of Christ's Kingdom
VOL. XXXII July 1949 No.
Table of Contents
Report of the Institute
Report of Annual Meeting
Offer of Freedom
presentation of these reports finds us always rejoicing, not in what we have done, but in
what the overruling providence of the Lord has accomplished in spite of the
"unprofitable" servants he has so graciously used, thus through the means of our
weakness demonstrating his perfection and power. The feeling of gratitude which we
experience as the year is reviewed at these annual meetings, is based on a "full
assurance of faith that the divine promise of "grace to help in every time of
need" has been fulfilled. Things have not worked out at times as human
"wisdom" would have planned, but in this we rejoice, also, knowing that his ways
are as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth.
with our Brother Russell, that neither any truth, however exalted, nor any service,
however necessary it may appear, can properly be permitted to interfere with the work of
assisting the Bride to make herself ready, that branch of our activities has been stressed
as usual above all else, endeavoring, however, faithfully to do with our might what our
hands find to do, and encouraging all the 'brethren to the same fidelity.
FAITHFULNESS IN THAT WHICH IS LEAST
waiting for the promised day of the greater works than even those done by our Lord while
on earth, we have accepted 'with joy the many opportunities of service in comparative
trifles, acknowledging the Lord's wisdom in not risking the development of the pride
that might have come from more spectacular performance. If in the acceptance of these
little privileges we have been instrumental in giving any encouragement to one of the
Lord's little ones, if thus these stars will be caused to shine one candle-power brighter
for eternity, we do indeed have great cause for rejoicing in the One who has graciously
accorded us this privilege. Nor is there less cause for gratitude in that there have been
a few who through our ministry have begun the laying of a' foundation of doctrines, and
especially that such have been convinced of the necessity of not stopping their work
there, but "leaving the first principles, press on to perfection," adding and
super-adding until the day the abundant entrance is administered into his Kingdom.
SERVICE THAT COSTS
to guide others into the way of truth brings blessings into the life in proportion as one
gives himself in service. For this reason tract distribution has always been an especially
appreciated means of spreading the "glad tidings." It is hard to account for the
amount of courage it sometimes takes to ring a doorbell and offer to the home-owner the
treasures which alone can bring comfort to the bereaved, and lasting joy and, peace in a
world where perplexities are daily bringing increasing uncertainty into the hearts of men.
There would seem to be a blessing to every one who makes even the slightest sacrifice of
means or time or strength that the message may be heralded abroad. For those who make
these things the limit of their sacrifice, the joy and the enriching of one's own
character is as nothing compared with what comes -to the one who has the privilege of
sounding forth the praise of the God of love with his own lips. And with that service
comes the additional blessing of a testing as to whether he can speak with the meekness
of spirit that glorifies the Master, avoiding the spirit that better represents the
to the world with "an eye single to his glory" also protects from the pitfall of
seeking merely to build up an organization. Let the "wise Masterbuilder"
attend to that, if that is his purpose, while we attend to our commission to "build
ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the holy spirit."
THE PILGRIM SERVICE
correspondence received we judge that the blessings resulting from the Pilgrim service
have been mutual for the servants and for those served. It is our desire that this
fellowship might be of even greater benefit. To this end the friends are urged to feel
free to accept it regardless of the smallness of their number, or their inability to
assist with the expense involved. The Pilgrims gladly serve the ones and twos, realizing
that their need is even greater than that of those who have
larger fellowship. An announcement of willingness to provide for the entertainment of
the Pilgrims where the Class is not so situated as to do so, has extended this service slightly further
than formerly, but our hope is that still more brethren will take advantage of the offer,
placing the blessing of fellowship above all minor considerations.
For the last
two years there has been an extension of the Pilgrim service in another direction, one of
our brothers serving the brethren in Great Britain and Denmark. We rejoice in the
blessings which the correspondence from across the water indicates resulted. The ties
that bind together in the bonds of Christian love brethren on both sides of the Atlantic,
we feel assured, were materially strengthened by reason of this fellowship and service.
The English 'brethren assure us they were rewarded well for the labor and expense
Miles traveled: 95,332
Meetings held 684
personal and less limited in its effectiveness, but giving us connection with the far
distant corners of the world, is the correspondence department. Not all of our correspondents find time for
more than a business note in connection with their sending of orders, lists of three
months and regular subscriptions, etc., but the depth of spirituality evidenced by many of
the letters is very encouraging. If any portion of the credit for this condition is due to
some phase of our activity, as the writers often indicate, we rejoice.
beginning of our work in 1918 it has been a blessing, through correspondence with the
friends, to keep informed regarding their development, their trials, and their
faithfulness in making use of the means the Lord has placed at their disposal for Bible
study, for fellowship, and for witnessing to the glory of the Father, who is by these
means being revealed to them. It is no occasion for surprise that in this connection there
should be disappointments, such as the discovering that a few are allowing things which
they confess to be of minor importance 'to interfere with those things which are indicated
by the Scriptures to be essential to our preparation for the eternal inheritance. We
hope that some of these will prove to have merely stumbled for a season, being
temporarily drawn aside by the will-o-the-wisps of human ideas and earthly hopes.
Number of letters received 4,250
Number of letters sent out 5,678
OTHER FIELDS OF ACTIVITY
opportunity is taken to thank the brethren who have sent us lists of addresses of those
-they think may be inquiring for "the old paths." We urge all to be awake to
this privilege of serving the brethren bewildered by the changed message that has been
coming to them. Our convenient pocket edition of the "Divine Plan of the Ages has
been a most effective assistance to some who had forgotten the sound of the true
Shepherd's voice. In some instances the Revelation and the Daniel volumes have also been
helpful. Occasional public meetings have been arranged, and we understand some permanent
results may have been attained.
As in other
years since the close of the war, friends have not only written us for addresses of
suffering brethren in other lands that they might send food and clothing to them, but some
have entrusted funds to us with instructions to use the money for assisting where it is
most needed. The letters that have been shared with you in the "Herald" have
already informed you as to how well worthwhile this following of the Scriptural
injunction to "bear one another's burdens" has proved.
diligence to make our calling and election sure, let us not look to past attainments,
however, for our encouragement, but to the evidence of the Lord's interest in that past. Above all let us guard well
every spiritual advancement gained, and seek to enter the new year with a firm
determination that only His will and His glory will be sought. He alone has made possible
anything of the past in which we can rejoice. "The blessing of the Lord maketh
rich." Let us through full devotion to him enter upon the richest year of our
experience, turning from all human sounds to listen only for the tender accents of his
with the provision of the charter of the Institute those members who were
able to do so assembled in the afternoon of June 4 at
the headquarters of the Institute, primarily for the election of directors, the absent
members being represented by proxy. The voting replaced in office the directors of the
previous year, namely: B. F. Hollister, H. E. Hollister, J. C. Jordan, J. T. Read, P. L.
