The Supper which our Lord instituted as a remembrancer of his great sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world, is striking in its appropriateness and its simplicity. The world's great men have always sought very different means of perpetuating their memories. In whatever way they would remind their followers of their merits and their greatness, it surely has not been by a reminder and commemoration of their death—especially if, as in our Lord's case, it was a death of ignominy and shame, a death as a malefactor and criminal. Another more probably would have left instructions for medals to be struck commemorating some of his mighty works; such, for instance, as the awakening of Lazarus, or the stilling of the tempest on the sea, or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, while the multitude strewed the way with palm branches, and cried, Hosanna to the King, the heir of David!
But our Lord chose as his remembrancer that which represented what was, in his and in God's estimation, his mightiest work—his sacrifice as a sin-offering on our behalf; and that which his real followers, and they alone, would appreciate more than any other feature of his mission. True, his followers would have appreciated something commemorative of his wonderful words or works, but the worldly also could have appreciated those things. But not so the value of his death as our ransom-sacrifice, the basis of our reconciliation and atonement, which has never yet been fully apprehended and appreciated by any but the consecrated little flock—the elect. And it was for these that the remembrancer was arranged and instituted. And though a Judas was present, he was given a sop and went out from the others before the supper was ended; thus no doubt representing that in the close of this age, before the little flock will have finished their part of having fellowship with their Lord in his suffering, the sup of truth will have become so strong as to drive forth from the company and communion of the faithful all who do not rightly appreciate and value the ransom accomplished by the Lamb of God for the taking away of the sins of the world.—1 John 2:19.
As early as January letters of inquiry as to the date of the anniversary this spring began to come in; showing clearly that our Lord's death, the great event thus celebrated, is appreciated very highly as the very foundation of all our present and prospective joy in God. We rejoice that this great truth is so clearly seen and so dearly prized by so many WATCH TOWER readers.
The date of the anniversary this year will be Tuesday evening, April 21st, after 6 o'clock P.M. [R1289 : page 34] But since the date is nearly a month later than the date recognized by the Church of England and the Church of God, who will celebrate Good Friday on March 25th, it will be more satisfactory to some to have the two methods of calculation explained.
The date of the Paschal Supper at which the Jews ate a lamb, commemorative of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and of the sparing of their first-born at that time, was of course calculated by the Jewish method of reckoning time—viz., lunar time. (Exod. 12:2-14). Instead of dividing the months as we do, they allowed the new moon to mark the beginning of a new month; and the difference between sun time (solar time) and moon time (lunar time) was equalized every year by always beginning the new year with the appearing of the first new moon after the spring equinox. In celebrating their religious festivals the Jews still maintain this method of reckoning. And since our Lord, the apostles and the early Church followed this same rule for determining the date for the annual celebration of our Lord's Last Supper, we follow the same rule.
The spring equinox this year will be on March 20th; and the first new moon thereafter will appear on the afternoon of April 8th. And at 6 P.M. of that day begins the first day of the Jewish month Nisan, the first month of the Jewish sacred year. Beginning on the 1st of Nisan the Hebrews counted, and on the tenth day the Paschal Lamb was chosen. On the fourteenth day it was killed and eaten at the full of the moon;* and on the fifteenth day their Passover Feast began, lasting eight days, the first and the eighth days being observed as specially holy, as Sabbath days or high days. On the sixteenth day the omer of the first-fruits of the barley harvest was offered to the Lord, and fifty days after (Pentecost Day) they offered before the Lord two wave loaves.—Lev. 23:17.
*As the sun is a symbol of Christ's Kingdom, so a moon or month symbolized Israel as a nation. (Rev. 12:1.) The 12 and sometimes 13 lunations symbolize the tribes of that nation. The moon was at its full at the time of Christ's crucifixion. There it immediately began to wane and waned for as long as it had previously increased. So Christ's death was the turning point between the two equal parts of Israel's history. See M. DAWN, Vol. II., page 218.
As those Jews who were unclean, and hence could not keep the Passover properly in its proper season, were permitted to do so on the 14th of the second month (at the full of the next moon—Num. 9:8-13), the lesson taught seems to be that all prevented by sin and ignorance from accepting Messiah as their Redeemer, when offered to them, will have an opportunity of doing so when, in the Times of Restitution of all things, their nation or moon shall again be full of blessings in the later harvest.
