Among the deeply interesting events of the present life, to some at least, was the gathering at this place last month to remember our Redeemer, to celebrate our ransom, and look forward to our deliverance and that of the whole creation from the bondage of death, and to remember our covenant to share Christ's sufferings. The celebration of the Lord's Supper on its anniversary, the night of the 18th of April, was followed by three days of continued conference on precious things of God.
Quite a number of brethren and sisters were present from various parts of this state, as well as some from adjoining statesOhio, New York, West Virginia, Iowa, Tennessee, Missouri and Canada being represented. The meeting in the morning, Sunday, April 18, was of a social character, and after opening with praise and worship, was devoted mainly to short accounts from some of those laboring abroad in a more or less public way, relating how they each found the work to progress in their hands, and the methods they found most successful in their efforts to "preach the Gospel to the meek." (Isa. 61:1.) Among others who thus interested and profited us, were Brothers Bryan, Blundin, Brookman, Myers, Adamson, Mann, Chilcoate and Tavender. The meeting adjourned with prayer by Brother Clowes, after singing with the spirit and with the understanding also, that grand old hymn,
Lunch was served in a room adjoining our public hall by the sisters, who thus "washed the saints' feet" (1 Tim. 5:10. See last Tower, page 3). Thus opportunity for private intercourse was abundant and well improved; for these lunches were thus supplied between all the meetings, which were thus continuous.
In the afternoon Bro. Zech's German meeting and our usual Bible Class were set aside and the time given to Bro. Adamson, who from a chart, such as that in "Food," gave a discourse on The Plan of the Ages, illustrating his method of treating this topic in his public discourses. All felt the sentiment of the hymn with which we closed the meeting.
We adjourned this meeting to a Baptism service, at which the ordinance was explained, and five persons immersedfour of them thus symbolizing their covenant of consecration unto death with Christ, and their faith that they will be in his likeness in the resurrection; and one symbolized, as in "John's baptism," his repentance of sin and reformation of life.
The eight o'clock Sunday evening meeting was the solemn season of commemoration of the Lord's Supper, and a larger number were present than on any such previous occasion. It was good to be there! We had communion and fellowship one with another, and with our Father, and with our Head. We realized afresh that the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord cleanseth us from all sin; and that all our hopes of future life and glory, as well as our present blessings of communion with the King of kings, were secured to us by him whose ransom for all, took away the sin of the world, and justified us freely from all things.
Gratefully we thought of and acknowledged this, as we handled and partook of the unleavened bread, and the wine, which emblemized the holy, harmless, undefiled one"the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all." In accepting in our hearts of his purity, and rights freely sacrificed for us, and appropriating to ourselves those rights and that purity, we were eating himhis flesh and blood. We thus ate in our hearts while we at the same time literally partook of the emblems, and thus symbolized the same, according to the Master's wish, "Do this in remembrance of me." It was a solemn and impressive hour, and we endeavored to make clear the fact that our Father's love and mercy were manifested and extended to us in and by this sacrifice for our sins which he provided, and not in any other way. We saw that the serving of Jesus' ministry and the example of obedience and self-denial which he displayed, though blessed to those of his day, and to others since, was not all by any means; for all this would have been of no practical avail to the condemned, groaning, dying creation, unless he had also given his life [being, existence] a ransom, [a price] for ours condemned and forfeited. The Son of Man came to serve "and to give his life [psuche, being] a ransom for many."Mark 10:45, Matt. 20:28.
Meditating upon his night of sorrow in the garden, intensified by his perfectness and purity, as well as by the shame of being put to death as a felon, and by the absence of appreciation and sympathy [R852 : page 1] from his beloved disciplesconsidering him who endured such opposition of sinners, lest we should be weary or faint as we should continue to follow his footsteps, we sang a hymn and went to our homes.
Monday following, all day was spent in an examination of the prophetic time proofs, which show that we are living in the Day of the Lord's presence since 1874that there, the times of restitution, the Millennial Age, beganthat the forepart of that age is the "day of vengeance" or "day of trouble," a period of forty years from 1874 to 1914, and that the grand blessings of restitution are really begun in this trouble, which is a blessing in disguise, breaking in pieces and removing the present governments and systems represented in Nebuchadnezzar's image (Dan. 2:31-33), as incidental to the establishment of the Kingdom of God for which we have long prayed, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." The matter was illustrated by charts, and will be given in full in Millennial Day Dawn (not yet ready; but of which notice will be given in the TOWER).
