A FEW INTERESTING ITEMS FROM THE 1910 CONVENTION REPORT
Celeron Park, N. Y. Chautauqua Lake Convention—July 30, Aug. 7, 1910
Many Shall Run To and Fro
The Erie Railroad has a history, and plays an important part in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel, 12th chapter, verse four. Daniel had a vision of the very time in which we are living, but which was not for him to know except in symbol, so the Lord said to him, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end, MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO, and knowledge shall be increased." We know from abundant Scriptural authority that we are now living in the very time Daniel mentioned, and it is our privilege, if we want to, to see these things actually taking place before our eyes. Further, we know on the same reliable authority that these are but the harbingers of still greater blessings for the world of mankind—this being the "day of preparation" for the establishment of the Kingdom for which our Lord taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." We are glad that we find that the Scriptures do not teach that the wages of sin is "eternal torment," but that the penalty is "D-E-A-T-H," and soon, "All that are in their graves will hear the voice of the Son of man and come forth," and He whose right it is will take His power and reign for a thousand years. "For details and Scripture proof of these and many other interesting features of God’s divine plan of the ages, we refer you to the wonderful works known as "Studies in the Scriptures," (published at Brooklyn Tabernacle, N. Y.)
Railroads have much to do with this great running to and fro, and the history of the Erie dates so far back, we thought it might be interesting to note the following:
The first railroad constructed in America- -outside of experiments—was the line from Albany to Schenectady. The engine used is still in existence. It was called, "The De-Witt Clinton." And it is worth while to remember that the original intent of that railroad was to tow boats on the raging canal, instead of pulling them by horse-power. The cars were let down the hill and drawn up by windlass.
Every good thing begins as something else; and our wisest moves are accidents.
The Erie Canal was a great success. Passengers seeking the West traveled to Albany by steamboat, and were then transferred to the Canal passenger-packets that annihilated space at the rate of one hundred miles every twenty-four hours.
Buffalo was five days away from New York and after two years the time was cut to three days by ‘flying packets" that charged an excess fare.
In 1832 a bill was introduced in the New York State Legislature authorizing a railroad to be built from Tidewater to Lake Erie.
This road was suggested by the success of the Erie canal. It was called the Erie Railway. The first line ran from Piermont on the Hudson to Goshen and was opened for traffic in 1841. The distance is about forty miles, and one train a day was run over from Piermont and back. A great many people went up from New York to take the ride. In fact, the chief income was from these excursionists. "When the novelty wears off, that is the end of it," said the wiseheimers.
Women were carried at half-price. Just why this was we do not know; perhaps because they had less money. Women have always been minors-in the eyes of the law, anyway. At country dances, women are admitted at half-price, and probably it was just a business stroke to popularize the road, there being many people who were afraid to ride, because of the great speed.
The passengers were listed or manifested, just like ship passengers, and checked off and on like freight. The first railroad tickets were tags with the man’s name on, and these were fastened to his coat. Next the ticket was stuck in his hat. It was five years before some railroad man said, "Oh, shucks, what’s the use." And then he quit writing down the passenger’s name, age and pedigree, and just sold him a ticket.
At first, the man in charge of the train was called the "captain." The engineer objected, however, to this mark of honor, and to quiet all artistic jealousy the word "conductor" came in, meaning of course the man who conducts the passengers from one place to another. It was the duty of the conductor to run ahead of the train and drive cows off the track, and also to run ahead of the train when coming into a village for fear people would not see the train in time and be run over. The first cars or coaches were stage coaches mounted on wheels with flanges. These coaches were costly, and besides, enough of them could not be procured, the railroad buying all the second-hand ones they could find. Then flat care were provided, with simple benches nailed across for seats.
It was 1843 before two trains were run, one for freight and one for passengers; and this was only brought about after much complaint from passengers, who used to help load and unload the freight in order to lessen delay. Also, there were times when there was such a heavy load of freight, that passengers would have to get off and push. When closed cars came in, people who wanted to ride in them were called "first-class" passengers. Those who rode in open cars were called "deck-passengers." Later, they were called "second-class passengers.
