N.B.Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
As per appointment in our last issue quite a goodly company gathered at Bible House chapel, Allegheny, on March 30th. About two hundred were present, chiefly the Allegheny congregationabout fifty coming from the surrounding towns of Pennsylvania; New York, Ohio, District of Columbia, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nevada being also represented.
Eighteen adults symbolized their full consecration even unto death and their hope of a resurrection, by immersion. The interest was good, the feeling deep; and while the signification of the unleavened bread and the unfermented fruit of the vine were explained, hearts full of gratitude for the great gift of God's love promised renewed zeal in being broken in the service of the Lord as members of the one loaf (1 Cor. 10:17), and in drinking of his cup of self-denial and suffering for righteousness' sake.
The following we take from a recent number of the Pall Mall Gazette:"For the first time for 334 years, or at any rate since the Reformation, the Mayor and corporation of Southampton [England], on Sunday morning, in their official robes, and attended by the mace bearers and borough police, attended divine service at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. The occasion was made a great festival, and Mozart's Seventh Mass was sung to the accompaniment of a string band....In the course of his sermon Canon Scannell said that day was the highest and most beautiful day for Southampton after the last three hundred years of estrangement and mismanagement. There had been no brighter day than that in his life, which had brought them together for the first time for three centuries. That day had been approaching for the last twenty years. Some of his best friends had been Protestants, and he felt happy that that day had come which had brought them together. At the close the civic body was escorted from the church by the canon, the officiating priests, acolytes, and choir in their vestments, carrying the candles, crosses, banners, etc., and the procession was watched by thousands of people. It is, perhaps, worthy of note that not one member of the corporation is a Roman Catholic, and the Southampton corporation are said to be the first public body in the country to officially attend a Roman Catholic Church in this way."
Patent Binders of a size suitable for the TOWER for two years' issues, and with the name of our journal and the dates 1893-1894 stamped in gilt on the side, are now ready. Those therefore who hereafter order Binders should specify whether they want these for coming years or those for 1891-1892 which have no dates stamped on them. These are extremely desirable for preserving your TOWERS in a convenient form for future reference. Price fifty cents each.r1508 VOL. XIV. APRIL 1, 1893. NO. 7.
r1514 ISRAEL RETURNING TO THE HOLY LAND.
r1513 TREASURES IN HEAVEN.
r1512 "OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."
N.B.Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
Dr. Carroll, Superintendent of religious statistics of the last census, presents some interesting facts. The membership of the Presbyterian, the Methodist Episcopal, the Reformed, the German Reformed, the Lutheran, the Congregational, the Disciples, the Roman Catholic and the Jewish churches shows a total of 12,487,382; while of this total the Roman Catholics are accredited with 6,250,045, or more than one half. These are the figures given by The Christian at Work.
The Christian Union for April 1st, in the "Outlook," says, after speaking of the bitter opposition, by a member of the German Reichstag, to the Jews: "There are many indications that the anti-Semitic feeling in Germany is spreading."
The same journal, speaking of affairs in Belgiumthe working classes demanding universal suffragesays, "In the event of a failure to make that concession, very serious industrial disturbances will undoubtedly take place."
"The Hebrews residing in that part of Russia are, what with their own natural shiftlessness and the various late prohibitive laws which have kept them out of their regular easy and paying businesses, in a somewhat precarious condition anyway nowadays. They live mostly a from-hand-to-mouth existence, and have nothing to fall back upon in case of need. The late failure of the crops and the consequent famine have, therefore, come down with crushing force upon them, and their sufferings have been terrible. On top of this the winter has been extremely cold, and this suffering has been added to the others. At last the cold, hunger and need drove the poor inhabitants of the above mentioned town of Jarnitz, which may be taken as a sample of all the other towns of that region, to an extreme step.
"On an appointed Saturday all the sufferers arranged to meet for a general consultation in the local synagogue. Once assembled there, for a long time they discussed their troubles and sought for some remedy. No one could suggest any remedy. At last it was decided that the local rich Hebrews had not done their duty and to make an appeal to them. The rich ones refused to pay any attention to the deputation, and ordered them away.