These things done by the Jews every year were, as we have already seen, types of greater and grander occurrences. The choosing of the lamb on the tenth day typified how, if Israel would be blessed and recognized as first-born in the antitypical Passover, they must accept of Jesus then, five days before that Passover, and four days before his crucifixion; and it evidently was on that very date that our Lord offered himself finally to that nation—when he, as their King, rode into the city on the colt. (Compare John 12:1,12.) They, however, neglected to receive the Lamb of God, and ceased from being the first-born, even in type.
The 14th day (which this year will begin at 6 o'clock on the evening of Tuesday, April 21st, and last until 6 P.M. of the 22nd) was the day in which the Paschal lamb was to be killed and eaten; and the counting of time (doubtless divinely arranged for this very purpose) permitted the eating of the Last Supper upon the same day that the Lord was crucified. The Passover Supper of lamb and herbs and unleavened bread (fulfilling the Law, which was not ended until the cross) was eaten shortly after 6 P.M. Then followed the institution of the Memorial Supper of bread and wine, representative of the death and eating of the antitypical lamb. This thereafter, as oft as the occasion returned (yearly), was to be observed instead of the eating of the literal lamb—as the commemoration of the antitypical lamb and the greater passing over of the antitypical first born which his blood effects.
The waving of the barley sheaf of first-fruits on the 16th of Nisan ("the morrow after the Sabbath" or Passover of the 15th—Lev. 23:5,6,11,15,16,) [R1289 : page 35] typified the resurrection of Christ our Lord, as "the first fruits of them that slept."*—1 Cor. 15:20.
*Here is the strongest possible confirmation of the correctness of the position taken in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II.—that our Lord was not three full 24-hour days in the tomb, but only parts of three days and nights; that he was crucified on the day corresponding to our Friday afternoon, and rose on what corresponded to our Sunday morning. The showing of this type that the Paschal lamb was to be killed sometime during the 14th of Nisan, and the wave offering of the sheaf of first-fruits was to occur on the 16th, should settle the matter for all. It agrees with the repeated statement (1 Cor. 15:4; Luke 24:46) that our Lord rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. This Scripture concerning the first-fruits is the only one which we recall as in any way pointing out the time of our Lord's resurrection. Then, too, the fact that history, as represented in the traditions and customs, points out Good Friday and Easter Sunday as celebrations of our Lord's death and resurrection, should have some weight on so trivial a matter, unless some motive or reason for misstating the dates can be assigned. The only scripture seeming to oppose all these facts is the one which declares that our Lord would be three days and three nights in the earth; and the only explanation that can be offered to this is that the expression is used in a general and not in a specific manner, the nights being mentioned to preclude the idea of any cessation of death until the third day. Thus understood, the expression would signify that during portions of three days and nights our Lord would be in the tomb. At all events, the evidence is overwhelming that he died on the 14th of Nisan and rose on the 16th—the third day after.
The two wave loaves offered on the fiftieth day represented the presenting of the Church before God and its acceptance through the merit of the great High Priest, indicated by the anointing of the spirit at Pentecost. The Church really is but "one loaf" (1 Cor. 10:17), the two loaves representing the same thing as the two goats presented on the Day of Atonement. It indicated that, although all presented were acceptable to God through Christ Jesus, he yet knew that all presented would not come up to the conditions of faithfulness unto the end. The two loaves represented, therefore, the two classes of the consecrated—the overcoming little flock and the "great company" of the consecrated servants of God who do not make the high calling theirs, by overcoming the world as they might and should do.
The method of calculating the date for Good Friday and Easter Sunday in vogue among Episcopalians and Roman Catholics differs from the foregoing in this: They celebrate, as Easter Sunday, the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, and the preceding Friday is recognized as Good Friday. This method of counting was instituted by the Council of Nice, A.D. 325. The name Passover was used—and not Easter* Sunday—for a long time; but after Papacy had been established in political influence, and the ignorant pagans began to flock to the system which enjoyed the favor of the government, the name Easter was substituted for the Passover, because about the same time as the Passover the pagans had been in the habit of celebrating the festival of their Goddess Easter (German Ostera)—Estera, goddess of the East. This was one of the many methods adopted by an ambitious "clergy" for gaining numbers and influence.
