VOL. XXI July, 1938 No. 7
"When ye see these things come to pass,
THE Christian, daily scanning the news of the world for evidences of the approach of God's Kingdom, finds abundant "signs" to cause him to rejoice in its proximity. But it is a sad commentary on the indifference of religious people in general -that these same evidences fail to elicit from them an acknowledgement of their true significance. In the midst of all the world shaking events, with crisis after crisis rapidly succeeding each other; with revolutions, troubles, distresses seemingly everywhere; wars and upheavals in various parts of the earth; fear and perplexity seizing hold on all who have intelligence enough to endeavor to understand the meaning of the things which are coming to pass -on the earth-the masses of the people have become so accustomed to these unusual conditions, that they are now being accepted with tragic fatalism, as the natural state of affairs.
Many seem to think that the unsettled condition of humanity has always obtained, not realizing that though there have been great troubles in the past, the state of upheaval today is extraordinary, its commencement being easily traced to the World-war.
Present Distress to Terminate in the "Desire of all Nations"
The year 1914 witnessed the beginning of a period of travail which students of the Scriptures understand will terminate in the establishment of the desire of all nations, the Kingdom of God on earth. Though all men have not faith and do not foresee the blessed culmination of this tribulation period, yet thoughtful men recognize that the World-war, which brought so many powerful nations to the brink of ruin, was the first dreadful spasm of the now constantly recurring pains besetting all nations. But -only a comparatively few Christians, of all earth's masses, know the eventuality -that these pare "birth pains" that will result in a new -order of things, " a new heavens and a new earth"; and that the old order will pass away in the process of giving birth to the new. True, men are not lacking who from press and pulpit are calling attention to our times as being a transition period, and many are the schemes, plans, and solutions proffered for the perplexing problems of society.
Among these are calls for humanity to unite in a religious unity of brotherly love as being the only hope of solution, and the press is constantly bearing witness to the endeavors of the various religious denominations to group themselves in some federation to thereby facilitate a revival work among mankind. Many of these efforts are commendable and merit the sympathy of all true Christians, but alas, how short-sighted are the plans of men. Few have ears for the message that this is the day of God's "shaking the heavens and the earth" preparatory to the building of a new order of things, the Golden Age longed for by all. As a rule men remain proud and unbroken in spirit, and God has yet to cause the haughtiness of man to cease. In the very midst of scenes of change, the like of which have never before been witnessed by history; with the most powerful nations undergoing a shaking process to their very foundations; with cruelty and barbarism rife amongst some of the most civilized people; with the Jewish nation being restored to its homeland according to, prophecy, for the first time in 1800 years, and with many other evidences of stupendous change, most men are coolly accepting all these events as the normal course of humanity in its onward path to a better state to be brought about by their own efforts; and they scoff at any who would point out to them from the pages of Holy Writ the marvelous words of prophecy which show the real meaning of world distress. By their very scoffing and deriding of God's Word, they are themselves unwittingly fulfilling Scripture. We note the Apostle Peter's words (2 Pet. 3:3, 4), "There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of His presence [Greek-parousia]? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Yes, men will ignore the promise of Christ's second coming and ridicule the signs pointed out to them as proof, though these signs be the very ones promised by the Master Himself to instruct His waiting disciples at the end of this Age.
The Hope of the World
How sad is the realization that though every church building in the world is a monument to a faith in Christ's first coming, yet from how pitifully few does the message come forth regarding His second presence, especially in view of the fact that this has been the great hope since the days of the early Christians, and of which the Bible has more to say than concerning His first coming. 'This very ignorance shows forth plainly the barrenness of the Laodicean stage of the nominal church and is a further proof of these last days. "Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Prov. 29:18.) "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." - Amos 8:11, 12.
The Scriptures witness that the "day of the Lord," despite the tremendous events on earth accompanying it, will nevertheless be unknown as such to humanity, who by reason of the fact that the "day" of tribulation will extend over a period of years (some of which are now past) and the gradual acclimatization of the nations to the successive "pains," will cause them to be lulled into a state of stoical refusal to acknowledge these events as presaging the long prayed for Kingdom of God. Consider the Master's words when, after having given the signs by which His days could be recognized, He concludes (Luke 21:35): "For as a snare shall it come [that day-see preceding verse] on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Again "For as the days of Noah, thus will be the presence of the Son of Man. For as in those days, those before the Deluge, they were eating and drinking, marrying, and pledging in marriage, till the day that Noah entered the Ark, and understood not, till the Deluge came and swept them all away; thus will be the presence of the Son of Man." (Matt. 24:37-39, Diaglott.) Again, "Behold, I come as a thief," that is, quietly and unexpectedly. - Rev. 16:15.
These Scriptures, amongst many others, plainly foretell the ignorance of mankind as to the meaning of the momentous events transpiring on the earth and also teach that men will fail to recognize in these events anything unusual. The child of God must not permit himself to be discouraged by the insensibility of men to the Word of the Lord, but should continue to let his light shine, "Cast his bread on the waters," and leave the result with Him who can read the hearts of all and who will in due time draw all men to Himself through the mediatorial Kingdom of His Son and the Church, the Bride of Christ. Let us work while it is yet day for "the night cometh, when no man can work."
Cornerstone of Church Code Omitted
Two recent religious new items have come to note -one favorable, the other unfavorable. We quote the first from the Chicago Tribune:
"The general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (meeting at Meridian, Wisconsin) voted 151 to 130 today to omit two sections of its confession of faith which some speakers said formed the cornerstone of the church code. The sections omitted concerned the predestination of man by divine election. The two sections voted out read: 'By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death. And their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.'"
No further information is given, but we are pleased to see the great forward step taken by our Presbyterian friends in ridding themselves of creedal errors, and our sincere desire is that they may come to understand the true Biblical teaching concerning God's election in the Gospel Age now ending, and the free grace He will extend to all throughout the Millennial Age, at our doors.
Nazification of Christian Faith
The second religious item we quote from the New York Herald-Tribune:
"A declaration of faith in Chancellor Adolf Hitler is included in a Nazified 'apostle's creed' proposed to the German churches by two Evangelical Protestant pastors of the Province of Mecklenburg. The radically revised creed, which is replete with violent denunciations of the Jews as the crucifers of Christ and 'the root of all evil,' was used at Easter confirmation services by several Mecklenburg Protestant churches. The text, which has been published by a church periodical opposed to the Nazification of its Christian faith, reads:
"'We believe in the Eternal God who reveals Himself in creation and history. We do not believe in Jehovah, the national God of the Jews.
