been heard, Behold I've
Here's a thick throng of foes, afar and
Gird on thy armor; face each weaponed foe;
-JANUARY 12-- EXODUS 3:1- EXODUS 4:17--
"Moses indeed was faithful in all his house."-- Hebrews 3:5.
IN OUR last lesson we traced the life, of Moses to where he renounced his relationship to the king's family, "refusing to be any longer called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God and with them to have an inheritance in the promises made to their father. While with the Egyptians, he was a sharer of the riches which were accruing to that people through the oppression and bondage of the Israelites; and Moses could no longer be a participator in the fruits of this wrongdoing, nor enjoy these pleasures of sin, injustice. We have this attestation to his moral rectitude, his love of justice. It indicates that he was naturally high-minded, noble, just. How many of the Lord's people, living under the instructions of the Gospel, and the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit at the present time, need to take a lesson from Moses' course. How many would be willing to enjoy the fruits of sin and injustice-to continually receive and enjoy wealth and luxuries known to be unjustly wrung, from poor unfortunates? How many would be inclined to console themselves with the thought that they were not directly responsible for the injustices and oppressions whose profits they nevertheless would enjoy? How noble was Moses' course, and how much approved of the Lord! It is proper that all who know and love righteousness and justice should take a firm stand upon these principles. - Hebrews 11:24-26.
It is written that Moses' course in this matter was the result of his "esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasure's of Egypt." The reproaches of Messiah were heaped against the Israelites; for undoubtedly the Egyptians had learned that the Israelites believed themselves to be the heirs of the great promises from the Almighty made to their father Abraham, and repeated to Isaac and Jacob-that through this nation should come the great Messiah, the great Deliverer, who should bless and rule the world. No doubt the oppressed people were frequently taunted upon these extravagant hopes, by their oppressors. But Moses, believing these promises; preferred to associate himself with the despised people, and left the courts of Egypt. As the Apostle explains, this was because "he had respect unto the recompense of the reward"-- he hoped by allying himself with his own people to preserve his share in these Abrahamic promises and in the blessings which must ultimately come through them by a better resurrection. - Hebrews 11:35,39,40.
Moses, at forty years of age, having been schooled in all 'the learning of the Egyptians, and recognized as mighty in word, and in deed, as noted in our previous lesson, determined to cast in his lot henceforth with the people of God. Although, naturally, Moses was meek, he nevertheless was not ignorant of his education and abilities; and these being known to the Israelites he had every reason to suppose that they, expecting deliverance from Egypt about this time (in harmony with God's Word to Abraham about four hundred years before) would rejoice in having him for a counselor, a representative, a qualified law-giver, amongst them. In his zeal for his brethren, and in his abhorrence of the injustice practiced upon them, he smote one of the Egyptian task-masters, and delivered the oppressed Hebrew. He presumed that by such a course he would awaken the energies and spirits of his people and that they would accept him as their leader and that the deliverance from Egypt would forthwith begin. But his disappointment was great when the next day he discovered that his kinsmen had no such loyal feeling toward him as he had toward them; for, while endeavoring to correct a dispute between two Israelites, the one who did the other wrong resented the endeavors of the peacemaker, and showed that he and a large class whom he represented failed to appreciate the conduct of Moses, and -.'ailed to accept him as a law-giver. The erring Israelite demanded, "Who made thee a judge or a law-' giver over us?" Where is your authority? We deny that you have any. Would you slay me, as you did the Egyptian yesterday? Moses was completely disheartened and fled to the wilderness of Paran. Eastward into the desert was the only way open for him to escape; and even then there was a, line of fortresses on the border, through which, however, a single man might make his way. He kept on to the land of Midian in the southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula along the eastern branch of the northern end of the Red Sea. He had fondly hoped that his sacrifice of the throne and glory of Egypt for his people's sake would be ''appreciated, by them, at least, but coming to his own his own received him not. Apparently he had made a great sacrifice, and to no purpose. Undoubtedly the natural meekness of his disposition was intensified by this rebuff.