Trains were advertised "to run, weather permitting." In rainy weather the damp ran down the steam in the boiler. Asbestos covering was a long way in the future. And the rain and wind were bad for both trainmen and passengers. Steamboats lay up in bad weather—why not trains? Certainly, neighbor, certainly!. Time wasn’t as valuable then as now. They had all of it there was; and as long as a train could go twice as fast as a team, folks were satisfied.
Within the past eight years there has come into being a new Erie. Not a rail is on the main line of l, 000 miles, lacking one, from Jersey City to Chicago, that was there eight years ago. New steel and heavier steel, lower grades, longer trains, heavier equipment, numerous safety appliances, increased efficiency. And now Bergen Fill has been cut through. The cut is seventy feet deep, a hundred feet wide and a mile long. To do the task cost $5,000,000. Four tracks are now being laid on the level floor at the bottom of this great artificial canyon. The two tracks and the old tunnel that have done such valiant service will be used for freight, but through the open cut will flow the tide of commuters and the restless peoples who come and go from East to West, and from West to East. Millions of people will be benefited.
Bible Students Here From All Over the World
(Reprint from Jamestown, N. Y. Evening Journal, Saturday, August 30, 1910)
Although arrangements have been made very quietly, the annual meeting of the Bible Students’ Association, now bring held in the auditorium at Celeron, has brought to this city and the lake fully 3,500 persons from all parts of the country and many more are expected this evening and early next week. The association is undenominational and non-sectarian, consisting of members of Bible study classes located in various cities and villages. The object of the association, according to one of its representatives who called at the Journal office, Friday afternoon, is independent Bible study and the purpose of the convention is to take up various questions pertaining to the study of the Bible and to hear discourses on various topics by leading Bible students from various parts of the land. Rev. C. T. Russell, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, whose Bible studies are given in the Journal every week, is at the head of the association, and E. W. Brenneisen of New York is the general secretary. The convention committee invited "all consecrated people of God who trust in the Redeemer’s merit for acceptance with God" to attend any and all of the sessions of the convention.
Over 3,000 men and women from all over the United States and Canada arrived Friday and early this morning. Besides there are delegates from foreign shores, from Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Syria, China, etc. These are lodged in private homes in Jamestown, and all around Lake Chautauqua as far as Mayville.
"Classes in independent Bible study have during the past ten years been forming all over the world, said a representative of the association to the Journal this morning, "but only recently have they effected an international association. They are not a new Christian sect but from all denominations, they seek to accept whatever is good in every Christian creed and reject, whatever they find unsupported in the Bible, however ancient and honorable.
"This movement for Bible investigation outside of all sectarian bondage, and without grandfather’s spectacles, was forced by the course of the ‘higher critics.’ Attacks upon the Bible by most eminent professors and doctors of divinity in all the leading colleges and seminaries and pulpits of the land have captured thousands, but it led others to a more careful and systematic study, and these classes of Bible students all over the world is the result.
"Indeed, we are told that many of the most enthusiastic of the Bible Students had ‘for a time lost their footing and fallen into higher critical infidelity.’ Many of them owe the recovery of their faith to a clearer understanding of the Bible obtained through the reading of Pastor Russell’s sermons now published weekly in the newspapers all over North America, and to his book, The Divine Plan of the Ages, now in its fourth million and published in ten languages.
"These Bible Students claim that from their new standpoint of study they find many doctrines beautifully harmonious that their forefathers fought over and made an excuse for burning one another at the stake. They hold tenaciously to every item of Christian faith which will stand the test of the Bible. We certainly never met more enthusiastic defenders of the Bible—’rightly understood,’ as they would say.’
"The delegates seem to be of the ‘middle class’ so far as worldly prospects are concerned. Educationally they are above the average, in a knowledge of the Scriptures far in advance. So far as discernible they are all theologians, although few of them are clergymen. They say that they have gathered not to beg money, not to take up collections, but to study God’s word together and to enjoy each other’s fellowship.