*The use of the word Easter in Acts 12:4 is a mistranslation; it should be rendered Passover.
Sometimes the two systems of counting indicate the same days, but not often; and occasionally their results are nearly a moon or month apart, as in the present year, when the first full moon after the equinox is on March 25th, while the first new moon after the equinox marks the 1st of Nisan on April 8th, and the 14th on April 22d—beginning at 6 P.M. of the 21st.
We have given the details as to the counting as a general answer to many questions on this subject, and not because of any weighty importance or bondage attaching to the exact anniversary day. We recognize no such bondage upon those made free by Christ. For though desirous of observing the Memorial properly upon its proper anniversary, as intended by our Lord when he said, "This do ye (every time you celebrate this yearly memorial) in remembrance (lit., for commemoration) of me," we esteem it more as a privilege than as a duty; and if we should err in the matter of selecting the day, through ignorance or misunderstanding, we believe [R1290 : page 36] the Lord would accept our good intentions, and forgive the error and grant his blessing. Indeed, we believe that the Lord owns and accepts the good intentions of many of his children who, because of erroneous teachings and human traditions, select various other times and seasons for celebrating this memorial of his death, instead of its anniversary, which he designated. Similarly we would sympathize with the patriotic intentions of the man who should "celebrate" the independence of the United States three, four or fifty times a year, forgetful of the date, or ignorant of the fact that the Fourth of July is the anniversary of the event, and was appointed as the date for celebrating it.
This, like other truths long buried under the rubbish of the dark ages, God is now making clear to his people. And all who are truly his people are anxious for the truth and the right upon this, as upon all other subjects revealed in God's Word.
"For I received from the Lord, what I also delivered to you—That the Lord on the night in which he was delivered up took a loaf, and having given thanks, broke it and said, 'This is that body of mine, which is broken on your behalf; this do ye in my remembrance.' In like manner also, the cup, after the supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye may drink, for my remembrance.' For as often as you may eat this bread or drink this cup you declare the death of the Lord till he come."—1 Cor. 11:24-26.
There is no necessity for discussing with honest minds what is and what is not meant by the expression—the Lord's death. Some, in an anxiety to get away from the doctrine of the ransom, or, rather, in their anxiety to get away from the logical deductions associated with the doctrine of the ransom, are claiming, regardless of all Scripture to the contrary, that our Lord Jesus had two deaths, one when he came into the world, and the other at Calvary; and that the death of "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all," at Calvary, was of small importance as compared with the other. They seem willingly ignorant of the fact that the Scriptures declare, "In that he died, he died unto sin once;" and that that one death, and the only one ever referred to by our Lord or his apostles, was the death at Calvary.
The Apostles declare that he spoke of the death which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. This one and only death of our Redeemer is what is symbolized by this Remembrancer—his body, his flesh broken for us, the merits and life of which all who would have life everlasting must partake. "Let no man deceive you by any means," on this important question.
But as water baptism is not the important baptism, but only the symbol representing the real, so partaking of the emblematic bread and wine is only the symbol of the more important feast of our appropriation of the merit of Christ, which secures to us eternal life through his broken body and shed blood. Thus by faith accepting his finished sacrifice, and by similar faith, as instructed by him, appropriating to ourselves all the merits and perfections and rights which the man Christ Jesus possessed and laid down in death for us, we really feed upon the bread of everlasting life, the bread which God sent to us from heaven. This is the bread which if men will eat they will never die—the flesh which he gave for the life of the world, that all the dead and dying race might have life. This is, primarily, what the symbolic bread symbolizes and signifies to all who partake of it rightly and intelligently. It is a memorial of the ransom of Adam and his family from the bondage of sin and death.
Secondly, the broken loaf was to symbolize another matter. It was to be a symbol of the entire Church—the entire Christ of God, head and body. As its breaking symbolized the death of Christ Jesus, the head, its breaking was also to symbolize the breaking or sacrifice, even unto death, of all the consecrated body of Christ, which is pledged to suffer and be broken with him, if so be that its members may also be glorified together with him. This the Apostle teaches in the preceding chapter, verses 16 and 17: [R1290 : page 37] "The cup of blessing, for which we bless God—is it not a participation of the blood of the Anointed one? The loaf which we break—is it not a participation of the body of the Anointed one? Because there is one loaf, we the many [members] are one body."
