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THE opening of a New Year is a most favorable time for special circumspection—for reviewing the year past, for the looking forward to the things coming upon the earth, and for a general survey of present conditions in the world, in the Church, and particularly in our own hearts. This circumspection should be taken with a view to our growth in knowledge and in grace—not from idle curiosity nor from boastful self-sufficiency.
While Church and State are in many respects totally separate, nevertheless throughout what we term Christendom they are so closely related and intertwined as to appear one, and this oneness we believe the Scriptures to teach will increase until for all practical purposes they will be one. We surmise that this will be accomplished within the next three years. The Committee on Church Federation appointed some time ago is to meet in December, 1908. Conditions during the present year will undoubtedly cause the idea of Church Federation to take firmer hold than ever upon the public mind, especially upon the clerics, and our expectation, therefore, is that two years later it will be an accomplished fact. Quite probably by that time some arrangement will have been effected between the Episcopal system and other Protestant denominations, whereby the clergy of the latter will all be recognized by the former—probably by the Episcopal clergy in some manner imparting the apostolic succession. Thereafter any not recognized by the system will be in sore straits, condemned as unorthodox, and without right or authority or privilege to preach or teach. This condition of things, as pointed out in these columns twenty-eight years ago, we look for as the fulfilment of Rev. 13:15-17.
In the Lord's providence the increase of light and knowledge preparatory for the great Millennial day has brought to Christendom great riches. Not only have the millions of Christendom been more constantly employed than ever, but by reason of education their employment has yielded larger fruitage, and in combination with machinery the results have surely been five-fold. No wonder, then, that the world's wealth has been enormously increased. As might be expected, however, all have not profited equally by this great gain. While all have profited in great measure, the master minds—especially those endowed with large acquisitiveness—have profited chiefly by the favorable conditions. As a result we see that one-seventh of the people own six-sevenths of the wealth. If on the one hand this condition of things seems hard and inequitable, let us remember on the other hand that it is the legitimate fruit of the law of selfishness, under which the world has operated now for six thousand years. That the field in many respects has been a fair and open one is evidenced by the fact that some of the wealthiest people of today started life in the humblest circumstances. If some of these in gaining their wealth have used unscrupulous means, let us remember that they did nothing more than many of their neighbors who had less success in life—nothing more than what the majority of mankind would have done had they possessed opportunity and the intellectual talent to improve it. This being true, it behooves us to look with generosity upon the rich, and to note to their credit that many of them have been very benevolent both in public and in private. Let us remember, also, that many of the most successful have not gained their wealth by grinding the poor nor by treating them as slaves, but on the contrary have paid the best wages, treated their employees most honorably, and really have been benefactors to the world in that their business acumen enabled them to launch large projects, which gave profitable employment and large wages to many of their fellows, who would have been incapable of such management.
Many are able to take the reasonable, just, philosophical view of the subject above presented so long as they are doing reasonably well themselves; but when the pinch comes and they begin to be in want they reason differently. They forget a part of the truth on the subject—they think merely of the fact that in nature [R4109 : page 4] and providence we are surrounded by wonderful bounties and vast opportunities, and in the scramble for wealth which these produced others got the lion's share. From this standpoint they reason that the wealth of the world and the increment belong equally to the wise and the unwise, to the learned and the ignorant, to the ambitious and the careless, and with this thought in view they are inclined to demand their share and to hold that anyone who has more than his per capita portion must have stolen it from his fellows. But since they joined in the scramble, hoping to be amongst the more successful, even acknowledging thus the principles of selfish competition, it is with bad grace that they now especially find fault with those who have been more successful than they, instead of finding fault with the system which permitted, fostered and developed present conditions. Indeed, however strenuous may be the results of present conditions of the world, we can fully justify divine providence in permitting matters to take the course which has led up to the present condition of things—up to the time of trouble which will mark the consummation of this age and the inauguration of the Millennium.
Without selfish ambition to spur men on, without the law of necessity to speed the movements of the slothful, the tendency of mankind would have been toward a barbaric indolence, contentment with a hut instead of a palace, satisfied with signs and grunts and hieroglyphics instead of an education. Undoubtedly, all the fallen conditions considered, the Lord did the best thing for the race to permit selfish ambition to crack the whip and drive the remainder of the world toward a higher civilization than that into which they had sunk, as described by the Apostle in Romans, chapters 1 and 2.