Tuesday.In the morning we were interested and edified by a discourse from Brother Brookman on the Ransom. He dealt particularly with the Greek words which our word for is used to translate; showing conclusively, and by many Scriptural references, that "FOR" in many instances signifies instead of, and repeatedly teaches that our Lord Jesus became man's substitute in death, in order that there might be a resurrection of the dead. The afternoon session was also full of interest, a number of points relative to the Ransom being examined, including the statement made by Peter (2 Peter 2:1) that false teachers would privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying that the Lord bought them. This was shown to be the correct rendering of the Greek text.
Wednesday.Both forenoon and afternoon sessions were spent in considering How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? As this subject is treated on pages 3 and onward, we need not refer to it here particularly.
The subject of the evening meeting was Joel 2:28,29. We saw that God had hidden in this a blessed promise of future blessing to the world, which has been covered until the last few years, by the construction of the statement. We saw that the real intent and meaning of the passage was apparent when once its statement was transposed; thus, "Upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days [the Christian age] will I pour out my spirit." "And it shall come to pass afterward [during the Millennium] that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions."
Here we noted the great difference between the "narrow way" of the present time and the "highway" of the future age. The narrow way, has its stumbling stones, snares and devouring lions, preventing any but the "little flock," the "overcomers," from reaching the prize at its farther end, the "crown of life;" while the highway of the next age shall be made one of easy travel, in which "those unacquainted therewith shall not go astray."Isa. 35:8. Leeser.
We saw that now, the Holy Spirit could be received only by the few servants and handmaids of Jehovah willingly following their Leader in the "narrow way," but that when this select companythe body of Christ, has been completed and glorified, then afterward God will pour out of the spirit of truth upon all flesh. We saw that, wide as [R852 : page 2] the difference will be between the abundant and favorable opportunity of the next age, as contrasted with the present time, when error abounds and Satan is permitted to blind many, and to oppose the truth, yet the rewards at the close of the two ways, are just as different as the ways themselves. Both paths lead to honor and life everlasting, but the "little flock," who overcome the severe besetments of the present time, are to be the bride and joint-heir of the King of glory, and to share his nature and to be with him and like him, while those under the less severe trials of the "highway" shall ultimately receive the Kingdom [of earth] prepared for them from the foundation of the world. (Matt. 25). All will be divinely blessed, but the one classthe Christ, head and body, will be blest as "new creatures" with the express image of the Father's person; the other class blessed by being restored to the earthly likeness lost by Adamthe image of God in clay"very good" and very grand.Gen. 1:31. Psa. 8:5,6.
We saw that the pouring of the Holy Spirit of truth upon all flesh would by no means insure the same result to them as to the little flock of the Gospel Age; and that the spirit of truth in the age to come will not point to the narrow way of sacrifice of human rights and privileges, but on the contrary to their opportunity of laying hold of those earthly rights and privileges more fully. The time of sacrifice will then be past, and the spirit will no longer witness that whosoever will live Godly, shall suffer persecution. When all things are favorableSatan bound and truth triumphanthow could any suffer for the truth's sake as now? The spirit of truth will not then invite any to aspire to or strive for the divine nature, as the Bride of Christ; but on the contrary the spirit of truth then poured upon all flesh will witness to them that the marriage of the Lamb is accomplished, his wife having made herself ready under severe trial, during the Gospel Age. It will witness that the "elect" "little flock," chosen during the acceptable time, through sanctification of the spirit [mind] and obedience to the truth, has been enthroned in power.
The spirit will then witness that these were thus highly honored for trusting and obeying God in the dark, along the rugged narrow way, and that though that high heavenly class so much better than angels (Heb. 1:4) is complete, other precious blessings are for "all flesh," and that whosoever will, may come to the water of life; and accepting of God's favor through Christ, and walking the easy highway of holiness, may be everlastingly blessed of God.
In a word,the holy spirit of truth which testifies to the "little flock" called with the "high calling" that except we forsake all and suffer with Christ, we cannot reign with him and partake of the divine nature, will then testify or witness to "all flesh" very differently, viz., that only sins must be put away, that the righteous shall flourish, and only the evil doer shall suffer and be finally cut off from life.
