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VOL. XXII. MARCH 15, 1901 No. 6
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 99
Christendom's Financial Outlook............... 99
National Preparations for War................. 99
The Spirit of Lawlessness.........................100
"I Find no Fault in this Man".....................102
The Atoning Sacrifice Completed...................105
"Father Into Thy Hands I Commit
"Despised and Rejected of Men"....................109
"They that Reverenced the Lord
Spake Often Together".......................110
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SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
“BIBLE HOUSE,” 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD’S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE
BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND
CHRISTIAN HOME EMBELLISHMENTS
We have just received from London a fresh invoice of wall texts, illuminated motto-cards, etc., suitable for the walls of your parlors, dining-rooms, and bed-rooms. Our previous announcement of these embellishments brought so many orders that what we considered a good supply was quickly exhausted.
The new lot is the choicest we have ever had–about one-half the same that we had before and one-half new designs. Hence those who got of the previous lot, and want all new patterns should say so. Or if they want any of the older patterns duplicated, mention which, and if possible, we will accommodate you. They are all choice, however, and if you had two of the same text, in different rooms, it would not matter. Orders will be filled in rotation as received.
We have concluded to assort these in One Dollar parcels as before. You will be pleased with the general assortment, which will be known as parcels a, b and c, each different from the other. The prices, including postage, are about one-half what such goods are usually sold for in this country–though not as cheap as the British prices; because ocean freights and custom house duties are considerable. British friends will, therefore, receive still better parcels for the money from our London branch. We are not supplying these for filthy lucre’s sake; but for the blessings that may result to you and yours through frequent suggestions in every part of your home of some of the choicest precepts and promises of the Scriptures.
ONE DAY LOCAL CONVENTIONS
Baltimore, Md., Sunday, March 10th, at Dushane Hall (3d floor) cor. Baltimore street and Post Office avenue; at 10:30 A.M., a Praise and Testimony Meeting. At 2:30 P.M., discourse by Editor of this journal. At 7:30 P.M., a Question Meeting.
Wheeling, W.Va., Sunday, March 24th, at 10 A.M., Praise Meeting; 11 A.M. and 3 P.M., discourses by Editor of this journal; at 7:30 P.M., Testimony Meeting.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
NATIONAL PREPARATIONS FOR WAR
WE CLIP the following from a Pittsburg daily, which shows that the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 is not taken very seriously by any of the nations:–
“To carry out the various programmes of naval construction, as framed by the nations of the world, will require an outlay of five billion dollars. England set the pace several years ago, and now many of her great ships are out of date and out-classed.
“The United States government arranged to spend $60,000,000, of which $20,000,000 will be expended in 1901. The cost of the tools and places to repair ships, is almost as expensive as the ships themselves. The value of ships is ephemeral, owing to the constant changes in types.
“England has under construction 17 battleships, 24 cruisers, 8 sloops of war and 25 torpedo destroyers, at a total cost of $133,000,000. This will not complete the fleet but moves them forward and completes those ordered, under a former appropriation.
“France has provided for a naval construction reaching to 1907, in which a total of 220 vessels are to be built, the outlay of 1901 being figured at $124,000,000.
“The plans of Germany cover 34 battleships, 32 cruisers and 80 torpedo boats. The appropriation for 1901 is $100,000,000. Russia’s expenditures in 1901 is placed at $46,000,000 for the beginning of the work on new ships and completing those under way.
“Poverty-stricken Italy will expend $30,000,000 on her navy in 1901. Japan’s budget for naval equipment in 1901 is $23,000,000. Austria, Sweden, Holland and Denmark are preparing to double their naval expenditures. Verily, the wings of the angel of peace are not to be spread over the ocean during the early years of the new century.”
CHRISTENDOM’S FINANCIAL OUTLOOK
Because the great time of anarchistic trouble for which the Scriptures teach us to look in the near future is to be the agency through which the “present evil world [age]” will collapse, and prepare the way for the Millennial Kingdom, therefore our interest in the financial situation as related to prophetic fulfilment.
“Money-making,” the accumulation of vast wealth, cannot under present conditions come from day-labor in cultivating the soil or otherwise. It comes from the use of machinery, which today is so complete and abundant in civilized lands that each nation
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is able to much more than supply its own demands and must compete for outside business. This is the meaning of the Chinese trouble–she has hundreds of millions of people, and Christendom wants their patronage and in the name of Civilization will insist on having it;–even tho it costs blood and treasure it must be had for the future still more than for the present.
Truth to tell, the present era of prosperity would have collapsed a year ago had it not been for the wars which came just in time to prolong the momentum. The Spanish, Philippine, Boer and Chinese wars have taken men from the ranks of labor and helped in that way; and have drawn money from the treasuries of the nations and put it into circulation among the people as the price of services, provisions, armaments, etc., etc.,–bonds taking the place of money as “collateral.” Note the above naval expenditures alone, and consider how the $500,000,000 to be spent this year is already giving employment to miners, coke-workers, steel-workers, railroad employees, ship-builders, boiler and engine-builders and gun-makers.
And this is but one item of the world’s war expense. For instance, in the United States Senate one of its most careful and responsible members declared, “The military budget of this Republic for the
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coming year will be nearly $400,000,000. It will be nearly twice what any European power is spending.” Of this amount, only one twentieth is for the navy as shown above.
If present wars continue, or others break out and necessitate further expenditures and more bonds, the “good times” will last a while longer, until something occurs to cause distrust; then a panic will ensue, which, because of present conditions, will grind the masses as none other ever did;–and then will come the collapse which we expect will spread to everybody and everything in “Christendom.” Money is now pushing the lever forward and keeping the people busy, because it is more than proportionately profited; and when the time comes, as it must come, when national bonds will no longer be in demand, it will be the Money-power that will take fright and reverse the lever and arrest the world’s machinery with a jolt that will shake the social structure.
Already both Great Britain and Germany have found it expedient to place their bonds in the United States rather than at home. Already there are premonitory signs of financial trouble in Germany–as the result of “over-production,” competition, inability to find a market for her products. Already British manufacturers are suffering from competition; and the manufacturers of the United States could do nearly double their present business if they had the demand for their goods.
We clip the following from the Boston Herald:–
“Germany is feeling sharply similar conditions. The Berlin correspondent of a London newspaper says the German mortgage banks are in a bad way, which, indeed, is not news, since it has been known for some time. The important point is that the situation does not improve. The electrical industries, the iron trade and the wool-spinning industry are extremely dull, the latter being reported almost ruined. The cities are full of unemployed people, and the paternal government is busily devising public works and charitable arrangements for their relief. There has been in late years an enormous industrial development in Germany, bolstered up, to some extent, by artificial means. Naturally this has been accompanied by an enormous speculative movement. Should it collapse, the consequence would be a period of hard times, the duration of which cannot be predicted with any confidence. Germany has been, as it were, intoxicated by glory and hope. All classes of the population are puffed up with a sense of national destiny. They have appeared to think that nothing could withstand their progress to the supremacy of the world. Any rude shattering of their dreams would result in corresponding dejection when its significance was fully realized. According to all accounts having semblance of truthfulness, the present prospect is dark and threatening.”
Concerning the condition of things in Russia, the Industrial World, Odessa, says:–
“It is no ordinary, temporary, fleeting or passing financial and industrial crisis which Russia faces. Her staple industries for some time have steadily languished, from causes various and deep-rooted, which it is the government’s duty to investigate. Money is daily becoming scarcer. No year in forty has opened under blacker auspices. The country is within measurable distance, all around, of an economic collapse.”