Since our Lord who instituted the Memorial Supper placed no limit upon its observance, this expression by the Apostle is not to be understood as limiting the length of time in which it will be appropriate to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus, our ransom-sacrifice, and our consecration with him to sacrifice. Rather, he is showing that it was not to be considered a limited arrangement, for a few years, but was to be continually observed until the Lord's second coming. Looking down to and speaking of the second coming of our Lord, the Apostle includes in that expression the gathering and exaltation with him of his Church or Kingdom, to rule and bless the world. This is yet a common and a proper way of speaking of matters so closely identified and so dependent one upon the other. The Christ, Head and body, is coming to rule the world, coming into power and great glory. The presence of the Lord or head is necessary first; then commences the change of the sleeping members of his body, the sifting of the living members, and their gradual gathering together unto him. And though the Kingdom may be considered as begun from the time the King began the exercise of his great power (Rev. 11:17) in 1878, it will not be set up in the full sense of the word until the last member of the Kingdom has been changed or glorified—until the breaking of the loaf, the Church, the body of Christ, is completed. While one member suffers the body suffers. While one member is unglorified the Kingdom is not fully come into power and dominion.
It is the coming of Christ as including the full exaltation of his Church or Kingdom that the Apostle evidently meant when he said, "As often as you may eat this [Passover] bread and drink this cup, you declare the death of the Lord [as your hope and confidence] till he come." The same thought of the Kingdom glory being the end of the symbol may be gathered from our Lord's own words on the occasion of the institution of the memorial—"I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom."—Matt. 26:29.
And surely if it was ever proper and expedient for those who believe that our Lord's death was the ransom-price for sinners to confess it—to show it forth as the basis of all their hopes—it is now, when this foundation doctrine of God's Word is being traduced and misrepresented.
Let all who hold fast the confidence of faith in his precious blood [his sacrificed life] as the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world, be more zealous and fervent than ever before in confessing this great truth; "for even Christ our Passover [sacrifice] is slain; therefore, let us keep the feast." None of the first-born shall be passed over, and become members of the Church of the first-born in glory, except those who, during this night, abide under the blood, and partake of the merits, of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
The Lord's Supper is not for the world, not for merely nominal believers, but for those who, accepting of Christ as their Redeemer and sin-bearer, are consecrated to him and his service. But it is not for us—nor for any man or set of men—to decide who may and who may not partake. It is our duty to point out from the Word of the Lord what are the proper qualifications for participation in the cup and participation in the loaf, and then to say as did the Apostle, Let every man examine himself, and then, if he think proper, let him partake.—1 Cor. 11:28.
Now that God's people are emerging from the errors of the dark ages, when this Memorial can be more clearly understood, the judging or examining of one's self can be more thorough [R1291 : page 38] than ever before. Let each ask himself—Do I believe the Scripture teaching that I, as a member of the human family, was under that condemnation to death which passed upon all because of original sin? Do I believe that my only hope of escape from that condemnation of sin and death was through the ransom-sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus, my Lord? Do I believe that he gave himself—his flesh and blood, his humanity—as my ransom price, pouring out his soul unto death, making his soul a sin-offering (Isa. 53:10,12) on this behalf? Do I see that the consecration to death, made at Jordan when he was baptized, was fulfilled by his sacrifice of himself for mankind, which, beginning there, was finished on the cross when he died? Do I see that the rights under the Law, which he secured by obedience to it (the right of lasting life and the dominion of earth), were what he through that same sacrifice bequeathed to the fallen, dying race—to as many as shall accept the blessings under the conditions of the New Covenant? Do I see that his flesh and blood, thus sacrificed, stood for, represented, those blessings and favors which they purchased for us? Do I see that the partaking of the bread and wine symbols of his flesh and blood signifies my acceptance of those favors and blessings which the flesh and blood of my Lord bought for me and for all? And if I do thus heartily accept of the ransom thus memorialized, do I consecrate my entire being—my flesh and my blood, justified through that ransom—to the Lord, to be broken with him, to suffer with him, to be dead with him? If we can answer these questions affirmatively we clearly or fully discern the Lord's body, give credit to his meritorious sacrifice and may eat—should eat—"Eat ye all of it."
