The Adversary’s Tactic

“For we are not ignorant of his devices.” – 2 Cor. 2:11.

AS WE PROGRESS toward the consummation of the Harvest, it should not surprise us that in every way the Adversary becomes more persistent in his attacks. Opposition to the Divine Plan of the Ages is on the increase everywhere. Slanderous misrepresentations are so unblushingly made as to carry a measure of conviction with them, to the injury of the Cause we serve.

What Satan cannot do against the Truth along the lines of logic, the Bible and common sense, he seeks to do through slanderous misrepresentations of all who take their stand on the side of Truth; and his opposition is incurred usually in proportion to the activity of the servants of the Truth. This opposition is to them a trial of faith and of patient endurance. It tests their loyalty to God, to the Truth and to the brethren. It becomes, likewise, a test of brotherly love to the household of faith. It does a sifting or separating work. “The Lord your God proveth you.” – Deut. 13:3. [

The same line of attack furnishes special trials for the church nominal – both wheat and tares. It gives opportunity for exhibitions of envy, anger, malice, hatred, strife, evil-surmising and evil-speaking. Thus many are being tested and their love of unrighteousness is being shown. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20.) The thorn and brier classes, however closely affiliated with religious things, are not Vine branches. They do not bear the fruit of the Vine, but contrariwise are injurious to the Lord’s people. “The poison of asps is under their lips.” Some of them are courageous enough to make lies; others, less courageous, love the lies and are mean enough to circulate them. The advance of the Day of the Lord will ultimately reveal the true situation. Some will have shame and contempt, while others will shine as the stars forever and ever.

All who have the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness and love – will be tested, too, along these same lines. The Lord’s will for such is that they should deepen and broaden their characters along all these lines in proportion as contrary temptations assail them. Thus more and more will they become copies of God’s dear Son, and the trials will assist in making them meet, fit for the Kingdom.


Another of Satan’s devices is to discourage the Lord’s faithful disciples who are seeking to know and to do His will. The more conscientious they are, the more subject they will be to Satan’s suggestions of unworthiness, rejection, condemnation, Second Death. God permits this as a test or trial to faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” To be developed, faith must be tried with opposition. The more our faith is developed, the more pleasing in the Father’s sight we shall be. He would have our faith in Himself implicit, unwavering.

The Adversary, on the contrary, would destroy our faith. Sometimes he attempts this by misrepresenting God’s character as unloving, unjust, unkind, and sometimes by exaggerating our weaknesses and failures, to cause us to cease striving for the goal of Divine approval. He would have us give up in despair.

Persons who have been obsessed by evil spirits tell plainly that first of all the spirits personated God and His angels, advised prayer, etc. Afterwards they gave evil suggestions. By and by they gave both good and evil suggestions. The evil suggestions entertained, they would next condemn the individual for having entertained them. Finally all pretense would be dropped, and the individual would be told that he had sinned away all Divine favor and was wholly at the mercy of the evil spirits. Then would come suggestions of evil deeds or of suicide, the endeavor being made to drive the individual to a full surrender of his mind, his will, in order to full possession and mental unbalance.

The only remedy for persons in such a deplorable condition is that they exert their will power to oppose all such false suggestions. Nothing is so helpful under such circumstances as correct knowledge of the Divine teaching respecting God’s Love and the abundance of His merciful provision in Christ. Persons in this condition should be encouraged to cast themselves fully and unreservedly at the foot of the cross in the spirit of their minds – in fullness of consecration. Then in proportion to their faith they may lay hold upon the Lord in prayer for complete deliverance from the Adversary’s power. We know of no other way to get rid of the evil spirits.

There are also cases where the obsession has taken place and where the Adversary seems to be able to exercise an evil influence upon the mind, causing doubt, fear, alienation from the Lord. Generally “sin lieth at the door” – some violation of the soul’s covenants with the Lord. Such are in danger of great gloom, loss of faith, trust – everything. The cure for their case is a knowledge of God’s real character – His great Love and sympathy exercised through the Lord Jesus Christ and made available through Him to all who give their lives in full consecration.

Faith should triumph, or the light of joy and blessing will die. “According to your faith be it unto you,” is the Divine rule. Those who will not exercise the faith will never be acceptable to the Father for membership in the Kingdom class. Such must wait for the next Age and have different experiences. The Little Flock, the Elect ones whom the Lord is now choosing, must all be faith-full.


