VOL. XXX April 1947 NO. 4
A short series of meditations, both
devotional and doctrinal,
"The Lord is risen indeed." - Luke 24:34.
THE STORY of our Lord's resurrection is one of exquisite pathos and beauty. His crucifixion had created despair-had smitten the Shepherd and scattered the sheep. In loving secrecy and weeping silence the faithful few had removed the body from the cross and laid it in the new tomb of Joseph. The great feast came, and while Jerusalem kept holy-day, the disciples had to bear, as best they might, their !bitter shame and ruined hopes. But the women could not forget the marred visage, now rigid in death, but once so expressive of holy and beautiful life, and with characteristic devotion, waited to seize the earliest moment to look upon it once more before the effacing fingers of decay had swept the lines of its lingering beauty, and in the little ministrations of tender regretful affection at once express and relieve the sorrow that !burdened their hearts. So, in the dim dawn of the morning after the sabbath, they stole to the tomb,. only to find in it no buried Lord. The thought of a resurrection did not occur to them; they thought only that the grave had been rifled. One of them, Mary of Magdala, fled, in an anguished woman's way, blind to everything but her awful loss, crying: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." But the angels within the tomb, and the Lord without, made the tear-blinded women awake to the strange glad truth: "He is risen, as He said."
Begotten Again unto a Hope of Life by His Resurrection
Before this truth was brought home to them they were in despair. Their hopes were buried in His grave. They had trusted in Jesus, and had entertained high hopes, but now, since Jesus had died, they were sad, their hopes having withered. How different with them when the fact of His resurrection was made known to them! What joy displaced their dejection! It became true of them then, as it has of us who have believed since-they were, and we have been, begotten again unto a hope of life, by His resurrection. Because He lives we have grounds for hoping that we shall live also. In His resurrection lies our assurance.
It is an interesting study to trace in the Gospel narratives and in the Epistles, the harmony which obtains in the various references to the appearances of our Lord. Matthew, Mark and Luke, Peter, John and Paul all make mention of His resurrection. Each account is different, depending upon the point of view of the writer, but they are unanimous in affirming the fundamental fact that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. Moreover it is not difficult to combine all these various appearances now distributed amongst the Gospel writers and in the Epistles, and arrange them into one complete and connected picture.. By so doing we perceive that our Lord's first work was that of consoling and encouraging. To Mary Magdalene and the other women He first appeared, turning their sorrow into joy. This was early in the morning on the very day He arose. That same day, in the afternoon, those two downcast disciples who were on their way to Emmaus found their hearts burning within them as a Stranger talked with them and finally revealed Himself as their Lord. Unable to contain themselves, although the hour was late, they hastened back to Jerusalem to tell the good news. But the Lord was traveling faster than they knew. Before they got there He had appeared to another; doubtless before He had appeared to themselves, even. There was one of His disciples whose heart was breaking-one who in an evil moment had denied His Lord. What passed 'between our Lord and Peter we do not know; however, we who are in any measure acquainted with Jesus and know something of His grace can well understand the peace and comfort which possessed Peter after that meeting. At all events, Peter had not been slow to tell the good news, for when the Emmaus disciples came breathlessly with their story they were told: "The Lord is risen indeed, and bath appeared unto Simon." Then, once again, in the late evening of that wonderful resurrection day, while they were rehearsing their own experiences to the Apostles, and how Jesus had been known of them by the old familiar habit of His, of first blessing and then breaking the bread, He once more appeared in their midst, saying, "Peace be unto you."
That Glad Resurrection Day
On the very day of His resurrection, then, first to the women, then to Peter, next to the Emmaus disciples, lastly to the Eleven -- four times in all -- Jesus appeared, each time bringing a sense of peace and comfort, hope and joy. What a day to be remembered for all time!
A week later He appeared to the disciples again, this time for the special benefit of Thomas, who had been absent on the previous occasion, and who had doubted.
Some time later, just when we may not know precisely, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, no doubt taking His last leave of the collective Church then. His next appearance seems to have been to James, His "brother," or "kinsman," as the word more exactly means. This appearance is mentioned by St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, although it is not mentioned elsewhere in the Scriptures. St. Paul, we know, had become personally acquainted with James at Jerusalem, and no doubt learned about this appearance of Jesus from James himself.
Still another appearance to His disciples is recounted 'by the Apostle John, in the last chapter of his Gospel. Seven of the disciples had gone fishing. Perhaps they had grown weary with waiting for the Lord to manifest Himself again. We do not know. At all events they had toiled all night and caught nothing. And, it will be remembered, Jesus revealed Himself to them by telling them where to cast their net to secure a big catch of fish. Finally He took His last leave of them, just before His ascension, leading them out as far as Bethany, appointing them to be His witnesses --witnesses not only of all the wondrous things He had done and taught in their midst during His ministry; witnesses not only of the fact that He had been crucified and buried; but witnesses especially of His resurrection.
Have I Not Seen Jesus Christ Our Lord?
And yet once more, in order that he, too, might qualify as a witness, Paul was given a glimpse of the resurrected Lord in that never-to-be-forgotten journey on the Damascus road.
St. Paul never forgot this commission. In all his Epistles he speaks of the resurrection of Christ. And when, at the close of his life, the Apostle writes to his son in the faith, Timothy, he reiterates the matter in these words: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my Gospel. But while he mentions the resurrection in all his Epistles, there is one Epistle in which he undertakes to expound the matter in great detail. It is his first letter to the Corinthians. There, in the fifteenth chapter, he unfolds the subject at length, affirming his faith, first, in the resurrection of Jesus; second, in that of the world of mankind as a whole; and third (third in point of mention, though second in order of accomplishment), in that of the Church. Most of the discussion we hope to present in the remainder of this series of meditations will be drawn from this heaven-sent exposition by "our beloved brother" Paul. However, for this meditation let us content ourselves with reviewing the ground already covered.
How Firm a Foundation is Laid for Our Faith!
