VOL. I. August 15, 1918 NO. I
August, 1918 Committee Bulletin
(submitted for approval in July 1918)
I. August 15, 1918 NO. I
It is not only the first copy of The Bible Standard and Herald of Christ's Kingdom, but it is also the first issue of The Herald of Christ's Kingdom. Brothers Johnson, and Jolly separated from the Committee after this issue was published. They adopted the name "The Bible Standard" for their periodical and the Pastoral Bible Institute adopted, "The Herald of Christ's Kingdom." This version was submitted for approval in July 1918. Only a few were printed and circulated.
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. 3:17-15; 2 Pet. 1:6-11) of the Word of God, Its further mission is to-'Make ail 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. 3:6-9, 10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its very 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"-peculiar)y "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; 1 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.-1 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 ail 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.
Term to the Lord's Poor as Follows - All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this journal, will be supplied free if they send a Postal Card stating their case and requesting the periodical. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
THE BIBLE STANDARD
While the list of subscribers to THE BIBLE STANDARD is already very gratifying in size, it is not yet so large as to insure for it a self sustaining basis. Many, no doubt, have waited to see the first issue before subscribing, and now, since it goes to such and to all as outlined on the next page, we leave to the Lord and to His people as He may direct them, the measure of numerical success that shall be attained by this journal.
ONE WAY TO HELP
Our friends can assist us by sending. interesting items of news clipped from newspapers or other publications, the items in each case bearing the date and name of the publication. We shall not, of course, be able to publish all received; but we will endeavor to make appropriate selections as opportunity may afford.
Greetings in the name of our Redeemer and King! I can't tell you how glad we were to receive the letter announcing the Convention and the hope of a periodical in the near future. We have been waiting as patiently as we could, and longing for some word from Brooklyn. I have felt confident it would be the Lord's will for us to have a paper. He knows how sorely tried and perplexed we often are over the problems and difficulties that confront us these days. It seems so difficult to know what the Lord's will is along certain lines; yet we have the promise of wisdom from above, and we rely on His sure Word of promise, and trust Him for grace and guidance in these perilous times.
I believe, too, that it is in line with His Word, that we 'should look for the needed comfort and encouragement and assistance largely through the new periodical. We feel once again that we have a Bethel at Brooklyn to remember, especially at the Throne of Grace. Our prayers have been with you continually, and all the dear ones engaged in directing the Lord's work hat you may Divinely guided and kept, and that wisdom from above and the Holy Spirit in abundant measure may be yours as you seek to encourage and assist the Lord's scattered sheep.
We rejoice also that we are to have a Convention, though it seems impossible for us to go such a distance. We will be there in and we pray spirit, that our Father's richest blessing may be upon those who are working for the success of the Convention, and upon all the dear ones who gather there, that our Father in Heaven may be glorified in all that is said. and done.
The Class here is doing well, and we feel that we have the Lord's blessing. With much love to all the friends scattered abroad, I am,
Yours in Him, ETHELYN M. ARCHER.-Kans.
WILL BE AT THE CONVENTION IN HEART
DEAR BRETHREN :
I have just asked the Lord if it is His will that I have the privilege of attending the Convention, and if so to open the way; but I have all the responsibility of our Company and so much to look after that it looks as if I cannot be with you; but my heart will be there. I am so pleased with prospects for assisting the friends, and hope later there may be a Middle West Convention, say about Kansas City. My heart yearns to see the Bible put before the public in some way, and I trust we may all be ready to cooperate in any way which seems pleasing to our Lord and King. My warmest love to all the dear friends.
Yours in His blessed favor, S. H. HUSTON.-Texas.
EXPECTS TO BE AT THE CONVENTION
I received your letter in regard to the Convention to be held at Asbury Park, July 26-29,. and am glad to tell you how thankful I am to my dear Heavenly Father that we are to have the privilege of meeting together in Convention. It is my earnest prayer that our dear Lord will greatly bless this Convention, and 'that each and all may return with renewed energy tó continue to press along for the Prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
I am expecting to be present at the Convention, and would like you to engage accommodations for me.
Would like to say further that the Class at Utica appreciated very much the visit of Bro. on Sunday, and all received a rich spiritual blessing. With much Christian love to all dear brethren,. I remain
Your brother in rist,
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name."-Malachi 3:16.
O THE DEAR ISRAEL OF GOD SCATTERED ABROAD: We extend to you heartiest greetings in the name of our dear Redeemer and King! In this, the initial issue of this journal, we believe that it is not only proper, but necessary that we set before our readers the viewpoint as well as the purpose of this publication. Mention has been previously made of how we have been appealed to by many brethren the world over-calling our attention to the sore needs of the Lord's faithful people for spiritual food, service and fellowship, and suggesting that some arrangement be made for the satisfaction of these needs.
In the circular letter sent out March 1, explanation was made concerning a Convention of the Lord's people held at Pittsburgh, January 5 and 6, 1918, at which a Committee of seven brethren was appointed to seek to ascertain the Lord's will as to what course might be taken to render the assistance mentioned foregoing, and then to take such steps as Divine Providence might suggest to help the brethren. Not wishing to act hastily in the matter, about two months thereafter this Committee of brethren prepared and sent forth the circular letter, asking for an expression from the Lord's people themselves, believing that He would indicate His will as to what should be done through the voice of His faithful people, and, together with later developments and recent events, we believe He has so done in no unmistakable way. The replies to the letter have shown that about ninety-eight out of every one hundred heard from favor not only Pilgrim service, but a periodical, arid at the same time indicate a desire to extend necessary support to the same. Thus we are led to believe that the will of the Lord has been expressed, and that He would be pleased that such ministry be provided for the encouragement, strengthening and supporting of His dear flock.
To this end, therefore, this journal is published-that the spiritual needs of the Lord's people might be satisfied; that by words of encouragement and admonition the faithful may continue to be built up in the Most Holy Faith. Additionally, the purpose of both the Trustees and the Editors of this journal, aided by such of the faithful as might appreciate the privilege, is to bear the Gospel Message the good Word of the Kingdom-to all who have ears to hear. To the best of our ability, and as the Lord may give wisdom, we trust to proclaim the Old, Old Story as taught by our Lord and the Apostles-The Message of Heavenly Love designed for all the Truth hungry, for all those of honest heart.
OUR STANDARD-THE "RANSOM FOR ALL"
Moreover, this journal is set for the defense of the Truth as expounded by the great Founder of Christianity, the central feature of which Truth is the doctrine o f the Ransom given once for all, around which all the other features of Divine grace revolve. Our endeavor shall ever be to lift high the banner of the Cross-that "Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification." And we shall recognize as in full fellowship with the Lord, and as our brethren in Him, all consecrated believers, sharers in the merit of the atoning blood of Jesus and partakers in the Sin-offering with Christ. Living as we are at a time when this all-important doctrine of the Ransom redemption through the precious blood-is being assailed and gaining an increasingly large number of adversaries whose methods and arguments are of a subtle character, surely every true soldier of the Cross should be anxious to enlist all his powers in defense of this great foundation truth.
It is the aim of this journal that its readers shall always be able to see clearly in its columns a very close likeness to the. spirit and influence that animated the Lord's servant during the forty years of his faithful ministry to God's people. We trust never to lose the sacred and hallowed memories of that faithful example and ministry; that we shall always remember with heartfelt appreciation his devotion and loyalty to the Word of God, together with his peerless defense of the sacred Truths of that Word, regardless of the persecution, loss and suffering entailed.
We would have our readers fully assured that this journal stands firmly in defense of the ideals, principles and teachings of this servant of the Lord, not because we believe he was infallible, nor because of any blind superstitious reverence for him as a man, but because we have proven those ideals, principles and teachings to be well grounded upon the only sure foundation-the infallible Word of- God. We shall follow his example, therefore, inasmuch as we believe he followed the Lord. Accordingly, as a further statement of our viewpoint, we believe we can do no better than refer our readers to the familiar quotations set forth on the second page of this issue.
While thus expressing ourselves, we do not wish to be understood as fencing ourselves about, as halting in the path of light and making no advancement therein; for the path of the just is still as a shining light, "shining more and more," etc. But looking again at the life of the one whose memory we hallow, we note that his experience was one of continual advancement in the light; he walked in the light as Christ was in the light, and enjoyed and shared with others the abundant blessing thereof. This, we believe, is the aim of all the saints in light; and if it be our Father's good pleasure to make additional revelation of Truth to His people, we trust that we shall all be in that attitude of -heart, and so possessed of that open mind, that will enable us to be ready to advance as He may direct the way.
We believe that it is becoming more and more apparent to all the faithful watchers that we are living in the last time, in that period of our Lord's Presence called His Epiphania (bright shining). It is, therefore, of great importance that we should all maintain an attitude of earnest watching and waiting in order that we may be able to understand the meaning of His Providences and the fulfillment of the "sure Word of prophecy," as the increasing light shining upon the pathway may reveal them, and thus we shall be found true "workers together with Him." In this connection, the solemn warning of the Master's words seems to apply with peculiar force at this time, "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."-Luke 21:36.
NO FANCIFUL INTERPRETATIONS NOR WILD SPECULATIONS
But, dearly beloved, while holding ourselves in readiness to hear the Master's call to advance, is it not of equal importance that we be intensely on guard against receiving anything and everything that may come to us under the guise of new light or advanced truth? The tactics of our great Adversary are much the same today as in the past. He has ever endeavored to counterfeit the Lord's arrangements and proceedings, and as God's people throughout the Harvest time have been richly blessed by many revelations of His Grace and Truth, Satan has readily found many instruments to proclaim his counterfeit messages, which are not always made up entirely of that which is false, but often composed largely of truth, but so cunningly mixed with error as to confuse the mind of the unsuspecting and lead him farther and farther from the Lord and the purity of His Message.
We exhort our readers, therefore, to great carefulness in the matter of accepting new lines of thought or so called new light. As we have observed how the Lord has so wonderfully blessed the Message given us in these last days through His "wise and faithful-servant," shall we not continue to rest confidently in that Message? Indeed, many of the friends have written us of the manifold blessings they are receiving by rereading these messages, and also of how they are grasping the Truth still more clearly and firmly. Anything, therefore, that comes under the label of new light should be subjected to the closest and most searching tests of Scripture, and never received until fully convinced that it squares perfectly with the unfailing and infallible Word of God.
In view of the foregoing, it will be manifest to all that it is not our purpose to open the columns of this journal to fanciful interpretation or wild speculation either of ourselves or of others. The lessons of the past should never be forgotten in this respect. Time after time new leaders have arisen and posed among God's people as teachers of Truth, whereas, it became plainly manifest that they were in many cases either largely or altogether self appointed guides, and gave out much of their own imperfect reasonings and philosophies.
The faithful student of the Divine Word is well aware of the fact that guesses and speculations never satisfy nor sanctify. It is the Truth alone that "satisfies our
longings as nothing else can do," and works in us "the sanctification of the Spirit," even as our Savior prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth." It was not in vain that St. Peter wrote, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty." (2 Peter 1:16.) Here the Apostle is undoubtedly calling attention to the strong foundation for the faith of himself and others of the early Church. The messages of St. Peter and those of other Apostles were made up, not of their own conjectures and imaginations, but were based upon personal knowledge-sure and indisputable proof-for they were "eye witnesses of His majesty" and glory.
Likewise St. John called attention to this positive knowledge which is the privilege of the saints to enjoy: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, . . . . . declare we unto you." (1 John 1:1-3.) No better proof could be given than this which St. John presents to the Church. And all who knew the Lord's servant as a teacher of the Church in these latter days, well remember that he also was at variance with the disposition to rely upon guesses or theories or the vague fancies of his own or those of others.
THE LORD'S ANOINTING TO PREACH
The question may be in the minds of some, By whose authority and ordination do the brethren undertake a ministry such as is represented in this publication? Our reply can be none other than that our authority and ordination are from the great Head of the Church Himself, who alone, as all faithful Bible students know, has the power to anoint and ordain to the ministry. Having broken away from the bondage and fetters of the past, and having experienced something of the "liberty wherewith Christ makes free," we are now prepared to recognize that Satan's methods have long been to set up certain individuals and institutions; and he has endeavored to create around them a halo, by the subtle teaching that God has set these up, and given them sole control over His Truth and of His people, and that these and these only, have power to dispense or withhold the favors of Heaven; and that all who would undertake a ministry of the Gospel must receive commission and ordination from them. The Adversary is still using this false premise to hinder and frustrate the work of the ministry. He would still have us believe that permission and ordination to teach the Word must come from some human source or earthly organization, and thus he would throttle and restrain the privileges of the ministry. And yet, how well we remember that during the past forty years much has been done to help the faithful to throw off these shackles of error and superstition; and to direct their minds to look to Jehovah Himself, and not to any human source or institution for their commission to preach the Gospel.