Those, however, who deny that a ransom for sin and sinners was required and given, who feel that they need not to partake of Christ's merit, who deny that the merit of one can be imputed to another, who have cast off the wedding-garment of Christ's righteousness, who feel "happier" and "freer" in the filthy rags of their own righteousness, and who now consider the precious blood wherewith they were once sanctified a not-holy or an ordinary thing—such we advise to stay away from memorializing that in which they no longer believe, as they would merely be adding hypocrisy to unbelief. For such to partake, is to add condemnation to themselves and their no-ransom theories.
But, better still, let us advise all who have merely been entrapped into this error, by the sophistries promulgated through various channels by the great Adversary, to reject all vain human philosophies and to receive again the simple word of God, and to accept of the truths therein set forth—that all are fallen, and that the only way open for our reconciliation and restitution consistent with the divine law and sentence was the giving of the full and exact corresponding price or ransom for our sins. See that God declares that in no other way could he be just and justify sinners. See that our Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God bore the full penalty for our sins in his own body on the tree—that he gave the full ransom for you and for all. The philosophy of it is very plain, but if you cannot grasp it, at least grasp the fact that God declares it to be so. Return unto the Lord, and he will abundantly pardon. Ask for the guidance of the spirit and the anointing of your eyes, that you may be able to comprehend, with all saints, this, the foundation of all the grace of our God in Christ. Thus in true acceptance of the broken body and the shed blood—realizing that the sacrifice was for your sins and that the blood shed [life given] seals for you and for all the New Covenant—commemorate the greatest event of history, the shedding of the precious blood, the sacrifice of the precious life of God's dear Son for your sins. Nevertheless we know from God's Word that these words or any words will not succeed in turning back to the way, the truth and the life those who have wilfully and knowingly gone out from under the blood of sprinkling. There will be no pass-over for them. "It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance." (Heb. 6:4-10 and 10:26-30.) We well know that [R1291 : page 39] even these words of loving admonition and these faithful references to the words of inspiration will be attributed to spite and malice and envy and every wicked feeling on our part instead of to the real motive—a desire to serve the Lord and the truth and any brethren or sisters unwittingly stumbling.
Many indeed have in the past partaken of the emblems of the Lord's body and blood without fully appreciating the philosophy of the ransom, who nevertheless did so with reverent appreciation of the fact that the death of our Redeemer had purged us from our guilt and relieved us from its penalty. Such discerned the real significance of the Memorial, though, because of gross errors associated with the truth, they did not discern its simple philosophy as many of us may now do.
No, we have not forgotten baptism. We agree with you that the baptism is necessary—that the Memorial Supper is only for the Church; and that baptism is necessary before one can belong to the Church. But we differ with you as to what the Church is. We hold that the Baptist Church is not the Church. Like all other churches organized and governed by fallen men, the Baptist Church contains tares as well as wheat; but the Church contains wheat only. Surely no one will claim for any sect of Christendom that his sect contains all the wheat and no tares. But the Church, whose names are written in heaven, includes all the wheat and has not a tare on its roll. This is the one Church which our Lord established, and of which all the elect must become members—the Church Passed-over—"The Church of the First-born ones, whose names are written in heaven."—Heb. 12:23.
Nor can we admit your claim with reference to baptism. The Scriptural view is still more exclusive than yours. You have in the membership of the Baptist Church some who would be far from acceptable as members of the "Church of the First-borns." They passed your test of water-baptism, but they have not passed the test of the greater baptism which is required of all members of the Church whose names are written in heaven. The real baptism is a baptism into Christ's body—the Church—by a baptism or immersion into Christ's death, and a resurrection therefrom in his likeness. Water immersion is a beautiful symbol of the real immersion of the human will into the will of Christ, a beautiful illustration of a full sacrifice even unto death; but it is only an illustration or symbol—just as the bread and wine of the Supper are not the real life-giving elements of our Lord's sacrifice of which we are to eat, but merely their symbols.
