THE 1931 BIBLE STUDENTS REUNION CONVENTION REPORT
The Herald of Christís Kingdom VOL. XV. January 15, 1932 No. 2
Synopsis of Discourses Delivered at Pittsburgh Convention held Oct. 30óNov. 1, 1931
IN THE December 1st issue of the "Herald" we gave our customary review of the happy season of fellowship which those who attended the Pittsburgh Convention were privileged to enjoy and we feel sure that our readers were refreshed by this review, even though not able to attend the convention in person. In this issue we are following up that Ďreport by publishing brief extracts of the discourses given at that convention and in connection therewith, desire to offer the following explanatory remarks:
It is well known that of the first two reunion conventions held in Pittsburgh, 1929 and 1930 respectively, Brother Dr. L. W. Jones undertook to publish complete reports. The expense of getting out such reports was very considerable and for that reason Brother Jones did not contemplate one for 1931. However, it was announced by the Convention Chairman that the Program Committee were yet in hopes that some sort of a report might appear, and with this in mind he requested the speakers to send in a synopsis of their discourses. Immediately following this announcement and in the belief that the friends would appreciate their action, the Directors of the Pastoral Bible Institute offered the pages of the "Herald" for this purpose. This offer was gladly accepted by the Convention Program Committee and the present issue of the "Herald" is therefore being devoted exclusively to the Pittsburgh Convention discourses.
In order that there shall be no misunderstanding on the part of any one with regard to their action, our Directors believe it proper to state that they had nothing to do with the preparation of the Convention Program and consequently must disclaim all responsibility in connection with the appointment of any of those who served thereon. Furthermore our Editorial Committee are not to be understood as necessarily endorsing each and every expression contained in the various discourses and summaries contained herein. They represent the individual views of the Convention speakers which may or may not reflect those of the Editorial Committee.
With this word of explanation we commend this issue of the "Herald" to our readers and trust that they may realize a blessing in their hearts .as they carefully and prayerfully ponder its pages.-EDITORIAL COMMITTEE.
Loveís Road to VictoryDiscourse by BROTHER WALTER SARGEANT
IN THE great country of Human Experience there are certain roads, all starting somewhere in the years of man and running out to that land of the future which we can now see with the eye of faith. Among these roads is the road of Love. It is a road of both lights and shadows; but when the shadows seem deep and. the road seems long, there can be heard the murmurous music from the great ocean of love, which music is borne in upon the hearts of those whose feet are set in loveís way; for the way is also called the Way of Sacrifice, and Via Dolorosa-the Way of the Gross. Not only has Loveís road its music, but it has its visions as well. A story is told of a knight who once became lost in a wood and wandered about till, torn and bleeding, he lay down to die. Then there came to him an angel and led him on by devious paths till upon the wood there shone a wondrous light, and in this the knight saw a vision so glorious that of his bleeding wounds he thought no more, but knelt down and thanked the good Lord who had led him to that place. And the name of the dark wood is sorrow, but of the vision that the knight beheld,only a few may speak or tell. But, thank God, some may indeed tell, for they have been in the Valley and have caught the vision of Divine love. They have seen the vanity of the things of earth; they are the sons of God; for them "old things have passed away and all things have become new." These are they who walk on Loveís Road to Victory.
Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus called some to walk on this road, offering a remarkable inducement. Certain ones obeyed the call, and ever since, the members of Christís Church have been on this way. To them it has meant ostracism, persecution and suffering in many forms. Today it means the same. But the Spirit of God is still with His people. They are still willing to suffer, to use their talents in proclaiming the Gospel message, to put Truth first, and then to serve the Truth with devotion and loving zeal. In the Book of Revelation these are said to have the victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name. (Re 15:2.) The beast was a religious system. He ruled by fear; so does his image. His mark was a denominational mark, and his number was 666. Now thenumber of a thing means its identification. How do we identify the beast? What were its characteristics? They were (1) earthly headship; (2) earthly channel; and (3) earthly teachings not in harmony with the Scriptures. The image of the beast would be just like the beast. It would have an -earthly head, constitute itself an exclusive channel, and-put something in place of. the Bible. Doubtless referring to the same thing, Jesus said: "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation . . . stand in the holy place, then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains." To stand in the holy place, would be to take the place of Jesus, whether as earthly head or channel, for Jesus Himself is the one and only head and channel for us. So we have seen the abomination, and it has certainly made desolate; but thank God, we are away from it; we are in the place to which the Master told us to flee.
Loveís Road to Victory means daily victory and future victory. It means Ďclose contact with God and insulation from the world. The Christian must have an inner life and an outer life, the latter being simply the outer expression of the inner life. Hence the Apostle says we should be "always abounding in the work of the Lord," and "exhort unto love anal good works." Among such works is the preaching of the Gospel. "Preach the Gospel; be instant in season and out of season," said Paul to Timothy. To build up the Christ life in us requires study, meditation, prayer, and public witnessing before men. The "door" is not yet closed, so far as we know. Some. may fall out and others take their place; so we are still sending forth the Gospel for the selection of the last of the "feet" members. Then secondarily, the Truth is sounding out a note of warning and thus fulfilling Joelís prophecy.-.Joe 2:1.
Along Loveís Road to Victory are certain sign-posts. The first says, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." This sweeps away all earthly headship and earthly channel. Another says: "All things work together for good to them that love God," etc. How good it is to know that it says All Things-even our mistakes and disappointments. Another sign says, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life."
A great home-coming awaits us. We need fear no man. Soon comes the reward, the royal crown of immortality, the song of glorious triumph, the ineffable consummation where life shall flow on in one blissful, endless service, one perpetual praise, in the sunshine of our Fatherís continuing favor anal love. Oh that such attainment may be ours. It will be so indeed if we keep walking daily, unswervingly, with heart and mind in tune with God, on. Loveís Road to Victory.
JoyDiscourse by BROTHER P. L. READ
THE PURSUIT of happiness is admitted by all to be among the inalienable rights of man. Certain it is that men desire joy above everything else. . Yet how few find it! This is because most men are on the wrong scent. How then is joy to be secured? Above all, haw are we to make our lives happy and joyous in the true Christian sense of the word?
The answer to this question is given by our Lord in the parable of the Vine. "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
In considering this parable a hasty reader might miss the lesson of joy that our Lord is seeking to impart. Not one word about joy appears in the parable. A great deal, however, is said about fruit.
"The flower of the Vine is but a little thing, The least part of its life; -you scarce could tell It ever had a flower; the fruit begins Almost before the flower has had its day."
Evidently then our Lordís meaning must be that joy will be ours in proportion to our fruitbearing, and concerning fruitbearing He says, "He that abideth in Me, the same bringeth forth much fruit"
"Measure thy life by loss instead of gain"; When we come to lay our head on the pillow for the last time, we shall want to measure our life that way, shall we not? We shall not be interested, then, in what wealth we have accumulated, or what pleasures we have enjoyed, or what burdens we have escaped, but we shall delight to call to mind those times in our experiences when we were most like Christ.
Let us concentrate then; not on joy but on fruitbearing. For Christís disciples, joy is to lie partly in the bearing of fruit, partly in the union with Him which makes fruitbearing possible. Partly, that is to say, joy is to lie in the mere constant living in Christís presence, with all that that implies of peace, of shelter, and of love; partly in the influence of His Life upon the mind and character and will. By yielding to such an influence as Christís, they will find their lives lifted above the level of self-regard to the joyous plane on which He lived and gave Himself for others. Thus their jay will lie partly in the inspiration to live and work for others, with all that that brings of self-riddance and joy in othersí gain.
"Lord help me live from day to day In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray My prayer shall be for others.
"Help me in all the work I do To ever be sincere and true
And know that all Iíd do for you Must needs be done for others.
"Others, Lord, yes others, Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others That I may live like Thee."
"Bearing Witness to the Truth"Discourse by BROTHER W. F. HUDGINGS
WE WISH to recall for consideration the words of Jesus uttered to Pilate on the day of His crucifixion: "ĎTo this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." (Joh 18:37.) Jesus indeed came to earth to die as manís ransom; but even in this He was bearing witness unto the truth which God had previously spoken that sinful man is unfit for life, that God cannot look upon sin with allowance, that His justice must be satisfied, but that His love transcends all things. Jesusí sacrificial life, culminating in death, was a great witness, a great sermon, both to men and to angels, even to -the "spirits in prison," as the Apostle Peter declared.-1Pe 3:18, 19.
If it was Jesusí great mission to bear witness unto the truth, then as His footstep followers we should do likewise. Nor did Jesus witness merely by His holy life and conduct. He witnessed by verbally proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom on every possible occasion. Even in His parables He did not fail to draw attention to that future Kingdom. And when He sent forth His disciples, He told them to go and preach the Kingdom. Later He told them to go into all the world anal witness unto all nations. That commission has never been withdrawn; it still holds.