"When among these Bible students one is reminded of the statement, ‘Behold how these Christians love one another!’ One might almost suppose these people one family, although many of them never saw each other before. They claim that this is the result of their more fully than ever before attaining the faith once delivered to the saints and previously divided amongst the various denominations-’one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.’
"Jamestown is certainly honored in having such guests within her borders. They will remain nine days, and the program includes many prominent speakers. The services begin at 10 o’clock A. M. and close at 5 o’clock P. M., except Sundays, when there will be evening services. At noontime there will be an intermission for luncheon, which will be served at the auditorium.
"The managers secured hundreds of rooms and paid down $3.00 on each. They expect to use all of them, but if not they wish the payment to reimburse the proposed entertainers for trouble in preparation."
"Arrangements have been made for accommodating several thousand delegates and it is expected that the total number of persons in attendance at the convention will break all records, as several cities are sending many more than they expected to send, 75 coming from Detroit alone and 50 from Dayton, Ohio. Two years ago the convention was held at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, and it was expected that there would be an attendance of 3,000. The hotel proprietors thought this meant about l, 500, but the actual number of persons present at the gathering was about 4,500. There was no annual convention last year, but district conventions were held in various places, among them Chicago, Memphis, Tenn.; San Antonio, Tex.; Los Angeles, Cal.; Oakland, Cal.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; Spokane, Wash.; and St. Joseph, Mo. A large party of members of the association made the circuit of the western meetings in a special train.
"In fact the convention is the largest in the history of Jamestown and the wonder of it is that all of the arrangements for the coming of this immense throng from all parts of the United States and from several other countries as well were made in such a quiet manner that the people of the city were scarcely aware of the fact that between 5,000 and 7,000 strangers were to be here for this gathering. During the past few weeks representatives of the association have been making a house to house canvass for rooms for the entertainment of the visitors and in each case where accommodations were secured a deposit of $3.00 was made. Men who have had years of experience in handling large gatherings are in charge of arrangements for the convention and no detail, however small, has been overlooked. Certain persons were designated to meet certain trains and as soon as the visitors arrived in the city they were shown to their rooms without any delay, in spite of the fact that the arrival of these visitors has been almost constant during the past twenty-four hours.
A representative of the association informed the Journal that up to noon today fully 3,500 persons had arrived here for the convention and that there was every reason to anticipate that the total number of persons in attendance at one time or another during the nine days of the gathering would be between 6,000 and 7,000. There were over 3,000 persons present at the opening session in the Celeron auditorium this morning and it is expected that the average attendance at the sessions next week will be 4,000. Two special trains arrived from New York and one from Washington Friday evening, and this morning six coaches came from Boston, seven from Pittsburgh and fifteen from Chicago.
"Every transportation line entering Jamestown brought hundreds more all morning long and visitors will continue to pour into the city through-out the remainder of the day and all day Sunday, while many will be unable to get here until next week. The Journal is requested to emphasize the fact that the people of this city will be made welcome at all of the sessions and that an opportunity to hear Pastor Russell will be presented at 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, as well as every evening at Mayville. No collections are taken at any of the sessions, no appeal is made for funds and no business is transacted.
While the foregoing is not stated in every particular as we would were we reporting it; it is well sometimes to see how outsiders view our gatherings, what they may have to say and the impression our lives and conduct may have upon them—all of which is a witness to the glorious Truth we present. May we be "living epistles known and read of all men."