We agree, therefore, that none but the Church, the immersed, should partake of the Supper; but we recognize as really immersed all whose wills are dead and buried in the will of Christ, and who, as new creatures in him, are risen to walk in newness of life, while waiting for the consummation of their course in literal death and their awakening as actual new beings in the first resurrection. All such, whoever or wherever they may be, are the real members of Christ's body, the Church, whether they have performed the enjoined water-symbol or not. Of course, when such consecrated ones, dead to their own wills and alive only to the will of Christ, come to see that our Lord's commands include the symbol of water immersion or burial as well as the burial of their wills, they will be glad to follow and to obey their Head and Lord in all things—especially when they realize that as infants they were not "believers," and that a drop of water could not in any degree symbolize burial and resurrection. Such as see the value and beauty of this injunction of God's Word should, if possible, be buried in water also, as our Lord and his apostles showed us, before partaking of the Supper. See TOWER for May, 1888, article headed "Baptism and Its Import."
If there are in your neighborhood others of God's consecrated people besides yourself, you [R1291 : page 40] should know it. Your faithful love for them and for the truth should have led you to seek them out to bless them with the truth shortly after you yourself received it. If there are such with whom you can have communion and fellowship invite them to join you in the Memorial; but not if you know them to be deniers of the ransom, lest you assist in bringing condemnation upon them.
Meet with few or many, as the circumstances will permit, but better far with a few who can enter with you into the spirit of the Memorial, than with a throng devoid of that spirit of fellowship and union in Christ.
Provide for the occasion, if possible, unleavened bread (or crackers), such as the Lord used, and such as Hebrews now use; because the pure, sweet, unleavened bread best symbolizes the sinless flesh of the Lamb of God, who knew no sin [of which leaven is a symbol], who was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from the race of sinners. Provide some drink from "the fruit of the vine," as the Lord directed. Undoubtedly he and the disciples used "light wines." Most unquestionably we regard wine as the more appropriate symbol; but since our Lord did not stipulate wine, but merely the "fruit of the vine," we can conceive of no objection that can be urged against the strained juice of boiled raisins, which are dried grapes. And surely this would be "the fruit of the vine" as really as wine is. We do not urge this raisin-liquor upon any who feel a conscientious desire to use wine; we merely remind all that our circumstances, climate, habits, etc., differ greatly from those of the early Church, and we very much doubt if our Lord would have us symbolize his blood with many of the intoxicating wines of our day—especially in view of the fact that some of the saints may have an inherited weakness of the flesh, which one taste might re-enkindle into a great temptation. "Let each judge not to cast a stumbling-block before his brother." If wine is preferred choose a "light wine," or mix a little wine with the raisin-juice.
The memorial service should be very simple—it is chiefly a season of communion. Have a table in the midst of the assembly for the bread and wine. After the singing of a hymn one of the brethren should, in a few chosen words, express the object of the service and read a few verses from the Scriptures on the subject; another might then give thanks for the bread of life, the broken body of our Lord; after which the unleavened bread [or soda biscuit if more convenient] should be passed to all the communicants. An opportunity for remarks on the bread of life might here be given. Then a prayer of thanks for the cup and for the precious blood symbolized in it should be offered and the cup of "fruit of the vine" passed. Here an opportunity might be given for remarks on the precious blood. But avoid discussions at this meeting. However appropriate to contend earnestly for the faith on other occasions, this is not such an occasion. This is a meeting for fellowship and communion with the Lord, our Redeemer and present King. If any seem to be contentious, let him have his say, and let the others refrain from discussion, that the holy moments of special communion with him, which the Master appointed for our blessing, be not marred.
Those who celebrate the Memorial with guileless, earnest hearts receive a great and refreshing blessing, and for this it is well to have seasons of quiet in the midst of the service, when no one will be speaking audibly and when the hearts of all can come very close to the Master in communion—in realization of his love, past and present, in reviewing the pledge made to be his faithful followers even unto death, in considering how that pledge has been kept or violated during the year preceding, and in resolving afresh to run with patience the race for the prize of joint-heirship with our Lord, to which we are invited.
A beautifully appropriate hymn for closing the Memorial is No. 276 in the new hymn-book. And it will surely add to our joy to realize that some of like precious faith in all parts of the world are celebrating the same great sacrifice, thinking of the same gracious Lord, being comforted and encouraged by the same exceeding great and precious promises, resolving by the grace of our King to do greater service and to [R1292 : page 41] make greater sacrifices in his service and in the service of his people thenceforth, and closing with the same song of praise and worship.