"'We believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ the great Warrior who was crucified by the Jews. We do not believe in the Jewish Messiah, the butchered victim of Jehovah. We believe in our German nation created by God. We do not believe that the Jews are a chosen people.
"'We believe in our holy Motherland which is called Germany. We do not believe in the promised land of Palestine, with its Jerusalem.
"'We believe in the unwritten divine rules and laws. We do not believe in dogmas, denominations and holy letters.
"'We do not believe in the Pope in Rome, nor the Evangelical Popes (Bishops), but we do believe in our Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, and his ultimate victory for the future welfare of our Fatherland, as desired by God and blessed by God.
"'We do not believe in the power of the keys and the spiritual authority of priests. But we do believe in the power of submission and the sacrifice of the German people, willing to serve, and in the power of the true comradeship.
"'We do not believe in the churches' denominations and sects, claiming the monopoly of all means of grace. But we do believe in religious liberation and reunion of people in a positive Christian community of faith for all Germans."'
Here we have a mixture of truth and error which is the more painful as it proceeds from a former stronghold of Christian religion. Especially do we decry the increasing tendency to ignore the fact that Israel is still God's people. "God has not cast away His people which He foreknew." (Rom. 11:2.) True, they were disobedient, and surely all will agree that the pages of history abundantly testify to their terrible sufferings in consequence thereof; but God's promise to the Patriarch Fathers is sure and unchangeable, and in His own time He will return them to His full favor and restore them to their own land to become a blessing to all the families of the earth. This is the plain teaching of Scripture and is definitely sealed by the Apostle Paul in that wonderful chapter-Romans 11. Would that all persecutors of this long-suffering race might take heed to the advice of Gamaliel (Acts 5:38, 39) lest haply they be found even to fight against God. Would that Christians everywhere could see in the restoration of the Jewish peoples (the budding of the fig tree) an irrefutable evidence that summer is nigh, that Messiah's Kingdom is even at the doors.
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." - 1 Thess. 5:4-6.
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." - Lev. 25:10.
THE FACT of mankind's universal enslavement has perhaps never before been so fully apparent as it is today.
Man's liberty is severely curtailed by the state in many of the nations of the earth. Dictators have seized both the law-making and the law-enforcing power, and like the feudal monarch of another day, each declares 'I am the state,' and all citizens owe me unquestioning and unreserved obedience." And with ruthless severity submission is enforced upon all.
These self-constituted national taskmasters strut and pose like pouter-pigeons in the sunshine of their little day. But they seem to realize as was expressed by the "Sun-king" of yesterday, that "After us comes the deluge"; hence with insane frenzy they pile up armaments and make preparations for war on a scale unprecedented even by the World-war. Yesterday Ethiopia, and today poor Spain and China, are the proving-grounds for their armaments and practice-fields for their war-experts, with human flesh and blood as the material for their fiendish experiments. The best antidote the Christian knows for the sickening effect upon the beholders of their "great swelling words" and acts of bombast and frightfulness, is a re-reading of the second Psalm. "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion! . . . Be wise, be instructed, ye earthly great ones! Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and ye perish in the way!"
How comparatively happy in his surroundings is the citizen of a democracy, where civil liberties are respected by the government! The inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" -- what a precious heritage from our fathers! Well may we cherish and celebrate it!
Beginning of Man's Enslavement
Irksome as is political bondage, there are other forms of enslavement that are more degrading. Jesus said: "Everyy one that committeth sin is- the slave of sin." (John 8:34.) Man's enslavement began with Adam's disoibedience; his descendants with but one exception have all inherited his bonds as it is written: "'Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." Of but one son of man has it been recorded that He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," and because of this distinction and its concomitants, that One was called "The Son of Man," as well as the Son of God.
Complete and final release from man's enslavement to sin comes only with his death. Said poor Job, who suffered so greatly for the education of others as well as himself:
So also the Apostle Paul gives voice to mankind's plaint: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" -- his own enslaved body, and the larger body of Adam's dying race.
The founders of the great American republic declared its political independence more than a hundred and sixty years ago, yet eighty years later it was found necessary to proclaim and to pay in blood for the further freeing of three million slaves within its own body. So the sinner, seeking the freedom offered by Jesus Christ, attains that freedom by a series of declarations of independence and proclamations of emancipation.
A Prophecy of Emancipation
The herald angels proclaimed its beginning at the birth of Jesus: "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Thirty years later Jesus Himself announced His mission in these words
So Paul answers his own cry: "Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord." But he adds: "So then I myself with the mind, indeed, serve God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
In his flesh, as in the flesh of every man, lurk thoughts, habits, tendencies, desires, which are still the slaves of sin. Against them a battle must be waged unceasingly. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh ... casting down imaginations ... and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" -- which is really liberty; since His yoke is easy, His burden light.
"Where the spirit of Christ is, there is liberty." The proof of our possession of the Christ-spirit in high degree is not our insistence on liberty for ourselves; a greater test, which each follower of Christ is certain to face sooner or later, is our willingness to grant full liberty and equality to our brethren. Every division, sect, denomination and persecution among professing Christians is and ever has been due to intolerance of brethren, of others who will not accede to our way of thinking. On this point Brother Russell has well observed.
True Doctrine of Christian Liberty
"It is one of the curious things in human history to see how generally the persecuted have become in turn the persecutors the moment the power was lodged in their hands. And why? Because the true principle of Christian liberty had not been grasped, and is to this day apprehended by only a few. The right of any body of men to differ from others has always been claimed by them; there is no novelty in that. From the beginning, every Christian sect that has arisen has vehemently contended for its right to differ from others. It has protested against persecution-that is to say, the persecution of itself by others. But in few cases has any sect conceded the right of others to differ from it, or forborne to persecute when it had the power. And in our own day each man is prompt to claim and assert the right to think for himself, but how loath most are to concede the equal right of all other men to think for themselves.