"The result of this cold-blooded repulsion was almost electrical on the crowd. As one man they threw themselves into a street-riot. Honor, honesty, safety, all were forgotten under the terrible pangs of hunger and the stinging realization of the heartlessness of their co-religionists.
"The riot lasted for five hours and was aimed exclusively at the houses of the rich. Windows and doors were broken in, all that could be was carried off, the rest destroyed. Nothing that could possibly be made away with was left.
"Meanwhile the police had taken the alarm, but could at first do nothing in the face of the immense crowd. When, at last, help had arrived, the riot was nearly over. The Chief of Police was then about to take extreme measures and vowed to bring all the offenders to justice. When, however, upon investigation, he learned all the particulars, and that three Hebrews had died that same day from hunger, he decided that no further action was advisable in the matter. Not only that, but he himself started a subscription for the relief of the sufferers.r1514 VOL. XIV. APRIL 15, 1893. NO. 8.
r1516 THE RACE IN ADAM.
r1517 ROMANIST DESIGNS ON AMERICAN CITIES.
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR
READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE
LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO
LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
These three productions come down to us from Jewish archives of sacred religious literature; and, notwithstanding the imperfections of the writer, they come with clear indications of divine supervision and inditement. The wisdom expressed is above that which is natural to our fallen humanity. It is not necessary to the reverent study of the moral philosophy therein set forth that we should either forget or ignore the defective moral character of Solomon; for even the story of his life with its checkered manifestations of virtue and vice is no inconsiderable part of the lesson of these books.
In 1 Kings 3:11,12 we have the assurance of the divine inspiration of the wisdom of Solomon: "And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment, behold, I have done according to thy word. Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." But while we recognize and duly appreciate the wisdom of Solomon, we also mark his typical character, and perceive that only as a type of Christ could the fulness of the promise belong, of wisdom and riches superior to any preceding or succeeding him. In this light the statement of our Lord (Matt. 12:42)"A greater than Solomon is here"is in perfect harmony with 1 Kings 3:12. His peaceful and prosperous reign, his famed wisdom and his marvelous wealth and glory were typical of the Millennial reign of Christ, though it all falls far short of the glory of the antitypeas types always do. As a type, the peace of his reign in contrast with the warlike reign of his father David is strikingly similar to the predicted peace of Christ's reign in contrast with the turmoil and war and confusion [R1517 : page 122] of the Gospel age which precedes and prepares the way for the reign of his Son and for the building and establishment of the glorious temple of God, whose living stones are now being made ready, even as David similarly prepared the materials with which Solomon built the typical temple.
The Book of Ecclesiastes seems to have been written in later life, when the heart had grown sick with excess of sensuous pleasures and the lack of the real happiness which comes from a close and perfect walk with God, when he turned from all his riches and honors with the sad refrain, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." From his own experience he proves the truth of his theme, and counsels to others a different course from that which he himself had pursued, saying, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth....Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man."Eccl. 12:1,13.
The Book of Proverbs was probably the latest production of Solomon, when not only the promised wisdom from above, but also an experience gained under very peculiar and varied circumstances found expression in numerous concise and pithy sayings for the guidance and instruction of all who would live godly. These are frequently quoted and referred to in the New Testament.
II. QUAR., LESSON V., APR. 30, PROV. 1:20-33.
Golden Text"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh."Heb. 12:25.
The Book of Proverbs is a poem, the first nine chapters of which are a discourse on wisdom, which is personified. (The major part of the Book consists of the proverbs of Solomon, some of whichchapters 25-29were collected and added later by King Hezekiah. Chapters 30 and 31, however, do not claim Solomon for their author.)
It has been inferred that the personification of wisdom in this Book was meant to represent Christ; but when we consider that wisdom is one of the divine attributes, it is evident that wisdom existed even before our Lord Jesus, although he was the beginning of the creation of God, the first born of every creature. But so perfectly did our Lord Jesus exemplify the divine wisdom that it is not at all strange that some have inferred that wisdom, here, personified Christ, instead of recognizing Christ as the personification of that wisdom which from eternity was an attribute of Jehovah. It is described by the Apostle James (3:17) as coming "from above," and as being "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
In contrast with this heavenly wisdom he places what the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 3:19) calls "the wisdom of this world," which James says "descendeth not from above, but is earthly;" and, worse than that, it is "sensual;" and, worse still, it is "devilish." It is the kind of wisdom which delights in envying and strife and confusion and every evil work. (Jas. 3:14-16.) It is the wisdom of selfishness which, regardless of the rights and interests of others, seeks to grasp and hold every thing for self. This kind of wisdom, Paul says, "is foolishness with God; for it is written [Job 5:13], 'He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'"1 Cor. 3:19.
