"LET YOUR MODERATION BE KNOWN"
ST. PAUL urged, "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." (Phil. 4:5.) The latter clause of this exhortation implies that it belongs specially to the closing of this Gospel Age--to the opening of the New Dispensation. Surely we find his words applicable to ourselves--yea, to all mankind!
Surely there never was a time when this counsel of moderation was so much needed as now! The very air seems charged with some exciting, nervous force. Good people, wise people, thoughtful people, seem easily excited and liable to lose their balance at the very suggestion of ridiculous and foolish things. If any of us find such to be our condition, prayer should be made for that Wisdom which cometh from Above, to strengthen, establish and settle our hearts and lives in the will of God.
Excitement over some vagary of interpretation of God's Word may be injurious to ourselves, injurious to those with whom we may have any influence, and injuriously encouraging to the one who propounds the foolish interpretation, whether such interpretation relates to this journal, to its Editor, to the general interests of the Harvest work, or to other matters and persons.
It is unavoidable that politicians, socialists, anarchists and others, attempting to forecast the future respecting themselves and the world, should be carried away with their own ideas, and lose their bearings and talk irrationally. God's people, on the contrary, are to be most moderate in all things. First, they are to recognize their own littleness and inability, and God's greatness and sufficiency. Secondly, they are to remember that God is ordering all the affairs and interests of His Church and also those of the world; and that all things are working together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose--to be members of His elect Church, the Bride of Christ.--Rom. 8:28-30.
Such consciousness of personal littleness and of Divine greatness should keep us very humble and restrain us from all boastfulness and headiness and "know-it-all-ness." We should be very thankful and very appreciative of what God has made known to us of His gracious purposes, but should strictly avoid every attempt to run before the Lord and to try to rudely break into any feature of His Plan which He has not yet unlocked. We should remember that any knowledge we might gain in advance of God's due time would be injurious to us. As, for instance, Mother Eve, already possessed of knowledge of good, by disobedience broke into and gained a knowledge of evil, in advance of the Divine regulation. The knowledge thus gained was expensive.
AVOID WHATEVER ENGENDERS STRIFE
We urge THE WATCH TOWER readers to exercise moderation in respect to their faith and conduct in all matters --including their chronological forecasts of the future. In our judgment, it is very unwise to spend valuable time and energy in guessing what will take place this year, next year, etc. On the contrary, we should be using the knowledge we possess--doing with our might what our hands find to do. The Adversary undoubtedly would like to attract us away from the things that we already know, and from our privileges of service, into speculation respecting those matters of which we have no knowledge. We urge that the Lord's people stifle curiosity, and desist from prying into things not clearly set forth in God's Word, as being injurious to them, hurtful to the Cause we are all desirous of serving, and tending to hinder the work of grace in our own hearts and in the hearts of those to whom we are the Lord's ambassadors and mouthpieces.
We take this occasion to remind our readers afresh that nowhere in our writings have they found anything positively stated respecting the closing years of this Age, except that we understand that the Gentile Times will close in October 1914, and that consequently we expect, speedily following that date, the transfer of the rulership of earth to the great King of Glory, in a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." We have pointed out that prior to that date a testing work will be in progress in the Church--a time in which the question will be, not so much, who will fall? as, who shall be able to stand in this evil day?--Eph. 6:11.
We did in discussing the Great Pyramid--STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES Series--suggest that possibly a certain measurement of the step at the upper end of the Grand Gallery might signify something important by the end of 1910. But we hope that we made it clear that we built nothing on that suggestion--that it was merely a suggestion, a guess only, but a pointer that the year 1911 might be looked to with interest. We may say, however, that every year now is bound to be full of interest and activity of thought, both to our readers and the entire civilized world. Surely,
"We are living, we are dwelling,
In a grand and awful time;
In an Age on ages telling,
To be living is sublime!"
Indeed, as respects the date 1914, which we have emphasized, and respecting which we have repeatedly expressed our faith, our conviction--even respecting this date we have never knowingly spoken in infallible terms. We have always admitted that it is a matter of faith and conviction, rather than of absolute knowledge. We invite a careful re-examination of the chapter on chronology, as such a reading will prove helpful, sobering. Therein we point out that if our knowledge were wholly based upon chronology we would be far from certain of the date-- that our faith in it is based largely upon the corroboration, interlacing and intermeshing of various prophecies which seem to prove the reliability of the Bible chronology and of our use of it in connection with this date.
"MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS"
We see no reason for disparaging the date and convictions associated with it. Although only one and a half years remain for the accomplishment of great things in the work, we should not forget that in our wonderful day as much can be accomplished in one year as previously would have been accomplished in five years. We urge, moreover, that a knowledge of the times and seasons connected with the Divine Plan of the Ages is helpful, encouraging and inspiring. Nevertheless, such knowledge is not of itself the Gospel. If every date of the chronology and every prophecy were blotted out, we should still be joyful in the Lord, and should still rejoice in His glorious Gospel, of which Jesus and His great Sacrifice constitutes the center, and our promised participation with Him as His members in the blessing of all the families of the earth constitutes the circumference.
This is the Good Tidings of God's grace in Christ-- whether the completion of the Church shall be accomplished before 1914 or not. Let us preach the Message of God's grace, and let our hearts be stimulated with God's Message through the Prophets, to the effect that the blessing is nigh at hand. Let our moderation be manifest to all, and let the fact that we know only in part and understand only in part help to keep us humble and moderate in word and deed and thought. Thus we shall best serve the interests [R5250 : page 168] of our Master and His Cause, and be most in harmony with the teachings of His Word.
It is our conviction that the great time of trouble will come upon the world through the great Adversary, Satan, and his fallen host. It will not surprise us to find evidences accumulating that the work of breaking down the human will through hypnotism, etc., is all a part of the great scheme by which shortly, gradually, increasingly, power will be exercised upon the minds of mankind--to excite them to unwisdom and to passion. Such of God's children as shall have learned the lessons of His Word along the lines of moderation of thought, rest of heart in the Lord, patient waiting for His time and way, and assisted by the Vow to careful self inspection and government daily, will be greatly blessed and by this means kept from the snare of the Adversary--the hour of temptation is coming upon all that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.--Rev. 3:10.