The doctrine of the resurrection is so fundamental to our faith that all Christians should be thoroughly established therein -- "able to give a reason" for their own hope, and their hopes on behalf of others. Junior students of the Scriptures, especially, and all newly consecrated ones, are urged to become very familiar with all the Bible has to say on this most important subject; while those who have been long in the way will, if they join us in these meditations, experience once again the comfort to be derived from a consideration of "these words." (1 Thess. 4:18.) For example, in the previous paragraphs we have listed all the recorded appearances of our Lord. Let each ask himself the question: Do I know how many there were? To whom they were vouchsafed? In what order they occurred? Where they took place?' What the total period of time was during which they all happened? -- all, that is to say, except that to Paul. To get the most out of this first meditation the reader will do well to trace in his own Bible the ten appearances mentioned, and to prayerfully ponder the related contexts of each. Those who do so for the first time will be astonished to find how firm a foundation is laid for their faith; that to the Apostles our Lord showed Himself alive after His passion by "many infallible proofs, being seen of them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." - Acts 1:3.
Our Lord Showed Himself Alive
To assist the student to accomplish, with the minimum effort, the searching of the Scriptures suggested in the previous paragraph we submit the following brief summary:
Appearance No. 1.
Magdalene and the other women.
Appearance No. 2.
Appearance No. 3.
whom-Cleopas and another
Appearance No. 4.
Apostles and others (Thomas absent).
Appearance No. 5.
whom-Thomas and the rest.
Appearance No. 6.
Appearance No. 7.
Eleven in the midst of five hundred brethren.
Appearance No. 8.
Appearance No. 9.
Appearance No. 10.
(afterwards called Paul).
"This Jesus Hath God Raised Up"
It is strengthening, too, to faith and consecration, to trace in the Acts of the Apostles how our Lord's chosen "witnesses,"-witnesses of His resurrection-(John 15:27; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8, 22) -- proceeded to carry out their commission. Our Lord had said: "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." But first they were to receive "power." "Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem," was His word, "until ye be endued with power from on High." (Luke 24:49.) Accordingly we find them waiting at Jerusalem in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14), until they had received the promise of the Father. Then commenced the work of witnessing, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4.) One cannot but be impressed with the prominence given to the "resurrection of Jesus" in this, their first witness given under the guidance and in the power of the Holy Spirit:
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth . . . ~by wicked hands have crucified .and slain; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains ["grip," Fenton] of death; because it was not possible that He should be holden of it." - Acts 2:22-24.
"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses." - Acts 2:32.
"They taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." - Acts 4:2.
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole." - Acts 4:10.
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew." - Acts 5:30.
Thus it was that at Jerusalem "with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all." - Acts 4:33.
- P. L. Read
The Tree of Life
IN THE course of their investigations of the underlying principles that govern the workings of that mysterious force which we call "life," biologists have long noticed, that in the life span of all terrestrial organisms, there exists no such condition as a state of absolute balance or inertia. Every organism whether it be plant, animal, or human is either progressing toward maturity, or receding towards a state of decay and eventual death. There is at no time a period in which the organism is absolutely static, that is, when it is neither growing nor decaying. This phenomenon, generally referred to by biologists as the law of degeneration and death, is a seemingly universal one in nature, and has, as Bible students are aware, been in operation ever since the death sentence was pronounced upon the first human pair, carrying with it the accompanying clause, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake," etc. Ever since that sentence went into effect, every earthly organism, plant, animal, or human, merely grows or develops up to a certain point, and the instant that point in life's journey is reached, the downward course commences, which inevitably ends in death. There is, however, in nature just one organism which possesses a life of such extraordinary length that it almost seems to set at defiance the otherwise universal law which governs all organic life, and to possess in itself the power of everlasting existence. This exception to the general rule is that species of tree known as the Sequoia or Redwood which grows in but one spot on earth, that place being a stretch of land adjacent to the Pacific Coast, in the state of California. Here are some of the facts concerning this remarkable tree which have been gathered by students of natural life:
It attains a tremendous size and height, being exceeded in average height only by the Eucalyptus tree of Australia. Fully grown Sequoias average 275 feet in height and 25 feet in diameter, though some have been known to have reached a height of 302 feet with a circumference of 96 feet. At a point 6 feet above the ground, the diameter measured 25 feet. The trunks are often naked and branchless for 100 feet above the ground.
Apart, however, from their great size,-these marvelous trees possess a certain characteristic which doubtless accounts for the great longevity they are known to possess. This is to be found in the fact that owing to the presence of some chemical substance in their make-up, they are practically immune to all forms of disease. These attacks of bacterial or insect origin which spell the doom of every other living organism, leaves them untouched. When not destroyed by fire or by the work of man, they have an apparently endless life. An examination of the ring system of some of these trees, after being felled, shows them to have been at least 2000 years old, and therefore the oldest living things on earth. In appearance they are the most magnificent objects, in nature, towering above all their surroundings. To the Bible student they constitute an irresistible reminder of the great tree which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision (Dan. 4:10-12) "whose top reached to heaven" and which as most of us know represented in the larger sense the perfect man, Adam, in all the glory and honor of his exalted station as king of earth. As has been already suggested, these monarchs of the plant world appear to form an exception to all the rest of nature, in that they apparently achieve a state of balance in the process of their development. After having arrived at full maturity, they seem to remain in a state of majestic health and vigor throughout the ages.
And now, turning from the subject of trees, but bearing in mind the existence of that life prolonging chemical substance which gives to these trees their great longevity, the thought naturally suggests itself that if some means were found of arresting the processes of decay and degradation which curtail the length of human existence, there seems to be no good' reason why the life span of human beings could not be prolonged to an indefinite extent.
Apropos of this suggestion, there appeared recently in the public press an account of the discoveries of a Russian scientist who has succeeded in compounding a serum, which, it is asserted, has just this effect when administered to people of fifty or over. To quote the item:
"The serum has been developed by Professor Alex. A. Bogomolets who has devoted more than thirty years to the study of the causes of old age, and it is the first which promises a brake against those degenerative processes, and their accompanying chronic diseases, which begin at or after middle age. Such a brake would preserve physical and mental alertness for two or three decades beyond the present average span of life. It would add not only length to life, but also breadth and depth. The serum has already been applied with marked success, in the treatment of thousands of suffering patients.
"The professor's lifelong search has been to determine the causes which lead to the gradual loss by the human body of its power to resist disease. With a staff of sixty, he made clinical studies of nearly 30,000 men who had passed the century mark [One wonders if this figure is correct.] and discovered that a number of them seemed to get a 'second wind,' manifesting itself in the restoration of lost or failing eyesight, the return of hair coloring, and a strong resistance to disease. A colony of supercentenarians was discovered in Abkhasia on the Black Sea, near the Biblical lands where the original Methusaleh lived for nearly ten centuries. In this strange 'Methusalehville' thirty-five persons between the ages of 113 and 136 were found to be brisk and lively."