All of the fallen human nature have more or less of the earthly wisdom of selfishness, which disposition continually gravitates lower and lower unless it is resisted and displaced by the heavenly wisdom whose fruits are love, mercy and truth. This heavenly wisdom, we are told, has its beginning in the reverence of the Lord. That is, we must look away from our own narrow thoughts, plans and schemes and allow our minds to dwell upon the grandeur of God's benevolent, loving and glorious character until a gleam of his glory awakens in us a feeling of admiration, veneration and love, and then of longing to be conformed to his image. And while we, as God's faithful children, thus look and hold ourselves in position to receive the impressions from above, the divine likeness is traced upon our hearts, as we study God's revelation; and the heavenly wisdom begins to manifest itself in the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Those who thus reverence him, the Lord is pleased to recognize as his sons, and to acquaint them with his plans for their salvation through the great redemption which his [R1518 : page 123] wisdom provided; and to such the counsels of these Proverbs are addressed, while warnings are given to others. Thus we read
CHAPTER 1:8,9"My son, hear the instruction of thy Father [God], and forsake not the law of thy mother [God's covenant of justification and regeneration in which we are begotten to newness of life]: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Those only are accounted sons, who are thus begotten of the truth and in covenant with God.
VERSES 10-19. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not," etc. The counsel here, while it has reference to all enticements of sinners, has special reference to a condition of things which was prophetically foreseennot necessarily by Solomon, but by the Lord who indited the matter, merely using Solomon as his mouthpiece. The picture drawn corresponds exactly with that condition of things predicted by other prophets, and by the apostles, which was to come to pass in the end or harvest-period of the Gospel age, when great Corporations, Trusts and Monopolies, on the one hand, and Unions and Labor Federations on the other, would offer their enticements to the iniquitous business of shedding innocent blood and fattening on the spoils of the slain.See Jas. 5:1-6; Mal. 3:5.
These two parties are now addressing everyone: the Capitalistic party addresses its temptations only to those who have money and influence of which they desire to make use; the Labor-Union party addresses all others. But the voice of the Lord, the voice of true Wisdom, says to all God's people: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Both of these parties present worldly-wise arguments based on selfishnessopposed to justice as well as to love.
Capitalism says, and truly, We have the brains, but are in the minority: we are prosperous, but less contented than ever. Let us enlarge our ambitions; let us unify our interests so that our rule and prosperity may be prolonged, even though the masses are awaking and may attempt resistance, in this dawn of a new era.
Laborism says, and truly, If we were ignorant and asleep in the past, we are awake now; if we were contented in the past with less, we are discontented now with more. Let us unite our muscle and skill and squeeze Capitalism into subjection to us; let us appropriate the fruit of their brains.
Both are saying, "Come with us [join our Union or Trust], let us lay wait for blood" [for opportunities to squeeze the life out of those under our power: let us make, for instance, a "corner" in wheat; let us buy up all the wheat in the market, fix our own prices and so control the market that we can financially kill the small dealers and wring the revenue out of the publicthe masses, both rich and poor. Or let us play this game in oil or corn or any other commodity. Or let us make a corner in the skilled-labor market, by getting up a strong Union and ordering a strike; by "boycotting" [R1519 : page 123] all who oppose us, and by financially killing fellow workmen who will not join with us. Let us look out for Number One,ourselves. Thus both combinations seek to prey upon each other for selfish ends, and generally to the disregard of justice]. "Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause." [Let us watch for our opportunity to take advantage of their ignorance of our movements, etc. And generally it is the innocent who suffer most from such conspiracies.] "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole as those that go down into the pit." [Present efforts are not for existence merely (for all are prosperous as never before), but for control. Capitalism wants full control, and Laborism wants no less. Each would swallow up the smaller of his own kind, and then effectually crush the other. Thus, say they], "We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil." Thus, like ocean wreckers, they would grow rich upon the losses and injuries of others.