The Lord through the Apostle calls our attention to the fact that in the end of this age there would be a tendency on the part of the worldly wise to say that there would be no change of dispensation; that all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation and will so continue—that there will be no change. This is brought out as an answer that will be made to some who will claim the presence of the Lord and the change of dispensation—just as we are doing. But in accord with the Word of God, we are not heeding these worldly wise, but are hearkening to the voice of him that speaketh from heaven, which assures us of a great change, and that it is now at the door: (1) A change of rulers, the Prince of Light taking from the prince of darkness the sceptre of this world and binding, [R4110 : page 4] restraining, him for a thousand years, that during the same he shall not deceive the nations. (Rev. 20:3.) (2) The overthrow of all present institutions built up under the influence of the prince of darkness, and fostered by ignorance, superstition and selfishness, and the substitution of a reign of equality and love which shall lift all men from the depths of degradation, mental, physical and moral, and bring them all to a completeness of perfection if they will, and thus to a plane of equality, destroying the unwilling as mischievous and injurious in the Second Death.
Emphasizing this change which he will bring about, the Lord through the Prophet declares that he will not forever plow the field and sow, but in its appropriate season he would do a reaping work. We perceive that the entire field was not sown with the good seed of the Gospel, but only a small, limited area, and that for now nearly nineteen centuries the Lord has watered and harrowed this sowing, and that the harvest time of the Gospel Age is come. True to our Lord's parable the Adversary was permitted to do a contaminating work—to over-sow the field with tare seed, and as a consequence the acceptable crop now to be gathered is a small one in comparison with what would be expected by those who have not been able to distinguish between wheat and tares, between consecrated believers and nominal Christians. To our understanding of the Bible, as set forth in the volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, this harvest work has been in progress since October, 1874, and will be completed within forty years—by October, 1914. Within that time we fully expect that all the wheat will be gathered into the garner, glorified, and that the tares will be gathered into bundles, if indeed by that time their burning will not have commenced. We do not understand the burning of the tares will be with literal fire, nor that their destruction will mean the destruction of the individuals, but merely that they will cease to exist as imitation wheat and take their true stand with the world as members thereof, without part or lot in the inheritance of the "saints in light."
From the foregoing it will be seen that to our understanding Christendom entered upon the final seven years of harvest time in October, 1907. Promptly on time the present panic gave Christendom a convulsive tremor, and it is our anticipation that the entire seven years thus started will witness a succession of panics and difficulties, each pressing a little more upon the interests of mankind, the rich as well as the poor, and each bringing conditions to a little harder plane than its predecessor, until, with the close of the seven years, during 1915, according to the Bible, we expect that anarchy will gain the upper hand of control throughout Christendom, overthrowing present institutions, civil and religious, financial and social, and in a general way plunging the poor world into the most awful trouble it has ever experienced—a trouble so dark, so terrible, that in referring to it the Master said, "Except those days be shortened there would no flesh survive." But then he added, that because of the Elect the days would be shortened. The Elect Church, at that time in glory with the Lord, and assuming the authority of the world, will at the proper moment intervene, and with divine power and wisdom bring order out of the confusion, and establish in the world righteous conditions, which the Scriptures assure us will then be welcomed by all mankind. Those now disposed to fight for present conditions will then, as a result of the chastening experience, be glad to look for and accept the new order of things—the reign of righteousness and love under the Millennial rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords, with whom in his throne will be associated [R4110 : page 5] the Bride, the Lamb's Wife—the Elect Little Flock of this Gospel Age.
We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for which is already in the hands of our readers in the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them; but showing our own faith by our works. Even our enemies must concede, and many of them do concede, that the facts as they have developed year by year since we began these presentations in 1876 have most wonderfully, most remarkably, corroborated our expectations and continue to do so. For instance, the Jews had not thought of returning to their own land when, in 1878, we pointed out that the time for favor to that people had chronologically begun, in fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith my God. Speak ye comfortably unto Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her appointed hour is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." (Isa. 40:1,2.) Zionism was not dreamed of at that time, and began to take practical form seventeen years afterward.