SCHOOLED BY ADVERSE EXPERIENCES
Thoroughly discouraged, cut off from the cultured class of Egypt, cut off also from his kinsmen, whom he hacl hoped to assist, Moses hermit-like, settled down to a life., in the wilderness. His natural nobility and training made him chivalrous in the defense of women, and soon he found himself defending the seven daughters of Jethro, who as shepherdesses, were tending his flocks. This led to his marrying one of these, and himself becoming a, shepherd, caring for his father-in-law's flocks. - Forty years was the period of this isolation, this great change. of life from one of culture, refinement and honor amongst men, to the solitude of the wilderness. Moses, so far as we have information, up to this time had no direct manifestation of God's favor. He merely bad a knowledge of the hopes which belonged to his people through the promises made to Abraham. He doubtless regarded as a mistake his action at forty years of age, in attempting to. become the leader of his people; yet from the inspired, record we must suppose that his faith in the Divine promises never faltered, and that he preferred to be on, God's side, and an outcast from Egyptian society, rather than the reverse. Nevertheless., we can see that God's, supervision was over all of his affairs, and that with the, tests of his loyalty came valuable experiences, preparing him for the Lord's great work, in the Lord's time,, It gave him another kind of schooling, and a valuable. one, though he was ignorant of it at the time. We cannot doubt that his wandering as a shepherd over that wilderness for forty years made him thoroughly familiar with every road, every hill, every stream in it, and that.., this was subsequently of great advantage to him, when. under the Lord's direction, he became the leader of Israel through that wilderness toward Canaan. Neither need we doubt that Moses' own character received valuable lessons of patience and humility and obedience to the Divine will during those forty years. Even his marriage here to Jethro's daughter, who bore him two sons, would seem to have been overruled by the Lord for the good of his people; for the woman being an African, the sons would be partly alien, and would correspondingly have less respect amongst the Israelites than if they had been Moses' children by an Israelitish woman, for as such they might have had the reverence of the people in Moses', stead at the time of his death, and thus the tendency might have been to establish a rulership in his family line, which evidently was not the Divine purpose:
How often the Lord's people-spiritual Israelites-- find that they have experiences somewhat along the line of Moses! How sometimes our efforts and energies and plans for good, yea, our self-sacrifices, seem to be rejected, their value nothing, and ourselves turned away from activities and opportunities which we had coveted as opportunities for the Lord's service. How disheartening we have found this, until later on we discovered that the Lord's hand was able to bring blessing out of our disappointments, and how we could have learned lessons under trying circumstances, which we could never have learned otherwise. And how these lessons have been ordered of the Lord so as to fit and to prepare us for future usefulness in His service and to His people. Let us, then, have the more courage and the more faith and the more trust in God-- trusting Him where we cannot trace Him, knowing that all things shall work together for good to them that love Him-the called ones according to His purpose.
It was at this time, when Moses was eighty years old, that the Lord sent him to deliver Israel. Perhaps it was not accidental that Moses' career was thus divided into two equal periods-- 40 years of Egyptian training, and rejected; then 40 years absence followed by his successful deliverance of God's people. Perhaps in this Moses was a type. So also the period from the time Israel started as a nation (at the death of Jacob, the last of the patriarchs) 'until the antitype of Moses "came unto His own and His own received Him not" (1845 years) is the same length as the period of His absence, at the end of which is His second advent, shortly to be followed by the successful deliverance of all of God's people from the oppressions of Satan, sin and death.
What a change the forty years wrought in Moses,! At its beginning he was ready and anxious to lead the Israelites; full of modest confidence in himself, as a leader, a commander, a law-giver, for that people-no doubt realizing by faith that God had prepared him and educated him that he might have the proper qualifications to be their leader. But now, when the Lord's time has come, his courage is gone, his self-confidence is upset, and fie protests to the Lord that he is totally unqualified. Now the Lord needs to encourage him, and Moses received more deeply than he could have done forty years before, the thought that Israel's deliverance was not to be by man or through man, but by the Lord Himself-- and that the human agent would be merely the Lord's representative. What a valuable lesson Moses was learning, and how necessary is such a lesson to all of the Lord's people, especially to any and to all whom He would use in any special sense in connection with His work. We must learn that it is not our work, but God's work, not our power or ability or wisdom, or greatness or learning, but the Divine power working in and through us, which is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, and to the lifting up of the weak, and to the bringing in of the great salvation which He has promised. The more thoroughly we learn this lesson the better it will be for ourselves, and for all who, in the Lord's providence, we are to assist in His way-to deliver from the bondage of sin and death.