"Union" is the watchword of both these great opposing parties. Both sides cry (Verse 14):"Cast in thy lot with us; let us all have one purse"[let us put our money and skill together; thus only we can succeed, and control the markets, and reap the harvest]. But what saith the Lord?
"My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. [Each party can see the devices of the other, and each "snare" and device will be check-mated by the other side; and ultimately each party will become entangled in the snare set for the other. As we read,
"But they [these conspirators] lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for [R1519 : page 124] their [own] lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain, who taketh away the life [or living] of the owners thereof"for the time is coming when the overwhelming numbers of those oppressed by these systems will arise in their fury like the raging waves of the sea, and anarchy will prevailthe predicted "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (Dan. 12:1.) And who but the blind cannot see this very trend of events to-day? But who but "the wise" will heed these instructions of the Lordthe instructions of Wisdom?Dan. 12:10.
"Wisdom [the voice of righteousness and of prudencethe voice of God] crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words." This is truer to-day than at any other time in the world's history. Never before were the obligations of human brotherhood forced upon the attention of all men as they are to-day; and men are coming to see, though they be not free to admit it, that the only solution of the great social problem now before the world is found in the "golden rule."
"We will have to act on that new rule we hear so much talk of in the papers nowadays," said a business man recently to a perplexed associate. "What's that?" said his friend. "The golden rule," he replied, and his friend assented. Yes, the "golden rule" is coming to the front, even in the newspapers, and men are obliged to consider it, whether they are ready to act upon it or not. Thus wisdom crieth in the streets in the cityeverywheresaying,
VERSE 22. "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity [will you prefer to remain in ignorance of the just and right ways of the Lord]? and the [proud] scorners delight in their scorning [of justice and truth], and fools hate [that real] knowledge [which cometh from above, preferring the ways of selfishness]?"
VERSE 23. "Turn you at my reproof." But they will not turn, because, as the Psalmist says (Psa. 2:1-3), they "imagine a vain thing"they "take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed [King, who has come to rule in righteousness, and whose presence and power is now forcing upon the minds and consciences of men the perplexing questions of this eventful hour, and their only right solution]." However, they will not be permitted to plead the excuse of ignorance of the right ways of the Lord; for the Lord says,
VERSES 24-27 are in exact agreement with the prophecy of Psalm 2:4,5 showing not only that men will not heed the reproofs and counsels of this hour, but also predicting the disastrous results that will ensue. When the Lord has clearly set before men the momentous issues of this "day of preparation," and they have disregarded them, and scorned the reproofs which the occasional outbreaks of dissatisfaction and discord shall have brought, then he will begin to speak to them in more positive and commanding tones, saying"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comethwhen your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you."
The thoughtful observer of the present social and political aspect of the world can easily see that if the voice of Wisdom and Prudence be not heeded among men the culmination of the present unrest will be a terrific whirlwind. (See also Jer. 25:31,32.) "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them IN HIS WRATH, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
VERSES 28-32. It will not avert the trouble for men to call upon the Lord then. If they despise his counsel and reproofs to such an extent as to make necessary the exhibition of his wrath and righteous indignation for their correction, the Lord will not cease to scourge them because of their crying, but the penalty of their evil courses shall be given in such measures as to make a lasting impression. It will therefore be "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation;" "no, nor ever shall be" (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21), because so thorough will be the correction that it will never again need to be repeated. "Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way [for the "whirlwind" of trouble will be the natural [R1519 : page 125] result of their selfishness], and be filled [to satisfaction] with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple [from their ignorance will be to the earthly wisdom of selfishness and not to the heavenly wisdom with its fruit of love and peace, and will work their injury. It] shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Their own feet will be caught in the snares they had set for others. The very fact that, by their selfish, oppressive and unrighteous course, they were able to amass great fortunes will, by inciting the jealousy and hatred of the masses, make them a prey in the time of troublespecial targets for the venomous arrows of hatred.Jas. 5:1-6.
VERSE 33 is a promise in which the few, who are wise enough to heed the instructions of Wisdom, may take comfort, even in the midst of the calamities that shall overwhelm the world. "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and "The angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that are his, and delivereth them.Psa. 34:7.