Address of Welcome by Mayor Samuel A. Carlson
Dear Friends: On behalf of the town of Jamestown and vicinity, I wish to extend to you all a cordial and hearty welcome. During the time I have been mayor of Jamestown it has been my privilege to welcome to this city various organizations. I have welcomed commercial, political, educational and fraternal organizations, but this is the first time it has been my privilege to extend the keys of this city to an organization, world-wide in magnitude, coming as it does from all parts of the world, coming here for one sublime purpose—the work of redeeming the world. I want to say to you that I feel deeply interested in this movement, although I do not understand much about it, but I can read in your faces that you are all truth-seekers, and I know that the great unrest in the political and social world means something—it is significant—it means that the great power which moves the world is preparing for a great change in the future. I believe that the day of restitution is near and I understand that that is one of the great purposes of this organization, to prepare the world for that new day of righteousness that is coming.
I want to extend to you the hand of welcome and I hope your stay will be a pleasant one, and I hope that you will enjoy the exhilarating breeze of this lake, l, 500 feet above the level of the sea, one of the highest bodies of water navigated by steam. I hope that you will partake of this beautiful atmosphere, not only physically and mentally, but perhaps this convention will be the means of working toward that which will uplift this community to that higher, that nobler, grander thing, to which mankind is destined, and I hope this convention will have this influence in this city and surroundings. Again I welcome you.
Response by Pastor Russell
I am very glad, dear friends, to be with you this morning. I recognize a great many of your faces. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to meet with so many of God’s consecrated people who are loyal to the Word of God. I understand there are representatives here from various countries. I have not had the pleasure of meeting all of these various delegates, but I am sure the Lord intends that we shall have a great spiritual feast. I trust you have come with your hearts prepared and that you are desirous of a blessing in your heart, and desirous also that you will seek to pour out your blessings on every hand, not only here with those assembled for Bible study, but upon all the dear friends in this vicinity. Around this place live so many intelligent people there must be many Christians of all denominations, and I am glad we are meeting them here on interdenominational planes, Christians meeting Christians, and not on any denominational lines. I am glad we have no fence to divide us from God’s people, that we have seen the folly of these fences, if I might so express it, of having such denominational fences. Some of us were once inclined to think that we must think along the Presbyterian line, and others along the Methodist line, and others along the Baptist line, so we have divided and separated. Now, by God’s grace, as we study the Word of God we are being drawn "Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee" and in being drawn nearer to the Lord we are being drawn nearer to all those who are his; so I trust, dear friends, and in fact I believe that it must be so, that you are having greater love for the brethren, and I can go beyond that and say, that those who are truly the Lord’s feel in their hearts a great stirring love for the world of mankind besides the Church of Christ, a greater sympathy for them, and a desire to do all you can to help them along. This is evidently the proper sentiment. This is the One faith, as the Apostle expresses it, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father over all." How blessed it is to have that experience.
Once, perhaps, we also were more or less divided by sectarian lines, and thought we did God service by so dividing ourselves; but as we study his word we find it is adverse to any such divisions. "That they all may be one, as thou Father and I are one," was the Master’s prayer on the very last night he was with his disciples. So I trust that is coming to be your and my sentiments, that we desire to be more and more at one with all who love the Lord Jesus and are begotten of the holy Spirit.
I was thinking, as I sat here, What is it that serves to unite our interests and has brought us to be specially Bible students, instead of as we formerly were, students of our creeds and theories, handed down to us from the past? I believe, in speaking for myself, that I also speak for many who have opened their hearts to me upon this subject: I can say this, that the very thing that is bringing infidelity to the whole world is the very thing that has been drawing my heart to the Lord. I will explain: In my own case it happened a good many years ago, with others it is happening day by day. The experience was this: The higher critics began to tear the Bible to pieces, took off the covers, and took out all the books, and practically told us that there was no Bible there, and that the people who wrote it were old dotards, and knew not what they were doing, and that the Lord and his disciples were fools because they thought the prophecies were inspired, and quoted those prophesies all through the New Testament. So, forty years ago these things aroused my mind and I said, Can this be true? This book upon which the world has been building for centuries, is it all a farce? This first effect upon me was to shake my faith and I threw away the Bible entirely, but afterward in God’s providence he led me to a reexamination of the Bible. I took off the spectacles received from my parents and began to study the Bible myself, comparing Scripture with Scripture, the Old and New Testaments from Genesis to Revelation.