Read, W. J. Siekman, and P. E. Thomson. The reading of the report of the Board, of the
Treasurer, the Auditing Committee, and the Chairman of the Board (the latter orally
given), which immediately followed the devotional service and election of Chairman and
Secretary for the meeting, all indicated the
harmonious working of all departments to have continued through another year; and, as
indicated especially in the report of the Treasurer, acknowledgment and appreciation of
the good will of the friends, and the realization that only by the Lord's blessing could
even the meager results obtained have been possible.
absence of the Tellers for the counting of the votes, the opportunity given for discussion
was used largely for suggesting means of increasing the effectiveness of our service; and
the suggestion was made that all should give much thought during the coming months along
this line. Also a message of love, together with a verse of the hymn, "Blest be the
Tie that Binds," and the Scriptures, Psalm 116:12 and Romans 1:11, 12, were entrusted
to Brother Thomson to deliver to the British friends when visiting them this summer. The
ballots and proxies having been entrusted to the Secretary for safekeeping and
destruction at the end of six months, the meeting closed with a hymn and prayer.
The meeting of the new Board which immediately
followed, elected as officers: Brothers J. C. Jordan, Chairman; J. T. Read, Vice-chairman;
P. L. Read, Treasurer; P. E. Thomson, Secretary; J. T. Read, Acting Secretary. The
Editorial Committee of last year was reelected to service: Brothers H. E. Hollister, J.
T. Read, P. L. Read, W. J. Siekman, and P. E. Thomson. Brothers elected for full time
pilgrim service are Brothers H. E. Hollister, J. T. Read, and P. E. Thomson; part time:
Brothers LaRoy Benedict, C. Czohara, J. E. Dawson, F. A. Essler, C. M. Glass, E. W. Hinz,
B. F. Hollister, A. Jarmola, J. C. Jordan, W. Lankheim, C. Loucky, G. Oberg, W. H. Peck,
F. W. Petran, P. L. Read, W. C. Roberts, W. J. Siekman, T. G. Smith, T. P. Tillema, W.
Urban, A. L, Vining, J. B. Webster, and J. Wyndelts.
Inventory and Sale of Books
Edition, Divine Plan
Revelation Exposition, Volume 1
Lord's Return Pamphlet
Balance Sheet April 30, 1949
hand and in bank
of Books, etc.
Pocket Edition - Divine Plan $291.93
Exposition-Vol. I 398.00
Daniel Exposition 424.00
Our Lord's Return Booklet,
Tabernacle Shadows, etc. 238.63
Property at 177 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, N. Y 12,000.00
Worth (as per statement below)
Statement of Income and
Expense and Analysis of Net Worth
May 1, 1948 to April 30, 1949
- General Purpose
Legacies - Samuel Lauper, Switzerland
Gain - on Sale of Books, etc
Printing and Mailing "Herald"
to Office Staff
Allowance to "Herald" Contributor
Maintenance of property, including
taxes, coal, gas, electricity,
insurance and repairs 1,414.87
Expense for fiscal year
Worth, May 1, 1948
(as per Balance Sheet above)
Statement of Auditors
The books of
account of the Pastoral Bible Institute were examined by us covering the fiscal period
from May 1, 1948 to April 30, 1949 and in our opinion and to the best of our knowledge and
belief they show the correct picture of operations and that the foregoing financial
statements are in agreement with the said books of account.
Thomas P. Tillema
Frederick A. Lange
watched the sparrows flitting here and there,
In quest of food about the miry street;
Such nameless fare as seems to sparrows sweet
They sought with greedy clamor everywhere.
"I, too, like thee, O sparrow, toil to gain,
My scanty portion from life's sordid ways.
God grant I too, may have the grace,
To keep my soul's uplifted wings from stain."
"Yet 'mid their strife I noted with what care
They held their fluttering pinions fleet.
They trod the mire with soiled and grimy feet,
But kept their wings unsullied in the air.
"If the Son therefore
shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." - John 8:36.
whole world is divided between human slavery and human freedom-between pagan brutality and
the Christian ideal. We choose human freedom -- which is the Christian ideal."
President Roosevelt in his historic address on the evening of May 28, 1941. Then, after
observing that it was possible for the seeds of the present menace to human liberty to be
planted and allowed to grow only in a world such as the postwar world of the 1920's, which
"we will not [again] accept," he went on to say, "We will accept only a
world consecrated to freedom of speech and expression -- freedom of every person to
worship God in his own way-freedom from want and freedom from terrorism."
The next day
Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden stated Britain's war aims. He called for permanent
guarantee of the "four freedoms" mentioned by President Roosevelt. He spoke of
"a new moral order" in the world, in which there will be no starving peoples, in
which nations will trade at will and to mutual advantage, in which there will be work for
all and assurances that chaos must not come again to this world. He envisioned the
establishment of social security in all lands.
details as to how this "new moral order" is to be secured and the "four
freedoms" established do not appear in either speech. Nor are we ourselves able to
furnish these details, much as we can and do sympathize with their objectives. We know
only that God has, indeed, promised such a world as these statesmen hope to see-one even
better than they hope, and that His promise is certain of fulfilment. Meantime we are
determined not to think or speak or do anything that might tend to discourage in the
slightest degree, those who, in high places, are filled with such ideals and who are
laboring to accomplish them in the earth. On the contrary let us pray for such and to the
extent of our ability cooperate with them to those ends. - 1 Tim. 2:1-3.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE
been two main contributing causes which have operated to produce the liberty known and
experienced in the world to date. One of these is the Bible. As we compare the various
degrees of civilization throughout the world, and note that the wisest and best laws and
the wisest and best execution of them and the greatest true liberty of the people within
reasonable bounds are found in those nations which have most reverenced the divine
message, the Bible, it is a strong argument that the Word of God has not only influenced
the "little flock," who take it most seriously, and who lay aside every weight
and hindrance and worldly ambition to run with patience in the footsteps of Jesus, but it
has influenced the minds of many who have never taken this step of full consecration. In a
word, the liberty wherewith Christ makes free is not the liberty of license but the
liberty of reason, of justice, of love; and in proportion as any one has received the
spirit of the divine teaching, in that same proportion he is a freeman. We thank God,
therefore, for the measure of national liberty which prevails throughout the world, even
while we see clearly from the prophecies of the Scriptures, as well as written on the
pages of the daily press, that a great misinterpretation of liberty is rapidly spreading
throughout the world, which will eventually wreck the present civilization in anarchy.
THE FIGHT FOR LIBERTY
contributing cause of the liberty known and enjoyed by mankind up to the present time is
warfare. We think it is not an over-statement to say that all, or nearly all, the liberty
there is in the world today has been paid for; practically none of it has been attained
without sacrificers. Why? Because selfishness is so entrenched in the race that those
who possess power, authority, privilege, opportunity, would hold these for themselves to
the disadvantage of others-to the enslavement of others were not the rights and
liberties fought for. Looking back over the history of nations and, regardless of one's
views as to the propriety of a Christian engaging in warfare, every reasoning mind can
see that only through wars have liberties come to the human race. The mistake that is
being made by many today is the supposition that humanity would ever be able to attain
the condition of absolute equality and unselfishness through laws or wars or any other
means within the power of Adam's race.