There are those who say that to be Jehovahís witnesses is something new. They call it a "new name." But it is not new; it is as old as Christianity itself. Jesus was the greatest of all witnesses for Jehovah; and every footstep follower of Jesus from then until now has likewise been a true witness for Jehovah and for Christ. But unless we have the spirit of Jesus we cannot be effective witnesses for the Lord. We may make a great show of works, and claim we are witnessing in His name; but if we have not love for all Godís people it will profit us nothing.-1Co 13:3.
If we are willing to judge and condemn to the second death by the wholesale, those who do not see exactly as we see, or who cannot honestly change their views when we change ours, then we do not have the spirit of the Lord, whom we claim to serve; and He will disown our works, though we may say, "Lord, Lord, see how much we have done in Thy name!" Let us not be prejudiced against other groups of Christians, even though they may have permitted prejudice to blind their minds against all except those of their own little circle. Let them call you "the man of sin," if they want to. The Lord Himself was called "the prince of devils." Anyway you know better, so does the Lord; and they will injure nobody but themselves. Let us be ready to help them if we can.
But we must not swing to the opposite extreme and feel that no witness work is necessary, except that of merely living a forgiving, noble, spiritual life. If Jesus had confined His witnessing to merely that, His gospel of the Kingdom would not have been known. If St. Paul, and others had remained home and merely lived holy lives, instead of going on repeated evangelistic journeys, many of the churches to whom the Revelator later wrote may never have been established, and the Lordís command to preach to all nations would not have been obeyed. But Paul said, "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1Co 9:16. He knew that it was "the power of God" unto salvation, and, as in Jeremiahís case, the Lordís Word was Ďas fire in his bones.í Do we feel that way now? We should, and I hope that we do.
If Brother Russell had confined his witnessing to merely living a holy life, and had never proclaimed widely the present truth of the incoming Kingdom, you and I perhaps would not be here today; we doubtless would not have heard anything about these "glad tidings." Arenít you glad that he did more than merely settle dawn here in Allegheny and live a holy life? Arenít you glad that he shad the will and grace to put the message, on paper and send it to the uttermost parts of the earth, , as the Lord had commanded? And if he were still with, us in the flesh who can doubt that he now would have us printing and distributing the message .by the millions of copies, as we once did?
But, you say, We are not now living in Brother Russellís day, and the Lord doesnít want us to do that now. Why not? What Scripture do you base that conclusion on? Do you know of a text that suggests that the Lord wanted the message to go out until 15 years ago, and then said "Stop"? But, say some, The Church is about complete, and there is no need to do much evangelistic work now. Yes, we thought that in 1914; but did that slow us down, then? No, it speeded us up; for we felt the time was short. We wanted to labor, while it is called day, even as the Lord admonished us to do. And it should be so now.
The Church may be nearly completed; but so long as any members are still in the flesh there is likelihood of their losing their crowns. Hence there is need for us to go out in the byways and find others who can take their places. Then, too, there are brethren who are in confusion, who need to be reached and helped. There are "mourners in Zion" who need comfort. We are "anointed to preach good tidings unto the meek; to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim. liberty to the captives; and the day of vengeance of our God; and to comfort all that mourn." (Isa 61:1, 2.) Are we doing this as faithfully as we should?
We are the "feet" members of Christ, are we not? Then, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isa 52:7.) Brethren, are we today doing our part to see that this is fulfilled; or, as "feet" members, are we inclined to stand still? It is proper to come apart and "rest awhile"; but we must not rest indefinitely. I feel sure that we do not u wish to be one-sided extremists, to put works ahead of spirituality, nor to put works in the background. Let us be spiritual, and let us also faithfully "bear witness unto the truth." There is plenty for all willing hands to do.
"Cast not Away Your Confidence"Discourse by BROTHER A. M. SAPHORE
THE WORDS of our text, "Cast not away your confidence" (Heb 10:35, 36), are addressed to believers, those previously enlightened and who shad suffered for the Truth, and for the consecrated. "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight -of afflictions; partly whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used."-Heb 10:32, 33.
Confidence gained upon the basis of the knowledge of Godís character and Plan and upon His Word and His providences should never be cast away. The "Great recompense of reward" depends upon holding fast this confidence. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God," suggests that patience has already been developed and the will of God, in heart and endeavor, has been reached; and that there will be testing of these attainments and that patience is very necessary in the final test. Even after love has been developed it will need to be tested. Patience in the testing is the continuing "in the things which thou bast learned and bast been assured of, knowing of whom thou bast learned them." (2Ti 3:13, 14.) The confidence is in God and His Word and His providences. A measure of confidence should be had in Godís children and in such special ones as the Lord uses to build up the Church. These do not build up something in the Church or build up a confidence which would work for dividing those who should be encouraged to strengthen the confidence already attained. Those engaged in assisting individuals to develop Christ likeness and to do good, specially unto the Household of Faith, many of which have not as yet been blessed by the Harvest Truth, are doing a good work in helping to establish the brethren, instead of establishing themselves among the brethren. Those whose activities encourage each Ecclesia to fully control its own affairs and not to, as an Ecclesia, stand for any one or many arrangements among Godís people, thus keeping out party or movement spirits, and leaving each individual free to connect or not to connect with such party or movement, will do much indeed to safeguard the peace and confidence of the Lordís people.
Reason, aside from the Bible, should give confidence in God as an intelligent being, possessed of Wisdom, Justice, Power, and Love. The Bible corroborates this and gives us further knowledge upon which to build confidence in God and His plans and purposes and in His children and His special ones used to build up the Body of Christ, the Church.
The Lordís providences corroborate both reason and the Bible and assist in forming a structure which cannot easily be broken down. The operation of the Holy Spirit, in connection with all these means of building confidence, gives full assurance of both faith and hope to those who are begotten and are faithful under its blessed influence.
In the providence of God we have been living in a blessed period of the Church. Our Savior promised that He would return and that, together with other evidences of His Presence, He would serve us with "meat in due season" through one whom He alone would choose to serve the Household. (Mt 24:45-47.) There is no question about the new and wonderful understanding of "The Divine Plan of The Ages" being the same old story taught by our Lord and the Apostles. The original message was confused in the Dark Ages, "after men slept," after the Apostles were taken away in the sleep of death. A harmonizing of these old time truths, freed from error, was seen by one who was humble and who confessed the blessing to be of the Lord and an evidence of His Presence. The present Lord used the one thus found acceptable to Him and, through His providential leading has brought many rich blessings to His people. The message harmonizing Election and Free Grace and the refuting of the doctrines of Eternal Torment and Trinity and Immortality of the human soul, etc., was the proof of the Presence of the High Priest at the close of the antitypical Atonement Day, tending to the Lampstand and causing the Light of Truth to shine more clearly by use of the means provided for the cutting off of the accumulated errors, using the one appointed by Him, not through the vote of His people, for this purpose.
What rejoicing there has been in the harmonious Harvest Truth! What confidence we have had in it and our Present Lord! What zeal we had in telling others the precious harmonious Truth which .we had been blessed with! We resolved faithfulness in character development and zeal in sending out the "Light and Truth," we said, "even unto death"! We had confidence in the brethren, but we never put this on a par with confidence in God and the Word of God and the providences of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit of God. We said that we would be faithful even if the one bringing the Truth to us should "cast away" his confidence.
Many brethren agree that character development is the all-important matter, as I am convinced that it is, but T am convinced also that the result of a properly developed Christian character will be that he will do all in his limited power to give others the opportunity of understanding Godís character and Plan through his overflowing joy. What is to be done and what message is to be given depends largely upon whether we have cast away our confidence in the message of our present Lord or not. As for us, we believe that the message of the "Plan of the Ages" should have unlimited circulation and we are willing to do all in our power to send forth the unmixed message of "The Plan of the Ages" and to assist and cooperate with any and all who have not lost confidence in that message and the providences of God through our Present Lord and only Head.
Leaving all personalities aside and letting others do what they think to be the Lordís will, without considering them opponents because they do not use their activities in the same direction as we do, we shall joyfully be engaged in passing on to others that which we know has enlightened and blessed us. There is loving service for all and those who have a burning desire along these lines will quickly get in touch with each other and will be blessed as they seek to honor the Lord and bring the blessing of the Truth in its simplicity to His people, many of whom are waiting for the very message which we received and have not cast away.
"What Manner of Persons ought Ye to be"Discourse by BROTHER L. H. NORBY 2Pe 3:10-12
THERE ARE various standards or rules of life recognized in the world today. The standard or law for the Church is declared to be a rule of sacrifice. (1Jo 3:16.) "He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." This rule is far nobler and higher than even the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," will be the standard required of all who will enjoy life after the Millennium.