Of the first Supper it is written: "They sang a hymn and went out." Let us do the same. Let each go to his home with his heart full. We suggest the omission on this occasion of the usual and generally proper after-meeting greetings, and all common-place remarks and thoughts, that we may prolong our communion and fellowship with the Master. Keep within sight of him throughout the next day. Hear the clamor of the people against the guileless one; see them incited by the clergy of Jerusalem; see him before Herod and his soldiers; see him arrayed in robes of mock-royalty and crowned with thorns, then buffeted and spat upon.
See him crucified as a felon, and taunted with the very gracious deeds which he had performed—"He saved others, himself he cannot save." Remember that he could have saved himself; that he could have asked for, and would have received, "more than twelve legions of angels" to deliver and protect him; that he could have destroyed his enemies and vilifiers, instead of dying for them; and that our hope of a resurrection and everlasting life depended upon his willing offering of himself as our ransom-price. Consider his love for you and for us all, and it will surely strengthen you as his follower to endure more and more hardness as a good soldier of the cross. Aye, consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye become weary and faint in your minds under the light afflictions now permitted for your trial and discipline, which, if faithfully endured, will work out for each a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
As usual the Church at this place will celebrate Christ our Passover slain for us; and as usual we will have in connection with it a general meeting for Bible study and spiritual feasting. But, contrary to our usual custom, the meetings this year will begin three days before the Memorial Supper. These three days before the Supper it is proposed shall be the time specially devoted to Bible study and conference on the various features of present truth. The day following the Supper, the anniversary of our Lord's crucifixion, it is proposed shall be specially devoted to worship and praise and communion and conference on themes close to our hearts. The remaining three days of the week will be devoted to considering the general interests of the harvest work, and especially the colporteur work, in which the more successful laborers will have opportunity to impart their zeal and a knowledge of their methods to the less successful. The desire is thus to lift up the hands which hang down, to strengthen the feeble knees, and to make straight paths for all who desire to pursue the good work as reapers in the present harvest.
It will continue, with adjournments for food and rest, until Wednesday evening, when the general session will close, and be followed by the conference on Harvest work and methods by the colporteurs and other laborers in the vineyard, which will occupy the remainder of the week.
The opening meeting of the Convention will be a Reunion and Testimony Meeting. It will [R1292 : page 42] open with the singing of Hymns Nos. 55 and 170, and close with No. 1. Those who cannot be present can join their hearts and voices and prayers with ours, and think of the full and lasting reunion in the sweet by-and-by.
are most cordially invited to this Convention—to the fullest participation in its Bible-study, and in the Memorial Supper. Let all such who can, turn aside with us thus for special blessing and refreshing: for grace to help them over the difficulties of their own pathways, and thus to be enabled in turn to help others. Come, with your hearts full of love and loyalty to the Redeemer and his word, and to all the "body" possessing the same spirit; and with kindest sympathy for the spiritually halt and lame and blind. Come, seeking only the interests of the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, and you will not return without a blessing. Come, hungering and thirsting for truth, and you shall be filled.
All the colporteurs, and those who have the special talent of time, which they desire to use more fully in the Lord's service, and those who have tried the colporteur work with only moderate success—all these are specially urged to attend the Convention. We assure such that the suggestive hints to be gathered from the experiences of those who are very successful in this ministry will much more than compensate them for the time and expense in coming, and enable all the unencumbered to pursue the harvest work.
It is proposed this year to divide this honor of serving the Lord's body, so as to give a larger number a share in the privilege, by dividing the visitors. One of the marks of female [R1293 : page 42] saintship in the early church was, "if she have washed the saints' feet." (1 Tim. 5:10.) Feet-washing, being a necessity of that time, became a synonym of service and kindly hospitality. To illustrate this same principle of service and humility, our Lord used this same custom on the night of the Last Supper; and the entertainment of any of the household of faith is really the fulfilment of our Lord's injunction, "See that ye wash one another's feet." But none should be permitted to overdo themselves in this blessed service, nor to deprive themselves of the spiritual communion of the meetings. To this end all have been urged to make only very simple arrangements, that both visitors and entertainers may have their principal feast upon the spiritual meat. Come, then, expecting a warm welcome to such plain things as we have ourselves.