As I studied, the harmony began to appear more and more. Now every day my faith becomes stronger and better established, because I know in whom I have believed and why. That is the experience of very many of you here. You have been studying the word of God and that which has injured others, because of the higher critics, has made you more eager to study the word of God. They denounce it as fallible and of men, not worthy of credence, but the more you think of the Apostle’s words, that God gave us this book "That the Man of God might be thoroughly furnished unto every good work," the more you are convinced that it is the Word of God. He also tells us in 2Ti 2:15, to "study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." I believe that has been your experience and that I am expressing the sentiments of all who are gathered here from all of the states of the Union, Canada and from various parts of the world.
Well, dear friends, I am glad to be here in your company, and as the Chief Officer of your Association, I am glad to be here.
And I want to say to the Mayor of Jamestown and vicinity, We appreciate his words of cordial greetings extended to you this morning. We are glad to meet in Christian fellowship Christians from everywhere and we trust that Jamestown will not be the worse for our having been here, but better because of your influence in this vicinity—not meaning by this that there is any special lack of Christian character, but that every Christian should be growing day by day, and that the people of this vicinity ought to receive an impetus from this convention, and we too. Much will depend upon all here, not collectively, but individually. It will not do to say, that if we as individuals are careless of our deportment or words, that others will make up for it, but we must recognize that the whole is made up of individuals as the river is of drops of water; each one is accountable, and so let us seek to glorify God in our bodies and spirits which are his.
We have come here and will stay with the Celeron people in their midst and spend some money, but nor for their "gin-cracks" amusements. I fear they will be disappointed in this respect, but I hope they will see that there is something better to live for. The majority of people have very little to live for, and I sympathize with them. I tell you, dear friends, that if you should take out of my life the knowledge I have of Christ and God and the fellowship of the brethren in Christ, and the interest in his Word, it would leave my life a blank. Now I say that the majority of the world have very little to live for, not only around this beautiful sheet of water called Lake Chautauqua, but all over the world, rich and poor everywhere; they are without God and have no hope. They do not even know why they are in the world; do not know what God’s purpose was in bringing them into existence. How thankful, dear friends, we ought to be that God has so graciously favored us as to give us an interest in his book, and to gradually open our eyes of understanding. We sometimes sing, "Wonderful words of life "—and they are words of life. What the poet expressed was far beyond anything that he knew, but which we realize to be the very grandest possible statement of the Truth, that these wonderful words of life have a power in them not only in restraining from sin, but a power of producing a happy life and joyous faith."
I do not know when I have seen a more contented and happy set of faces. I congratulate you that you have something inside shining out. I am glad of that hymn. God not only tells us the truth through Jesus, the prophets, and apostles, but all who receive the spirit of truth manifest it in their words, conduct and features. Send out the truth, then, dear friends. You and I have something to do with sending it out, and with how much blessing we will get every day from this convention. May it be a time long to be remembered, of joyful blessing and fellowship with God and with each other, a time of growing in grace, a time of being strong against temptations that may assail you afterwards. Here I remark, that our heavenly Father has so arranged matters that those who are his people, those who constitute the Church, are to have certain special trials, "The trial of your faith being more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor at the appearing of Jesus Christ." That trial of your faith and mine must go on if we are to be overcomers. It will not therefore do to pray that we have no trials. I do not pray for trials but leave that to the Lord. I am not going to do as one brother said: Brother Russell, I have been praying that the Lord will send me some great trial. I said, Brother, you have a great deal of courage. I believe that the Lord will hold me in the trials which he sends me, and as the Scriptures say, he will provide a way of escape. So then, knowing that God intends to give us trials, let us be prepared for the trials. Let us remember, that if we have special privileges at this convention, in fellowship, being strengthened in our spiritual nature, growing in the power of his might, that it may be an offset for certain trials which may come to us some time after we have returned to the busy world. So as the bee lays up honey for the winter time, store up your spiritual refreshment for your return to your home; also as the bee lays up more honey than for itself, so in our various associations together as Bible students let us go back laden with the precious things we have heard for those behind, laden with the precious things from the Lord’s words and filled with the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, able to be a comfort and to strengthen and build them up in the most holy faith.