The ideal standard of some people is, "Do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you." This is the Golden Rule in the negative or passive form, and leaves much to be desired. The enforcement of this rule during the Millennium seems to be suggested in the words of the Prophet Isaiah (Isa 65:25) :"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord." The vast majority recognize no higher standard than that commonly expressed as follows: "Do unto others as they do unto you." It requires no charity or benevolence to comply with this rule. This is far from a satisfactory standard for the New Creation. "Do for others no more than absolutely necessary and expect justice and even benevolence in return." This expresses a very selfish policy, yet one which is subscribed to by a great many people. The most ignoble and degenerate who, recognize no standard, seeking an excuse for their crimes and selfishness, often quote the, following perversion of the Golden Rule: "Do others before they do you." The practice of this rule by an ever increasing number of humanity is plunging the world into the worst state of crime -and anarchy the world has ever known.
If we really believe Christís kingdom to be the only remedy for earthís woes, we will seek to live now in harmony with its laws as the Apostle exhorts, "Let us walk honestly as in the day."
Every one is more or less inclined to go to extremes. Human thought is often like a pendulum, swinging frown one extreme to the other. The Apostle Paul says, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." Let no one assume that we countenance the violation or even compromise of principle in the exercise of moderation. We must not be lukewarm with respect to spiritual things. But we are speaking against a one-sided application of principles. There are usually two sides to every question, both of which should be considered in arriving at a conclusion.
Let us note a few doctrinal extremes supported by opposing factions of Godís professed people: Jews believe that Jesus, while on earth, was an ordinary sinful man; nominal Christians believe that Jesus was God Himself. We know that the truth lies between these extreme views. Jews accept the Old Testament and reject the New; nominal Christians practically ignore the Old Testament, except as a history, while accepting the New. We need both. They are the wings of Re 12:14. Jews believe in earthly salvation and kingdom solely; Christians believe in Heavenly salvation only. How sad that these extremes are not blended into the glorious plan -of salvation which the Bible teaches. Again, the doctrines of "Free Grace" and "Election" illustrate the many opposite extremes amongst Christians themselves. The truth combines the good features of both of these doctrines.
These extreme views were evidently the result of controversy. and contention. Let us seek to profit from these things and not allow controversy to bias our judgment in any matter.
Proper leadership is a meatier of great importance to the Lordís people. From an earthly standpoint , the Church is a democracy. Hence, each and every one should endeavor to express the mind of the Lord to the best of his. understanding. To guide us, we have not only the qualifications of a servant in the Church outlined by Paul, but we also have an example of faithful leadership in Moses. Even though Godís appointment of Moses could not be reasonably questioned, he did not attempt to concentrate power and authority in himself or friends, but encouraged the appointment of elders to represent the people.
If this is the only planet on which the "exceeding sinfulness of sin" is to be learned by experience, then God must have some very effective means of teaching future creations this lesson. Undoubtedly the Church is to be used extensively in this connection. How can we be qualified for this everlasting future work if we do not meet varied and severe experiences victoriously?
There are nine known planets in our solar system. It is estimated that there are thirty billion other solar systems in this nebulae, , sometimes called the Milky Way. Astronomers tell us they have discovered two million such nebulae or Milky Ways with present telescopes, and hope to discover sixteen million more with the 200 inch telescope now being constructed. On the basis of our solar system (which is below average) this would mean four quintillion, eight hundred and sixty quardrillions of planets. And this is merely the beginning; for space is endless. What an opportunity for usefulness and service awaits those who make their calling and election sure.
Instead of investing in earthly things of questionable stability and small return, invest in the Christ. Spend and be spent; first, in gathering the Lordís people, and secondly, in assisting in their development. We are then indirectly assisting great numbers of the world and of future creations, whose blessing awaits only the glorification of the last members of the Body of Christ.
Under His WingsDiscourse by BROTHER P. E. THOMSON
WITH TWO distinct pictures in mind the Psalmist uses wings as symbolic of Divine protection. Since, in the instance we will consider first that of Psalm 57:1-these are the wings of the Most Holy, the lesson is only for those who, by faith, live the resurrected life. (Eph 2:4-6; Ro 8:9.) If our affections are set on only such things as can come under the protection of the overshadowing wings, business depressions will cause us no disappointments. It is the repentant sinner who realizes himself a criminal, that flees to the Tabernacle, his refuge from lifeís calamities. ĎThe artist who is satisfied with his picture is not much of an artist. The Christian who can think highly of his attainments, instead of classing himself as the chief of sinners, probably has not very high ideals.
If the deliverance of Da 12:1 does not loom larger in our minds than the time of trouble of the previous phrase, then the lesson of trust has not been well learned. What would we not do to have our names written in the book of those who are to have deliveranceóengage in every kind of work and subscribe to every fund, get to all the meetings on time? Yes, surely there is no excuse for one of us trying to convince himself that the witnessing is finished as long as there is any hope of reaching one more person. It is a splendid thing to put out; tracts or sell books in some other brotherís territory; a better thing, for you, to put them in the hands of those who know you, though it may perhaps injure your reputation or even your business; but the thing that counts in getting your name into Godís Book is your success in adding His likeness to your character. (2Pe 1:5-12) and so lining the Christian life that those who know you must realize that you have been sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus quoted Danielís prophecy, adding the information that the culminating trouble of the Age would come after we would see the abomination that maketh desolate sitting in the holy place. We who have lived to see a desecration of holy things such as we never dreamed could take place, have sweet consolation in being able to flee for refuge to these wings in the time of the Churchís greatest need, and in knowing that, even though we should enter the trouble which is to follow the seeing of this abomination, we still need fear no evil.
Just as beautiful and just as comforting is the Psalmistís picture of Ps 91:4. For the chick nestled close to the henís warmth, danger does not exist outside. If you are not fully enjoying the happiness and. peace ofRo 14:17, you are probably represented by one of the chicks with his head outside looking for something to get nervous about, thinking of meat and drink instead of the blessings of Divine fellowship. You can go a long while without food, but not without peace, and you must not be satisfied with the peace Jesus left with His disciples, the peace that comes from having food and clothing assured and taxes paid, but must seek the peace He promised to give after His departure-His peace, the peace of God (Godís peace), the peace of having "all power." (Joh 14:27; Php 4:7; Col 1:11.) As long as you can say, "Thy will not mine be done" that power and the resulting peace can be yours, but it is easier to say, Thy will be done, in my way. Many a one has dropped out of the race when the Fatherís plan did not; work out according to his interpretation of it.
Illustrating the Fatherís care over us, Jesus intimated that He who watched the sparrowís fall would surely count us of more value. How Satan would like to have us spend all our time considering whether it is literally true that the Father sees every sparrow that; dies and counts every falling hair! I am afraid he has gotten a great deal of satisfaction out of many Bible studies where the whole hour is spent in settling some point of no value to the new creature. The lesson this is intended to teach is that of the Fatherís interest in us, and Jesus picked the most useless things to illustrate how minute is that interest. Jesusí peace came from knowing God, and He gave this lesson that we might know Him better. When that knowledge is yours, no one will have to threaten you with the second death to make a faithful witness of you. You will be more anxious to tell that than to tell about the great people of the earth you have met, if you really know Jehovah. The Bible was not given primarily to reveal Godís Plan, but to reveal God through the Plan. You would even be willing to change your understanding of Godís Plan if by that change you would learn to know more of His goodness.
There are a number of texts in the Bible that promise bread and water to the Lordís people. If you had to choose between applying them to your physical nourishment or your spiritual, would you not a thousand times rather have the assurance that you would never suffer spiritual want, especially in this day when the thousands are starving at our very right hand? Imagine yourself a farmer and then get before your mind the picture of Hab 3:17, your farm swept clean of all food. Now, if you can join in the exultation of the next verse, you have learned to know God enough to trust Him for physical comforts. But can you apply it to our spiritual treasures, saying, Although the Jewish nation (fig tree) shall not return to Palestine, the fruit of the Church (vine) shall be contention and strife, peace (the labor of the olive) shall fail us, the restitution blessings shall not come to the world (field), there shall be no people anywhere that we could call the Church (flock), the ancient worthies (herd-Hebrew, bullocks) shall not stand in their lot, although every idea I have had of Godís Plan should prove to be false, "yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." This should not be such a difficult thing to say as it might at first seem, for would it not mean that anything we had to lay aside had been manís thought, and are we not assured that when Godís thought takes the place of manís we will find it as much higher as the heavenís are higher than the earth? We might even hope to find we had been wrong if it were not that it does not seem possible there could be anything much more glorious than that which we have already received.