Every one resents any attempt to coerce him into the avowal of anything that he does not honestly believe, but how few fail to attempt to coerce others.
"The true doctrine of Christian liberty is not our right to think for ourselves, but the right of the other man to think for himself. There is no danger now that our right will not be insisted upon and enforced, particularly if our thinking happens to fall in with that of the majority. It is the other man's liberty that is in danger, particularly if he is in the minority. It is 'his liberty that demands defense at all hazards; for, if liberty is denied him, how long will it be conceded to us?
"To demand liberty for the other man, even when he differs from us, is not to admit that truth and error are essentially one, or to deny that it is of great consequence what the other man believes and teaches. It may be our duty to oppose with all our might what he teaches, to denounce it as a deadly error. But this may be done without identifying the man with what he teaches, and without the display of the spirit of intolerance and persecution. We need not try to make the man odious because his opinion is odious to us. To be loyal to the truth, and yet faithfully to recognize the equal rights of all men to free thought and free speech is not always an easy task. The two may, however, be combined. And nothing can be more certain than the preservation of Christian liberty for any if conditioned on the concession of that liberty for all."
New Method for Introducing the Truth
The Bible Students Committee of England has supplied the British friends with a series of three cards for the purpose of introducing the Truth. Since this method has secured good results, we have prepared two cards of similar intent. Number One of these is distributed by various means to the general public. The card contains instruction that if the recipient is interested and will return it to us, we will send free literature regarding the permission of evil and what may be expected as the outcome of present conditions in the world. With this literature we will also send the second card, and if this card is returned to us, the special issue of the "Herald" on the subjects of "What Say the Scriptures about Hell" and "Our Lord's Return," as treated by Brother Russell, with additional tracts as requested, will be sent. This second card also offers the "Divine Plan of the Ages" for thirty cents or as a loan.
We believe this affords an opportunity for the friends to engage in a service that may result in much blessing to some who are hungering for the Truth in these days when there is a "famine in the land." Please order freely of card Number One -- as many as you are able to use judiciously. Mailing them to selected addresses seems to have worked best, but distribution by any method has brought good returns.
Opportunities for Service
If you are being blessed by the ministry of the "Herald," do you not know of others who need this same blessing? We are glad to send sample copies or three months' trial subscription free to any address you may send us. Let us not be indifferent to our privileges of service, and to the needs of our brethren, but ever on the alert and watchful for opportunities to be of assistance "in season and out of season,"
GATHERED again for the privilege of rendering an account of the stewardship which you have entrusted to us during the past twelve months, we are reminded, as the conditions in the Church as well as throughout the world also remind us, that it may soon be the solemn duty and privilege of each one of us to render a final account of all our earthly stewardships. The consolation will then be, as it is now, to know that perfection of the flesh is not expected by our perfect judge. It is our hope, however, for ourselves and for all the brethren that the evidences of God's merciful overruling and blessing in spite of the mistakes of the past, will, instead of encouraging us to presume on His grace, inspire us to greater care and zeal in His service.
For the benefit of those who have more or less recently become associated with us, we would explain what has been kept more or less prominent from the commencement of the Institute's work, namely that this institution has never been and is not a church organization, nor of a sectarian character. It has not been the purpose of either the literature published (the "Herald," tracts, books, etc.), or of the discourses of the Pilgrim brethren, to establish a creed; but, as the second page of each issue of our journal states, standing "free from all parties, sects, and creeds of men," our purpose is to encourage and assist the brethren to continue in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, and to be faithful to their covenant with the Lord, realizing "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."
While concerned that the precious truths which came to us through the ministry of our dear Pastor shall not be lost, we have recognized and also endeavored to counter the still more subtle error of losing the spirit for the inculcating of which those truths were given. That some measure of success has attended our effort, we are encouraged to believe because of the spirit of the letters received from our brethren.
In view of its more frequent contact with the brethren, probably the "Herald of Christ's Kingdom" has been our most effective and fruitful means of assisting and strengthening them. Then, too, it is able to reach all who wish to be served by it. Provision has been made through the contributions of the friends that those who have felt most the effect of the "lean years" need not be without either this service or the ministration of the Pilgrim brethren. We take this opportunity to suggest that if any are known who are too modest to ask for the "Herald" or Pilgrim service because of being unable to share in the expense; their addresses be sent to the office.
Though more limited in its scope, the Pilgrim service also has been much blessed. The Lord has seen fit to grant Brother Friese sufficient physical strength so that he has again undertaken a pilgrimage very much to the profit of the friends. Upon receipt of requests from various Classes and brethren throughout the United States and Canada, Brother John Hoskins was asked to make a Pilgrim trip, which he had almost completed in fact was on his return trip, when ill-health demanded his immediate return home. This leaves our Pilgrim service at the end of the year with seven brethren serving for Sunday and short trips, and three giving their full time to this work. Upon invitation of our brethren in Great Britain, Brother Thomson in March began a pilgrimage there which those brethren plan shall continue into August. Encouraging reports are being received respecting the blessings of this ministry.
The tracts are another means of service always considered of great importance. While there has been no demand for the treating of additional subjects, and while a fair quantity of tracts has been used, we wonder if something might not be done to stimulate a larger circulation. Perhaps each of our, friends, or his Class, has already placed tracts in all the homes of their community as well as sent them to all their acquaintances at a distance. Any suggestions the friends have to make along this or any other line will be appreciated. The recently announced cards for introducing the Truth, simulating those used by the Bible Students' Committee of England, we are hoping, will greatly add to the privileges of telling "the old, old story."
It has not been possible for us to express as fully as we would like to have-done, our appreciation of the whole-hearted cooperation of many brethren throughout the world. Few of the communications reaching us have been mere "business letters." For every word of encouragement the correspondence in general 'has contained, as well as for the letters written with that sole pur. pose, we wish here to express our sincere appreciation. Nor less sincerely would we thank our critics who have written in the spirit of the Lord and with a true desire to increase the effectiveness of our various services.
As in the past, where made possible by the publishers, a discount has been, allowed the friends on Bibles, and other religious literature ordered through us. This privilege of service we have appreciated, and trust it has been the means of some additional blessings. While we trust the orders have always been dispatched with reasonable promptness, we regret that at times our acknowledgements, through the limitation of time and assistance, have not always been so prompt.