Scriptures point out to us that there is a limit beyond which we must not expect selfish
humanity to make progress-that any progress beyond that limit must come from on High,
through the establishment of the Kingdom of God's dear Son; that while wealth and
influence and talents will yield to the pressure of the masses for their own protection
and aggrandizement, they will not yield everything, but would permit the entire social
structure to dissolve rather than to submit to a general equalization, as is the aim of
Socialism. Hence Socialism, while not 'intending anarchy, will produce anarchy; while
striving for greater liberty and universality of blessings of earth, will effect a wreck
of all these. Thanks be to God that his program is that -on the wreck of present
institutions 'he will establish the true reign of liberty on the plane of love, under the
guidance of the Master and his joint-heirs.
while we await that Kingdom let us not despise our present national liberty, imperfect
though it be. Usually blessings are valued rightly only when they are taken from us. It is
not long since we were doing some sober thinking as to the possibility of losing our
national liberty. Such thoughts should lead us to very earnest thankfulness to God that
this liberty has been preserved to us. Nor should it be difficult for us to be grateful
also to those who bore the brunt of the sacrifice, many of whom laid down life itself in
the cause of freedom.
LIBERTY TO BECOME SONS OF GOD
reflections on the liberty known and experienced by mankind in general, let us now turn to
another phase of our subject: "The glorious liberty of the children of God."
(Rom. 8:21.) Dearly as we may love liberty, there is no man who actually possesses it yet,
for as the result of the fall of Adam all men became the slaves of Sin and, to a great
extent, the tools of Satan; and never, until the promised restitution of all things is
completed, will men enjoy the precious boon of liberty in its full sense. This is one of
the elements of the Gospel, that Christ is to bring liberty to the captives of sin and
death, and to let all the oppressed go free. - Isa. 61:1.
to those who believe that death itself is a great blessing, liberating our spirits from
their present bondage to earthly conditions, -the Gospel message is without meaning.
But to us who have learned the true nature of man, and who know that he is mortal, and-
not only mortal, but dying, this promise of liberation from -the prison-house of death,
though stated centuries ago, holds our interest with a stronger grip than would tomorrow's
headlines, if we could read them today.
however, the actual freedom or liberty of the children of God is not yet enjoyed by any,
the inheritance of it being lost by Adam's fall, a few have regained their title to that
inheritance, How did they do this? By faith in Christ, who, with his own precious blood,
purchased it for all who will accept it as the free gift of God's grace. And these few
have, by faith, already passed from death to life (John 5:25; 1 John 3:14) and are now,
therefore, reckoned free -- free from sin, and its condemnation, death-righteousness
being imputed to them.. Thus they hold a sure title to this glorious liberty, which all
the sons of God will possess when fully restored to the mental and moral image of God.
A ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
indicated, the full liberty of the children of God is not yet ours, except by faith.
However, while realizing this, let us not fail to note the measure of that liberty which
is ours: even now. It is very considerable. The liberty of the Christian is stated by the
Apostle John to be the liberty, power or privilege, of becoming a son of God. "As
many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he the power [liberty] to become the sons of
God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:12.). That is to say, our Savior
offers to all who accept him, and who desire to regain the mental and moral image of God,
lost by Adam, and who desire to return to the relationship of children of God, a release
from the sin which brought condemnation upon us all six thousand years ago; it means also
that over such he will throw a robe of righteousness, which will cover all their present
imperfections and unavoidable weaknesses. Clothed thus, in this white raiment, they need
not wait for the Millennial Age, but may at once go to God, by faith, and find immediate
acceptance in his presence, and secure grace to help them in every time of need. Thus
may they continue under this precious robe of righteousness throughout their earthly
career until, having proved, by their obedience in the present life, the sincerity of
their consecration to God's will and service, they shall ultimately be delivered from all
the present weaknesses into grand, perfect, spiritual bodies, like unto their Lord's. This
is the promise to the overcomers, who thus will be received into final and complete
sonship as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.
clear and, we believe Scriptural, presentation of the meaning of the robe of
righteousness, or "white raiment" as it applies to the believer's standing in the present life, is found in the
writings of Brother Russell, under the caption:
"WHITE RAIMENT LOANED TO US"
Scriptures give us to understand that at the very beginning of our Christian experience
we, figuratively, are clothed in white raiment. This white raiment represents
justification -- we are justified freely from all things. It is a robe without spot. It
is sometimes spoken of as Christ's robe of righteousness because it comes to us through
Christ. It is to be had only through him. He is able to impute to us, to, loan to us,
grant to us temporarily, this robe. It is spoken of as the wedding garment. At an
oriental wedding, a wedding garment of white linen was used to cover over the clothing
worn by each guest. It was loaned to the guest at the wedding by the host, when he
appeared at the wedding feast. White linen signifies purity. So when Christ gives us the
use of his merit, it is as a white garment to cover our imperfections. It is an
imputation of his righteousness which is to us justification. We are exhorted to keep our
garments unspotted from the world. The imputation of righteousness given us we are to
preserve, to maintain. But we cannot fully maintain it of ourselves. Our tongues may
sometimes say things that we wish they had not said, and our hands may sometimes do
things we would not desire. Hence God has provided a way by which our blemishes or
transgressions may be eradicated-those not willful. This way is our daily application for
the cleansing of these unwilling transgressions through the precious blood. Thus we keep
our garments unspotted from the world. Thus our justification, our white robe, is
maintained -- should be maintained."
raiment, however, is not only provided as a precious covering robe for the believer to
wear during this present life. It is stated as the reward of the overcomer which he will
realize in the future. "They shall walk with me in white for they are worthy."
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." - Rev. 3:4, 5.
significance of this figure of the white robe in the sense of a reward to be granted the
overcomer after he has successfully completed his trial and been faithful unto death, is
also most clearly unfolded by Brother Russell in another article:
"THE WHITE RAIMENT OF THE KINGDOM"
not sufficient that we have the imputation of our Savior's righteousness. This
imputation is only a temporary arrangement. We need to come to the place where we shall
have a righteousness of our own. Our flesh is imperfect. . . In spite of our best
endeavors things are bound to go more or less wrong. But we are to prove ourselves
overcomers-more than overcomers. The Lord has arranged that at the conclusion of our
trial, at the end of the present life, all the overcomers shall receive the new body. This
new body will be a body of actual purity. Thus, as the Apostle says, we shall be 'clothed
upon with our house which is from heaven.' So our raiment will be changed from a garment
of imputed perfection, our justification by faith, to that which represents actual
perfection. At the resurrection we shall receive that body of inherent purity, without
blemish, without spot, which is here pictured as 'white raiment.'
wonderful Gospel it is, and how little do we need to be ashamed of it! And all this grace
comes to us merely by believing in the name of Jesus, and all that that name implies. The
name Jesus signifies Savior or Liberator, as indicated in Matthew 1:21, which reads:
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he
shall save his people from their sins."
But is it
only to believers in his name that our Lord grants this privilege or liberty of becoming
sons of God? Yes, we answer, only to these. Belief in no other person will do, nor will
the acceptance of our Lord by any other name than the one which acknowledges his
ransom-sacrifice avail. He must be recognized as Savior not merely as Teacher or Guide.
He saves his people from sins that are past, as well as teaches and guides them to abhor
and avoid sins in the future.
It is worthy
of notice, too, that this privilege of becoming sons of God was not extended to the
overcomers of the past ages, nor will it be offered to such as prove faithful during the
Millennial Age. These are represented in the Scriptures as receiving their life from
Christ (Head and Body). They will thus be not sons, but grandsons, if you
please, of the Father. Though the race in general will not become sons of God, they may
secure, through the sons of God, freedom from death, pain, etc. (Rom. 8:18-22.) The
children of Christ -- all who receive the redemption life, will stand as dear and as
close to the Father, Jehovah, as sons, even as in the earthly family, the grandsons are as
dearly loved, and as kindly treated. But none of them can be made perfect, without us, the
sons and heirs, as the Apostle makes plain in Hebrews 11:40.
manifestation of the sons of God is, therefore, the great event for which the whole race
of mankind waits and hopes and groans, even though most of them do so in ignorance. Their
hopes and expectations, not being clear, may be summed up as a vague longing for a
Golden Age, a good time by and by.