I know from previous experiences that the whole theme you will have to talk about is God’s word, the Truth in general. We cannot get too much of God’s Word and the farther you get into the truth, the emptier you will be of the world’s vanity and the more peace you will have on the journey in the narrow way of all those who are walking heavenward. So I close by wishing you all a very happy time at this convention. . . let us ask his blessing (Brother Russell then offered prayer.) Services closed with singing Hymn 19—The Beauty of Holiness.
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SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS-Bro. A. R. BurgessAug. 6, 1910 at Chautauqua Lake.
Our subject for this afternoon is Spiritual Consciousness, from the text in He 5:13,14: "For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe; but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We would define consciousness as that state or condition of being aware of personal identity, comprising an aggregation of quality inherent in the individual, together with various qualities or impressions received from without through the medium of the five senses. The exercise of these senses is very essential to the development of consciousness. If we desire to become proficient in the vocal art, it is necessary that we should awaken to a consciousness of what is required in the way of proper tone production, according to certain recognized principles and laws of music, so it is necessary we should exercise our hearing in this way under the proper instruction, in order that we might carry on our practice and accomplish the desired result.
If we desire to pursue the art of painting, it is necessary that we should awaken to a consciousness of what constitutes the art, that the sense of sight should be exercised in order to discern the fine distinctions of shade and color, and that the mind should be instructed in regard to what constitutes true art, in order that we might construct a work of art which would be beyond criticism.
We find this same principle of exercise necessary to the manifestation of all the senses. And we find this same principle operating in connection with spiritual things. In the life of the Christian, the Apostle in our text calls attention to the fact that there is an infancy, or childhood stage, when the "milk of the Word" is suitable, and an advanced, mature state, when the deep things of God could be understood and appreciated. We find likewise in the life of the Christian there are five senses which are similar in their operation to the five physical senses. For instance, the Scripture speaks of the hearing of faith, seeing with the eyes of our understanding, coming into touch with God, and it speaks of the Lord Jesus as being touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Likewise, also, we read, "O, taste and see that the Lord is good." And again the Scriptures represent the services of love as emitting a sweet odor.
We understand that Father Adam, being created in the image of God, would have a perfect consciousness toward God; not consciousness of spiritual things, but consciousness of certain morel principles which would be written in his very nature. We find that Adam did not retain this perfect consciousness toward God and toward righteousness, as the Scriptures say, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." And as a result he became deeper and deeper steeped in sin and degradation, and his moral perception, by which he was enabled to recognize right and wrong principles, became hardened; and the general condition of the human race as regards fellowship and relationship with God, or consciousness of righteous principles, is described in many Scriptures.
In regard to the sense of hearing, we are told that "They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear. They will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely."
In regard to the sense of sight, we have the declaration that the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. In regard to the sense of touch, we read concerning these, "Who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." In regard to the sense of taste, the prophet Job declares, "Is there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste discern perverse things?"—implying that there is a taste which has become perverted, and that cannot properly discern things which are good.
In regard to the sense of smell, we have in the words of the Psalmist the condition of the human race stated in this way: "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them." We can readily see that the Psalmist is not referring to physical senses, but he is referring to the mental condition which is represented by these, showing the state of the human race, steeped in darkness, sin and degradation.
The Apostle Paul shows very clearly how this condition came about in the first chapter of Romans where he says that when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish hearts were darkened. Here we have very clearly expressed the process by which the human race has come into the condition of darkness in which we find it, and in which the Apostle found it at that time. But we find that God did not permit all the race to come fully under the influence of the great adversary; he did not permit all the race to have their senses deadened in this way, but we read of those who were feeling after God, if haply they might find him—some whose senses had not been entirely perverted, but who were in that condition and attitude of heart where they could respond to the influence of the Lord’s instructions. Now a thought that is very necessary for us to see here is, that no matter how much we might desire to feel after God, and to know him, we could not do so, we could not find him, we could not know these righteous principles, unless he was pleased to manifest them to us.