Thus the word of his grace comforted us and strengthened us to endure hardness as good soldiers, for we heard the voice of our Captain and Forerunner on the narrow way saying to usFear not, I have overcome the worldmy grace is sufficient for youto him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me in my throne and I will give him to eat of the hidden manna.
Our meeting will long be remembered and we hope that at the anniversary next year, even more of the laborers will be able to arrange their affairs even at this busy season of the year, to thus turn aside to celebrate this solemn occasion, and thus build each other up.
We have received many interesting letters from the scattered saints showing how, singly and in little groups they remembered and complied with the Lord's last request, Do this in remembrance of me. Below we give a few brief
A Brother in New Jersey writes:Dear Bro. Russell: You may be sure that in spirit your kind invitation to meet with the saints at your place on next Lord's day is fully accepted. I should be delighted to meet with you and the dear ones who may visit you on that occasion, but at this time it is not in our Lord's order that I should go. We have arranged to celebrate the Supper in unison with you in the evening at eight, and no doubt we shall all partake of the "one Spirit," while with solemn reverence, yet with gladness of heart, we eat the bread and drink the cup which symbolizes at once the living bread, which was given for "the life of the world," and the precious blood, by which only is the remission and washing away of sin. It cleanseth! tell it to the people, "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth from all unrighteousness." How loving and kind is our heavenly Father; and in this surely, the Father and Son are one, for the Son loved us, and gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Even in Jehovah's sight we are accepted in the Beloved. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
I was led to send cards of invitation to a meeting of those who love our Lord's appearing, and are desirous of mutual edification in our most holy faith; and in response a goodly company gathered on Sunday morning. This was Sunday before last. I explained to them the reason why I invited them, that the object I had in view was the building up of the Church in the things of the Spirit. A number spoke, there was a general feeling of the need of such a meeting, and at a second one, held last Sunday morning, it was agreed to hold the meetings permanently. We have kept up our regular meetings at Bro.__________ house Sunday afternoons, where we try to get down into the very depths of the deep things of God, and our adorable Lord honors us with his presence and blessing. In our public meetings we shall need grace and wisdom from on high to rightly divide the word of truth, that "meat in due season" may be given to all. Pray for us. Love to all the saints, and especially to yourself, dear Brother, and dear Sister Russell, beloved in the Lord. Yours in Him.
A Brother in Michigan writes"Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Our desire to be present with you in Allegheny, at the General Assembly, on the day of remembrance, could not be gratified. Yet our uniting together here on that day, was most richly blessed by our common Master; and as we partook of the blessed symbols of his precious body and blood, we had a realizing sense of the presence of our Redeemer, all being filled with the hope of participating in that glorious triumph of "the General Assembly and Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven." Thirteen of us united in celebrating the anniversary of the slaying of our Passover Lamb, a few not yet free from denominational shackles partaking with us, and the occasion will, I trust, be remembered by all, as one of the most blessed in their Christian experience. I believe the truth is finding its way to the hearts of several who are closely reading the TOWER, which will, I trust, bring forth fruit in its season.
Brother Adamson, who attended the anniversary meeting here, left here for Bethel, Pa., from which he writes as follows:Dear Bro. R.: I stayed overnight at Wilmington and walked here (6 miles) Sunday morning. In the afternoon I had conferences with brethren who are slowly but surely coming to full favor and knowledge. I preached to a full house at the hall, and have an appointment to-night about a mile distant. Great hopes of a good house and hearing ears, for the brethren here have loaned "Towers" and "Food" until a spirit of inquiry is manifest among the thinking class. Nothing could be kinder than the treatment of the brethren. How they love you and sister Russell. Grace and peace. In Christ.
A sister in Palmyra, Ill., writes:My husband and I send Christian greeting to all them of like precious faith who, in one hope of their calling, shall gather with you around the table of our Lord to remember his love for us, and to glorify God for his great love wherewith he hath loved us. Would that I could shake hands with all the loved brethren and sisters, and join with you in singing
A Brother in Florida writes:Six of us remembered the Lord by celebrating the Supper, and we found it a precious time. The Lord was with us. The conflict is sharp but it will not last long. May we be able to endure unto the end.