Just now we
said that the privilege of becoming sons of God is extended, in this Gospel Age, wily to
believers in Jesus as their Savior, their Liberator. Some one has put this thought in a
heart searching question and presented it in a couple of verses which appeal very
strongly. They read:
means so much to me, that, when He came,
They called Him 'Jesus!' 'Tis a gripping name
That takes a saving hold on one like me,
Who lifts new-visioned eyes that now would see
All false lights fade in presence of the true --
What does it mean to you?
"It means so much to me, in crisis hours
When right seems baffled by opposing powers
To hear His strong voice call,
'Be of good cheer,
For I have overcome this world of fear.
Here's refuge in My Word -- My Word is true!' --
What does it mean to you?"
let us appreciate to the full Christ's offer of freedom -- the glorious privilege he
extends to us of becoming sons of God. Let us be strong, acquitting ourselves like men,
receiving now by faith the special favor to be brought to us at the appearing of our
Lord Jesus, who will himself present us (by his side before the Father, unblameable and
unreproveable in love.
- P. L. Read
"The hour cometh, and now is, when
the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father
seek to be his worshipers." - John 4:23, R. V.
IF WE would
appreciate aright the importance which John, the beloved disciple, placed upon the
conversation which Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, we must give
consideration to two things: first, the purpose which actuated John when choosing the
material for his Gospel; and second, the times for which he wrote. A proper appreciation
for these two points will predispose us to appreciate also a third thing-the most
important of them all -- the place and value which true worship and devotion should
occupy in the life of every Christian believer throughout this whole Gospel Age.
John (under the holy spirit's guidance) did not compile his Gospel with the same
immediate purpose in view as did Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John did not set out to place
on record the story "of all that Jesus began both to do and teach," as Luke, in
his first treatise for his friend Theophilus, had done. (Acts 1:1.) Nor did he seek to
trace out the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, as Matthew had done (Matt. 1:1-16), nor
to Adam, as Luke had done. (Luke 3:23-38.) John's specific purpose in the selection and
compilation of his source-material, was to present the story of the life of Jesus of
Nazareth to the younger generation contemporaneous with his old age in such a way that
they would be convinced and satisfied that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living
God. - John 20:30, 31.
He does not
claim to have retold all that Jesus said or did, nor for that matter did any of the other
three Evangelists do so, in spite of the way Luke speaks of his former treatise to his
friend Theophilus. We have at least one statement which Jesus is attributed to have made
that comes to us from an entirely different. source, which runs: "Remember the words
of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
(Acts 20:35.) In this case we are indebted to Paul for this saying of the Lord; and that
this was the only saying of the Lord left unrecorded by the three principal narrators is
most unlikely. Presumably this statement, judging by the way that Paul appealed to the
brethren's "remembrance," was a matter of common knowledge to them all, and only
needed quoting by Paul to buttress his protestation of unselfishness to show that his
life had been in accordance with the words of the Lord.
course of his intensive ministry it is more than probable that Jesus had done and said
many things which had not been placed on record with pen and paper (or parchment) by any
of the Gospel writers. It is also probable, in view of their dull hearing, that Jesus may
have said certain things more than once at different times, and under varying
circumstances, which may account for the fact that certain sayings are found in
different contexts, and connected with different episodes. As a case in point we may
compare Matthew's single account of Jesus' reply regarding the end of the Age (Matt. 24)
with Luke's three but more fragmentary accounts found in chapters, John 12:35-48; John
17:22-37; and John 21:5-36. Perhaps we might not be so puzzled by these seeming
discrepancies if we could be sure that Jesus had said some of these things more than once.
we call to mind that there were no written records of these things for at least the
first twenty or thirty years after Pentecost (none have survived if such there were),
and that during all that time the stories of Jesus' words and miracles were transmitted by
word of mouth, having first been uttered and "confirmed by those that heard
him" (Heb. 2:3); constituting thus a floating fund of information that passed from
lip to lip, and from which such of the writers as were not eye witnesses drew the material
needed for their accounts.
We are not
forgetting divine supervision over these matters, even though there are differences in the
accounts. If we will but reflect what occurs to rumors, and even true accounts, that
pass from lip to lip today, and how in course of repetition they begin to lose almost
all semblance to the original, we will be compelled to acknowledge more than a little
divine supervision in that these separate accounts differ so little from each other.
account, unlike that of Mark or Luke, was an eye-witness account, given at first hand, at
a later time, and for a different purpose. It is these differences that make
cross-reference with the other Gospels so difficult and complex. Moreover John does not
seem to have chosen his material with any strict chronological sequence, as the others
seem to have done, but selects and assembles it to produce a crescendo-like volume of
evidence, piling point on point, so that when the whole is set forth complete, each story,
act, and miracle has contributed its own special quota to the verdict he desired to have
reached. As in his first, epistle, a threefold cord runs throughout the whole: Life
(John 1:4); Light (John 1:4; 8:12; 9:5); and Love (John 3:16; 14:23, etc.) by means of
which he led his readers on to confess that Jesus on account of such utterance, could be
none other than the Christ.
A full third
part of his account recounts the story of Jesus' last days in Jerusalem, in which he
adduces proof in abundance that Jesus was truly what he claimed to be. Beginning with the
basin and towel, with its depths of mystic meaning; then the long talk, replete with
things no other lips could speak, concluding with that incomparably intimate committal
prayer here was evidence beyond dispute that Jesus held relationship to Almighty God that
no other man before or since had ever done. Then the stories of his appearances and
disappearances after he was raised, were recounted to place on record his uniqueness and
separateness from men. .
are proofs that lie outside our present purposes. Nor can we find time or space to set in
review that sublime introduction to his Gospel, John 1:1-5, in which John gives his own
parallel account with Paul, of what the latter calls "his emptying himself of his
former glories." (Phil. 2:7.) Here also is evidence full and complete that Jesus was
not as other men.