In the clearer light now shining we see that our Lord Jesus received an anointing of the Holy Spirit, qualifying Him to be the Head or Chief Priest over the Church, the under priesthood. That anointing gave Him authority to preach and to teach in the Father's name. There, at the time of His baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, His ministry began, as He tells of Himself in His sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth, when He read the opening verses of Isaiah 61, and declared their fulfillment then and there, as follows
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor." (Luke 4:17-21.) Likewise the promised power from on High came to the Apostles at Pentecost. Immediately they began to preach and to teach, for they had received the Divine anointing, as Jesus had received it at the time of His baptism. This Divine anointing came not merely upon the twelve Apostles, but it has throughout this Gospel Age constituted the blessed recognition of the Father and of the Son to all who receive it. Even as in the typical picture, when the holy anointing oil was poured upon Aaron's head and ran down to "the skirts of his garments," and all the members of his body thus came under the anointing; so Jesus, the Head of the Church, received the anointing at the beginning of His ministry, and from Him at Pentecost, by the Divine appointment, it has flowed down over all the members of His Church. Everyone receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit is a qualified ambassador of God to speak in His name. St. John refers to this same anointing, saying: "Ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye all know it." (1 John 2:20.) And again, "The anointing which ye have received of Him, abideth in you." Thus, dearly beloved, while we recognize that all human ordinations are wholly inadequate to make a real preacher and teacher in the Church of Christ, we are to appreciate the fact that every one begotten of the Spirit is fully authorized and ordained to the ministry, according to his opportunities, circumstances and conditions.
We recall that after our Lord's resurrection, He addressed St. Peter saying, "Feed my sheep," well knowing that a few days later after the anointing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, St. Peter would more fully recognize the special need of the Lord's sheep, and in response thereto would go forth to spend and be spent in fulfilling this commission of His Master. Shall not we, therefore, who have experienced this same anointing of the Holy Spirit, no less certainly hear the voice of our Master saying, "Feed My sheep," as we see the Lord's flock scattered and their needs so plainly manifested? Yea, verily, let us by the grace of God so do.
That we shall have our enemies, and plenty of them, as we undertake this ministry there is not the slightest doubt, nor does this thought deter or discourage us in the least. We recall that the entire career of The Christ in the flesh, from the days of our great Head down to the present critical hour, has been continually marked with besetments and assaults of the Adversary; and this is still true of the various members of the Body of Christ, as it was of their Head, who declared, "The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me." Remembering that soul-cheering promise of the Master, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the Age," shall we not be of good courage and rest confidently in Him, being fully persuaded that "no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper"?
The pages of this journal shall not be used to engage in any controversy with those who may oppose us, nor to quarrel with anyone; nor shall we have either time or space to devote to evil speaking, misrepresentation, or for slandering our brethren who may differ from us. No, not even to our enemies shall we render such treatment, preferring to follow the example of our Great Head, "who, when He was reviled, reviled not again." We trust that our hearts and hands shall find plenty to do along the lines above indicated; namely, that our mission is to preach the Word, and that for the purpose of provoking unto love and good works.
THE BIBLE STANDARD--GOD'S STANDARD
The name chosen for this journal-THE BIBLE STANDARD AND HERALD OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM-we believe is especially appropriate and significant for our time. THE BIBLE STANDARD is God's Standard. In His Word there is lifted to our view the Standard or model of perfection. We have found in the Divine Plan of the Ages a most complete revelation of God's character and of His attributes. His Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power are seen to blend most perfectly, and throughout that revelation we are taught the principles of truth and righteousness. At the same time we are taught the importance of a practical application of these principles in order that, so far as possible, we may measure up to those principles, in thought, word and deed. Perhaps, at no time in the history of the Church, more than the present, have the Lord's people needed to have set clearly before them the principles of truth and righteousness that they may be helped to appreciate fully the difference between right and wrong, justice and injustice, honesty and dishonesty; that they may thereby be enabled to adjust their lives in accordance with those principles, which are the very foundation of the Divine Government; as it is written, "Justice is the foundation of God's Throne." Would that all who name the name of Christ might see clearly the truth concerning the Divine Character and Plan; and, recognizing the grandeur and nobility of the Divine Standards, might thereby be led to show forth the excellence of the same in all the affairs of life
Likewise the title, HERALD OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM-it also is full of solemn import to every follower of Christ at this time. The word "herald" conveys the thought of an official bearer of important tidings-one who announces and proclaims an important message. What more important message could we bear than that earth's new King is present! that a New Dispensation, a New Order of Things, is being ushered in, which will mean the destruction of the Twin Monarchs-Sin and Death-who have reigned with relentless vigor throughout the Ages conquerors of all mankind, and the return of man to the glorious paradise of God! It shall ever be the aim of this journal to be a true herald of not only the presence of the King, but also of His glorious Kingdom at hand, and to preserve in these pages the spirit and influence of the great King Himself, and thus prove true to the prophetic vision: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth !"- Isaiah 52:7.
"THE BRIDEGROOM OF THY HEART"
Through the long, dark centuries of the Gospel Age the saints with ardent anticipation have looked forward to this time and have earnestly prayed, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven." Well has the poet described the heart sentiment of the one true Church
But those days of waiting are now in the past, and it has been the portion of the saints for some years to realize the joy of heart represented by the words of the Prophet, "Oh! the blessedness of him who is waiting earnestly when the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days touch!" (Daniel 12:12, R. V.) Now it is ours to announce, not that the King will come, but that He is here; and that soon He will gather together all the faithful in the Kingdom beyond the veil and begin the long-promised reign of righteousness for the enlightening and blessing of all the families of the earth. "DEAD, YET HE SPEAKETH"
In this connection it will be interesting and inspiring to our readers to learn that during the last several years of the life of that "faithful servant" his published articles were made up almost altogether of his talks at certain times, and we take pleasure in assuring the brethren that we have in remembrance much of his verbal expositions, so that THE BIBLE STANDARD will be able, for all practical purposes, to continue to publish his thoughts as expressed during his long and useful life, which so enlightened and edified his readers.
With such material for publication in THE BIBLE STANDARD, with such food for hungry Christians upon the pathway of life-the same food upon which they have feasted and thrived and been made glad for so many years, and which has enabled them to keep in the light - how else can the mission and future of THE BIBLE STANDARD be viewed than a successful succession of semi-monthly visits of him who although "dead, yet speaketh"-who spoke to all of us through the columns of his semi-monthly publication, and who will continue to speak to the household of faith now through the semimonthly visits of this journal, published with faithful adherence to the conditions which he set forth in his will and testament, to the end that the purity of the Truth might be safeguarded so far as possible.
Dearly beloved, we wish to appeal to all the faithful watchers, to look carefully at all the facts, circumstances, events and issues forced upon our attention in these days. The inevitable conclusion is that the Lord is in the midst of His people, and is dealing with them. Recognizing this fact, let us inquire for and get back to "the old paths," so clearly pointed out to us in these last days. (Jeremiah 6:18.) And then, forgetting the things behind, let us unite our hearts and hands once more in taking up, and supporting and defending the principles, ideals and arrangements committed to our care by that wise and faithful servant, whom the Lord made ruler over all His goods.
Shall we not, then, unite our hearts in the prayer that God will bless our mutual efforts to comfort one another in these days of peculiar trial? How long we shall be permitted to carry on this Ministry it is impossible at this time to say. The storm clouds, in process of gathering for many years past, are rapidly lowering and growing darker. The night time wherein no man can work is surely drawing on. Let us, then, be fully alive to the perils of our time and be sober and watch unto prayer. Let us be intensely awake to the issues that are represented in our Heavenly calling, and ever remember that "the end of the commandment is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an undissembled faith." Let us consider Him, "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession," and remember that God would have us be character copies of His dear Son, and that this character can be attained only by humble and patient submission to all of His wise and loving providences-a full submission to His will, even unto death.
Believing these things, we urge upon the faithful everywhere diligence in gathering all the forces of their being for the conflict of this solemn hour! Let us summon our Christian courage, our Christian love, our patience, our meekness, our humility ! Let us rally around the Lord's standard of truth and righteousness, and ever seek to maintain the purity, the simplicity, the liberty of the Gospel of Christ! Thus doing we shall ultimately and forever be approved as true heralds of our King, and accounted worthy to live and share with Him in the glories and riches of the Heavenly Kingdom. "BRETHREN; PRAY FOR US.
This first article was reportedly written by Bro. I. F. Hoskins.
"The Lord makes you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at [in] the presence [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all saints."--I Thess. 3:12,13.
NOT TO SINNERS are these words addressed but to saints. Not those who have not the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of love, and who therefore, are none of his, does the Apostle exhort; but those who already have been begotten of the holy Spirit of love. Increase in love signifies that love already has attained an ascendancy in the heart, a mastery in the mind, by which it is progressing conquering and bringing into subjection all the thoughts and conduct of life. And this thought, that love is to increase in the hearts of God's people, is in full accord with the general testimony of the Scriptures, that we are to grow in grace and in knowledge and in love; approaching more and more and attaining and maintaining the "mark" which God hath set before us as the standard of character for which he will be pleased to award the prize in due time. It is as though a cistern were being filled more and more with pure water from hidden springs, until, increasing and increasing it overflows with its abundance. Thus the Lord's people are to increase in love continually, until the love abounds or overflows in all the thoughts and words and conduct of life; not only carrying blessings to their own refreshment and to the refreshment of all with whom they come in contact, but also redounding to the glory and praise of God from whom this blessing is derived.
The Apostle specifies only abounding love toward the brethren and toward all, but this presupposes the love which, first of all, is due to God our Father. Nor is it to be expected that any man will love his fellow-creatures to the extent indicated, unless he has first learned to love his Creator, has been taught of him, and has to some extent become a copy of his dear Son. This is in thorough accord with the Lord's statement of the full meaning of the Law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, heart, soul [being], and strength and [then] thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." No man can love his neighbor in this Scriptural sense, until he has first loved his God to such a degree as to be not only willing but anxious to do those things which are pleasing in his sight; for God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God.--I Joh 4:16.
One reason why love does not increase more rapidly and abound more thoroughly amongst God's people, is that so many of them have been blinded by the Adversary to the real character of God, and under the misrepresentations of his character have been unable to worship and love him in spirit and in truth. Thank God for the light of the knowledge of himself now scattering the darkness and permitting his children to see him in his true light, in his glorious character! Thank God, the eyes of our understanding have been opened so that we can now see through the deceptions of the Adversary!--Re 20:3.
The Apostle's words, "Even as we do toward you," are full of meaning and force. Paul and his associates were not teaching a Gospel which they did not appreciate and practise; on the contrary, they were exemplifying in their daily course of life this very abounding love, which, overflowing was leading them to sacrifice their own interests and rights and privileges for the sake of the Lord's people everywhere. They were laying down their lives for the brethren--daily, hourly; they were sacrificing for the sake of others, opportunities and privileges as respected their earthly life, earthly pleasures, etc. It is with particular force, therefore, that they exhort fellow-Christians to follow after them in the same way of self-sacrificing loving obedience, as imitators of Jesus. And so it should be with all who exhort others to walk in the way of righteousness and love: In order that their words may have force and meaning they must exemplify them in their own lives. As they point to the "mark" of perfect love they must approximate that mark in their own daily lives, and certainly possess it in their hearts, their wills, their intentions. So whether they occupy pulpits or whether they exhort others merely by the influence of their daily lives, they are living epistles read and known of all men who come in contact with them. The darkness may hate them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely, yet it must "take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus" and have learned of him that they have the same spirit, the same disposition of heart, however crooked their natural dispositions may be.