It perhaps would not profit the general reader much to describe the technical findings of the professor, so we shall make no attempt to enumerate them here. However, the discovery, if the report be even approximately true, opens up an interesting avenue of thought to Bible students. If our understanding of the time features of the Divine Plan is even close to being correct, the day cannot be far distant when the burden of the death sentence will be lifted from off the shoulders of Adam's race. Throughout all recorded history the way to "the tree of life" has been barred against all who would enter by the flaming sword of the cherubims. (Gen. 3:2224.) But now we are approaching (in all probability) the time when the "change" of the spirit-begotten ones will release the merit of Christ, placed on deposit in the hands of justice when our Lord died, and mortgaged in the interest of the Church, so that it can be made available for full application in the purchase of Adam and his race under the terms of the New Covenant. This being the case, then it should not surprise us overmuch when we find that the study of methods calculated to prolong the human life span is meeting with increasing success.
When the divinely appointed time actually does come for the willing and obedient of mankind to enter the highway of holiness which leads to life (Isa. 35:8), we would hardly expect the awareness of the fact concerning the opening of that way to be a knowledge shared by the world in general for quite some time. The longer we study the Scriptural promises regarding Millennial conditions under the rule of "the Christ" and their human coadjutors, the Ancient Worthies, and the more we reflect on the conditions which have prevailed in human society since the Lord took unto himself his great power and began to make his presence felt in human affairs, the more firmly it is impressed upon our minds that the Millennium is to be merely a preparatory period for the "Ages of blessing to follow" rather than, as some of us once supposed, an almost immediate establishment of heavenly conditions upon the earth. The promise that "the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the deep," is one which certainly will not be fulfilled' during the early portion of the Kingdom reign, or so it appears to us at this time. If this conclusion turns out to be one verified by subsequent events, then it may follow that such a happening as the rejuvenation of old people, or even the awakening from the death state of those who recently died, may not be regarded by some skeptical-minded people as a divinely performed miracle at all, but merely as a manifestation of the advancement of scientific knowledge attained by man alone and unaided.
Jehovah's miracles have rarely been of a spectacular nature. Generally the unseen hand of the great Author has been discernible only by those faithful ones who, guided by their knowledge of the divine methods as outlined in his Word, were on the watch for such evidences of his power. Always the way has been left open for skeptics to attribute those happenings, which to the faithful are supernatural manifestations of God's power, to merely natural causes, explainable in terms of human ingenuity. Only Jesus heard the voice from heaven attesting to his faithfulness; those around him thought it was thunder. - John 12:28, 29.
In Hebrews 3:15-19 the Apostle speaks of those who failed to enter the promised land because of an evil heart of unbelief, and the fact that there will be such unbelief in the Millennium is attested in Isaiah's prophecy. (Isa. 26:10.) "They will not behold the majesty of the Lord" even in the, land of uprightness. To those who refuse to believe, there are always ways of explaining away miracles of God. The waters of the Red Sea had been driven back by strong east, winds, on other occasions, before any fugitive Israelites fleeing before Pharaoh had desired to cross. (Exod. 14:21.) Likewise there had doubtless been other- landslides which temporarily dammed up the Jordan before any priests bearing the ark had seen the water recede when their feet touched it. - Josh. 3:16.
Unbelief and skepticism in general are characteristics which are very strongly entrenched in the heart of the natural' man, and even those who by the grace of God have been given a measure of faith, find that the increase of that measure is a matter for daily prayer and supplication, for the gift of the hearing ear is a most precious treasure, one that needs to be diligently guarded. When Jesus left the Jordan we read that the heavens were opened to him, and so it has been with all his followers who have been given the ability to see things afar off, to which others are blind. (1 Pet. 1:8, 9.) God grant that we may be ever able to preserve that clear vision of the heavenly things until we see him face to face.
- J. R. Hughes.
(Installment No. 3)
FROM correspondence reaching our office it is evident that considerable interest is being taken by our readers in the letters appearing under this caption in the January and February issues of this journal. Since then the following additional letters have been exchanged:
January 24, 1947
Directors of the
Christian love and greetings in our Redeemer's name!
Your letter of December 24, 1946, replying to ours of August 16, 1946, was considered at a Trustees' meeting of the Dawn Bible Students Association, held on Saturday, January 18, 1947, and we are now replying in accordance with decisions reached at that meeting.
We were somewhat disappointed that after waiting over four months for a reply you were not able to give us the considered and official viewpoint of your entire Board, but merely, as you say, the opinion of some of its members who discussed the matter informally.
Your letter is far from a concise answer to ours of August 16, and fails to make your position clear with respect -to the doctrinal standards upon which you are willing to cooperate. We see no object in discussing methods of cooperation until we have agreed on common ground of doctrinal understanding suitable as a basis for cooperation.
We felt that we had approached virtual understanding- on certain matters at the conference of July 9 as reported by our committee. We wrote for confirmation largely because of an article written by Brother P. L. Read, appearing in the August "Herald," which claimed to be the unanimous opinion of your Board, but which seemed quite out of harmony with what we understood to be generally agreed to at our conference. Naturally. we wondered whether we should accept what we understood to be expressed at the conference, or whether this article represented a change of opinion. We still do not know.
You ask that we suggest a date a few weeks in advance for another conference. We therefore suggest Saturday afternoon, February 22, or Sunday, February 23, at a place mutually acceptable. We feel that this matter is of such importance that as many of our Trustees as possible should attend, and would like to see as many of your Directors there as can find it possible to participate.
We trust that common doctrinal ground will be agreed upon at this forthcoming conference, for only then would the "certain recommendations" looking toward- complete cooperation be in order.
We will appreciate hearing from you as promptly as possible.
Your brethren in Christ,
The Board of Trustees
PS. - To save you work, and to expedite matters we are sending a copy of this letter to each member of your Board of Directors.
February 14, 1947.
Board of Trustees,
Thank you for your letter of January 24, 1947, sent us in reply to ours of December 24, 1946. We appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending a copy to each of our Directors. In connection with future correspondence, if you will furnish us with the names and addresses of your Trustees, we shall be pleased to reciprocate. We understand, from page 60 of your recent booklet, "When Pastor Russell died," that your Trustees are twelve in number elected annually by your membership. If it is proper inquiry, we would be interested to learn what qualifications are necessary or one to become eligible for membership and steps necessary to be taken by an eligible candidate in order to secure membership.