Nor can we
take extended note of his incisive forceful teachings in the Temple (see chapters 7 and
8) with all their telling repercussions upon the vexed and irritated Pharisees, provoking
them in sheer desperation to take up stones to stone him and put him out of their way:
"I am the Light of the world . I know whence I came . . . I am from above . . . Your
father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and was glad ... Before Abraham was I am." Such
were some of these illuminating flashes which he threw into their prejudice-darkened
minds. Surely here are evidences of those depths of divine philosophy which none save
One who had "heard from God" (John 8:40) could enunciate! But we cannot stay to
sharpen up these points of evidence at this present time.
short passing reference we must pass over all these masses of powerful evidence, and note
in the main that John builds his case for Jesus of Nazareth's Messiahship upon seven
selected episodes (or signs) and two outstanding conversations. His talk with the woman at
the well was one of these.
presentation of these signs commences with the story of the turning of water into wine at
the marriage feast at Cana of Galilee. (John 2:1-11.) Of this John says, "This
beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee. .. . " A most wonderful event
indeed! but noted here only as the first sign.
the challenge to (and thorough domination of) the desecrators of the Temple, and their
expulsion, with all their wares therefrom. (John 2:13-24.) The psychological mastery of
all this crowd, upon this time-honored, privileged ground, undertaken for the honor of
his Father's Name and Temple was an indication of the Messianic zeal which the Prophets
had foretold. - Psa. 69:9.
came the distant unseen healing of the Nobleman's son in Capernaum when near the point of
death. (John 4:46-53.) This was an extraordinary case of healing, the abatement of the
deadly fever coinciding exactly with the moment Jesus spake the reassuring words. How was
the gap twixt speaker and sufferer bridged if not by a higher Power? Was not that a
testimony to his Messiahship? (Perhaps a wee word of explanation will throw additional
light on this miracle. Actually there had been two miracle-signs wrought by Jesus since
his return to Galilee from Judea. "This is now the second sign that Jesus did
when he had come from Judea to Galilee." (John 4:54.) One is recorded, the other is
not. Why? -- This is clear proof that John selected just such signs as were needed by him
for his purpose.
"sign" was the remarkable cure of the chronic paralytic -- a sufferer of no less
than thirty eight years duration. The mental rehabilitation too, which enabled this
broken, hope deferred creature to defend himself against the cavils of accusers was not
less noteworthy than his physical regeneration. Wrought by Jesus on the Sabbath day, this
arresting miracle set in motion a long train of circumstances which crystallized into the
deadly hatred of the Jews and which after several futile attempts (John 5:18; 7:1; 10:31)
eventually brought about his death.
"sign" was the amazing act of multiplying bread and fish to such amounts that
five thousand mouths were fed to repletion, with an abundance still uneaten, when the
repast was at an end. This miracle set in motion those deep cross-currents of opinion and
inquiry narrated in chapter 6, ending eventually in the bread-and-fish followers falling
away from him.
the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-40) with its culmination in the claim that
Jesus made to be the Shepherd of the flock. (John 10:1-16.) Resentment, reaching dangerous
proportions, broke out after this miracle-it also was performed on a Sabbath day --
causing Jesus to have to withdraw to the countryside. Never had such a deed been seen
before in Israel; but what mattered that to the tradition-ridden sticklers in Jerusalem!
Better to them that a hundred born-blind sufferers should remain permanently blind than
that one should gain the gift of sight on a Sabbath day!
The last and
most astounding of all these signs was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Here, in the
sight of both friend and informer (John 11:46) the four days' corruption and putrefaction
was stayed, and Lazarus called to "come forth" to resume his life on, earth.
This event-the final testimony against the resentful authorities-drove them finally to
their decision that he must die.
seven selected signs John set forth the evidence of Jesus' wonder working powers, each
one, in spite of their different spheres, cumulatively higher in the scale of the
miraculous till the last one culminated in that altogether unprecedented display at the
opened tomb -- a veritable crescendo of testimony, which, witnessed and attested by John,
could point to but one unchallengeable conclusion. Never since human time began, in any
land, or at the hands of any man had such proofs been given that he that performed them
all was authorized and endowed by God! Thus far the brief testimony of the seven signs-and
"these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God." - John 20:31.
these was the testimony of his many conversations, of which two are particularly singled
out by John as suitable to his special purpose in the first of these John reveals and
records the astounding fact that one of Israel's most pious and open minded teachers
was soon talked far out of his depth and found himself non-plussed and beaten by the
unexpected profundity of the "teacher come from God." From his studies of the
ancient prophecies, Nicodemus, together with the whole Rabbinic band, had acquired certain
expectations concerning Kingdom glories, which presumably he wished to discuss with the
new, young Teacher in their midst. To his increasing consternation Jesus said, Unless
so-and-so takes place he cannot see this Kingdom of God . . unless so-and-so occurs he
cannot enter this Kingdom of God. "Cannot see . . . cannot enter." And this to
a pious Rabbi in Israel! Of these deeper things, he was as obviously ignorant as a little
child -- indeed he soon found he had been interrogating One who could go forward far
beyond the stage where he left off, into realms that lay beyond the utmost boundaries of
food indeed for reflection and thought for John's disciple band in those later days -- a
whole octave of facts, which if pondered as it ought to be, could lead to but one
conclusion alone -- a conclusion so obvious and unmistakable that it would be impossible
to use those facts for any other purpose than to prove -- that "Jesus was the
Christ,", and in whom believing, they should find eternal life.
touched but briefly this massive weight of testimony adduced by John, we may henceforth be
prepared to see and understand something of the prime importance and significance
attributed by him to that conversation at the well. Among so many interwoven lines of
testimony this one has its place, filled to repletion as it is with its facts and lessons
for all who wish to win conviction concerning Christ, not less in our own day than there
In view of
this importance as it appeared to John, no wonder he should say, "And he must needs
pass through Samaria." (John 4:4.) An overruling Providence had been guiding his
steps to that time-hallowed spot so that something of more than local interest might there
be said which could not be uttered even in Jerusalem. And though it was designed that his
active partner in this conversation should be a woman -- a woman of Samaria at that --
the gist and germ of all that he was to say was intended to be for his disciples' benefit,
and for all who in course of time would claim relationship to the God of heaven as
"children" to a "Father." In this conversation three things stand out
in special prominence:
had supplies of living water to give to those that asked.
Father sought only such to worship him who could worship in "spirit" and truth.
that speak to thee am he" -- a statement of almost unparalleled directness not found
elsewhere in his utterances.
depths of emphasis and certitude which none but the very Christ of God could have uttered
depths of truth which only he who had learned of God could proclaim!
from the vantage ground of his mature and ripe old age, this last surviving witness of
Jesus' earthly ministry culled and brought together this selected inventory of evidence to
present (as sure and certain fact) to a bewildered and uncertain generation that the
despised and rejected Jesus of Nazareth was in very deed the Christ of Israel, and
withal, by his resurrection from the dead, demonstrated also as the Son of God. It had
been his lot to live through many tragic years and numerous strange experiences. He had
seen, in younger years, "many myriads, still zealous for the Law" (Acts 21:20),
believe and crowd their way into the Christian Church, only to fall away again and
become more hostile than theretofore. He had seen "hardness in part" settle down
upon Israel, as the darkening clouds of divine disfavor spread abroad over the land. He
had seen his callous kith and kin fling defiance to mighty Rome, and unhesitatingly join
warfare with the strongest nation on the earth. He had seen besieging armies encamp
about Jerusalem and lay it with the dust. He had known the City's streets run deep with
blood as a thousand thousands went to a gory death. He had memories of the Temple of the
Living God given to the flames; her stones cast down till foundations were exposed, with
priest and Levite crushed beneath. In all these things he had seen the death-pangs of an
Age-and the death-throes of the once accepted people of Jehovah God.
this, he had recollections of those tragic persecutions of Christian saints in Rome when
Nero gave their thousands to the flames or to the hungry beasts. He had also recollections
of the safe withdrawal from Jerusalem to the stone fastnesses of Peraea of so many of
his friends ere the doomed city fell -- a signal act of God to save his own.