HOW TO INCREASE AND ABOUND IN LOVE
Ah, says one, I have been desiring to increase in love and to overflow it upon others for these many years but I know not how to cultivate it. What shall I do that I may have this overflowing love? The Apostle impliedly answers this question--that it is not what we can do but what the Lord can do in us and for us. His words are, "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love." It is the Lord's doing; we can accomplish very little for ourselves, and the sooner we learn this the better. The springs of our love must come from the fountain of love and grace and truth--from God, for "God is love." We began to receive of his spirit of love from the time we made our consecration to him, and began to live unto him and not unto the flesh. He has various agencies and channels through which he is pleased to increase our love, and to cause it to abound and overflow and cleanse away the natural selfishness against which we, like all others, must contend.
These channels of grace are represented to us under various figures in the Scriptures. One channel or agency is the Word of God; another is Divine Providence another is the fellowship of the Body of Christ the saints. The Lord uses all of these agencies in causing our love to increase and to abound. First, his Word, the basis of our faith and hopes, is also the basis of our love; for by giving ear to his Word, we taste and see that the Lord is gracious; that the Lord is loving; and in proportion as we see his love manifested, and discern his gracious character, in that same proportion we have before us the pattern toward which we are to aim, and love serves as the incentive to our emulation; as our Lord expressed it, "Be ye holy, even as your Father, which is in heaven, is holy." He is the pattern, and we are to copy that pattern as much as possible in our daily lives but especially are we to have it as the accepted standard of our wills our minds.
The Apostle refers to the Word of God as water which cleanses us from defilements of sin and selfishness speaking of "the washing of water through the Word," by which the Bride is to be cleansed and made fit for joint-heirship with the heavenly Bridegroom. (Eph 5:25-27.) The Word of Truth cleanses our hearts by showing us our imperfections, in contrast with the divine perfections. And more than this, it encourages us with certain promises, the object of which the Apostle Peter declares, saying, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature." Were it not for these promises, these hopes held out, our strivings for increasing and abounding love would no doubt succumb before the adverse influences of selfishness and sin in the present time; but by these promises of the Word the Lord incites us to press along the line "toward the mark for the prize."
Divine Providence comes to our aid at various times to assist us in making progress "toward the mark"; to assist us in increasing and abounding in love; for if, peradventure one who at heart is fully consecrated to the Lord should tarry by the way, and become overcharged with the cares of this life, the Lord, in much mercy and love, will perhaps permit affliction or disaster of some kind to overtake him, to be a chastisement, a lesson, an assistance, and thus, as the Psalmist expresses it, "His rod and his staff they comfort us." (Ps 23:4.) It is by these providences of God that we are frequently taught lessons which we could never learn from the instructions of his Word alone. The lessons are impressed, or embossed so to speak, upon the tablet of our hearts, and do us lasting good.
Another channel of blessing and instruction which the Lord has provided and commended for the saints, and which surely has proven a blessing to all of the household of faith in running for the "mark," is the assistance which the Lord supplies to us through the "brethren." Sometimes it is "A word in season; how good it is!"-- perhaps a word of counsel, perhaps a word of reproof perhaps a word of instruction. Perhaps it is merely the testimony of daily lives of the brethren, as we see them patiently enduring hardness as good soldiers, without murmuring--taking with joy, with thankfulness, with faith, with confidence, all things which Divine providence may permit, assured that they are all working out future blessing. Although this channel of blessing might at first seem to be of the brethren, we are sure, nevertheless that it is of the Lord, though through the brethren. It is because the brethren who render such assistance in the way are the brethren who themselves are receiving assistance from the Lord; and so it has been from first to last; the Elder Brother, and all the brethren, as they become advanced members of the Body of Christ, joyfully assist, even to the extent of laying down their lives for the brethren, and all this is the work of God--the effect of his spirit. By all these various agencies God is working in us to will and working in us to do his good pleasure--that we may increase and abound in love.
But who are the "you" referred to by the Apostle? Does he mean that God makes all men to increase and abound in love? Surely not. The vast majority of men have no knowledge of the love of God here referred to. At the very most they know only the natural love, and frequently very little of that. When the Apostle says, "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love," he refers to the Church not nominal Church members, but the members of the true Church, "whose names are written in heaven"; those who trust in the precious blood of Christ, and have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and been begotten again by the holy Spirit of love. These, and these only, are referred to. So long as we continue to be in and of this class we will be subject to the Father's discipline and instructions, for "What son is he that the Father chasteneth not? If any be without chastisement ...then are they spurious and not sons."
WE NOW JOIN THE CHURCH--THE BODY OF CHRIST - ON PROBATION
These chastenings, providences, disciplines, instructions in the word of righteousness, and assistances through the brethren, will be ours as long as we are members of the Body of Christ; and here we are to distinguish between the Body of Christ in its embryo condition in the present life, and the Body of Christ in its perfected condition in the resurrection. We now join the Body of Christ, the Church, on probation; with the understanding that if we are faithful we shall be accepted fully, and be members of the Body of Christ in glory and that if unfaithful to our vows, our covenants, we cannot be members of that glorified Church. We are pupils in the School of Christ, and it is necessary for us to proceed to learn all the lessons appointed of the Father, else we shall never be permitted to graduate-- to enter into all the rewards which he has promised to those who attain to the character-likeness of his dear Son.
It is to this end that we are all exhorted to make increase of love, until it shall abound in our hearts. Any who refuse to make increase in love and to permit it to abound, will necessarily be cut off from this Body of Christ, whatever portion theirs may be. As the Lord explains in his parable of the Vine and the Branches: every branch, every individual member of Christ, that beareth fruit, the fruit of the spirit love--will be pruned of the Father that it may bring forth more and more of this precious fruit; and every branch that fails to bring forth the fruitage of love within a reasonable time, will be cut off and no longer be recognized as a branch of the Vine, as a member of the Body, and will have no opportunity of participating in the glories of those who make their calling and election sure.
It is very important, therefore, that we not only become members of the class here addressed as "you," but that we continue in this class, and maintain our standing by faithfulness and progress under the Lord's leading and instruction. We are to remember that our part in the work is to fully submit ourselves, our wills; and to let the Lord work in us to will and to do his good pleasure. Submitting our wills does not mean stupor or indifference but the setting of our energies in line with the direction which the Lord from time to time will give us through his Word, through the brethren, and through his providences, which shall shape our ways. We do not need to take anxious thought as though the Lord might forget to give us the needed lessons and experiences to bring us on, and to cause us to abound in love. All we need to do is to remember that he is faithful, and to seek grace and strength to walk in his way, as we shall see it pointed out to us by his providence and Word, step by step. "Thy Word is a lamp to my feet; a lantern to my footsteps."
THE OBJECT AND NECESSITY FOR SUCH DEVELOPMENT
The Apostle in our text tells us why it is necessary that we progress. It is "to the end," or with the object in view, of our hearts being established, fixed, settled rooted, grounded in holiness. It is not sufficient, from the Divine standpoint, that we learn something about love, and have the feeling of love thrilling our hearts and that generous emotions shall occasionally be ours what the Lord seeks is "a peculiar people," "a royal priesthood," thoroughly established, firmly fixed in love for righteousness--so that all unrighteousness, all sin all injustice, would be an abomination to them. Not only will they not love iniquity, but, as the Scriptures declare they will hate iniquity. And whoever truly loves righteousness must in the same proportion hate iniquity. But this is only the result of fixed character, and time and experience and many lessons from the Word of God and from the book of experience are necessary before character becomes so settled, so crystalized, that it is fixed and unwavering in its loyalty to righteousness. It is for this reason that the Lord has hedged up the way of his people during this Gospel Age, and made the way of life, the way to the Kingdom, a "narrow" one, full of difficulties full of trials, which thereby become tests, and sift out those who do not develop the character which the Lord approves, and for which he promises a share with Christ in his Kingdom.
Some may say, Alas! If the standard of character is so high as to be unblamable before God, who is perfect how can I ever hope to attain it? And so all of us might say, if the perfect standard were a standard for the flesh for all of us have learned, as did the Apostle, that "In my flesh dwelleth no good [perfect] thing"; and we have the inspired Word for it that "There is none righteous; no, not one." So, then, we may rest assured that God is not seeking to find in any a perfection of the flesh, and that if he should seek perfection in the flesh he would not find it. It is not such an unreasonable and impossible thing that the Apostle teaches; but something quite reasonable, viz., as he says, that our hearts may be established, fixed, in holiness before God our Father. Ah, yes! To have a heart [will--motive--intention] that is blameless, is a very different thing from having flesh that is blameless. The heart standing for the will, the intention, the desire, represents the "new creature." The flesh stands for itself. In its imperfection and its six thousand years of degradation as the slave and servant of sin, the flesh has become so imperfect that it is impossible to have it serve the law of God perfectly; impossible to have it obey all the good desires of our consecrated hearts unblamably. It is the new creature, the new mind, that must reach this stage of development where it will be unblamable before the Father.
Not only is this a possible attainment, but we cannot conceive of any other condition being acceptable to God in harmony with our calling. He has called us to be his Church, his Royal Priesthood, that he might fit and prepare us for the great work of blessing all the families of the earth as members of the Body of Christ, otherwise called the Bride, called to association with the heavenly Bridegroom during his Millennial Kingdom. Surely God could ask nothing less than that our hearts, our intentions should be in accord with the principles of righteousness and that these principles should control our daily lives to the extent of our ability; and that thus we should seek to put away all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, and to perfect holiness in the reverence of the Lord. (2Co 7:1.) Anything less than this good desire and endeavor could not possibly be acceptable in the sight of God; without these we could not hope to be of the finally acceptable elect Church. But how reasonable is this arrangement! How gladly do we accept the Divine will! How earnestly we wish that every imperfection and blemish of the flesh were done with, that the testings of our new minds were accomplished in their full establishment in righteousness! How we long to have our new bodies, promised to us in the "first resurrection" --bodies in which the new mind can act perfectly without hindrance, without restraint, and glorify God perfectly in every act and word, as well as in our hearts intentions! This is acceptable to God. He counts it through the merit of Christ, exactly as though we were absolutely perfect in word and in deed, since such a condition is the desire of our hearts, our wills; he is merely waiting until this character is fixed permanent.
THAT WE MAY BE ESTABLISHED -- FIXED -- IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD
We perceive that this lesson comes up to date, in the sense that while it has been applicable to the Lord's people all through this Gospel Age, it is specially applicable to us who are now living in the "harvest" time, in the time of the presence of the Son of man. For mark the Apostle's words in our text, that all this development in the spirit of love is to the end that we may be established fixed, "in the presence [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all saints." We are now in this time of his presence and it behooves us to inquire carefully of our hearts to what extent we are established in righteousness in love for it, or to what extent our loyalty to righteousness is still unsettled--wavering.
We may be sure that all who do not speedily come to this condition of establishment in righteousness will be tested, sifted and rejected; for the time for the completion of the Body of Christ is at hand. The Apostle asks "Who shall be able to stand?" This is the question: Who shall be so thoroughly established in love that the trials and testings, necessary to prove him so, will be passed successfully? According to this we are not to wonder if various special trials are permitted now to come, thick and fast--trials which will test and prove our loyalty to the Lord and to the principles of love. Yet we are not to be discouraged with this thought of testing, but are to remember that he who began the good work in our hearts, began while we were yet sinners, by giving for us the great ransom price; that if he so loved us then while we were yet sinners, much more does he love us now that we have accepted his grace, and are justified from all sin by faith in his blood, and are seeking to walk in his footsteps. And all who have this desire to receive the Lord's lessons, and to profit by them, and to become more and more copies of Jesus--all such have the assurance that it comes, not by their strength, but by the Lord's strength; and that if they submit themselves to him, he will perfect in them his spirit of love and righteousness and holiness; that they may be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."
The declarations, "Ye are the salt of the earth," and "the light of the world," may be very properly applied to such of the Lord's followers as give heed to his teachings and cultivate the blessed states he has described foregoing. All such blessed ones in proportion as they have attained such conditions are indeed the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As salt is useful in arresting decomposition so the influence of these, though they be few in the world is preservative. Looking back along the aisles of history we can see that a good influence extended from the Law Covenant God made with Israel.
As the Jews scattered more or less amongst other nationalities they carried with them more or less clear conceptions of the divine standards as represented in the Law, and these wherever they went had a preservative and corrective influence amongst men. But it was Jesus and his higher Law of Love, exemplified in his own life and in the lives of his apostles and all his followers, who became the real salt of the earth, in a period when without it we know not what might have been the result. As it is not only the spot upon which the candle or lamp rests that is enlightened by it but as the rays extend out in every direction, so is the influence extending from every true Christian. It touches not merely his own person or home but to some extent radiates throughout his vicinity. Similarly it is not merely the spot that is touched by the lump of salt that is preserved, but the influence of that lump spreads over a considerable space round about it, and all with preservative influence.