"A CONFEDERACY!"—ISAIAH 8:12
We pointed out from the Scriptures a federation of Protestants which would receive its life or vitality through association with the Episcopal Church, and that this combination of Protestants would be one side of the great scroll of the heavens while Roman Catholicism would be the other side of the scroll, and that these would not unite, but "roll together as a scroll" during this harvest time, and because of the shaking incident to the time of trouble and anarchy with which the age would end. But not until seventeen years later was the idea of federation brought forward. Formerly it was urged everywhere that the cause of righteousness was advanced by the competition between various denominations of Christendom. Now, however, the federation is surely near, and it will have an important part to play in connection with the trouble coming upon the faithful Little Flock, and later on it will receive by divine permission as complete an overthrow as came upon the Jewish institution, its prototype, in A.D. 70. In 1878 Christendom in general possessed faith in the precious blood of Christ, a ransom price: we pointed out from the Scriptures that a testing would come upon all and chiefly along this line, that a thousand would fall to one who would stand (Psalm 91:7); that the cross of Christ was set for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel—to Natural Israel in its harvest time, and to Spiritual Israel, Christendom, in this present harvest time of this age.
As we look about today, we see, alas, how truly the Scriptures on this subject have been fulfilled. Not a college or seminary that we know of in the world teaches the doctrine of redemption, the very foundation of the Gospel. Some of them teach Evolution, Higher Criticism and morality; others which do not openly so teach give similar instruction in a private way—in that the professors are known to hold these views. Amongst the ministers of all denominations the same thing is true: probably not one minister in ten can be found who would declare unequivocally that it is his faith that the death of Christ was a ransom price for Adam and his race—that without his death as our Redeemer there would have been no atonement for sin, and no forgiveness of sin, and no future life for any—the plain teaching of Scripture. Moreover, these same errors have stumbled and overthrown the faith of the majority of professing Christians, remarkably few of whom would be found who know what justification by faith means, and who believe that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, that by his stripes we are healed, and that the chastisements necessary for the securing of our peace with God were laid upon him who died, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us back into harmony with God. As for the coming generation, it is growing up in unbelief as respects the foundation principles of the real Gospel of Christ. It is being instructed in "another Gospel," which is not another, because there is truly no good tidings except that which God himself has provided, the forgiveness of sins through the merit of the precious blood of Christ. Not only in the colleges, but also in the High Schools, and now more latterly in the Grammar Schools—yea, even in the Sunday Schools—the theories of Higher Criticism in respect to the Bible, and of Evolution as respects our race, are being taught. The one undermines faith in the Bible, the other puts before the mind of the youth another theory, the reverse of the Scriptural one, which—supported by teachers and professors and ministers and others—causes the Scriptural theory of a perfect Adam and his fall by original sin, his redemption by a Savior, and his ultimate restitution in the "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken"—it makes all of these seem absurd, unreasonable.
Similarly the Scriptural presentation of the time of trouble has been found to be correct. Step by step the conditions have been approximating the great climax which the Scriptures declare. Education and general enlightenment and invention—blessings which belong to the morning of the new dispensation about to dawn—have awakened the world to its present rapid pace, and have turned the minds of the masses towards selfishness and the worship of Mammon in a remarkable degree. This Mammon worship is shared in not only by the wealthy but also by the poor. One man chases after a fortune of one thousand dollars, another after one of a million, another after hundreds of millions, but nearly all are in pursuit of wealth. If it be claimed that this is more true of the people of the United States of America than of Europe, we reply that this may be so, because in every sense of the word the people of America are awakened at least ten years in advance of Europe; but indications are that the whole world is getting awake very rapidly, and its awakening will be a ruder one than ours, with no less strenuous results.
