The view is encouraging. The realization of our hopes seems to draw on apace with the gloom and perplexity of earth. Statesmen are alarmed at the fearlessness of anarchists. The representatives of Great Britain have been butchered in daylight in Ireland. In Russia the Nihilists are so bold and so numerous that the coronation of the present Czar has been postponed until now, and only with the greatest caution, are the arrangements now being made. Two attempts on the Czar's life have already been discovered and frustrated, one being to cause an explosion by use of electricity, and another prepared caps filled with explosives to be worn by Nihilists and thrown at the Czar during applause. The persecution of the Jews still continues in Russia and they are fleeing the country. The government has neglected to interfere boldly, probably because it hopes to thus appease the restless element of the population.
Prussia which only a few years ago expelled the Bishops of Papacy, now feels the restlessness of socialism among her people, and is receiving back the Church of Rome with open arms, hoping thereby to maintain a stronger hold upon the people.
In this land, free from the extravagance and oppression of kings, there is no little trouble and perplexity. Capital and Labor are daily arraying themselves against each other more decidedly. Men of low estate, view with suspicion the rapid growth of large corporations and monopolies. Strikes are the order of the day and capitalists are sore distressed. Used to large incomes and intent on wealth and luxury, they feel that they cannot yield the laborer a larger share of the profits. Workmen covet a larger share of luxury and are groaning for what they cannot get until "Gentile Times" have ended and the kingdom of Christ is established in the earth. Yes, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together"..."waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God"—waiting until the "little flock" is glorified and shall deliver them from the bondage of sin and death, into the liberty of sons of God. (Rom. 8:19-22.)
We can sympathize with all these troubled classes—with kings in their supposed divine right to rule; with the restless peoples in their desires for liberty; with capitalists in their desires to have all the advantages which their wealth gives, and in their endeavor to maintain a superior social standing; and we can sympathize with the mechanic in his belief that all men are created free and with equal rights to the blessings of heaven; we can but agree to his logic also, that to obtain his rights from the world, he must insist on them.
But while selfishness is the controlling motive among men, their different interests must necessarily conflict; and not until the kingdom of God is established can the rights of men be properly adjusted.
The Church—both Papal and Protestant—is largely controlled by the influence of governments and wealthy men. It will rapidly become the tool and mouthpiece of these, and they all will go down together, fighting against God and liberty. (Rev. 19:19-20.)
When these things now beginning to come to pass were published by us in 1876, men scoffed and asked if we were prophets. We answered no, but that God's Word as a telescope showed all these things and more, to the eye of faith. At the same time we showed that God's special favor was due to pass away from the nominal [R357 : page 1] Gospel Church though it would still continue to really consecrated individuals; and that the favor would return again in some form to the Jew in 1878 as foretold by Paul and the Prophets. (Rom. 11:25, Jer. 16:13,14.) At God's appointed time a Jew happened to be Premier of England; the famous Berlin conference happened to take place in that very year; and it happened that by that conference, Palestine was put under the protection of Great Britain; and since then it has been free to the Jew so that he may be a land-owner. Thus in the very year, it happened (?) that privileges and favors came to the Jew which he had not enjoyed for over 1800 years. Now they are being persecuted and driven out by various peoples, and many will go and are going to Palestine.
Yet bear in mind, "Gentile Times" do not fully end as scripturally shown until 1914 A.D.; consequently their overthrow may be less rapid than would now seem probable. The trouble may be expected as birth pangs to a mother—each succeeding one more severe until full deliverance. This is Paul's illustration of it. (1 Thes. 5:3) It is in fact the birth of a new era or age; and its birth involves pain and death to the present age and its corrupt systems and customs.
Let us remember, too, the words of Jesus, that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Hence, if Gentile Times end in 1914, the Jews will not have an independent national existence before then. This furnishes ample time for their regathering and Jerusalem's rebuilding on her old heaps.
As it has always been, so now the teachings of God's Word are not recognized even when thus strikingly fulfilled, except by those "taught of God." How true today—"Who hath believed our report (doctrine—teaching) and to whom is the arm (power) of the Lord revealed?" Only to a few—a little flock—his special favored friends, have the plans of the Great Architect been shown.