Realizing that those who have cooperated with the Institute during the year just past are not limited to those from whom we have heard either directly or indirectly, but that the ministry of prayer widens that circle beyond the limits of our knowledge, we would express our appreciation of all these, and, in closing ask that this coming year the brethren bear before the throne of grace, without ceasing, those who shall be entrusted with the responsibility of this service, and that means may be provided for continuation of the work without restricting its scope.
PURSUANT to charter provisions, such members of the Institute as found it practicable to do so gathered on the afternoon of Saturday, June 4, in the annual meeting for the election of directors and the transaction of such other business as might properly come before it. Following a season of devotion, a chairman and a secretary for the meeting were elected.
The minutes of the last annual meeting were read and approved, after which the annual report of the directors to the membership was presented, also the treasurer's report. These are printed elsewhere in this issue,. with the auditors' report-all of which were accepted by the membership. The names of new members for the yeas, to the total of 22, were then read.
The election of directors being next in order, the chairman appointed tellers, who 'collected the ballots of those present, received the proxies sent in, and retired. A song, prayer, and testimony service ensued. Upon completion -of the work 'of the tellers, the following were declared elected as directors: Brothers S. D. Bennett, M.D., J. J. Blackburn, Benjamin Boulter, James C. Jordan, P. L. Read, Chester E. Stiles, and Paul E. Thomson. The meeting made provision for the disposition of the ballots.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors expressed on behalf of the directors their appreciation of the privilege of service, pledged their best endeavors to be faithful to their trust, and besought the prayers of the friends for our Father's assisting wisdom and sustaining grace.
The committee which was appointed in accordance with action at the last annual meeting for the purpose of drawing up a statement and submitting it to the directors for their approval, as to the financial condition of the Institute with a desire of getting from the membership an expression of their views as to the present and future work of the Institute, reported that they had recently completed their work, and asked to be discharged. This request was granted.
The meeting was closed with praise and prayer. The sweet spirit of the Lord prevailed throughout.
Gathering shortly thereafter, the Board of Directors elected the following officers: S. D. Bennett, M.D., Chairman; C. E. Stiles, Vice-chairman and Acting Secretary; P. E. Thomson, Secretary; P. L. Read, Treasurer; and H. E. Hollister, Assistant Treasurer.
The present Editorial Committee was reappointed, namely S. D. Bennett, M.D., H. E. Hollister, J. T. Read, P. L. Read, and P. E Thomson. (Those presently devoting full time to Pilgrim Service were also reappointed, namely J. J. Blackburn, H. A. Friese, and P. E. Thomson.
Excess of expense over income $1,003.39
It will be noted that the deficit of about one thousand dollars for the fiscal year just closed, was less by some thirteen hundred dollars than the deficit of the preceding year. This reduction has been accomplished without decreasing the various services of the Institute, and with substantially the same current revenue, only by the practicing of rigid economy in expenditures, and by still greater self-denial on the part of those actively engaged in the' service. The deficit has been made good by drawing on the Reserve Investment funds, accumulated from gifts and bequests received in past years.
Whether the Institute in the near future shall be compelled by diminished revenue to curtail its activities, is, we believe, primarily dependent upon the Lord's will and providence. Whatever He arranges will be best; hence the Head's "Yea" shall be echoed by our "Amen," to whatever betides. Meanwhile let us all resolve to "carry on" in whatever field of activity we may be privileged to serve Him, until He shall say: "It is enough."
Statement of Auditors
We, the undersigned, appointed to audit the accounts . of the Pastoral Bible Institute for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1938, have examined the books and financial records and find them to be well kept and in good order.
exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having
promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." -
TO REALLY appreciate the beauty of the Apostle's statement regarding the profitableness of godliness in the life that now is, it would seem necessary to take a retrospective survey of his unusual experiences prior to the writing of his two very personal letters to his beloved son Timothy. He might of course have written these same words at a very much earlier date in his ministry,-and they would have been no less true. They might have been written long before he could write his life's story of repeated imprisonments, of stripes, of hunger and nakedness, of impoverishment and ' rejections, and they would have been words just as full of truth. But when they were written, as they could be, with a background of suffering such as Paul had hitherto experienced, how much greater weight attaches to his affirmation that even for "the life that now is," the pursuit of godliness is unquestionably profitable.
St. Paul in Perils Many
It was not in any spirit of boasting that this noble Apostle recounted his hardships. He understood perfectly well that only when suffering for well doing is borne patiently, is it acceptable with God; therefore it is quite possible that we are really indebted to his enemies for the one or two detailed accounts of his special tribulations. Had he not been placed in a position where it seemed necessary to defend his brethren against the false claims of self-appointed leaders, we might never have had a record of sufferings such as we find in his second letter to the brethren at Corinth. What a review of trial and adversity it is! "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." - 2 Cor. 11:23-28.
If after a life of such extraordinary privations and hardships, due to his faithful service and devotion to God, an old veteran covered with the scars of incessant warfare can yet write to a younger man and testify that for the present life, "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is," what inspiration there is in such a testimony. Paul is now an old man, broken in health, literally poured out in the service of brethren, loved the less by some the more he loved, and deserted by many of them. He writes, therefore, not as an ardent enthusiast just putting on his armor, but as one who has seen and experienced an unusual amount of the bitterness associated with a godly life, and who is even then waiting to be finally offered up in death itself. He had invested all he had to offer, and he had, much that the world calls wealth, but in this his last inventory before the ledger of earthly life is closed, he does not hesitate to assure his dear son Timothy -- and through a loving Providence us also-that for "the life that now is," godliness pays wonderful dividends.
O to Grace how Great a Debtor!