We are not faulting the people for their awakening in the morning time; we are not faulting them that in their hunger for a share of the wonderful blessings which God has granted in the present time they have been moving with selfish energy to the protection of their rights and the acquirement of greater privileges by means of labor unions and federations. We would be most inclined to find fault with the unjust and unreasonable demands and methods sometimes employed. And yet even here we sympathize in great measure when we remember that these, hungry for their pro rata of present blessings, have not the guidance of the Lord, his Word and his Spirit, to show them the wise and proper path. Hence some of their moves not only result disastrously to themselves, but sometimes inflict needless hardship upon some of the best-intentioned capitalists and employers. On the other hand, we must not be surprised that capitalists of keen mind, reckoning life as a battle and a game, have exercised their quick intelligence to strengthen their own position, to maintain advantage in their own hands, and to increase the same by combinations and trusts, eliminating competition and advantaging themselves in general. What more could we expect from natural men operating under natural laws, growing more and more disrespectful of the divine Word, and more and more into sympathy with the Evolution theory—that it is the law of nature to have a survival of the fittest, and that the unfit need not be sympathized with too much, but rather be allowed to drop out of the race for wealth and station and even for the right to live? Thus we find ourselves at the threshold of what we believe to be the last seven years of this Gospel dispensation.
All financiers must ultimately agree that the present financial spasm was directly caused by selfishness on the part of the bankers, etc., and nearly all the wealthy are either directly or indirectly bankers or bank directors. Shrewd bankers realize that their business prospers in proportion as the volume of money currency is small in comparison to the amount of business. Hence the money of a country is sought to be restrained in volume, and at the time the present panic broke out amounted in this country to about $24.50 per capita. It has since been increased by the issue of more National Bank notes, etc., to about $33.00 for each person of population, which is larger than that of any other country. However, the business enterprise, etc., here is so much greater than elsewhere that in our judgment even yet we have only one-third the amount of money that the country really needs. The bankers of the world practically control the governments in this matter, and they advocate as small a volume as possible—as small as will be safe not to risk a panic. Why? Because they make their money on interest and discounts, and it is to their advantage to have the public short of money and needing to borrow. The scarcer money can be made without injuring prosperity and promoting a panic the greater will be the demands made upon them by borrowers, and the greater their profits.
The enormous amount of their profits and surplus above the capital stock is advertised by the banks with pride, as showing their prosperity and soundness. If money were three times as plentiful interest rates would be about one-third what they are today, and the bankers would not be so much more prosperous than the remainder of the people. As an illustration of how the scarcity of money operates to the advantage of the banks, we note the case of a Pittsburgher who recently got into financial trouble and applied to an institution of this city whose capital and surplus amount to many millions of dollars. After examining his property they let him have $250,000 on credit, and took from him a mortgage for $350,000—thus clearing, because of the necessities of the case, $100,000. Had money been more plentiful that borrower would have found many ready to come to his assistance on much cheaper terms. We are mentioning this matter in detail to call attention to the fact that selfishness is at the bottom of nearly all financial troubles, and it is selfishness that will be to blame for the final collapse which the Scriptures predict and which we expect in 1915.
We have already noted (Vol. IV., chap. VIII.) that the demonetization of silver was a matter instigated by the bankers. We have pointed out that it was inimical to the interests of the public. It lessened the money of the world by at least one-half. If silver were remonetized the business of the world would have none too much money for profitable handling, but that larger amount of money would make the banking business less profitable. Bankers tell the public that less money is necessary per capita than heretofore, because by our superior banking facilities one dollar chases around and, during a year, pays a thousand dollars worth of debts. We agree that the world has brilliant financiers, that our banking system in many respects is splendid, and that the making of one dollar do the work of a thousand is very wise for the bankers and very profitable to them. However, if the one dollar did one-third as much work as at present, the danger of panics would be proportionately decreased and the prosperity of the banks also decreased. Financial matters resemble a top, whose point is money and whose upper portion is composed of bonds, stocks, mortgages, securities representing value. So long as the top is kept spinning at a rapid rate it can stand erect upon the point, but when something occurs to overturn it it is difficult to get it to spin again. The heavy top of national debts, land values, etc., now prevailing throughout the world is too great in proportion to the world's money. But we have no thought that conditions will be materially changed. The bankers have the confidence of the public, great and small, and will continue to maintain their present power, and these and other deleterious influences will have much to do with bringing forward the great trouble in its due time, through "lack of confidence."