At the time of our Lord's first advent the world was in a condition in which it would probably have hastened to degeneracy and corruption, but the introduction of the body of Christ and the beneficial influence extending from each member of that body were potent for the arrest of the demoralizing tendency of the times. The light which shone out from Jesus, the Light of the world, and from his followers had undoubtedly a beneficial effect upon the then center of the civilized world. That influence is still manifest in so-called Christendom. And even today, although the truly consecrated believers in the great Redeemer are confessedly very few in number, yet the general influence, the saltiness from the teachings of the Savior, exercise a wide influence throughout Christendom. Without this, doubtless corruption and a complete collapse would have come long ago. In spite of it we see very corrupting and corrupt influences at work in every direction and the wider our horizon the more general our information, the more this fact will be appreciated.
Before very long we expect that all of the overcoming members of the body of Christ will be changed, glorified and the body completed on the other side the vail will be without members on this side. The lights will have gone and the darkness will hold fuller sway than ever; the salt will be gone and the corruption will take hold swiftly and the result will be the great time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.
Meantime we are to let our lights shine and thus to glorify the Father, whether men heed or forbear to heed we are to exercise our salt or preservative influence, our influence for righteousness and truth, whether men hear or forbear, though we clearly see that it is not God's purpose to enlighten the world through the Church in its present humble position. The matter will test us and prove whether or not we are worthy to be members of the glorified body of Christ, which shortly shall shine forth as the Sun in the glory of the Father, and enlighten the whole world in a manner with which our little lamps of the present time will in no sense compare.
While keeping the lamp trimmed and burning--while seeking to glorify God as burning and shining lights in the world, we must not forget that the Bible assures us that we shall be no more successful in converting the world than was our Master. His great light shone in darkness, "and the darkness comprehended it not." And the religionists of His day instigated His crucifixion.
The Master's prophecy concerning His followers will prove true to the end of the Age. The darkness hateth the light. "Marvel not, My brethren, if the world hate you"; "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." (I Joh 3:13 Joh 15:18.) It is altogether a mistake, therefore, to suppose that the Lord's consecrated people, letting their light shine faithfully before men, could convert the world. Such was not God's intention. It is the Church, not the world, that is being tested at the present time. The opposition of the world and all the powers of darkness serve to test us as New Creatures--to test our loyalty to God and to His Truth.
Whosoever receives the light of Truth intelligently must rejoice in it; and, rejoicing in it, he must let it shine out upon others, or, by covering his light with a bushel he will demonstrate his lack of courage, lack of appreciation lack of earnestness--qualities which the Lord is now specially seeking amongst those whom He has invited to be sharers with Jesus in the glories of the Mediatorial Kingdom about to be established amongst men. It is important therefore, that we let our light shine before men that we be willing, nay, glad, if need be, to suffer for our loyalty to the Lord and to His message. And we have His Word for it that whoever is ashamed of Him or of His Word now, of such He will be ashamed by and by. He will not own them as members of His Bride class will not accept them as assistants with Him in His glorious Throne.
"The Light of the world is Jesus"; "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (Joh 1:9.) Thus far Jesus has not been dealing with the world, but merely with the blessed ones who have the eye of faith and the ear of faith. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." (Mt 13:16.) The time for the enlightenment of the world will be after the special call of the elect. Then the Church, as the Bride, will be with the heavenly Bridegroom in His Throne. Then all now found faithful in the matter of letting their light shine will be associated with the great Light, Jesus, as members of His Body. Altogether they will constitute the great Sun of Righteousness which will then arise with healing in its beams for the blessing of all the families of the earth; "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father; who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Mt 13:43.) He that hath a desire of heart, let him be obedient and thus make his "calling and election sure" to this glorious, chief salvation.
THE RECKONING HOUR*
"So, then, everyone of us shall give an account of himself before God."-- Ro 14:12.
IT WAS ON the way from Jericho toward Jerusalem that our Lord gave the Parable of the Ten Pounds, delivered one each to ten servants. (Lu 19:11,12. See our issue of Dec. 1.) The Parable of the Talents which we are now considering is a different one in several particulars, tho bearing close resemblance to the other. It was part of our Lord's teaching to his disciples during the few days preceding his crucifixion probably the Tuesday preceding it, on the evening journey from Jerusalem to Bethany. This parable illustrates to us the differing abilities of God's people in respect to his service, and how each is accountable according to his ability, and that the same results are neither required nor expected from all, but simply faithfulness by each in the use of that ability and opportunity which he possesses.
The Revised Version notes the fact that the words "the Kingdom of Heaven," in the opening verse, are not found in the ancient MSS., but this does not interfere with the thought that it is the Kingdom of Heaven in embryo (the Church) that is discussed, and that is likened to these servants who receive the talents; for this parable, it is to be remembered, followed immediately the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which is declared to be an illustration of the Kingdom. The Parable of the Talents, therefore, merely continues the thought respecting the Kingdom class, making these fresh observations respecting it.
Although a number of servants are implied, yet only a sample illustration of three is given, leaving it to be inferred that the others were more or less distinctly represented in these three, without attempting to show or to teach which of the classes would predominate. In this respect also this parable corresponds to the Parable of the Pounds. This parable was evidently, like the other, to prepare the minds of the apostles for our Lord's departure from the present life--to the "far country," heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God to present on behalf of mankind the sacrifice for sins which he was about to accomplish at Calvary; and incidentally to be crowned, highly exalted and honored far above angels, principalities and powers, at the right hand of divine favor, and there to remain till the appointed time for him to take possession of his Kingdom under the whole heavens, to subdue it and to bring it into full accord with the divine government, that God's will should be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
The expression "far country," would give the thought of a considerable time to elapse between the Master's leaving and his return to establish his Millennial Kingdom. Meantime the apostles were to understand that they themselves were his servants to whom he entrusted his property, and that he would expect them to be faithful in guarding all of his interests and affairs and promoting the same according to their several abilities. But since the parable covers the long period of eighteen hundred years, and looks down to certain servants living at the time of the Master's return, it is evident that it was intended to include, not the apostles only, but, as our Lord's prayer expressed the matter "All those who shall believe on me through their word." We are to notice distinctly that the parable does not concern the world; nor do the decisions mentioned as taking place at the second coming of our Lord in any sense of the word represent decisions respecting the world, but merely decisions respecting the Church. Nor are we even to understand that the parable includes the general "household of faith;" but simply and only the specially consecrated servants of the Lord, to whom he has committed certain responsibilities; viz. those only who have been begotten of the holy spirit.
In the early Church, following the Pentecostal outpouring of the holy spirit, every consecrated believer received a gift or talent, and some received many of these, as the Apostle says: "The manifestation of the spirit [a portion, at least one talent] is given to every man [in this consecrated Church] to profit withal." Each had a responsibility in proportion as he had talents or gifts of the spirit, and hence the Apostle Paul having more than the others, had a greater responsibility because he had greater opportunities; and we judge that he measured up to these responsibilities in a manner most acceptable to the Master. ( 1Co 14:18.) But those gifts must have ceased within a short time after the death of the Apostles, because we most clearly find that the gifts of the spirit were imparted to believers only through the laying on of hands of the apostles --that they did not come supernaturally from God to every individual, --and that those who possessed the gifts themselves, except the apostles, could not communicate them to others.-- Ac 8:12-20.
The object of those gifts, as we have already seen was the establishment of the early Church, but with its establishment their necessity ceased, and hence the gifts ceased in that form, and have since continued with the Lord's people in a very different form; that is to say, since then the natural gifts or talents which each person possesses through birth, education and training are reckoned, when he is consecrated to the Lord and accepted by him, as being owned or possessed by the man's new or holy spirit, and hence are reckoned as talents or abilities committed to his care, and for the use of which he will be held responsible in the outcome. If he remained one of the world he would have other responsibilities, but no such as are implied in this lesson, which represents only the responsibilities of the consecrated servants in the use of their Master's spiritual goods.
We may safely say that there are comparatively few five-talent servants amongst the Lord's people: the majority of the saints may safely be considered as being of the one- and two-talent classes. There are not many five-talent people in the world anyway, and it would appear that the world, the flesh and the devil bid so high for the services of these few that the number of them to become the Lord's servants, and to make consecration of their five talents fully and exclusively to his service, is comparatively small--"not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble."
The parable shows that five-talent people amongst the Lord's servants are not to measure themselves with others and to say, I have done enough; certainly more than A., who has one talent, but as much as B., who has two talents. Rather, each disciple is to seek to know truthfully just what talents of natural ability and opportunity the Master has committed to his care, and to seek to use everyone of these as fully, as thoroughly and as constantly as possible, so that the results may be much fruit, much praise, much service, much honor to the Lord. And as this parable should be a check upon those servants who have five talents, to hinder them from taking a slothful view of the matter so it should also be an encouragement to those having fewer talents of ability and opportunity, showing them that the Lord will not expect as great things from them as he would expect from those having greater opportunities and greater natural talents. It teaches such that they should do with their might what their hands find to do, and realize that this reasonable service is what the Lord expects and what he proposed to reward in each. The servant who had only one talent of ability and opportunity should have felt equally his responsibility and might equally have had the Master's approval had he been faithful, in which event, no doubt, his one talent would have increased to two.
Our Lord's arrangement of the parable, that the person who received the one talent was the one who digged in the earth and buried it, should not be understood to mean that the one-talented people are more likely than others of the Lord's servants with more talents to thus neglect and misuse them. So far as observation teaches, we might conclude that proportionately as many of the two-talented and five-talented dig in the earth and hide their talents, as of those who possess only one; and of course their so doing would be proportionately more blameworthy than that of the one-talented man. Why, then, is the one-talented man chosen as an illustration of these talent-burials? We answer, that it is to show the responsibility of those who have least--that the Lord expects even the least of his consecrated people to know of, and to use the talents he has in his possession, and that he will not hold guiltless even those who have the smallest ability to serve him and his brethren and his truth and who neglect to use it. As the responsibilities accompanying a larger number of talents would be greater, so the losses in their case would be greater, and thus the punishment more severe.
"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them." By these words our Lord gave to the disciples as clear an intimation as was proper of the fact that they were not to expect him to return and reckon with them in a very few days, a few months or a few years; but when they subsequently asked him respecting the particular time, he refused them, saying that it was not for them to know the times and the seasons, which the Father had put in his own power. And so for eighteen hundred years the Lord's people have been left without clear information on this subject. This, however, does not militate against the thought that it is the privilege of God's people now to know something of the times and seasons, because the due time has come in which the Father wishes to communicate these; --the time mentioned through the Prophet Daniel, when the [truly] wise shall understand as we saw in the preceding lesson.-- Da 12:10 1Th 5:4 Joh 16:13.
There is no intimation in the parable that the disciples would die and go to their Lord, and be reckoned with and rewarded then, as many believe to have been the case. The Scriptures are harmonious and consistent with themselves in their teachings, and not only declare that "David is not ascended into the heavens," and that "no man hath ascended up to heaven" save Jesus, but they declare also that our Lord will come a second time, to receive his people unto himself and to then reward them. The Apostle Paul, who was one of these five-talented servants, declares respecting himself "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me [in reservation, in waiting] a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day and not to me only, but also unto all them that love his appearing." -- 2Ti 4:7,8 Joh 3:13 14:3; Ac 2:34.
To our understanding we are now living in "the days of the Son of Man," and he is now reckoning with his servants in this the day of his revelation. We understand according to the Scriptures, by faith and not by sight, that the reckoning was to begin with those servants who had fallen asleep, and that "we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" should not prevent or hinder them, nor take precedence to them in this matter of being reckoned with and rewarded. ( 1Th 4:15-17.) To our understanding as already shown in the MILLENNIAL DAWN series, 1878 marked the date for our Lord's assumption of Kingly authority and his judgment upon Babylon the Great characterizing her as "fallen," and calling for all the people of God to come out of her: and that it marked also the date for the faithful overcomers of the past to have a share in the first resurrection--to enter into the joys of their Lord, and hear his words, "Well done good and faithful servants." In harmony with this it is our understanding that all of this class are now enjoying the glory, honor and immortality promised to the faithful. This work of judging the servants is totally distinct from the judging of the world--the world's judgment is very different everyway, and is to take place during the Millennial age, and is represented in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, the scene of which is located "when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory," at which time the faithful servants of the present age, whose trial is now in progress and whose reckoning and rewards are shown in the parable of the lesson, will sit with the Lord in his throne as he has promised.-- Re 3:21.