Another Brother in Michigan writes:I have been a reader of the TOWER for about four months through the instrumentality of your colporteur in this place, and it has been indeed meat in due season to me. I am rejoicing in the increasing light from the Gospel. The more I see of the harmony and glory of God's plan of salvation, the more anxious I am that others should be lead out of bondage into the liberty of Christ. I will do the best I can towards scattering the good seed judiciously. I expect soon to go to Mayville and Lapeer, and if you can spare me about fifty samples I will make good use of them. Seven or eight of us here intend to meet together and celebrate the death of Christ our passover.
A Brother in Guildford, England, writes:I shall remember the Lord's death this year, perhaps with one more, in fellowship with you all at the same time. We shall all be together when we drink the wine new with Christ in our Father's kingdom.
A Brother in Dayton, Ohio, writes:On the evening of the anniversary of our Lord's last supper, I partook of the blessed emblems alone. God was with me and I had a refreshing time. I would like to have been with you brethren and sisters, but I could not make it suit. May God bless you and all the household of faith.
A Sister in Elk Creek, Mo., writes:We did not receive the April TOWER until after the 18th but observed the remembrance. Your desire was that all study well the meaning of what they were about to do. This we did. How important the lesson and how much needed.
We joyfully anticipate the hour when the sacrifice of the Christ being ended the glory shall follow. We long for the time when all God's creatures shall be perfected, each on his own plane, rank or order, under the King of Peace, who bought the right to restore, teach, rule and bless all with his own life.
A sister in Lawrence, Kansas, writes:I celebrated the Passover Supper alone with the Lord, as I have done two years before. I meditated upon the suffering and death of Him, and our privilege of sharing the same.
A brother in New Orleans writes:I rejoice to tell you that the Lord is giving me much encouragement by the way, and that when I most needed it. I wrote some days ago that I would try to reach the ministers with these truths. I have been busy doing so, and the Lord has been with me in the work. Yesterday from many pulpits sounded forth things out of harmony with old orthodox preaching. Last Saturday three Methodist ministers had a meeting discussing the contents of the book "Food." The same day a Presbyterian pastor up town sent me a note to come and see him. I went. He had heard of and seen a little of the book "Food," where I had left a "packet," at the house of one of his congregation. I found the truth had taken firm hold. We had a nice talk together. At his request I left a packet containing "Food," with back numbers. He is now at work to see if these things are so. I was at another pastor's house this evening and was much edified, finding one, in earnest, as well as trusting entirely the teaching of God's Word and dissatisfied with other standards. He told me that yesterday he preached from Isaiah. "I will send my messenger before thy face," &c., comparing the work of John the Baptist with a similar work now, preparing the way before him. I believe this man has a great deal of light. He is reading "Food."
A sister wrote from Ellisville, Mo.Through God's loving providence five of us were permitted to assemble on the 18th ultimo to commemorate the Lord's Supper. All present seemed to fully appreciate their privilege. We also remembered our covenant to sacrifice and be broken for others in the cause of truth, to patiently and cheerfully bear persecutions and reproaches for Christ's sake, knowing that if we suffer with him, we shall also share in his glory.
MY DEAR BROTHER.Just a line of greeting to tell you that nine of the readers of the TOWER, all believers in the "Ransom," met at my brother's house on Sunday the 18th and partook of the emblems of our Lord's death, and we all found it a season of much blessing. Those who have had ears to hear have received the good news with gladness of heart in the face of much opposition. In the name of the brethren and sisters here I send you our affectionate greeting.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL.I am waiting anxiously for the May number of the TOWER so that I may get the account of the meetings. The Lord knows how I desired to be present at the celebration of our Lord's Supper and the other meetings, but circumstances prevented me from coming. On the night of the 18th I read carefully the account of the Lord's Supper and agony in the garden, and his crucifixion; and also Paul's account in 1 Cor. 11th chapter, and I had a feast all to myself. And it did me good, although I should very much like to have been present at Allegheny to have met with the dear brothers and sisters. I have no doubt that you had a glorious and blessed time. May God bless his church and fit her for her high position. I will do what I can to spread the blessed truth in this community. I desire to be a worker together with Christ. I am almost alone, and I long for Christian fellowship. God's word is very dear to me; it is my chief study, and I pray God to fill me with his truth that I may be able to declare it to others.