As we look inward at the progress of truth, we find much to encourage and strengthen us. Among the hundreds of letters recently received one from the West tells how, from a torn fragment of ZION'S WATCH TOWER found wrapping a store parcel, nourishment and strength was gained, and an appetite for more produced—how by and by a letter from a friend in Massachusetts mentioned the same and gave our address. Now, they in turn have some to loan to neighbors. So it seems with all, who now hear the "glad tidings." Just as with the early church, all love to tell the story. It so warms and fills our own hearts that it becomes our greatest privilege and chief employ to—
It is wonderful, too, how ripe some seem to be for the message, by their promptness and obedience quite putting to shame some who have had far more instruction and privilege. We recall two instances of this sort reporting this month, the prompt obedience of whom, we can only attribute to full consecration to GOD. One brother in Texas, a Steward and Class-Leader in the M.E. Church, says he received and read "Food" very carefully. He felt convinced as to his duty, and had already resigned his connection with the church and become a free man in Christ, stepping out from the barriers of creeds to study the Word of God unbiased by human traditions.
The other was a minister in the M.E. Church: He writes that he had received from some one, and read, the December and January numbers of the WATCH TOWER. Careful study of those papers and his Bible, convinced him that "the dear old Methodist Church is a part of the 'Image of the Beast;'" and while he loved it much, he loved Christ Jesus more and must obey God rather than men. He has cancelled his obligations to the M.E. Church and engaged as a servant (minister) of the Church "whose names are written in heaven." He says that Satan suggested that he retain his "parchment" as evidence of authority and right as a minister, but he gained the victory and concluded that a commission from the Lord was of superior value.
Our efforts being mainly directed to the feeding of the sheep and lambs (those already in the fold—starving) we seldom learn of the effects of this "strong meat" upon the worldly. Three notable cases we might mention: One wrote to us from England, how, having lost all confidence in religious professors, he had become a scoffer and was on the downward grade. He received a copy of "Food," and became enraptured with the real beauties of God's character and plan. He donated $25 to the tract fund and has given and loaned many of the pamphlets to others where he feels sure they will do good. Two of other cases report this month; one had been, he writes, profane and unbelieving but the reading of "Food" had been greatly blessed to him and he will henceforth be a reformed man. We make an extract from the letter of the other.
Reports from the brethren laboring in a public way, are encouraging. Bro. Sunderlin reports interesting meetings near Arlington, N.Y. Bros. Leigh and Spears have started on a trip down the Ohio river in a small boat belonging to the latter. They purpose (D.V.) to visit all the river towns between here and Cincinnati or St. Louis, spending about a week at each. This will require all summer or longer. The Lord bless them and their hearers, as also all the brethren holding forth the word of life—the glad tidings of great joy. We subjoin extracts from a few letters.
MY DEAR SIR:—I should esteem it a favor if you would send me a dozen copies of "Food for Thinking Christians" and about the same number of "Tabernacle Teachings." Eternity alone will reveal the good these books are doing, and several of my friends here are hungering for more information upon these great themes.
DEAR BROTHER:—I received the book safely. I am very glad to say that I am very much interested in the truth, and I feel thankful that it has been placed within my reach. I call you brethren because I feel you are such. These glorious teachings have brought me from the broad road to destruction and have placed me on the road that leads to life. I have been for a few years back a poor drunkard and a profane swearer, till about a year and a half ago, when, through God's loving kindness Bro. Keith came here and declared the glorious teachings of God's Word. And I thank God that I now have been begotten of the spirit; and I am willing to present this life and this body a living sacrifice to God. I am willing to give my all for Jesus and the glad tidings. I thank God that I am what I am and he is helping me to understand His Word.
MY DEAR BROTHER:—I sincerely thank you for advice and encouragement in your last letter. My deepest gratitude, however, I owe to our Heavenly Father, for I begin to realize how he uses his agencies in the manifestation of his love. If Jesus condescends to recognize so unworthy an object as me, I will rejoice and continue to strive, so to run, as to obtain the prize of the high calling.
The "Tabernacle Tract" and January number of ZION'S WATCH TOWER were rich feasts of spiritual food to my hungry soul. My feelings can best be described by the language of the two Apostles, who unknowingly had talked with Jesus, on their way to Emmaus after his resurrection: "Did not our hearts burn within us." Oh what joy to the Christians' heart, is the hope that we shall reign with Jesus evermore. All the Tracts and papers you sent me I have tried to loan judiciously. The Tabernacle tract and January number of TOWER are so excellent, I want you to send me some of each; also about ten copies more of "Food." Enclosed find ($10.00) ten dollars to be added to the Tract Fund. May the Lord greatly magnify your efforts for good, and lead all his children to an action of duty, through the spirit of love and obedience. Hoping and striving for increased light and knowledge of the Scriptures and to be aided by your efforts, I remain your brother, through fellowship in the Spirit. __________.