He had also
lived to see every other member of "the Twelve" complete his course in death, to
leave him remaining the sole witness on earth (perhaps) who had seen and loved the Man of
He had lived
on into the darkest era of the whole Christian Church -- an era of which less is known
than of any other period of the Gospel Age. Historically it was a time of silence, where
a little while before all had been life and activity. Historians will tell us that at this
point the light suddenly expires. Of this period Neander (a Jewish-Christian historian
says), "We have no information, nor can the total want of sources for this part of
Church history be at all surprising." Dean Farrar says, "When with the last word
in the Acts of the Apostles we lose the graphic and faithful guidance of St. Luke, the
torch of Christian history is for a time abruptly quenched. We are left, as it were, to
grope among the windings of the Catacombs. . . . It is probable that this silence is in
itself the result of the terrible scenes in which the Apostles perished."
writer says, "Once arrived there (at Rome); once securely planted in that central and
commanding position, the Church, strange to say, .. . suddenly vanishes from our view. The
densest clouds of obscurity gather round its history, which our eager curiosity in vain
attempts to penetrate. It is gone, amid a wreath of smoke as completely as when a train
plunges into a tunnel." And still another says, "Black darkness falls upon the
scene; and a grim brooding silence-like the silence of impending storm, holds in hushed
expectation of the "day of the Lord" the awe-struck, breathless Church. No more
books are written, no more messengers are sent, the very voice of tradition is
years lying between Jerusalem's fall and the close of the first century are the darkest of
all the dark years of the Christian centuries. And in the midst of that unfathomable
darkness stands one lone, venerable figure battling with the hosts of darkness then
seeking to seduce the depleted remnant of the bewildered souls still constituting the Christian
generation that saw that terrible visitation fall upon Jerusalem had witnessed the
too-tragic fulfillment of the dire threatenings of the Lord, yet the longed-for Kingdom
had not come! A time of trouble such as that nation had never previously known, had
overwhelmed it, yet no Michael had stood up to bring relief; nor had there been an
awakening of those that slept in the dust of the earth, as Daniel seemed to imply. What
did it all mean? Had the Hand of the Lord failed in its task of setting righteousness to
flourish in the earth? Had the Lord of Life and Glory failed to establish his
"Church" upon the "Rock" as he had said he would? Where in all the
earth was an explanation of this strange situation to 'be found? Do we wonder that the
scattered, depleted flock was in an uncertain mood, with an altogether unsettled outlook.
We have at
least one source of scanty information through which we can read Church history between
the lines. This source of information is found in John's three Epistles. Here we can
detect the evidence that Alexandrian philosophers had invaded the little company, some
of whom sought to wipe ''sin" from the slate; others sought to prove that Jesus, when
in the flesh, was not the Christ; and that his sacrifice had not wrought
"propitiation" for sin.
That one lone,
venerable figure was the sole bulwark against this tidal-wave of negation and denial the
one sole living companion of that ascended Lord whose earthly life now lay two generations
back on the stream of time. Among the scanty few still living who may have had immediate
memories of the Man of Nazareth, John stood forth as a man unique and unparalleled in his
position and responsibility among the saints.
It is he --
this very lonely patriarch-who turned memories' pages back and took from its archives, the
few facts he wanted to demonstrate and prove that the Lord and Master of his youthful
heart, had truly been the very Christ of Israel and the very Son of God.
There are very
many lessons we could draw from these chosen excerpts from memories' venerable pages, but,
for our present purposes, one only will be drawn.
Amid all the
changed unsettling circumstances that then prevailed, the right, appropriate worshipful
attitude of the saint towards his God was one that needed very specifically to be
stressed. At times like that, when the old landmarks have disappeared and the means of
taking one's bearings anew is difficult, if not impossible, it is very easy to loose one's
contacts on the higher things as well as on those that lie around. Having been
taught to expect that once the visitation of wrath began, that same generation would not
pass away till all was fulfilled, the whole believing company could well be excused if,
after Jerusalem was destroyed, they then began to ask if the work- of -God had failed, and
his control of human affairs become ineffective. It is under such conditions that
faith wilts away, and devotion evaporates. To meet that situation in his own day John went
back to that episode at the Well to recall how Jesus had foreseen and foretold a time yet
to come when the special privilege of Jerusalem as the city of God, and of her Temple as
the exclusive place of worship, would be withdrawn, yet notwithstanding that, the God of
heaven, the Father of a wider family, would still be seeking some to worship him who could
worship in spirit and truth. He would stand ready to accept the devotion of their '
hearts as incense sweet, because it was the sincere expression of their inmost souls.
Ceremony and ritual would cease not only on Mount Gerizim, but in Jerusalem too, and then
the fervent adoration and praise rising heavenwards from God's free-born sons throughout
the whole wide world would mean more to him than all the chants of the white-robed
priests, or all the blood of bulls and goats, though all the cattle on a thousand hills
were presented to him in sacrifice. Of these things his soul was
utterly wearied, for the deeper worship he would "seek."
We too are
living mid the crashing structures of an expiring age; we too behold the death-throes of
an ancient civilization. We too find that some of our expectations have miscarried, at
least in point of time. We also need the assurance and consolation of that lone figure of
long ago to direct our minds to the vital, worth-while things, that we may be found among
those whom God seeks to draw near to him in worship, devotion, and praise. Just as John
used that conversation of Jesus to persuade his brethren in that former day to turn, amid
their perplexity and uncertainty, to the devotional side of life and experience, so also
do the same words invite us to do exactly the same thing today, when dispensational.
disappointment has damped the warmth and enthusiasm in very many hearts.
A MODEL LETTER EXAMINED
Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in
the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Having confidence in thine
obedience I write unto thee, knowing that thou wilt do even beyond what I say. But withal
prepare me also a lodging; for I hope that through your
prayers I shall be granted unto you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, salute
thee; and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow-workers. The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. -Philemon 20-25.
as his final argument asks that the comfort that hearing of Philemon's faithfulness has
already given him, shall be added to by granting the present request: "Yea, brother,
let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my heart in Christ." The word
translated "yea," is an adverb of pleading for which no one seems to have found
an adequate English substitute when used as in this passage. Similarly the original of
"joy" is impossible to put into graceful English. It is a play on words, one of
the most difficult of the translator's problems. Very literally, and quite awkwardly the
verse would read: "Oh, brother, let me be onesimied ("have joy") by you. In
effect Paul is saying: I am sending you Onesimus, the helpful; and thus you have an
opportunity to The helpful to me, comforting my spirit by letting me hear that you have
extended your helpfulness to this new brother in Christ, one with whom you might be
tempted to be over-severe in view of his past unhelpfulness, yes even unfaithfulness. I
hope you will remember the need of an aged prisoner for all the consolation he can have,
and add my need to your reasons for accepting this former slave, now a new
fellow-bond-servant of Christ, accepting him even as you would accept myself. I am not
asking that you give me merely the pleasure natural human beings could enjoy; it is my
"heart in Christ Jesus" you will be giving rest, repose to.