We are not meaning to say that the banks of the country are not sound, reliable. Quite to the contrary: they are very rich—if their wealth be measured by the securities they hold. It is our expectation that the present stress will ere long be much relieved, but we do not expect to see as great prosperity as the past few years have witnessed; rather that there will be a down grade, with repeated hitchings or spasms of trouble, in harmony with the Apostle's illustration that this trouble is coming upon the world "as travail upon a woman with child." The final spasm, which we look for in 1915, will give birth to the new dispensation of peace and blessing, the Millennial reign of Messiah, in which we hope to share, for the blessing and uplifting of the world.
What shall we do? Quite a good many are inquiring as to the wisest course in view of our expectations. If by this query is meant, How can it be escaped? Our reply is that it will be impossible to escape the coming trouble except by death, for according to the Scriptures it is to be world wide, every man's hand against his neighbor, no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in. We understand the Scriptures to teach that all of the "overcomers," the "very Elect," will be gone before 1915 and its terrible collapse, though they may pass through a considerable measure of persecution before that, and of course would share with others in [R4111 : page 7] the sorrows and perplexities of the further spasms of the trouble. Our advice in general would be, "Trust in the Lord and do good," exercise faith and the spirit of a sound mind. Remember the Lord's promise to care for all who are his, and to make all things work together for their good. Rely upon this and show your faith by your calm, quiet demeanor in the midst of trouble. As for those possessed of money, we offer the suggestion that a small home is one of the safest investments imaginable.
Should the banks some years later on become entirely insolvent, as we expect, money in them and in insurance companies, etc., would be practically lost; but a home well adapted to one's needs would still have a value. Some have queried whether or not a little farm would be profitable in the time of trouble. We reply that wherever the Lord's keeping power is there is safety; that so far as human judgment could go there would be as little safety on a farm as anywhere, for in the time we anticipate tramps and thieves will infest the country districts and beset the wayfaring man as much if not more than the city dweller. If attempting to locate a family of small children our inclination would be to prefer a town of moderate size, not a manufacturing city nor a mining village, but, if possible, a college town, inhabited by an intelligent middle class, where order would be more respected and prolonged. But the wisest and best legacy possible to leave to our friends would be a good example as respects honesty, morality and reverence for divine things. To be known to have money secreted at that time would be to invite thieves and torture and possibly death. If in the small town suggested a lot could be had sufficiently large for a back-kitchen garden, it would be desirable. That will be a time, however, for demonstrating the truthfulness of the Lord's words: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
We anticipate two more good years in connection with the harvest work. Already we notice that some who have heretofore been opponents of the Truth are surprised by the lightning-like rapidity with which the present financial trouble has come upon the country and has spread from ocean to ocean, and may yet perhaps influence Europe. They seem to read in this a corroboration of our expectations, and to be correspondingly [R4112 : page 7] more willing to investigate the more spiritual features in our presentations. Let us be prompt to avail ourselves of every opportunity for putting the Truth into the hands of the public. Some of the colporteurs write us that already they have found quite a slackening of their work. From others we have the reverse report, that when they mention that the SCRIPTURE STUDIES they are selling explain the panic and show from the Scriptures the outlook for both capital and labor they find many thereby interested to purchase, and we trust to read and become more thoroughly informed respecting all the features of the divine plan. During the next two years, even if the prosperity be not so great as at present, we expect to see the work go grandly forward, and perhaps as much or more evidence of gathered wheat as in the past. Those who cannot give all of their time to the colporteur work are again reminded of the Volunteer work, and that in this department all can serve. We are already arranging for a large output of tracts during 1908. We will contract for at least two millions at first, and from present prospects the financial sinews will not be lacking for the doubling of that number.
It remains largely in the hands of our readers to determine what shall be the output for the year 1908. Remember, that they are free and freight paid to your place. When writing about them give the quantity you would like to have, and also mention the reputed population of the district you hope to serve, and the number that will be cooperating with you in the Volunteer service. We think it not unreasonable to suppose that our Lord's estimate of treasures laid up in heaven would include such volunteer services, or any kind of service we would render to him and his cause.