Voices to Which We Should Give Careful HeedDiscourse by BROTHER J. J. BLACKBURN Ps 9-1:11, 12
THAT SOME of these angels commissioned to assist the saints are invisible, spirit beings, there can be no doubt. It was doubtless to these that Jesus referred when He said regarding the Elect, "Their angels do always behold the face of My Father in heaven," implying thereby that our safeguarding is their special concern. Of these the Apostle also speaks, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
But it is equally clear that our text embraces messengers in the Church, servants raised up by the Lord as leaders and helpers among His people. How comforting it is to know that the mountains round about us are full of invisible "chariots and horsemen" appointed to do us service, and how very encouraging to remember also, that additional protection has been provided for us in fellow-servants who journey with us in the pilgrim way. It has pleased God to commit to devoted men and women the most exalted of all ministry-the edifying of the Body of Christ. Describing these visible agencies provided for us the Apostle writes, "He gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers." And this ministry we note is to be adequate for all our needs: "They shall keep thee in all thy ways . . . lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." A complete bodyguard against "ten thousand foes who seek to draw us from the prize."
The great need of the children of God today is a clear vision of the whole will of God. . All who stand approved at last will be such as have been careful to heed "all Scripture given by inspiration" to the man of God. There is a great need today for putting the emphasis where the Lord puts it. Diversity is a characteristic of all the Divine order. It is therefore not written that one apostle, or one prophet, or one teacher, was given to the Church, but a variety of such servants was needed and provided. This fact was fully recognized by Paul, and in his fervent prayer for the saints he very properly pleads that they may be "able to comprehend with all saints" the full scope of Divine revelation, and thus be "filled with all the fullness of God." The Lord has His own way of neutralizing the extremes found among His people, so that the perfect equilibrium may be the more fully maintained by all who are prepared to be taught by the Holy Spirit.
As a background for conclusions I desire to leave with you when I have finished my remarks today, I will call your attention just briefly to the striking events of our day. The admonition of Peter seems peculiarly timely just now, wherein he refers to the "more sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed." The evidences on every hand convince us that the end of our pilgrimage is almost in sight. While we are careful to avoid conclusions as to just when and how the final change of the Church will come, it is now mast important that we cultivate the habit of fervent expectancy, and constantly remember that it Ďmay come some day soon as "a sweet and glad surprise" both as to time and manner. We stand on holy ground in these times of patient waiting, and we do well, therefore, to listen to those voices raised to direct our attention to the great and vital issues of the hour.
We observe a tendency on the part of some to stress the thought that the Christian life is primarily one of untiring service for others. By some others the special features and real essentials of faithfulness to God are said to be, a personal assimilation of the truth, transformation of character, and a clear relationship to the Lord. Unfortunately these two views are not always harmonized as they should be, and this is where Godís variety of servants will need to be remembered. Among the disciples of Jesus we find impetuous Peters, cautious Andrews, ardent Pauls and clinging, meditative Johns. Taking these various characters the Lord was able to amalgamate all into a perfect ministry. We have these same characters with us today, and we have the same loving Lord to blend all into harmony if we will but learn His way. There is need, no doubt, for some voices calling us to gird our armor on to do battle for the Lord, in this day when some are in danger of forgetting that we are under orders to "work while it is called day." But we mustí not allow ourselves to be led again into the mistake of thinking that this outward activity is the equivalent of spirituality. Some are lamenting that we are not able to revive the spirit of activity and general ministry of former days, but let me not be misunderstood when I say that I cannot consistently entertain such a hope. Prior to 1917 the Lord was doing a work by Bible Students, but since that time He has been doing a work among us, " searching Jerusalem as with a candle" and He has been putting the emphasis on individual character, on loyalty to the naked principles of truth and righteousness, and that is what He is doing now. The problem for you and me is such that we need to take time to get a true viewpoint of what God is now doing. Today the voice most urgently needed is the one admonishing us to "Take time to be holy." Jesus took time to take His disciples apart frequently from the rush of service, and by this He prepared His disciples for real efficient service. In my judgment the sad conditions today bear witness against the serious neglect on our part of the resting places alone with Jesus. All the while He has loved the few Maryís who were willing to sit at His feel, and the loving Johnís who have loved to lean on His breast.
In conclusion, let me say that the great need of the present hour is a new emphasis on the facts of personal relationship to the Lord. The evidence is clear to me that the Lord is now most vitally interested in the "one here and there" who will soon complete the number of His Elect. All other things are now quite secondary to this, and it behooves us to consistently observe where we are today, and make sure that we ourselves are ready for the consummation of our hope.
In Preparation for the Last SummonsDiscourse by BROTHER I. F. HOSKINS 2Ti 4:6-8
THIS PASSAGE selected from the last chapter St. Paul ever wrote, from the last chapter of his life, may be regarded as a part of his dying message. Special importance generally and properly attaches to the last words of great men, and particularly great men of God. The last words of such an one if uttered , while he is still in possession of his normal faculties, should represent his deepest, best, and most mature thoughts-thoughts that would be expressive of the wisdom from the accumulated lessons and experiences of the years. It is most evident that when the Apostle Paul spoke these words, he realized that his work was done, the sun was about to set, the curtain was about to fall in the drama of his life because his labors were finished. It is a very wonderful thing in the face of such circumstances for a man to be able to confidently say, I am ready to meet my Master, I am prepared to enter the presence of Christ, in the assurance that the crown of life is laid up for me.
Seemingly anticipating that Timothy ox some others after his death might wonder what was his own state of assurance during these last hours, and desiring to inspire Timothy and others with renewed courage and faith, he therefore neglected not to clearly state his own condition of mind and the confidence with which he was blessed as he came to the close of his life.
And what were the grounds on which the Apostle exercised that firm confidence in the Masterís approval and in the hope that he would receive the crown of life? He, himself, answers the question by saying, "I have kept the faith." In other words he had been true to Christ, he had been a true exponent of the faith not merely in word and theory, but a living exponent of the life of Christ, of the character-likeness and image of Godís dear Son. He had been led to see throughout the years that the important consideration with God was not the achieving of great things outwardly in this world, but that of going along patiently, obediently, and with the spirit of full surrender and consecration daily and doing the Divine will even as the Master in His solemn admonition has counseled His entire Church saying; "Be thou faithful unto death and 1 will give thee a crown of life."
Do we ask what was the secret of the Apostle Paulís success as a man of God and as one who triumphed in the Christian life? The answer is, that it was by virtue of the .same power and the same spiritual influence that enabled the Son of God to triumph through blood and tears as the record reveals, and as the Apostle himself declares with reference to Christ that "He through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God," that is, He was enabled through the power of Godís Spirit to accomplish the offering up of Himself and to perform the entire mission acceptably and faithfully unto the bitter end.
Though St. Paul was not one of the Twelve who traveled with Jesus about the Sea of Galilee and other parts of the Holy Land during His earthly life, and was not with Jesus about the City of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, and in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet Christ made up to him in other ways what he lacked by not having the advantages of the other eleven. There were given him powerful revelations and distinctive manifestations from above that in some respects perhaps more than equaled all these other advantages. On his way to Damascus to carry out his deadly mission, the words of his Divine Master became powerfully effective: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" and realizing that he was confronted with a heavenly messenger, he could only ask "Who art Thou, Lord?" He heard the reply, "I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest." " We ask, Who can describe the sense of humiliation and the overwhelming defeat of which the Apostle at once became conscious? He had only one question to ask which was, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" His consecration was complete at once. He with the other Apostles was made partaker of the Holy Spirit and he too came under that anointing which became the secret of his powerful ministry, of his dauntless courage, of his untiring zeal, and of his triumphant and overcoming faith.
It may be said that the life of the Apostle Paul is a more pronounced example than any other we have in the New Testament of the transforming influence and power of Christianity. In after years we observe how this man of God, once Saul of Tarsus and a man of murder and blood, becomes the meek and humble disciple of Christ so filled with the Spirit from above that he is able to give the Church that great masterpiece, the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, wherein he expounds for the Church of all time what is the love of Christ, its importance and value, yea, absolute necessity to all who would hope to enter with Christ into the Kingdom of God. Further, the various epistles that he sends to the brethren in different pants reveal the work of Christ in his own soul and tell us that the real burden upon his heart is that of assisting other disciples of Christ in the work of transformation to the character of the great Redeemer Himself in preparation for His presence; in other words, as he declares to one church, it was the formation of Christ in them that was the ever important consideration. It was not for numbers that the Apostle was striving, therefore, for he knew too well that under the present circumstances few would ever be found able to exercise such strong faith that would enable them to meet the conditions of the narrow way. And so the Apostle was willing to accomplish only so much as was the Divine will and even in his last hours if it should be that there were none found to stand with him in his trial, even .this should prove no hindrance to him, so great was his faith in God and so brightly did his own hope shine out as a result of the revelations that had been given him and the work of Christ in his own soul.