The voice of heavenly Wisdom found clear and forcible expression through the lips of our Savior, who was the personification of God's wisdom as well as of his love. His message was that Love, not Selfishness, should be the rule of life, if true happiness would be obtained. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" states this law in practical form. It has sounded down the centuries since, awakening thought and civilization wherever heard. It is the greatest leveller and equalizer; for it ignores class and caste.
But alas! many respect it merely because it lifts them up; and, when getting up from the slough of despond themselves, they forget to practice this precept toward others who are lower down than they. Thus many have used and are using the precept of Love in a selfish spirit. They desire that those more favored shall exercise this principle of Love toward them, but they will not exercise it themselves toward those above or those below their own social plane.
Only the "little flock" are to any appreciable extent even seeking to obey in spirit this voice of Godthis voice of heavenly Wisdom: and these are often misjudged and misunderstood, as was their Lord and Redeemer, by the world in general, whose motive power is Selfishness.
The civilized world stands to-day in a false position: professing to be Christ's Kingdom and to be ruled by his law of Love, it is really the kingdom of the Prince of this worldSatanand operates in general under his law of Selfishness. God will demonstrate this as soon as he has finished the selection of the "Bride," the "Body" of Christ. He will show the difference between the holding of a truth in unrighteousness and the practice of a truth in its real spirit or intent. The result will be the breaking into pieces of these false kingdoms of Christ (Rev. 19:15), the establishment of the true, spiritual Kingdom of Christ, the full enlightenment of all the people and the full establishment of the law of Love, in fact as well as in name.
It is as a means toward this end that God is now permitting the world to run riot in the spirit of this world (Selfishness) that the counsel of heavenly Wisdom may be justified when those moved by earthly wisdom (Selfishness) shall be snared in their own devices.
To his people God saith: "Wait ye upon me [Be patient, Brethren]; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my fierce anger; for all the earth [society] shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy; and then will I turn unto the people a language of sincerity [love will then mean love], and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."Zeph. 3:8,9.
II. QUAR., LESSON VI., MAY 7, PROV. 3:11-24.
Golden Text"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding."Prov. 3:5.
With a clear understanding of the purpose of this book, which, as we have seen, is for the moral instruction of all of the children of God (those who are now his children, or those who shall become his children during the Millennial age), there is less necessity for explanation than for careful personal consideration and application. They are certainly worthy to be bound about the neck and written upon the table of the heart.Verse 3.
VERSES 11,12 are given an inspired comment in Heb. 12:4-13.
VERSES 13-18 represent the happiness and blessedness of the man that findeth wisdomnot the wisdom of this world which is foolishness with God, and which is earthly, [R1520 : page 126] sensual and often devilish (1 Cor. 3:19; Jas. 3:15), but the wisdom of meekness that is from above, and is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." (Jas. 3:13,14,17.) Those who have this kind of wisdomviz., that attitude of heart and mind which fits us to receive the instruction of the Lord and to profit by itare sure to get understanding of whatever truth is meat in due season for them. "The wise shall understand." And in the understanding of God's ways there is joy and peace and blessing which the world can neither give nor take away. Verse 18 is a beautiful reference to the restitution to the trees of life and the Edenic bliss, of all who shall "lay hold upon" and "retain" that heavenly wisdom of meekness and entire submission to the will of God. And truly, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
VERSES 19,20. It was this same kind of wisdom, described above as pure, peaceable, merciful and kind, that actuated God when he established the heavens and founded the earth. And in consequence we see the beautiful harmony of the material universe, and experience the blessings of those beneficent laws of nature so beautifully adapted to our necessities.
VERSES 21-26 are words which we cannot well afford to disregard: "Sound wisdom and discretion" (wise policy) are not only the course to eternal life, but even in the present time they bring grace, the favor of God, and preserve us from fear and from stumbling; and the Lord will keep the feet of all such from being caught in the snares of the adversary.
II. QUAR., LESSON VII., MAY 14, PROV. 12:1-15.
Golden Text"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise."Prov. 11:30.