Paul was able to look back over a life marvelously transformed by the grace of God. And whenever we find him going back in memory to those days of blindness and madness against the name of Jesus, invariably we find him overwhelmed with gratitude for the mercy that lifted him out of darkness into the light. As he contrasts what he has become by divine grace, with what he was before his bigoted persecuting zeal was halted by that supernatural vision on the Damacus road, his gratitude must be expressed. When he meditates on what he once considered as the acme of attainment and inheritance, contrasting the things once counted gain, with what he now possesses through faith in Christ, his gratitude rises to its highest expression, and we hear him say, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ." (Phil. 3:8.) How full of enrichment, happiness, joy, and gratitude, "the life that now is" became to the Apostle, can very easily be discovered in his various Epistles. Commentators are unanimous in the observation that throughout all the Pauline writings, the reader is frequently carried away from the main theme being discussed, because the Apostle's grateful soul has caught some fresh reminder of the favor shown to him, and he must break the thread of thought long enough to give expression to his own inward joy. In other Epistles this digression is frequently occupied with some subsidiary or connected truth,; but in the letters to Timothy the departures from the main line of advice and exhortation, it will be noticed, have to do with some personal experience which sets his heart glowing, stirring him to utterances which have been exceedingly precious to faithful saints all down the long period of Church history.
Supreme Objective in the Daily Life
As a splendid illustration of this peculiar and pleasing habit we might turn to 1 Tim. 1:12-18. He has been giving Timothy a charge concerning errors which have crept into the Church, and which are out of line with "the glorious Gospel" committed to his trust. But the mention of "the glorious Gospel" is sufficient to momentarily erase its pervertors from his mind. His feelings are immediately kindled with the remembrance of what the Gospel had done for him, and so he goes on to write of his own experience. And where, in all that Paul has written, can we find expressions of personal gratitude more dear to the Christian heart than here? Let us pause a moment and read them over again, those words so expressive of a joy flooding "the life that now is," wherever sin has been abandoned and the pursuit of godliness has become the supreme objective in the daily life. "According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who 'hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. . . . Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor, and glory forever and ever. Amen."
What Christian could read such a testimony as this without feeling irresistibly drawn to his knees in humble, fervent gratitude? To know Christ crucified was Paul's supreme theme, and in this digression he brings his reader to the foot of the cross, there to see himself as the greatest of sinners, and the most undeserving of God's forgiving love. If we should attempt to sketch the meaning of these words to the hearts they have strengthened, the hopes they have enkindled, the gratitude they have produced, and the hours of communion they have sweetened, for numberless contrite souls who have felt themselves "the chief sinners," where indeed, would the glowing numbers end?
The profitableness of godliness as it pertains to the present life begins with a true conception of the sinful corruption from which we have beer, mercifully delivered. No argument is necessary to prove that unless the loathsomeness of the "horrible pit" and the "miry clay" is properly sensed, there can be no adequate appreciation of the grace and love that made our deliverance therefrom a possibility. Was this not the lesson that Jesus sought to bring home to the self-righteous Simon, at whose table He reclined while His feet were being bathed by the tears of a sin sick penitent woman? Simon had little conception of any forgiveness, hence little idea of the exhilarating, strengthening power which comes to those who realize that "where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound." The poor sin-conscious woman whose sins were many, had a capacity for love and gratitude to which the Pharisee was yet a stranger; and because of that commendable and much to be sought after sensitiveness to sin defilement possessed by her, she must of a certainty experience magnetic influences drawing her in the direction of godliness, possible only to such as really sense the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Since the pursuit of holiness, then, is the most important occupation of the life that now is, and to be "found in Him, not having our own righteousness," the most fascinating, soul-inspiring, joy-producing, character-purifying influence of which sin-hating, grateful hearts are capable, who can measure the profitableness of godliness secured to us by God's abounding grace, and made blessedly operative in "the life that now is" by His almighty power. Praise His name for the deliverance He has wrought out for us, and for the joys of His salvation lavishly showered upon us in every hour of the present life.
Godliness makes the Present Life Worth Living
To a spiritual mind there is no real paradoxical meaning in the words of Jesus when He said, "Let the dead bury their dead." Neither is there any difficulty in understanding the actualities present in Paul's statement, "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6.) These distinctions between what constitutes life and death can not be known by the unregenerate, worldly mind, neither can they be known in any experimental way by those of God's professing people whose lives are even yet lived largely on the thin boundary line that may lie between carnal, flesh-satisfying pleasures and pursuits, and the life that is life indeed. Lot would leave Sodom and its exceeding wickedness, but prefers a location not so far removed therefrom. Pharaoh will let Israel worship their God, but why not do so "in the land." Failing in this, he will let them go out of the land, but "not very far away." When "three days' journey" must be granted, surely they will "leave the children behind," and because the children too must go, then ''only let your flocks and your herds be stayed."
Compromise was ever the Devil's most successful argument, and only those who persist in putting the Red Sea of baptismal death as an effectual barrier between themselves and the things of the world, are safely separated and settled on resurrection ground. These alone are living as having "passed from death unto life."
Only in a true Christian experience is there fulness of joy. The Bible promises no such joy to the double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, and no such joys of salvation can be known by the lukewarm and half-hearted souls whose conception of Christian life seems to be largely a matter of escaping the penalty of sin. More than that, no general faith in the atoning power of our Lord's shed blood can secure to us the fulness of joy our Lord promised to His own. There must 'be something much more personal than that to bring our hearts into a living consciousness of the quickening power of His love. True Christian life is that state of mind in which old things have really passed away. and a new vision, new aspirations, new determinations, have so completely flooded the life that "the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" has become the consuming desire of the soul. In this attitude of mind, godliness is earnestly sought, for in it alone can the present life be made worth while. Only then does this "so great salvation" unfold in multiplied joys and gladness. Here may be known the true joy of forgiveness, for here will be found a correct understanding of what our redemption has cost our Father and our Redeemer. Here there is real companionship with God, and that fellowship of spirit with Jesus that causes our "hearts to burn within us" while He talks to us by the way. Here obedience to all His will becomes the delight and joy of our hearts, leading to a diligent searching -of His Word, to the end that out of its inexhaustible storehouse we may gather wisdom and strength, and increasing transformation into His own likeness. Here the "joy of the Lord is our strength," giving reality to our confidence that "all things work together for good" to the honored class that God bath chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. 0 rich, even in "the life that now is," are those strong in faith and mature in spiritual vision, to whom "all things" are really recognized as contributing a wealth of blessing, secured through faith. Such are made increasingly independent of external circumstances, in the confidence that the pursuit of godliness is profitable under any circumstance, and particularly so, if seeking first the Kingdom of heaven has brought them into difficult situations, financial or otherwise. Happy those who can say, "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." (Hab. 3:17, 18.) How rich are such trusting hearts compared to those who have no such faith and who must therefore turn to broken cisterns that can hold no water. Surely, then, godliness is profitable for the life that now is.