Here indeed, we have the example of one who faithfully gassed through all of those stages and processes in preparation for the last summons, the call of the Master to lay aside the cross and the Christian armor, to give up the toil and the labor in that blessed hope of realizing the full measure of joy in hearing his Masterís word of approval, Well done, you shall receive the crown of life prepared for all them that love Me and My appearing.
The RansomDiscourse by BROTHER GEORGE S. KENDALL
FAITHFULNESS TO the Lord and His Word and the welfare of His sheep has necessitated an almost constant contention for the Ransom as the very center and foundation principle of true Christian doctrine. During the past years we have seen and faithfully proclaimed that it is upon this point of doctrine that the greatest test of the close of this Age would come. Every year, we might almost say every day, gives increased evidence of this stumbling. Of all the people upon the earth who should stand upon the true foundation without wavering should be the people in what we call the Present Truth movement. For forty years a standard was raised upon the highest hills and the beacon light upon that banner was-"A Ransom for All." Every phase of the subject was carefully defined, and all the reasons why it is the only true basis for our Christian faith. It is the hub around which every doctrine centers as spokes in a wheel -the basis of our faith and hope toward God.
The word ransom comes from the Greek anti-lutron and means a price to correspond. It is found in Mt 20:28"the Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many." In 1Ti 2:6-"There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." Again in Ho 13:14-"I will ransom them from the power of the grave"; Isa 35:10"and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads."
In order to place before our minds the proper facts concerning the ransom and its place of supreme importance we ask the following questions: (1) Why is mankind in this present state? (2) Why is death reigning? Why the need of a plan of redemption? There is only one answer: the Bible speaks and plainly reveals the one outstanding fact of the original, sin. (1) Man in his creation possessed life. Sin forfeited that life. (2) Man was created in the image of God. Sin marred that image. (3) Man was king of the kingdom of earth. Sin lost that kingdom and its rulership. (4) Man was given the decree to establish that kingdom in all the earth by his posterity. Sin deprived him and his posterity, and the justice of Godís righteous law decreed "Dying thou shah die." First Act; The gate closed; the light went out; the king became a slave, a vagabond upon the earth with the withering blight of sin to curse his journey to the tomb-death.
Now as far as man and his power of performance is concerned he and his race are forever done. But what is revealed from the just sentence? A Plan of God, a Plan of the Ages, that God in His infinite mercy would at some time and way restore the lost Paradise, the life, image, kingship and kingdom of man upon earth. And in so doing how could God set aside the curse, the edict, the sentence, seeing that judgment and justice are the foundation of His throne? Just one way and one answer-providing a ransom. Could preaching a kingdom without hope mean anything? Joh 3:16-"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Mt 20:28-"The Son of man came . . . to give His life a ransom." Heb 2:6-10=Ď But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of Him?" 1Co 15:21-22"by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead:í 1Ti 2:6-"A ransom for all to be testified in due time:í "Behold the Lamb of God." Scriptures too numerous to mention confirm the stately steppings of our God to provide the remedy to release the race.
The first philosophy 49 years ago on the subject of the ransom and restitution showed how conclusive the proof of the basic doctrine of the Plan of God. But who can pay the price? No man could be found on earth. Ps 49:7"none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him." No angel could pay, nor spiritual being by any means. The Law says an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, manís life for manís life. And this necessitated the Plan .of Redemption and the birth of a perfect man to meet the requirements. This condition must be met perfectly to release the race and restore it. So God in His infinite mercy and love usedíHis mighty power to humble the mightiest of His creatures to fill the place, and. so He who was rich for our sakes became poor. (Joh 3:16; Heb 2:6-10.) In Luke, second chapter, is the record of the birth of the Holy Child, the announcement of which by the mouth of the angel became the Gospel of the Kingdom: "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people, for unto you is born in the City of David a Savior."
And thus the philosophy of the ransom is summed up as follows: A perfect man must give His life to provide a price to , correspond. And the ransom is not complete with just providing the price, but after it is provided, Justice demands that the dead world be ransomed and this implies not only a little preaching and selling a little book, and collecting a few nickels, but a thousand-year reign to restore the race, the act of which is ransoming-a part of the ransom work. A powerful article on this subject can be found in the Watch Tower of March 15, 1916.
How is the basic text, 1Ti 2:6óJesus Christ a ransom for all to be testified in due time-to be fulfilled? When will it be testified to all?, When every member of Adamís race has heard-not only hearing a voice, but having the powers of the Kingdom apply the rules of life and blessing in Restitution. I will ransom them from the power of the grave-from the Adamic death. They died in Adam, but in that day they must die for their own sins if they die at all. Isa 35:10 shows the ransomed of the Lord returning to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They will still be sounding the ransom work when the Kingdom of Christ is at an end. God help us to see as Jesus saw the travail of His soul .and be satisfied.
God Our Great CaretakerDiscourse by BROTHER I. I. MARGESON
IN THE 23rd Psalm we have a beautiful illustration of the Lordís care for His children. This Psalm praises Jehovah as the Shepherd and Host of His own. This Psalm breathes throughout a spirit of the calmest and most assured trust in God. It speaks of a peace so deep, so profound that even the thought of the shadow of death cannot trouble it. Theme is an absence of all doubt, misgiving, fear, and anxiety.
A most beautiful description of rest and safety and trustful happiness is given in the picture of the sheep lying down in the deep, rich meadow grass, beside the living stream, under the care of a tender and watchful shepherd.
This feeling of confidence is expressed in three different ways. "I cannot want"; "I will fear no evil"; "I will dwell in the house of Jehovah forever." Godís care for the Christian is expressed in a twofold image: Jehovah is Ďthe true Shepherd, and He is the bountiful Host.
The essential idea in this Psalm of David is that God would provide for him, that he would never be left to want. ĎThis is the thought with which the Psalm commences. "The Lord is my shepherd, 1 shall not want." And this thought is carried all the way through. This is illustrated by two facts: (1) That God was his shepherd; that ĎHe had always manifested toward him the care which a shepherd takes of his flock. (2) That God had prepared a table for him in the very presence of his enemies, when they were endeavoring to .destroy him, thus giving him the assurance that He would never leave him.
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" pastures of tender grass. It is properly applied here to places where flocks and herds lie down for repose. And it is not merely a flock enjoying repose, it is a flock whose needs have been supplied, lying down in the midst of abundance. As applied to children of the Lord it would mean that their needs are met and satisfied, and they have the confidence that their needs will always be supplied.
The words, "He leadeth me beside the still waters," would denote the calmness, the peace, the repose of heart when the heart is at peace with God, and His peace ruling in the heart.
"He restoreth my soul,"-He quickens me. God vivifies or quickens the spirit when exhausted or weary or sad. The Great Shepherd reanimates, brings back its vigor, encourages to new effort, and fills it with joy.
"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for His nameís sake,"-He leads me in right paths. He does not suffer me to wander in ways that would lead to ruin. As the shepherd in the East always ; precedes his flock, so our Shepherd goes ahead-leads us. He leads us in these paths of righteousness for His own sake, or that His name may be glorified. It is that He may be honored.
"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death."-We do not believe that this verse applies merely to death itself, though it embraces that, but we believe that the whole human family have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death for more than six thousand years past. But the Lordís children have the assurance that they will be guided and led by the Great Shepherd. They have nothing to fear in this dark valley, "for Thou art with me."
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."-It seems that the rod is the symbol of the shepherdís defending power. It is the weapon by which he strikes down our adversaries, and this suggests the protecting grace of our Shepherd, who is ever on the alert to ward off threatening ills. The staff might be called the shepherdís crook. The sheep pass beneath it one by one to be numbered; and by this staff the shepherd also restrains them from wandering, or hooks them out of holes into which they have fallen. So the rod and -the staff comfort us. They impart confidence that He will -not leaves us alone and that He will defend us. Ď
"Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies." It is very helpful to us to think of our being sheep and. God our Shepherd, but in this verse the Psalmist seems to say, "I am more than Jehovahís sheep, I am Jehovahís guest." To sit with a man at his table is .a mark of great intimacy. It is not only a means of satisfying hunger, but of intimacy and affectionate love. So the Christian can think of himself as sitting at Godís banqueting table feasting on things which He has prepared. God has prepared this table of spiritual food, showing how He has anticipated our needs. And it is very necessary that we continually partake of the food which our Father has prepared. He prepares this table for us in spite of our enemies. They cannot cut off the supplies that come continually from above.
"Thou anointest my head with oil."-At an Eastern feast the welcome of the guest is expressed by the precious ointment with which he is anointed on entrance into the home. If this were omitted the failure would be noticed. We recall what our Master said: "My head with oil thou didst not anoint." How blessed it is that we too can say with the Psalmist, "Thou anointest my head with oil:" This oil seems to be indicative of joy and gladness. And so we have been anointed with the "oil of gladness:" "My cup runneth over" showing how abundantly the Lord provides for His children. The Lord gives liberally, more than we can use for ourselves. So brethren let us see that the overflowing of our cup does not run to waste.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"-We who have Jehovah as our great Shepherd have the promise of His continual care. We shall always have the two God-sent messengers: Goodness aced Mercy-Goodness to supply every need, Mercy to forgive every sin. .Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow us, because He has set His love upon us. "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
"I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."-We may always and everywhere find our dwelling-place in God, under the shadow of His wing. He is our refuge, our fortress, our strong tower.