If it is thus in the face of such immense national expenditures, how will it be when these and other great enterprises are forced to stop by a great panic? When it will come, no one can tell; but the Lord’s people who order their affairs more for the accumulation of heavenly than of earthly wealth will be in the more favorable condition (both of head and heart) to take their share of whatever may be permitted of their Heavenly Father, and to profit by it. In view of the foregoing, we would not be surprised if wars would continue or increase, and thus prolong the present “good times” for a while, and thus financially weaken the nations for their fall. But we make no predictions. The Master’s advice is always in order, “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”
THE SPIRIT OF LAWLESSNESS PREVALENT
The tendency away from peace toward lawlessness and war continues to be evidenced on every hand. The passion for blood and destruction still strives, however, to justify itself in some “righteous cause;” but the appetite, once whetted, will some day be careless respecting any claims of justification; and then some “good people” will be sorry that they did not balance their justice more evenly; that they helped unchain the tiger, that lies dormant, but not dead, in every fallen human being.
The war against the Boers–to compel them to give the elective franchise to a few hundred foreigners, “uitlanders,” has not only cost thousands of lives and millions of money, but has given thousands a taste of blood and fire, of recklessness of life and property which will prepare them for the coming scenes of anarchy at home. The same is true of the American soldiers in the Philippines, and the soldiers of all “Christendom” in China.
The same spirit has manifested itself in nearly every nation of Europe against the Jews, and in Turkey against Christians. And it is a part of the spirit that has made possible horrible lynchings in this country; and which backs the present saloon-smashing now in vogue in Kansas. In all these cases those taking law into their own hands and practicing violence, would urge that right was on their side. Doubtless to some extent this is often true; what we point out is the spirit of lawlessness, anarchy which is
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growing, and which will bear a “whirlwind” harvest ere long.
TRUSTS AS VIEWED BY JUSTICE BROWN
“Justice Brown, one of the ablest members of the Supreme Court of the United States, in his John Marshall address at Parkersburg, W.Va., made some remarks pertinent to the trust question in speaking of the future of the judiciary of this country. ‘The problems to be solved in the future,’ he said, ‘were those of combinations of capital and monopoly…. Society must adapt itself to the new conditions and do all it can to minimize the evils. It will not be the judges and the lawyers of the twentieth century who will have to face these problems, but the statesmen. There will be a struggle fought out with the desperation of hunger and possibly with bloodshed, but society will have to readjust itself on the basis of justice and equity.'”—Pittsburg Post.
* * *
We endorse the above. We do not say that Trusts and combinations are unmitigated evils–that serve no good purpose; but admitting that such great combinations of capital serve a great purpose in economy of management and cheapening the cost of life’s necessities–just as socialism would propose–we see nevertheless the impossibility of this reduced cost reaching and benefiting the public. We see that selfishness will maintain or raise prices and perhaps reduce wages to increase the stock dividends, even tho the process grind the masses into the dust. Those who forget that selfishness is the motive power of “the present evil world,” will err in all their calculations.
Socialists err on the other side of the question;– in supposing that people in general would work either their hands or their brains vigorously, if the incentives of gain, selfishness, wealth, were removed by legislation or otherwise. Not until the strong hand of the Kingdom of God, backed by the strong love of the glorified Christ (head and body–`Rom. 8:17`) takes control of earth’s affairs can socialistic programs hope for success.
THE POPE CRAVES POWER TO SUPPRESS PROTESTANTISM
The pope gave a hint respecting one cause of his anxiety to recover temporal power in Rome, when, addressing the Duke of Norfolk and accompanying English Catholics, recently, he said:–
“Under our eyes, in this holy city, which should be the inviolate center of Catholicism, it is permitted to associations for religious propagation to take advantage of the sad economic conditions of the country to corrupt the faith of our children in the name of the specious doctrine of judgment, which pretends to leave each the right of interpreting in his own fashion the doctrine of Christ. You are right in protesting against this state of things, which enables you better to understand the grievous circumstances in which we have lived during the twenty-five years of our Pontificate.”
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Commenting on this the London Spectator truly remarks:–
“In other words, temporal power is needed to prevent liberty of worship and of conscience in Rome, and to cleanse Rome from the defilements of Protestant teaching. Yet the Pope praises the British nation because it allows full liberty of conscience. Fortunately there is little fear of Papacy recovering the temporal power. And, in truth, all good Roman Catholics should rejoice that this is so. Nothing could result therefrom but spiritual injury.”
IMPORTANT CONCESSIONS BY THE PORTE
“We are enabled to announce an important concession respecting the right of Jews to hold property in Palestine, which has been obtained from the Porte by M. Isaac Fernandez, President of the Comite Regional of the Alliance Israelite in Constantinople. For several years past, Jews of all nationalities, even Ottoman subjects born in Palestine, have been forbidden to buy landed property in Palestine. M. Fernandez has now secured for Jews who have been settled in the Holy Land for a considerable time, whether subjects of Turkey or of foreign powers, the right to buy “Miri” (agricultural land) and to have the property inscribed in their own names. The special importance of this concession lies in the fact that while “Mulk” (town land) is owned by private individuals, “Miri” is the property of the Sultan.
“M. Fernandez has rendered an immense service not only to his co-religionists, but to the entire population of Palestine. The Imperial Treasury will be among the first to derive material benefit from the measure mentioned above. The government of the Sultan has thereby given a fresh proof of the religious toleration which is a tradition in its annals.”—Jewish Chronicle.
* * *
“We are in a position to state that according to our latest information from Constantinople the views expressed in authoritative Turkish circles are favorable towards political Zionism, and the advantages the Ottoman Empire will derive from it. We can further state that we are now in the midst of negotiations of far greater importance than the mere annulling of the prohibition of immigration would signify.” —Report of Zionist Committee in Die Welt.
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“I FIND NO FAULT IN THIS MAN”
LUKE 23:13-26`–MARCH 17
HAVING gone through the form of a trial, a mockery of justice–the chief priests and scribes and Pharisees, with a multitude of their retainers and servants, a clamoring mob, led Jesus to Pilate, while it was still early in the morning. (`John 18:28`.) But they remained in the court-yard while Jesus was led alone to the judgment hall, probably by a court attendant or a sentry, the Jews declining to enter because so doing would make them ceremonially unclean, and hinder their observance of the Passover feast which would begin that same night. What a curious blending this shows us of cleanness and uncleanness! How exact they were to a jot and tittle about matters of minor importance, and how utterly lost to all sense of heart-purity and love, the real essence of the divine law! We who are of spiritual Israel need to be on guard against such a development of outward religious ceremony and formalism, carefulness and purity, which might be accompanied by a blackness of heart and utter absence of holiness and love for righteousness. As a matter of fact, these chief religionists among the Jews were murderers at heart, from the divine standpoint, while careful of the outward ceremonies of their religion. Let us not be like unto them.
It was an unusual thing to accuse one of their countrymen before a Roman governor. It was customary, on the contrary, from them to seek to hide their faults and to secure acquittal, or at least as much leniency as possible. Therefore, these prominent men of the nation had no question but what Pilate would immediately assent to their demand, and crucify Jesus. They seem to have been surprised that he should inquire respecting the facts of the case, or show an interest in giving justice–especially in protecting a Jew from the wrath of his countrymen, particularly the leaders of his nation. When, therefore, Pilate inquired, “What accusation bring ye against this man?” they answered him, “If he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up unto thee.” Pilate then dismissed the matter as one of Jew against Jew, and not of Jew against Caesar, saying, “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law.” (`John 18:29,31`.) But the Jews replied, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” The Roman government had taken away from the Jewish Sanhedrin the power of capital punishment, and nothing short of Jesus’ death was in their minds.