Cherishing a Noble Discontent
From the same Apostle by whom we are urged to remember the profitableness of godliness in the present life, there comes other and very frequent assurances that the full measure of profit has not yet' been realized. As an illustration of this we may consider his reference to his own noble discontent. Notwithstanding all that had already been attained by him in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, he is far from contented to remain limited to present levels. Hearken to his words: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already -perfect but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:12.) The profit attainable through godliness is a boon for which we may well be overwhelmed with gratitude, but unless we 'have also this same intense desire as the Apostle, for greater and yet greater knowledge and likeness to Christ we have not the attitude of mind favorable to attainments essential for the life "which is to come." The touchstone of real Christian experience after all, is found in this confession of Paul.
If we may take his viewpoint as a safe guide in this matter, are we not forced to conclude that to be satisfied with present profit and attainment, is to reveal ourselves regrettably deficient in one of the most important indications of both love and gratitude? To feel ourselves "rich and increased in goods and having need of nothing," will most certainly find us ere long left "poor and blind and naked." Only those who continually "hunger and thirst" are blessed. And those who are most fervent in the longing for greater attainments are the ones who are most likely to be conscious of imperfection, and most earnest and eager in the effort to apprehend that which is perfect. The Lord assures us that there is no limit to what we can receive from Him even in "the life that now is." "From grace to grace and from glory to glory" is His will for us. Why, then, should there be any disposition to place limits on what may be experienced of closeness of fellowship with Him, or of the fulness of His power in us, or of the beauty of godliness that can pass from Him into our characters and irradiate our lives. Rather, let us too display this noble discontent with all that we at present know of the profitableness of godliness, however great our present attainments may be. Let our spirits reach out for the full measure of advantage possible of enjoyment in "the life that now is," that we may attain the fullest possible measure of "that which is to come."
He will Reveal to the Lowly Soul
And if such attainments for both the present and the future seem too remote for us, what consolation we may find in the promise that the good work begun in us by the Lord, will be completed by Him also. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and our oneness of spirit with Him in the desire to be made like Him, will assure a heart condition always acquiescent and lovingly obedient to His will. Our hope is not in ourselves. Jesus, in His prayer, asks that we be kept through the Father's name, and in that name is our only basis of assurance. But a blessed assurance it is of His unchanging purpose in our redemption, and of His inexhaustible resources to work it out in hearts wholly committed to Him. His love can never fail, and His strength is made perfect in weakness. He will strengthen with might by His Spirit in the inner man. "By the discipline of daily life, by the ministry of sorrow and joy, by merciful chastisements dogging our steps when we stray, by duties and cares, by the teaching of His Word coming even closer to our hearts and quickening our consciences to discern evil where we had seen none, as well as kindling in us desires after higher and rarer goodness, by the reward of enlarged perceptions of duty and greater love towards it, with which He recompenses lowly obedience to the duty as yet seen, by the secret influences of His Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind breathed into our waiting spirits, by the touch of His own sustaining hand and glance of His own guiding eye, He will reveal to the lowly soul all that is yet wanting in its knowledge, and communicate all that is lacking in character."
So for us, the great question is that of our desire to grow up into Christ. If our heart's deepest longing is for all that is attainable in God's will for "the life that now is," and we desire this primarily that we may live to please and glorify Him here and hereafter, we may look forward with confidence to greater things than yet have been. God's revealed intention is that every child of His shall live here on earth a life sustained by supernatural powers, and realizing this, may we not take all His promises as "yea and amen"? O may our lives be such as will bear testimony to the fact that "godliness is profitable," rewarding those who put "the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" first and foremost, with an abiding joy, a settled peace, a soul-inspiring vision of things not yet attained, a "noble discontent," making "the life that now is" a continuous upward progression, until that which is perfect has come.
Dear Brethren in Christ:
Greetings in our Master's Name!
It is my pleasant duty to report on the convention held at Aurora, Ill., May 28, 29, and 30, the sessions of which exceeded our hopes and were a wonderful blessing to the friends gathered here, according to their own testimony. The Aurora Class had for five months planned and labored to make it a blessed period. About 400 brethren attended, well representing the Midwest section.
From the very outset we recognized the Lord's presence through His Spirit, which pervaded the entire session and made the words of our beloved Master which were inscribed just over the speaker's platform and which had been chosen for the watchword of the gathering, dramatically emphasized by their visible reality: "One is your Master, all ye are brethren." 'This loving injunction was the more impressive as in the background hung a beautiful painting, "Gethsemane," which served to remind us the more of Him who became poor for our sakes, and who has so greatly enriched us through His impoverishment.
The messages of the speakers blended perfectly with the spirit of the convention and each successive discourse served to refresh our minds through the repetition of the glorious truths which had drawn us together and which can keep us to the end, if we abide therein. Space does not permit even a short resume of the subjects used. Suffice it to say that each brother was the minister of the Lord to us in things spiritual, both as to the grand features of divine truth as well as in exhortations concerning our living according to that which we have received.
We rejoice also that the memory of our dear Brother Russell was honored in the kind and loving way the truths he so labored to present to others were repeated at this convention. It had been the hope of the Aurora Class that the friends would gather in the spirit of quietness and brotherly love, a spirit which would draw even those who may differ on some points, who, hearing the old message, spoken in love, might be refreshed spiritually. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." We are happy to say our hopes were realized in the wonderful spirit of Christian love which was visible in, all. Praise the Lord who commanded the blessing which brought so much joy to His people. At the baptismal service held in the pool of the same building five dear ones (Juniors) witnessed to several hundred friends their devotion of all to Him, the Creator of us all. May the Lord bless them in the house of their pilgrimage.
Before the convention closed, by a show of hands, plans for an eight-day International Convention were approved this convention to be held in the Midwest, in the summer of 1939, and the purpose of which will be to serve as a gathering place for all God's people for a week -of sweet fellowship. It is hoped that some beautiful place near a lake and woods will be found, which will serve the purpose of a vacation spot and a place of spiritual rest for the 1,000 friends expected. A working committee of three was appointed by the convention body to apprise all the Classes, to secure their cooperation thereto, and further information will be shortly forthcoming. We trust this ambitious undertaking will have the Lord's approval and we earnestly petition the prayers of the brethren, that the spirit of this large convention may be the same as the Aurora convention which inaugurated it.