The Apostle John declares that a certain course of conduct is possible in which the Adversary would be unable to touch us. (I John 5:18.) The picture brought before our mental eyes is that of a charmed circle, within which God’s people may come. This circle is not a fence, [R5148 : page 388] but merely a line of light, which can easily be overstepped. On the inside of that circle is the Lord’s favor. The very center of it is the Lord Himself, the Head of the Church. The exhortation of the Scriptures, the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and the providences of the Lord, all encourage His followers to press close to Him – “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”

Outside the charmed circle are the powers of evil. These are sometimes allowed to touch the earthly interests and temporal affairs of the children of the Light; but the demon influence is not permitted to really touch the New Creatures in Christ inside this circle. Over that line they cannot exercise their influence. But alas! lured by the world, the flesh and the Devil, some of the saints at times go too close to the line, perhaps pursuing some fleshly bait or golden bauble or earthly honor. Such the Adversary is ever ready to lay hold of, to drag them out into the darkness of sin, doubt, despair – further and further away from the Lord.

The lesson of this picture to all Spirit-begotten children of God is, “Abide in Him,” “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” “Draw near unto God,” “Press onward and upward,” “Take heed to yourselves,” “Forget the things that are behind,” “Mortify your flesh,” and earthly desires and ambitions, Keep close to the Master, that “the Wicked One touch you not.”

But we again remind any who may be touched by the Adversary and temporarily ensnared that God is full of loving-kindness, that His mercy endureth forever, for all those who desire to live in harmony with Him. While it is true that the nearer we get to the separating line, the nearer do we come within the range of the Adversary’s influence and power, and the weaker becomes the power of the Truth, the Spirit of the Lord, in our control, nevertheless, there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, and the Lord will welcome the strayed sheep, even though He temporarily allow trying experiences. Ultimately to the returning one these experiences will prove valuable lessons, safeguarding against any further tendency to stray or to dally with earthly things.


Your Precious Faith

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Pet. 1:7.
FAITH has in it the two elements of intellectual assurance and heart reliance. The former is faith in the abstract sense; the latter is its concrete form. It is in this latter, fullest sense we read that, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” (Rom. 10:10.) Both the head and the heart – the intellect and the affections – are necessary to that faith without which it is “impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6); though many fancy they have faith when they have only one of its essential elements. With some it is all emotion; with others it is all intellectuality; but neither of these can stand the tests of fiery ordeal: they must abide together if they are to endure to the end and be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

An intellectual grasp of the fundamental principles of divine truth – viz., of the existence of a personal, intelligent God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and of his purpose and plan of redemption through his only begotten and well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ – constitutes the foundation of faith; while trust and reliance to the extent of his promises, upon the personal God who is the author of our being and who, as a Father, invites the implicit confidence and love of his children, make up the superstructure of our faith.

The trial of our faith to which the Lord and the apostles refer is therefore a trial, not only of our intellectual recognition of divine truth, but also of our heart reliance upon God. In both respects every true child of God will find his faith severely tried, and, as a soldier of Christ, let him not fail to be armed for the conflict. If an attack is made upon the intellectual foundation of our faith we should see to it that we have a, “Thus saith the Lord,” for every item of our belief. Let the Word of God settle every question, and let no human philosophies, however ingenious, lead us into the labyrinths of error; for if the foundations of faith become unsettled, the superstructure cannot stand when the winds and the floods of adversity and temptation beat against it. Doubt and fear will cause it to tremble, and when it is thus weakened the vigilant adversary will surely send a blast of temptation against it, and great will be the soul’s peril.

Let us, therefore, look well to the foundations of our faith – study the doctrine and get a clear intellectual conception of every element of divine truth which the inspired Word presents to the people of God; let us become rooted, grounded, settled, established in the faith, the doctrines of God, and hold them fast: they are the divine credentials; and let us give earnest heed to them, lest at any time we should let them slip. – Heb. 2:1.

But having the doctrines clearly comprehended as foundations of faith, we need also to look well to the superstructure of heart reliance, which is really in greater danger from storms and floods than are the foundations, being more constantly exposed. The Apostle Peter tells us that a tried, proved faith, a faith that has stood the tests of fiery ordeal and come off victorious, is very precious in the sight of God. That is, that every time we pass through a conflict and still retain, not only the truth, but also our confidence in God and reliance upon his promises in the dark as well as in the light, our integrity of heart and of purpose, and our zeal for truth and righteousness, our characters have grown stronger, more symmetrical and more Christ-like, and hence more pleasing to God, who is thus subjecting us to discipline for this very thing.