May we more and more realize the :possibility of living in the house of the Lord hourly where care cannot invade, and where the Good Shepherd leads His flock into green pastures so that they cannot hunger, and beside still waters so that they cannot thirst, and in cool deep glens so that the sun cannot smite by day nor the moon by night. And if faithful we know that we shall finally dwell in the "house of the Lord forever" in its truest and highest sense, for heaven itself where God dwells will be our eternal home.
But it is our privilege while here to sit together with Christ in heavenly .places; dwelling in the secret place of the Most High; risen with Christ. Full of Joy and gratitude every child of God may say confidently "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
The Voice of the LordDiscourse by BROTHER O. MAGNUSON
MY TEXT is talon from Re 3:20"behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me."
This text is used in connection with the Laodicean message, which is one of great interest and importance.
The Lord had said (I give the Diaglott rendering) "By the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, I know thy works," etc.. That this angel was a man, we have abundant proof, for when John fell at his feet to worship him, the angel said, "See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren, the prophets, and of them that keep the sayingís of this book. Worship God." That the seventh angel is one person and not a class, can be readily seen in light of the fact that one class of Christians does not bow down before another class. There is, therefore, no question as to the identification of this angel or messenger. Re 10 reveals an angel with an open book-opened in the last stage of the Church. So we read: "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished." And this, mark you, refers to a message to be delivered after the seventh angel is gone. Why do we say so? Let us give the matter a brief consideration. We find that John the Baptist was a voice. They asked him if he claimed to be Elijah or that prophet or Christ. He replied, "I am the voice of one crying," etc. The all-important thing was the message. So John was really the Lordís voice at that time. Likewise, Pastor Russell was the Lordís voice at the closing .period of the Gospel Age.
And what did the Pastor do? This is very significant. As John (one of the greatest of the Prophets) introduced Jesus in the flesh, even so the seventh angel introduced Him in the spirit at His Second Advent; and for many years this faithful voice kept calling attention to the Lordís presence. And who are those who carry on the work after the Pastorís demise? They are the voice of the seventh angel, just as the seventh angel was the voice of the Lord, and as John the Baptist was the same. So now we see the full meaning of the. expression, "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel," etc. As we are this voice, as already stated, we are of course giving .out the same message; and the truth fox us lies along the lines indicated by the angel. It is not worshiping a man to see the exact place which he occupies in the Plan of God.
After the death of Jesus and the Apostles, grievous wolves entered my not sparing the flock. This also took place after the demise of the seventh angel. How faithfully he wrought for the sheep, laying down his life to give them an understanding of the true Gospel and in widely proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. Then the Lord took him andĎ the poor sheep were scattered abroad. What ß treacherous and wily foe we, have to deal with. He deceived us through the very Society that we had learned to trust. His method is to draw the attention to one place while he works in another. So, while he pointed to the somewhat amazing thought that the Lord came to his temple in 1918, and to a big and wonderful line of service, he , was surreptitiously removing the good food from the table and replacing it with fallacies, perversions, and unreliable deductions. Then our eyes became opened, we looked out upon the desolations that had been wrought, and stepped out of a system of bondage into the full liberty and joy of Christ. We found peace and untrammeled activity in the service of the Churchís one and only Head.
Jesus was faithful in service right to the end of His life. When the Pharisees said to Him, "Get thee out and depart hence, for Herod will kill Thee," He replied: "Go, tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." Here is a wonderful example for us. When Jesus had only till the third day, while He realized the importance of meditation and prayer, the great ministry of the truth came uppermost in His mind. Right to the last He put others before Himself. Nor did He forget the comfort of His disciples; for, in the midst of busy days, when they had no time even to eat (Mr 6:31), He said to them, "Let us go out into a desert place and rest a while." They were wearied with service and needed the rest. Likewise we have for a brief space come to this Convention to rest and refresh ourselves and thus prepare for further witnessing work.
Satan is such a wily. foe that even in our meditations he can get after us. He did so in the case of the Master when in the wilderness. To match him requires great balance and a willing service. We must be loyal to the highest principles . and stand forth as witnesses for His Kingdom. Iím sure we want to do these things, to be lights in this dark world. Then, some time, before long, the toils and cares of the road shall fade away before the breaking light of Godís mighty and eternal day; and we shall see the King in all His beauty, and serve Him without sorrow, without tears, and without pain, for ever and for ever.
JusticeDiscourse by BROTHER W. C. CHRISTIAN
NO MAN hath seen God at any time," that is by natural sight, yet in the light of His Divine Word, we are enabled to decipher His attributes. Paul said that words cannot express the glory of the risen Lord Jesus, how much less are we competent to comprehend the magnitude and glory of the Heavenly Father. The Psalmist David (Ps 89:14) eulogizes Him thus: "Justice and Judgment are the foundation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face." A foundation is defined as the groundwork; the principle or origin of anything. Or in its application here, Justice is the groundwork or origin of the Fatherís relationship to humanity. It is coexistent and also co-ordinate with the other attributes; not one can act independently nor at the expense of the others. So from our viewpoint, when Justice is called into prominent action, it is always supported by the other three attributes, and vice versa. Equilibrium must be maintained throughout. So let us look upon Justice as the balancer of every motive; thereby its function is the enforcement of the Divine will in letter and in spirit. Justice knows no compromise, therefore it is written, "I change not:" (Mal 3:6.) The principles, right and wrong, good and evil, have always existed; right only being active in the beginning, because Justice would not permit evil to operate.
The question is often asked, "When was Justice satisfied?" We have answered it, always-At no time was it ever unsatisfied. The principle of being in balance, re quires immediate action to keep the equilibrium. Through Mercy, a way of release, or placing back in balance, was provided, but 1,00 per cent justice was always maintained-for the Church through the merit; and finally down through the Millennial reign, that same standard will be maintained until the consummation of all things, when all will be in co-ordination with the Divine attributes. Godís great gift of the Logos was not a motive of Justice; it made no such requirement. But Justice held Love in abeyance for 4000 years to prove to mankind that although he promised Justice to obey and keep the Law, yet he was unable in himself to accomplish its compliance, and he must experience the baneful effects of its non-compliance, that all must and will die. Although Justice did not provide the Ransom, yet Justice exercised its immediate function, to establish equality, and thus resulted Godís gift of immortality to Jesus. So in the case of the Church, Justice provides a reward for the sacrificial death.
As Jesus built upon the foundation of Justice, so the Church is admonished: "What does the Lord require of. thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?" (Mic 6:8.) The Golden Rule is what we shall do to others. After that is done, it is beyond the demands of Justice, and another attribute comes into -play. Let us always bear in mind that we must exercise justice before we can begin to have that degree of love that is essential to perfect the Christian character. Right thinking, right doing, right speaking must be our attitude not only towards the brethren but also towards the world. Only as we see the importance of thus being fully cognizant of our position, and as we imbibe the spirit of Justice will we attain unto that character-likeness of our Lord. Let us determine to meet the requirements of Godís attribute Justice that we may also reflect the image of the Heavenly Father.
"Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways."
"Power"Discourse by BROTHER GUSTAV NYBECK
WE have been asked to speak on the subject of "Power" in so far as it relates to God and His dealings with the children of men. During the fifteen minute period allotted we can touch only the high spots, but we will nevertheless attempt to set before you some of the mighty grandeur of our God as exhibited in nature and His Word.
The well known syndicate writer, Mr. Arthur Brisbane, in an editorial appearing in the "Minneapolis Tribune" under date of October 11, 1931, quotes Psalm 19:1, and comments in part as follows:
"ĎSpace is the statue of God,í says Joubert. And space is infinite. Light traveling for one hundred million years at the rate of 186,000 miles per second penetrates only deeper into a universe that has no ending, no boundaries, no limits, and, as that space, Ďthe statue of God,í is limitless so the grandeur and greatness of God, the Power ruling throughout space, is limitless. In these days of uncertainty, with mental, physical and commercial depression weighing upon them, men have need of faith, which to their minds and their souls is like the compass of .a ship.
"By night or by day, only one, blinded by his own egotism, mental conceit and ignorance, can question the existence of a God.
"But words are feeble at best, and when they seek to praise or describe Divine power they amount to nothing.
"No man has been able to express in words the power of Niagara, the grandeur of the Pacific, the beauty and majesty of great mountains.