"This shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee."' No doubt Moses thought now of his failure to interest his people when he went to them still covered with the honors of the schools and the army, and in the prime of life; and perhaps he now contrasted his present condition as a shepherd, forgotten by many who knew him in Egypt, without renown, without favor before the court, without influence or prestige; and no doubt he said within himself, If I could make no impression before, how could I hope now to accomplish as much? But, "This shall be the token unto thee," to prove "that I have sent thee." He was to know that when God sent, it meant that the right time had come, and that all of God's good purposes would be accomplished. He was to know that without the Lord he could do nothing; that with the Lord he could do all things. And so all of the people of God, who would be useful and used in His service, must learn this lesson" Without me ye can do nothing." Then God gave Moses the absolute assurance that he and his people should come forth out of Egypt, and should worship in the very mountain in which now he beheld the burning bush, and talked with the angel of the Lord.
By various signs God established the faith of His servant. - The burning bush itself was one of these demonstrations of Divine power. Another demonstration was the casting of his rod upon the ground, and its becoming a serpent, a symbol of evil, and the Divine power exercised again by which the serpent was turned again into a staff, representing God's power to turn evil things into good things through the operation of faith. Again, his hand was thrust into his bosom, and taken out was found to be leprous, and being thrust in again and taken out was, found to be restored to health. In sending out His people in the present time, His ambassadors, the body of Christ, to service (services that are much inferior in many respects, yet superior in some regards), the Lord does not give us these visible demonstrations of His power, but we may be sure that none are sent unless first they are given some testimonies on a higher spiritual plane. They must behold the Lord as the great light; they must realize that His justice is as a consuming fire as respects everything sinful, -everything evil, but that through Christ He has mercy upon our imperfections, and grants us to see His light and to enjoy it without being consumed thereby.
Only after such lessons have been learned in the school of experience under our great Teacher and Pattern, Jesus,: are we ready for the Lord's service in various ways, as He may be pleased to indicate them and to send us and use us. Let us learn thoroughly the lesson that our undertakings, even for the Lord and in the interest of His people, can only prosper in the Lord's time, and when we are sent of Him; but that nevertheless every effort we may put forth, even in our ignorance, if done in meekness, humility, and with a respect for the recompense of reward, will surely be owned of the Lord, and blessed. of Him to our good and to our development for future service, even as in Moses' case.
THE TEN PLAGUES OF EGYPT
After Moses had been himself convinced, he inquired, of the Lord by what means he should convince the Israelites of his authority as their leader, and that the Lord would, now I deliver them. He was commissioned to introduce himself to the Israelites by these same signs by which he himself had been convinced of the Divine authority and backing for his undertaking; and if either or both of these evidences were insufficient Moses was commissioned to take water from the Nile river, in sight of his countrymen, and to pour it upon the dry land, where it would become blood, the Lord assuring him that by means of some or all of these signs the people would be convinced and accept his leadership.
Moses was instructed with Aaron, to go before Pharaoh and make a demand that the Israelites might be permitted to go a three-days' journey into the wilderness to worship God and do sacrifice to Him., Nothing was said respecting their non-intention of returning, nor was it necessary to do so. They were not in a just sense bondmen; they had not forfeited their liberties, either through war or debt; they had the same right to depart that they had to come into Egypt; and, if their request for a temporary absence were granted, they could later determine whether or not they would return to Goshen. The request in this form made the trial of Pharaoh the less severe; nevertheless, his refusal to grant the holiday proved conclusively. that he would have refused to grant them full liberty. instead, Pharaoh sent forth instructions to the task-makers to increase the burdens upon the Hebrews, declaring that if they were worked hard enough they would, have no time to think, and speculate about holidays, etc. It was at this that the Israelites were required to turn out their full quota of brick per day; without having a straw furnished them, as had previously been the custom-straw being then used as a binder for bricks, which were sun-dried, instead of being burned hard, as at the present time.
FINAL TROUBLES PRECEDING DELIVERANCE
The effect of this move was at first to discourage the Hebrews and to lead them to complain to Moses, through their elders, that instead of being a deliverer and a helper he was bringing increased miseries. And so, likely, it will be with many of the groaning creation, in the near future. Their first efforts and aspirations toward the deliverance which the Lord has promised them will be resented by "the powers that be," and for a time their efforts at attainment of coveted blessing will seem to work disadvantageously. Nevertheless, the effect in the end will be to the more deeply impress upon all, the evils of the present reign of sin and selfishness, and to make all the more appreciative of the Millennial blessings and liberties of righteousness, when they shall be attained; and the more determined that they will follow the leadings of the Lord, and be obedient to Him, that they may attain that liberty.