They had failed to have Pilate’s speedy endorsement of their condemnation, regardless of justice, and now they must put their plea upon another ground– they must formulate a charge, and it must be such a charge as would appeal to the Roman governor. They well knew that their condemnation of Jesus for having said that he was a Son of God would be nothing in the estimation of Pilate; hence, after condemning Jesus unjustly for blasphemy, they made before Pilate a new charge, of three counts: (1) Sedition–disturbing the peace; (2) that he interfered with the collection of the Roman taxes; (3) that he himself claimed to be a king, and was thus an antagonist of Caesar.
Pilate quickly saw the true state of the case; viz., that “through envy the chief priests had delivered Jesus” and condemned him, and not through any new-found love for Caesar and his government; and leaving the multitude of accusers in the court Pilate went into the judgment hall, where Jesus stood, and questioned him, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (`John 18:33`.) The whole matter must have seemed very ridiculous to Pilate, who, we must remember, was neither Christian nor Jew, but a heathen man, in whose judgment all the hopes of Israel respecting Messiah would be absurdities on a plane with the chimerical hopes of the various nations the world over. He perceived that the person before him was a remarkable one, and the answer of Jesus led only to greater perplexity, for he told him that his Kingdom was not of the present time and order, but a future one, and that he had come to bear witness to this truth. Pilate found himself getting only deeper into problems which he could not comprehend, and suddenly broke off the conversation with the question: “What is truth?”–without waiting for or expecting an answer, as tho he would say, Yes, yes; we hear of truth, justice and equity, but what is it, and where is it to be found? Who shall determine what is the right? Are you right, or am I, here the representative of Rome, in the right, and authority, or are those Jews who are clamoring for your death in the right? What is truth? It is too perplexing a question for us to discuss further.
Pilate, however, had made up his mind definitely that there was no danger whatever to the Roman Empire from the meek and lowly person whom he had interviewed –he was surely not an anarchist, not an insurrectionist of any kind. He could do no harm in the world, and even if his teachings respecting his own heavenly origin and kingship were baseless and the product of an unbalanced mind, nevertheless the individual himself was no menace to Rome. And thus he expressed himself in the words of our Golden Text: “I find no fault in this man.” (`Luke 23:4`.) And Pilate’s decision has been the decision of all honorable, fair-minded people throughout the world from his day
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to the present, irrespective of religious prejudices. Whatever fault has been found has been against those professed followers who have taken his name–in vain: those who have claimed to be his followers, but who have not followed him, but have rather gone contrary to his teachings in many ways. These have brought dishonor often upon the sacred name, but as for Jesus, the world today declares with Pilate, “We find no fault in this man.” Yea, the world loves to quote many of his blessed sayings, and many wish for a government built upon the principles of righteousness which he enunciated, even tho many who thus proclaim are unwilling to be guided by his precepts.
The Jewish leaders were chagrined with Pilate’s decision, and began to argue the points and to attempt to prove that the teachings of Jesus were calculated to arouse a revolution amongst the people; that already in Galilee it had great influence, and now he was coming to Jerusalem, etc. True, the Lord’s teachings were revolutionary as respected religious matters; but the charge was not true in the sense they wished Pilate to understand, that he was a breeder of a political revolution. And this is a good point for all of the Lord’s followers to note: we, like our Lord, stand committed to a revolution amongst God’s people on the lines of true religious worship, heart-obedience to the Lord, etc., but we, like our Lord, have nothing whatever to do with political revolutions. We know that such are coming in the Lord’s own time and way, but we battle not with carnal weapons, as he did not; but as he did, so do we, wait for the Kingdom which God will establish in his own time and way–we wait for the expiration of “the times of the Gentiles,” when, as God has foreordained and forearranged, the Kingdoms of this
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world will give place to, and be superseded by the Kingdom of God, in which, by the Lord’s grace, we trust to have a part.
The mention of Galilee suggested to Pilate’s mind a way of escape from his dilemma, without either doing an injustice toward Jesus or unduly arousing the enmity of the Jewish leaders; he would solve the difficulty by referring the case to Herod, who was then in Jerusalem. This was the same Herod who beheaded John the Baptist (the son of Herod the great who slew the infants at the time of our Lord’s birth), the same one who, hearing of Jesus, speculated that possibly he was John the Baptist risen from the dead. We read that “When Herod saw Jesus he was exceeding glad, for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.” (`Luke 23:8`.) Herod questioned Jesus with many words, but got no reply. Our Lord was not there in self-defence, nor to plead his cause, nor to seek to escape the penalty for our sins, but the reverse. His silence under all the circumstances was the wisest and most dignified course. Herod sought for amusement as from a sleight-of-hand performer, and was undoubtedly surprised and disappointed that his kingly curiosity and questions were ignored. However, he and his court would have some amusement, so the soldiers were given the opportunity to mock the kingly aspirations of Jesus, doing mock homage, and then insulting him. Herod returned Jesus to Pilate for judgment.
The Jewish notables and the rabble, clamoring for justice and the vindication of Roman law in the death of Jesus, again filled the court of Pilate’s palace, and Pilate came forth and addressed them in the words of our lesson, declaring Jesus innocent of any criminal conduct, but announcing that in view of the commotion and clamor raised against him he would cause him to be scourged and that this should be considered a settlement of his case. Evidently the scourging of Jesus was an act of mercy on Pilate’s part, by which he hoped to satisfy the bloodthirsty clamor of the accusers, yet it was unavailing, and merely caused our Lord additional suffering. The multitude cried out the more, “Crucify him!” Pilate’s next subterfuge was to propose that since it was his custom to release one prisoner at this season of the year he would release Jesus at this time, and thus satisfy them in a double sense of the word; first, by considering him guilty, and secondly, by his release. But murder was in the hearts of those professedly religious people. They were blinded to justice as well as to mercy by the selfishness of their own hearts, for their enmity to Jesus was based simply and purely upon the fact that he and his teachings were discounting them and their teachings before the people.
It is well that we should note that selfishness lies at the foundation of almost every sin and every crime, that is and ever has been committed. Let us, as the Lord’s people, be specially on guard against this insidious evil, which is ours by heredity, and which needs to be destroyed, eradicated, and to be supplanted with love, as the governing impulse of our hearts and lives–love, which thinketh no evil, which is not puffed up, which seeketh not her own advantage at the expense of justice to the interest of others. We are not, however, to think of these Pharisees, scribes and priests as wilfully, knowingly, intentionally, crucifying the Son of God. They would not have been so bold! On the contrary, the Apostle assures us that it was in ignorance that they did it. (`Acts 3:17`; `1 Cor. 2:8`.) an inexcusable ignorance, we may say, or at least, an only partly excusable ignorance, because it was the result of prejudice, which in turn was the fruit of selfishness.
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The priests, etc., felt that matters were getting desperate, and they must bring to bear upon Pilate every influence they could; hence their intimation that if he would not crucify Jesus they would report him to Caesar at Rome as being a friend of traitors against Roman authority–an enemy of the Emperor. This was a forceful argument, and Pilate realized it. Were such a report to be sent to Rome, signed by the leading officials of the Jewish nation, it would not be without weight, and the authorities there would wonder, at least, why the life of any poor, obscure individual would be spared to the alienation of the leading men of the nation and at the risk of an insurrection. Pilate decided that the only reasonable and proper course for him to pursue would be to let the Jews have their way; and taking a pitcher of water he washed his hands in their sight, as a symbol of his own disagreement with the death-decree which they were compelling him to render. His words were, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be upon us and upon our children.”–`Matt. 27:24`.