We are sorry that our position in regard to dotrine is not yet clear to you, and that the impression you took from the conference July 9, 1946, is out of harmony with our published literature. In so far as that impression conflicts with the position maintained in our published literature in general (and in the August 1946 "Herald article in particular) that impression should be disregarded.
The August 1946 article to which you refer appeared originally in the November 1940 "Herald." At the July 9, 1946 conference Brother P. L. Read had a copy of that issue with him, from which, from time to time in the course of the conference, he read extracts. Except for a few minor changes the August 1946 article was a reprint of the article appearing in November 1940. It will thus be seen that -the position taken in the August 1946 article is not a "change of opinion," but goes back at least as far as November 1940.
As a matter of fact it goes back much further. Some, if not all, of your Trustees, must be informed as to an experience through which the Institute passed in 1936, when some dear brethren, then associated with us, held views almost, if not quite identical with those you now urge upon us, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to secure their adoption by our membership. A rather complete report of our position at that time was set forth in the May 1936 "Herald " under the caption "A word of explanation." In the more than ten years which have elapsed since, we have had no reason to regret the position then taken by our Institute, and (with all due respect to any of the Lord's dear people who may think otherwise) we still believe it to be sound and Scriptural. Certainly the dire consequences freely predicted as likely to follow have not yet occurred in our experience. On the contrary, the Lord's blessing has been richly enjoyed by us--never more so than now, as we brace ourselves for "the last weariness, the final strife."
In so far, then, as a "common ground of doctrinal understanding. suitable as a basis for cooperation is concerned," we mint again refer you to our letter of June 27, 1946, since published in the January 1947 "Herald," wherein we said that whether as a basis of general fellowship or as constituting the doctrinal qualifications of those we sponsor as teachers, the only confession of faith our Institute would are to adopt are the fundamentals of Christianity. These fundamentals we briefly defined in that letter, as follows:
(a) Belief in the existence of the one true God, Jehovah;
(b) A firm conviction that Christ Jesus is his Son, and that, after laying down his life as a ransom for us, he was raised from the dead by the Father's power;
(c) A confession that this risen Jesus has become our Lord; that is to say, he has been entreated by us each, individually, and has graciously consented, to exercise Lordship of our life, and
(d) An outward manner of life which makes it plain that these beliefs and confessions are not false, but are the sincere sentiment of our hearts.
One further point in this connection: On the second page of each issue of our journal, our Directors make no claim that our Pilgrims are loyal to the word of Pastor Russell -- (much as we respect and honor his beloved memory). Instead, our readers are on notice that our Pilgrims "are believed to be loyal to the Word of God, clear in its fundamental teachings, and in general harmony with the spirit and purpose of the Institute's ministry. Those to whom they minister are counseled to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good."
So also with our Editorial Committee: In connection with all doctrinal matter published' they state that "While this Committee holds itself responsible for all articles thus published, it should not be understood as necessarily endorsing each and every expression appearing therein.
"It is the thought of the Committee and of the Directors that the value to our readers of the various articles published is very largely dependent on each contributor being free as to his presentations, provided such presentations are in general harmony with the character and purpose of our journal, namely the dissemination of Bible truths, and the Committee therefore content themselves, usually, with offering criticisms, urging the consideration of alternative interpretations, and as a rule, leave the adoption of these suggestions to the discretion of the contributor."
In our letter of June 27, 1946 we expressed the belief that it should be possible for us to resolve any differences which might appear in our preliminary correspondence and conferences. We still think this should prove true. Let us examine these differences closely and note precisely in what they consist.
You have referred to the statement "To us the Scriptures clearly teach." This statement has been published in every issue of the "Herald" since that journal first appeared, in 1918. Obviously this would not have been the case if the statement had not reflected the viewpoint of our membership. While we cannot speak positively as to every individual, we seriously doubt if there has ever been a member of the Institute who has not heartily endorsed this statement. We do not know that any expression in it has ever been challenged by our membership. Certainly none of our present Directors would do so. Moreover you may rest assured that they would unanimously reject the thought of appointing any one to engage in the Institute's ministry as an Editor, Pilgrim, or in any other official capacity, whose views were in conflict with this statement. As we, see it, therefore, there is no doctrinal difference between us thus far.
When we come to the consideration of the three doctrines specially mentioned by you, which were treated at some length in the August 1946 article above mentioned, we reach the first (and we believe the only) point of doctrinal difference between us. Let us consider in precisely what that difference lies.
We will first state your position, as we understand it. You, we understand (and by "you" we mean your membership, your trustees, and your officers) , profess to subscribe to the latest views on these subjects as they were expounded by our late Brother Russell.
What is our position on these matters? We reply:
(1) In the first place amongst Institute members some would hold to your position while others would not, with varying shades of differing viewpoint.
(2) Since the members themselves differ in viewpoint, it follows that the Directors (annually elected by the members) may also find amongst their number, varying shades of viewpoint.
(3) From (2) it follows that amongst the Editors and Pilgrims (annually elected by the Directors) a similar diversity of viewpoint may be found.
Here then, is our doctrinal difference: Your membership (and in consequence your Trustees and Officers) subscribe to the latest views of Brother Russell on these three subjects. Amongst our membership (and in consequence amongst our Directors, Editors on Pilgrims) a diversity of viewpoint may obtain.
It so happens that the seven brethren at present serving on the Board of Directors of our Institute all subscribe to the latest views of Brother Russell on these three subjects. As Brother P. L. Read stated for himself in the August 1946 article, so would the other six Directors each for himself state, we have yet to see or hear anything which appeals to us to be better supported than the exposition of these subjects by our late beloved Pastor. But we do not think an agreement with his views on these subjects should be made tests of eldership. Nor do the members of our Editorial Committee, or the brethren engaged in our Pilgrim ministry. Nor, since our views are well known and fully understood by them, and they continue, year after year to return us to office, do our membership. Nor did Brother Russell, as we understand his writings. Only recently we were led to review the V.D.M. questions which, at the close of his ministry, he recommended might be employed as a yardstick, so to speak, to ascertain a brother's doctrinal fitness for eldership. Evidently when he listed these twenty-two questions, if the three much discussed doctrines had ever held the place of importance in his mind which some seem to think, they no longer did so, for in these V.D.M. questions (originally prepared for Pilgrim brethren) they are conspicuous by their absence. Each of the 22 questions can be satisfactorily answered without reference to the three subjects now under discussion. In fact, with the possible exception of question No. 8 we think it would be difficult to make appropriate mention of them in the replies.