"How much less can any hope to describe the grandeur, power, and beauty of Divine wisdom?
"It is well said by Kabir: ĎIf I make the seven oceans ink, if I make the trees my pen, if I make the earth my paper, the glory of God cannot be written."Ď
While we could go on and on, describing the mighty power and glory of God as portrayed in the material Universe, we now wish to turn to the Scriptures and note what they have to say with reference to the effect of Godís power upon the hearts and lives of the human family. This power of God is exercised through His Son, Jesus Christ-the Logos-through whom all things were made (Joh 1:3), and who, after His resurrection, said: "Unto Me is given all power in heaven and on earth:" The medium through which the power of His grace is exercised toward us is the Gospel, and of the Gospel we read in Ro 1:16. ". . . it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth:" In other words, when a poor, down and out sinner, hears the good news of Godís redeeming grace through Jesus Christ, and believes the message to the extent that he embraces it and gives himself wholly to the Lord, he is lifted out of the mire and put upon the solid rock. His life becomes entirely transformed, and thus the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes unto him the power of God unto salvation.
In Eph 1:19 Paul speaks of the "exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe." I am sure that the truth of these words are confirmed in our individual experiences. Often, when we were discouraged and did not know which way to turn, the power of God, working in our behalf, found a way out of the difficulty: but note that the working of this power in our behalf is coupled with the word "believe." Belief, translated into faith, is the key that opens the door to the heart so that the sunshine of Godís love, as exercised through Christ, may shine into it with transforming power. Again we read Ps 68:35, "The God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Blessed be God." Were it not for the fact that we have this inexhaustible source of Divine power, our cause would be lost and we should go down in defeat before the forces of wickedness described by the Apostle Paul in Eph 6:12. But, thank God, "He that is for us is greater than all they that be against us:" Not only did the power of Divine grace save us in the first instance, but continues working in our behalf during our entire earthly pilgrimage-even to the end of our journey. Thus we read in Høb. 7:25: "Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He liveth to make intercession for them." Thank God for this .complete, everlasting salvation which He bath wrought for us through the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!
LoveDiscourse by BROTHER JULIAN T. GRAY
IT SHOULD not be difficult for a Christian to speak of the Divine attribute, Love; for, as this quality largely comprehends and embraces the other three attributes as they .exist in God, so also it has been truly said that Love is the sum of the Christian graces as they exist in the children of God.
The great objective in all Christian endeavor, as was last evening pointed out by our brother, is the attainment of the Divine likeness in ourselves; and since we are. informed in Scripture that God is Love, we may assume that the ultimate purpose of all forms of Christian effort and activity while here in the flesh, is the development in the saints, of this godly quality.
In 1Jo 4:8 where we read: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love," the word in the original tongue is Agape, a Greek word which is not adequately represented by any one word in English. But it carries the ideas of unselfish love, generosity, charity,í kindly concern, a desire for and will to bring about the highest degree of happiness in others, irrespective of the interests of self.
We read in Joh 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We could never have known or appreciated Godís great love, had He not sent His Son into the world to be our Redeemer, and to be the expression of that love to us. This agrees with the thought in Heb 1:3 (Diaglott) :"Who, being an effulgence of His glory, and an exact impress of His substance, and making manifest all things by the word of His power, having made a purification for sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty in high places:"
What may we understand .by Christís being the effulgence (shining forth) of His glory and the exact impress of His substance? As already stated, Jehovah has elected to give expression to the glorious attributes of His character through the Son, our Head. In ages previous to the First Advent, through His works of creation in which the Son was the active instrument He did this to a limited extent; but it was principally His power and wisdom that were thus displayed. His justice was made manifest to a, limited extent in the pronouncement of sentence on Adam. But the outworking of the Divine plan for the redemption and recovery of man from the fall, is necessary to the full expression of these attributes, and especially that of Love.
In order that Christ might continue as the Divine Logos in this great work, a finishing touch was necessary in Him by which He must receive the "exact impress" (Greek, charakter) of His substance or essence, which is love. And this work, we know, was -actually accomplished in Him during the period of His earthly ministry when "it became Him [Jehovah] for Whom are all things and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings:í-Heb 2:10.
What are the Divine requirements? Are they educational? Do they imply membership in any earthly organization, sect or denomination? What is the token of the Divine acceptance? We remember that the token given to the house of Aaron was that his rod miraculously budded and blossomed and brought forth almonds. (Nu 17:8.) So, brethren, the class of individuals whom God will receive as members of the royal priesthood will be the fruit-bearing class. Whatever else they may or may not do they must symbolically bud and blossom and bear fruit, anal the fruit of the spirit is Love.
A Super-GovernmentDiscourse by BROTHER W. N. WOODWORTH
ALTHOUGH THE world is coming to realize more and more its need of a leader possessed of extraordinary wisdom and executive ability if the tangled problems of men and nations are to be successfully straightened out and prosperity and happiness restored, it is becoming increasingly evident that it is unable to produce such a leader-a superman-in whom all-would have confidence and whose dictates would be gladly obeyed.
While God has not interfered with the selfish course of the human race as it has rushed madly down the broad road that leads to destruction, He has, nevertheless, made preparation for its blessing by means of the establishment of His Kingdom in the hands of Christ. Time and again -God caused His Prophets to write concerning His purpose to emancipate the world from the slavish rule of Satan and selfishness. Isaiah was one of those prophets; and he, taking his stand at the time of the birth of Jesus, wrote concerning earthís future King:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this."-.Isa 9:6, 7.
Present world distress is demonstrating the fact that the efforts of imperfect and selfish men to bring about lasting peace and happiness are futile. In view of this, it is comforting to know that Divine power is to be exercised on behalf of man in order to do for him that which he cannot do for himself. In the passage already quoted, the Prophet Isaiah, speaking of earthís new King, says that "the government shall be upon His shoulder." Thank God for that assurance! Ever since the days of Eden, men have undertaken to shoulder the responsibility of governing their fellowmen, with the final and terrible results such as we see demonstrated in the world at the present time. Thinking men and women are weary of waiting for their leaders and governors to do something, while no doubt many of these latter are themselves discouraged in their efforts to stem the tide of human selfishness and to do for the people the things which many of them would doubtless like to see done.
The statements that "the government shall be upon His shoulder," and that "His name shall be called Wonderful," come, then, as a note of assurance to all. Jesus will be a Super-Statesman; yes, a King-a Judge-a Governor who so loved His subjects that He was willing to die for them in order that they might enjoy everlastingly the blessings of His Kingdom. And this same "Wonderful" Emancipator is now endued with the Divine power necessary in order to insure the accomplishment of the will of God ín and through Him.
This .Super-Governor is also given the title of "Counselor," in Isaiahís prophecy. Surely the world needs counsel-Divine counsel! All human wisdom has failed, and the "vision of all has become of none effect." But Divine wisdom, operating through the Christ, will easily solve earthís problems; and it will not be necessary to wait for world courts, leagues of nations, or parliaments to meet and approve His decisions.
Yes! He will be the "Mighty God"; not Jehovah God, óf course, but the One in whom the people will recognize the operation of superhuman power, and the One of whom they will say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him; He will come and save us:í-Isa 25:8 9.
Another title given by the Prophet to earthís new King is that of "ĎThe Everlasting Father." How wonderfully significant is that! The term "Father" means Life giver. An everlasting Father, therefore, is one who gives everlasting life. This will be the blessing of blessings that will come to the world when Christ is King. At His First Advent Jesus laid down His life as a ransom for the people, in order that the penalty of death, which was pronounced against them in Eden, might be set aside and the way prepared for all to return to life. During the time of the Kingdom, the benefits of the ransom will be made available to the world; and those who obey the laws of that Kingdom will, by Divine power, return to perfection and everlasting life. That will be another manifestation of super-government, in that all loyal subjects of the King will never die, because He will be "ĎThe Everlasting Father."
"The Prince -of Peace"! What depth of meaning attaches to this title! How the poor sin-sick world has longed for peace! The only true basis for lasting peace is, first of all, to be at peace with the Creator and in full harmony with His law. The entire world has been alienated from God through wicked works and controlled by selfishness; hence peace has been impossible. But "The Prince of Peace" will change all that. His ransom sacrifice makes possible a return to Divine favor; and as the great Counselor and Instructor of the people lie will teach them the ways of love.
How comforting and heart-cheering is the statement that "of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end"! Surely this is good news! It means that ultimately, in every nation and in every home there will be super-government, because of the fact that all will be taught to recognize and obey the law of God.
BaptismDiscourse by BROTHER J. G. KUEHN
THE BIBLE teaches that everything that was made in heaven and on earth was made by Jesus. The things on the earth, the flowers, the shrubbery, the trees, vegetation, animal life, man, the atmosphere, the firmament, the sun, the moon, the stars were all made by Jesus. And not .only the things on earth, the visible things, but also the things in heaven, the invisible things, were all made by Him. This Jesus, so highly honored and so greatly exalted, left His heavenly home, became a man, and was obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. Therefore God bath highly exalted Him and hath given Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth should bow.
