Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Roberto's analysis

With some English language assistance from Rachael:

            The article of ZWT February 1881, entitled “Lay up for yourselves treasures”, is a sequel of previous articles written by Russell about the obligation of the Saints, the Bride of Christ, to spread seriously and meaningfully the message. Bruce and Rachael have posted a previously “Temporary post … VERY temporary” to introduce us to the argument, and that article is the basis for my comments.
            Russell’s article is addressed to the regular readers and believers of ZWT, to encourage them to spread the “truth”, but I suspect, on the base of the previous article of Bruce and Rachael, it was also an (in)direct message to some leading characters of the movement, I suspect Paton and Allen. This suspicion came to me reading this:

Do I hear you say that the prize for which you are running is a heavenly one and that you are laying up your treasure in heaven? I am glad that when you hold these treasures up before your mind you recognize them all as earthly, which the moth and rust of time will soon destroy. I am glad if your hearts have not become so fond of these things, that you worship them and think them beautiful. But let me put it plainly: Would your neighbor judging from your daily acts not suppose that you are bending all of your energies for some of these prizes? Is he deceived, or are you, with reference to your real aim? Do not your actions, as well as his, speak louder than words--What is your real treasure-- the thing which you really love?

            Russell speaks of “daily acts” and “actions”, and that they “speak louder than words”. What are these acts and actions? He quoted a hymn, “All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my beings ransomed powers; All my thoughts and words and doings, All my days and all my hours.” In quoting the hymn he implicitly says that the Christian deeds should be in thoughts, words and doing, and at this point Russell reports his personal experience in thoughts, words, and doings for Jesus:

I found that I had three hours for my consecrated work … I daily spend one hour not in reading, but in earnest study. I searched and found daily spiritual food and my "daily bread" sometimes took two instead of one hour. How should I use my other hours? … my chief object should be to give spiritual help, or secondly, any temporal aid or comfort to those needing it.

            Russell made clear the point reporting to the readers two of his personal experiences in preaching: First he gave testimony to his next-door neighbor who had sickness and trouble, and then to a lady of whose deep piety and Christian character he had heard much, giving her WT tract n.1. Thus his time was spent from day to day, until the three hours were not enough. So we understand that in the mind of Russell, acts and actions were: studying the Bible and preach the truth 3, 4 hours every day.
            Russell states that his article is directed to the consecrated saints:

These five pictures represent persons who have consecrated all to God, who have covenanted to become dead to earthly aims, and ambitions and prizes, and have entered the list of those who will strive for "The prize of our high calling" and "seek for glory, honor and immortality"--the honor, the glory and the life promised only to the Bride--the overcomers, who keep their covenant.

            Russell underlined the necessity to increase the witnesses saying: “He (God) has given us many ways and opportunities of doing this. It may be spent in spreading the truth.” The rest of the article is an exhortation to evangelize. The exhortation was directed to every sort of Saints: the rich, the poor, mothers, housewives, etc. Every kind of Saint must spread the truth.
            In ZWT of April Russell was explicit again. He launched an appeal for 1.000 preachers, and published the article: “How to teach”. Paton in the same time published three articles: “Number Three, part 1”, “Number Three, part 2”, and “Foundation of the World”.




jerome said...

Thank you Roberto very much for your comments. This type of request from Rachael for readers to analyse certain articles is a very useful one. While Bruce and Rachael may on occasion have access to very rare materials that most readers haven't seen, this is material that we ALL can read and comment on. So how we see it, how we understand it, reading now with the eyes of 2017, can perhaps on occasion add something to the project.

roberto said...

Thanks Jerome.