As other Scriptures show, "we who are alive and remain unto the presence of the Lord" will not be omitted from the company of the glorified, altho our being alive will not give us precedence to them. The inspection and rewarding of the Lord's servants having begun in 1878 as respects those that had fallen asleep is since progressing in respect to those who remain: these are granted a reasonable time in which to finish up their contract of full consecration, --to become ripe "wheat"--and to render up their accounts. Each of the elect now, as he finishes his course, reports immediately and does not need to "sleep" in death, to wait for the coming of the King, but is immediately, in the moment of death, changed, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," experiencing fully and instantly the first resurrection blessing of glory, honor and immortality --in the moment of death.
Realizing from this view of the parable that the Lord's people of today are represented in it, it is for each one of the consecrated (while yet it is called day --before the night cometh) to make a full and thorough inspection of himself: and to determine to what extent he has talents, abilities, privileges, opportunities, to serve the Lord, and to what extent he is using these and to remember that his share in the reward depends upon his faithfulness in the use of his talents. There may be instances in which persons of five talents will use three of them faithfully in the Lord's service, and bury the other two in business and cares of this life-- "in the earth," in earthly affairs. There may be instances in which those who have two talents use one for the Lord's service and bury the other one; but the fact that our Lord does not give such illustrations would lead us to question the probability of such a course. Some might plan certain things respecting two talents for heavenly things and three for earthly things; or of one for earthly things and the other for heavenly things but the result probably would be either that he would become thoroughly immersed in the earthly things, and bury all his talents there, or else that his heart would become so thoroughly infused with the Lord's spirit and the desire to serve his cause that all of his talents would be thus employed. This tendency and result is implied by our Lord's statement on another occasion: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." "No man can serve two masters." Experience and observation corroborate this; and hence as a rule we find that people are either cold or hot in spiritual things; either it is the Kingdom of heaven first and far above all other considerations demanding and receiving the very best we have of time, energy and influence; or else the Kingdom of heaven is neglected and forgotten, and time and influence are spent in money-getting or other selfish and earthly occupations of mind and body.
The lesson of this to every one of the Lord's consecrated people is plain: we are to "seek first [chiefly] the Kingdom of God." It is to be our chief concern and to receive from us all the time, attention, thought energy, influence and means we have--the things needful for the present life being understood to be excepted and our love and zeal will be manifested by the proportion of these even, which we are willing to sacrifice in the interest of heavenly things.
The reward given to the faithful servants was the same in each case--the entering into the joys of the Lord; and we may reasonably understand that this will mean that the cup of joy to each will be full. In this too, we have a great encouragement for all, and one which perhaps is specially needed by the majority of the Lord's servants, who possess only one or two talents of opportunity, etc. They have an equally good opportunity of entering into the joys of the Lord as tho they had five or ten talents; and the reward, "Well done, good and faithful servant," will be truly meant for, and as fully appreciated by the one as the other.
The reward to these servants is in full harmony with the foregoing application of the parable, and shows that during the Millennial age the faithful servants, the "elect" of this Gospel age, will be the rulers of the world, "joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord" in his Kingdom, and upon his throne of rulership; for the reward specifies, "Thou has been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things." If the parable were intended to represent the world's judgment, such a conclusion would be inappropriate because by the time the world's judgment will have ended there will no longer be necessity for rulership in this sense; for, as the Apostle declares, Christ shall reign [during the Millennium] until he shall have put down all authority, etc., and then he shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. The rule or reign of righteousness, the Mediatorial Kingdom, is to be established during the Millennial age, --thus to overthrow the rule of unrighteousness now prevailing amongst men, and to lift mankind in general out of the present condition of sin and death--to deliver as many of them as will accept the deliverance from the power of Satan into the liberty of sons of God. And with the accomplishment of this work the time for all such ruling will be at an end; hence this parable is a strong lesson in support of the pre-millennial coming of our Lord and exaltation of his faithful, the elect Church.
The servant who hid his talent in the earth, and who failed to use it, endeavored to justify his course by blaming the Master with being too hard and exacting. And so it is with many, who, having taken upon themselves the vows of consecration to the Lord, subsequently fail to perform them. They are disposed to blame the Lord rather than to blame themselves; and this course indicates what their real lack is, --Love. They do not love the Lord fully, truly, sufficiently, and their course reveals this fact. Had they loved him they would have delighted to do to their ability his will; and only such are blessed with rewards.
The punishment of those who failed to perform their covenant as servants, who failed to use the talents provided for them under this covenant, is shown to be great loss; --but not the loss which many suppose, whose minds are blinded by the theory that eternal torment is the wages for sin, and that it is visited upon all except the "overcomers" of this Gospel age. Such claim that the unfaithful servant would be delivered over to Satan and be tortured in flaming fire, and so blind are many of the advocates of this theory that they read all this into our Lord's statement in this very parable; but instead of mentioning flames of fire, which would surely make the place light our Lord mentions darkness as his portion--"outer darkness." Neither does our Lord mention the demon-tormentors, generally believed in.
We offer another and much more reasonable, much more consistent, interpretation of our Lord's words. The servant who fails to use present privileges of consecration and service and sacrifice will find the opportunity taken from him. He will have it no more neither will he have any share in the reward given to the overcomers; --he will suffer this great loss. He is represented as going into "outer darkness," implying that he had already been in the light of divine favor blessing, privilege, knowledge of divine things; --that he would lose this enlightenment, and that his understanding would become darkened as respects spiritual things. It is "outer darkness," because it is the darkness common to and resting upon the whole world of mankind; --only the consecrated, accepted of the Lord being permitted to come fully into the clear light of the knowledge of the Lord and of his plan now shining. Any others than these, upon whom this light may temporarily fall, have it only in a secondary sense, at very most, and see not the glorious things themselves, but merely, so to speak, their reflections. The unfaithful servant is to be cast completely out of all favor; even the reflected light will be obscured from his vision, and he will find himself, now or shortly, in the darkness of the world as respects the divine plan, work, etc. And there he will share with the world in its great time of trouble with which this age is about to close, a time of trouble which is fittingly pictured in the parable by the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
FINISHING TOUCHES OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.*
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things." -- Php 4:8.
MANKIND in general does too little thinking and what it does do is more or less along improper lines, and built upon false bases or premises. Nevertheless, all will agree as respects human welfare, there is a power in thought second to no other power in the universe. Few, perhaps realize to what extent this is true, --to what extent their own happiness and well-being is dependent upon right thinking, --to what extent whole communities and nations owe their happiness or misery to their right or wrong thinking upon the important problems of life. Words are a power in the world but only in proportion as they awaken thoughts and lead to actions; words, thoughts, deeds, is the order. Truly did the wise man say, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." ( Pr 23:7.) If he thinks justly, he will speak and act justly; if his thoughts are selfish and ignoble, his words will be deceitful and his conduct dishonest.
It is because the power of thought is to a considerable extent recognized that it is appealed to on every hand. The teacher appeals to it; the preacher appeals to it; the politician appeals to it; the financier appeals to it; the sociologist appeals to it; the thousands of pamphlets, books, newspapers and magazines published in every land and in every tongue are all appealing to thought. Thought, indeed, may be said to be the great engine which is moving the whole world in its every department. The difficulty is that few are of logical and discerning mind, the fall having affected every member of the human family has disordered our reasoning faculties; and charlatans and demagogues and self-seekers very frequently take advantage of the weak mental state of humanity to delude with sophistry, and thus to hinder and obscure correct thinking and reasoning. Against the great force and weight of selfishness in its every member does humanity thus labor, as well as against the wiles of Satan; and it is not surprising that generally it is misled and deceived, because added to its incubus of false premises it must struggle also against its own inertia, sluggishness and inaptitude.
The Lord, also appeals to the power of the mind through his Word, and urges upon his people that they be "transformed by the renewing of their minds." ( Ro 12:2.) Indeed, it may be said that the cultivation of the power of thought began with God's people, and that so far as religious matters are concerned it has in no particular degree gone from them. While heathen religions seek to restrain the intellect and appeal chiefly to the passions, prejudices and fears, the Lord, to the contrary, calls to his people saying, "Come, let us reason together." ( Isa 1:18.) We are willing to admit that nominal Christendom has not heeded the Lord's invitation to any great extent--that very largely nominal Christians avoid thought on religious subjects, and especially avoid reasoning; but we hold that to the extent they thus violate the divine arrangement they have not their "senses exercised by reason of use," and are to be esteemed, at very best, only babes in Christ. Heb 5:13,14.
We are willing to agree also that thinking may be a very dangerous matter in the absence of absolute knowledge upon which to base and exercise our reasoning faculties; but the Lord has protected his faithful along this line by providing us in his Word with the proper basis for reasoning on all subjects involving our duty to our Creator and to our fellow-creatures. The Scriptures lay down certain broad lines, and invite God's people to reason within these lines of revelation and by reasoning thus to taste and see that the Lord is gracious; and come to a clearer knowledge of him, a better understanding of his character and plan. Many who are awakened to independent thinking are careless of the limitations of the divine revelation, and consequently the influence of the divine Word upon them is a mental liberty and enlightenment which, lacking the divine control, is very apt to go to the extreme of license, selfishness self conceit and infidelity. Wherever the Bible has gone it has been the torch which has led civilization: millions have profited by its enlightening influence though only comparatively few walk close to its light and within its prescribed limitations of reason and conduct; and these few are the true Christians--the "wheat" of this age, "the first-fruits unto God of his creatures," which God is now harvesting.-- Jas 1:18.
THE CONTROL OF THOUGHT.
Some are inclined to believe that since man's brain differs from each other man's brain to some extent therefore his thinking must necessarily be different in a word, that a man can only think in harmony with his brain construction. But we reply, Not so; each may learn to weigh and balance his own thoughts, to curb some and to encourage others; but to do this each must have before him an ideal of character to be copied. Thoughts can be controlled just as words and actions can be controlled: the will is at the helm, and must decide which thoughts and sentiments it will entertain and encourage, and which it will repel. It is necessary, therefore, first of all for the will to be rightly directed, and secondly, to be strong, and to use its power in the control of thought --in curbing those thoughts which it recognizes as evil, and in stimulating those which it recognizes as good, helpful, beneficial. The will, in Scripture called the "heart," is therefore continually appealed to by the Lord, as he now seeks amongst men for his "peculiar people." The message is, "My son, give me thine heart"--thy will. This request is not addressed to wilful sinners, for they are not recognized or addressed as sons of God, but as children of the Evil One. Those whom God recognizes as his sons are such as have been brought into harmony with him through forgiveness of sins, by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. It is to such that the Lord makes known that if they would "go on to perfection"--to the full attainment of his gracious purposes respecting them, the only proper course would be to give their hearts, their wills, to him in consecration.
The heart, the will, thus given over to God, seeks to know the divine will, to catch the divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect; in ambitions, hopes, sentiments and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the divine will and plan is furnished to believers --that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the divine plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.
OUR TEXT ADDRESSES THE SAINTS.
A common mistake amongst people would be to address the words of our text on the subject of right thinking to sinners, to evil-doers and evil thinkers but this is a mistake. The entire Epistle to the Philippiansis addressed to "All the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi" (1:1); and the exhortation is applicable to all the saints everywhere, but not to others than saints--not to the worldly, not even to the household of faith, until they have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord. It would be useless to address others along this line; the exhortation would be of no effect. Hence, the exhortation of this lesson is not specially applicable to any but the most advanced Christians--not even to the "babes in Christ," but only to those who are somewhat matured in the new life. As for the babes who are not developed new creatures, they will have their attention very thoroughly occupied with the cruder elementary lessons, respecting the coarser sins which the new creature must abhor and battle against. This text addresses those who have made considerable progress along these lines of putting away "the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit"--those who are seeking to perfect holiness in their hearts, and so far as possible also in their earthly bodies.-- 2Co 7:1>.
The context proves our assertion, for after speaking of prayer and thanksgiving to God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, keeping their hearts and minds, the Apostle sums up this advanced position of grace with the words of our text as the finality or finish of the argument, and of the process of character-development: "Finally brethren."