We come now to the most important feature of this view of the future—of the last seven years of the harvest. While, as suggested, we anticipate that the harvest work will go on, that the Truth will be spread very widely, it is our expectation also that another part of the harvesting work will be in progress, namely, the threshing and winnowing of the wheat already gathered from the field. Before it will be ready for the garner these tribulation processes of threshing and winnowing will be expected. If our anticipation be correct, it implies that there will be peculiar trials and testings of faith and of patience and of humility and of devotion to the Lord and to the brethren, upon those who are already in the light of Present Truth. To what extent have we still the chaff and straw of worldly sentiment attaching to us as New Creatures, as grains of wheat? To what extent are these earthly interests and ambitions holding us fast? We must be set free, and the experiences to be expected will be of a kind necessary for a complete separation from the things of worldliness and sin. So far as our hearts are concerned they must reach absolute perfection of intent and endeavor, however imperfectly they may be able to control our mortal bodies: otherwise we are not fit for the Kingdom, not fit to be gathered to the garner. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The Apostle declares, "Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw followers after them." The last week of our Lord's ministry was the most eventful one of all, and the one which witnessed his greatest triumph with the people when they hailed him as King as he sat upon the ass. And yet the same week meant the severest trial upon all of his disciples and our Lord's ignominious death. So we shall not be surprised if something of a similar character should come to pass during these seven years—prosperity of the work amidst intensest opposition.
The Apostle, speaking of our day, mentions "perils amongst false brethren," and already we learn that some of these are boasting how much they shall be able to hinder the harvest work during the coming year. But we hear also the Word of the Lord assuring us that greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us. We hear his voice again saying, "Let not your hearts be troubled," and again, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." So all of the Lord's true people should feel—"None of these things move us"—none of these things shall hinder us from our own faithfulness to the Lord and to the harvest work. Let us be content to wait until the great Chief Reaper at the close shall distribute his rewards and blessings. Let us continually seek his approval, and by and by we may hear his voice saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant: Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."
It is proper here that we remind the Lord's people of the Master's words to the effect that there are just two great captains in the present conflict—that he himself is the Head and Leader of the one party, and the Adversary the head and leader of the other. He assured us that we cannot serve God and Mammon, selfishness. He implied that we might be in danger of mistaking [R4112 : page 8] which of these two masters we are serving when he said, "His servants ye are to whom ye render service." The implication is that some might be serving the Adversary and mistakenly think themselves the servants of the Lord. We urge all to think carefully along these lines, to note what have been the leadings of divine providence throughout the harvest time, to note the spirit that belongs to the work—the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of loyalty to the Word, the spirit of love for the brethren to the extent of laying down life in their service. We are also to notice the spirit or disposition of the Adversary, that it is not to build up but to pull down, that it is out of accord with the harvest work of the great Reaper, that it is self-seeking and ambitious, and disposed to raillery and to "shoot out arrows, even bitter words," against those who are seeking to serve the Lord and his cause, from whom they receive no arrows again in return.—Psa. 64:3.
Let us have in mind at the opening of this year the words of our Master to the apostles in his Gethsemane hour, "Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation." Let us remember that it was zealous Peter who most courageously said, "Lord, though all men forsake thee yet will not I!" it was he who slept while he might have been giving some words of encouragement and joined with the Master in prayer, and it was he who later on temporarily fell from his steadfastness and joined himself to the enemies of the Lord by denying him. We are glad that he ultimately recovered himself by the Lord's assistance, but how much better it would have been, how much happier for him, if he had watched and prayed. And so with us—let us follow in the footsteps of our Lord, watching and praying, walking circumspectly; let us lay down our lives for one another in the service of the Truth, not rendering evil for evil nor railing for railing, but contrariwise let us bless those who seek to injure us and pray for them, realizing that not of themselves do they these things but of the Adversary's misleading, even as we have the assurance that those who crucified the Lord were under Satan's delusion, as the Apostles say, "I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." "For if they had known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." So those who now oppose the Truth do so because their eyes are holden and their ears are holden because of the Adversary, and because they have allowed themselves to become entangled by his delusive snares and ambitions. We hope and pray for their disentanglement, their recovery, while we shun their ways.