It has been surmised that the ten plagues upon Egypt began about July 1st, and lasted until the following April in all about nine months. This surmise is based upon the- character of-the different plagues, and what is known of the climate and. usual conditions of Egypt favorable to the plagues. The first three, the waters changed to blood, the frogs, and the lice, (insects) appear to have been common to the Israelites as well as to the Egyptians; the land of Goshen being spared from the remaining seven plagues-flies, or winged pests; murrain, or cattle disease; bains, or smallpox;' hail and fire; locusts; darkness; and finally the death, of the first-born. During this series of plagues Pharaoh relented a little occasionally to the extent that he agreed that the males of the Hebrews should go forth, as requested, to sacrifice in the wilderness, the females and children being held as hostages for their return. But this brought out the answer that when they would go it must be all of them, including their cattle and herds, and to this Pharaoh would not hear, until Egypt was smitten with the tenth plague, and all the first-born of Egypt (humanity and animals) died; then he urged them to go. The chastisement was sufficient. So it will be in the end of the time of trouble that is approaching, and which is figuratively represented by these plagues, especially "the seven last plagues."-- Revelation 15.
When the last plague has been poured out, as a vial of Divine wrath, "the powers that be" will realize that it is useless to fight against God. And as Pharaoh and his people received a severe retributive punishment for every evil they had inflicted upon the Israelites, and as their first-born became retributive representatives of the Israelitish babes they had caused to be drowned in the Nile, so their flocks and herds, and the crops that were destroyed by the locusts and insects, etc., and all the troubles upon them, were retributive punishments, for the unjust exactions made of the Israelites. So we may suppose that the great troubles and losses which will come upon "the powers that be" of the present time, in the approaching trouble, will, in some sense or degree, be a retributive requirement-- an offset for a not sufficiently benevolent and just treatment of many under their control in the present time, when the blessings and inventions of our day should be accruing more generally to the benefit of the masses.
The Golden Text of our lesson calls our attention to the faithfulness of Moses as a head over the "house of Our Lord alone excepted, no character of history stands out before us so grandly and majestically as that of Moses. If we consider him as a man, we see a sublime grandeur and nobility of character, combining Strength with humility, wisdom with love and gentleness. If we consider him as the leader and deliverer of Israel, we find that he accomplished a greater work than any of the kind before or since. But it is when we come to consider him as the servant of God that his character shines Out most brilliantly. His faithfulness to God; his faithfulness to the trust committed to him as the mediator for his people; his self -sacrificing spirit in connection with the entire work, indicating that he served not the god of fame or of ambition or of self-love, but the Lord of hosts. The greatness of Moses would be incomprehensible to us from any other standpoint than that which the Scriptures set forth; viz., that he was under special Divine direction as God's servant, and that, therefore, being naturally an able, efficient, humble, good man, had these manifold qualities -of his character intensified by reason of the Lord's power working in him and through him for the effecting of the Divine purposes. In all this Moses was but a type of the greater Prophet whom the, Lord had previously promised-the Christ. "Moses verily, was faithful in all his house, as a servant; but Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."
A general lesson, applicable to all persons and at all times, is that justice should be done; that none should be oppressed; that the Lord cherishes the cause of the oppressed, especially if they be His people; and that He will deliver them and will permit the wrath of man to work out retributive justice and punishment upon all oppressors.
PROFITING BY LESSONS OF THE PAST
Pardon my seeming neglect, in not writing sooner.
Regarding my resignation from the Committee. I did not want to appear arbitrary or seem unduly hasty in being relieved, as if I was peeved about something, or that there was any lack of harmony in the Committee. If I did not seem strongly determined or insistent in my stand, it was solely due to my consideration of the work, and to create no wrong impressions as if I was dissatisfied or things were not going right.
I remember in my last talk with the Brethren I tried to make clear that I felt fully justified in my position, on account of my being in Detroit-so far removed from the place of meeting, and had no other thought but that it was fully understood.
I am sure I would have enjoyed the privilege of counseling with you as a member of the Committee if I had been living in Brooklyn or some nearby place. I know you all too well to have any doubt that we would have gotten along together as a Committee splendidly. Not that we would always have seen everything from the same viewpoint, but with the best interests of the cause at heart and each manifesting a true Christian spirit, we could not do otherwise than get along helpfully together.
If you care to have a suggestion or two from an ex-member of the Committee, but a present member of those who are waiting for the Kingdom, I would offer this: Let all partisan zeal be quenched with that spirit-begotten love that recognizes the Lord's consecrated ones wherever found, and the Truth wherever found , and proclaims that Truth only in love.