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE."
This is the first question to be asked respecting any matter: Is it true or is it false? If it is false the Lord's people are to have nothing whatever to do with it, --no matter how beautiful. Love for the truth lies at the very foundation of saintship, and we remember that the Lord declares through the Apostle that those who will be rejected and stumbled in this harvest time are such as "receive not the truth in the love of it" ( 2Th 2:10) --such as have pleasure in unrighteousness (untruth). With our poor and at very best imperfect brains there is great danger of our being misled, and hence the Word of the Lord appeals to us with force that we should not even touch that which we realize is untrue. This does not mean that we may not weigh and balance evidences to discern the truth from the untruth; but it does mean that as soon as the truth is discovered it will be embraced and acknowledged, and the untruth as vigorously disavowed and completely withdrawn from. To tamper with error after we see it to be error to "see how it would reason out, anyway," when we know the matter is on a wrong basis, is to lay a trap for our spiritual feet, one which frequently stumbles travelers on the way to Zion.
If we are following God's admonition through the Apostle, in this text, it will mean an avoidance of fiction, of novels, of unrealities. This, on the other hand, will mean an increased reverence for whatsoever things are true, an increased devotion to them an increase of time for their study, and an increase of the spirit of truth in our hearts as a result.
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE HONEST."
The truth of the thing is only one of the tests to which it must be put. We may find a matter to be true and yet not find it to be worthy of our thought dishonorable. Who does not know that there are dishonorable and dishonoring thoughts, the pondering of which not only wastes valuable time, but instead of bringing a reward, a blessing for the time spent upon them, entails a loss, a disadvantage, in that it leaves a dishonorable stain in our minds, unworthy of us as new creatures in Christ Jesus?
The true but dishonorable or unworthy things presenting themselves for our consideration at the bar of our minds are perhaps oftenest in connection --with others--the weaknesses, the errors, the follies or what not of our neighbors, of our friends. The entertaining of these thoughts, the pondering of them, will be unfavorable to us, and the sooner we discern the matter and dismiss them the better, the happier, the more noble will be our own hearts. The dismission of these unworthy thoughts will leave us the opportunity and the energy, if we will, to expend that much more time upon whatsoever things are not only true but also honorable, worthy of our attention as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE JUST."
Here we have another limitation. Our minds are to be occupied in thinking about righteousness or just things, principles, etc.; we are not to be continually meditating upon grievances and injustices either real or imagined. We are to remember, on the contrary, that we are living in the period which the Scriptures denominate "the present evil world," and that it could not be this if Justice prevailed generally. We are to remember that hereunto we were called, --even to endure injustice, for righteousness' sake; --to do good, to lay down our lives in the service of the Lord and his Word, and yet to be evil-spoken of and to be misunderstood and to have all manner of evil said against us falsely for Christ's sake. We are, therefore, not to think strange of the fiery trials that shall surely come upon all who are of the Royal Priesthood; but rather, having settled this matter in advance, when we made our consecration we are to take it as it comes, as a matter of course, not grieving over nor specially thinking about the trials, the injustices, etc. And thus doing we will have the more time to give to thinking of the more helpful, the more strengthening, the more elevating things--the things that are just, the things that are in harmony with righteousness, respecting the past the present and the future, as promised in the Lord's Word.
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE."
There is a vast amount of impurity everywhere throughout the world. It, therefore, behooves the Lord's consecrated people to follow the Apostle's injunction and to carefully strain out the impurities and see that they do not enter into our hearts, our thoughts, realizing that with them in the result will be to work our defilement, to a greater or less degree. Whoever maintains purity of thought will have comparatively little effort in maintaining purity of word and of action. Whether the impurity come from one direction or another--from the world or the flesh or the devil--its attack must first of all be upon the mind; and if repelled there the victory is won: if not repelled we cannot know what the consequences would be, as the Apostle James declares: "Lust [selfish desire of any kind], when it has conceived [in the mind] bringeth forth sin [develops sinful words or deeds], and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."-- Jas 1:15.
No wonder, then, that the Apostle mentions the necessity for our thoughts being guarded along the line of purity, and that if a matter were ever so well established as a truth, and if it involved no injustice and even were not dishonorable, yet were impure this would be quite sufficient to condemn it as unworthy of the mind of the Lord's consecrated people. Nor is it to be overlooked that any smut or impurity entering into the mind may cause such a defilement as will give trouble in its complete eradication not only at the time, but for years afterward.
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY."
The saints are exhorted to be meek and peacemakers but in order to be thus they must have amiable thoughts, lovely and lovable thoughts, kind thoughts, gentle thoughts. These in turn will gradually develop into graces of character. We are not to think upon subjects gendering anger, hatred, strife --vexatious thoughts, quarrelsome thoughts, vindictive and contentious thoughts. These all are to be shunned as enemies to the new creature, and instead we are to think of the beautiful things, the amiable things, we may know respecting our neighbors, our friends; even though we be not able to fully close our eyes against their injustices or evil deeds, we may at least refuse to waste valuable time in thinking about their weaknesses and thus cultivating unamiable quarrelsome dispositions in ourselves.
"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT."
It may be argued by some that since the world hateth the light and the children of the light, and rejoiceth in iniquity and in getting the advantage over others, therefore those things which would be reputable with it would not be the holy things suitable to the thoughts of God's people. But not so we answer; the world does recognize to a considerable extent a right standard, even though it does not follow that standard, nor even pretend to do so-- even though it hates those who it sees are endeavoring to walk up to that standard; even though it calls the children of light hypocrites, and crucifies them as in the case of our Lord. It is policy and false religion that generally excite religious persecution. Nevertheless, if anyone will follow the standard that is reputable, and think upon those things he will find therein a blessing.
FOR THE VICTORS ARE THE REWARDS.
Some may feel that if they thus sifted and tested and rejected all the untrue, the unworthy, the unjust the impure and the unamiable thoughts presenting themselves, that they would have no topic left whereon to engage their minds, and this we believe would be true with a great many--their minds for a time would be quite vacant of thoughts, if all the evil and improper ones were rejected, banished; but by the time they would be in this attitude they would have such a "hunger and thirst after righteousness," truth things lovely, things pure, things noble, that they would be in the right condition to receive the very spiritual food which the Lord has provided for them. There is one thing, and one thing only, which fully combines all of the above propositions, and demonstrates itself to be the one thing true, honorable, just pure, lovely, --and that is, the divine character and plan. Let us think upon its various features. Let us study the divine Word and behold through it, as a telescope, the beauty of the divine character, the splendor of the divine plan, as revealed in God's Word and plan...whose length and breadth and height and depth no man can measure, and only the saints can comprehend by the holy spirit, and that in proportion as they receive of the holy spirit, the holy mind, the holy thoughts, replacing and displacing the unholy thoughts and sentiments of the natural man. ( Eph 3:18.) What a splendid premium the Lord thus places upon the study of his Word in the esteem of all who are of the class addressed by the Apostle in our text!
Such a ruling of the mind is a conquest; such a self-mastery is a victory; the greatest victory that can be gained. As the Scriptures declare, "He that ruleth his spirit [mind] is better than he that taketh a city." ( Pr 16:32.) And the prescription given by the Apostle in our text, for the mental health of the saints, is the very soul-discipline necessary to our development in character, to the degree pleasing to God and acceptable, through Christ Jesus our Lord. These are the victors to whom will be granted a share in the Kingdom. Ah, then, as the Apostle exhorts "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith" until he shall have become the finisher of it ( Heb 12:1,2); remembering that he who is on our part, and who has engaged to help us and to carry us through every difficulty, and to fully instruct us if we submit ourselves to him, and thus to "make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," is Jesus --who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood.
Well do the Scriptures generally enforce the importance of guarding the mind, the will, the heart saying, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." Keeping it, to the saints now called and in the race, means life more abundant with glory, honor and immortality. Neglecting it refusing to exercise self-control, means the permission of selfish desires to be conceived in our brains and to lead away from the Lord and his "narrow way" on toward sin, on toward the wages of sin-- death--Second Death.
August, 1918 Committee Bulletin
No. 1 AUGUST 1918
A Publication Devoted To The Interests Of The Believers In The Present Truth
The Bulletin is a monthly publication authorized by the friends at the Asbury Park Convention and is not a classified or standard publication, being merely designed to serve as a simple means of communication for those who have indicated their desire for a publication. Its object is to report matters of special interest relating to the general affairs of the Lord's people, such as Convention arrangements, business meetings, notices of meetings, and Pilgrim appointments, etc. Doctrinal matters cannot be considered. The Bulletin should be regarded as a temporary arrangement, to continue until it is decided to issue a publication in harmony with the wishes of the consecrated people of the Lord.
All communications addressed to the Committee, or for the Bulletin, should be sent to the Secretary, Brother I. F. Hoskins, 262 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The Committee appointed by the Bible Students assembled in Convention at Asbury Park, July 26-29, they having elected their own officers as authorized, is composed of the following brethren: J. D. Wright, Chairman; I. F. Hoskins, Secretary; P. L. Greiner, Treasurer; F. F. Cook, I. I. Margeson, F. H. McGee and H. C. Rockwell. The Committee is pledged, insofar as possible, to adhere to the directions and instructions of our late Pastor, Charles T. Russell, as voiced in the six volumes of the Scripture Studies, the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and his last Will and Testament. It is recognized that this is the only basis upon which the believers in the "present truth" can enjoy unity of thought and action. It is further recognized that all who cooperate on this basis, can accomplish more in advancing the cause of the Truth to the glory of God, our Heavenly Father, and in the interest of His people, than upon any other.
The amount of your subscription will continue to be held subject to your order, to be applied in payment when the regular publication is issued. The reasons for the delay in publishing are considered in the different articles appearing in this issue of the "Bulletin." As soon as the conditions have been met and complied with, the long and earnestly desired paper, that so many of the Lord's people in various parts of the world have been waiting for, will be issued.
It is our conviction that this happy consummation will be realized in the near future, as the prospects are bright and the needs are great. The date of your subscription will begin with the first issue of the regular publication, as the "Bulletin" is not what you subscribed for. This paper is issued free of charge, the cost being met out of the general fund, and is to serve up to the time of the issuance of the standard p publication.
It will be remembered that the Fort Pitt Hotel Convention at Pittsburgh authorized the original Committee to communicate with the friends to learn if they desired, among other forms of service, a publication, and to then carry out the expressed desire of the consecrated as indicated by the subscriptions given.
This Committee realizes that the subscribers to the proposed periodical, having paid for the paper, are the ones to decide whether it should be published and that they have done so, nevertheless, as a general Convention of the Lord's people called by the Committee, voted to delay the publication until after further action by the next general Convention to be called by this Committee, we have felt that, of course, the Convention's wishes should be carried out and the publication, which was already on the press, should not be issued. This delay was, in the main, due to the difficulty in issuing the paper without a publisher, some few objecting to a corporation; the large majority, however, seeing no objection to such an arrangement in order to enable the subscribers to control its policy.
IT WILL, no doubt. be a matter of interest to all to have a report of the Convention held at Asbury Park, July 26-29. We believe this conference of the friends resulted in t a rich blessing to nearly all present. In harmony with the previous announcement which many- of you received, the Convention was called to order at about 10 o'clock on the morning of July 26. There were friends gathered from quite a number of States, principally, of course, froth the East, but in harmony- with our expectations there was a goodly number of representatives present from distant points as far west its -Nebraska-approximately, about 300 were in attendance.
Many of those who came had not attended a general Convention since the death of our Pastor, and the privilege of again assembling with those of like precious faith caused their faces to shine and their hearts to burn with loving appreciation, especially as during the past year, the majority had felt keenly the pressure of the disquieting situation and the fiery- trials through which they- had passed. The selection of Asbury Park as the location for the Convention, we believe, was a good one, leaving, as many of you know, a number of advantages. III addition to its being centrally located, especially so far as the East is concerned, it is situated on the shore, and the beautiful ocean scenery as well as the delightful breezes from the water, adds mach to the individual comfort, and makes the city one of the most charming places, to come apart and rest from the rush and toil of daily routine.