We close with a sincere expression of gratitude to the Heavenly Father for the blessed. season of fellowship now past, and also to all the dear ones who labored therein, and to all in whose prayers we know we had so abundant a share. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
The Aurora, Ill. Ecclesia,
W. J. S., Sec..
Brooklyn, N. Y.
"On June 4 and 5, the usual Annual Convention of Christian Believers was held in the Y.M.C.A. Building oh Hanson Place, with a total attendance of about one hundred and fifty. It was an uplifting, inspiring, and satisfying 'feast of fat things' from beginning to end.
"On Saturday evening the two discourses were along the lines of our appreciation of the real value of the knowledge of the Truth and the evidence of that appreciation in our daily lives, especially in our dealings and association with -our brethren in the narrow way of sacrifice. This first session struck the keynote of the Convention which seemed to recur in every discourse and in the testimonies given-namely, the solemnity of our responsibility in carrying out our covenant of sacrifice unto death.
"This became very pronounced in the two discourses on Sunday morning. The first speaker analyzed and enlarged upon the divisions and wording of The Morning Resolve, drawing from it new richness and depth of meaning. The second speaker, in similar manner, scrutinized the Shepherd Psalm with all its comforting assurance of our Father's interest in and tender care for His flock.
"In the afternoon the first discourse dealt with Moses and his addresses to the children of Israel at the close of their pilgrimage just before entering the promised land, showing how courageously they might have gone forward had they remembered how the Lord had led them in all the previous years; thus emphasizing the need for faith in the Christian pilgrimage. The second discourse, on Jesus' Three Parables given at Matthew's feast, emphasized the necessity of our breaking away from all former creeds, customs, and prejudices in order to appropriate to our spiritual good the truths now due to be understood, just as in Jesus' day the ideas, tenets, and customs of the previous age had to give way to the new message of the Gospel. Thus, again, the thought of our solemn responsibility in properly appreciating and appropriating the blessing of Present Truth recurred.
"Sunday evening was devoted to the consideration of 1 Chron. 4:9, 10, showing that it is pleasing to God that we come to Him with large ;petitions. He is anxious to bless us, and only as we realize our need of His blessing, His guidance, and His protection are we ready to receive. His resources are exhaustless. He delights to give. 'Ask, and ye shall receive.'
"The testimony meetings were especially uplifting as all seemed eager to tell of God's blessings and guidance, and of their continued confidence in His abounding grace. The final session of the Convention consisted of brief, encouraging remarks by several visiting brethren concerning the effect upon our spiritual development -of our successes and failures while undergoing testing. By unanimous vote the love -of all present was sent to all Classes represented. Thus ended another season of sweet fellowship, when 'Jesus Himself drew near.' "
The life hid with Christ in God is a hidden life, as to its source, but it must not be hidden as to its practical results. People must see that we walk as Christ walked, if we say that we are abiding in Him. We must prove that we "possess" that which we "profess." We must, in short, be real followers of Christ, and not theoretical ones only. And this means a great deal. It means that we must really and absolutely turn our backs on everything that is contrary to the perfect will of God. It means that we are to be a "peculiar people," not only in the eyes of God, but in the eyes of the world around us; and that, wherever we go, it will be known from -our habits, our tempers, our conversation and our pursuits, that we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are not of this world, even as He was not of the world... .
Into all this we shall undoubtedly be led by the Spirit of God, if we give ourselves up to His guidance. But unless we have the right standard of Christian life set before us, we may be hindered by our ignorance from recognizing His voice; and it is for this reason I desire to be very plain and definite in my statements.
I have noticed that wherever there has been a faithful following of the Lord in a consecrated soul, several things have, sooner or later, inevitably followed:
Meekness and quietness of spirit become in time the characteristics of the daily life. A submissive acceptance of the will of God, as it comes in the hourly events of each day, is manifested; pliability in the hands of God and bustle; a yielding to the wishes of others, and an insensibility to slights and affronts; absence of worry or anxiety'; deliverance from care and fear-all these, and many other similar graces, are invariably found to be the natural outward development of that inward life which is hid with Christ in God.
Dear Brethren of the Board:
Within recent months it has been my privilege to once more visit many of the friends in the far western and southwestern sections of the country, and such lengthy pilgrimages being of less frequent occurrence than the journeying to and fro in the more eastern portions of the territory we serve, there is to me a special interest in reporting to you some of my observations and encouragements.
Trips of this kind being usually a year or more of time between, one must expect to miss some familiar and loved faces, and to learn that one here and there has passed away. One by one the toilers lay down their instruments of service and pass beyond "the burden and heat of the day" into rest. As a general thing these are they who have reached the more advanced stage of natural life, and we are glad to believe most of them had attained the maturity of spiritual life on the basis of which we may hope for them the sweet "well done" of the Master. And to us who are not as yet permitted to lay off the armor of service and conflict, these vacant chairs are reminders that we too must soon be prepared to render up our account and be found worthy of an abundant entrance, or found with a structure of wood, hay, and stubble, unworthy of approval.
Then, too, there will today be found the never ending verification of our Savior's parable of the sower. Some seed faithfully sown will have fallen on the wayside path, some among the stones and thorns, and far too little on the good, fertile and receptive soil. This parable has had its age-long fulfillment. We of this present time are disposed to speak of "early Church history" as though it were vastly different from that of today. But after all there is really little basis for this distinction. Would Paul address any different letters to the Church of our own day than such as he wrote in earlier times? Are there any new or different conditions and developments among professing followers of Christ in these days than obtained in Apostolic days? The same severe rebukes, the same fervent appeals, and the same tearstained letters, we may feel assured would come from his pen and heart if he were here among us today. Human nature does not change, and the works of the flesh are manifested in the same way still. Growth in Christian character is still by the same rule and in line with the same divine laws as in those early days of the Age; therefore the general aspects of 'Church history vary little.