From the foregoing discussion we think it must be clear that there is no present doctrinal difference between us. The difference lies in the "Dawn" requiring of its "teaching" brethren an endorsement o1 Brother Russell's latest views of the three specified doctrines, whereas this requirement is not necessary to qualify for such service in the Institute's ministry.
We come now to the question of cooperation. We agree with you that as long as any differences exist (doctrinal or other) we are not likely to reach the state of "complete cooperation" which many would like to see brought about, between our two organizations. However we agree, surely, much more than we disagree. Perhaps we, as leaders of two movements may learn something on the subject from our membership. The members of our two organizations, do (as a matter of fact, not mere theory) manage to achieve a substantial degree of cooperation in their local arrangements. Except in communities where the spirit of division has been fostered, local ecclesias still find it possible to welcome to their platform speakers from both our organizations. Representatives of both organizations have shared convention programs, to the obvious satisfaction of the adherents of both groups. Many friends subscribe to both the "Dawn" and the "Herald." The Radio ministry of the "Dawn" has the support of Institute brethren. All this, we think, is as it should be, and we have encouraged it whenever our advice has been sought.
The fact, therefore, that we are not in entire agreement on every matter ought not, we think, to discourage us from a further attempt at closer understanding. Another conference ought to contribute something to this end and we are very pleased to note your willingness to so arrange. The afternoon of Saturday, February 22, 1947, will be satisfactory to us at, say, three o'clock in Rutherford or Brooklyn as you may prefer. It will not be possible for our entire Board of seven to attend, but we expect to be represented again by the previous committee of three (Brothers J. T. Read, P. L. Read, and P. E. Thomson). We agree with you that it is desirable for our full Boards to meet before this series of conferences is ended. Practical considerations would prevent this, in our own case, except at the time of our Annual Meeting. Perhaps a full conference could be arranged at that time. We expect to determine, the date of our Annual Meeting shortly, at which time we will get in touch with you as to the possibility of arranging such a conference with you.
With prayerful good wishes, we remain
PASTORAL BIBLE INSTITUTE, INC.,
PS. A copy of the May 1936 "Herald" and one of the November 1940 issue is enclosed. Additional copies will be supplied on request.
The conference proposed for February 22, 1947 was not held, it being the thought of the Dawn brethren, communicated to the Institute by telephone, that its postponement until our full Boards could meet was desirable. As in the past, so now, we continue to solicit the prayers of the friends.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you,
he that believeth on me,
WHEN JESUS desired to particularly emphasize any profound truth, that emphasis was very frequently given by the repetition of the word "verily" as in the above text. In this text he is making a statement which is really astounding in its nature. A moment's reflection on the great works of Jesus himself must rivet the significance of this statement on one's attention, and in amazement we inquire, How can it be that greater things can be done by one of his much less perfect followers? How can we be empowered to surpass the works so transcendent as those done by Jesus? Think of the raising of the son of the widow of Nain, and of the extraordinary scene at the grave of Lazarus. Call to mind the days of ministering to the sick and afflicted, and of the hours spent in preaching his "gracious words" to the multitudes. How, then, can it be true that "greater works than these shall he do" who believes on the Son of God?
Certainly it is inconceivable that Jesus would give utterance to such words as these if he did' not intend them to be taken as perfectly true. However great, therefore, his own works had been, this promise of power to do greater works, henceforth to be enjoyed by his followers, must be understood as being within their reach. There is, of course, no difficulty in seeing how this promise will have a wonderful fulfilment in the Kingdom powers to be bestowed on the overcomers, in association with Christ in that day to come when "all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." Then greater works will surely be done. In comparison with the few illustrative miracles of Jesus' brief earthly ministry at his First Advent, how much greater will be the work of raising the vast millions of. mankind, not to a mere temporary awakening, but to everlasting life. What a work it will be to cleanse and transform their minds from all inherent sin, and from all misconceptions of God's character, and bring all the willing and obedient to that knowledge of God which is eternal life. What a blessed and wonderful work it will be to direct the Kingdom work until all evidences of the curse shall be removed from the earth, and God's footstool is made glorious--a paradise flooded with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. Surely, as the Scripture declares, "Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands," as they behold the great work of that Millennial day completed, never to be marred again by sin and death.
But these words of Jesus are not to be taken completely out of the present life and work of his saints. There is a very real sense in which this promise applies to the present inheritance of the believer. As we have seen, the works Jesus had done were of necessity confined to the plane of bodily ills and to the level of human mindedness. The Spirit had not yet come, consequently those to whom he ministered, including his immediate disciples, were limited to the natural things and viewpoints. But when the holy spirit came upon the Church at Pentecost, then the "greater works" began, and have so continued the privilege of all the true followers of Christ even to the present time.
COMFORTED THAT WE MAY COMFORT OTHERS
Let us, then, take a glance back over the long years of the ministry of the true Church of Christ. What a great work has been done by those who have believed on Jesus! Which is the greater work-the opening of the blinded natural eyes, or the opening of the eyes of understanding, the eyes by which "the things not seen" are beheld and believed? Whether would we prefer to be blind in the natural sense or blind to spiritual realities? Whether, therefore, is it the greater miracle to be relieved of natural blindness, or released from spiritual darkness? Surely the latter. Similarly then with all the diseases peculiar to mankind, we might draw parallels from all of these and find that greater works are being done as Jesus promised long ago. How many men and women throughout the last nineteen hundred years have been consumed with the fever of pride, earthly ambition, and discontent, whose life has been transformed by the word of peace and rest carried to them through some humble disciple. How many there have been who have groaned under the consciousness of sin's defiling leprosy, and before whom some one ordained of the Spirit to do these "greater works" has held up the saving power of the cross of Christ, that fountain in which all the weary and heavy laden may "lose all their guilty stains," and who have accepted the gracious provision and lived henceforth to the glory of God, and to the enriching of many- other lives. Such are great works indeed; great on earth and great in heaven, where there is joy over one sinner that repenteth, and where such works are kept in everlasting remembrance in the mind and heart of God.