But now in due time, God manifested himself in the darkness and silence that reigned. God showed himself the great God of Love as well as of justice, and in due time he sent forth his Son into the world, heralded by John the Baptist as the voice of one crying in the wilderness. And now those who are capable of being influenced by this sound, those whose senses have not become deadened through the influence of sin, those are the ones who exercise the hearing of faith and come into relationship with God.
Now the Scriptures likewise suggest to us a picture of the whole world not only having their senses deadened by sin, but as they are also asleep, unconscious. There is a difference between being asleep and being blind, or deaf, or having the senses impaired. We find that sleep, for instance, is a state wherein the organs and senses might be perfect and capable of being brought into operation when the condition of wakefulness was brought about, while a person who is blind, or deaf, or paralyzed, cannot feel anything in the sense of touch; even if he were awakened up from a sleeping condition he could not respond to any of those influences of light, of sound, or of contact, or anything of the kind. So we find the scriptures represent the world as having been asleep. When the joyous message of God as represented in the preaching of John the Baptist, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand," came, it aroused certain ones who were asleep, whose senses had not been deadened by sin, and they responded, as the disciples and others did. Those were the ones who were feeling after God, if haply they might find him.
So those ones then who were faithful to God to the extent he had revealed himself to them, were in a proper condition to receive the Gospel. Now the Scriptures show us likewise these were asleep, and many were dreaming dreams. The prophets and righteous men, all who were of that class feeling after God, had pleasant dreams, dreams of Christ’s coming Kingdom, of the glorious time spoken of as the Golden Age when reconciliation to God would be effected, but they had not that consciousness toward God to worship him in spirit and in truth, because God did not give them an intelligent understanding of his plans and purposes.
But now we come to those whose senses are exercised during the present time, those who have been awakened and responded to the glorious message, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." These have exercised the hearing of faith and have come into the blessings that God has to give them.
It is proper for us at this time to consider the contrast between those who exercise the hearing of faith and the world in general. The Scriptures speak of those having been enemies of God—"Enemies in your minds by wicked works." Again, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin. Now we ask, what is the difference? How is it there are some who respond to the influence of the Gospel, and exercise the hearing of faith, who were enemies of God? Would we not reasonably understand that they would require the same treatment God has arranged for the world in general? Would not we require the New Covenant, with the Lord Jesus Christ as Mediator, to bring us into harmony with God? We answer, no, and the secret is found in the words: "And you who were sometimes alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works." There it is. Those who were feeling after God, being ignorant of God’s plans and purposes, and the principles of righteousness, before it was God’s due time to manifest these, were enemies in their minds because of lack of proper instruction, because of ignorance concerning the proper standard; but when they were brought into contact with the truth their hearts responded, they heard the words, they appreciated them, they accepted the truths, and they came into a condition of fellowship with God, and peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. But those of the world who have failed to respond to the message of the Gospel, there is a little difference in these. The Apostle explains it where he says, "Ye henceforth walk, not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. Who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
But these, when brought to a knowledge of their condition, their hearts respond, and they exercise the hearing of faith, and come into relationship with God, and are considered as at peace—having a measure of peace—and they are therefore in an attitude for a further manifestation of God’s grace and favor toward them. And this brings them now to the exercise of the next sense, the sense of sight. The Psalmist says, "Blessed is the people that know the , joyful sound: They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
It is not everyone who hears the joyful sound of reconciliation with God who walks in the light of God’s countenance. Something else is necessary besides this. They need to come to the condition where the eyes of their understanding are enlightened to know the deep things of God; they need to come to a condition of spiritual consciousness, where they can see the heavenly things rather than the earthly things; and so those who have come to God, in the attitude of desiring to know him, who have had a desire in their hearts which would represent the sense of touch—coming into touch. with God—having had this desire aroused, it brings them to a point where they say, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? How can I serve thee faithfully and acceptably? What is your good will concerning me? To such we have the words of the Lord, through the Psalmist, declaring, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people and thy father’s house; So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him."