Remembering that Pilate was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a heathen man, we cannot condemn him as others have done. Rather, indeed, we must commend him as being a man who loved justice and sought to mete it out, and who yielded to injustice only after he had made every effort to stem the tide of contrary influences when it would have been easy for him to have curried favor with the officials by quickly assenting to the death of a person of no political influence. It is to be noticed, too, that the apostles do not implicate either Pilate or the civil authorities, but held responsible the Jews and their leaders (`Acts 2:23`), and that God has held that people responsible is evident from the history of the past eighteen centuries, in which their prayer has been answered: his blood has been upon them and their children. Thank God, his Word does not imply that divine wrath, even against these guilty persons, will be manifested and exercised through an eternity of torture by devils, but rather, as the Apostle intimates, God’s wrath came upon them to the uttermost in the troubles which befell them as a nation and people. (`1 Thes. 2:16`.) Soon the wrath is to be turned away and the commission of the Prophet already is due to begin, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people: speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem. Cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished, for she hath received at the Lord’s hands double for all her sins.”–`Is. 40:1,2`, margin.
Jesus was now delivered over to Pilate’s soldiers, to be made ready for crucifixion, and they, heartless and brutal, as we might expect, made sport of the Master’s adversities. Putting upon him a cast-off royal robe and a crown of thorns, they jeered him upon his claim to kingship, without a surmise, of course, of who he really was, and how he is yet to be a King upon the holy hill Zion, to whose sceptre every knee shall bow and to whom every tongue must confess. It will be a surprised awakening to them some day, when they amongst others shall come forth from the dead to find Messiah’s Kingdom established, and to realize that he exercised mercy toward his enemies, and that his death prepared the way for the blessing of themselves and all the families of the earth with an opportunity to come to a knowledge of God and of his righteous requirements, and thus, if obedient, unto life everlasting.
It was probably about this time that Pilate’s wife sent word to him respecting the dream she had, about Jesus, and admonishing him to have nothing to do with his condemnation. And so Pilate, as a last resort, brought Jesus forth, clothed in the purple robe of mock royalty, and with the crown of thorns, and presented him to the people with the words, “Behold the Man!” As tho he would say: Is it possible that you Jews are seeking the death of this innocent man, the noblest and best specimen of your race, indeed of the entire human race? Would not a final look at him appeal to your hearts and melt them? If I, a Roman, ignorant of your religion and regardless in general of all religion, have a pity and a sympathy and a sense of justice, is it possible that you are so unmerciful, while claiming to be the most religious people on earth? Behold the Man! Do you still insist that he be crucified? Then the priests cried out, not only that he ought to die because of being an enemy to the Roman Empire, but because he had taught that he was the Son of God,– thus appealing to the Jews that he was a blasphemer, one whom God commanded them in the Law to destroy.
Pilate was the more afraid when he heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and again sought an interview with him; but Jesus’ answer was, “Thou couldst have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above”–permitted of the Father. Pilate could do no more; even Jesus himself assented, and claimed that it was in the divine order that he should die. Pilate signed the death sentence.– `John 19:4-11`.
There is a lesson for us in these words of our Lord, respecting the Father’s permission of all that happened to him. We who are members of his body are counted in with him as under divine supervision, so that in all of our affairs all things are guaranteed to work together for our good while walking in his footsteps. This is the ground of our confidence in all the various trying circumstances of life. This it is that gives the peace of God which passeth all understanding, ruling in our
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hearts, not only subduing self and enabling us to submit ourselves to the will of God, but permitting us even to rejoice in tribulation, knowing that under divine providence, and that rightly received, it will work out for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory.–`2 Cor. 4:17`.
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THE ATONING SACRIFICE COMPLETED
—LUKE 23:35-53`—MARCH 24—
“Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.”–`1 Cor. 15:3`
“AND when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.” (`Mark 15:20`.) Jesus was now in charge of the centurion, and with the two bandits or highwaymen who were to be executed that day, was led to execution, each of the three prisoners being under the guard of four Roman soldiers, with a centurion in command, sixteen persons in all. It was about nine o’clock in the morning, and our Lord having been incessantly harassed by his enemies from the midnight previous, without food or rest, buffeted, scourged, tormented, was, according to tradition, weak and faint under the heavy load of his own cross, which, according to custom, he bore. The Gospel narrative seems to confirm this incidentally, by telling us that Simon, a Cyrenian, was compelled by the soldiers to bear the cross for Jesus. Some, however, claim that Luke’s reading respecting this matter, that he “bore the cross after Jesus,” signifies that he walked behind Jesus and merely assisted in the bearing of the cross.
Whichever way it was, Simon had a most enviable opportunity of serving the Master–an opportunity which would be eagerly seized by some of the Lord’s people today, who would be glad to share, not only the Master’s burden, but his ignominy. And, strange to say, the opportunity is with us now, and whosoever will of the Lord’s disciples is privileged to take up the cross and follow after him; for the offense of the cross has not ceased. True, the cross has become fashionable, and is worn by many as an ornament with little thought of the original cross and what it signified, and with little desire to bear any of its shame or ignominy or weight. But there are still some who have the Master’s spirit, to whom the Apostle appeals, saying, “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him;” for “we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren,” and to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake which is the Church.” –`Rom. 8:17`; `2 Tim. 2:12`; `1 John 3:16`; `Col. 1:24`.
Altho the man Christ Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners–perfect–nevertheless he was neither a giant in stature nor in physical strength. This indicates to us that the perfect man was not a giant physically, nor in brute force preeminent; for all that the perfect man was, our Lord Jesus must have been, in order to be his ransom price, his substitute. The coarseness and brute strength which we find in many men is to be esteemed a degeneration, as truly as is the weakness and effeminacy of others–only that the degeneracy has manifested itself in another form. Great brute force and coarseness of organism is rarely accompanied by a proportionate strength and efficiency of brain power, and of the finer sentiments of the mind. The completion of the restitution work, therefore, must not be expected to bring coarseness and giant strength; but fineness and symmetry, physical as well as mental. Additionally, we are not to forget that for three and a half years our Lord’s ministry had been a constant drain upon his vital forces, not merely in connection with his public preaching, but specially in connection with the miracles which he wrought at the expense of his own vitality; as it is written, “Virtue [vitality] went out of him and healed them all.”–`Luke 6:19`.
The journey to Calvary was a sorrowful spectacle. It is to their credit that some of those who followed in the procession were weeping, and this credit for tenderness and sympathy falls to the women, to whom Jesus turning said, “Weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children.” Apparently the Savior’s thought was not centered wholly upon himself: he was thinking rather how this injustice would shortly react upon this nation, whose representatives had said before God and men, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” No doubt our Lord had in mind the descriptions of the trouble that would come upon Jerusalem, as given particularly in the prophecies of Daniel and Jeremiah. (`Dan. 9:24-27`; `Jer. 6`.) We realize how literally our Lord’s suggestion was fulfilled when we remember the story of the siege of Jerusalem, and how the women and children especially suffered in the horrors of that time. It is a sign of greatness of mind when one is able under such trying circumstances to think less of himself and more of others.
Arrived at Calvary the crucifixion took place. It is probable that the victim was nailed to the cross while it was lying on the ground, and that then the four sturdy soldiers lifted it and set it into a socket in the earth, the pain from the wound being intensified by the jolting of putting the cross into an upright position,
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and then terribly augmented by the hanging weight of the body. Crucifixion is probably the most cruel form of death, and even by the Romans, as we understand it, was practiced only upon culprits–usually outlaws, brigands and seditionists. Thus our Lord was, in harmony with the statement of the prophet, “numbered with the transgressors.”–`Is. 53:12`.