But more than this, it hath pleased the Father, not only to bring Jesus to glory but, with Jesus, to bring many sons unto glory. Godís arrangement for the Church makes it possible for us to become joint-sacrificers with Jesus and joint-heirs with Him. As it is written: "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him."
"Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?" It was by the baptism with the Holy Spirit that we were all baptized into one body. We were baptized into Christ by being baptized into His death. The death of Jesus was a voluntary death, a death for the benefit. of others. To be baptized into this death, then, means that we share with Jesus in the same death, are made partakers of His death.
By Godís grace a way has been opened in which we are permitted to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, permitted to fill up the sufferings of Christ which are left behind for His Bodyís sake, which is the Church. In this narrow way we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. In this narrow way we die daily, are baptized for the dead. Not that our dying daily would or could save any one. No, not that; it is Godís gracious arrangement for us to be baptized into Jesus Christ. For as we have been planted (united) together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
Johns baptism was something entirely different. It was a baptism unto repentance for the remission of sins. It was for the Jew and not for any Gentile. Its purpose was to bring the Jew back into harmony with tile Law Covenant, to be ready to be transferred from Moses into Christ. They were all baptized into Moses, in the sea and in the cloud, and needed to be transferred from the House of Servants to the House of Sons.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit came upon the Church at Pentecost and has continued with us unto this day. And so it is written, "By one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free," for the body is not one member, .but many. We are partaking of the selfsame anointing, we are drinking of the selfsame spirit.
In the type the anointing of the Aaronic priesthood pictures the anointing .of the royal priesthood most beautifully. We will remember the account of the consecration of the Aaronic priesthood. ĎThe anointing oil was poured out upon the head of Aaron and ran down upon his beard and down to the very hem of his garment. And so in the antitype. The Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus at Jordan, without measure. And this anointing flows on to every member of His Body from Pentecost down to our clay and to the last member of the Christ Body.
Thus the baptism with the Holy Spirit, foretold by John the Baptist, is being fulfilled upon the Church. The baptism with fire, foretold by Him, came upon the Jewish nation A.D. 70-71. This baptism with fire, a time of trouble such as was not since there were men upon the earth, is about to come upon Christendom, and upon all the world. But, mindful of the Masterís words, "When ye shall see these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh," we fear no evil, although we .sympathize with the poor groaning creation, we are glad that this time of trouble is merely the forerunner of the great and wonderful blessing which is to come to all creatures. We are looking up therefore, and are glad, expecting our deliverance before the trouble reaches its full fury.
And now we come to water baptism. Water baptism is not the door into the Church. .It is not a baptism unto repentance for the remission of sins. It is not a baptism of the Spirit, not a baptism of fire. Water baptism is the symbol of our baptism into death, as stated in our text: "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?" Water baptism is a picture of our being planted together in the likeness of His death, and our being raised again in the likeness of His resurrection. Water baptism is a demonstration, a public witness, of our full consecration to God, a consecration even unto death.
If at any time doubt intrudes, causing you to fear the outcome of your, engagement with God, then call to mind your full assurance of faith at the time you gave the public witness of your full consecration to God by water baptism. Call to mind the questions you made answer to just before you entered the water, and how firmly you answered the questions-with a wholehearted. "Yes."
Ask yourself the same questions when doubt or fear come to you: Was, I ever drawn to Christ, to recognize Him As my Redeemer, through Whose righteousness alone T could have access to the Father and be acceptable to Him? Did I ever fully consecrate my life, my time, my talents, my influence, my all to God? If you can answer both questions withí Yes, and find that this is still your positron, then all is-well with you. Do not be afraid, for He who has promised strength for every time of need will never fail you: We are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life."
Hidden with ChristDiscourse by BROTHER C. P. BRIDGES
IN THIS closing talk, .I want to bring to your mind some things that are especially dear to me. The things that lie, nearest to our heart are the things that we love to talk about; and so in my talk this evening.
I want to bring to your mindí the two phases of a Christianís life-that is, the way the world looks at us and the way that Gad looks at us. The Apostle says, "we are judged according to men) in the flesh." And hew unkindly they do judge, us! It isnít always those whom we call "outsiders" -but often those who call themselves Godís people who misjudge us. They judge us unkindly because they judge from the exterior aspect. But says the Apostle, "we live according to God in the spirit." Some of us feel that we are misunderstood; and why shouldnít we be? Jesus was misunderstood all through His life; even by those who were nearest. to Him. -The Word says, "that of the people there was none .with Him," and that included. His disciples. They did not understand Him because His inner life- was hidden. And so they do not understand us because they are seeing us only as men, just as they look at all humans.
I want to call to your mind the words of Paul addressed to the. Colossians, third.- chapter, , the first three verses; and, as I quote these, words I want you to think of Paul as writing them to you, a personal message just for you. Notice the force of these -words. "If ye be risen with Christ; seek. those things which., are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. -Set your affection do things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." It is this third verse that I want to emphasize. I prefer the Diaglott translation. It reads, "You have died, and your life has been hidden with the Anointed by God." God does the hiding. You are hidden with Christ, and that is enough, isnít it? He is there.
Paul speaks of, us as being raised with Christ. That means that. our humanity is dead, and that we are now living, as new-ícreatures. Our life is dedicated, to they service of God to be used wholly for Him. Friends, if, only we could realize this in our Christian experience. If we. could realize that we are not living for ourselves, but for Christ, what a life ours would be! You are a Christian to the extent-and only to the extent that Christ lives in you.
Now, friends, we have given ourselves to God, a living sacrifice-a sacrifice that lasts throughout our life. It is not just saying, "Here God I give myself to Thee," but daily, living that sacrifice. Like the burnt offering that was kept burning all through the day, so our sacrifice continues throughout our, life. In giving up our human will, we gave up everything. Henceforth :this will shah not determine our course in life, nor influence us in anything we may do. We are going to seek first of all the will of God. If-this is carried out in: our life it is as though we were really dead as humans.. Jesus said, "I come to do Thy will, 0 God." He never for a moment considered His own wishes from the moment that He offered Himself at Jordan. As far as His human mind was concerned it was dead. This is the lesson that our text brings to us. "Ye are dead."
I heard a story that deeply affected me. It illustrates our joy in submitting to Christís will concerning us. It is called the "Parable of the Bamboo Tree." I want to give it briefly.
In the country where bamboo trees-grow a man took ß young tree and planted it. He watched over it carefully, giving it every attention. In the process of time it grew into a very beautiful tree, and the Master was very proud of it.í He carved his name on it; arid though it hurt the tree, it was much pleased to have the Masterís name on itself. The other trees rioted its beauty and accused it of being proud. The tree answered, "I know that I am beautiful; but all the beauty I have I owe to my Master who gave me such care.
One day the Master came to the tree; and there was such a loving look in his eyes that the tree wondered.í
Presently he spoke: "I Have use for Ďyou my dear tree." The tree replied, "You have use for Me? What can, I do for you, Master? You have always been so good And kind to meí,that I shall -be pleased to have you use rile in any way." The Master said, "I, want you to carry water, to thirsty souls:" (In this country the bamboo trees are used as pipes to carry water from the lakes to the more barren places.) The Master continued, "In order that I may use you I shall have to cut you down." This brought pain to the beautiful tree, but it answered, "Dear Master do whatever you wish so, that you can .use me." He took a sharp axe and began to cut the tree. With every blow a sharp pain went through the tree, but it thought, the Master is doing this so that he can use me.
Finally the tree was felled, and the Master began to cut off all the beautiful boughs that adorned it. Just as God sometimes takes out of our lives some of the things we took such joy in. This operation caused the tree further pain; but it found joy in the thought that it was but preparation for the Masterís use.
When. this work was done the Master took, the tree away, from all its pleasant surroundings to a barren spot, and there further pained the tree by taking away its very, heart, The poor tree felt that everything had been .taken from, it; but there came to it such a joy that all these things were because the Master loved it and wanted to use it to bless others. Finally, it was joined to other trees, and the clear cool water began to flow through it. And as it refreshed others, itself was refreshed. God grant that we may be like that tree.
I wish that we might be able to go into the subject as it Ďis pictured in Le 8. There we see our humanity as dead in the animals that were killed; and we see ourselves as new creatures in the priests who for seven days were separated from their brethren while the rites of consecration were being carried out. -Here is illustrated -our, text, "You have died" shown in the Ďslain animals; "and your life is hidden" shown by the priests abiding in the tabernacle of the congregation-during these days:
In closing let me say again, take these words of our text as a personal message, and letí our lives witness to the fact that we are "hidden with Christ."