What a grand and glorious experience is it to the individual who awakens to the consciousness of spiritual things, and sees as never before the graciousness of the Lord’s character! He begins now to come into closer touch with God, and at this time not only are the eyes of his understanding enlightened so that he begins to walk in the light of the Lord’s countenance, but likewise his hope is made complete, which is not complete with-out the exercise of these two elements, the desire to serve the Lord, and to come into touch with him, and now his expectation of coming into these glorious things promised is awakened, and he rejoices in the hope of the glory of God. We might well understand that expectation, the second element of hope, constitutes spiritual appetite; that in proportion as our expectation increases we will enjoy more fully the good Word of God—as the Scripture says, "O taste and see that the Lord is good." We all know the effect of good, palatable food upon our appetites, and how it makes our mouths water, as we anticipate the enjoyment of partaking. So likewise as our sense of taste comes into exercise, we taste and see that the Lord is good.
Then, again, in this same connection, we have coming into operation that which is represented by the word "love"—the sense of smell. Along this line the Apostle speaks concerning certain services of love which the Church at Philippi rendered unto him. He says, "For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of sweet small, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God."
Now having brought the matter to the place of spiritual consciousness, with all of these various senses in operation, our faith, our hope, our sense of hearing, the hearing of faith, and seeing with the eyes of the understanding, and coming into touch with God, precious fellowship with him, having tasted to see that the Lord is good, and having recognized the sweet odor of the incense of the Lord’s blessed arrangement, let us exercise these senses more and more; let us remember the exhortations of the Apostle along this line: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." Let us see to it that the various stones constituting the foundation are in a proper place. Let us also remember that if we trust in God, we will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let our requests be made known unto God. This is a sure recipe for the peace of God which passeth all understanding. Again, let us set our affections on things above, that that closeness of fellowship and touch with God might not be interfered with. Let us likewise consider our spiritual taste more and more to see that the Lord is good. Let us also remember to keep ourselves in the love of God, for if we do these things adding to our faith, virtue, and all the various qualities of love which the Scriptures instruct us in, we are assured that we will never fail, but so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
"What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose." Ps 25:12
Let Him teach thee, weary soul; Isa 1:14. Let His hands now make thee whole; Job 5:18. Let His peace thy heart control, -Co 3:15. Let Him teach thee.
Into paths of righteousness Psa. 23:3. Let Him lead and let Him bless; Ps 67:7. Let Him save thee from distress, -Ps 107:18. Let Him teach thee.
Let Him guide thee with His eye; Ps 32:18. Let His hand thy need supply; Php 14:19. Let His goodness satisfy—Ps 65:14. Let Him teach thee.
Let His good word sanctify: Joh 17:17. Let the furnace purify; 1Pe 1:7. Let Him say "Fear not; ‘tis I" Mr 6:50. Let Him teach thee.
Let Him probe thy heart within; Ps 66:10 Let Him search out every sin; Ps 139:23. Let the glorious light shine in, -2Co 14:6. Let Him teach thee.
Let the Shepherd kindly feed; Isa 40:11 Let Him gently, gently lead; (He’ll not break the bruised reed) Isa 42:3 Let Him teach thee.
Let Him give thee songs at night Job 35:10. Let Him make the darkness light; Isa 142:16. Let Him set thy spirit right, —Ps 51:10. Let Him teach thee.
In the tumult let Him hide, Ps 37:5; Ps 31:20 Let Him keep thee at His side Ex 33:21. Let His name be glorified, -Isa 61:3. Let Him teach thee.
—Reprint page 187 200187.