On our Lord’s cross, above his head, written in three languages, was a statement of his crime–the charge upon which he was convicted and sentenced, in the words, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” It was written in Latin, the language of the Romans, representative of authority and power; in Greek, the language of culture and learning; and in Hebrew, the language of the professedly God-fearing people. It was a title of shame and contempt, a brand of blasphemy to those who read it; and the multitude, going and coming to and from the city jested him upon his title, and the miserable failure of the fraud he had attempted to perpetrate in claiming for himself such high honors and dignities. The priests and rulers, of course, followed to see their victim surely dead; and any qualms of conscience they may have had respecting the injustice of their course seem to have been stifled by the apparent confirmation of their verdict in their success in accomplishing his death, and in his apparent powerlessness to save himself from his calamity. The soldiers too, especially those who had him in charge, seem to have felt that this was an exposure of another fraud, the ignominious termination of another one who had asserted himself against the power of Caesar.
The records show that Jesus’ mother was there, and her sister, and John the disciple, and his mother, and Mary Magdalene and Mary the wife of Cleophas. (`John 19:25`; `Matt. 27:56`.) They were all sorrowful; many of them weeping. They could not deny the assertion of the rulers and the multitude, that apparently the claims of our Lord had been fraudulent; they could not understand how he who had such power, and in whom they had such confidence, could be so helpless in the hands of his enemies. It was incomprehensible when they remembered how even the winds and the waves of Galilee obeyed him, and how many unclean spirits, being unable to resist the command of his word, had been cast out of the afflicted. But altho they could not make any reply, under the circumstances, to the jibes of those who railed at the Lord, they nevertheless loved him; for they knew, that regardless of his power and his titles, and whether or not he had overstated his relationship to the Heavenly Father, nevertheless, “never man spake like this man,” and never had they known any who could compare with him amongst the sons of men for purity and nobility of soul. They could do naught else but love him and trust him, and wait for some indication of the seeming inconsistencies which they then beheld. And so it is at times with the Lord’s followers since. Occasionally things occur in respect to the Lord’s Word and what he permits his people to suffer, and the power he permits their adversaries to exercise, which are incomprehensible, and his followers may at such times be obliged simply to hold their peace; but those who know the Lord through intimate communion and fellowship of heart, who have fed upon “the deep things of God,” who have drunk of his spirit–altho unable to explain the difficulties, are fully able to trust in him and to hope and to wait for such expressions as are sure to come, in vindication of his every act and word and providence, in due time.
Whilst the others were reviling our Lord and calling upon him to manifest his Messiahship and to come down from the cross, one of the thieves joined in the ribald assault; but the other, realizing that death was near, and admitting his own guilt, seemed to recognize in Jesus a person of an entirely different order and character from that of himself. He alone, so far as we are informed, raised his voice in protest against the slurs, and in defense of the meek and lowly one, who said nothing in his own defense, and who thus set us a most wonderful example in patient endurance and suffering for well-doing. Had he demonstrated his power, as they “dared” him to do, he would have been wrecking the hopes, not only of those who maligned him, crucified him, but also the hopes of the whole world of mankind. O, how we rejoice in his faithfulness unto death–even the death of the cross! How we praise him that he did not exercise his power, and “call for more than twelve legions of angels” to deliver him, but on the contrary sacrificed himself, laying down his own life as a ransom for Adam and his race!
The contrite thief knew little respecting Jesus, except what he saw before him of his patient endurance, suffering for righteousness’ sake; but this “living epistle” made a marked impression upon him, just as sometimes the conduct of the Lord’s followers, patient in tribulation, is the strongest and best lesson that can be given to some, “without God and having no hope in the world.” There is nothing to indicate that this thief became a saint in the few moments of his acquaintance with the Lord; there is nothing to indicate that he had or could develop a character in that time which would constitute him an overcomer, a joint-heir with Christ in the Kingdom. Everything is to the contrary of such thoughts. He merely realized that he himself was guilty and worthy of death, according to the law, that Jesus was innocent, and that there was a bare possibility of there being something in the claims of this wonderful man in respect to a future Kingdom.
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He would at least speak a word in his defense, and then he would appeal to Jesus, that if he had a Kingdom, as had been intimated, he would graciously remember his words of defense and do a kind deed for him when his Kingdom should come.
Jesus replied, “Verily, verily [so be it, so be it], I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” It should be as the thief had requested, not otherwise. When Jesus’ Kingdom should come the effect or result of that Kingdom would be the restoration of the Paradise lost when sin entered into the world as a part of its penalty,–redeemed by the sacrifice which he was then finishing at Calvary. When he should come into his Kingdom at his second advent he would, as the thief requested, remember him there and then, and undoubtedly the thief will have an abundant reward for the words of comfort spoken to our dear Redeemer in his hour of trial; but that reward will surely not be a place in the throne, in the Kingdom, as a member of the body of Christ; for this position amongst the elect is to be given only to those who shall attain the character-likeness to God’s dear Son. (`Rom. 8:29`.) Besides, none can attain this position without being begotten of the holy spirit, and the holy spirit, the begetting power of the new nature, was not yet given, until after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, when at Pentecost it came upon those who waited to be adopted from the house of servants into the house of sons.–`John 1:12`; `7:39`.
The thief died too soon to have any part in this Kingdom, had he been ever so well developed in character, –even as John the Baptist died too soon. Of the latter our Lord said, that altho there was not a greater prophet than he, “the least one in the Kingdom of heaven [the spirit-begotten Church, joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom] is greater than he.” (`Matt. 11:11`.) When the Kingdom shall come, and Paradise shall be restored, not only the penitent thief will be there, but also the impenitent one, and those Roman soldiers, and those bloodthirsty scribes and Pharisees and priests–all will be in Paradise,–not for any worthiness of their own, but by reason of the merit of Christ’s sacrifice, which paid their penalty and insures their having a full opportunity in the Millennial Paradise to come to a knowledge of God and through obedience then to life everlasting, if they will.
How forceful the expression, “I say unto thee today,” –notwithstanding all this seeming weakness on my part and seeming triumph of my enemies–I tell thee today, that thy prayer shall be answered; and that when I come into my Kingdom, Paradise shall be restored and thou shalt be there to be blessed, as I shall be there to be the King and Priest to give the blessings promised in the divine plan.* The garden of Eden was the Paradise lost, and on a larger and grander scale it shall in due time be restored by him whose sacrifice purchased it as well as mankind.–`Eph. 1:14`; `Rev. 2:7`.
It was probably during the early part of the crucifixion, that the four soldiers who had Jesus in charge divided his clothing amongst them; but the seamless robe which he wore, a fine and expensive garment, being desired by them all, for it they cast lots. That robe properly and beautifully represents Christ’s righteousness, the wedding garment, which is of great value, and which, during this present age, is granted to the most favored ones as furnishing the opportunity for their attainment with Christ of joint-heirship in the Kingdom, if they will suffer with him. The lot or privilege to have this garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness has fallen chiefly to us of civilized lands, to whom the light of the knowledge of God’s gracious plan in Christ has been granted. How thankful we are that the lot or privilege of possessing the favors represented by this robe is ours. Those who appreciate it will show their appreciation in the affairs of their daily lives, seeking to keep their garment unspotted from the world, and that it may be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and that it may be embroidered with all the graces of the Lord’s character; that under the grace which it implies they may be accepted in the Beloved One.–`Ps. 45:14`; `Jas. 1:27`.
The darkness which came over the scene of the crucifixion at noon, and lasted until three o’clock, after our Lord’s death, was evidently a very remarkable one, and made a deep impression. A newly found version of the Gospel, known as “The Gospel by Peter,” is represented to say of this darkness, “Many went about with lamps, supposing it was night,” and that the darkness lasted until Jesus was taken from the cross, when the earthquake took place. “Then the sun shone out, and it was found to be the ninth hour.”