And so it comes to pass that any report giving a truthful review of general conditions must still include the strain of lament over such things as Galatian legalism, Corinthian sectarianism, Laodicean lukewarmness, and a far too meager report of Berean studiousness, Thessalonian "work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ," and too little of new creature unity in Christ by which the world can believe in, the power of Him whose name we bear. Now as in earlier times it is so manifestly true, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it."
But I am not disposed to bring to you an unfavorable report, or to enlarge upon the all too apparent causes, such as Paul saw long ago, for tears today. Rather I wish to convey to you with whom I have the privilege of colaboring, some of the delightful and encouraging aspects of the conditions existing in this present hour. If the trials of the day were to be thought of only as trials, and not recognized in their true meaning as stepping-stones to some afterward of blessing, then there would be very little of joy to be found in so much that is taking place among believers everywhere. But when such trials are seen as God's best way of revealing character, and when under the heat and pressure of fiery trials brethren are being manifested as strong in righteousness, steadfast in upright principle, ripe in the fruits of the Spirit, firmly established in all the vital essentials of the faith, and matured into a true unity of the Spirit, then indeed it is proved true: "Blessed is the man," or the company of men, "that endureth temptation." And in the midst of all that is to be seen today there are to be found a very encouraging number of those who are meeting all trials in the spirit of Christ, and in whose lives and conduct love is still the principal thing.
'There may indeed be but "One such here and there," but they are to be found among us still, and glad we are to believe that the Lord may know others as such characters who, to us, because of frailties of the flesh, may seem otherwise. No inspired text bearing on this point becomes more precious to us in these days than the old familiar one: "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that arc His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The fiery trials are serving to reveal characters strong in faith to trust God, come what may in the way of adversity, and who display a love that suffereth long and is kind-a love strong enough to hold together in a true relationship all who love our Lord in sincerity, and thereby verify the words of Jesus respecting the sure preservation of His Church despite all the assaults of the Adversary. The Body of Christ continues to be one; and blest indeed the tie that binds all such to Him as Lord and Head, and to one another until that which is perfect is come, when all differences of thought will disappear, but the love begun on earth continue on in increasing sweetness and fulness to the ages of the ages.
The encouraging fact remains that there are among us those who continue to be a saving element in times like these. These are they who have come to see that the love and sacrifice of Jesus, and one's obedient and loving faith therein, constitute the unchanging hub and center of Christian life and work. 'These, each in his own way, are saying to such as have a hearing ear, "Hear what the Lord hath done for me," and pointing to the Christ of the cross as the Sanctifier of the believer, and the one and only hope of the sinner. Not a few are growing in appreciation 'of the place of the Word itself in Christian growth, and praying more fervently with one of old, "Direct my steps according to Thy Word." And as it should be in a day of ever-increasing signs of the near approach of the consummation that waiting saints have long hoped for, more and more are realizing that it is true indeed that "He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure." The desire on the part of these to specially seek that holiness without which the Lord may not be seen is another encouraging indication to be found along the way. Repeated testimony was heard giving praise to the helpful character of many articles contained in the "Herald" during the past months.
Thus I found much to rejoice in, though there was not lacking much evidence of the fact that "many are called, but few are chosen." I can testify to having had a most enjoyable time of outstanding privileges and contacts with such as were used of the Lord to strengthen and encourage my own heart. Looking back over the long and happy time the trip involved, I cannot but wish again that it might be the privilege of each of you to have personal fellowship and acquaintanceship with this wider circle of dear ones who have so large a place in my own affections. While moving in and out among them I have endeavored to reveal to them in act and word, in spirit and message, the love and interest you too have toward them all; and until you meet them in the Master's presence where they may tell you themselves, it is my happy privilege to be the medium to convey to you their many expressions of love and gratitude for your work and labor of love on their behalf.
Because of the well-nigh impossibility of getting time to do it otherwise, may I take advantage of this means to express to the long list of friends my personal gratitude and love for their manifestations of confidence and kindness in responding to the "surprise gift" suggestion of some dear friends in the Midwest. It has cheered and strengthened me greatly, and the hearing aid thus provided will be a constant source of inspiration to keep on in the inestimable privilege of laying down life for the brethren.
By grace, your brother in our Beloved Lord,
J. J. BLACKBURN
Believing you will be interested in a further report of my experiences among the friends here, I have pleasure in reviewing some of these with you.
Several large cities have been visited since my previous report. In each of these the customary division' into Classes of slightly varying viewpoint has been found; but as all are. .standing on the fundamental doctrines listed for us by the Apostle Paul, and frequently reiterated d by Brother Russell, a fair representation of each Ecclesia was able to be present at the meetings, regardless of which Class sponsored them. The pleasure and profit of these meetings was materially added' to by this fact, both for the speaker and the brethren in general who welcome these opportunities of 'sharing in "that which every joint supplieth."
The visits to Ireland and Scotland were refreshing, and revealed that all who are truly brethren are striving for and attaining a measure of the one Spirit regardless of tribal boundaries-that the Kingdom, which in its completion is to have no "frontier" (Moravian Version of Luke 1:33: "And of His Kingdom there shall be 'no end"), even now knows no boundary lines, either of state or of creed.
The Whitsuntide Convention, held at Dewsbury, was a fitting climax to the first half of my itinerary in Great Britain, giving an opportunity for the making of many new acquaintances and the renewing 'of many recently made. As has been the case throughout my journeying, many inquiries were made regarding friends in the States and Canada, and many messages of love were received as well as delivered. A larger proportion of the friends than in America found it necessary to limit themselves to one day -of the convention, but all seemed to feel themselves well rewarded by the blessings of the day they had chosen. Those who were permitted to share in the inspiration of the closing session could not but regret that any were. forced to miss it, never doubting however that the Lord would provide means of passing its benefits on to many others through the ones who had the privilege of being present.
While in Ireland an opportunity was granted of visiting the Giant's Causeway, a most astonishing example of God's workmanship. After viewing such 'works as this, man's most elaborate, most ornate production becomes mere child's play. Yet with all its intricacy, how simple and obvious all this seems in comparison to the creative work that daily is going -on before our own eyes -the building of a new creation in the image and likeness of the Creator of all things. Small wonder if further and greater "shakings are necessary before this, His greatest creative work, is completed. "Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
Your brother by grace,
Paul E. Thomson.