The only expense you need anticipate will be 25 cents a day for dinner at a restaurant, and your railroad fare; and it has been arranged that the latter shall cost you only two-thirds of the usual full rate from points as far East as New York, as far West as St. Louis, as far North as Canada, and as far South as Florida.
This concession or reduction of one-third the regular fare is made by what is known as THE TRUNK LINE ASSOCIATION OF RAILROADS (which includes roads Eastward from Pittsburg and Buffalo to Vermont); THE CENTRAL TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION OF RAILROADS (which includes railroads West of Pittsburg and Buffalo to Chicago and St. Louis—north of the Ohio river); and THE SOUTHERN TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION OF RAILROADS (which includes nearly all the Southern roads).
If your home is on a railroad not a member of any of these R.R. Associations, ascertain which road nearest you has membership and write to the ticket agent at the nearest town, telling him of the kind of ticket and certificate [R1293 : page 43] you desire, and have him promise to have such certificate ready for you at such time as you will reach his station en route.
The ticket agents for all railroads which are members of these associations should have printed certificates to fill out with ink, stating that you bought a ticket for Allegheny or Pittsburg (The two cities are connected by bridges and street-cars), on a certain date, for the purpose of attending a yearly convention called by the TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, that you paid full price for said ticket, and that you are entitled to purchase a return ticket at one-third the full rate. Such certificate must accompany each ticket to secure the return ticket at one-third the regular fare. Prefer tickets via the Penna. Co. R.R., or the B. & O.R.R.
If you intend coming, make inquiry of your ticket agent at once (but do not purchase your ticket more than one day before starting). If there is anything about this which you do not understand, write us a postal card at once.
Start so as to reach the WATCH TOWER office, Bible House, No. 58 Arch street, Allegheny, Pa., on Saturday afternoon, April 18th. Even if you have previously written that you are coming, please send us a postal card two weeks before you start, stating how many are in your party, and indicating which are males and which females, that suitable arrangements can be made.
We have now sent to each WATCH TOWER subscriber a sample copy of The Wonderful Story, illustrated. It was our intention to send these out to all during the holidays, but other features of the work have delayed most of them until now. We make no charge for these samples. Please accept them as little remembrancers of the TOWER TRACT SOCIETY. Should you desire other copies you will find the terms mentioned on the second page of the TOWER cover.
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually
be in my mouth."—Psa. 34:1.
"All times" with me are times of praise;
Or rayless nights, or radiant days!
The Summer bright, the Winter drear,
The tearful Spring, the fading year,
The stormy March, the tranquil June,
Through each my harp to praise I tune.
The changeful seasons come and go;
No pause my grateful song shall know.
The love of God glows 'mid the embers
Strewn on the hearth of life's Decembers;
And gold is mingled with the gray
Of dim November's murkiest day.
My bark on flowing seas may ride,
Or strand, forsaken by the tide;
There's music for me in the flow,
Nor less when ebbing waters go;
If now the chorus louder swell,
'Twas then a sweeter cadence fell:
Major or minor be the tone
Praise still shall be the theme alone!
All places echo with my song,
Alone, or in the hurrying throng;
The placid lake, the billowy sea,
Shall hear and join the melody.
In sunless rifts, on lofty steep,
In desert vast, on ocean deep.
In caverns dark, on golden heights,
'Midst veiling mists, or flashing lights,
In God I live, and am, and move.
I'll sing, for while I live I love!
Nor will I cease though Nature frown,
Though trees be bare, and fields be brown;
Life pulsates underneath the sod,
Love palpitates within the clod.
God lives, though all the earth seem dead;
Though birds be mute, and sunshine fled,
The universe is vocal still;
While, down from heaven's holy hill
Come floating strains of music sweet
To those who worship at his feet.
Take down again thy dusty lute,
And tune each slack, discordant string;
Nor ever let thy soul be mute.
Lift up thy voice, exulting sing!
"At all times" let the measure move,
For know "at all times" God is Love!
r1294 AS VIEWED BY OTHERS.
r1294 HARVEST WORK AND MEETINGS IN CANADA.
r1293 THE PLANK BEARS.