The rending of the Temple vail apparently took place at the same time as this earthquake–the moment of our Lord’s death. This was not the trifling matter it might appear from the word “vail,” for this vail was an extremely large and extremely heavy curtain, the tearing of which would be no small matter, but would have required superhuman strength. Edersheim describes this curtain as being sixty feet long and thirty
*The comma should be after and not before “today” in order to permit harmony with the facts here before us, and agreement with other Scriptures. The original Scriptures are not punctuated –punctuation being a comparatively modern invention.
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feet wide, and five inches thick; made of seventy-two squares joined together. We have seen (Tabernacle Shadows) that this vail was symbolical;–that it represented the completion of our Lord’s sacrifice by which he opened up for us a new way of life beyond the vail, through the sacrifice of his flesh. In a figure, therefore, the Lord God, by the rending of the vail, declared that the death of Jesus made possible the way into the Most Holy, even heaven itself, and the fact that the vail was rent from the top to the bottom implied that the work was God’s and not one having its start and accomplishment in human design and effort.
“FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT”
Our Lord’s words commending his spirit, his life, to the Father, reminds us of the words of Stephen. (`Acts 7:59`.) Stephen, however, had little to surrender, like us all; his Adamic life, the spirit of life, received from Adam, was already forfeited, and the only life which Stephen, therefore, could commend to God was the reckoned life received by faith through Jesus, the Life-giver. In the case of our Lord the matter was different. He had life rights which had never been forfeited through sin, and was committing these to the Father as the ransom price for Adam and his forfeited spirit of life: nevertheless, our Lord was firmly trusting in the Father’s promise to raise him up from the dead by his own power, and his trust was in God that the restoration of life which he had promised he was abundantly able and willing to perform, and raise him from the state of death perfect, in the divine nature, with its glory, honor and immortality. Thus our Lord gave up the “ghost” (an old English term)–gave up his spirit of life–he died, and remained dead until the Father raised him from the dead on the third day by his own power.*
The closing scenes of the drama evidently were very awe-inspiring, not only to our Lord’s friends, but also to his enemies, and a general hush and feeling of grief spread about. The taunts of his enemies ceased as the darkness came down, and many were willing at the last to admit that the occurrences were remarkable, and corroborated to some extent the Master’s claims, saying, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”– `Mark 15:39`.
The solemnity of our Lord’s dying moments seems to have given greater courage to some of his friends, two of whom, Joseph and Nicodemus, were members of the Sanhedrin, which had condemned him, these two being either absent or voting against the condemnation. They had been too careful of their reputations to avow their interest in Jesus previously, “for fear of the Jews,” but now they had the courage to own the Lord as their friend, and to arrange the details of his burial. (`John 19:39`.) The dilatory acknowledgment of Jesus on the part of these wealthy and influential men reminds us of the peculiar difficulties which hinder all persons of wealth and influence in connection with a proper acknowledgment of the way, the truth and the life. True, there are many rich men today, and many of influence, who, because of popularity of churchianity, take a prominent part in its service; but churchianity must not be confounded with “the body of Christ,” the true Church, which, like the Lord, is comparatively without influence, power or wealth, as viewed from a worldly standpoint. When the great drama of this atonement day is completed, the last member of the body of Christ has finished his sacrifice, there will doubtless be many of the rich and
*See tract, What is the Soul? Sample copy free
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influential to come forward then, to honor the humble ones and to garnish their sepulchres. Much more to their credit and to their advantage and assistance in making their own calling and election sure would it be for these to come boldly forward in the time of sacrifice and bind their own sacrifices to the horns of the altar.–`Ps. 118:27`.
Various are the theories advanced in the name of Christianity and the Scriptures, respecting the at-one-ment between God and man; some acknowledging that the work which our Lord “finished” in his death on Calvary is the basis of all human hopes respecting the life everlasting, and at-one-ment with the heavenly Father; others persistently seeking to deny this, advancing theories to the effect that the at-one-ment between God and man never was broken off, that no ransom sacrifice was necessary to a reconciliation, that no fall took place, and that hence no restitution back to primary conditions is necessary or desirable or was secured by the Lord Jesus’ death. Many of these theories which deny the redemptive value of our Lord’s death affect to do him greater honor by claiming that his work for humanity was solely that of a great teacher, and in no sense that of a Redeemer or purchaser. These false theories which ignore the ransom are becoming more numerous, more persistent and more seductive day by day to those who are not well rooted and grounded in the divine Word and plan of the ages. It is appropriate, therefore, that we here call special attention to the fact that according to the Scriptures the entire plan of salvation is pivoted upon the great transaction of our Lord’s sacrifice, which, beginning with his consecration at Jordan, was finished with his expiring breath at Calvary. Whoever believes this and accepts
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it is justified thereby, obtaining his share in the merit of that sacrifice. Whoever rejects it rejects the only name and the only faith by which he can ever be reconciled to God and attain to life everlasting.
We are not in this suggesting that men are saved by a theory, but we are suggesting that since all who come into harmony with God during this Gospel age must come to him through faith in the precious blood of Christ, it follows that he cannot have a reasonable faith without a more or less clear theory; and that any theory which ignores the death of Christ as the basis of justification and reconciliation is an unscriptural one, and hence of no value whatever. Hence all who claim relationship with God upon any other basis of faith, any other theory, are deluding themselves–they are neither reconciled to the Father nor to the Son, nor justified from their sin, nor members of the Church which is the body of Christ.
We do not mean by this to say that only such as have a clear conception of the philosophy of the atonement are justified; on the contrary, it is our belief that many of God’s dear people during the dark ages, and since, have lived and died without a clear conception of the philosophy of this subject as it is now possible for it to be seen and appreciated. But while failing to see the philosophy, all of God’s true people have recognized the fact that it was the death of Christ which effected our reconciliation to the Father, and upon which all hopes of life eternal are based. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. V., The At-one-ment.
To those who prefer the inspired words of an Apostle to the uninspired conjectures of their own and other minds, the Golden Text is an all-sufficient answer to all no-ransom theories. One of these, Christian Science, declares: “There is no sin,”–hence nothing to deserve punishment; and “There is no death,”– hence Christ did not die. But the Apostle affirms, in harmony with both reason and Scripture, that both were facts, and that Christ’s death was for (as a means to our recovery from) our sins. Let us stand firmly in the inspired “faith once delivered to the saints.”– `Jude 3`.
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“DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN”
ISA. 52:13`; `53:3,12`–MARCH 31
THIS is the Review lesson and requires little comment. The Golden Text serves us as a caption, and is itself a summary of the quarter’s lessons. Evidently to be despised and rejected of men did not signify that our Lord was worthy of such treatment, but rather that those to whom he offered himself were so degraded and blinded by sin as to be unable to appreciate the glorious qualities of his character. Nevertheless, as the Apostle declares, “To us who believe he is precious;” and again, “To as many as received him to them gave he privilege to become sons of God.” How thankful we are, and deserve to be, that the eyes of our understanding were permitted to see our dear Redeemer in somewhat of his true light of grandeur and holiness; and we rejoice also that seeing his glory we have been led step by step to transformation and renewing of our minds, and that we are being changed from glory to glory by the spirit of the Lord even now in our hearts. “We have the mind of Christ.” Moreover, we have the good hope, built upon the divine promises, that if we follow on in his footsteps in the narrow way we shall ere long be with him and like him and share his Kingdom and glory.
“As he was so are we in the world.”–`1 John 4:17`.