The usual proceedings were carried out at this Convention. In preparing the program we were enabled to make selections of a number of brethren of ability- to address the friends among whom were several experienced speakers who were honored by Brother Russell on Convention programs in former year. There were from three to six discourses each day, besides the symposium, praise and testimony meetings, and ,l number of business sessions, thus making the time quite full from beginning to end. Brothers \V. H. Kimball of Boston. and R. E. Streeter of Providence, served admirably as Chairmen for the Convention. -
T he discourses were generally of a very spiritual and helpful character, dealing with one phase or another of the experiences of the true Church and particularly with the experiences and outlook of the Lord's people at the present hour. It was indeed, gratifying to note the general effort on the part of the speakers to call attention to the utmost necessity for the development of Christian character and the adorning of the life with tile graces and fruits of the holy spirit preparatory to the closely approaching union with the heavenly Bridegroom. Ill this connection frequent reference was made to the life and teachings of our departed Pastor anti of glow, though he has passed front our midst, his messages still speak to the Lord's people in living tones, admonishing all the footstep followers of Christ to perseverance and faithfulness in bearing the cross. in the hope of winning the crown tit glory which fadeth not away-. It was indeed encouraging to note the general tendency among the friends to love and cherish the memory of our beloved Pastor and to be loyal to his interpretation of the Word of the Lord.
Saturday afternoon, July 27, had been set apart for the business session at which time it was thought wise to give opportunity for the friends to express themselves with regard to the general interests of whatever work or ministry the Lord might be pleased to open up to His people. Then, as the Committee had been confronted with various problems and difficulties for some months previous, it was thought best to lay these before the Convention for consideration also. One of the brethren was asked to make a report with regard to the Committee and its proceedings up to the present time.
In his review, the brother went back to the time when the Committee was appointed at Pittsburgh, January 6, by a small company of about 32 persons, who had gathered for the Purpose of considering the general interests of the scattered sheep. The result of this conference being that a Committee of seven brethren was appointed by the remainder of the company, numbering 25, the purpose of the, Committee being to confer together, and seek to ascertain the Lord's will in respect to activities which might be mutually helpful in spiritual matters to the Lord's people throughout the country, especially with respect to preparing a periodical and arranging for Pilgrim service, and to carry out to the best of their ability and judgment whatever they might find to be the Lord's leading in these matters.
Soon after returning from the Pittsburgh Convention, the brethren 'began the preparation of a circular letter to be sent to the friends to inquire of them their wishes regarding some ministry in the way of a periodical and Pilgrim service. This letter went forward under date of March 1, 1913. The Committee, wishing to allow enough time for tile friends at distant places to respond to the letter, did not arrive at any definite conclusion as to what work should be undertaken until a meeting was held about six weeks after the circular letter was sent forth. At this meeting the general response to the letter was considered and it was found that nearly all the communications to the Committee expressed a desire for a periodical. The response was so favorable the Committee decided that it should look seriously in the direction of preparing for the periodical, even to the appointing of an Editorial Committee, which was authorized to arrange and prepare matter for the publication.
It was explained in this connection that while the Committee was of one mind in the belief that some general ministry should be provided for the Lord's people, yet on the other hand, during all this time and even up to the tinge of this Convention, tile Committee found itself confronted with serious difficulties and problems which made it practically impossible to proceed satisfactorily with any kind of service. These difficulties and problems were occasioned by the fact that three of the brethren of the Committee had developer some new lines of thought from the types and symbolisms of the Bible, which to them was new ,and important light. anal which they insisted should be received and acted upon by the entire Committee. Accordingly, vigorous efforts were made to have the policy and work of the Committee fit these new interpretations of Scripture, which were not accepted nor endorsed by the majority of the Committee. As, for example, when just recently, the Committee had decided to issue the periodical, the question arose as to which would be the best and wisest method of sending out the paper and transacting business incidental thereto. Various suggestions were made as to who or what should constitute the publisher. Some suggested that the name of one of the members of the Committee be given as the publisher and stand sponsor for the publication, or that three or more of the members of the Committee act as publishers, etc. But these suggestions were seriously objected to by the Committee's majority, on the ground that it would riot at all be considered wise to start the paper or any kind of ministry on a basis that it could be controlled by one individual or even by a Committee of seven persons. Therefore, we should carefully guard against anything of this kind by establishing the paper and the work on a basis and in a manner that the entire controllership would rest in the hands of the subscribers - the friends themselves, and be subject to any change that they might wish to make at any time.
In order to do this, it was pointed out to the Committee by Brother McGee, who is well versed in legal matters, that a business corporation should be formed, similar in kind to that of the Watch 'rower Bible and Tract Society, arid which in New York is called a Membership Company. This arrangement would permit each subscriber to have membership in the company, and the right arid power to control the work and its policies, would always remain with the subscribers, arid could not be dominated by any one person or a clique of individuals; just as Brother Russell had organized the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society on the same basis, with the understanding that the controllership would be in the hands of the shareholders, particularly after his death.
The three members of the Committee signified their opposition at once to such an arrangement, claiming that they had Scriptural ,;round for thinking that it was wrong to form a corporation, and wrong for the Lord's people to form such an organization. But it was explained that this proposed business corporation was not, in any sense, an organizing of the Church, for this was all accomplished in the beginning of the Age when our Lord and the Apostles laid out the rules and regulations arid formed the organization of the Church for the entire Age. Neither was this suggested corporation the forming of a new sect or another denomination, any more than Brother Russell had organized the Church, or formed a new sect when he organized the various business corporations by which to transact business in harmony with the laws of the land arid to carry on the work of the ministry. This corporation now proposed by the majority of the Committee, was merely for the same purpose-that all things might be done decently and in order, and that the controllership of the work might rest in the hands of the truth people themselves.
However, it was explained that the Committee took no action in the matter of forming a corporation, preferring to bring this feature before the Convention for settlement, arid consequently the periodical was not yet issued.
Thus it was pointed out that two different lines of policy were being advocated in the Committee. The one which might be termed the radical policy, advocating the promulgation of new and, to many, doubtful arid surprising lines of thought; and the other, the conservative policy which advocated such lines of thought arid such ministry of the Word as were clearly established by plain statements of Scripture. In view of this situation in which the Committee found itself unable to go ahead harmoniously it was explained that the entire matter was now in the hands of the Convention to take tip and act upon as it saw fit.
Following this report, the question arose as to the authority of the Committee to exist, and it was explained that the Committee's authority was based merely upon the appointment of the twenty-five persons gathered at the Fort Pitt Hotel at Pittsburgh, .January 6, arid that the appointment of the Committee was not for any specified length of time, but was subject to dismissal at any time. It was then ascertained that the majority of those who had formed the gathering at the Fort Pitt Hotel, January 6, were present at the Convention, and these at once signified their desire and willingness to turn over to the Convention all of their rights and privileges so far as the appointing of tile Committee was concerned. At this point the members of the Committee unitedly offered their resignation. Following, a motion was unanimously passed accepting the resignation of the Committee and expressing thanks and appreciation for their labors of love and for their services thus far rendered. The brethren who resigned were: J. D. Wright, R. H. Hirsh, P. S. L. Johnson R. G. Jolly, I. I. Margeson, F. H. McGee and I. F. Hoskins.
The matter next considered was that of electing a new Committee and considerable discussion followed as to just what way another Committee could serve the friends, and just what lines of service could be taken tip. However, without at once determining the exact lines along which another Committee would be expected to work, nominations were placed in order for a new Committee. Vote was taken with the result that the following brethren were elected by a large majority: Brothers J. D. Wright, H. Clay Rockwell, I. F. Hoskins, F. H. McGee, I. I. Margeson, F. F. Cook arid P. L. Greiner.
Another motion was passed recommending that the new Committee meet as soon as possible and formulate such lines of service as it might think best to take up and have these ready to present to the Convention before it should adjourn. Thus closed the proceedings of the business session Saturday afternoon.
Sunday morning a meeting of the Committee was called and after about an hour's deliberation, the following recommendations as to lines of service to be taken tip were decided upon, to be placed before the Convention.
(1) That the Committee be authorized to arrange for another Convention whenever it might seem advisable.
(2) That the Committee be authorized to issue a periodical and make such arrangements for Pilgrim work as the funds may justify.
(3) That the seven brethren of the Committee be constituted Trustees and that they be authorized to arrange for a non-profit corporation-a company not for profit, similar in kind to that of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society-called in New York a Membership Company.
Following the afternoon discourses on Sunday these recommendations were read to the Convention. Considerable discussion grew out of these recommendations, principally with regard to forming a business organization through which to issue the periodical and carry on the work. It would seem proper here to state that two brethren who were members of the former Committee Brothers Johnson and Jolly, stated that they were opposed to the organizing of a corporation and made vigorous protests against anything of the kind, claiming that they had Scriptural reasons, in the types and symbolisms of the Old Testament for believing that it was contrary to the Word of the Lord and therefore wrong for any who were running the race for membership in the Little Flock to have anything to do with a corporation, organized to carry on a religious work; and these brethren insisted that opportunity be given them to present their Scriptural reasons for taking this stand toward forming a corporation. The friends, desiring to have all the light possible upon this and every question, voted to give these brethren a hearing with regard to their views on the subject. In harmony therewith, Brother Johnson was heard for an hour and a half. Following his presentation one of the brethren of the Committee made a brief reply in refutation of the arguments that had been presented against the forming of an organization. It was additionally explained that the Committee had no thought whatever of trying to organize the Church, or of establishing another sect; that nothing could be farther from their intentions. But believing that whatever work was started should be established on a basis that could be fully controlled by the main body of Truth people themselves, and to prevent anything in the nature of headship and individual controllership from creeping in, the business corporation was suggested as the very best way to issue the periodical and transact business in connection with the general ministry.
Following this summing tip, a vote was taken as to the scripturalness of forming a business corporation with the result that the majority signified their belief that there is nothing in the Scriptures condemning a business corporation, organized for the purpose of carrying on a religious work by those who are striving for membership in the Little Flock. However, in view of the doubt raised in the minds of some as to the advisability of using a corporation, a minority expressed their doubt by voting in the negative. Consequently it was deemed wise by the majority not to insist on or urge the organizing of a corporation or the issuing of the publication at this time, believing that by resting the matter for a while, the will of the Lord would be more clearly manifest and the matter could be taken tip any time at a later Convention.
A motion was passed, however, authorizing the Committee to issue a bulletin which would not be intended to contain general teaching or doctrinal matter, but principally to give general information of interest to the friends, and by which the various classes might be kept in touch with one another. Additionally, a motion was passed authorizing the Committee to arrange for such Pilgrim work as the funds might justify, and to call other general Conventions whenever it may seem advisable. It is recognized that the different Ecclesias have the right and privilege to arrange for Local Conventions, but the General Conventions which affect the interests of all the Ecclesias, should be called and arranged for by the entire Church, through its chosen representatives, the duly appointed Committee. This matter is clearly understood by all order-loving and law-abiding people, and requires no elaboration.
The Convention closed Monday afternoon with a Love Feast, mid song and praise, heartily participated in by all, and as the friends bid each other "God speed," and "God be with you," the one spirit of the Great Head of the Church was plainly manifest in their faces and told of the longing in their hearts for the last final Convention-the general assembly of the Church of the FirstBorn beyond the veil.
January 6, 1918, to August 3, 1918
Donations and Subscriptions $3,820.89
Committee's General Expenses $111.09
Printing and Mailing Circular Letters 464.57
Office Rent, Help and General Expenses 577.74
Convention Expenses 416.59
Printing Sample Periodical 141.82
Total expended $1,711.81
Balance on hand $2,109.08
In reviewing the events of the Convention held at Asbury Park, it is now recognized that considerable latitude was given two of the brethren, who were insistent in stating their views, in the way of taking up the time and the attention of the friends.
An hour and a half was devoted to the expression of their views by one of these brethren on the first day. During the business meetings of the next day the other brother was frequently on his feet objecting and interposing even to the extent of speaking when requested to sit down by the Chairman, who had recognized someone else. This brother was given an additional half hour in which to further state his views. The larger portion of the two business meetings was taken up in considering the matter submitted by these brethren. The following day, Sunday, one of these brethren was to speak on the topic selected by himself and which was announced oil the program. In place of doing so, he left his subject and proceeded to relate personal experiences which, while appealing to the emotions and sentiments of some of his hearers, was not appropriate to the occasion. During a limited business session in the afternoon following this discourse, the other brother arose and stated that an opportunity should be given "to hear the Word of the Lord" (their own theories relating to the types principally) on the very subject which the other brother should have considered in his forenoon lecture and which he had been announced to speak on. So the friends, kind-hearted, long-suffering and gracious, decided, after some discussion, to upset the program arrangements, and remove from the program a brother who had journeyed a long distance front the west to speak at the Convention, and listen to some more of these views. Accordingly, an hour and a half was allotted one of these brethren Sunday evening. After this further hearing, a "straw vote" was taken and the majority vote was against his contentions. Again, on Monday these brethren were heard from.