Analogies we may trace in all the impotencies and lameness of humanity, and in death itself, all of which conditions came under the sympathy and healing power of Jesus in the days of his flesh, and in which we find illustrations of greater works made possible to us now. Think of the diseased minds, paralyzed by sin, dead, worse than dead; blind eyes, darkened by the god of this world, lest the light of the glory of God should shine into their hearts. Think of bringing any of these out of darkness into light, telling them of the grace by which they may be translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God's dear Son. What a work for eternity! What treasure laid up in heaven! What jewels for the Lord of Glory! All of this, and more, is comprehended in the commission our Lord has given us in words which apply to himself and to all his followers: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that, he might be glorified." - Isa. 61:1-3.
HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME
What a wonderful thing it is to be taken into partnership with God! And such partnership it must be if we are to do any work small or great which will serve any divine purpose here on earth, and receive merit in heaven. Jesus tells us this in unmistakable language when he says, "Without me ye can do nothing." The Psalmist gives us a similar thought: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psa. 127:1.) Paul may sow and Apollos may water, but all in vain if God give not the increase. The prophet may prophesy presumptuously, and say, "The Lord saith," but the Lord hath not spoken, and it shall come to naught. If we then are "laborers !together with God" in all the works he has so graciously and condescendingly come down to share with us, how great is our need of this divine authorization and benediction on our service in his name. The very fact that one could speak with "the tongues of men and of angels," and yet give forth nothing but empty sound so far as results are concerned, and the further fact that "vessels meet for the Master's use" must be clean and sanctified, makes it a vital matter indeed that all the conditions under which his blessing will be given, be known and carefully followed. The condition stipulated in our text is, "He that believeth on me.... greater works than these shall lie do, because I go to my Father."
In the Greek (see Diaglott) the preposition "on," should be rendered "into." This emphasizes the difference between believing in Christ as one might do in accepting the fact of his life and death, and being in him by the act of complete dedication. This is the emphasis of all New Testament teaching. Jesus himself stressed the fact that it was solely because the Father was in him and he in the Father that he could do works pleasing to God. "Believest thou not," he said, "that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10.) Paul, in his concise words, gives us the same thought: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Thus as it was the Father's love and goodness which the life of Jesus revealed, and the life of Christ that Paul's life manifested, so it is to be with each of us. We may accept truths about Christ as authenticated facts, and yet not be materially benefited thereby ourselves, or be a medium through which the Lord may speak and work to the blessing of others. As we have just observed, the vessel must be clean ere the Lord can use it as a vehicle to convey his blessings, and it must also be completely dedicated to him, ready to say, "Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee" -- yes, we must say,
Therefore to have his indwelling presence as a token of our acceptance into his favor and as an assurance that our labor is not' in vain in the Lord, how very important it is that we remember that great work for God can follow only when we are thus in Christ, and thus cleansed by his abiding in our hearts, destroying all the old self-life, and continually working in us to will and to do all his good pleasure, living as it were, his own life over again in us.
BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM
When the angel announced the coming birth of the Redeemer, his word to Mary was, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." Greater work than this he could not do, and when it is all accomplished "He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied." A savior from sin and all its. far-reaching results is what this world is waiting for, and some day its heart will be opened to receive the One who gave himself for it, and then to the utmost bounds of the earth they will crown him Lord of all. Within the ranks of those who have believed on him in this time of special grace, no need is greater than that of a deeper realization of all that a vital union with him can produce in the life and ministry of the believer. In the days of his flesh "as many as touched him were made perfectly whole," and that intimate touch is still the most important thing if we would be saved ourselves and do the, "greater things" Jesus promised. It is necessary that those who would do efficient and fruitful service for God, be themselves in living. union with Christ; for those to be served must be brought past all men, creeds, organizations, and movements, and into personal touch with Jesus Christ. No one can bring another into that touch unless he himself has felt its power. Some one has well said, "Living in constant contemplation and contact with God will bring you into understanding touch with everything in human life. The love of Christ will constrain you to practice a sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men in all sorts and conditions of circumstances. The fires of God's love on one hand, the fires of humanity's struggles on the other-could you possibly bear a dead inept message to those whom you are trying to serve?-Woe to him who ventures to bear precepts in religious and moral matters without proving his right to do so. The life which he leads is the only acceptable proof. He who propounds precepts to his fellows must in fact be an - example in himself of that which he propounds. What better preparation, then, for this essential work, than, the life truly hid with Christ in God? It will exalt the worker to a position of, such advantage as to render his instruction unassailable."
Pursuing the Same thought we pause to meditate on the significant statement of Jesus covering this same matter: "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." (John 15:4.) The ministry of Paul throbs with life and power, and it has brought forth a rich harvest throughout the Age because he recognized this vital truth. The Christ of the Apostle was no cold theological theme over which believers might contend in "strife over words," "endless genealogies, and sectarian phraseology, but a living Christ who saves people from their sins, a Christ who can make the foulest clean and who ultimately will present such saved ones "unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:27.) Surely the one who thus abides in Christ, and the one who will determine with the Apostle to know only Christ and him crucified, will find himself enjoying the fulfillment of the promise of greater works being done by Christ through him, just as our opening text teaches us. It must be so, for so it is written again, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on [Greek: into] me, as the Scripture hath said, out of him shall flow rivers of living water." And again, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things." - John 7:37,38; Matt. 12:35.
THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS
Every feature of God's revealed purposes charms our mind and heart. The evidences of God's glory revealed in the heavens over us and in the earth we tread, elicit admiration and adoration. But of all the works of the Father of mercies, none so charms and inspires us as the discovery of that divine love which, before the foundations of the earth were laid, had chosen us in Christ "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved." - Eph. 1:4-6.
What greater work could there be than that which God has so graciously placed within our reach as co-workers together with him? "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" - "Preaching peace by Jesus Christ." (Rom. 10:15; Acts 10:36.) Some day soon, and very soon it seems, the word will go forth, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for -the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Rev. 19:7.) And of what will that readiness consist? We answer, the character likeness of God's dear Son. When on his own likeness in us he can smile, then "He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing," and that will be joy unspeakable for us. Meantime, we are here in the house of our pil-. grimage, and this perfecting of the living saints is going on. What should engage our attention with greater zeal and joy than this matter of assisting one another in the completion of this, the greatest feature of all God's creative work?