The simple teachings of these proverbs are so plain as to need no explanation; but they are worthy of careful and prayerful pondering. They suggest a series of questions for self-examination which every child of God would do well to propound to himself in the quiet retreat of his accustomed place of prayer. Let him not ask himself, Am I perfect in every thought, word and deed, knowing that none of the fallen are so; but let him ask (verse 1), Do I love instruction and knowledge? am I seeking for it daily in the line of God's Word and providences? and am I ready to consider and heed reproof rather than to spurn and resent it? VERSE 2. Are the purposes of my heart all pure and upright, bringing with them a constant sense of the Lord's favor? VERSE 3. Am I rooted and grounded in the principles of righteousness, so that I will not swerve and cannot be moved? VERSE 4. Am I faithfully acting my part in my station in lifein my relationships to my fellow-men and my family?
VERSE 5. Am I keeping a vigilant guard over my thoughts, that they stray not into forbidden paths? VERSE 6. Am I ever ready to defend the righteous against the snares of the wicked? In these days when the wicked are devising perverse doctrines to overthrow the faith of the righteous, am I zealous in my endeavors to establish them in the right ways of the Lord? VERSES 7 and 8 are precious promises to the righteous. VERSE 9. "He that is despised and laboreth for himself is better than he that aimeth after honor and lacketh bread." How true!
VERSE 10. The truly righteous extend their tender mercies to the lower creation, as well as to human kind. VERSE 11. The true child of God is no idler or visionary dreamer. VERSES 12-14. The rewards of virtue and the penalties of wrong-doing are sure to follow, sooner or later, and every act will meet its just deserts in due time.
VERSE 15 cannot be too carefully considered"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes." Herein is the danger of an evil course: it is deceptive to those who take it: the wrong-doer, having succeeded in justifying himself, finds the downward course smooth and slippery, until the retracing of his steps becomes almost impossible. "But he that hearkeneth unto the counsel of the Lord is wise."
The Golden Text is very suggestive. A righteous life may indeed be compared to a tree of life of whose virtues others may partake and live. And blessed are those whose wise and righteous course of life becomes a constant incentive to virtue, winning others away from the path of sin and ungodliness to righteousness, peace, faith and trust in God.
II. QUAR., LESSON VIII., MAY 21, PROV. 23:29-35.
Golden Text"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."Prov. 20:1.
Here we have a pen picture of the drunkard, true to life; and those who pursue this folly find themselves finally bound in the galling yoke of a terrible slavery. Would that this curse were banished from every land. And, thank God, the time is not far distant when, under the established Kingdom of God, this evil shall be thoroughly and promptly dealt with. No such stumbling stones as enticing saloons will then be permitted to stand in the way to tempt the weak. Gather out the stumbling stones and cast up a highway for the people, says the Prophet (Isa. 62:10); and when this is done not a single evillicensed or unlicensedshall be permitted a footing.
But a highway, a broad thoroughfare (the established new covenant), gently sloping upward to life (for a grand reversal of public sentiment will make the way easy of ascent) will be there; and the ransomed of the Lord (the whole human race) shall go up thereon. Every step in this way shall bring its reward of peace and joy: and they shall come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads ...and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isa. 35:10.) Blessed times of restitution and refreshing! Our hearts sing for joy in anticipation of the nearness of those blessings for all mankind.
II. QUAR., LESSON IX., MAY 28, PROV. 31:10-31.
This lesson is poorly chosen: it is an ideal woman, pictured by an uninspired pen, which is not at all the present ideal. This is not a part of Solomon's writing, but, as stated in verse 1, was written by King Lemuel. We have no sympathy with the thought that a true wife should purchase fields and plant vineyards (verse 16), spin, weave, even toiling into the night (verse 18,19), and rising before daylight prepare breakfast (verse 15); and all this while her husband, well fed and well clothed, sits a member of the City Councils.Verse 23.
The Golden Text is the best of this lesson; especially the latter clause. The Christian woman, like the Christian man, while careful to be faithful in the duties of home and family will "seek first [chiefly] the kingdom of God and [conformity to] its righteous requirements," making the fields, vineyards, silks and wealth quite secondary considerations. Few, if any, women of the Lord's choicefew of those who will be of his "little flock"will have all the points of Lemuel's ideal woman.