The two brethren still feel that they were denied a fair hearing and, therefore, have adopted further means of circulating their views.
In consideration of the foregoing, the suggestion is made that it would be advisable to adhere more strictly to the arrangements outlined on the program, at future Conventions, and not permit a determined faction or minority to interfere with the spiritual interests of those who are assembled together for worship and mutual edification.
1 Corinthians 14:40.
RECOGNIZING THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE of order, organization, exercised in all of the arrangements of the Heavenly Father, our greatly loved Pastor, Charles T. Russell, endeavored to arrange the various lines of activity in the service of the Truth, in the most efficient and systematic ways by forming a number of business organizations, such as "The International Bible Students Association," "The Peoples Pulpit Association," "The United States Investment Co.," and "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," all of which were singularly blessed of the Lord and accomplished a marvelous work over the whole earth.
This latter organization, "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," was an especial instrumentality through which the great work was carried on during the lifetime of our Pastor, and as planned by him, was to be the continued agency after his death. This evident purpose was interfered with by those who set aside Brother Russell's arrangements and plans and substituted others. The result of these perturbations lists meant a ,general sifting, demonstrating those who are sincerely loyal to the Lord's arrangements as expressed through the Pastor, and those who profess to be and are not.
It would seem that the time has now come, in the Divine Providence, for the work to lie taken up as far as possible, where it was left at the time of the passing under the "veil" of Brother Russell, and be carried on to whatever end or conclusion may please the Lord, until the last member of the Body has been glorified.
In order to do this, the forming of a business corporation under the laws of New York State is proposed. This simple business corporation is to enable the different congregations to cooperate along general lines and he the means of preserving unity and harmony in thought and purpose. Without some such an arrangement no concerted action on the part of the Lord's people would be possible. Each Ecclesia, acting locally, would develop into a faction and its efforts would necessarily have local limitations. In place of having one body, with the Classes constituting the different members, and all working unitedly in the accomplishment of a broad and general work over the world, there would be innumerable bodies, more or less in confusion and opposition to one another, with little or no work accomplished.
The specified reasons for this organization are:
(1) To act as a kind of "clearing house" of whatever doctrinal matters may be in circulation or may be proposed for circulation among the Lord's people.
(2) To form a reliable and responsible depository of all funds contributed and required for the advancement of the work.
(3) To act as a medium through which the Church collectively may execute business arrangements essential to the accomplishment of any enterprise of great or lesser magnitude.
(4) To be endowed with the legal authority to issue a classified publication, as a representative of the thoughts and sentiments oŁ the Church, and to publish tracts, Booklets, and kindred forms of printed matter for the work of the ministry.
(5) To serve as a means of preserving unity of thought and action, without which, a condition of confusion and inaction is sure to result, and just as we see slowly developing everywhere among the Lord's people at the present time. Would-be scribes, some of large and some of lesser mental caliber, are leading many off in different directions, following after some pet theory or hobby, confusing the poor sheep who are unwary, and who no longer hear the advice and instructions of their beloved Pastor.
(6) To be the agency through which General Conventions may be arranged for, and the time and place together with the entertaining features to be decided, and duly announced through its publications.
(7) To arrange and develop the lecture or Pilgrim service, providing able brethren sound in doctrine and faith, tried and true in character, as well as in teaching, to serve the friends from place to place as may be desired, and to give public ministrations. Which shall it be - ORGANIZATION - with its attendant conditions of order, harmony, efficiency, advancement, and accomplishment of service to the honor of our Lord, in the interests of the truth, and to the blessing of the faithful, watching saints, or - DISORGANIZATION -- with its concomitants of disorder, confusion. misapplied efforts, and a gradual subsidence into obscurity and final disintegration?
"Of making many books there is no end." Ecclesiasties 12:12.
A multitude of books, booklets, papers and pamphlets are pouring forth from every quarter and many of these purport to be "New Light" on the types and symbols of the Bible. We have been asked by some who are being confused and perplexed, as to our views on some of this so-called "New Light." Our reply has been general, that we know of no genuine, bona-fide new revelations of the Word of the Lord.
What is the effect of these new views, some of which are far-fetched and fanciful, upon the minds of the friends' Do they exercise an edifying, uplifting influence upon the mind and heart, or do they have a tendency to confuse and bewilder and to develop a lack of peace, harmony and love'
This is tile tithe above all others when many are "tossed to and fro and are being carried about with every wind of doctrine" that blows (Ephesians 4:14), but beloved, be you steadfast, immovable, sound in doctrine and faith; holding fast to the glorious message of the Truth, which the Lord our God, so graciously dispensed to the household of faith, through the ministrations of that wise and faithful steward. Let us avoid vain imaginings and speculations regarding the symbolisms of the Scriptures, reflecting upon the severe chastisements of the Lord visited upon those who have done so during the recent past. To our sorrow we say it, that we know of a number of prominent and able Bible Students who, failing to give heed to these striking experiences of others, are now speeding along in the same direction, bewildering and confusing those who are not as fully developed as they should be, and who are in danger of being plunged into discouragement and despair.
Let its continue admonishing one another, and exhorting one another to Christian steadfastness, buckling on the whole armor of God, with which we will be amply protected from all of the vigorous assaults of the great Adversary, and be able to stand in this "evil day" when so many are falling away from the true faith.
In regard to the so-called advanced light on Revelations, Elijah and Elisha, etc., we, the members of the Committee, desire it to be distinctly understood that we do not endorse any other statements or teachings made thus far than those of our late Pastor, Charles T. Russell.
Should any lecturers or writers set forth matter, other than that contained in the Scripture Studies, Watch Towers to date of October 1, 1916, and the Pastor's sermons, they do so on their own responsibility and not with our endorsement. The foregoing statement applies tip to the present time.
Nov. 15, 1910-Tower.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL-Just one year ago I came into the Truth. I was exceedingly rejoiced with the many wonderful truths entirely new to me, though I had been educated for the ministry, and preached for three years; and had passed normal school examinations and taught school for several years.
My temporal surroundings, as well as my newly acquired desire to penetrate the new and unknown fields of the now unsealed Book, led me to long for a further unfolding of these new and surprising truths. I could wish that there were one hundred volumes of such studies, instead of six; and instead of contenting myself with a careful assimilation and application of that already learned, I sought rather for new conquests.
I began with the help of Strong 's concordance to delve into tile meanings of words. I sought to make pictures and draw types front nearly every chapter in the Bible. I tried to fit the meaning of every proper name to some one, and usually concluded that it referred to Brother Russell. My faculty for seeing pictures and types became so developed that my eye could skim over a chapter, jumping at a chance picture here and there, and missing nearly all the original meaning and proper application of the text.
The Bible I loved was thus becoming quite barren to me in respect to its intended use. Instead of using it to supply my much needed armor, I was enjoying it more as one would enjoy a picture book or "Grimm's Fairy Tales."
Since my speculations were unwarranted, they naturally contradicted each other. One picture would bring me to one conclusion, and another would seem to contradict it. It became quite confusing.
Finally I came to the point where it became quite difficult for me to distinguish between Truth and error; and I was in danger of losing my appreciation of the Truth and devoting myself to the fanciful. Nor did I realize the great danger I was in until a short time ago, the Lord used our clear Brother Saphore to point out to me my mistake. I cannot express to you what a blow it was to me to see that most of my Bible study for a whole year was not only of no account, but of a negative influence not only to myself, but to those I may have thus influenced.
I deeply regret my mistake, and have vowed to my Lord that henceforth, trusting iii His grace to help, I will to the best of my ability more zealously appreciate and pursue the study of the Truth, and cease all speculation and type-making.
I am endeavoring, dear Brother, to retrace my steps; to learn again to discern between fact and theory, and- to make no positive statement except that which I know, and can prove by the Bible to be Truth-fully warranted and established.-Isaiah 8:20.
The article in the September 15 Tower, page 297, entitled, "Is the Reading of the Scripture Studies Bible Study?" has been of great help to me; and I am now reading at least twelve pages every day and seeking to keep all my Bible study within the bounds of that which is known, and given to us by tile Lord as meant in due season.
Now, Brother, I fear that many are making a similar mistake of rash speculation to the end that perhaps many will stumble. I pray for such that they may see their mistake and the great danger thus impending over those who thus build upon speculation, and are sure to see their speculations fall. Oh ! that our faith may be built upon nothing unstable as a part of its foundation, for "This is the victory that overcometh the world-even your faith."
R. G. JOLLY.
Australia, July 2, 1918.
Dear Brethren in Christ-I sent you a wire yesterday asking for information regarding the situation in respect to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. From reports here the President and Directors would appear to have been sentenced to a long term of imprisonment and we are wondering how this may affect the policy of the Society, and whether the shareholders now may realize that a great mistake has .been made, and may be the Society will now get on a right basis of work to carry along as Brother Russell would have wished. I would fain hope so, and yet it seems to me as though the Lord had- permitted Brother Rutherford just to bring the matter to a stop ; as though Brother Russell's work was an unique one and must stand alone. However, I am glad that you, along with the other Directors, are endeavoring to be a comfort and blessing to the Lord's people in the trying conditions, and I ]lope that the project of Issuing a periodical may be attained.
I have had lily experiences here in connection with the relinquishing of the position of representative of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and am sending you a paper which will give just ail idea of my experiences. I have no doubt these brethren all mean well, but there seems to be a spirit of delusion goes along with the volume they falsely call "Pastor Russell's Seventh Volume," which takes away the spirit of a sound mind. I am glad that I do not feel unkindly toward them, but can leave them with the Lord to judge.
I sought to act fairly and straightly towards the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and wrote as soon as I discerned that wrong had been done to
yourself and the other three Directors, and again as soon as I could see that the "Finished Mystery" was not only contrary to the Lord, His Word and His Spirit, but also discreditable to Brother Russell, seeing that they had the assumption to class it as his.
I wrote to you four Directors at the same time, but did not have any reply. It may be lily letter failed to reach you or your answer may have been lost on the way.
I had expected to look for some living in another way when I left the position I had held so long, but some of the friends earnestly requested that I take up the organization of the "Bible Students Tract Society" and carry along as hitherto, in harmony with what we believe would be Brother Russell's wish. A Committee of five has been formed and we have lead good support already, and we trust just to press along as the Lord may open the way, our first object being to comfort and encourage the interested and then to do good to all as we may have opportunity.
We published the letter from the late four Directors and have had several requests for your periodical, and so I added to the cable "fifty copies periodical," which I hope you understood to mean to increase the order which you would receive over the signature of Sister F. I. McMahen for forty copies. However, it will not matter if you have sent us these extra, for we can use them as specimen copies. We shall be very glad to cooperate with you in this way so long as you follow the Lord and His spirit, and this we have felt you have so far done. * * *
Regarding the expense in connection with the periodical, I suppose that you would send us a few copies to use as specimens which we would circulate, and then it would seem right that a few cents on each subscription should be retained by us. Let us know your thoughts in the matter and also supply us with all particulars of your work, and maybe you can send us some little matter for publication in our "Peoples Paper" which at present is monthly. * * *
With Christian love and praying the Lord's guidance and blessing with you, arid hoping soon to have some copies of the new paper, and also to hear from you.
Yours in the service of Christ,
R. E. B. NICHOLSON
As quite a number of requests have been received for the services of Pilgrim or Lecturing brethren, arrangements are being made to develop this branch of the service, both locally and generally. All desirous of these visits of the traveling brethren should briefly outline, on á postcard preferably, the arrangements that can be made for meetings, either public or private ; the facilities for entertaining the speakers, together with full particulars for reaching the place of meeting. No charge is made for these services, and as there are no collections taken, the expenses of this and other branches of the service are met out of the general fund, composed of the voluntary contributions of the friends desiring to share in this work. The extent of this and other lines of service is, of course, dependent upon the cooperation of the Lord's people in this regard. All those desiring a share in this ministry may communicate with the Committee's Secretary.