What a great work will have been completed when all the faithful Church has been gathered out, changed from mortality to immortality, from corruption to incorruption, and from weakness to power. What joy will then be the portion of those faithful workers together with God, who in the days of their earthly activity were themselves- building into their own structure gold, silver, and precious stones, and assisting others to build likewise on Christ the solid Rock. True builders working together with God have always known much of sorrow and disheartenment in contending with adverse influences. The Savior who wept over the blindness and the consequent rejection of Jerusalem, has had faithful servants throughout this Age who have entered into a sorrow similar to his own. Paul was one of these. Visualizing as he did the wonderfulness of God's grace in Christ and the possible attainments -- laid open before every believer in that grace, what tears he shed because so few really followed on to inherit the rich inheritance the love of God made possible. Surely it was for the encouragement of these faithful laborers that the word was written, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." - Psa. 126:5,6.
The great purpose of Paul's untiring labor is well expressed in words which reveal his concentration of thought and service on the all-important fact of Christian attainments in both knowledge and grace: "O my little children! whom I am bearing again, till, Christ be formed in you." "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, . . . Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [mature], be thus minded." (Gal. 4:19; Phil. 3:10,11) To be conformed to the image of God, to walk worthy of his grace, to be changed from glory to glory into the character of Jesus Christ, to be filled with the holy spirit, this is the real aim and standard of true spiritual life.
This, then, becomes the all-absorbing purpose of the faithful believer in his own personal relationship to God, as it will also be the unwavering objective and aim of his work in the Master's service. Far more wonderful than the healing of lepers and the temporary release from pain and death resulting from the work of Jesus long ago, is the outworking of the power of God in us and on us in these works committed to us. What finer ideal can we hold than this attainment of likeness to Christ, either for ourselves or for those among whom our field of work may be? The real glory of Christian life and service is that we can eventually attain a perfect likeness to God's dear Son. We know that while that perfect image will not be ours on this side of heaven, we may believe it our assured goal. And then to know that those around us who have likewise been drawn to God through Christ have in them the possibilities of eventually reaching that same goal, and with ourselves be forevermore to "the praise of the glory of the God of all grace" what a "greater work" that will be! And what an honor to have had some little share in working together with God in its accomplishment!
WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS OUGHT WE TO BE
We recall that in our opening text Jesus said, "He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also." Let us, in conclusion, consider what "believing in Jesus will do for us. To believe in him we must see him as the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must see him for two reasons: first, that we may see in him the perfection of God's holiness, and our perfect substitute in meeting the requirements of God's broken law; and second, that we may with every fresh vision of him see more and more clearly our own shortcomings, and that only in him and through him may we hope to attain to the inheritance of the saints in light. If then we possess such a humbled and believing heart, there will be a warmth of love which will make possible the completion of God's creative work in us, and also fit us for effective service for him.
The believing heart is a warm heart. As some one has well said in verse:
A life that would be like Christ's must be filled with love as his was. The great principles illustrated in the life of Jesus and because of which he worked the works of God, must govern our lives also. If we would be workmen needing not to be ashamed, we too must learn first of all to be like him in an absolute renunciation of self-life and self-aims. We must be willing to give up "the love of life for the sake of the life of love." Jesus emphasized that fellowship with the Father molded and ruled all his words and actions -- the Father working through him. This being true of him, how very important it is then that we be clean and ready channels through which Christ may work his works through us; Christ, the Word of God, must fill and control our thoughts and words and doings.
"If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ; his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7.) How blessedly true! And it will be true whenever Christ has been formed within our hearts. It will then be "Christ the Truth for the understanding, authority for the will, love for the heart, certainty for the hope, fruition for all the desires, and for the conscience at once cleansing and law. Fellowship with him is no indolent passiveness, nor the luxurious exercise of certain emotions, but the contact of the whole nature with its sole adequate object and rightful Lord.
"Such intercourse, brethren, lies at the foundation of all work for God. It is the condition of all our power. It is the measure of all our success. Without it we may seem to realize the externals of prosperity, but it will be an illusion. With it we may perchance seem to spend our strength for naught; but heaven will have its surprises; and those who have toiled, nor left their hold of their Lord in all their work, will have it to say at last with wonder, as they see the results of their poor efforts: 'Who hath begotten me these?'
"Consider in few words the manifold ways in which the indispensable prerequisite of all right of forts for Christ may be shown to be communion with Christ:
"The heavenward look is the renewal of our own vision of the calm verities in which we trust, the recourse for ourselves to the realities which we desire that others should see. And what is equal in persuasive power to the simple utterance of your own intense conviction? He only will infuse his own religion into other minds, whose religion is not a set of hard dogmas, but is fused by the heat of personal experience into a river of living fire. It will flow then, not otherwise. The only claim which the hearts of men will listen to, in those who would win them to spiritual beliefs, is that ancient one: 'That which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, declare we unto you.' Mightier than all arguments, than all 'proofs of the truth of the Christian religion,' and penetrating into a sphere deeper than that of the understanding, is the simple proclamation, 'We have found the Messiah.' If we would give sight to the blind, we must ourselves be gazing into heaven. Only when we testify of that which we have seen shall we win any to gaze with us till they too behold and know themselves set free.
"The heavenward look draws new strength from the source of all our might. In our work, dear brethren, contemplating as it ought to do exclusively spiritual results, what we do depends largely on what we are, and what we are depends on what we receive, and what we receive depends on the depth and constancy of our communion with God. We are but channels through which this might is poured; and if we choke the bed with turbid masses of drift and heavy rocks of earthly thoughts, how shall the full tide flow through us for the healing of the salt and barren places. Let us see to it that by fellowship with Christ we keep the passage clear, and become recipients of the inspiration which shall thrill our else-silent spirits into the blast of loud .alarm and the ringing proclamation of the true King." Verily we must drink of the water Christ gives if we would send forth streams of living water to others; and as the vessel used of the Lord must be a clean pure vessel, therefore,
- J. J. Blackburn.
Last July a heart condition of five years standing forced Brother L L Benedict to abandon a pilgrim trip upon which he had entered. Although since that date there had seemed to be some little improvement, on February 18, after several hours of pain, the end came.
Our brother's life, since the truth came to him about forty years ago, has been one of active service, so far as there was opportunity. The usual zeal of the early days brought on opposition 'from his wife, who later was won to consecration and preceded him some years in death. It was his privilege to later see others of his family consecrate, and to himself immerse two sons and a daughter-in-law, and also to be the Lord's messenger for the giving of many blessings in several pilgrimages as well as in service as a printer and otherwise at the Institute headquarters. Our faithful fellow-servant will be much missed by all who have known and who have therefore learned to love him; but 'our hope for him is that he has heard the Lord's commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord."
