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MILLIONS of people have had their attention drawn to the teachings of THE WATCH TOWER and the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES respecting our thought that the Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation is due some time about October, 1914. Eight million volumes of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES are in the hands of the public. Some who scoffed, railed, laughed and talked about the impossibility of our expectations are startled by the suddenness with which the great European war has started. All admit that there never has been such a war before, and that there never again can be such a war. Ignoring the Bible, all admit that the consequences of this war will be so terrible, the impoverishment of the nations so great, that wiser counsels must prevail in the future. We see from the Bible viewpoint that the result of this war will lead up to the wrecking of our present civilization in a period of anarchy. Whatever way the war may eventuate, it will surely be unsatisfactory. Discontent will more than ever prevail amongst the masses. A reign of terror throughout the civilized world is to be expected as a result.
All these things we have presented in our publications, sermons, etc., also in the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which already has been shown to audiences totaling more than four millions. This war is riveting conviction upon the minds of many respecting the correctness of our expectations. Their question is, "What next?" And they will not think of looking for an answer in the direction of the ministers of the nominal Churches, who they now know have been keeping them in the dark and trying to prevent their obtaining the true light from God's Word, as it is now shining amongst the Bible Students.
Now is the time for our moderation of thought, speech and manner. When our dear relatives, friends, neighbors and the public begin to inquire of us respecting the horoscope of God's Word, we should be very meek, gentle, patient in our replies. Any haughty manner, any spirit of "I told you so," would be a rebuff to those who are now inclined to look to us for assistance, guidance, instruction in the teachings of God's Word. Sympathetically we should put ourselves in their places and treat them most kindly, telling them that this war is probably connected with the great anarchy which is to follow; that it will probably weaken the nations as nothing else would have done, and thus give the discontented element of society, not only an excuse, but an opportunity, for overthrowing all governments and precipitating the world into the most terrible calamity ever known.
We recommend that the distresses of the Time of Trouble be not so much discussed as the grand outcome, the MESSIANIC KINGDOM, to follow. We should help our friends and neighbors to look beyond the dark cloud to the silver lining, assuring them that God's Word implies that this Time of Trouble is necessary as a preparation for Messiah's Kingdom. The plowshare of trouble must first prepare human hearts for the sowing of the good seed of the next Dispensation. As we read, "When Thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."—Isaiah 26:9.
Let us always remember our ordination, or commission, or authority, to preach—as we read, "To bind up [R5521 : page 250] the broken-hearted, to declare the deliverance of the captives." Let the world, the flesh and the Devil break men's hearts, if they will. Let the great Time of Trouble break them, if it will. Our commission is not to break hearts, but to heal them, to bind them up, to pour in the gracious promises of God's Word, sympathetically. The promises are represented symbolically as the oil. Thus shall we best show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9.) Thus shall we best assist those who sadly need our assistance. We must remember that we were equally in the dark but a short time ago, and that our neighbors and friends are no more responsible for being in the dark than we were. It should, therefore, be ours to excuse rather than to berate or faultfind.
It is not for us to determine who will be of the foolish virgin class and fail to get into the Marriage, and thus as a result pass into the great tribulation and get a lesser reward. Nevertheless, we must feel some interest and curiosity in respect to our Master's parabolic prophecy. While it has been true that Christian brethren charged with the cares of this life and therefore not filled with the Spirit, the oil, and lacking the light of the Lamp, have repeatedly said to us, "I wish that I could see that as you do," or, "Show me that in a few words," nevertheless they have been unwilling to take the time necessary for proper investigation and the filling of the Spirit. All this is, we believe, still more abundantly true now.
Many of this overcharged class, neglecters of their Covenant of Sacrifice, will be stimulated by the outward signs of our time. Doubtless many of them will study and come clearly into the light and to a fulness of consecration to the Lord's service. Some of these may come in with such fervent zeal that they may be accounted of the Lord worthy of a place in the Bride Class. Others may come along so slowly that they will be of the Great Company Class, the foolish virgins of the parable.
The conclusion of the parable shows us that by the time the foolish virgin class shall have become thoroughly awake, thoroughly convinced of the Divine Plan, etc., and fully awake to the privileges of their consecration vows—by that time the Little Flock Class will have passed into the wedding, and the door to that glorious privilege and opportunity will be forever shut. The Master is to have but one Bride Class. The others, therefore, will be rejected and must pass through great tribulation, eventually to come to a glorious place on the spirit plane as the antitypes of the Levites, while the faithful Little Flock will be glorified as the Royal Priesthood, in association with their Master.
The point we would particularly impress is that we should all be praying and striving for an abundance of the fruits of the Holy Spirit—manifestations of patience, gentleness, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love—that thus we may be enabled to render any assistance to those who now will be inquiring. It is a special privilege for us to be the representatives of the Lord and His Divine Plan. But instead of making us haughty, proud, disdainful, it should make us very humble, gentle and loving, remembering that such honors are not deserved by any of us, but are of the Lord's grace.