I heartily agree with the thought of having for the present volunteer matter the writings only of Brother Russell, properly selected and arranged so as to meet the needs of the hour. But this should not mean a defense of a man as to his life or work. He needs no defense. And anyway, God never commissioned us to proclaim anything but His Truth and to. live the life brought to us through His Son. The history of our past when fully revealed will show our greatest weakness has been our human tendency to partisan zeal, which has at last culminated in bigotry, partisanism and a helpless state of Bablonish captivity. It comes as a warning and a danger signal to us -who now stand out and against this, lest we also fall. Our past associations and tendencies makes the "take heed" all the more imperative.
Therefore let us read aright and with profit all the warnings and beacon lights of past history, and not become propagandists of the teachings of any man or men. Does. not our mature, impartial judgment, after the flight of the years, render decision that many truth hungry souls, longing for a better understanding of God's revealed purposes, have been hindered and often deprived of this blessing because of a partisan presentation of more light, enveloped in the extolling and defense of a man-the human instrument used in bringing more light out of the Word to many.
If this old-time weakness should creep in upon us who have taken a new stand for liberty, then we cannot hope to be used of God in any special way in these closing hours of the age. Make the "Herald" a beacon light of liberty and love, thus helping to build up God's little ones for the "coming Kingdom.!' I am as loyal to Brother Russell as anyone; I yield to no one in this respect, because of the help he has brought to me and others, but I have no right to make this help to me, a cause for preaching him or confusing him in my message to others. To do so would be to be human, partisan, selfish, and at last react unfavorably in my development as a Christian.
The Class here was greatly pleased and encouraged at the report I was able to give of our good Providence Convention. I urged their hearty support of. our present plans and efforts, and urged them to send in subscriptions for our new paper. You will hear from our Secretary a little later, who was authorized to receive and send in our subscriptions.
My prayers are for you earnestly, that the dear Father may guide and use you all to His praise. With much love, Your Brother,
FRANK F. COOK, Mich.
ON MEMORY'S SCROLL
Believing that it would be a stimulus for further efforts in the development of Christian character, and to renewed endeavors in the service of the Truth, the Boston Ecclesia arranged for a special meeting of the Lord's people on the evening of October 31st last. It was an occasion for impressing more indelibly upon memory's scroll, the noble life and good deeds of a saintly man of God-our greatly loved Pastor who, two years ago, while on a transcontinental mission of loving devoted service, left the scenes of his earthly labors, to journey on to that Tar country, the heavenly land of promise, there to enter into the joys of his Lord, and to hear the gracious words of commendation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
About eighty of the friends gathered at old Tremont Temple, one of Boston's famous meeting places, and in one of the halls of the building there reviewed some of the prominent features of the life work, and teachings of him who had served them so wisely and so well.
It was recalled how kindly and considerately he had ministered to the spiritual needs of those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, throughout the whole known world. Of how gently and lovingly he presented the glorious message of the Kingdom, arousing as little prejudice as possible, while he opposed the errors, and the traditions of the past which misrepresented the character of the God of all grace and love. And, in the latter years of his life with his noble face and head crowned with snowy locks grown white in the cause of righteousness and truth, when the honors of his toil and -labor hung thick upon him, as vast throngs gathered to hear the old, old story of divine love and compassion for a lost and ruined race, redeemed through the precious blood of Christ-the great ransom price for all-- a story that none could tell so well as he; and when countless thousands of letters poured in from all quarters of the globe from those who had been encouraged and blessed, conveying expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for the good he had done; he was still the same meek and humble character, taking no honors to himself, but giving all the praise to his gracious Lord, whom he delighted to serve.
Ah! I well, in all the world there was no one so Christlike .as he! We shall cherish his memory and endeavor. to follow him as he followed the Master. It will be our privilege to strive on in the cause of right, to live the consecrated Christian life so well exemplified in him, and to hold aloft the royal banner of the Truth, so grandly unfurled and revealed as not since the days of the great Standard Bearer, the Lord from Heaven,
Lot us, dear Brethren, "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto- the end," the same glorious hope which was the inspiration of the splendid life and character of "that wise and faithful servant."
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in your behalf I that the Heavenly Father's blessings may abound unto you richly through our dear Redeemer, to the intent that you may continue to have the spirit of wisdom and grace with which to minister faithfully and well unto all of the household of faith; and desiring that you, in your petitions to the Throne of Grace, shall remember us, we are,
Yours in the Master's service,