Dearly Beloved Family of the "Herald":
Greetings in our Savior's Name. . . .
I wish to thank the brethren for their loving service to us here in Maine at the convention. What a blessing we had enjoying the precious food from the Lord's table. Surely the Lord does supply and he did through the dear brethren there. What a privilege it was to sit in heavenly places together in Christ Jesus. The unity was very sweet. How insignificant all other things are as we draw together in the unity of the spirit, awaiting the consummation of the Hope that we have in Christ. The more sweet it becomes as we see the day approaching in this dark hour upon the earth. Our one hope and aim is to be faithful, in all things seeking to glorify God and to build each other up in the most holy faith.
Dearly beloved, my prayer is that God in Christ will keep you faithful in your journey here until you have reached the consummation of the Hope. Praise God for the love of the brethren. Brother and I ask your prayers that we may be faithful and perform good stewardship over all he has given us, to his praise and honor and glory in Christ Jesus.
Christian love to you all,
Mrs. T. R. M. -- Maine.
Dear Brethren in Christ:
Our family has had a nice experience in passing the truth along, more in an indirect manner, to an isolated sister in a small town in Kentucky. Her husband is an atheist and rather hard of heart, very dissatisfied with everything in general, and this has become a very bitter experience for her. We tried to comfort her, telling her that perhaps this experience is just what has drawn her so close to the Lord. Very often we do not seek the Lord when everything runs smoothly, but our heavenly Father gently calls us through some sorrow or trial. We sent her reading matter, including our latest June, July, and August "Heralds." We were so happy when she wrote and told us how much she had appreciated them. In one week she read them all. The next letter she said she was reading them all over again; and the next letter she was reading them for the third time. She enjoyed them all, and was sure some articles must have been written for her. It was strengthening to her faith that they should come to her in her greatest time of need, .and she believed without doubt it, was the answer to her prayers. From it all she received the needed strength and courage to go on, and is circulating this wonderful truth among her relatives and neighbors. She is planting the seed, and God will grant the increase according to his wisdom. She is leaving this week for Florida, and when we have her permanent address, we will send in her subscription to the "Herald."
We pray for you continually that our heavenly Father will guide and keep you in his love.
Mrs. E. N. -- Ill. .
[Believing the friends will be interested in the following letter, shared by one of our readers, we publish below. - Ed. Com.]
Today I received the money you sent, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to you for all your kindness. I wish I could show you how I appreciate it all, especially now in these hard times when things are getting worse daily. Many people are starving. The most necessary things can not be had for money, and other things in the food line are so expensive that it is impossible to buy. To all this comes the worst of all, myriads of insects are flying through the land and ruining every bit of the plants and vegetables. People say that all animals are dying of hunger. There is no more milk for children; nothing at all to eat; all fields are ruined., They say those insects are two to four meters, deep, sixty kilometers wide; and many hundred kilometers long is their procession of flight.
So we can see how the Prophets told us correctly. I know many people here who never looked at a Bible, but now, after some enlightenment, they are afraid and ask many questions. Today an old lady came to see me, and she can not understand why our Lord permits all the misery on this earth, why he lets people suffer so much, and why he does not punish all the people who brought on the wars. It took me three hours to explain and stop her weeping. I try to explain things very clearly. My Bible class is getting on well. I found a way to draw them together. I teach them to sew and do fancy work, and while they are working I read to them from the Bible, and they are greatly interested in the "Herald," especially the last two. I am receiving it now again regularly. . .
People are all afraid of what will come next to the earth. They have no more strength to go on. Now' comes the awful heat. Everybody is just longing for something to happen to stop all this trouble, I am sorry for all those people who have no hope. When I. see all this, I am glad my husband is gone, that he need not be hungry or troubled. The signs of the times' show us that the end must be very near. How happy we all shall be when our Lord rules the earth. I myself will not be here much longer. I was seventy-four years old last Sunday, and feel very weak, and can hardly walk....
My little friends of the Bible class come every day and they do little things for me. It is a great trial to be so alone and helpless, but it is God's will, and I am quite happy to do his will. I hope you are well and have everything you need. We still have no flour and very little bread-a roll every three days; no lard, and none of the things we most need. I don't know where it all goes to. We have had no sugar for two months. Potatoes are too expensive to buy.
Now I must close. With much Christian love and many thanks for your kindness. May the Lord's blessing be with you. I am,
Your sister by the Lord's Grace,
M. G. -- Brazil.
Surely those who have been in the narrow way for forty years, and have read everything that Brother Russell wrote, and heard him preach many times, do not need to be told of the importance of faith, prayer, etc. But they may be hungering for some personal message of love. from others, who are also "traveling Home" with faltering steps, and seeming almost alone, as they themselves may be.
- E. S. Mason.
Annual Meeting of the Pastoral Bible Institute
Members of the Pastoral Bible Institute are hereby reminded of the privilege which is theirs of nominating in the pages of this journal the brethren they wish to elect as directors. for the fiscal year 1947-1948. While the attention of new members is especially drawn to this matter, we desire to emphasize in the minds of old members also, not only the privilege, but also the responsibility which continued association with this ministry brings.
All should be aware of the fact that the affairs of this Institute are in the hands of seven brethren who are elected from the Institute's membership to serve for a period of one year or until their successors are elected. The next annual meeting will be held Saturday, June 7, 1947, at 2 p.m., in the parlors of the Institute, 177 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The brethren whose term of service will expire are:
The brethren named above are pleased to report that a spirit of Christian love and harmony exists in their midst; and they have reason to believe that the Lord has seen fit to bless their association in this ministry. They realize, however, that those carrying on any work often fail to see opportunities for improvement and expansion apparent to others not charged with such responsibility. For this reason changes in office not infrequently have beneficial effects. They desire above all things that the work of the Lord (for the furtherance of which this Institute was formed) be prosecuted with the greatest, possible efficiency, and to this end are ready cheerfully to step aside for others whom the membership believe .t-.f be fitted for the work. They therefore urge upon all the members of our Institute that they make this a special' occasion of prayer, and they also earnestly pray that our Father's will may be expressed in the vote of the members.
prayerful meditation any are led of the Lord to nominate brethren, and will forward the
names and addresses of such brethren so as to reach this office on or before April 9, 1947, such names will be
published: in the May issue of the "Herald," that all members may have an
opportunity of voting for them.