Therefore, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet. 4:12,13.) It is worthy of notice here that special reference is made, not to the tests of intellectual belief brought about by the presentation of false doctrine, but to reproaches and persecution for Christ’s sake, either for adherence to his doctrines or conformity to his righteousness; for, the Apostle adds, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.” He warns us to take heed only that we suffer not as evil-doers, “Yet,” he says, “if any man suffer as a Christian [that is, either for Christian principles or Christian doctrine], let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

The Prophet Daniel also says that particularly in this time of the end, “many shall be purified and made white and tried;” and Malachi (3:2,3) compares the trials of this time to the “refiner’s fire” and to “fuller’s soap,” which are designed to refine and purify the Lord’s people. The Apostle Paul urges that we fight the good fight of faith, and patiently endure afflictions to the end. (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:3.) And many are the words of consolation and blessed comfort offered by the Psalmist and others to the tempest-tossed and suffering people of God. – See Psa. 77:1-14; 116:1-14; 34:19; 31:24; 2 Thes. 3:3.

Are you then, dear brother or sister, hard pressed on every side with temptations to doubt that God’s protection, love and care are yours, that his precious promises belong to you? have you grown discouraged and disheartened? do the foes seem too many and too strong for you? do the reproaches come with crushing weight, and do the clouds hang heavy over your seemingly defenseless head? Ah, it is just here that faith must claim her victory! Is it not promised, “This is the victory that overcometh,… even your faith?” It is your faith that is on trial now. In the calmer days when the sun of favor shone brightly upon you, you were quietly laying the foundation of a knowledge of the truth, and rearing the superstructure of Christian character. Now you are in the furnace to be proved: summon therefore all your courage; fortify your patience; nerve yourself to endurance; hold fast to your hope; call to mind the promises, they are still yours; and “cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him,” and faith has gained her victory. Then in due time the Lord’s hand will be recognized in making all things work together for good to you according to his promise. This proof of your faith, says Peter, is more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire.


Holding Fast at the Mark

THERE is no doubt that in the divine schooling there is a mark or standard of fitness for graduation to the Church in glory. When first we surrendered our wills to the Lord it was necessary that the consecration should be a whole or perfect sacrifice of our wills to the Lord’s will; but our wills were not at the mark or standard of perfect love. And if our experiences could be imagined as cut short in death immediately after our consecration we could not think of ourselves as “fit for the Kingdom,” because the rewards are not promised to consecrators, but to “him that overcometh.” Thus in the case of the Master himself, our forerunner, it was necessary that he should suffer and thus be proven worthy of entering into his glory. In a word, as the child cannot be graduated the day he enters school, no more can we who enter the school of Christ.

The rapidity of progress in learning the lessons depends greatly on our temperament and our zeal. Some evidently make as much progress in one year as others do in twenty, and very many never graduate at all – never reach the mark or standard which God demands, perfect love. The Word of God, our textbook, informs us that “Love is the fulfilling of the Law” (Rom. 13:10); that “The end or purpose of the divine commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience.” (1 Tim. 1:5.) “As many, therefore, as be perfect [-willed, at the mark of perfect love] should be of this mind.” – Phil. 3:15-17.

Those who have “thus learned Christ,” he has taught the meaning of (1) perfected love toward God, which would prompt them to do and to dare anything in his service; (2) of perfected love for the “brethren,” which would prompt the laying down of life itself in their service; (3) of perfected love for the world, yea, even for enemies, which would lead to do good to them that hate us and despitefully use us, and say all manner of evil against us falsely.

Alas! we cannot suppose that many of the consecrated have reached this standard or mark; hence we must expect that few have graduated as “fit for the Kingdom”; hence also the intimation of Scripture that the left-overs – non-graduates – will be “a Great Company” as compared with the Little Flock of overcomers who do attain to the mark, the fixed standard. Here, however, it is well to remember that this “mark” or standard of love is not of the flesh but of the mind or heart. As the Apostle says, “We cannot do the things that we would.” Our blemishes of the flesh sometimes momentarily stumble us into an unloving word or act, which if repented of will not be reckoned against us nor put us away from the mark and the loving acceptableness of our Lord, which the mark represents.


“Hold fast that which thou hast; let no man take thy crown,” seems logically to refer specially to those who have reached the mark or standard of perfect love, and not merely to those who have taken the first step of consecration, entrance into the school of Christ. The words, “Hold fast that which thou hast,” implies a previous effort and attainment, and that the attainment has had something to do with the right to the crown; and that the position attained must be held if the crown would be ultimately possessed. The intimation is also clear that the holding fast will be at the cost of a severe struggle.