"heart" is, as in verses 7 and 12 (Philemon 7-12), our nearest approach to a
correct translation. The Greek word indicates the higher organs, the heart and lungs,
reminding us of the plea of the Apostle Paul: "Let-this-mind-be in you which is in
Christ Jesus." Here the verb which the first four words are used to translate implies
much more than the English expresses. It is based on the noun which is the name of the
diaphragm or midriff, the most powerful muscle in the body, the one that separates between
the higher and lower organs. All these organs on the two sides of the diaphragm were
used by the ancients to represent the mind, and fittingly represent the two prevailing
types. Thus he is exhorting, "Let this separation be in you which -was in Christ
Jesus who never lived for a moment for the gratification of the lower desires, but lived
always for the things of eternity.
instruction is that the Christian should "give all diligence" to "set his
affections [his heart] on things above," be filled with the spirit," breathe
with him the 'heavenly atmosphere.
Only by thus
conforming themselves to the character of their glorified High-priest can the
underpriesthood be prepared to share with him in the work of teaching the world to come
to the temple to worship: and only by making all else secondary to this matter
of attaining his character-likeness can they themselves hope in their proving time to
dwell together in peace "in the Lord." By the economy of, one symbol the Apostle
expresses all this truth in Ephesians 2:20, 21: "Jesus Christ himself being the chief
corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an
holy temple [a place of worship for the world of manlkind] in the Lord. Those for
whom old things have passed away and. all things have become new, receive as in the
Lord those whom he has chosen in himself, marry in the Lord, labor in the Lord, do their glorying in the Lord, recognize all
faithfulness in themselves and in others as traceable to their relationship in the Lord. He is in fact their
"all in all." - Rom. 16:2, 12, 13, 22; 1 Cor. 1:31; 4:17; 7:39.
closeness of relationship of all 'Christians with each other is, represented by the
picture of membership in the Lord's Body, he the Head to do the thinking and directing,
and we the organs to accomplish his purposes, every organ connected with the Head by a
mysterious spiritual nervous system that thus "in Christ Jesus," gives them
connection with every other member of the Body for mutual helpfulness. And "whether
one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the
members rejoice with it." (1 Cor. 12:25, 26.) Only a diseased member would fail to
respond involuntarily to pain in any other member or even a threat of it. "In
Christ Jesus" written on every Christian, and it alone, can conquer all harshness,
all judging --disheartening manifestations of selfishness -- traces of which must persist
until the day when we are "filled with all the fulness of God" and all the
unloveliness of the old self has been crowded out: until the day we are ready to be
ushered into the Father's presence.
It is a
laudable ambition for men to seek to please each other in righteousness, but for
Christians there should always be additionally the higher motive Paul is suggesting to
Philemon-that of giving a fellow member pleasure in the Lord; that is, give him
pleasure because of their relationship in that mystical Body, and therefore give
pleasure to the Head who
is over all. They
consequently must act, must speak, "not as pleasing men, but
God." (1 Thess. 2:4.) It should however be no surprise to us if Philemon should have
as his first thought, "What will my neighbors think?" And Philemon's neighbors
could be counted on to criticize any leniency on his part as an encouragement to
faithlessness on the part of the thousands of slaves of their community that would hear
about it. However he cannot serve two masters. Pleasing God requires that we do not "walk in the counsel of the
as to the result is expressed in the twenty-first verse; probably almost entirely
because of his knowledge of
character, but perhaps there was some slight credit given to the arguments he had
presented. Nothing less than compliance could The anticipated (1) from one whose record
had long been one of faithfulness, and (2) since the request is made as from a
Body member to a Body member in Christ Jesus, and (3) for the preservation of the very
principle that bound them together, love, (4) as an effort to give comfort to an aged
prisoner of Christ Jesus, but risking nothing (5) since Paul would pay any indebtedness,
and (6) since the one he is requested to receive is a changed man and (7) would not
disappoint him, but (8) will be found profitable (9) as a brother, (10) a son, and (11)
a fellow bond-servant of Jesus Christ, (12) one the Apostle loved enough so that he
wished he might keep him with him; but best of all because (13) there is reason to believe it was God who
sent him away that he might come (back to be this added blessing to Philemon and all the
congregation in his house, and (14) much more beloved to him than even to Paul, (15)
Philemon's partner and (16) the one to whom he owed his very life.
liberal deviseth liberal things and in liberal things shall he be established." (Isa.
32:8.) One who has been liberal in giving himself, his all to the Lord, finds it easy to
be liberal with others, generous in deeds, in giving, and in judgment.
Though Philemon knows this, the Apostle makes the matter as easy as possible for his
brother by expressing his confidence in him. Often unwise teachers assure disobedience
on the part of the child by informing him by tone or by word that that is what is
anticipated. "A will which mere authority could not bend, like iron when cold, may be
made flexible when warmed by this gentle heat" of love in the heart and in the tone,
is the testimony of Brother Maclaren. In accord with this principle Paul writes:
"Having confidence in your obedience I write unto you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say." Love
does not plan on the least it can do, but the most.
word emancipation seems to be trembling on the Apostle's lips, and yet he does not once
utter it," Lightfoot comments. No such suggestion was necessary for, as Wordsworth
observes, "By Christianizing the master, the Gospel enfranchized the slave. It did
not legislate about mere names and forms, but it went to the root of the evil -- it spoke
to the heart of man. When the heart of the master was filled with divine grace, and was
warmed with the love of Christ, the rest would soon follow. The lips would speak kind
words: the hands would do liberal things. Every Onesimus would be treated by every
Philemon as a beloved brother in Christ."
the bent of mind one might take Paul's added
request that a lodging be prepared for him as either a sly way of urging Philemon to
promptness in his obedience, or as a reward for the generosity toward Onesimus he has
already said he knows will be exercised.
desire for a visit in Colosse is strong and he asks the prayers of his brother that he may
have that privilege. He says "I know you will act like a Christian toward Brother
Onesimus; but I hope my own eyes can have the joy of seeing you together as
brothers." We do not know that Paul did have that privilege, but we know those
prayers were answered. They were not, "Send Paul to Colosse because I wish it,"
but "Send Paul to Colosse if it is your will." The first is the prayer of faith
in self. The second the prayer of faith in God and his superior wisdom. That prayer can
never be denied. Unfortunately the expression, "Prayer of faith" is commonly
used to indicate the prayer of selfishness, a determination to have one's own will done.
True faith fears to have his own will considered, knowing that God's will is always as much higher than his as the
heavens are higher than the earth. Many saints were praying for Stephen, but he was
stoned; and what a blessing he left for us through his martyr's death. Jesus prayed for
Peter, but he denied the Lord; and thus showed us the length to which God's mercy can go.
doubt that Philemon's love for Paul and Paul's love for Philemon inspired them to pray
earnestly that if it were the Lord's will he might "come quickly." Paul's desire
was not that Philemon might be driven to the performance of an unpleasant task, but that
he might have larger joy in service. Joyful, free willed service is the kind theft yields
the richest fruitage. It is said that the finest wines are from grapes so ripe no pressure
is necessary to extract their juice.
There is a
similarity between the pleading of Paul and that of his Master. Both accept deeds done to
their loved ones as if done to themselves, find joy in imperfect works done from the
motive of love, expect the love that will do more than is requested, long for the day of
reunion, and use that hope to inspire faithfulness. Christ, like Paul, prefers the tone of
love to that of authority, binds himself to pay all our indebtedness, reminds us that we
owe him our very lives-a debt that eternity cannot cancel, and asks us to prepare an
abode for him in our hearts. Paul joins with us in praying the necessary assistance to
that end: "I bow my knees unto the Father, that he would grant you, according to the
riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his spirit in the
inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." - Eph. 3:14-16.
forwarding the greetings with which the letter closes Paul designates Epaphras as his
fellow-prisoner and lists Aristarchus among his "fellow-workers." These
designations are reversed in the accompanying letter to the Colossian brethren. (Col.