If the Master of the house was called Beelzebub and seditious and an enemy of law and order, against Caesar’s government, etc., etc., by the false religionists of his day, so it should not surprise us, but should rather be expected, that all the way down through this Gospel age his followers, the members of his body, would be similarly misrepresented, slandered, maligned, despised and rejected by the popular religionists of Christendom. As a matter of fact, this is what the Scriptures teach us is to be expected; what history tells us has thus far been true; and what we are convinced from the Word of God will continue to be true until the last member of the body of Christ has finished his course. These oppositions from the world, the flesh and the devil (generally operating through some nominally Christian channel), are a part of the chiseling and polishing, a part of the testing and proving of the Lord’s people which must determine whether or not they are worthy a share in the Kingdom–whether or not they esteem most the approval of men or the praise of God,–the honors and emoluments of this present life or the glorious but unseen things which God hath in reservation for them that love him. We cannot pass these tests in companies or groups, however small and select,–each must be tried, tested, individually, in order to prove him an overcomer, and before he can attain the promised prize. Each should remember the necessity for faith in what God has promised his people or he will be overwhelmed and defeated, and miss both the mark and the prize. “This is the victory that overcometh the world–even your faith.” “Greater is he that is on our part than all they that are against us.”
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“THEY THAT REVERENCED THE LORD SPAKE OFTEN TOGETHER”
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–I have just finished reading three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and to say I am much pleased and interested only feebly expresses my feelings. The Bible has been a sealed, and to a very great extent, a meaningless book. This is the first eye-opener I have ever come across. The more preaching of the “orthodox” sort I listened to, the denser was my ignorance, and the graver my doubts. In fact, I had arrived at the conclusion that no one knew anything positive about it; it was all conjecture, and that of a very flimsy character. I thought if men of intelligence and education, who had made these subjects a life-study, disagreed so radically, plain men like myself have no business to have any theories at all; and have for some time ignored the whole subject.
But now, I can begin to see the light. Bible-reading has become more interesting to me. Things that were before as dark as Pagan theology, now have a meaning, and to me, a very pleasing one. Should like a copy of the WATCH TOWER.
Yours, for the truth,
A. C. HOWLAND, Del.
MR. CHARLES T. RUSSELL,
DEAR BROTHER:–Having just read the fifth volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN with great interest and edification, I am very desirous of knowing when the next volume will be ready. I have been in the Congregational ministry for twenty-five years and have been teaching the popular view of eternal torment, but with the light on the Word that I have now received, I can no longer teach such God-dishonoring doctrine. I must believe that your view is the Scriptural one. My heart is exceedingly grateful to God that your book was placed in my hands. It is indeed “meat in due season.” Please send further reading matter as per enclosed memorandum.
Your Brother in Christ,
I. F. TOBEY, Oregon
MY DEAR BROTHER:–Your letters have given me much cheer during my protracted sickness, and I can but rejoice with you that the Lord’s mercy has been over me in a very large measure; and, we trust, for wise and gracious designs, which he is abundantly able to work out in his own time and way. I wish to be entirely submissive to his just and holy will. I hope to be able to learn the great lesson he would teach me, that, ultimately, as well as now, shall work out to his glory and my own eternal good.
The TOWERS have been a source of great pleasure and benefit. I read and re-read them with continued profit and delight. Of course, I wish them continued to be sent to my address, and will remit later, if not able to continue in the “Pilgrim” work.
Last year’s Report in December 15 TOWER is full of blessed promise, and a token of better and bigger things to come. I am very anxious to get into the field again; and the days of waiting seem very long– but, my Brother, I cannot give you much hope of doing anything under five or six months. I am very weak, and any extra exertion sends me to my bed again, as was the case last week, and I was obliged to send for a physician. The cause was improper circulation in an afflicted leg, brought on by trying to do a little work for my son–office work. I am better to-day, and as soon as possible will try to dispose of DAWNS and other literature in this town.
My wife is very hopeful that everything will turn out for the best, according to the promise, if we will only do the best we know how, trusting every promise sure.
May our dear Lord and Master greatly bless and strengthen you in the onerous and responsible duties to which you have given your life in the spread of the truth. For such we shall always pray.
With best wishes and regards, in which Sister Ransom joins, I remain as ever your devoted friend and co-worker in the present harvest.
Z. A. RANSOM, South Dakota
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–I enclose order for one dollar for which you will please send Vol. I. of MILLENNIAL DAWN, “The Plan of the Ages,” in cloth binding. The remaining 65 cents you will please accept as a contribution to the Tract Fund.
I have read “The Plan of the Ages” twice (I have it in paper binding–loaned out) and am now reading “The Time is at Hand,” and am well pleased with them. It has changed me from skepticism to a strong belief in and love for the Bible. I am now making it my constant study, and with DAWN as a help it seems plain and is truly interesting. It has caused me to see God in a different light, and I do indeed love and worship him. I can never thank you enough for being the instrument, through your writings, in bringing about this change. I am a poor man, a farmer, working all day, and studying nights and Sundays. While I am being thus benefited I wish that others may have the same opportunity, therefore I offer myself as a member of the Volunteer service. I distributed the tracts you sent me and some have manifested some interest from reading them. I think you are truly “a good steward giving meat in due season.” I will help in a financial way as much as I am able.
W. A. STANLEY, Texas
ELDER C. T. RUSSELL,
Dear Brother in Christ Jesus our Lord: It has been some time since I wrote you, altho I receive communications from you every two weeks in the WATCH TOWER; and how I in my old days appreciate it as meat in due season! Since we began reading it my good wife won’t go to hear any of the clergy of our town, as she can learn more of God’s plan in reading one number than she could from hearing all the preachers in our town. We read them till we can digest them, then send them out to such as we think truth-hungry. I sent one to the country some weeks ago. The lady sent me word that she would have the paper if she had to sell every chicken to pay for it. She is very poor in this world’s goods, but too proud to ask for it gratuitously.
Oh! I am so thankful for the help drawn from the TOWER and DAWNS, otherwise perhaps I should have plodded on in the old rut as others are doing who have many advantages over myself by way of education and present environments.
Believe me, I am truly yours, in the fullest meaning of the term, with hope of meeting you in the first resurrection.
N. M. THOMPSON, Missouri
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–I wrote you today a “business” letter; now I want to send you a few lines of a more personal character from myself and wife.
We wish to express to you our love and gratitude for the way in which you have continued to serve us during the past year. The January 1 TOWER came full of just what we wanted, a clear definition of the “mark” towards which we are pressing, and we thank God that we can “realize” fully what is the mark, and can see we have gained ground in this direction during the past year.
I must tell you of our New Year’s eve meeting. Twenty-seven of us met together to see the old century out and the new one in, and as we could not have you with us personally, you were represented by a large photo hanging on the wall, and by the reading of the TOWER for September 1, defining the law of “love.” Personally, I am deeply grateful to you for that article, and for the corresponding one of January 1, on the “Mark.” I had begun to see that the law of “Do to all as you would have them do to you” meant so much more than I had thought, and now these two articles have made it clearer still.
At our Sunday evening meetings I have been making these my theme, more than anything else, and you will be rejoiced to hear that in every member of the Church in these Twin Cities there is a noticeable improvement along the lines of love.
You may be sure you were remembered by everybody present, and we prayed the dear Lord that you might be given continued wisdom to use aright the great favor conferred on you by the stewardship over the household of faith to give out to them the meat in “due season.” And we also recognized and deeply appreciated the love you must have had to each of us, even when unknown to you in the flesh, or else the dear Lord would never have placed you in this position.
I thank God that I am permitted to give out to others the meat which I have received of God through you; and I know that you will pray for me that I may have for my aim and ambition during the year begun a stronger desire to “serve” the brethren.