This may be a new and a somewhat startling thought to some who have erroneously supposed either that consecration alone was necessary, or that to attain the mark or standard of perfect love would end the struggle. Apparently, the severest struggles, tests, temptations, assail those who are at that mark, and this is in accord with our Master’s promise that we shall “not be tempted above that we are able to bear.” The stalwarts at the mark should be able to bear most and they will be most severely tried. Mark the exhortations to these, “Watch ye, stand fast, quit you like men.” No longer “babes in Christ,” “no longer children,” their special test is as men, strong in the Lord and panoplied in the whole armor of God. Hearken again to the Word: “Having done all, stand!” These words do not fit one entering the school or entering the race; they are most appropriate to those who have reached the standard of perfect love. Those who have “done all,” who have attained the mark of character and “put on the whole armor,” are the ones who are cautioned, warned, to “hold fast” and “stand fast” and “fight a good fight.”


These fundamental truths have been true and applicable to the Lord’s people throughout this Gospel Age, and hence the narrowness of the way and the few there be who have found and walked therein – in all a little flock. But now, more particularly than ever before, this warning applies and probably to a larger number of the Lord’s people than at any time in the past; because we are in the “harvest” time, when the ripening and gathering seems chiefly to apply. It is doubtless for this reason that so many Scriptures seem to specify our time in connection with these warnings. For instance, we read, “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand!” – Eph. 6:13.

The logic of this situation implies that during the few years immediately before us will come the severest of trials and the most subtle tests of our love: (1) For God as represented by our love for his Truth and the honor of his name; (2) our love for the Lord’s brethren; (3) our love for our enemies. And whenever the “brethren” (of whom so much might be expected) become our enemies the test of our love will be the severer. In view of these things, “What manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy living and God-likeness?” In view of the solemnity of the situation, how “circumspect” we all should be! How we should scrutinize our every act and word and thought! And our thoughts require our special care, because by the thoughts and intents of the heart we are being judged. And words and acts proceed therefrom. How often ambition hides its envious desires under the cloak of duty! How many of the fires of the “Holy Inquisition” were lighted by the torch of “duty!” Let us each be on guard. Ourselves or others we might deceive, but not God, who says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; he that doeth righteousness is righteous” – not merely he who professes. He whose acts and words are loving, gentle, kind, considerate under trying conditions gives evidence of being begotten of the God of love and of having developed much Christ-likeness! Consider our Lord’s love for his enemies and his forbearance for them when railed at, “Come down from the cross!” Consider how, when reviled and slandered, he reviled and slandered not in return! Consider how gentle was his reproof of the perfidious Judas and how he merely hinted a reproof to Peter, who denied him with cursings! In his case surely Love was ready to cover a multitude of faults. Let us not be easily offended nor of implacable spirit. Let us with generous and forgiving spirit say with the Apostle, “None of these things move me” – from my stand at perfect love; it shall grow more rooted and grounded in proportion as it is tested. Let us also be on guard against the spirit which is envious of the honors, privileges and blessings granted to another. Contrariwise let us have so much of the spirit of love that we will rejoice with all who rejoice in the Lord and will mourn with all in distress. To feel even a coolness of sentiment in connection with the prosperity of a brother or a lack of interest in his welfare is a sign of serious danger – that we have slipped from the mark. This should alarm us and lead to fresh energy.


Is It Right to Judge?

Bible Students who are holding fast to the principles taught by Pastor Russell, are often times accused of judging those, who once say “eye to eye” with them, but who no prefer a “way” which has a broader outlook. WE have no desire to judge the hearts of those who oppose them, but if they did not judge the conduct and teachings of such, they would, indeed, be remiss in their duty as Christians. The following extracts are from the pen of That Servant, Charles Taze Russell:

“Judge nothing before the time.” . . . . now, in this day of the Lord’s presence, when the magnet of Divine Truth makes manifest those who have and those who have not an affinity for it . . . . it becomes our duty, as well as our privilege, to judge who is on the Lord’s side and who is against him . . . Everything is being dragged to the light, whether men are willing or not; for every hidden thing must be revealed. And not only the hidden things of creeds and systems of error and iniquity, but also the hidden things of individual character. Luke 12:2, 3

And among those whom we fellowship and bid Godspeed as faithful brethren in Christ, it is our duty to judge as to whether they are still faithful when the magnet of Truth makes their judgment so manifest in this day of the Lord; for it is written (2 John 10,11) . . . . Here is a responsibility with reference to our endorsement of another which we cannot ignore and still be faithful; and except we judge of one’s course by his fidelity or infidelity to the Truth, we shall be endorsing error quite as often as Truth. It is our privilege to know the Truth and to hold it firmly and to be faithful to it to the end, and if we so abide and walk in the light we will quickly know when one has turned away from the light into darkness.

In this article we are told of one way in which we shall know those who are “turning away” they “are advanced by the adversary as teachers angels or messengers of NEW LIGHT.”