4:10, 12.) Since both designations fit each brother, the explanation of Meyer seems a most
likely one: "These attendants of Paul voluntarily took turns in ministering to him in
his place of confinement; hence one at a time, and another at another, would be Paul's
At the point
we have now reached in the letter, Philemon has but the few words of the final greetings
to read before he turns to Onesimus to pronounce sentence upon him. This inspired short
"short-story" leaves each reader to supply for himself the conclusion. In
Philemon's presence stood the one who had run away from his service an ignorant heathen, a
slinking culprit, with rebellion and mutiny in his heart and stolen property on his
person, fearful of his life; but now returned, his "life hid with Christ in
God," the trusted representative of the greatest of all Christians, longing for the
perfection of holiness, knowing and loving God, hoping for a kingly crown and the privilege of
reigning with Christ at his appearing, in the meantime joyful in any service, ready to do
good to all men as there is opportunity, and doing
"all as unto the Lord." The little missive in his hand, by implication, tells Philemon
all this. Need we have any misgivings as to what his
answer will be, or the joy that will flood Paul's prison-dwelling, nay that did fill his
cell in the very writing of it, knowing that Philemon would do even beyond
what he said?
of the Apostle's preserved for us is a precious self-drawn portrait of himself; (but none
so faithfully or nearly so clearly drawn as each tender pen-stroke has made this one. And
there is no part of the letter more Pauline, or more telling for the accomplishing of his
purpose, than the petition that calls for divine guidance for Philemon in making his
decision, the benediction at its close. Who can fail to see the two brothers in a
typically oriental embrace when Philemon has read these final words. In a lower corner we
find the identification to correspond with the name that stands at the head of the letter:
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."
- P. E.
1:25 we read of "the perfect law of liberty." The language here employed seems
contradictory. On the one hand "law" is defined as a rule of action prescribed
by authority. "Liberty," on the other hand, suggests freedom from restraint.
What has "law" to do with "liberty?" Do they not mutually exclude
glance it would seem so. Closer study, however, discloses that while the terms are self
contradictory, the statement itself gives expression to a remarkable truth. Other
instances of this paradoxical form of expression may be found in the New Testament. To
mention but one, we quote 2 Cor. 6:9, 10: "As unknown and yet well known; as dying,
and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, and yet always rejoicing; as
poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
Apostle likens himself to the son of a millionaire, not yet in possession of his future
inheritance, but nevertheless able to draw on the infinite resources of his Father. From
one point of view he had nothing, yet, since Jehovah himself was his portion, did not the
Apostle truly possess all things? No doubt from one standpoint he was poor; yet who could
appraise his value to the Church, and how rich he has made us by the lavish manner
in which he spent and was himself spent in the service of the Master and in the service of
So it is
with this peculiar expression, "the perfect law of liberty." It is a paradox.
Let us examine it. It can be best understood perhaps by means of an illustration. Here,
let us say, is a boy to whom has been given an untrained dog. The dog is totally
unacquainted with the boy. It is taken out into the fields when, without the least
warning, it breaks loose from the boy and scampers away, paying no heed whatever to the
boy's whistles and calls. Here we have an illustration of
liberty without law.
the dog is recaptured and placed on the end of a chain. Thereafter, whenever the boy and
the dog go out for a walk, the dog is always on the end of a chain. He is allowed no
freedom. This illustrates law without liberty.
During this period of law without liberty,
however, the boy is teaching the dog to love and respect him. No one is allowed to feed
the dog except the boy. The boy speaks encouraging words to him when he is well-behaved;
scolds him at other times. The day comes at last when they go out together to the same
fields as they went on their first walk. The chain is removed,
and again the dog scampers off. The boy whistles and what happens? The dog gladly heeds
the call of his master and scampers back. The chain of steel is no longer there. Another
one, however, has taken its place-an even stronger one. It is the cord of love and
understanding woven during the training period. Here is an illustration of the law of
So long as
the dog remained untrained, he was unfit for the law of liberty. Law without liberty, as
illustrated in the chain, must be his only portion. From this homely illustration we
believe it will be apparent that the perfect law of liberty mentioned by the Apostle James
is for the well disposed only; that is to say, it is applicable, at the present time, only
to members of the new creation -- the little flock. Others are still under the Mosaic Law,
as servants, not fit for "the liberty wherewith Christ makes free" the sons, or
else they are under the condemnation of the original
law, the condemnation of death.
these, Jews and Gentiles alike, will be fit for the perfect law of liberty, they must
be placed under the rule of a rod of iron, for a thousand years.
During that time they will be shepherded by Christ and his Church,
who will administer the laws of the Kingdom with justice tempered with mercy.
the close of the Millennial Age, when the willful evil doers shall have been cut off in
the Second Death, will the race, proved perfect and fully in accord with the divine
standard, be put under the perfect law of liberty -- love and its golden rule.
- P. L. Read.
the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs
meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God." (Heb. 6:7.) As our
own words are lacking to express the longing of our heart to thank the Institute and all
those who labored in love to minister unto us, we use these words of Scripture. We want to
be that "good earth" and we did drink in eagerly and thirstily all the
"rain" which came from the Lord through the lips of the speakers to us. Now we
have His promise in these words that if that seed sown in our hearts bears fruit and
flowers, we shall receive blessing from God. We wait, humbly and patiently we trust (for
even humility and patience come only as "Christ liveth in me") for that growth
which will reveal or manifest, not fruit only, but the fragrance of ripe, mellow fruit to
His glory, and the blessing and profit to others. "From me is thy fruit found."
- Hosea 14.
We were led
from the first step of denying self in that beautiful discourse, "Not I, but
Christ," through the experience of one "greatly beloved of God" -- Daniel,
and its lesson for us of constancy, loyalty, prayer, purity, and privilege, to the
humility, a ripe fruit which adorned our Savior's life, beautifully. The suggestions in
this discourse were searching, and inspired an intense yearning in our hearts for
Christ-likeness in this respect. Then from the brazen altar to the Most Holy with its special
treasure of God's words and presence, until we came to, the discourse which showed us the
purpose of all discipline-to purify us of the chaff and make us useful in strengthening
our brethren, as illustrated in Peter's life.
We doubt not
that the remaining testimony meeting and final discourse added to the crowning touch, as
it would be suggested that our God proveth us to know whether we love Him supremely. We were
unable to stay.
you all richly as He has us; and we send our heartfelt thanks and love for one more
trysting-place together at Jesus' feet.
With much love in Him,
O. D. A. -- Mass.
received several copies of "The Herald of Christ's Kingdom" which I have enjoyed
very much. So I want to, thank you or whoever sent them to me. And I am enclosing $1.00
for which please send it to me for a year as I do not want to miss any of them since
reading a few. I am
J. T. W. -- Va.
Card of Thanks
Nadal, whose report of a visit to Germany was recently published in the.
"Herald," requests that we express for him 'his thanks to a sister who has sent him a gift anonymously,
signing herself as "a sister who is rejoicing."