DEAR BROTHER:We would have liked so much to be with you at the Memorial this year, as once or twice before. However, we were present with you in spirit. At about the same time you and others of the Church were commemorating the death of our precious Redeemer, we, in this place, were assembled for the same purpose, there being twenty-two present, seven of whom symbolized by immersion the entire consecration and baptism of their wills into Christ.
We enjoyed a very precious season: our dear Head seemed to be very near and dear to us at that particular time. We also remembered our loving Father, and how much it must have cost him to give such a valuable gift as a ransom for us. In closing, we sang Hymn 276, and went each to our homes, there to ponder over all that occurred on that memorable night and the day following, in which he was delivered for our offenses.
We trust, dearly beloved in the Lord, that you likewise enjoyed sweet communion with Him who loved us and gave himself for us. May we, even as he did, be true to our consecration, until the sacrifice is wholly consumed upon the altar. This is the earnest prayer of
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:We observed the Lord's Memorial Supper at our house on the night of the 30th. Though few in numbers (twelve), and poor in oratory, we had a blessed season of harmonious communion, while with much joy of heart we symbolized the appropriation to our unworthy selves of the life and [page 128] righteousness of our Redeemer, and pledged ourselves afresh to follow voluntarily in his footsteps even unto death. Pray for us, dear brother, that by his grace we may faithfully fulfil our covenants.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:Our little meetings proved a season of sweet refreshing and communion to the few permitted to meet together. We spent parts of two days in study and thanksgiving, ending last evening by keeping our Lord's supper in commemoration of his death. After a careful study of the symbols, bread and wine, discerning the Lord's broken body and shed blood, realizing that the whole body or "loaf" is to be broken as the head has been, and thanking God for the gift of his Son and for the privilege of being broken in his service, we gladly partook of the emblems. Those of "like precious faith" know from experience the blessedness and peace which come to our Father's children at such times.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:About eight interested ones met here to commemorate the death of our dear Redeemer. In the afternoon we had a grand experience meetinggrand because each one had something to say about the wonderful way he had found the precious truths now due to the truth hungry.
The meeting was opened by the reading of the first chapter of 2 Peter. Especially appreciated were the words: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
In the evening we came together to partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice our dear Master made on the cross for our redemption, and it was truly an impressive time. Brother Cole conducted the service by prayer and reading appropriate Scriptures, followed by some profitable remarks which were listened to with earnest interest. Others also spoke with much feeling and gratitude for such a display of God's love for poor humanity.
We remembered the dear brethren and sisters elsewhere who were enjoying the same blessed privilege, knowing that the same love and affection for our dear Master filled your hearts as it did ours, and doubting not that you remembered us with the same kind feelings.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:On Thursday evening, March 30th, at 7:30 P.M., the Anniversary of our Lord's death was celebrated at my house. There were eighteen in attendance, the number being larger than on any previous occasion. The meeting was opened by an appropriate hymn, followed by prayer; then another hymn, after which a portion of Scripture was read and a suitable article selected from the TOWER.
We considered the true import of the emblems, how they not only signified our Lord's sacrifice by which we are justified to human life and all its rights, but also how they signified our own consecration to be joined in sacrifice with him and to be dead with him. With additional remarks I endeavored to make the subject clear, and as plain as possible. After the lesson we sang another hymn, then prayed, after which the sacrament was administered. Then a final prayer and closing hymn.
I was very glad to read Brother Adamson's letter in March 15th TOWER. It did me much good. The next day after reading it, I started out to distribute some tracts. A few days later a gentleman called to thank me for the tract I had left at his office, and desired to know whether he could not get more for his Sunday School. Have supplied him with 150 copies of Thy Word is Truth, which he has promised to distribute next Sunday. I hope some good may result therefrom. On a separate sheet I enclose his subscription to the TOWER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:For the Memorial Supper and all day Friday meetings, we obtained the use of a small Baptist meeting house. About sixty brethren and sisters of this city and vicinity met to commemorate the Lord's death. We had a very blessed season, the Lord manifesting his grace among us. On Friday about forty gathered for a season of Bible study and communion. Friday evening we had baptism services, and fifteen symbolized their immersion into Christ. Since then four others have asked to be baptised.