OUR VOW UNTO THE LORD
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
It is on my mind to write you respecting some of the experiences I am having with The Vow. Long ago I reported to you my own experiences therewith. Whatever mistake I once made in respect to resisting The Vow God long ago overruled for my good, and it seems has since blessed the experiences to the good of some others. For no one can think of an objection to The Vow which the Devil had not previously suggested to my mind.
Recently an intelligent brother and sister were hesitating to take The Vow because, as they said, they were afraid they could not keep it inviolate. I pointed out that God does not expect anything unreasonable, though He will not accept less than our best efforts. They saw the point, and both took The Vow immediately.
In commending The Vow, I show that the Lord had manifestly directed you in formulating it. I note the seven clauses, and call attention to the fact that seven in Scripture usage is a designation of completeness, perfection. I point out that this could not have just "happened," any more than you "happened" to write THE STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
I next show The Vow is made to the Heavenly Father, and not to Brother Russell in any sense, and is but a reiteration, an emphasis, of our original vow of consecration--"Thy will be done in my mortal body." It is all expressed there. The special designations you use are but reminders of this all-important thought--"Thy will be done in my mortal body," and any who do not want the Lord's will done in their mortal bodies should never have covenanted to that effect in the beginning. Surely every consecrated child of God desires that the Heavenly Father's rule should "come into his heart more and more," and that the Divine will should have a sanctifying influence upon his life constantly!
I do not neglect to lay stress upon the fact that the Adversary of God does not want the Heavenly Father's will done in our "mortal bodies," and the reason therefor; while in The Vow is a condensation of many texts of Scripture given us for the express purpose of helping us into the Kingdom. I sometimes thus contrast the work of the "two Masters."
Furthermore, I endeavor to point the attention of the dear friends to the solid Scriptural basis upon which the entire structure rests, the foundation for every thought embraced in The Vow. In extreme cases I present many texts to this intent. Sometimes their eyes open with surprise when they finally see how simple the whole matter is, yet how incontrovertible!
Frequently I ask upon whose strength they relied when they made their vow of consecration; then remind them that while the arm of flesh will fail, The Everlasting Arm, never. So in the strength of the Lord is this Vow to be taken, keeping [R5944 : page 254] before their minds the fact of Satan's activity, his stealth, his wiles, his purpose to deceive. Then I further ask what disadvantage could possibly come to any one from a firm resolve to be more "on the alert to resist" every encroachment of sin, the influence of Satan, and suggest that the only "reasonable way" to combat these is the Divinely-appointed way.
All must agree that they would be greatly assisted in developing a Christlike character by "more carefully scrutinizing their thoughts and words and doings," and that a firm resolve to do this, a vow to do so, of necessity must be assistful in attaining the desired end. The All-seeing Eye notes everything, even our very thoughts. To stand approved, I point out, we must have assistance. Through The Vow, this is pledged in a very special sense--"Ask and ye shall receive." In The Vow we are in the strictest sense asking in advance for "help in time of need," for protection from "the snares of the fowler," while vowing that we will be on the "alert" against these.
In the final analysis, what can be found against The Vow? Absolutely nothing--save the objections aroused by Satan, who is the Adversary of God, the Opponent of Righteousness, the enemy of Truth, the railer against purity, the hater of everything good. Praise the Lord for The Vow! Surely none has ever taken it in the right spirit without realizing that increased blessings have come to his own head and heart!
May God bless you richly for this, as well as for all other features of your great labor of love! Truly, God is with you! O how keenly do I realize this, and how deeply do I appreciate the fact! My heart is filled with gratitude, thrilled with joy, by every evidence of the Heavenly Father's loving provisions for our every need. Verily, I am amazed at Divine goodness to us-ward!
Your humble brother, by His grace, W. M. WISDOM.