Your brother in the Lord Jesus,
W. HOPE HAY, Minnesota
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–I am glad to be able to write and tell you that I have about recovered from my illness. I am not quite as strong as I should like to be, but have no doubt I shall fully regain my strength in a little while. I went to Scotland last Friday for Brother Burkholder’s funeral and was entertained by Brother Lehman. Altho the funeral was not until Saturday morning, by request I went over to see Brother Burkholder’s family on Friday evening. There were several friends of the family present, and as the conversation turned upon Biblical matters we had a splendid opportunity for serving present truth, and they all showed much interest, and many good questions were asked. On account of the family’s sympathy with the truth, the trustees of the church building refused to allow the funeral services to be held in that place. This action is significant, from the fact that it is a “union church,” or rather (supposed to be) non-sectarian, and was built by the people of the neighborhood, with the understanding that it was for the use of any Christians.
However, a large number of people assembled at the house for the service. Therefore, there was a good opportunity to witness for the truth. The greater part of the people who attended the funeral were “Mennonites” (that being a Mennonite settlement), so in accordance with the custom of that people, most of them returned to the house of mourning and spent several hours there. Of course there was a good deal of comment on the address, so the whole afternoon was occupied in discussing Bible questions, and the
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truth as usual proved itself powerful, and we hope that many were impressed by its beauty and simplicity. Brother Herr, from Pottsville, was present and assisted in the service, and also in upholding the truth afterwards.
Brother Faunce wrote you of the experience we had at the United Brethren church here, a week ago last Sunday. Well, as a sequel, last Sunday evening the pastor undertook to show the unscripturalness of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and by invitation several of the friends, including myself, were present to hear what this very blind shepherd had to say. Needless to say he had a very thin argument, and succeeded in making himself ridiculous.
His ignorance of God’s word was simply amazing, and must have been apparent to every thinking person present. On the whole, I think he (unwittingly) helped the truth rather than hindered it, for he read some excellent extracts from the DAWN. Some of them I should have chosen myself had I been debating the points with him. He also read the extract from Atlanta Constitution from the back of a missionary envelope which he had. Whilst he had to admit that hades meant the grave, he also said that it meant more than that; to use his own words–“Hades is a place divided into two compartments, one where the bad spirits go to, and the other Paradise, where Jesus went.” All of his “scriptural” proofs were “home spun,” and unfortunately (for him) could not be warranted not to shrink. Of course, the Morehead tract was in evidence, and so were about 200 of No. 41, Old Theology tracts. All that was done by the friends to uphold the truth was done in the spirit of love and with becoming dignity.
I’m sure you will be pleased to know that the friends here show much zeal for the truth, and are growing apace. We have now started a mid-week meeting, which promises to be a success.
The Volunteer work will also be taken up; the arrangements for it are to be made next Sunday.
I am hardly able to go fully into my colporteur work yet, but hope to do so soon; in the meantime, shall endeavor to do a little canvassing here, and altho this place was worked last year I hope to be able to reach some and dispose of some DAWNS.
Please pray for me that I may have strength and courage to walk the narrow way.
With Christian love to yourself and the Bible House family, I remain your brother in Christ,
ERNEST D. SEXTON, Pennsylvania
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PASTOR C. T. RUSSELL,
MY DEAR SIR:–After services on the first Lord’s Day of this year, I found in my study a parcel of books with no name. I was leaving the next day for a 400-mile voyage, and took with me 3 vols. of MILLENNIAL DAWN, which I perused with growing interest in the intervals of services as we sailed from island to island. I wish to subscribe to the WATCH TOWER, and to have tracts sent me (as per list); for this I enclose $2.50, which I hope will cover expenses of postage, etc.
I am yours faithfully,
DANIEL WILSHERE, West Indies
Bahama Baptist Union–Supt. of Missions
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MR. EDITOR:–I cannot tell how thankful I am to you for sending us a sample copy of your paper. Oh, the good, glad tidings! How many wretched, awful days it would have saved me had I known it long ago. I believe you implicitly in all you say. It seems so much more like God ought to be. Oh, my words are too crude and I am too ignorant to express what I feel, but I am so glad, so glad. For years I have been a Presbyterian, and a doubter all the time, and only those who have gone through it know what that means. I will distribute any tracts you may send me, and be glad to do so.
MRS. FRANK CAREY, Pennsylvania
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–I must renew my TOWER, as I could not get along without it. I have been wonderfully helped through it and the DAWNS into present light and truth, and so am using every means and agency through the influence and aid of God’s Holy Spirit to make my calling and election sure. And oh! what a new book my Bible is now. How it unfolds to me, and so my pathway is getting brighter and brighter. Praise God. I can do nothing in the way of money for Good Hopes, but am devoting all my spare time and more to the spread of truth. I have a large Chart of the Ages in my office, and have many callers.
I am availing myself of every opportunity to let my light shine, and correcting my old errors of Theology, which I have testified for years. And how God blesses me. As I give out he pours in. My will is only to do God’s will. What an anchorage the truth is to the soul, when we see how rightly to divide it. Truly, you have been a great help to me through the WATCH TOWER literature, to God be all the glory.
Your brother in a living faith,
DR. JOHN STRUBLE, Illinois
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DEAR BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL:–Grace and peace! Your very kind favor of the 4th inst. to hand. Had an injury received to my right hand about a week ago. Am getting out on the road now in my business as an architect, and the Lord is blessing the efforts put forth in spreading the truth. Had another experience of his wonderful grace tonight here in town. I was planning and thinking how I could take along a lot of DAWNS, that I could sell in large numbers in single vols. After having depleted my stock in the grip to two vols., and taking orders for three sets, and coming here after 6 p.m., I went out to inquire about business. Finding a hardware store (where I usually inquire in every town) and finding no news, I showed the DAWN, but being a perfect stranger, I did not for a moment think they would part with the cash simply on my face and the name in my order book, etc. I sold five sets in that store, and two in another, spot cash, making 51 vols. for today. To God be all the glory. To say I was astonished is putting it lightly. I cannot get out of here until tomorrow 3 p.m., so can possibly sell some more in the same way. Glad to see names on the lists where the Lord used me to hand them the truth. These blessings should make me run the race with much joy. Enclosed please find P.O. order for money, and order for books to be sent to various parties. Pray that I may be kept humble, as I desire and require much more humility and love for the sacrifice than I possess, so it will not be a duty love to feed the little ones and spread the truth, but so the zeal of the Lord may burn me up. Hope to see more names on the TOWER lists some day in the paths of our DAWN work.
I feel very happy over this new phase of the work, as it seems it ought to be very fruitful.
February 17th.–Grace and peace! Just home from a week’s trip on business in the country, and the most blessed of trips so far as DAWN sales are concerned that I know of. Sold 239 vols. in a week. Just returned from Jackson, Minn. Knew of a TOWER reader there and looked for him. I found the restaurant where he takes meals, and supposed he had sold DAWNS there, but when I found he had not I tried, and sold a set. This started the ball rolling in Jackson, where I am quite well acquainted, and received orders for 75 vols. before leaving. Then I had to be careful not to sell to the Presbyterians, as I was after their church. Hope to sell a volley to them later.
If I had used my opportunities the last two years on the road with the success I now receive, it’s hard to estimate how many DAWNS could have been sold. This is a new venture to get cash in advance for books. To the Lord be all the glory. May we do continually with our might what our hands find to do. Praying God’s richest blessing and love to you and all the dear ones in the Bible House,I remain your fellow-soldier of the cross,
M. P. THORI, Minnesota
[Our dear Brother Thori is one of the leading architects of Minnesota, and in going about attending to this business he takes the DAWNS along, and is daily becoming more expert in reaching hearing ears. He usually sells five volumes at a time, and collects in advance, the books being delivered by mail. He has a letter from us showing his authority to do this. His success of late is phenomenal. He has sold over 4,400 volumes in the past five years. The Lord is blessing his zeal with both still increasing wisdom and grace.]